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struggling to keep going

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This topic contains 72 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #215855

    caroline
    Participant

    Yes that fits for me. My family are very different from how I want them to be which conflicts with my belief is not having much worth. My mind  says ‘who do you think you are, your not important enough to have standards of what you will accept and not accept’  ‘your so deluded when you think your ok as you are because no one likes you, deep down you know this is true, where are all the people in your life, there isn’t anyone because nobody cares about you, they just feel sorry for you and occasionally use you for something or dump there stuff on you because they know your desperate for any kind of attention and so unsure of yourself that they can dump there crap on you so they can feel better’

    I know the hard truth is despite my need for connection and belonging I must go without and gradually spend less time with them and hopefully meet other people that genuinley like me. I know you usually advise people to cut ties permanently with the family members that have done the original damage in order to heal but do you think seeing them on a rare basis could still help me heal?

     

    #215863

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    A child perceives reality correctly. There are no previous experiences to distort the perception of reality, for a young child. This is truly what reality was in your early life, you really were “not important enough” to your parents. There really was no one there for you (“there isn't anyone”), and they really “dumped their stuff on you because they know you're desperate for any kind of attention and so unsure of yourself that they can dump their crap on you so they can feel better”.

    But not because you were not worthy of being treated as important enough, and not because there was something wrong with you.

    You asked me: “do you think seeing them on a rare basis could still help me heal?”- I don't think seeing them on any  basis will help you heal.

    I think that seeing them triggers hope that can never be materialized (a redo of childhood),  and it triggers the messages they instilled in you, reinforcing the experiences of childhood. In a sense, by interacting with them your childhood keeps happening. What do you think?

    anita

    #215905

    caroline
    Participant

    A few  replies did not send which is frustrating so ill try and tie it together the best i can.

    it does not trigger hope anymore with my mum but it still does with my dad but what does continue to happen is me feeling like i have to hide who i really am and the weight of the sadness combined from both parents passing the energy onto me. i am left feeling unseen, unheard, misunderstood and depressed about my life.

    i do think the amount of therapy i have had over the years, the more awareness i now have and the healthier changes i have made and still want to create does count towards healing? I think i may have said before in a previous post that alot of the material of the work that was explored in therapy was about forgiveness, forgiving myself mainly for my parental mistakes i have made which naturally turned  towards my family and the way thet have treated me. i see it as a contradiction as i need to feel compassion towards myself for mistakes i have made and this has been guided to approach it by seeing myself as doing what i felt was right at the time with the limited resources i had. hurt people hurt other people and its the same for my parents. as im writing this i realise i may be confusing forgiveness with acceptance. although its a long way off where i can imagine a life without them, if or when i am presented with the opportunity to cut ties, this would be the hardest part of all of it even more than all the hurt i have felt as i dont want to hurt them by abandoning them. when i look at my parents i see broken adult children who never got what they needed either, how could i do that to them?

    putting my parents aside, who am i without my family? i am a small person in a small world with no money of my own, no friends (only one) no relationship (i really want one but im really scared my anxiety will show up again as it usually does and having to feel so much shame when they get to know me and then of course waiting for the rejection) unemployed as i dont know what to do with my career so to cut ties with my family would isolate me completely and then i would really have no confidence to take risks.  im so eager to be with someone right now that i would probably end up being needy and moving the relationship too fast.

    is it ok to continue doing what makes me feel good until i feel a bit more confident with getting into a relationship or am i putting off the vulnerability that always comes in any relationship? do you think im in a position to look for a relationship? sorry if this is too many questions.

     

     

    #215967

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    You wrote: “I don't want to hurt them (your parents) by abandoning them. When I look at my parents I see broken adult children… how could I do that to them?”-

    I relate to this thinking/feeling very much. I saw my mother as a little girl in pain and her pain was all that mattered to me. I couldn't imagine not being in contact with her, thinking it will kill her to not be in contact with me, that it would be too painful for her.

    This is what I learned: when a child grows up with lack of empathy, unseen and unheard, the child makes up for the lack of empathy by feeling lots of empathy toward the parent, and focusing on them a whole lot, seeing and hearing them, overly so.

    A child is one mental entity with the parent. If the parent is not seeing the child, the child will make up for this lack by seeing a whole lot of the parent. If the parent expresses no empathy for the child, the child will make up for this lack by feeling a whole lot of empathy for the parent.

    You wrote about your experience with your parents: “I am left feeling unseen, unheard, misunderstood”- So you do all the seeing, hearing and understanding.

    Only that because of that  one mental unit we start as, we really see ourselves when we see them. I did that: in reality I was the child, but I felt that my mother was the child. In reality I felt that I couldn't live without her. But I felt that she couldn't live without me. In reality I needed her, but I felt that she needed me.

    “do you think I am I'm in a position to look for a relationship?”- if you can take it slowly and get to know a man first, before developing a deep attachment to him, and based on what you learn about him figure if it is a good idea to move forward, then yes, you are in a position to look for a relationship. Need to plan the looking so to maximize your chances of finding the right man for you. It is all in the cautious, patient and wise planning and executing.

    anita

    #216193

    caroline
    Participant

    ive beem thinking more about what you said about how to continue to spend time with them just reinforces the need to want to be loved by them. i thought i was ok with it but its not that simple is it.. today my mum was in hospital and i witnessed her feeling happier about being there, getting so much attention from doctors and nurses and of course myself, sister and my dad. i really did see her as a helpless child today and still manipulating the conversation under these horrible circumstances. im a believer in our mental and emotional reressed thpughts and feelings manifest physically if its given the attention and care it deserves. i wish my mum felt the desire to want to make better life style choices because she has a family but my mum always puts others on pedestals and speaks highly of how kind and caring other people are and how she prefers them. my dad is quite similar in this respect. on the way over to the hospital i was alone with my sister in the car and once again she started putting me down and bullying me. ive decided i know longer want her or my mum in my life after today. im still holding out for my dad even though deep down i know he doesnt really care too much about me either. it will be hard doing this though as she has promised a day trip with my daughter where my neice and nephew will be going too (she doesnt get to see enough of them as it is due to my brother in law and my sister) cutting off my sister means never seeing my neice and nephew again well not intil their older as i know she will use them as a weapon against me, i feel really angry towards her at the moment and in a way it feels good because ive made up my mind, i just dont want to lose my neice and nephew as their still very young and she will probably turn them against me and of course my daughter losing them too. is this the price i will have to pay to respect myself and think of my own wellbeing?

    #216195

    caroline
    Participant

    sorry for the spelling mistakes

    #216239

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    I didn't notice any spelling mistakes.

    “is this the price I will have to pay to respect myself and think of my own wellbeing?”, not seeing your sister's children, you mean?

    I suppose so, but it is not such a bad idea to not see them at the point that they take on the.. family tradition of disrespecting you: your father making fun of you, your mother rolling her eyes, your sister putting you down and bullying you. Is it not a matter of time before your nieces and nephews “catch” the sentiment?

    My point today: you were born with as much value as any other person. You are as valuable as any other person in the world. In the context of your family, you were treated as one of little to no value. And this treatment is ongoing in the present. For you to experience well being, it is necessary that you feel and believe that you are valuable. This feeling and belief is impossible in the context of your family.

    So got to remove yourself from the context that maintains un-wellness.

    The great majority of people who are treated disrespectfully by their families do not remove themselves from their families but instead, keep trying and trying and hoping and trying. They keep trying even when they think they gave up, sort of on automatic, still trying.

    anita

    #216351

    caroline
    Participant

    yesterday was the final straw for me. my sister putting me down calling me a weirdo because i didnt want to talk to her and my mum almost smiling as she said this, when i stick up for myself im the bad guy. im always having to fight my own corner against my family and im sick of it. my dad is also two-faced. we worked together yesterday and a customer was quite rude to him about the work that had been done (she was quite within her rights though as my dad is not as good as he used to be so he cuts corners where he can) i didnt like the way she spoke to him and because my dad normally never will say what he really thinks of people that annoy him he said nothing, (the lady was quite patronising) i interrupted and commented about how she spoke to him. she responded to humiliate me in front of my dad and he said nothing. im so angry for feeling sorry for him and standing up for him. later on that day when we had a chance to speak about it, he done what he normally does, appears to be caring and on my side and then said do you think you could have handled her as she is so qualified? what an invalidation. when he relayed what happened to my mum later at hospital, my intention was just to explain it the way i understood it and how it had already been discussed with my dad, he showed a different side to him in front of my mum, again making me feel himiliated, potraying that i didnt handle the customers comment well. it doesnt sound like alot but to work with my dad takes huge effort on my part and i dont like how i end up behaving. i become aggressive and i end up embarrassing myself which triggers all my shame.

    i could go on and on about my family but it doesnt really matter because i dont want them in my life anymore. i want to do it gradually instead of abruptly to make it easier.

     

    you have really helped me anita to have the courage to see this for what it is and even with potentially losing my niece and nephew. i have thought about it and they already look down on me anyway and so does my daughter because as much as i dont want to sound like a victim all my family have put me down or abused me. i have tried to protect them in my own way to help them feel less unhappy but i realise now my efforts have been a waste of time so they already will carry on with the family tradition. my sister is a very toxic person and i worry about the harm she might cause as she has already said she is gonna get involved with my daughter currently living with her dad because she thinks im not doing enough (very hypocritical of her as her husband takes drugs in the family home and has a horrible temper)

    i have been really honest with myself and have decided that i dont have to feel guilty for not wanting them in my life anymore when all they do is hurt me. im just trying to be myself. being around them knocks my confidence and i end up feeling bad about myself, this will not help. i realise this more than ever now. i now have to learn how to change these habits of mine especially when i am lonely or need financial support from them. i dont want to depend on them for anything but im scared of not having money and not having anyone if their was a crisis that could happen, being alone and afraid.

    #216355

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    When it is a family tradition, a consensus, that you are unworthy, when a family bullies one of its members repeatedly, on an ongoing basis, three generations, yes, it is time to leave that family. What you describe is not uncommon: bullying within the family does happen. There is no changing of this dynamic, only exiting it.

    Again, there is no changing it. This is your role in this family. Not your fault and not of your doing.  There is nothing you can do to change this role, one that was chosen for you, one that newer members learn from older members and continue.

    You wrote, “I'm scared of not having money and not having anyone if there was a crisis that could happen, being alone and afraid”- I am very much aware of how powerful fear is. And I am aware of financial concerns. I can see how you can get scared in certain circumstances and turn to that family for financial help and emotional support (the bits that you can get in-between the put downs).

    I recommend this one thing: when that happens, that is, when you feel scared and turn to them,  keep in mind your current awareness of who they are and who you are. Keep in mind that you are a worthy person turning toward people who will, once again and forever more, treat you as if you were unworthy.

    And do write anytime, about anything.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  anita.
    #217073

    caroline
    Participant

    its been a bitter pill to swallow in the knowing of my parents including my sisters that they dont genuinely want me to have a good life. i really feel like they dont like me, i know it doesnt help to see it objectively when its your own family but all i can focus on is how im missed all the time. what i mean by that is not accepted and not understood. my mum has recently just came out of hospital. i have spoken to her on the phone and saw her in person since she has been home. i got through it by remembering what you said and it helped so thankyou. i appreciate you telling me it straight to prevent me from further hurt but i like you have said before its automatic with family as the bond is too strong. although im pleased with myself for not divulging information when she asks questions about my daughter as i know she talks about me behind my back and will be thinking that i am not handling the situation in the way that she would. my mum thinks she is so moral and wise (alot of it she likes to beleive is because of he catholic upbringing) all my family do it. talk about each other and not completely honest with each other with the exception of brutal harsh honesty at times where it feeds the cycle of how things play out in my family. i could see the game playing that my mum was doing again such as putting others on pedestals about how kind and lovely they are with a big smile on her face whilst i feel like i am not significant in the slightest and my actions of visiting her and asking how she is, offering to help with shopping gets overlooked or an insincere thankyou.  she makes subtle hints because she cant be direct with me or uses other people to prove a point about me, to put me down under the guise of ‘concern'

    i know my mum is ill and hopefully will get better but i dont want to see her if i can help it but guilt motivates me at the moment although i did delay seeing her over the weekend and i even think she wanted to see me because my other sister was out the country who is the only one remaining (apart from myself ) that is in contact with her. however i can see that changing as my eldest sister who has recently been mourning the fourth anniversary of my nieces death is reaching out to my mum through me, asking me how she is. she said that she wanted to go with me to visit her. this is the same sister i have let back into my life since she attacked me quite bad, had her hands round my throat twice, slapping me in the face and calling me names as she was grieving and wanted somebody to blame. that was the night i stupidly thought apologising on behalf of all the family for not being being for her when my neice was dying (she pushed people away and is an angry person although my family were still judgmental and cold) this triggered alot of anger in her obviously. recently i asked for her help as we were gradually spending time together and it has been going ok (the attack is what led me to give up drinking and i havent drank since christmas and i will not touch a drop again) i asked her to look after my cat for three months but she said ‘dont put this on me' and i replied ‘only asking. do you think i was wrong for asking especially as the timing wasnt great with it being the fourth anniversary. i also asked my mum in a very indirect way like i know she was going to say no anyway and guess what she said no ha but then she has a perfect excuse being the vulnerable victim who is poorly out of hospital.

    my dad is not happy with me because i asked for my wages as i hardly had any money left (both customers have not paid) and i havent heard from him so im feeling a bit guilty about that and angry at the same time.

    i guess i just have to start getting used to how it really is, that my family dont like me and see me as a failure.

     

     

    #217081

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    As I read the first half of your recent post I realized that I need to read it in the morning when I am more focused. I found lots I can relate to in what you shared, again, and it require my attending to your post in the early morning, in about 15 hours. Will reply then. Be good to yourself, please.

    anita

    #217165

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    I can relate to feeling “guilty ..and angry at the same time” regarding my mother. My guilt has been immense and my anger intense. I no longer feel much of either guilt or anger. I have no contact with her over five years. Never will for as long as I live, for as long as she lives.

    It was a very difficult experience for me to live day after day, year after year, and be in daily or weekly contact with her for decades while all along knowing (but denying it to myself at the same time) that like you, I too was “missed all the time”, meaning “not accepted and not understood”. My mother too was not being “honest… with the exception of brutal harsh honesty at times”, when she exploded in rage. My mother also did a lot of “putting others on pedestals… with a big smile on her face” while treating me “like I am not significant”, and she too made “subtle hints because she can't be direct with me”, except when she raged. And knowing my mother's extensive habit of talking disrespectfully about other people behind their backs, I believe she talked about me the same way, behind my back.

    We need a mother who is on our side, not against us. A mother who treats us as significant people, not insignificant, a mother who values us and has our well being as her top priority.

    “I guess I just have to start getting used to how it really is”. I like the saying the truth shall set you free. There is healing in seeing the truth, in seeing reality as it is, no matter how distressing it is at first. Later on there is calm in it.

    Back to what you wrote: “I guess I  just have to start getting used to how it really is, that my family don't like me and see me as a failure”-  this is my biggest benefit to cutting contact with my mother and doing the healing work afterwards: I no longer see myself as a failure, or as worthless, incapable, less than, clumsy, insignificant and so on. I no longer see myself as she saw me.

    As children our parents are our mirrors. We don't see ourselves except through them. So when your parents tell you that you are a failure and treat you as such, then you see yourself as a failure.

    You are not a failure, caroline. You are not insignificant. The mirrors you look at are faulty, distorting what is true.

    anita

     

    #217197

    caroline
    Participant

    im glad you found the strength to end your relationship with her as it is obvious that doing so has been the right decision for you where you now feel like a worthy and significant person which you are. i hope to be where you are one day with the belief in myself that i can make it on my own without my mum and dad and become a confident person. it is making so much more sense to me. it helps to know what im aiming for even if im not there yet. im gonna try (which ive been doing already) to live my life as if they wearnt offering any help at all to build up my confidence.

    ‘the truth will set you free' i like it and i shall remind myself of this. when i am very stressed i say ‘this too shall pass' when time seems to stand still.

    in my last post i asked if i was wrong for asking my sister about looking after my cat, do you think i was wrong? because i trust you can you honestly say if you would rather i stopped writing to you? i have this paranoia that people secretly dont like me and feel burdened when they are in contact with me. i value your time and kind words and your the only person at the moment who is encouraging me to think about my own needs.

    #217205

    anita
    Participant

    Dear caroline:

    Thank you for your encouragement and support (the first few lines of your recent post).

    I understand why you would think that “people secretly don't like me and feel burdened when they are in contact with me”: you wrote only a post ago that your family members “talk about each other and not completely honest”. Every person who lies or misstates the truth much of the times, tells the truth sometimes. So it is confusing and one is left wondering: when is she telling the truth, when is he not telling he truth. And I suppose you feel that you are a burden because this is what your parents communicated to you, the rolling of the eyes may be such a communication.

    You asked if I would rather you stopped writing to me. My answer is: no, I wouldn't rather you stopped writing to me. I would rather you continue to write to me for a long, long time, for as long as you wish. I want to read more from you; I want to know more about you and your life.

    About you asking your sister to look after your cat. You asked me if I think it was wrong of you to ask her. My answer is: no, I don't think it was wrong of you to ask her that. She answered your question with “don't put this on me”. Well, you didn't put it on her. You asked.

    What this interaction with her tells me is that she does not know the difference between being asked and being … well, burdened with, being forced into doing something. This is consistent with her upbringing. What I would do in the future, if I was you, would be to not ask her anything other than the trivial will-you-pass-the-salt kind of asking. Now you know that if you ask her for anything more significant, that she hears something different from a request. She hears a forceful attempt to make her do something she doesn't want to do.

    If you ask me something, and you can do so for the sake of practice, I may respond with a no, a simple, non aggressive no. No punishment to follow, no negative consequence to you or to our communication. In the past (and I am still sometimes feel this way before I correct myself), I too felt forced to say Yes, and I felt fear and anger for feeling that I had to say Yes, but I can now say No, and be okay with it.

    anita

     

    #218303

    caroline
    Participant

    well thought i should write again as i am feeling avoidant about how im feeling over recent events. Summer holidays had started and she wanted to be with me for a few days. it reminded me of how it was in her younger years, not listening to me and pushing boundaries. its relentless and i end up being an overbearing mum, at the time i think im doing right and to a degree i still think i am, i explain alot why i say no to things that she wants as i think its important she has a reason and of course i say yes and some of the time if not alot of the time she doesnt ask. she tries to get what she wants when she knows im preoccupied with something and it was quite serious so i have now said to her that we should only spend time together outside of the house which was hard for me to say. Out of exhaustion and feeling angry i swore at her and slammed the door. of course i regret it, it seems so hard to be so patient as i think even a person with the greatest patience in the world would feel challenged. so now i have to feel guilty about that. ive been trying to get us both some family counselling arranged which is challenging to say the least and also got in touch with my other therapist as i figure if she is willing to see me again after i have paid the debt that is owed, it will to use this as support which i feel i desperately need at the moment and being on here airing how i feel is valuable. i sent my therapist an email with a genuine apology and i havent had a response. im scared she wont respond as i will feel rejected again.

    I had to ask my mum for money today as i was faced with my latest benefit statement and it will only be enough to cover the rent as i only receive half now. i acknowledge i have more than other people, im reminded of it every day, my neighrbour for one. she is an angry alcoholic and now has a house full with her two grown up children and two grandchildren, not one day goes by where she isnt screaming at them. ive hated living next to her but its got easier over the years as you get used to things.  i felt alot shame again speaking to my mum as i know what is expected of me when i need help. i feel i need to explain myself completely leaving nothing for myself, she wants information about my problems so she can keep tabs on me, she makes me feel like im lying and i am a huge burden and i honestly think id feel the same if it was my 37 year old daughter needing financial help off me, id be pissed off too. I am trying though, i applied for ten jobs today and when i said this to her its like she had heard it all before which again i dont blame her doubting me but its upsetting when my good efforts of trying to be more independent is not even noticed or a ‘well done' its so rare that i have had any kind of acknowledgement. my sister who i mentioned in the last post came with me to visit my mum so she could make amends so i was useful for them, nothing more and knowing this helped  to get through it but of course it still hurts. the same dynamics played out again and i knew what was going on, their oblivious to what there doing, i could see the dishonesty, the grovelling, the subtle scape goating and most definetly being ignored. it reminded me of as a women/young girl how i feel so inadaquete when im conversing with  them as they seem to be alot quicker than me when it comes to figuring things out, like their always one step ahead of me and if i have anything to say or if i know something they dont it doesnt have value, i only to seem to get warmth from them together when im being the helper. its like im aware i like to think before i respond and i want what i say to make sense , ihave to know exactly what the person means and i think it could be because im full of anxiety so i cant relax. this relates with feeling incompetent as my dad said i was thick a few times growing up and it stuck. even my face looks dazed and i get told to smile alot which is depressing as alot of the time i dont wanna smile. i hope this makes sense to read.

     

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