Being who we are, even if FOO is different and doesn't like it

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by SomewhereOutThere, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A post today made me think about this.
    How many of us tried to change for FOO?
    I did, but wasn't good at being someone else so got scapegoated anyway.
    by the way, I am so grateful now that I am NOT like any of them.When did you become comfortable in your own skin?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Haven't gotten there yet
    • Like Like x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
    • List
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I tried to change for my FOO as a small child when I put my light in a basket, deferred my own needs, suppressed my rage, etc.

    As a teen and an adult, I changed not at all. I have spent my life trying to recover the strengths I had moved away from as a child in order to be protected and loved.
  4. I've always marched to my own drummer and still do. It's just not in me to try and be someone different to please someone else. Maybe Im just too selfish. I don't know.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  5. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    As I have come through this and realized how twisted and wrong everything was, what I believe is that each of the children was scooped out in a way, and reformed in the image of the thing my mother needed to see reflected back to her. I always sound so awful when I post about my mom. In many ways, she was a loving mother.

    I think that I think about it in this way: I am still who I always was. That is the genetic piece, I suppose. But for me, the question is one of having been hurt often enough, or betrayed often enough, into sifting every experience and every response through a filter comprised of a set of beliefs having something to do with a feeling from my mother of contempt, or of intense hate, and with rage, and self-centeredness and the will to power. A will to dominate, and a kind of blindness. No concept that the living child was not a doll, and should not be thrown to the floor or kicked or made to cry. I post again and again about my mother (maybe) having reflected to her children negative, and not the positive, grandiosity most mothers reflect to their newborns and to their children throughout their lives.

    It has to do with a story someone told me once about a mother who told her child she stiffened up when she held her, so she propped her bottle and didn't hold her. It has to do with the way that same mother behaved when the daughter had her first child. It has to do with the way Copa describes her mother condemning Copa's son because Copa fell while running after him. It has something to do with celebration of female rites when a daughter gives birth, or adopts a child and is raising him and the celebration and warmth and support just isn't there.

    My mother did not, was not able to, celebrate those rites with me, either.

    In her defense, I will readily admit that I was never comfortable with my mother, even as an adult. It may be that I am not easy to be close to. I do not trust. There is a barrier, especially where my mother is concerned, and that is all there is to it. It isn't that I don't love her. I do actually, very much. I have learned never to trust her. What a rotten thing to say, I know.

    But that is the feel of it.

    It has to do with how a child would have been raised, by a mother who felt in such a way that her children are uncomfortable with her to that degree, as adults. Maybe, our mothers were poorly mothered, themselves. I think it is more than that, though. I was loved, but I was hurt and objectified, too. The other wounds, the wounds surrounding the births of my children, those happened from one adult woman to another. That sacred space that should exist between the mother...I don't know. Between the mother, truly celebrating what it is to hold and cherish and raise your baby and the promise in all of it, and her daughter as she prepares to give birth and become a mother, herself ~ for me, that was empty. It was D H mom who taught me to hold and celebrate my babies, and who celebrated those mother to daughter rites with me. The grieving that seems so normal in healthy families was all twisted in the most incredible ways in my family of origin, when my father died. My mother's glee at being the only one left to tell the story, once the last cousin had died...does this stuff even happen anywhere else?!?

    That breakage, that place, that emptiness that displays itself so blatantly once we are adults and continues to color our relationships to our mothers for all of our lives, that is what the difference was, between our mothers and healthy mothers, I think. It is as though they had nothing to pattern on, nothing to give us.

    So, the answer would be that the interests we might all have pursued had our families of origin been healthier have been devoted instead to trying to make sense of why no one seems to honestly love us. I think this is true for all the sibs. We are like interchangeable pieces, in a way. Bargaining chips almost, in a game of the mother's devising that we just don't get the rules for.

    Each of us is forever off balance.

    The mother, from what I've read online, seems determined to prevent the sibs ever coming together, fomenting jealousy where and as she can even after the children are adults.

    On Monday, I read this during my zipping around trying to learn more about what actually did happen to us: Our neural networks will have been developed to focus on survival. Hypervigilence, an empathy so intense it's spooky rather than an awareness of our own feelings, a belief that we don't think or talk or reason well, a perfect inability to trust.

    Limiting beliefs regarding our current abilities and potential.

    That is the killing thing.

    Think how harmfilled a thing it is not to be able to believe we can and not to be able to believe we are entitled to try with our whole hearts.

    Think what these mindsets will have meant in our lives.

    There are children raised to believe: "Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave."

    We were raised not to try for ourselves; not to take ourselves or our activities or our hopes seriously. The serious thing in our lives then, as now, was Mother. (Or, whoever our abuser was.) Our sibs picked up on that, of course but so did we, each of us believing the worst about ourselves and each other at the Mother's behest.

    To this, I would add a tendency to denigrate past accomplishments. I am forever surprised at how well I have done something. That is a mother-engendered belief system.

    That is what I see in my family of origin today, those dirty rotten shunners.

    Oh, wait.

    I meant pass the salt.


  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Im the one whose mother didnt hold me because I stiffened in her arms. It was too much work and ,although I was an infant only, I believe she took it personally.
    I never felt unconditionally loved by a very selfish mother either, cedar. I feel yvour hurt. My mother had a bad childhood as her mother blatantly favored.her brother. But is that an excuse? We didnt repeat what our mothers did. It hurt my mother to be second best yet she did repeat it with her kids. There is no excuse for cruelty to a child.
    Many times her smirk let me know id never measure up.
    She never did resolve her issue with her own mother. Im glad I get was her, not me. Maybe in the afterlife, she finally gets the wrong of it.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    We are moving at warp speed again, now that you are back.


  8. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That smirk must be what I call contempt. That feeling of rolling contempt, like it isn't a still thing, but something impossible to stand before.

    It was definitely the mother, Serenity. We were the babies.

    I actually love babies.

    They have the most amazing eyes.

    I have been posting this all over lately it seems: They say we arrive trailing clouds of glory. Isn't that a beautiful way to see all of us. Animals and humans and all of us.

    We were babies or little girls, people without words yet, when they hurt us most deeply, Serenity. I think this is true. I think it's the wordless stuff that we are afraid to acknowledge because we can't figure out what it is.

    But they had no right to do that to us, Serenity.

    Which doesn't mean they didn't do it, because we were little and there was no one to stop them and so, we were hurt. Now, we are not little. In fact, we are strong and quite amazing.

    So, we never have to believe anything they told us, ever again.

    The catch is we have to see what they did to us and accept the stink of it before we can put it away.


    And that makes us feel weak; very weak.

    So we will just work at our own speed, then.


  9. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi All,

    M's sister is coming in a few minutes but I want to comment quickly and try and return later.
    I think this happens with most children. Where each of us is molded to reflect as best as can what is valued in her family and time and place. Childhood has a kind of brutality.
    This is so.
    Yes. Those are the hardest to bear, when one's mother decides to go to war with a daughter who may look almost exactly like her, with her voice, who loved her with all of her heart.

    This is what turned something impossibly in me, when I saw this with such a clarity that I could not turn away.

    My grieving for my mother is made sweeter because when I speak to others outside of my home, I guess this is a voice that I use when in a certain role, I hear my mother. When I lose my weight, I may cut my hair and then when I look in the mirror, I will see my mother, too.
    Cedar, I had thought we had never met before. You know me so well, we must have--at some time and place so magical that I must store it away protected from all that might degrade it.

  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That's so beautiful, Copa.

    I love it.

  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This is the hard part, Copa. I know women older than us who will NEVER get over it. But the fault is never a babies or a childs. I understand that now.
    Some of us have living DNA that reminds us of our parents. Our only sane choice is to turn away.
    When my sister expected me to thank her for sending me flowers when I was just over brain surgery in ICU (how silly of her), the truth is, I would not have never thanked her anyway, even if I had been fully able. I know her in a way none of you do. My father sent flowers and added her name to it. She never tried to contact me, just my distraught daughter who was in icu with me. I have cut her out of my life for her cruelty and sending flowers thru my father doesn't fix it.She has been so mean to me that I would not have contacted her to thank her. And trust me I haven't heard from her since. Not that this was her. It was my father.
    I will never contact her again.
    Neither will any of my kids. Each one is aware of how mean she is to me and how little we all mean to her and that won't change. It was her doing and all my kids saw and heard.
    That may not be the best way to deal with living DNA that reminds us of our abusive mothers, but it is the onlly solution for me since she will never talk about it, admit she did anything wrong, or admit she has is not the good guy. Which is why I think she sent an update here, although I still think it's weird. If anyone I knew were badly injured, I would never have thought to contact her support board..I'd be too upset. She wasn't.
    I deal with her by not dealing with her.
    Sometimes we have to make unpleasant choices.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • List
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This was me and my mom. I still look just like her. I hate it.
  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I had been unable to organize my house, made a near impossible task with my mother's things and all that I had bought to divert myself from my grief about her death and the memories of my life before, what I had had and not.
    I would begin, work 2 minutes and be unable to sustain it. If working with M, I could not bear his impatience and orders. So not a thing got done.

    With M's sister gone to Washington, again, nothing got done. I could not more than attempt one time to work, and stop.

    We are working together nearly all day, and progressing, M's sister and I.

    I find it interesting that it is the work of a household, around which I grew, my grandmother and mother working around me, which I find so impossibly stressful.

    I am grateful to M's sister. She is encouraging, good-natured and reassuring. Flexible and non-judgmental; she is unflappable, patient and persevering.
    Which I am doing now. As I do so I review the long time of my grief and isolation, how I coped by buying this and that, anticipating my future, which I now fear putting into place.
    Yes. Written this way I see how my profession helped to reconstruct essential parts of me. The need to attend others was natural to me. But unbeknownst to me, the concentration and open heart with which I did so put into practice an incipient knowing and care for myself, as well.
    Except for a brief period, I was an indifferent and largely half-hearted worker until I went back to graduate school. With this my attitude and value put into my work became driven and heartfelt. I brought this to my profession and never wavered in this. My sense of myself became one of self-respect.

    Had I not established this basis of self-regard, integrity and self-confidence I could not have had either the intentionality or the courage or the purity of heart to do this FOO work.

    Thank you very much.

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Cedar, when your mother would say, "don't think, Cedar" I think she was envious.

    Because of something that was all about her, and not you, she put you down by use of her tone of voice, how she looked, and punishing tone.

    For you to think powerfully as you must have done as soon as you were walking and talking...was too much for her. She on purpose tried to make you think you were too big for your feel foolish and beyond your capacities. And she succeeded, for a time.

    Which was exactly the opposite of what she felt. Because she felt you to be a threat.

    Cedar, she felt threatened. There is no other explanation. You were too powerful for her to tolerate. So she cut you down to size. Smaller than her.

    Had you not been too smart, she would of, could have tolerated it.

    You must have been wordsmithing, weaving beautifully filagreed sentences at 3 or 4 or 5 years old, as you do now for us, almost 60 years later. She could not stand your sterling brilliance or eloquence or creativity.

    Though loved by you, a hateful woman to silence you by shaming.

    To serve herself. The worst parts of her. Envy of her own child who she needed to make small, to be herself, bigger. Than her beautiful baby girl.

    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  15. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    I am thinking and thinking and thinking about this.

    I for the life of me, cannot figure out why my whole family was under the spell of my sister.

    Were they really, or is that my perception of it?
    But, it seems so.

    This is my song for her at this point

    As a child,
    growing up
    under her shadow,
    I was half a person.
    And still,
    I feel guilty
    and ashamed
    for writing this.

    She slowly, insidiously,
    killed me.
    To the point where
    I did not want to be home anymore.
    She was the beautiful one,
    the popular one,
    and I
    too sensitive,
    too strange.

    It was not my parents doing,
    but they did not stop it.
    Could they have stopped it?
    Was she so clever that they did not see?
    Am I imagining all of this?

    Were all siblings this way?
    All I ever wanted, was to be her friend.

    We became "friends" later on in life.
    Then I realized,
    as long as things went her way,
    it would go smoothly.

    The minute I had a different opinion
    or showed my true feelings
    my true self
    it went wrong.

    It is so strange, I still love her.
    Still hold a place in my heart for her.

    I know better now, then to open up to her.
    I am becoming whole
    but she will only get half,
    because I cannot trust her
    with all of me.

  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, that is a beautiful song and heartfelt testimony to your hurt in relation to your sister.

    I feel this way about my sister, who is younger. I left too. I ceded the field to her.

    My mother right before she died said this: When you were still a girl you told me she was like this but I never believed you. What makes her like this, Copa?

    And then she smiled ruefully, and I smiled back ruefully.

    Where it comes from, I do not know. This will to win.

    At root the sense of not enough. Or not being enough. Which fuels:
    A sense of entitlement.
    Rage for some offense or slight, and the desire for vengeance and need for recompense.
    Intrinsic aggression.
    Strong need for control, to dominate.
    Greed or voraciousness.
    The lack of insight/Limited self-observation.
    Pretense and pretentious. Shallowness.
    Manipulation. Plotting.
    Hoarding for oneself. Materialism.
    On the face of it, self-congratulation.
    Lack of a sophisticated moral sense.
    The sense that she has been victimized by others which justifies retaliation. Unwillingness or inability to see her part.

    I do not know. It seems that more than a few of us have such a sibling. Does your sister have more than a few of these characteristics?

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015
  17. New Leaf

    New Leaf Well-Known Member

    Thank you Copa, I do not know of others experience in depth with this.
    I know of sibling rivalry, but it seems this was taken to another level.
    So, it is good to get it out here.
    My brother and sister have been very upset with her and her actions with my late fathers illness. She was very insistent he move to an inner city hospital, which caused my mother and brother to travel a long distance to visit. She asserts this saved my father, my brother does not think so.
    It is her dominating and insistence that things go her way that is her undoing. She seems to have a different perception of things, feels that she is right in this, I mean RIGHT. She has a strong sense of self, and seeming empathy, but put to the test, when things do not go as she would like them, is quickly angered and overpowering.
    Yes, I have witnessed this with her.
    A sense of entitlement.
    Rage for some offense or slight
    Strong need for control, to dominate

    My little sister says her hubs said he has never met a more selfish person.

    Yet, she can be likable. She has endearing qualities, and strikes up easy conversations. She can be fun to be with.

    This is what makes it all so difficult.

    So I will not completely cut her off.
    I will be way more cautious of my conversations, and my heart.
    That is certain.

  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am trying to figure it out too.

    I do not think it is in the main about them. I think it is about how the rest of the children respond to the sister or brother.

    Had I been willing to play ball with my mother and step-father I could have played the part, too. What we overlook sometimes, is the steep, steep price they pay for the influence they gain.

    Parentification is what they call what happened to us, Cedar.

    Whereby there is a role reversal between parent and child and the child is called upon to parent her parent...fulfilling emotional needs, as a way to survive.

    I found an article that talks about it in relation to sibling rivalry.

    Interestingly, I found it by googling Cinderella and sibling rivalry.

    Katarzyna Schier Krakow

    The consequences of the neglect of children’s developmental needs. The relationship of the siblings.

    I was looking to better understand how and why our sisters became the way they were but did not find much in the article to help me out.

  19. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am going to turn the computer off New Leaf. I am tired.

    You are working hard and learning a great deal, I think. We all are. Good for us.
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    New Leaf, do you understand why your mother and brother and sister capitulated to her in the care decisions for your father?

    Is it because she is so persistent and dominant about it, and people fold?

    Or does she actually do things to get her way, that may be secretive or underhanded?

    In the case of my sister with my mother, my sister actually acted unilaterally and improperly when she had no legal right to do so, and intervened in a way that was unwarranted, wrong and cruel. To my mother and to me.

    But it was a wake up call to me. And to my mother. It gave us the window to take protective steps.

    I felt compelled to support my mother to arrange her affairs legally to protect herself (and me).

    My sister will never forgive us. She does not see she did anything wrong. But has never in her whole life felt she did.