January 25, 2020 at 4:26 pm #335034
Welcome back to your thread.
You wrote: “deep down, my ‘normal’ is being alone, left out.. like an outsider, like a bystander among people” –
– As adults we keep re-experiencing our childhood emotional experience; our childhood emotional experience becomes our adult normal.
You shared only this about your childhood on this thread: “when I was growing up my mum would become edgy and passive aggressive to my father every time he drank and I went along with her and took her side. And maybe later in life I now subconsciously try to make it up and turn a blind eye over drinking”- reads like you took your mother’s side but felt guilty for having taken a side against your father.
I am guessing growing up you felt alone, left out- your mother was busy with your father, edgy and passive aggressive. You took her side, maybe hoping to get some attention from her, but her attention was still not with you. Your father I am guessing was not attentive to you either. You were a bystander among your parents. Were you?
anitaJanuary 26, 2020 at 4:28 am #335140
Hello again Anita 🙂
I don’t think my parents necessarily made me feel alone while growing up. They were there for me, they were responsible parents but they were in their early twenties when they had me and I remember my mum being nervous, anxious, and having high expectations and standards about me. This probably helped my academic success and achievements but also caused me to have a strong inner critic.
I can define her as critical, judgemental and even somewhat puritan and uptight about me and about people. Not that much with my younger brother though:) If you’d ask him, you will get a different portrait. She would intervene in my relationships even when I was not a teenager anymore. For example I was 23 when she made it clear that she disapproves my boyfriend whom I was very in love with and gave me a very hard time. wanted me to leave him, tried to set me up with her friends nephew. things like that..
She also made me think I was cold and distant because this is how she describes me to my face and to others.
So, up until I was in my thirties I accepted these as certain facts about me, and I internalised them. I don’t think it’s a mature thing to blame your parents for every difficulty you are having in your life, but I can see now that she is one of the reasons why I can be mean and insensitive to myself. Now she wants to be more close but I keep her away at a safe distance without any confrontations. But this current situation also bothers me a little.
Having said all these, this last relationship of mine comforted me and made me feel good because he was calm and acceptant and relaxed. But also, we couldn’t make it together because he was a little extreme in these same very aspects to the point of not caring about anything and not having ambitions about life and future.
This is why when I sometimes feel alone now, I fantasise about getting back together and it makes me feel weak because I know he is not the one for me and I don’t want to create a more positive image in my head about him and obsess about it.
I poured my heart out. Thank you for reading it.January 26, 2020 at 8:32 am #335156
You are welcome!
“I don’t think it’s a mature thing to blame your parents for every difficulty you are having in your life”- it is not about blaming, for me, it is about understanding. Our brains are Formed during those Formative Years of childhood. Most of what we learn about ourselves and others, about life itself, is learned during those years, first and somewhat second decades of life. During our childhoods, the most powerful people in our lives- by far- are our parents (the caretakers, the adults we live with). Therefore, a whole lot of who we are is about what happened in those years between us and our parents.
So it is not about taking your parents to a court of law, so to speak, charging them with inadequate parenting and sentencing them to prison; it is about understanding ourselves better so that we can live better lives as a result, feel better and function better. (And so that if we bring more children into this world, that we will do better for them than our parents did for us).
Here is the most important thing you shared regarding your childhood relationship with your mother: “She also made me think I was cold and distant because this is who she describes me to my face and to others”- a child is naturally very warm and close to her mother, there is no stronger feeling of closeness than that which a child has for her primary caretaker, usually the mother. What happens is that when the mother hurts the child over and over again by rejecting the child, disapproving of the child, then the child withdraws from her mother. When the child associates her mother with pain, she withdraws from her. All animals withdraw from pain, it is instinctive.
“up until I was in my thirties I accepted these as certain facts about me, and I internalized them”- as children we can’t see ourselves unless we look at a mirror. Our mother is our mirror. What she says about who we are sticks.
“she is one of the reasons why I can be mean and insensitive to myself”- she was mean and insensitive to you (your Outer Critic) when your brain was forming, and so your brain contains a sort of mental representative of her (your Inner Critic) that continues to be mean and insensitive to you.
You wrote about your mother: “edgy and passive aggressive to my father every time he drank…nervous, anxious… critical, judgmental and even somewhat puritan and uptight about me and about people”-
-I can see why you were attracted to “calm and acceptance and relaxed” nature of this recent man in your life, it being opposite to nervous, critical and anxious. That’s what you needed from your mother, you needed her to be calm, relaxed and accepting of you. But like you wrote, he was “a little extreme in these same aspects to the point of”.. urinating on your bed and not bothering to replace it. Something I am sure that your puritan mother would be horrified by.
We often do find ourselves with the opposite of our parent when what we need is someone in the middle of extremes. I suppose your mother was on the extreme of anxious/nervous/uptight/critical and this man was on the other extreme.
I would like to read your thoughts about what I wrote here. Also, I am wondering what is it that she disliked so much about the boyfriend you had when you were 23?
anitaJanuary 26, 2020 at 11:04 am #335174
Oh yes my mum would be shocked and horrified if she knew the story.. She would be disappointed if she only knew him, let alone this story..Maybe this is childish but it makes me smile like a teenager.
This is what bothers me. After therapy I realised that it was her attitude that caused that strong inner critic and my defensive mechanisms. But I could not reach a mental place where she would effect me less.Instead I became intolerant and very angry at her. She is still comfortable calling me names (sometimes jokingly) telling me I am cold, stern, emotionally unavailable like the nordic tv show detectives:) She compares me to her daughter in law, to her friends’ daughters etc.. My boyfriend would tell me to let go, not to take it that seriously, that she was old now and she needed a mother daughter relationship etc…
I wonder how i can reach that state of indifference? I don’t want to think about my relationship with my mother anymore if and when I have a man in my life. I don’t want to carry that resentment.
And the boyfriend I had when I was 23…It’s been years now but I think her problem with him was that she thought he wasn’t husband material for me.I had finished school and had a decent job whereas he was still -not really- studying and also working at a nightclub tending the bar and doing some account job there. I was in love with him and maybe she thought if I’d marry him I wouldn’t fulfill my potential in life.January 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm #335194
You wrote about your mother, regarding your boyfriend at 23: “she thought he wasn’t husband material for me”. I suggest she is not mother material for you because she “is still comfortable calling me names.. telling me I am cold, stern, emotionally unavailable.. compares me to her daughter I law, to her friends’ daughters etc.”
Regarding your boyfriend telling you that “she was old now and she needed a mother daughter relationship”- she established the existing mother-daughter relationship with you long ago, and she is currently maintaining it, the same relationship that she established by calling you names etc.
She established the relationship as it was and as it still is, not you, because she had the power over you, not the other way around. This is why it is not in your power to change what she actively established and is still actively maintaining.
“I became intolerant and very angry at her… I wonder how I can reach that state of indifference? I don’t want to think about my relationship with my mother anymore if and when I have a man in my life. I don’t want to carry that resentment”-
-my input, from my very personal life experience, having been angry at my mother for decades and at present time no longer being consumed by that anger, it not being an active anger:
Your quest to be indifferent toward her while she is still calling you names and comparing you to other people’s daughters is impossible. She either has to stop these behaviors or you have to not have her in your life. You cannot not be angry at her while she is still actively fueling your aggressive inner critic.
It is very difficult and a long process to manage and change the nature of that inner critic. Cutting off its original fuel supply is a necessary step in healing.
My intense and decades long anger at my mother didn’t do me any good because I didn’t listen to the valid message behind my anger at her and I didn’t act accordingly. What do you think is the valid message behind your anger at your mother?
January 27, 2020 at 11:00 am #335328
- This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by anita.
It’s a very important question and it needs through thinking. the valid message behind my anger at her….I think generally I am angry at her for being so uptight causing me to have less joy in life, and shying away from attention. I don’t feel at ease in my own skin.
I think she had a strong influence on these:
- feeling insecure about myself (I had mild eating disorder, still not fully comfortable with the way I look no matter what)
- wasting away my young ages feeling uncomfortable with men and with sex
- feeling inadequate and antisocial
Sure she can’t be the only reason, there is also one’s character and the things you experienced… I’m an introvert and I sometimes need alone time to charge myself. I like being like that, I have no problems with that. But when I felt I was struggling with my romantic relationships, I had to think about what was really happening and came all the way to where I am right now.January 27, 2020 at 11:32 am #335334
You wrote that the valid message behind your anger at your mother is that (paraphrased) her words and behavior toward you and others have hurt your quality of life.
Is it possible that the second part of the valid message is that you should remove those same words and behaviors from your life, it being that she is still calling you names etc.?