Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hopeandjoy66, May 27, 2015.

  1. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    It all started about a year ago, while searching for answers about my husband son, Difficult Child. I came upon this website that we all call a tool in our tool box. I was frustrated that my stepson was causing havoc in my life and my marriage. I was pretty sure I was bound and determined to find an answer to this problem. I soon learned that I was not going to find a cure to fix Difficult Child but what I found was a concept of getting our own life, finding ourselves and living life in the moment instead. This whole idea really hadn't occurred to me.
    Shortly after joining this group of people who seemed to genuinely cared and was concerned for each other, a book recommendation had been made. That book sounded like something I might find beneficial. "I will never be good enough, Healing the daughters of narcissistic mothers." It was like this book had been written for me.

    I had never really know what a Narcissist was so I wasn't sure this book would pertain to me or not. It was the word of "never being good enough" that made me gravitate to this book. What this book did was help me to understand I had really taken on the persona of my mother. Her ideas had to be my ideas. Her opinions were mine, because this is what was required of me to survive in the same household as a child. I had become so intertwined with my mom (not in an type of healthy way) that I really did not know who I was .

    The book asked many basic questions that I would ask of other people or know about my friends but really I did not know about myself. I have to tell you that when I could hardly answer any questions about who I was, I was so utterly shocked and it really put me into a tailspin, I was scared.
    For example; What was your favorite colour was one that I could answer .(LOL) What was my decorating style? What was my favorite type of reading. What was your opinion on what should be taught to kids at school? You get the idea. Some were basic and others needed your thoughts and ideas on subjects. More often than not I could tell you what my mothers ideas and opinions were, but what did I really feel/ think/ like. I was truly not sure. How could I not know? Were these thoughts my mothers or mine.

    As I was reading through this book and reading this website, statements like...... find a hobby that you used to like and do it for yourself. Basically, it was saying get your own life and live it to the fullest. (I don't think I am explaining this well at all)

    Finding myself has been one of the hardest things I have had to do so far in my life. I am still not sure of many things, but I am finding things out slowly. I like people that are authentic, there is no falseness to them. That is what I want and my friends to see in me. Authenticity. A year later after these concepts were introduced to me and I still find I am unsure.

    Do I really like purple or is that because my mom really liked purple? Do I like a clean house because that was demanded of us because my mom wanted that. I have started to read deeper into ideas, likes, opinions and wonder where did these things originate. Is this me or is this my mother. I have made leaps and bounds is many aspects of finding Liz. I finally like me. I am good enough, but still unsure that this is really me. The concept of living my life to the fullest, requires me to know me and the lines are foggy.

    I guess what I want to know, does anybody else understand this or been through this or am I alone in this not knowing themselves? This morning I had myself convinced that I am alone in this, but thought I would bring this to all of you. I am no longer participating in a relationship with my mother, but the it is amazing the depths of this entanglement can be. For goodness sakes I am 49 and still struggling to know me.

    This is so like the relationship with our Difficult Child. We live our life within them, a part of them, emotionally and physically. There hardships are our hardships. How did you as mothers/fathers find your authenticity again?

    Thanks for listening. If you don't understand this post. No worries, I am not sure if I do.
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  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I hear you.
    I almost bought that book, but from the description you gave, and others I've read in the past, it doesn't fit my situation. My mom was a narcissist and an alcoholic, and everything had to be her way.
    But that's where the similarity stops.
    We all went out own way--even at home, in regard to foods and clothing--to prove that we were not like her.
    She always lamented the fact that she was so close to her mother, but not one of her five kids was close to her.
    And who caused THAT problem???
    So sad, now that she has passed, but even with all the medications and therapy we have now, my mom would never have taken advantage of any of it.

    In regard to my difficult child, yes, his hardships are my hardships, except, EXCEPT that I am the one doing most of the parenting, for good or bad. My mom's MO was to yell and scream and scare the $*#@& out of us, but in the end, she had no power to "do" anything. My dad, on the other hand, was very organized and fair, in addition to being able to yell and scream and scare the [email protected](%*% out of us. :) She'd say, "Wait until your father gets home."
    The standard line.
    I have called my husband on a few occasions. A couple of times he came home but I learned that for the most part, his work is his life. Anything else can wait. So I'm learning how to navigate the system of teachers and schedules and rules and follow-through. And I could be a lot better at it.
    But I get worn down. My difficult child, simply put, wears me out.
    I used to say, "Give me time to think about it." Mostly now, I just say, "No."
    Our difficult child has spent more time in his room than is "right" or "normal," but then he is not "right" or "normal."
    No going back in time and wishing for a "normal" life for him.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sorry, phone call.

    So, yes, I feel badly for my difficult child, because he suffers from depression (bipolar type) and anxiety, and I know the feelings of isolation and catastrophizing. And I have cut him slack for that. Which has led him to manipulate me.
    But other than that, he is so very different from me, it's like living with an alien.

    I hope that helps. Others will check in, I'm sure.
  4. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member


    I understand what you are saying. My mom was not a narcissist but my dad was..and bipolar...I had NO IDEA WHO I WAS or what I wanted well into my adulthood. My favorite story about that is that I went out with some guy for several years. We moved to LA, where he was from, further unmooring me. We used to go to a deli for lunch, and I would just order what he ordered, some sort of turkey sandwich. After we broke up, I went to a deli and ordered a turkey sandwich, and from somewhere deep in my brain I realized...I don't like turkey sandwiches. At all. And then I thought...well...what do I like? And I had no idea. None. I stood in the deli and cried.

    Years of work. Years. I stumbled across one really good therapist who helped. My SO helped. Self help books helped. Seeing it helped. And I'm better now, but one of my sons is JUST LIKE I WAS. He has no idea who he is, what he wants. He just doesn't want to cause anyone any trouble.

    All of this is to say...yes....I get it.

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  5. Childofmine

    Childofmine one day at a time

    Great post. I was very close to my mother (and am) but my issue was different. My mom was a great mother (I am the oldest of four) and a lot of her time was taken by my sister who was incurably ill her whole life. She died at age 23. I idolized my mother and could not separate from her for a long long time as an adult even though I was strong in many ways and had my own views, preferences, likes and dislikes which are very different from hers. I finally did separate which was healthy for me and she allowed me to (was probably exhausted by me...!!! Go please

    As I have worked hard on myself for the past ten years in my recovery from enabling and thinking I could manage and control other people, places and things, I have, too, become all about authenticity. I do not like drama, self absorption, chaos and victimhood any more. When I experience it in others, I am immediately turned off and repelled by it. I want to run in the other direction. I used to be drawn by it because it gave me something to focus on and "fix" other than myself.

    So...what I am now learning about that is this: those qualities are present in other people (and likely in me at times) and that is just part of a person. What do I do? I work to create and maintain good boundaries with that person, treat them with respect, realize they are not on this earth to please me, and work to accept them and focus on the good in them. Does it bug me? Yes. I work hard to say nothing in response but to be kind and stay engaged and create space for myself so I can breathe.

    I have changed a great deal over the past ten years and today I like myself a lot better. I am at peace inside myself. I can forgive myself when I make mistakes. I don't have to be right all the time like I used to. I can say I'm sorry. I don't beat myself up as much. I can say no kindly. I work hard to focus on myself I a healthy way and just accept what is. I still have a long way to go and I will have to work on this the rest of my life. But I do believe that this is the healthiest way to live and I am very grateful to have had to do this hard work.
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  6. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    How wonderful to be able to say this. And, amazingly, I feel I can say the same about myself. Maybe this is the end product of "taking the cure" for controlling, enabling behavior. This is great.

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  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    I think you did a great job of explaining.

    I was young when I got together with my ex, (Difficult Child bio-father). I thought he hung the moon but that came to an end when I was pregnant. He would make comments about how much weight I had gained and would openly flirt with other women. That was the beginning of him sabotaging my self esteem. The day came when I decided I was going to leave and he told me how I was lucky to have him that no other man would want me. He was very abusive verbally.

    I did leave and for a while I was pretty down in the dumps about myself. I remember going out with some girlfriends for a night of dancing. They had to convince me to go as I didn't think I would have a good time, I mean who would want to dance with me??
    Boy was I wrong. I had so many different guys asking me to dance and some asking me out for a date. I was no where near ready for that but something in me sparked. I realized my ex was wrong. Why had I let him get inside my head the way he did?? From that moment on I vowed to myself that I was going to take control of my life and make something of it.

    It can be very easy to lose "ourselves" but once it has happened and we recognize it there is no turning back.
    The blessing that I find in the way my ex treated me is that I will never allow that to happen again. It made me a much stronger person.

    Hope, I'm so happy that you are reclaiming your life for YOU!!

    Thanks for sharing with us. Good stuff.

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  8. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    I think I have had opinions likes and dislikes at times but they were squelched, mocked or negated, which was very hurtful so you stuffed them back inside so you didn't have to feel the hurt it left you with. That was the easiest thing to do as I was a very obedient child and adult when it came to my mom Over time, I think you stop saying anything only what was not the "acceptable" ideas, thoughts or opinions.
    Quite a few years back I started to recognize these things about her and myself. I started standing up for myself, expressing myself even if it meant disagreeing. She became very nasty. And one day it was like a light bulb went on, "why do I put up with this?" I didn't want the daily phone calls of how I wasn't living my life correctly. (One saving grace was I lived 2000 miles away. ) Although I was getting stronger, at times I weakened . It would became that child mother thing again. I did see this so I tried setting boundaries with her. You can call me at this time on certain days of the week, but she would not heed my requests. When I did talk to her she spewed poison . I asked her not to say these things but she continued.
    After a horrible visit to my home, she returned home I realized I couldn't live with this in my life any longer. It was making me mentally sick. I decided to write her a letter that said we could no longer communicate back in forth any longer as our relationship was making mentally not well. I told her that I loved her and that I wish it could be different. She never once asked if we could work things out. It was her way or no way. That was nearly 5 years ago. I do love her, but I don't like her.
    I guess what I am saying is this.....
    I did recognize that I was a different person than her, but it was only in the last year that I started to ask, but who am I? Echollette, COM, thank you for getting it, all of you have been helpful. I guess this process of learning about ourselves is slow. One good thing about all of this it has helped me recognize some of the characteristics in myself that were not very nice. It still stumps me. How do I move forward with this? It has good to find out I am not totally crazy.

    "I have changed a great deal over the past ten years and today I like myself a lot better. I am at peace inside myself. I can forgive myself when I make mistakes. I don't have to be right all the time like I used to. I can say I'm sorry. I don't beat myself up as much. I can say no kindly. I work hard to focus on myself I a healthy way and just accept what is. I still have a long way to go and I will have to work on this the rest of my life. But I do believe that this is the healthiest way to live and I am very grateful to have had to do this hard work."

    Some of these things I can say about myself also but it's still a work in progress. I picked up a book that was also recommended, "Simple Abundance" again it was about understanding, seeing and knowing your inner self. This is what brought this on this morning. Again, I just wasn't sure. lol

    One other thought..... do you think some of this comes with age? How did I wake up one day and know I wanted to be me?

    Read more:
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  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    OMG. I am shocked by this post as Cedar and I have been posting about our dysfunctional mothers and how they affected us for a long time (Watercooler).

    My mother ruled the roost, did not drive, we never got a break from her and I believe she had many borderline traits. Remember the "Mommie Dearest" no wire hangers scene? Well she wasn't as bad as that, but she woke me up in the middle of the night screaming at me over things I'd thought we'd resolved long before. She was very controlling. I had to wear long hair or she'd mock and belittle me. She was furious when I quit singing lessons (and I quit because I was both going through my first depression and because my voice had changed and wasn't pretty anymore). She did not give a hoot about my grades, which were horrible. She criticized everything about me and every friend or boyfriend whom I really liked. She was a piece of work that still is in my head sometimes. And she's been dead for ten years!

    She set no boundaries for any of us. She did not teach us rules or manners. She screamed like a banshee and mocked and belittled mostly me, as I was her "identified patient." If you believe you were the family scapegoat, and scapegoats know, look up identified patient in your search engine.

    What scared me the most was I was a lot like her so I made dang sure that I got out of the house early and found a mentor in my husband's mother. I did not want to be her. I am not her. NOBODY I ever met is like!!! She had a favorite child and later on in life liked my sister, but I would not conform to her peculiar ideas and melded with my grandmother, her mother. I was my grandma's favorite, which ticked her off to no end. She was never nice to me and disowned me when she passed on.

    At the very beginning of being a mother I feel I was over-identifying with Bart, my only child. But it was giving me grief to do this and hurting him too and I knew this and so I picked up a book called "toxic parents" and that helped me learn to separate fro him AND it told me all about what my parents had been like. My Dad was never home. I can't say I blame him, but I wish he had been home and taken a stand against her. But he was afraid of her mouth too. I get it. I just wish he'd been stronger for us. All three of us were screwed up by our upbringing.

    Like you, I had to find ME. It wasn't so much that I tried to copy HER. Being the "bad guy" I would talk back to her and do my own thing. It was more that none of us were taught who we were or to be proud of what we accomplished, except maybe for her favorite child and he struggles too. I can not speak for my sibs, but I grew up and suddenly...who was I? I knew I was creative and had a good heart (which she always said was not true, but THAT is one thing she couldn't talk me out of. I knew it. It was just too strong). At any rate, except for those two traits, I did not know me. I knew I was a mess and needed help straightening out and I started therapy early. TGFT (Thank God for Therapy!)

    I have a strong sense of self now, but it was a struggle and always is when you have a pesonality disordered parent. Worse, mine seemed to dislike me and pick on me the most.At least it made me want to be NOTHING like her as a parent, and I have not been. God Bless my late mother-in-law for showing me how to parent both young and adult children...or I cringe.

    You can do this. It is always tougher if we had a strong presence as a primary parent combined with controlling and personality-disordered traits, but somehow we manage to triumph and so will you.
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    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So much good, solid information here for me.

    I am just learning about authentic myself, so I cannot comment on how to come aware to ourselves and cherish and believe in ourselves in our hearts, where no one can see. I still tend to see myself in a condemnatory way. I am working hard to get to seeing myself in a neutral way, like a human being with a heart and feelings and opinions that might be wrong, and being okay with that.

    Perfectionism is a multifaceted thing; self hatred or some other unhealthy thing, is at the root of it, but I still have no over-time clarity regarding so much of what I am doing, now.

    Of how I am trying to see, now.

    I liked your post very much. I found your description of how you are seeing now enlightening for me, too.

    So...looks like you did good.


  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, as you know, me too, Cedar. Let's face it. We hear or heard it so much.
    But we are listening to the other people less and less these days, right? :)
  12. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    SWOT. I wish I could say it was only mental abuse, but it was abuse on every level. I spent my younger years scared sh-tless. The day after I graduated I left home never to return to live. My mother had a favorite child also. My twin sister was the scapegoat. Her abuses were extreme but that was because she would speak out like you. I took on the roll of peace keeper. I was pretty darn good at it too. LOL
    My dad was a wonderful loving man, but never home and when he was she made his life hell. He too eventually, left after 42 years of marriage. He met a wonderful women and they lived happy for two years until he died of emphysema. He had a good couple years. In my early twenties I was so angry at my dad for not standing up to her but realized that he was beaten down as much me and my sister. My brothers seem to have had a different up bringing. The boys could do no wrong. Oh they did wrong!!

    Isn't it amazing that all these hardships have brought us to this place. Oh how I have grown threw all of this. It is only through struggles, are we given the opportunity to grow. On some level I am truly blessed for this. This is why, I believe our Difficult Child's have to struggles/consequences so they can learn and hopefully grow. I do believe in tough love and always have. Tough love with love.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    hopeandjoy, I"m sorry for all you've gone through. I feel for your twin too. Like me, she was calling out the family BS and that is NOT allowed.

    Hope, I never was angry at my dad for staying away. He was simply not strong enough to fight her in our behalf. Nor was he interested in doing so. He sort of lived is own life. I did not come to understand him until recently, when I started reading about family scapegoats, and realized that he was a scapegoat too. My sibs blame him for the bad marriage and call him out on his personality quirks, but not E's. (It is bad when you don't even want to call your mother your mother). My dad was mean sometimes, but equally to all of us, but no help was coming from there. In the end, E. really slammed him over a divorce SHE wanted and we all three bought that he was the bad guy...until I thought more about it. I don't think anyone could or would have stayed married to E. Well, they would have to have been very passive, done her bidding, agreed wither opinioins, and, most of all, not been too nice to me.

    The hardships we faced did not bring us here. Our kids did. But it is amazing how many of us have had hard upbringings. And, no, not everybody has crazy parents. That's another thing 2 likes to say. "Everyone has someone."

    Well, there is "someone" and then there is an abuser. Two different animals.

    I think you are doing great!!! Keep reading. There are lots of books out there to validate you :)
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    This is a very big deal in our personal growth. COM writes a lot about this. Recognition is step one. Step two is recognizing triggers, recognizing these behaviors just at the moment that you start to engage in them. I found that learning meditation helped a lot with that. It put sort of a "pause" button between my emotional reaction and engaging in a behavior that has been very helpful. I'm sure there are other ways of seeing too. Learning to minimize those uglier characteristics so that you can like yourself wholly is a wonderful key to good mental health.

    I'll say as an aside that one of the things I have noticed in my 18 months on this forum is that newcomers spend a LOT of time writing about the behaviors of their Difficult Child's..."he did this and I said that and I did this and he said that and why why why" and when they members start to write about their own internal experience, their own goals, their own shortcomings...that is when they start to heal and become whole again. My own observation, perhaps inaccurate.

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  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Where to start Hopeandjoy? I could have paid a psychiatrist $250 an hour and not received the clarity I got from your post.

    I have been dealing with my Mother's death and dying, now almost 3 years on.

    Decisions I made caring for her as she was dying, the fact I distanced myself from her during most of my adult years...let alone the reality of our difficult relationship, have made it hard to go on or to let her go.

    The thing to remember here is this: nothing I did or did not do would have been good enough. Of that, I am clear.

    There was never enough room in my mother's world for the two of us. As you say, it was her world or none. Always.

    The problem was I loved her. Had I not loved her, the stakes would not have been so high. But I did, and I learned how much as she was dying and after she died.

    I could not and cannot still forgive myself for not living every second close to her, which I did not.

    I have lived these past 2 years trying to make this so.

    As if I chose to die with her; I am paying with my life.

    The problem as I see it is this:

    Had I lived close to her, I would never have existed as a person, only an appendage or reflection of her.

    There were no other terms. Hers or none. And it was that that I was unable to accept.

    I lived a full and independent life. On my terms, I had thought. I was wrong. I have lost the quote of yours that says it so beautifully, when you compare the contorted love of our mothers to that of our children. She had been all twisted up inside me. Always. It was that I had not known. Like I do now.

    Upon her death, I accepted belatedly her terms. I surrendered my self almost completely. I began to attack myself as if in her voice.
    I scapegoated myself:
    Since she has died I have surrendered my self almost completely giving up everything that I chose to define me. In a vain attempt to atone for having sought to live a more or less full life, the life I wanted and worked for,

    I gave up. Everything.

    And went to bed.

    I had distanced from my Mom at around age 30. Everything had come to a head.

    Her terms had been clear. Everything for me. Nothing for you.
    To live, my only choice had been to refuse her terms.

    I did not look back, not speaking to her or seeing her for many years. I barely thought of her. Sometimes, when I did, I thought she could well be dead. When I thought this, I felt not one thing.

    I lived, I thought, as I wanted. Until she died. Realizing then,
    So, I am still in bed.

    Only now, approaching 2 years since my Mom's death...
    I did not know what you do:
    After she died I wanted to die with her, believing on some level that I could bring her back, have another chance. For what? To have another chance to give up my life for her?

    But that is what I did. I gave up everything I had built for me, in me...paying that price that she might live that I could give up my life for her...? Again? Now at the tail end of my life, accepting those same impossible terms?

    Even I begin to get it....

    So, we have a plan here, because others have gone before me:
    It is so hard, still, to get it. I lived a life, I thought, of self-determination and authenticity.

    What caught me up, I think, was guilt.

    I have spent my life trying to understand what exactly was my crime? Was my separate existence impossible for her?

    She had wanted to be a mother. Would a male child have been more acceptable? Was that I looked like her? Was it my courage in separating and challenging her? Was I loved too much by my father?

    Or would nothing have satisfied her even partially.

    She always justified her selfishness and absolute need to defend, as does my sister, holding others responsible never themselves.

    Was that my crime, never ceding completely to be scapegoated? Or never ceasing to hold her responsible? Or wanting Mother to accept her responsibility or culpability?

    Are these questions best left to rest? Or not? Or, best answered as I go, as I complete my life? Having, first, gotten up out of bed....

    Now in the tender, merciful and forgiving voice that Cedar has been modeling.

    Cedar confronts these issues NOW so as to protect her children, now grown, from her reenacting the damaged and damaging mothers we carry within us.
    I vote with Cedar. To live consciously, with integrity and kindness. I thought I had done so.

    But omitted the most important piece: Especially towards myself.
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Why would you torture yourself over this, Copa? Most kids leave home and do their own thing. I EXPECT my kids to do so. I'd be worried if they didn't. It's not healthy for a child to do whatever her parent asks of her and to have no mind of her own. You came through for her, although it doesn't sound as if she deserved it, when she could have died alone. What more do you expect of yourself.

    I never visited my mother when she was sick because our relationship so horrible by then. I did not feel guilty about it. I still don't. I let those she was nice to do the caregiving. I almost didn't attend her funeral, but went to comfort those who actually were grieving for her. I did not feel sad. I can not love people who don't love me in a healthy way, Copa. Listen....

    If you had died in her place for her, Copa, it would not have been enough. You deserve to have a life, a good life. You didn't do anything wrong. SHE did. Do not let her destroy you from the grave. YOU are letting her do it. You need to let it go, just as you are bravely letting go of your son so that he can grow. YOU need to grown again and to detach. She is dead now and not such a great mother when she was alive. But YOU are alive. If she loved you at all, she would not want you to be punishing yourself because of her. And if she would have wished that you punish yourself because of her, she never loved you.

    Please, please think of YOU now. Hugs!!!
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  17. SeekingStrength

    SeekingStrength Well-Known Member

    Amazingly helpful to read your posts. I never suspected my mom as being narcissistic (difficult word to spell) until after reading on this forum for a year. Recently, after my only sibling almost died and my mom exhibited all sorts of strange behavior, I read about narcissism online and knew. At 59 years old, i had the answer to the puzzle.

    It's freeing and terrifying. The description totally fits my mom. My brother and I spent hours in the hospital discussing this.

    It has been nice to finally have some "answers". My mom disses my denomination, my political beliefs, the way we raised our kids, you name it. And....I thought that was normal? The game has changed for me. She is 83 yo, so this is all for me. Though, from what I gather, it would be all for me if she was 33.

    It comes down to how I will deal with it. There is challenge and the power.
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  18. hopeandjoy66

    hopeandjoy66 Member

    So much good stuff:
    For me, I do think of my mom, almost daily, but with sadness not guilt anymore as I have come to realize that the mother that should have been can could never be. I would keep on trying to please her. One time I bought a limited print of one of her favorite artists, which I really didn't have that kind of money to waste.I sent it to her for mothers day and what she said when she received it was, "how am I suppose to hang this, it isn't framed." Nothing would ever good enough. My eyes were opened.
    One therapist said to me once, would you go to a coke machine and expect pepsi to come out? Why would I keep trying the coke machine over and over, with the same results.
    I have taken my power back. The time that I was living with guilt was time that she still had power, her control, over me. All that time spent feeling guilty is time I would never get back. Wasted time. Time is precious Copa, don't spend another minute wasting your precious time in that mental place. The guilt comes from her power. I still have twinges of guilt once in a while, but then I say to myself, don't waste time. Not only is it waste precious time, it is also time when the joy in your life is taken away.

    Tanya you are so right, it was a light bulb moment, I would never allow darkness to come upon me again, because I could finally see it for what it was.

    The triggers, yes this is hard, but this is where my husband has been able to see through some of my ugliness and recognize it for what it is.... the past. (Although, he doesn't seem to understand the concept of finding my true self. I can't blame him as this is something that I am having a hard time understanding). After we talk through these ugly times I have now been able to see some of the triggers as well. Recognizing them. Recognizing them that they are of my past and I have had victory over my past, so these things are no longer needed. Still very very hard.

    Yes, I think this is so true. Once I could put a label on my mother, somehow that freed me. It was another confirmation that it wasn't me, she was incapable of truly loving us entirely. Knowing this had given me a jumping off point to forgiveness which was also freeing myself of her bondage. Just like our Difficult Child's, sometimes we love them but don't like what they do or did, there should be no guilt in that.
    Now I must free myself of the need to spew this story. Once in awhile, it is like a volcano exploding. This need to tell people of this story. Have I truly forgiven or is it a way of me recognizing my own growth, where I was and this is where I am now.Or perhaps a need to be the victim and gain some sort of sick sympathy. Maybe both. Our lives are a work in progress. (Thank you for whomever said that.)
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm starting to wonder if Narcissistic is the new (and soon to be replaced) buzzword for a selfish, mean person.

    The only thing I'm sure of is that we all have VALID memories of abuse, even if some family members try to tell us we are lying (don't fall for that). Not all siblings experience abuse from the mean, selfish mother and usually mean, selfish mother makes sure her abuse, especially verbal, is done to you where nobody can hear it but the two of you so she can gaslight the others.

    Hold your head up high. None of us deserved that nor do our own kids. We started out being kids, rejected by our own mothers. That caused us problems in life. Some of us are getting help. Some of us denied it (guilty here) for a long time. But we can't forever.

    Many of us did NOT treat our adult children like we were treated.

    And when our own family went wrong, if it did?

    Heredity is beginning to be shown to have a part in DNA temperament.

    Unless we repeated the abuse cycle, and I doubt we did, there is no fault here. We can not control the genes tossed at our children. If we adopted, they ahve DNA thrown at them too.

    We are survivors. We can do this life. We can do it with gusto.

    People live long lives these days. Even us seniors have a long time to enjoy our golden years. LET'S DO IT and let go the guilt that should be on those who will never admit they should feel it. Do you know that you can get Post Traumatic Stress Disorder fro constant verbal abuse. I know it because I have it.

    Hugs to all.
  20. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a poignant and provocative post hopeandjoy66, thank you for your candor and your willingness to be vulnerable, open and "authentic."

    I believe becoming authentic is a major part of our job to grow awareness and consciousness and to be able to find ourselves in the midst of what others demand of us and what we've learned to demand of ourselves from our family of origin, from our culture, from our gender roles, our education and our self judgments and expectations, real or imagined. For me, it has been the most powerful part of learning to be whole, complete, healthy, awake, balanced and 'real.' It has been a journey of taking off masks I didn't know I was wearing, of taking risks to be vulnerable and real, of telling the truth and of showing up and taking a stand for who I am and what I want.

    I am a product of mentally ill parents and I gave birth to a child who inherited similar qualities....finding out who I am as I picked through the remnants of their lives has been an expedition in learning what authenticity is rather than a "false persona," the inauthentic self designed to keep conflict at bay, to find a workable persona of a "good" person because my real persona was buried underneath layers of shoulds, fear, expectations, judgments and a lack of support in finding the true me........those around me had more of an investment in getting their needs met rather than supporting a child in finding her true self.

    I believe this to be true as well. I spent a good amount of time looking at the lives of my parents and then my daughter, but it wasn't until I began looking at myself and my own internal landscape... and became willing to change and heal, to own the harm my ignorance and inauthenticity caused, and to learn to forgive myself, accept myself and honor myself.......that life in every single way began to shift in positive ways. Rooting out the dark places within, recognizing that my "roles" as daughter and parent were "stories" I had perfected over the years........a script of sorts where I played out my part......the "good mother," the "dutiful daughter", the "all giving character" who made no demands, whose power was limited to what I could do for others. My real SELF was struggling to survive without any support......even from me.

    I sought help and a tribe of people showed up to assist me to birth my real self. It was an arduous journey letting go of who I thought I bring forth who I am. It helps tremendously to find a "midwife" to strengthen that newly forming self. The false self is cunning and holds on tightly to it's roles, it is rigid and concretized, ........the real self is messy, vulnerable, open hearted, not so together........yet that openness and vulnerability opens the doors to let in the light, the laughter, the love, the playfulness, the colors, the richness, the beauty...........the realness...........

    The experience with my daughter is what made the final "break" in my false self.......the struggle to hold on was just too great. That wonderful quote by Anais Nin really says it all....
    "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

    My belief is it is fear which hold us "tight in a bud" and fear is rampant in the world today. We are not alone in trying to find our authentic selves........and oddly, because of many of our backgrounds and our troubled kids, we may be "learning to blossom" more readily because we are seeking help and earnestly looking for ways to end the suffering within ourselves....... as opposed to waiting for our parents or our kids to change, we are changing.........we're learning to let go of so much, our family of origin in some cases, our kids, our own false persona, our old ways of perceiving life, our control, our judgements........and it's so hard to do.......however, all of that letting go creates an empty space where new life can flourish........where our real selves can grow and see the world with new eyes, eyes not shrouded by fear but clearly seeing the uncertainty, the messiness, the pain and the joy .......and still remain true to ourselves in each and every moment.
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