July 29, 2013 at 11:02 am #39369
I have been in a bad marriage for 9 years now. I have had an emotionally abusive/draining relationship with my Mother my whole life. My Father never spoke up and let her treat me however she wanted. She was never physically abusive but between religion, homeschooling, and her need for control I was never good enough and she made it known in a way no one seems to understand. I used to have a close relationship with my Aunt and Uncle until last year around this time when I confronted my Mom on some issues and they disapproved of it. They sent me a hateful e-mail and up until last week we haven’t talked. I had reached out to them in e-mail for some closure and we finally met to talk. Instead of finding peace in the conversation (it went better than I thought and we agreed to disagree on some issues) I have found myself an emotional wreck since.
I’m separating from my husband and am trying to set boundaries with my Mother and I feel like I should be proud of myself because I am honestly doing it in a way I am not ashamed of or in a hateful/hurtful way. I just feel extreme guilt for not being who they want me to be. These strong waves of emotion hit me. I feel like a failure and sad that I can’t be loved, respected and accepted by two people (husband and Mother) I have spent years trying to make happy. Even when I was being “good” they weren’t pleased.
How do I as a 30 year old woman find peace within myself? How do I handle the waves of sadness that hit me throughout the day? I can be going along fine. I will have meditated and read positive things on TB or other websites and feel at peace with my decision then it’s life grief comes from nowhere. Anyway advice? I’m a Mom to three beautiful children and I want to be a positive role model for them. I try to hide my sadness from them but I know they have to see it at some point and I do not want them to see this side of me.July 29, 2013 at 12:40 pm #39374CarmenParticipant
I don’t know if I have good advice for you or not…but I’m gonna try.
I understand about living with guilt because you feel you’re not living up to others expectations of you. I often struggle with similar feelings. You say you feel like “they” (hubby & mom) don’t love or respect you. Maybe they’re loving you in the best way they know how. That doesn’t make their actions “right” or “wrong”…it’s just who they are. It seems like maybe you’re allowing them to be who they are more than you’re allowing yourself to be who you are/who you want to be. Just as you accept they are who they are, you must accept you for who you are. Having said all of that…ahem…let them run their race & you run yours. As long as you’re not being malicious or hurtful (to the best of your abilities) at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what they think & I don’t think you have anything to feel guilty about. If they can’t “live & let live”, that’s on them, not on you, don’t make it your burden if you can help it.
From one “emotional wreck” to another…try to stop & take stock of the current moment when you have those negative feelings. Is everything ok with where are at that moment? If yes, build on that “safe n sound” moment…one safe step at a time…if no, do what you can to fix it & then move on…set the negative moment (& yourself) free knowing you did what you could to the best of your ability but don’t dwell in that negative mindset. It gets easier to “let go of the negative” the more you practice.
I hope this helps you some. Sending love your way. May you be well.
CJuly 29, 2013 at 2:38 pm #39382MattParticipant
I’m sorry for the emotional turmoil that you’ve been going through, I know what it is like to feel torn between the person people hoped you would be and the person you are. I’m happy that you’ve gained a bit of detachment from your mom, that is often a terribly difficult first step at any age or stage. The guilt is pretty normal, and hopefully you’ll find a way to work with it skillfully. I really like how as you look inward, you wish to become a better person for yourself and your children… which is awesome! A few things came to heart as I read your words.
The first is that each of us, deep down (or not so deep down :)) yearn for momma’s love. She often comes to represent a lot of what love means in the world, and not only to we want to snuggle up to her, but we also want her to pour her unconditional love upon us. Unfortunately, sometimes our moms are twisted around a bit, and what we get from them is corrosive. As we see this and put distance between ourselves and mom, it leaves us feeling empty.
There is a parable of a glass of water, which represents our mind and body. When we absorb corrosive words, it is like adding salt to the water. Then, as we look inward, the drinking is bitter. As we do self nurturing activities such as reading loving insight, meditating, listening to music, playing with our kids, we are filling the glass with clear water. It is very refreshing, and it tastes great from the tap. Said differently, when we do things that are intentionally loving and healing, our mind and heart experience joy in the moment.
However, the water in the cup is still salty, so as we “lose our present moment awareness” by looking forward, backward, inward etc, the salt in the cup tastes bitter again. Sometimes it will be guilt, anger, pride, shame… but the emotion just comes up. Other times, it is the water overflowing from the glass. One of my teachers described it as “squeezing the sponge” where we take in good water and it pushes the bad to our awareness. This is a normal decompression of old suppressed feelings and is quite normal.
The solution is to keep pouring into the glass, and not get caught up in the bitter taste. Said differently, in meditation, as thoughts arise we note them “this is a thought” and gently move our mind back to the meditation object. We do the same for discursive emotions… we notice “this is guilt” and move our awareness back to the present moment, the meditation object, playing with our kids or whatnot. By working with our emotions in this way, we are preventing our mind from adding new salt to the glass.
Another thing that came to mind is you might still have some attachment to your mom’s words, her views. For instance, if she told you never to eat chocolate, and you do, a voice in your head might try to convince you that chocolate is bad and you are bad for eating it. If you notice this happening, you can speak to that voice as one of your kids. “Thanks for trying to help me find a good path, but its OK for me to eat chocolate. I will be moderate, and it is safe for me to trust my desires.”
You’ve seen how difficult its been for your mom… imagine how painful it must be inside her to make her see and treat people in such a way. That alone should be enough for you to question and detach from her “wisdom”. Just because she is a parent, doesn’t mean she knows how this world works, or how to cultivate a path of joy! It is fair and right to look upward for that, to find people with gardens in bloom and get the help you’re looking for. Which is precisely what you’ve been doing! Huzzah!
MattJuly 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm #39390Buddhist WifeParticipant
Sorry to hear of your struggles.
You may find the website ‘Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers’ has some useful insights for you. The information there may or may not apply directly to your situation, but either way it’s an interesting read.
I really hope you find peace soon.July 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm #39391
I agree with you. I am trying to take the negative feelings or guilt and focus on the good most of the time. Some days it seems easier than others. I have recognized in myself that guilt or shame is usually the first emotion I go to. Not an easy habit to break lol.July 29, 2013 at 4:56 pm #39393
Thank you for taking time to respond. I have never heard that about the salt and water and I will definitely keep it in mind. I think being raised by a mother that was so controlling plus used her religious views so strongly (not saying they are right or wrong) to guilt me all the time has really made me question everything. I am trying to show myself the same patience and compassion that I show my kids when they are overwhelmed or having a bad day. I find it much easier to do to others than myself since I was brought up and still told I need to be perfect. Again, thank you. Your kind words meant so much.
HopefulJuly 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm #39416PeaceParticipant
Hopeful, I really like your name. Those tidal waves of saddness is something I can’t seem to get on top of on some days. I try my best to surf out the waves when they come but there are days i feel like I may drown. Just hang in there, surf and ride those waves the best you can! They do come and go,so just remember in the middle of the wave that low tide is coming. Peace and love to youJuly 30, 2013 at 9:45 am #39434CarmenParticipant
Yes ma’am. Some days are easier than others. As long as you make a consistent effort as you catch yourself / your “mind” when the negative starts to creep up & try to replace it with positive, or at least not continue to feed the negative, it gets easier. “Habits” don’t happen from one day to the next…they are reinforced & strengthened over time…that applies to “bad” habits as well as “good” habits.
Don’t forget to allow yourself forgiveness when you stumble around in the negative on occasion. When that happens try to pick yourself, dust yourself off as best you can and keep moving towards your goals.
Love, light & blessings!