Did I give birth to an unicorn? Or three easy steps to become a guru

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by SuZir, Aug 11, 2015.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure if I should laugh, cry, be furious or find a hole in the ground and hide in shame.

    Short version, one I have given to couple of my best friends, goes like this: "My dad."

    Now, because you have not heard that much about him before, I will give you a long version.

    I was checking a private Fb group for our extended family and noticed some babble about unicorns and crystals from y kids' cousins aimed to them (you never guess how much naughty innuendo teenage brains can come up in topic of unicorns...) Luckily kids are smart enough to keep it private and not leak it to my kids' profiles and outside family friends. Then one of my SILs had asked hubby if we had read last week's junk mail so I did some searching and found a pamphlet about coming New Age fair and there it was, a story about my dad and him finding the new life and truth.

    Has to do with his new lady friend who seems to have been some kind of New Age healer for longer time. I had known that my dad had lately taken part to new Age stuff and was a speaker in some earlier happening too, but now he was telling how he has been enlighten during the last year.

    And yes, while he credits 'his friend' (the lady he is dating, but in the story he let's it be assumed it is platonic) apparently he really learnt the secrets of Unicorns, Atlantis and what not from his grandchild, who is this enlighten soul and reborn whatever and guided him to the source of truth. He even has the gall to make a dig on me. How he is surprised how his most mundane daughter can give the birth to someone so bright and extraordinary.

    Apparently I also have severe amnesia because I can't recall giving birth to this unearthly figure. And neither of those I do recall giving birth to admits feeling especially enlighten nor do they remember meeting any unicorns lately. Joy is mightily embarrassed and angry and Ache finds it hilarious and is laughing his butt off.

    My dad is intense and very charismatic and I can easily see him being a short term success in this before he bores out. However I'm worried about his motives. I'm sure he is in it for money and while I do find it very shady and immoral to cash on other people's gullibility, but of course placebo can be a good medicine to many things and I'm sure dad can be a very effective faith healer. And I also believe, or at least very much hope, that he is smart enough to advice that people who have any serious symptoms also seek out the proper care. And well, someone will do it anyway and lots , if not most, of medical issues do get better over time and if someone wants to pay for my dad to entertain them during the wait, I guess it is their money to spend.

    But I also do fear this is some art project to my dad and he will end up later publicly embarrassing embarrassing those people who will seek his help. I also do not know if he is conning his lady friend or if she is in the con.

    But I do hate knowing that I'm an only one worrying for those people he cons. For him they do not matter. He does consider it a crime not to take advantage of other people's gullibility.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Well, that is just incredible. Are you able to take it with a grain of salt? For all any of us knows, he may be helping people, as you suggested. It doesn't sound like he is hurting anyone, at least.

    Oh, for heaven's sake.

    People are just incredible in the way we think! So, you have no daughter then, who has been his teacher that you know of, right. How strange that you get to be labeled with feet of clay as part of his "awakening".

    And that he is sort of borrowing your spiritual capacity to create life to do it. Why involve you at all?


    Did you suspect he was into any of this?

    Do you feel he is harming your children with his belief system? And yes, those unicorns can be made to represent everything and anything and what a snore that would be, coming from one's own father.

    We have a neighbor ~ the nicest man in the world ~ who lost his wife a few years back. He has a girlfriend now and has become almost unrecognizable in the intensity of his pursuit of her, and of himself as a roue. There are so many older women and older men out there throwing caution to the winds at last and living their lives as they have always secretly wanted to.

    It's an extraordinary thing.

    Both have convertible sports cars the drive with the tops down all the time, throwing cautions re: skin cancer to the winds.

    Almost like seeing a child looking out of eyes surrounded by fat pads and (sunburnt) wrinkles.

    I suppose this is harmless and I am glad your father is able to experience it. As for those he charges money for healing and so on, there is an enormous amount of money to be made in those ways.

    What an interesting man he must be.

    Is it one of those times where, if you don't agree wholeheartedly, you are looked down on? I mean, the more I think of it, the more really distasteful all of this could be.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Suzir, little in life surprises me. Your post? I am flummoxed by. I am only left with questions.

    The Unicorn stuff, has passed me by. Who knew?

    The motive of your father, to in passing, put you down as mundane.

    Implicating one of your children, his grandchild.

    I am with Cedar and you in all of this, scratching my head, while viscerally reacting to something...strange and negative. A bad energy.

    A wondering just what he is up to.

    The only think you are left to do is what you are doing. Put your kids on alert, and you be too.

    There does seem something sordid here. But what can you do? Not one thing, without involving yourself, and why go there?

    Why does living it up in one's golden years have to go places that may be hurtful or degrading? I do not know. I think I would rather crochet.

    I am sorry, Suzir. Although this does not sound serious (yet) you deserve better.

    How is the progress on important things, i.e., the dog?
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    First of, he is diagnosed with Borderline (BPD) and that explains some of h8is behaviour patterns. His way of relating other people is, well, disturbed, in lack of better description.

    For him other people, people he does not have emotional connection with, are indifferent. And that is what worries me on this. This may well be an art project for him. Or genuine curiosity over human behaviour. An experiment on how far and how quick he can go. And when he will rip it all down, he will not have any concern over what it does for people he has experimented with. He may even shame them in public just for laughs and see nothing wrong in that.

    I also do not know what is a role of a lady friend. If he is doing this to please her or if he is playing her. Or something between?

    He has never told me anything about this awakening, and to my knowledge he is still as much an atheist as he ever was.There was this meeting he was a speaker before, but I noticed it from the local paper. He never mentioned it to me. And while he has introduced his lady friend to me, neither told me what she did for living. And I assume that my dad may have well warned her beforehand to tell me anything because I'm a bore and a sceptic. Would be very much like him. He actually do not want to disappoint me so he doesn't like to tell me things he knows or imagines I do not approve.

    You see, our parent-child relationship has been reversed at least 30 years. The dynamic used to be that he was this mischievous boy and my job was to tut and shake my head and scold him and then forgive him. After our long period of no contact I have tried to change the dynamic somewhat from my end, but to me it seems he is not ready to give up his end of it. Still for example now I have not said anything to him about the whole endeavour. And as long as he doesn't tell me about it, I can pretend I do not know.

    As for mixing my kids into it, it seems that having a grandchild who would be this enlighten soul would give him some credence. Show some sort of inherited sensitivity or empath powers that mere mortals do not possess. And if his grandchild is enlighten one, it speaks also of him. And apparently even he couldn't come up with a reality where I would be enlighten :D And he does not have other children than me.

    Only very few people I know know he is my dad, I doubt my sons have ever mentioned him to many of their friends. So outside family very few would connect my kids to my dad, so I do not see much harm coming to them. well, if my dad doesn't babble about it, but I do doubt it, because he knows how angry that would make me. Only if I turn totally black in his eyes, he would dare that, because he knows I would not forgive that one though I have forgiven him much.

    And even if he would babble, well, having 'a crazy grandfather' would not hurt my kids, especially when said grandfather is also recognised artist and behavioural standards for artists are much looser in our society than for most people. So instead of 'crazy grandfather' he would be 'an eccentric artist grandfather.'

    But I agree with you, this have every chance to turn very distasteful.
  5. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    There is this lovely Rhodesian Ridgeback dame the breeder plans to mate from next heat. I have found myself neglecting finding out about upcoming field trial lab litters...

    Final version of my thesis has deadline in couple weeks and surprisingly that is in the good place. And a bit from that deadline is a deadline I made for making my mind. I guess my heart is made, but my brains still argue.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    After having few days to breath and calm down, I'm starting to have some new perspective. Maybe.

    First: Why a dig on me? Despite feelings of contrary, I have to admit that it may have absolutely nothing to do with me. It may well be, that my dad just thought it made the story better. To have better dramatic curve and sense of wonder. And if that would be so, for my dad it would be a no issue and he wouldn't understand at all, that I could get upset over it.

    As I said, he has peculiar way to relate to other people. If he didn't mean something to be offensive, he thinks no one should take offence. If for example calling me mundane makes a story better in his mind, only objection he would take from me, would be about if it made story better or not. Only valid argument to object calling me mundane would be a reasoning how calling me something else (or not mentioning me at all) would make a better story.

    It is not how I think or how I think most people think, but it is how he relates to world and other people. I have soon known him 45 years, I should be used to it by now.

    Second: I started to wonder why I'm so sure he would not cross my boundary over intentionally hurting my boys. That is quite a strong gut feeling I had difficult time placing to any known facts - till I looked to my wall. There was all the reasoning for that one. In his art. First of, I'm his constant. No arguing with that. Even over our long periods of no contact I was still present in most of his works. Haven't asked, but it may be all of them, because while in some I'm presented as rather clear motive, in some I'm there in the ways outsiders would not notice. It can well be, that in the rest I'm there in the way I don't spot myself, but that still has a meaning for my dad. I may be painted white or black but I'm not indifferent to him.

    And then there is this one work he gave to me when Joy was a baby and before he ditched me for a long time. Wolf with her cubs. Not cutesy, romanticised wolf, but feral, fierce predator ready to fight till death for her cubs. He gets it and knows what will happen, if he hurts my young.

    Third: He probably can't even imagine I would know or care. It was junk mail on topic he knows doesn't interest me. I have had no reason to read it. And that I found out about it because someone told me about it makes it a gossip. And because gossiping is bad, everything found out through it is inadmissible and I shouldn't take it account. So because I would not have found out about this, if someone wouldn't had pointed it out for me, I have no right to be upset about it. Sounds reasonable, eh?

    I also have to say that I have currently quite a good reason to stay in good terms with him. I'm expecting rather spectacular birthday and Christmas presents from him and I want to get those. I did pay Joy to model for him with the deal I would get some sketches and I did and I love them. And he even gave me sketches of Ache too. But I have also seen the painting he did of Joy, and there is one of Ache too, that he let me understood he would gift to me, when they are ready. They almost are but he likes to keep his work sometime to settle before he makes final changes if he feels so. Both those works are spectacular and I really want them. Very different take of them than how I see them, especially Joy. One of Joy is young Adonis theme, Joy is a good looking kid and that one really shows a side of him that mother's eye do not catch. Very sensual and makes me almost blush, viewers eye certainly isn't mother's eye in that one, but I'm sure Joy will love it himself. One of Ache is something I too see glimpses, but still certainly foreign to me. It's extremely fierce painting of a man, which dad is calling modern gladiator themed.

    So I guess I have lots of incentive to stay mum. Especially when confronting him would likely not do any good.
  7. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It doesn't really feel like a dig so much as a disregarding. It's as though you've been used for the wonder of your existence and discounted at the same time. I think that is where the sense of distaste in it is, for me. Have you read Gone Girl? It's a little like the way her parents created an imaginary person from the real person who was their daughter. The imaginary daughter met the needs of the parents in a way the real daughter did not.

    It has that feel to it, for me.


    It does more than make the story better. There would be no story without the granddaughter no one can prove doesn't exist not even you.

    And yet, the child would have come through you.

    I would find it distasteful and disrespectful and would be uncomfortable with it, too. It would be a beautiful story if he had claimed to have been blessed with the presence of whatever spirit he wanted...there is something distasteful in his having chosen a granddaughter.


    I would be furious.

    I would not mind about the story or the money or the girlfriend. But to create the story he has created is a wrongness. I don't want to say any more than that.

    Your father is very wrong, to do as he is doing. It's a theft; something very hurtful to you.

    And there is nothing you can do about it. I mean, you could, as the Mother of the spirit he claims communion with, denounce the father's contention. No telling what he would do with that.

    I would be uncomfortable with this, too.

    That was the distasteful, disrespectful thing we could not put our fingers on.

    He has no right.

    This is your father. He should not be calling you mundane. I'm sorry to say so SuZir, but for your father to cover what is undeniably a pattern of verbally abusive behavior by calling it fiction is cowardice.

    I am sorry your own father is doing that to you. How awful for you.

    I have known my mom and my sister for 63 years now. Well, my sister a little less ~ only 61 years. :O) And it is only recently that I have come to know them through their actions and not through whatever filters I had erected around them to maintain my belief in loving family.

    I just couldn't believe they don't love me.

    But their actions would indicate that they don't.

    I still get a little fuzzy around the edges on that concept. The difference for me, and maybe, for each of us, is that I no longer feel bereft when I know I am not loved by my people in the way all of us should be loved and strengthened and upheld and not used.

    What the? Our parents do the strangest, most seemingly purposeless, utterly unpredictable things.

    I am flummoxed, too.

    I just didn't know why, before.

    That he would paint it is indicative of a thought pattern. That he painted it before he ditched you ~ which should never have happened to you; you deserve, every woman deserves, better fathering than to be treated that way ~ when I put those pieces together and add in the spirit of your unborn daughter...it seems criminal. As though he refuses to grant you the legitimacy of your own life.

    To think of him fastening onto you that way is making me sick.

    What a wicked little weasel.

    Of course you have the right to be upset about it. I am deeply bothered by what your own father is doing, by the theme and the practice of the thing, by the lack of essential decency in it.

    I would not know how to see it, either.

    I would feel violated and without power. It would be difficult for me, so difficult, to know I had been seen in this way by my father.

    Fathers and how they see us...it matters, deep down in the psyche, in a way almost impossible to differentiate or unravel, it matters how our fathers see us.

    I feel badly that this is happening to you. On the other hand, it has made you fiercely strong.

    Well, that's the thing. What is there to say. Simply to explore it, to sort of sound the depths and echoes of it here is a good thing, I think. What we need to know when we are interacting with our dark side parents or sibs is where we are ~ we need to know the lay of the land. It helped me to remember that abusers abuse because they abuse.

    There is no other reason.

    They think differently than we do.

    I do not see the ~ it's like my mother or my sister want to make me...kickable. A kickable person, a person who, in the quiet of one on one interaction, is a kickable person. It doesn't have to do with what anyone else sees. It has only to do with my mother, and with me. Even my sister is an extraneous player until she is not. The person whose position in the hierarchy does not change is my mother.

    And for the longest time, I could not see that.

    That is the feeling I mean, when I say they seem determined to hate me, and to focus their own lives around me at the same time.

    Just as you suggest your father has done, in his art.

    I have the sense of that same watched feeling, that same
    almost-threat feeling from your father that I have from my mom.

    You are here with us, now.

    That is better than alone with it; it was right for you to post in.

    I am glad you did post to us.

  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    To be clear the gender of this grandchild doesn't come out from the article. It's written in language that does not differ between genders grammatically (in other words, no separate he/she-words nor any other grammatical things that would somehow show gender) and grandchild is not named nor called either granddaughter or -son. He may have used either of my sons or third, imagined, grandchild as an inspiration for this enlighten guide grandchild.

    However, neither of my sons admit having talked anything relating any of this with my dad.

    I have to admit that being called mundane does hit the nerve, which makes it more difficult for me to look at it from my dad's view point.

    My unique set of abilities, talents and interest were always a disappointment for both my parents. While many parents would have likely been very happy having socially appropriate, quite rule following athletic daughter who did very well at school and excelled especially in STEM subjects, for my parents my lack of artistic talent or flare was a huge disappointment.

    And while I can relate to the feeling of having a kid that is not what you asked or hoped for, I do think I have dealt with those feelings related to Ache being Ache much better than they did. I understand the frustration and the thought that comes to your mind that how come my child couldn't be more like what I hoped for, but my mom and dad wouldn't had needed to be so explicit, hurtful and mean about it.

    Though to be fair I have many times hoped my parents wouldn't be who they are and I fear I have told that to them few times.

    I'm sorry you needed to come to that conclusion relating your mom and sister. I do not think it is true with my dad. i do believe he does love me, as much as he can and in the way he can.

    I may wish it would be more conventional father-daughter-relationship, but I can't deny that he loves me. As much as he is capable.

    To be fair I very much doubt he was planning ditching me. He just is very impulsive and runs hot and cold. It is not calculation, but reality, as he sees it, changing.

    He did ditch me after he found love. I assume he wanted so much to be part of her world, to please her, live that story, that there simply wasn't room for me, my family and especially things I represent for him. Not in the open at least. Again, I was still in his work, just very covered way. I also doubt he was in any way planning ditching me when he was painting that wolf.

    Don't get me wrong, that whole thing still hurts. I was beyond angry at the time and that rage hasn't totally died out. But6 dealing with my dad requires dealing how he sees this world and his point of view simply is very different. And for example, when it comes to his art, that is ends for him. He wouldn't sacrifice it to be means, wouldn't paint anything as a means for some other end. On the other hand, he could use almost anything as a means for his art.

    In some ways I feel opposite. My dad needs me to be this stronghold, this constant, even true north to tell where he is in. Or well, image of me. Real me and image or me are not the same, though I do believe my dad believes so. And I have to say that at times he does see sides of me that I often don't acknowledge existing.

    But definitely I'm used by him for his own ends.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    It has helped us Suzir, to learn to see ~ to fight to see, really, our abusers abusing us through our own eyes. It's a question of perspective, and it changes everything to be able to do that. Before we went through the traumatic things I have posted happened to me, I saw the event ~ the beating of myself or, even worse, of a sibling ~ through the self-justifying eyes of the abuser. I was a small thing, a shamed and shame-filled thing; a non-entity, utterly powerless.

    Yet, I needed to love my abusive, outrageously wrong mother. And I needed to hate her too, for what she was doing, for who she was instead of who I needed her to be.

    I was just a little girl. I could not have made that intuitive leap required to heal, then. I had no frame of reference, no way at all to know that what was happening to all of us was wrong. Until I went back, until I could feel outrage for the child I was at what was done to her, in her innocence and in her puzzled attempt to make sense of things, I could see the abusive incidents only through that child's eyes.

    And that child believed her mother had been right, to do those terrible things she did.

    All of it, everything that happened, things I can remember and things I cannot, all of it, covered in such a thick layer of shame that even to approach it could, and did, leave me feeling physically ill to this day.

    Well, here is what I have to say about that. Every parent here on this site is here for children who are in deep, deep trouble. And we love them. And we see their struggles and would do anything at all to help them. And, until we learn how it is that to enable hurts all of us, and until we finally, finally learn to stop blaming ourselves, we do blame ourselves.

    Abusive parents fault the kids; never themselves, ever.

    I think this could be true: Parents who hurt, who are explicitly mean to their own children, however they justify it...they mean to do the harm they do. In my case, when I began to look beyond the specific traumatic events I could never forget, not in all of my life, I found trauma in all its shades and colors, all of it having to do with rejection, and with the threat of abandonment; all of it, every bit of it, having to do with power-over mentality on the part of the parent, to the point that the parent sabotages relationship among the siblings even after the parent's death.

    And, at least in my case, the the abusive parent's efforts escalate after the death of the father. Or, and Serenity or Copa could post in on this maybe, after the dissolution of the parents' marriage.

    That is what I see in my family of origin. For now, that is what I see, there.

    Good. I am glad you have done that.

    My mom loves me too I think, SuZir. It's just that the nature of her loving is hurtful.

    And when I took a close look at all of it, the whole thing fell apart.

    And when I broadened the scope of my inquiry, I saw those same patterns for my mother in all her relationships that I am aware of.

    It was never me, personally, me.

    It was that I had been brought up in a family where everything just rings wrong.

    Before I could see and grieve it, I needed to imagine what it would have meant for me to have been raised differently. Then, I could see what I ~ how to provide, for myself, what I had never been given. It wasn't just a question of naming the traumatic things. It was even more a matter of knowing what it was I should legitimately have been surrounded with, as I grew.

    I found compassion for that little girl I had been. And with that, I could love and accept and fight for her. It was a hard thing, to claim that right from the mother I carried around in my head. That mother, that internal parent, believes to this day that my mother knows, and is correct, absolutely correct, in how she sees who I am.

    My real mother believes to this day.

    That is why she could draw back her arm and pretend she would strike me when I came to visit her with my granddaughters. My mother was enforcing her reality.

    My mother was around eighty years old when she did that.

    I was around sixty years old.

    Isn't that something.

    I have posted about the time when my father betrayed me to support my mother's decision to ~ I don't know what she was doing. The upshot was that we did not speak for five years. Never before had I felt from my father anything but steady; reliable, funny, bright. Wise, very wise.

    My mother runs hot and cold.

    It is who she is. To me now, this is a very sharp weapon in her repertoire. Very sharp. It is like when we are training a new puppy. If we reinforce what we want and never blow hot and cold regarding his training, our puppy will know what is expected and happily comply. If we sporadically reinforce changing expectations, he won't know what it is we want.

    Then, we say he is a bad little puppy.

    He thinks so, too.

    But he never quite knows why.

    And for me, in my case only, that is why my mom does that.

    And she does it to this very day.

    This is true.

    To see what they do does not mean we don't love them. It is simply that we open our own eyes and not see anymore, through theirs.

    He does love you, then. Maybe for you then, the task is to separate out those parts that leave you questioning his reasoning and ask him how he sees what he has done. It could be that he is forgetting the power a father holds in how a daughter, whatever her age, feels about herself.

    He may think you are very strong; frightening, in a way. That could explain what is happening. Your writing reflects strength and clarity. You have held your ground without question here on the site more than once. It could be that you intimidate your father just a little.

    Do you think that could be the energy swirling through the heart of this?

  10. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    This is so tough. So, so tough.

    These are the only parents we ever had or ever will have. As much or more, the only selves we know are the ones created in our interactions with the parents we had. Limited as they might have been.

    To confront this feels if the cost is both the loss of the parent, and the loss of one's own self.

    Of course the gain is to know and feel one's own life as it really was, without the horrible distortions that we took on as children to avoid a fate we feared even more.
    The question here is this: do you love yourself in the way you need, now as an adult? Are you present in your life fully as a person, mother, and wife? What might be the filters or blinders or modifications, that a young Suzir adopted in order to placate or pacify her parents...in order to survive, as best she could?
    How many other times did he ditch you, Suzir, without a care in the world? Or compromise you? Or overlook you? Or not care at all when your spirit was crushed or compromised?

    Because my mother has died I am playing a deadly game. Almost Russian Roulette. There are no more chances for me to make corrections or to try again, to make it better. The story has played out for eternity, of my mother and me.

    The thing is, I am not recovering myself, since her death.

    I try to sacrifice myself in order that she live. I try to sacrifice myself so that my memory of her as a good mother, live.

    That my memory live of my mother as a good mother, I must over and over again kill myself off. I make myself the bad child. So that she may live as a good mother. Any sense of competency. Strength. Purpose. Adequacy. Promise. I kill off in myself.

    To let my mother go to eternity, I must let her die. Let her go. But I do not want to because I need more chances. I want a do over. To do what? To sacrifice more in relationship to her? To have given her more chances to either hurt me or to see myself as lacking or not good enough?

    My relationship with my mother was what they call a zero sum game. There was only so much. My mother got as much as she needed and wanted. I got what was left. Not much. Or nothing at all. While she lived, I did not accept these terms.

    Now that she has died, I do. Because I want her back. I am willing to accept nothing at all. No life. No self. No future. No past. In order to get my mother back.

    The problem with this is that I am forced to see, finally, in an emotional sense what it was like to be the child of my mother. By my stance now, I have to see what the terms were that she demanded of her baby girl.

    Even still. I am willing to accept them, to keep my mother with me. The illusion that she loved me enough, as limited as that was.

    The thing is I love her so much that I want with all my heart to now play the game by her rules. Even to lose. Over and over again. Because to me, that is what love is. To lose over and over again. And I still want to. Especially now.

    I keep trying. I keep losing and losing. Again and again, because I want my Mama back. I want my Mama. I need her and I want her. I will pay anything. Do anything to get her back. On her terms now. Terms I had rejected my whole adult life.

    But it is not working. Because she is gone. And no matter how much and how many times I am willing to throw myself under the bus in order to get her back, so that she will love me, it is not working.

    Because she is gone. Sometimes I want to die too.

    My life has turned into Ground Hog Day. Where I keep playing and re-playing the same tape. Of self-sacrifice so that she will come back and then I will be able to live.

    I wonder how many times and for how long I will have to keep repeating this to understand and accept that this was the latent relationship I had within myself with my mother. I had to kill off a part of myself in order to live.

    I am trying to see my mother for who she was. The creator and ringmaster of a family that required her daughter bind and wound herself; of a Hobbesian world for her two little girls, an atmosphere so conflictual, impoverished and desperate that we learned to see each other as enemies to be under cut and destroyed.

    I am trying to find empathy for myself and for my sister. I am trying to learn to see us as little girls who deserved care and understanding and consideration and protection. I am trying to no longer in my own psyche to absolve my mother, to pardon or excuse her. At the expense of myself.

    It is slow going. My default is to keep doing this. To sacrifice myself so that my mother will win. And my sister, too.

    I can see from an adult's eyes the costs to me now and before of this perspective in life and in my self. One of subordination and self-sacrifice so that one's intense and deepest needs for connection and for belonging and acceptance have the possibility of being met. And are not.

    Had I had a choice, I would have let all of this pain remain submerged. I did not have a choice.

    While I can easily accept that I felt abused by my mother's hand I still recoil at the idea that my beloved mother was my abuser.

    I needed more from my mother. As a child I cut myself off at the knees to survive in the atmosphere my mother created. My relationship with her throughout my life was defined and limited by the reality that I interacted with her as a handicapped person. Even when she wanted more...I could not do it...because internally I had cut off part of myself in relation to her.

    With my mother or anybody else I could not all of a sudden regenerate the capacities I had abandoned as a small girl.

    I am working hard now to try to accept on a deep level that my life was the way it was. I always knew what it was. It is I did not feel the effects as I am feeling them now. I think I warded off the suffering that is incumbent in being that person who was sacrificed. The gain would be that I might be a person now; that I might live without tying a limb behind my back, for the rest of my life that remains.

    My frustration is still that I do not want to lose my mother. I still want her. I keep trying to seduce her to stay with me...at whatever the cost to myself. I still want to sacrifice myself to keep my mother with me.

    So, I keep working and working at it. That one day I will see that I am worth it and worthy. That the relationship worth having is me with myself. That I might step up one day, and say, I am all you need. I am enough.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2015
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Copa, could it be that the Child in you is very sure she is guilty that something really bad happened to Mama while Copa was caring for her?

    If she is trapped in the Realm of the Magical Child, she may not know Copa, that you are not guilty/responsible for what happened to Mama.

    I hear a child's promise of anything, of whatever it costs, for Mama to come back on her terms, this time.

    Even that.

    You will come through this, Copa. The Child's voice is coming more and more often to the surface.

    It was your mother's time, Copa. If we are born, then there will come a day when we die. No one is exempt, Copa. Deep in our mother's hearts, they do love their children. Even, and maybe especially, me. Even, and maybe especially, you Copa. If they could do it, our mothers too would have been the mothers we needed and the mothers they believed, with all their hearts, they would be.

    They couldn't give us what they didn't have, Copa.

    They did what they did, instead.

    My mother would cry sometimes, about what a bad mother she was. That was her word: bad mother. So, I felt guilty about that, too.

    For heaven's sake. Thanks, mom.


    Back to you, Copa.

    There was nothing left undone, in your care of your mother; there is nothing, nothing at all, you did not do for her. You gave her every care; you were with her in her final moments, were right there with her.

    You loved her out of life. She was not alone.

    So many die alone, Copa.

    You gave your mother every care.

    You did.

    Only frozen, Copa. Only sleeping; only Sleeping Beauty, wakening even now.

    What will your mother win, Copa?

    I urge you again to consider the guilt of a little girl, that little Child within, retraumatized, horribly retraumatized, at the instant of the mother's passing and over those first terrible moments of realization that Mama was gone.

    It was already reawakening old trauma Copa. Everything in the months before that final time was traumatic. All of it, from the hospital with your sister, just to see her again at all, to her cornering the doctor outside the room to the way she arrogantly and openly displayed contempt for you, and for the man who loves you. These things were done on purpose, Copa. They were not accidents. They were acts of malicious intent. Our sisters hate and despise the men who love us because they do love us. All of that Copa, compressed into minutes and then, the fight afterword, the nursing home, the screaming, the automaton-like service to your mother.

    The constant stream of decisions. The ever-increasing guilt at whatever decision was made.

    To be present in those final moments when your mother, beloved, feared, cherished...passed. You have posted about that moment again and again. As we have learned with the traumatic events that happen with our kids, new trauma rekindles the old, the conflagration this time a thousand times more destructive.

    And then, what is happening with your son, and between you and your son.

    Trauma upon trauma upon trauma.

    And always, life and death decisions to be made, and no one, no one in all the world, to make them but you.

    But Copa what you don't understand is that you handle everything that matters, everything that mattered then and everything that matters now, where your son is concerned, or your property or with M or with physical therapy beautifully, perfectly.

    Gracefully, and with strength and flexibility Copa, and compassion.

    You are coming through it, Copa. There is just so very, very much ~ so many hurtful things, to come through.

    As you travel Copa, know we are holding you in our thoughts and will be here, should you need our strength, or our humor or concern or whatever we can give to or share with or witness for, you when you return.

    Trust, Copa.

    For me, the part I cut off in relation to my mom was and is, trust. And I posted earlier on this thread that at the age of eighty, my mother pretended she would strike me.

    And laughed.

    I was very correct to have never relaxed in my mother's presence. That cannot have been an easy lesson for a little girl, a young woman, a new mother, to learn.

    What is happening to me is that I see the habits I've formed ~ ways of seeing, ways of responding, and choose a new way. I choose a new way now Copa in so many things, small and large, that was not possible for me, before. It is like I saw myself performing my life before. I was continually judging every move, every response. Now, I am here. More here, anyway. It is like the Buddhists say: See all things around you and yourself in the center and then?


    That is presence. That is where we are going, Copa. Presence in our own lives, in everything we do, from listening to music to feeling the sun on our faces.

    Time seems like a limitless, flexible thing to me, now.

    Isn't that something.

    I must carry less anxiety, now.


    That's okay, Copa.

    We want what we want. It doesn't have to make sense. I am wondering though whether a memorial of some kind ~ like they have for ancestors in Oriental homes. Or...D H mom had a special piece of furniture in her bedroom next to her bed where she kept portraits of her mother, of her sister who died, of the daughter who died at seventeen. And then, when her husband died, his picture went onto the wall above the table. Another daughter died recently, and her picture was placed there. Every night, D H mom lit candles ~ one for each of the people she loved.

    They are not dinner candles, but those little candles you see in Catholic churches, lit in memory of those we loved, and in faith.

    She cannot do it now, in the nursing home where she is. The pictures are there on the wall across from her bed, but there are no candles. I wonder whether it would comfort her if we were to find candles operated by solar power.

    I will check into something like that for her. When we came home this year, we brought her the prettiest stained glass butterflies with suction cups on the bottom. You put them on the window glass, where they absorb the sunshine all day. There are solar batteries inside them and at night, the beautiful butterflies shine with the softest light imaginable.

    It could be that there are candles like that.

    D H mom would like that very much, I think.

  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I cancelled the trip.

    Yesterday I went to the Opthamologist. It was the worst of all experiences. 3 hours treated like a non person.

    It turns out I have some problem with the lenses of my eyes, which will degenerate. Blurriness or cloudiness I think it is called. I sensed it but hardly wanted it confirmed. The doctor (I despised him and everything about the shoddy, inhumane and disorganized practice over which he presides) did not mention cataracts but I wonder if that is what it is. I wanted to get up and leave and to cut short the abuse of the situation. I kept telling myself I needed to get this over with to travel. So, at least at this point, I was still considering going.

    And the worst of it, after my eyes were dilated I was shunted back to the waiting room and sitting next to me was the physician who attended my mother in the rehab hospital.

    Unfortunately, he instigated friendly conversation and I told him of his treating of my mother. All of the feelings came up, and the angst about decisions made, the feeding tube. The horrible power of the responsibility to decide death or not for my mother. The war with the doctors. The sense of gratitude for finding a compassionate doctor (not this man.)

    I left there feeling completely feeble and finished. I called M and told him I cannot go cross country. I am barely surviving here. How can I do it? It is not realistic. There is no time to be ready. I do not want to go in such a crazy way, with no strength, no preparation. I cannot do it. Wait, he said, until I get home.

    When he got home we talked. Then we'll wait until you feel strong enough. If it takes a month or two months more or longer, we'll wait.

    But you said we needed to go in 10 days. That you would not go when it is cold already. Forget that. We will go when you can. We will do everything we need to do and when you are ready we will go.

    I will wait until M is done with this job, and I will try again.
  13. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    That's terrible, Copa.

    M will be home, soon.

    I will say a prayer, about your eyes. I am so sorry, Copa.

  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Not to worry, Cedar. Even if it it progresses, surgery can fix it.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Sorry to hear about your health issues, Copa. Hopefully it will not end up progressing.

    I think big difference I have in my relationship with my dad to your relationships with your mothers is, that my parents got a divorce when I was three and I have never since lived with my dad. His dysfunction has hurt me still, and it didn't help that my mom wasn't exactly stable either, but I think it makes it easier for me to see my dad as he is and I have less attributed his issues on something being wrong in me.

    Especially now from adult perspective I'm mostly amazed that my dad has been able to function as well as he has. His background is absolutely horrible and him even just surviving, and even more so, making something out of himself, is a testament to that kind of resilience and inner strength that I can only watch in awe. Expecting him to be a competent parent is simply totally unreasonable demand. Of course on could say he shouldn't have had kids, all things considering, but I have to strongly protest that. I like being alive and I think I have two rather irreplaceable kids who wouldn't exist either if my dad wouldn't have had me.

    As a child I had four long term parental figures, my mom, grandpa, granny and dad in that order. There was also bunch of stepdads and -moms and live-in boyfriends and girlfriends, so many that when I try to count I always notice around 20 that I have forgotten this one or that one and what was the name of that person, and let it go. Anyway those four who stayed had very complex relationships with each others and everyone also had their issues. I always found grandpa most reliable, stable and loving of them, but then again he had been so rigid parent to my mom that it had been abusive and my mom spent her whole life rebelling him. My dad and grandpa had also very intriguing relationship even long after divorce happened. I have never really understood it, it seemed to be very antagonist relationship, but it continued long after there was any reason for them to have any contact and grandpa seemed to be a person my dad called when he really needed some help. And he did help.

    This I think is partly true. Power balance in our relationship shifted very early. I was of course very parentified by my mother and used to take that role and I think I wasn't even in my mid teens when I parented also him more than I was parented. And our relationship dynamics till that big break up was that I disproved, scolded and fixed and dad behaved like he was that unruly teen in that relationship. And at the time I was angry enough, that I really didn't neither plead or ask or try to hide my contempt. In fact i was rather horrible.

    Having my own kids I started to draw stricter boundaries in some ways but also try to be nicer to him and I have to say that after our no contact I have been one making rules. And dad doesn't dare to really defy me. It doesn't mean he would live like I would like him to, but he tries to hide things he knows I disapprove.

    It is not ideal, but it is.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry, Copa. I was so cheering for you to do something nice for yourself, since you deserve it so much.

    Copa, my husband had to have two corneal transplants. Yes, from dead people...I ask him now if he sees ghosts. Ok, it's not funny, and wasn't. One day he couldn't see. It just happened. But after surgery he went right back to work with some restrictions and went on. I often wonder how he can just shrug things off.

    Copa, the cloudiness does sounds like cataracts. My husband had those too and they were removed during the operations (he had two). Why would you cancel a trip over that?

    And, Copa...you can chose to go to different doctors. I am very careful about who I see. Verrrrrrrrry careful. Since working in hospitals at a young age, I have learned to somehow find out who the other doctors send their loved ones to see and choose them. Is your health plan very restrictive? I would not want to go to somebody who treated anybody I knew without respect. I need warm and fuzzy doctors with good track records behind them.

    Suzir, I did not chime in, not because I don't care, but because I don't really understand what your father is doing, in his mind, or why. So I do get why it is so puzzling to you. He sounds like a bit of a con man maybe? And he has no right to call you mundane. Just from your postings here, obviously you are ANYTHING but that...your intelligence and caring shines through.

    I am glad for you that you did not have to live with your father. I believe it is easier if your more dysfunctional parent is not with you day-to-day as a child.

    I marvel at all three of you--Copa, Cedar, Suzir--I am in awe of your collective intelligences. I am nowhere near any of you there. I say this without demeaning myself, just as a fact. So sometimes I choose just to read and learn from all of you and do not add much because I feel it would not be helpful or needed.

    But that doesn't mean I don't care.

    I care about anyone struggling in any way due to family member who treats you as less than adequate. It is always hurtful, but it does get better.
  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Serenity, I do not know what hit me (at least I started the Lexapro a few days ago.)

    I bought new tickets for 9/24 but do not see how we can go then either, because I am back to bed in a big way. The depression seems worse than it has been. I seem to have given up.

    M has finished his big job and will be home. I am hopeful with him here and us working together and walking every day with the dogs, I will rebound.

    When I was there in the doctor's office I met a doctor who monitored my mother when she was in rehab. It brought everything up again for me. The eyes are not the biggest deal, although it feels a setback. I got home and I told M, I cannot do this. I do not have the stamina. And I think by quitting like that I gave into my worst impulses. I just let them have free rein at me.

    Thank your for asking and caring. Tomorrow M and I will start working together on the house and to leave, and helping me get my health and stamina back. I have a bad, bad cervical spine problem and being in bed at this computer helps not at all.

    I will keep you posted on the trip. There is a logistical thing we have to work out. (Several, really. As I do not want to give up Romy, the Yorkie.) Thank you, SWOT.
  18. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Copa, thanks for checking in. I understand depression. I know how it feels and can incapacitate. And I know about emotional flashbacks to other places.

    You can probably find a place where you can keep your dogs. I did and I live in a little town.

    Take good care of you. You're important to all of us.

  19. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I think part of what we are learning here is to forgive ourselves for the almost unbelievable situations we found ourselves in. You expected more from your father and were strong enough to say so. That is a more respectful thing, a more real response, than not to address what the people we love are doing. It's like it is with our kids, in a way. I was allowing my son to treat me disrespectfully because I was so sure he must have a reason for treating me as he did. Once I could figure out that, whatever he thought about why he was treating his own mom that way, it was not good for him or for me to just let it keep happening, then I could stand up. So, he had to stand up too, or not talk to me at all.

    Which he does all the time.


    But even though I feel badly about the way things are between us when that happens, it is better to address it when our family members fall short.

    Or when we do.

    How can any of us respect ourselves or anyone else if we do not claim the chutzpa to point out that what is happening is wrong?

    I love you too much to love you this way. That is a good guiding precept, for us. When things are going so badly for all of us, saying so right out loud is a good beginning. They do tend to not want anything to do with us though, after we say what we see.

    So, there's that.

    We feel badly about the situation and somehow, believe we should have been able to have handled it better. We need to really get it that it is the situation that is difficult. However much we might hope that our responses will set things right, there comes a time when we need to realize that our families want something different than we do. And they always did, or we would not find ourselves in the situations we do with them. Saying what we see is required, if we want to establish trust in our relationships. And most importantly, if we want to be able to trust ourselves.

    That is what we are learning here on these threads too, I think. We are ferreting out the truth, and learning to trust and believe in ourselves. We did see what we saw; we did hear what we heard.

    I think you did the right thing in making no bones about expecting more from your father. It's a mark of respect to expect more from the people we love.

    I keep going back to Serenity's article on fluidity versus rigidity in family roles being the essential difference between functional and dysfunctional families.

    Here's the thing: When I begin to feel badly about what has happened between myself and my family of origin, I begin to blame myself for the outcome. D H says: It was your mother who hung up on you. She could have called back then, she could have called the next day or a week later or any time at all, and the relationship would have been salvaged.

    Your mother created the situation, and expects you to accept her behavior. You did not create the situation. You stood up. What your mom does with that is her choice.

    And he is right.

    There are always two sides to every story. It's when the roles become rigid things ~ when the abuser stubbornly insists on a power over dynamic ~ that the family slips, one more time, into dysfunction. Add all those times when something might have been addressed and was not, and we see how our families got where we are, today.

    Most moms don't beat their kids. Mine did.

    Most dads don't do irresponsible things routinely enough that their children have to point that out to them. Yours did.

    It isn't like we can just ignore these patterns once we see them. I am beginning to see, now, that to ignore hurtful things, or to pretend somehow that it is okay to let someone treat us, or treat themselves, badly is not a correct response on our part.

    We cannot control what the other person is going to think or do, or how they're going to feel. Something has to be done; someone has to speak up, or nothing will change. And at least in my family of origin, things are now so severely out of balance that even I couldn't convince myself that if I just tried harder, we would come through it. Here is a secret: We have never come through it. Everyone was treating everyone else so badly, and with such open contempt, that someone had to say something.

    I would do it again.

    I wish I'd done it sooner.

    Everything looks very different, once we stand up.

    It still hurts, but at least we are in an upright position. (Cedar says, convincing herself as much as anyone else.)

    The old ways didn't work. This way may not work, either. We have nothing to lose; nothing to protect.

    That is freedom.


    Little lonely. But for those times, we have one another, here, to help us remember the why behind the way it is.
  20. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member