When your past as a child, follows you as a mother, as a person.

Discussion in 'Family of Origin' started by Copabanana, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    As you guys know for the past 2 years I have isolated. To the point of being bed-ridden.

    My preferred place is in my room, in my bed. I even take my food to my room and eat. I leave my room only to cook, bathe and to wash clothes. I leave the house only to shop or to go to a necessary medical appointment.

    I have been intermittently sad. I am not sad all the time. But I still want to isolate.

    For a long time my sadness was defined by my mother's death. I grieved horribly. My only pursuits were geared to escape from the pain. I believe that while I still grieve my mother's death, and the course of our relationship and choices I made, my feelings about my son and a certain default mode towards self-sacrifice, now motivates me.

    I think I have guilt about how good my life has been, how much I have overcome, my mobility and my perseverance. I think I somehow feel responsible for everything bad that happened to people who I love and the way relationships worked out.

    I turned my back on my family in order to live a fuller life. While I was frequently alone and lonely, I persevered and was able, I believe, to live meaningfully.

    There are many, many things I still want to do. I do not let myself. I believe that this is willful. But it feels beyond my reach to control. I believe I am choosing to isolate and to make my life very, very impoverished. I believe it is almost self-destructive.

    I believe I deserve to destroy myself or parts of myself. I believe that as of now that impulse is stronger than my motivation to live fully. As long as I continue to do this, and permit myself to negate myself and my life, I will not leave my room.

    I do not know how to rise above this cycle.

    It is for this reason that I begin this thread.

    I have not fully detached from my child. Nor from my Mother or sister or my Father. I cannot say even that I want to detach. But I need to.

    Last edited: Oct 15, 2015
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Copa, could it be less a matter of choosing to isolate or punish than a normal, and perfectly understandable, fear of change?

    You have made yourself very, very safe for two whole years. Now, you want to bring things in. To reclaim yourself. To see the world, even! It's a battle. Part of you is saying she is just fine thank you, living in this nice room you made for her. But anther part is screaming: "Up with this I will not put!"

    So, that's got to feel pretty awful.

    I would be frightened Copa, too.

    Can you take some small action, do some small thing, Copa? Reward yourself by leaping into bed the minute you get back. See what either side has to say about this business of leaving safe haven and going exploring.

    It sounds to me like you are becoming angry with yourself, instead. Anger will not conquer fear. They say only love will conquer fear, because we cannot feel both love and fear at the same time.

    Can you concentrate on loving yourself enough to take some small action toward leaving the security of your safe haven?

  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    My tendency is to get mad at M. He should be working on the rental property. He gets up and goes back to sleep only to leave when I get up. And then, after 3 hours gone, he comes home for lunch. To spend the afternoon watching his stupid Spanish TV.

    If it were a paid job he would be gone at 6 am to work 12 hours.

    I feel used. I pay for us to live. It is wrong that he resent doing this for me.

    He is very proud. He must feel why is she laying around all day indulging himself? But there have been many, many months that he was at home and I was at work.

    I have two choices. I can bring up my resentment. That will lead to a fight. He will defend himself by attacking. I will only lose more.

    The other choice is getting up in the morning to go work with him or at least to be there with him. With this, he will be OK. I dread this. It may be the only way.
    I have been leaving the house a little bit. Yesterday I went to the physical therapist and after to Walmart to return stuff. It took 2 hours because they did not know what they were doing.

    This morning I woke up sad. M was still sleeping on the couch at 9:30 am. Unless we change our manner of interacting we will have big trouble. I think he is depressed, too.

    So, I spoke with him. He said he does not need me to go with him. He says he needs me there to make decisions and that is why he came home to eat. He said a solution will be that he goes in the AM before I get up and that I come at mid-day with lunch for him and that way I can help him solve whatever came up in the morning.

    He got mildly defensive: He resented my linking the work at the house with our relationship. I tried to tell him that our habits, our way of living together has gotten destructive. I took responsibility for it. I brought up the Spanish TV. He brought up my always being on the computer.

    I brought up how before things got so difficult with my mom no matter where we were we would be together, reading or talking.

    He brought up how impossible it is with the computer clicking all the time when he is in bed with me.

    I said I could restrict it to an hour a day (and sneak out at night to the living room.) He brought up how unhealthy it is to depend upon people I do not know for friendship. That you cannot know somebody if you are not with them. And that I should look in my psychology books to find this malady and how to cure it.

    I did not know what to say. What do I say?

    I told him what I want is: Him, to finish our responsibilities here and to go East.

    Then he said: The only way you will cure yourself is to decide to do it.

    So, I will begin to go midday with lunch for him. That will give me time to go to physical therapy and to work a little here. It will give me the necessity and incentive to get out by midday everyday and give M a sense of being supported.

    I feel mildly encouraged.

    Thank you.


    PS When I brought up 3 years ago, when I was working far away how our life together was better, he interrupted me.

    I had qualified it by saying that I knew that it was not so good for him because he went where he had no work or friends or useful activities--in order to follow and support me. All of that is true.

    He was frustrated because last night I woke him up to ask if he would go follow me again to work somewhere far.

    He said I contradict myself. He couldn't make sense of why I argue both sides of a situation. Why I would again bring up a plan that required he sacrifice his self-interest, and lament it at the same time.

    I responded: When you are flailing about trying to solve something that you do not understand, you do that. Except I do not know how to translate flail into Spanish.

  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am so mad at myself. Too buoy up my mood and to pass the time (in bed) I buy stuff online. I got on this jag on Ebay where I bought all this crappy jewelry. One thing is worse that the next.

    I feel guilty that I am spending money that my grandparents worked so hard to save...on junk. OK. I can feel a little better if I say to myself I am spending money I earned. Because I liked my work.

    This has got to stop. I will. It is one thing to buy junk I can see. Unseen junk. No more.
  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Except I was never this way before. I may have been afraid *but not really, but I did it, regardless of the consequences.

    Maybe, I will grant you this: I am more vulnerable than ever before in this sense: I am less defended; I know how much can go wrong;and how much I have to lose, if I risk.

    Maybe all of the other times: I felt, if you aint got nothing, you've got something to lose. And now I know I do.

    And I think being older, there comes more caution. Your bones and joints hurt. Your heart hurts. I will think about it.

    M and I have so much fun when we travel. Not funny ha ha fun, but meeting people, fun. We seem to move through life (when we are out) at the same pace, in the same way. He is always stunned by how much people remember us. And wonders why, why we make such an impression.

    I think you are like this with D H, too. I certain orientation towards life, interest in people, enthusiasm. That makes people feel good. And an interest in each other and being together. Feeling alive with the other.

    There is not much of that happening lately in our house.

    M says if I restricted the computer to 2 hours a day he would feel good. He thinks his rival is the computer.

    He cannot conceive it could be something good. And to confess all the stupid buying is not. So, I will cut out the buying.

    I am not mad at him anymore.

  6. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Copa. You and I are both trying to punish ourselves. We go beyond just feeling sad. We do not feel that we deserve to have a life...let alone enjoy life.

    We both feel that we would be horrible people if we carried on like nothing was wrong while our sons suffer.

    When you wrote,"I like the movement on the street", I first thought of an old Ginger Roger movie in black and white with dancing down a busy New York street.

    Then, very quickly I thought of something else.

    Her is this once very active woman, a world traveler, and a gifted dancer living her life in bed.

    This is truly the biggest sacrifice that you could make.

    This is the biggest and worst punishment that you could have ever chosen. No more traveling. No more dancing. No more "movement on the streets".

    We should not be punishing ourselves. Our childhoods have "punished" us enough for one entire lifetime already. We are nice people. In fact, very nice people.

    We both need to take baby steps. I feel very badly. I did not read this yet. I should have been there for my fellow warrior.

    Leafy is right. It is like we know each other. I feel very close.

    I was thinking...you could do art or take an art class. Or volunteer 1 hour 2 times a week. Teach adults how to read on the computer at the library. Or give dance lessons in your home or for the local park and rec. Maybe just take a walk a bit farther everyday. Join a club. Hold a book club or a card game club in your home.

    But the most important thing is not to feel bad in any way. Trauma has its own way of coming to the surface. You have to work hard and slowly to make some changes.

    Baby steps. We will be here for you every step of the way, Copa. Maybe eating dinner in a different room. Not the kitchen or dining room necessarily, but a room you spoke of that your mother had. A safe room that you decorate for you...an art room...an dance studio...anything YOU want for you. My best things in my house are from garage sales and flea markets. Have fun. New room. New perspective. Maybe make a garden room outside for yourself.

    Picture your comrades with you. If we could...we would be there for you. In an instant?

    You are lucky. Your son is getting his blood tested. You have a SO. You are very talented and creative.

    We all seem to make our own "cages".

    I agree with Cedar about loving yourself enough to leave the security of your safe haven.

    Your warrior sisters will have your back every step of the way.

    Let me hear you say, "Roar!"
  7. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member


    Thank you for this very kind post, Feeling. I just posted on your thread. We must have been writing at the same time.
    There was another movie, Flying Down to Rio. I lived it.
    You are right, Feeling. While I have thought this too, to read it has special impact. Thank you.

    I think that the punishment is both for my son and my mother.

    My Mother was very mad that I went to live in Rio. I did it anyway.

    She felt that I was abandoning her and being very irresponsible. That was years before she became ill. My mother was very capable. Throughout my adult life I felt the need to be far from her because I felt consumed by her and overshadowed by her. She always needed to have the light on her and to be served and taken care of emotionally. I was very compliant. I could not develop as a person living near her. For many years I would not speak to her or see her at all.

    When she was at the point of dying and after she died I was heartbroken because I realized how deeply I had loved her. When it was too late.

    I think I put myself to bed, first, for her. I as if cut off my legs, so I could never leave her again. The love of mobility and my ambition and my love of freedom, I cut off at the knees.

    And then the situation of my son worsened. I would try to get better. And he would worsen. Over and over again. Until I think I got the idea that I was not meant to get up. Ever. That each time I did, I got a message that I could not.

    Until it became a terrible habit. Like what Cedar describes. The only place in life where I felt safe was my bed. That became the only thing I allowed myself both to long for and to have.

    As I have aged I have become decrepit: My eyes are bad. My hearing is bad. I have arthritis. You already know my other ailments.

    I have phobias. I am afraid of freeways. Of big rig trucks. I am afraid of heights.

    Sometimes I cannot make it to the toilet in time.

    I have to look for the elevator if I am in a subway or airport. This will really affect me in NY.

    All of these things eat at my confidence. They reinforce my fear. I am not saying I cannot do it or I will not. But it all gets rolled up together. No wonder it has been hard to get going.

    I was going to say that there have been other losses, too. I was going to mention my sister who has rejected me and who rejected my mother as she was dying. But then I had to correct myself.

    I do not miss my sister. Really, if I tell the truth. But my sister is very competent. Still. She is a law professor at a minor University. Actually, I have been more successful than she. I think. But she drives freeways. And she acts like a big cheese. Very important big cheese.

    So I think there is an element of putting myself to bed for her. To let her thrive and to be the big cheese.

    Because she was very, very mad at me that I acted to protect my mother and to protect our inheritance. I saw that she could not abuse my mother for money. And I acted to protect the estate. And there was not one thing that her attorney-self could do. Because I took not one penny of gain.

    So, I think there is an element of self-punishment for her too. I was just too strong. So, I must pay.

    Flying Down to Rio and Dancing in the Streets of NY and a career and M is just too much for this little girl to have.

    Thank you for your very kind reply.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  8. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    My favorite is you do not know how to translate 'flail' in Spanish. My other favorite is that there has to be something wrong with you because your friends are online and you have never met.

    Or the "clicking if the computer" while he us in bed. Smart to promise 1 hour a day. ..and then plan to sneak off into the living room.

    I keep accidentally typing 'toom' instead of room. Freudian slip....???

    Now, I'm taking benadryl. Pleasant dreams.
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Would you feel comfortable posting in more detail about the feeling of responsibility, Copa? Could this feeling of global responsibility be an artifact of a child's need to believe that, if she had been perfect enough, the bad things that did happen would not have happened?

    I found that belief in myself, as we processed past trauma here on FOO Chronicles. Even as an adult, that belief, that need to be perfect in every smallest thing, funneled anxiety about what was happening into a kind of self accusation, into a version of self contempt that kept me hooked in to the Family of Origin dynamic I'd grown up with.

    Not only as applies to interactions with my family of origin, but in the ways I was seeing, and responding to, my children and grands.

    As we worked through those feelings here, I was able to be okay with things not being perfect. I stopped holding that fantasy of family dinner as my paramount value. I was able to stop resenting what I had because it was not perfect.

    It was real, instead.

    Once that happened, I could tell myself the truth: I cannot control the way others choose to see, or what they choose to do, or how they justify it. I learned and was able to accept, down where we don't have words, that what motivates other people is just what motivates other people. It was after that, that I could trace where I was holding myself in contempt, and how that all went together, and clear it.

    So there is the answer to M's and husband contention that all the time we've devoted to ourselves this summer may have been less valuable than we believed.

    I am grateful to have had this opportunity.

    Thank you, Copa.

    And Serenity, if you are reading.

    "I turned my back on my family..."

    But you came back, Copa.

    You left the life you'd risked everything to create, for their sakes. You came home, and protected your mother.

    And this was done at great cost to yourself, and to M.

    And you never even blinked.

    I think you were courageous, and loving.

    Please do this, Copa.

    I want this for you, very much.

    Maybe there will be something you can learn from M, Copa. Mosaic tiling, maybe. Unless I chicken out, I am going to tile our bathroom here next year.



    husband is upset with me too, for being on the computer. He too swears it is affecting our relationship. On the other hand, I have been able to address and I think, resolve core issues having to do with Family of Origin through the work we have done, here. I think this is true for you also Copa, especially in the strength and courage you have shown in the way you have changed the dynamic between yourself and your son.

    Time will tell whether we have accomplished lasting healing or have only been distracting ourselves. Serenity too made enormous strides in self concept; when she was last here with us, she had developed a number of friendships in the real world and had started classes related to volunteer work she cared deeply about.

    I agree that we have put other aspects of our lives on hold to accomplish a goal...but I think we each have made enormous progress.

    husband says: We will see. Sometimes, he says: "I would rather hear about your mother and sister every day of my life than hear that stupid computer clicking away."

    I no longer grieve or resent or even, condemn the situation in my family of origin. I am at peace with all of it in a way I have never been, before. I don't understand why it is the way it is. I no longer believe there must be some way, some word or phrase or action I could take to help us all come together. There is some sadness in that acknowledgement, but the driving grief, the sense of failure surrounding all of it that I once felt, has dissipated.

    I wish them well, and understand that each of us has done the best he or she knows.

    I respect myself for standing up.

    I feel no guilt over the decisions I've made regarding family of origin. Nor am I ashamed that I tried and failed. I am...I did the right things I could know to do.

    As I am doing, now.

    I think it will change everything for you to begin bringing lunch to M, and to work with him. I am pleased for you, Copa. Like Serenity, and like I have too, you have come so far from where you were in the beginning. M is correct (as is husband) that the value of our time commitment to healing cannot be known until we are out in the real world, and not so much online.

    We do, too. Have fun when we travel, I mean. Everything not in the moment recedes. It's fun to be together without distraction; fun to have husband be my person when there are strangers, and strange customs, all around, and we are the only ones who know just how strange we, or they, are. We come away from a trip liking ourselves and each other and our lifestyle choices all the more, for having been away.

    I am into your second post Copa, so I will end this one and begin another.


    But I was thinking about M's and husband's contention that the computer time we've devoted to ourselves this summer was not as valuable as it seemed, to us. The time we have spent here together has had great meaning for me.

    I appreciate the time you and Serenity have given me, Copa.


  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I have always been struck dizzy in high places. Any high place, even a stairway. I was certain it was something anxiety related. I beat myself up mercilessly. Then? I realized the dizziness is a result of sinus and inner ear problems.

    A physical cause for an emotional reaction. When we have an inner ear problem and we are on solid level ground, we are fine. When we are suddenly in the air, when we are driving (or a passenger) in a vehicle on a bridge, when we rise on an escalator, our inner ear balance mechanisms scream for us to slow down. We are working harder than the average person to maintain balance on level ground in the first place. We don't know it, because we adjust automatically. Until suddenly, the ground falls away, as it does on an escalator or a bridge, or any high place. Our inner ear balance mechanisms cannot adjust quickly, the way the inner ear balance systems of those without sinus problems do. Out brains scream that we are in danger. The other side of our brains roar on that we are making fools of ourselves. Pointing out that we are the only ones clinging to the escalator railing while everyone else is not only erect but carrying packages, our brains access childhood belief systems and beat us up for not being perfect and the whole thing escalates into a bona fide anxiety attack and we feel so stupidly inept.

    No shame for us, Copa.

    The next time you are in a high place, note the time the panic hits. Invariably, it will be at the point the ground around you falls away. If we could stay right there, our inner ear balance mechanisms would adjust and tell our brains we are not falling, after all. Then, we could go a little further. Eventually, if we rode the escalator or drove the bridge or whatever it is every day, we would be able to do it easily, too.

    A physical issue, Copa.

    Just as it was believed asthma was the illness of a "nervous" person. Now, we know it is exactly the other way around. Now, we know the nervousness is a result of feeling suffocated, due to the way the lungs are affected through allergic response. Trauma builds on trauma: an anxiety response occurs. Now that we know what is happening, now that we have inhalers and understand the allergic response, there is less sense of loss control, or of unpredictability, in the face of an allergic reaction.

    Turns out we were fine, all along.

    Even people without chronic sinus problems develop balance issues when they have colds.

    A problem with the inner ear as a result of repeated sinus infections; a problem with allergies.

    We are fine.

    Logical people with inner ear balance issues related to chronic sinus problems having to do with allergic response.


    Wish I'd known that, last time I rode an escalator.

    I would have clung to the rail with impunity.


    Could it be that the punishment you are meting out has to do with having challenged the little sister you still, somewhere in your psyche, believe it is your sworn duty to protect? And when the sister then stormed off in a contemptuous rage, you believed she had a right to do so? That she has a right to judge you in any way, and that you must submit to keep the family intact, just as you had to do so many times when you were both little girls?

    The key here being the sister's belief that she is entitled to hold her own sister in contempt.

    Where did that belief come from for your sister, Copa. How did that evolve?

    And how is it that on some level, you feel her assessments have validity?

    Where did that certainty that your sister's interpretations of you, of your actions and choices, of your mate, matter more than your own...how did that evolve, Copa?

    If you are able to understand the evolution of those belief systems, you will be free.

    Your sister is not a little girl you must protect from yourself any longer, Copa. She is no longer the three or four year old who is accepted, while the eight or nine year old must struggle, alone, to be perfect, and to feel responsible for all the things that were not perfect.

    You were eight or seven or nine, Copa.

    Just a beautiful little girl in a very lonely world. Witness for her now, Copa. She was never really alone, because you are there with her, now. She lived; she made hard choices.

    She had great courage then, and displayed that same courage, that same choice to protect, in all of her life.


    So, the sister.

    She is an adult now, Copa. She no longer receives an automatic pass to justify her behaviors. As I see it, the sister is using the protectiveness you felt for your smaller, younger, sister then to justify holding you in contempt, now.

    The payoff is that, just as it was when you both were little girls...if you are the fall guy, then she isn't. She can be innocent. The family tensions are funneled toward you, toward that lonely and innocent and beautiful little girl you were.

    Sister is very wrong, to be making those choices today, as an adult. These may not be conscious choices for her, now? But on some level, she knows what she is doing, and why.

    And she is doing it, anyway.

    With a vengeance.

    An eye rolling vengeance.


    I am sorry Copa, and I don't want to keep harping on this...but where did the sister acquire these belief systems she holds? Where did you acquire the incredibly harmful belief system that what she thinks matters more than the ethics of the situation?

    This is not splitting hairs.

    This is crucial information for you, Copa.

    "I was just too strong...."

    Copa. There is no such thing as being too strong when a mother requires your protection; when another daughter is betraying your mother.

    Where did those words, "I was just too strong...." Whose voice is speaking those words, Copa? Where did that belief system come from and why does it feel valid for you today where your sister, now an adult in her sixties, is concerned?

    Good, good work, Copa.

    I am sorry your sister is as she is. I know how much you hoped it could be different. I hoped that too, Copa. It wasn't our choice, for things to have evolved as they have.

    Pray for their peace and therein, find our own.

    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
    • List
  11. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    So, I was thinking about online friendship. I would describe what we have accomplished through our interactions here as having befriended not only one another...but ourselves.

    Oh, yes. I am very happy we have taken this time for ourselves, and for one another.


  12. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I have to go to the other house. M left pissed.

    That said, Thank you, All.

    I agree. This has been for me. And for you.

  13. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know, Cedar, besides the deterioration in my hearing, I have bad sinus too. And about 20 years ago I had Labyrinthitis. I think that is the name of it. For more than a week I could not drive, barely walk because of the ringing in my ears and dizziness.

    I had a supervisor at work who never recovered and retired due to it. I always wondered if there was some virus or bacteria in the environment that caused it. Two people within months in the same place seemed too much of a coincidence.

    While the onset of my fear of heights was maybe 5 or 6 years ago, maybe it could be cumulative.

    I have an appointment with the ENT practice the first week in November. I will be curious to see what they find.

    I am a bit upset with myself that to move the appointment closer I opted for an appointment with a PA. But that can be changed at some future point. I was just eager to hear again.

    Thank you for your insight.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  14. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I forgot to say I am afraid of high stairs, too.
  15. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Oh. I changed my quote wording a little. We have had another home emergency (this one electrical). So, I left this open and came back some time later. Forgetting it was a quote, I altered it.



    Copa, if you place your son at the age of seven, or eight, or nine or six, into the situation you lived at those ages, you will be more able to come to your own rescue, now. Like me, you may have been brought up shepherding everyone safely through. It is possible that, like I was doing too, you are unable to forgive or find compassion for that little girl you were because no one in your family of origin had compassion for her.

    Remember the story about the child in the dungeon in the center of the town?

    You need to see that little girl you were through your own loving eyes Copa, and never through the self justifying eyes of the abuser, again.

    Think of the patterns in your family of origin, Copa. Think of the toxicity. And understand that the unspoken dynamic between you and your sister is a 50/50 split. To her, she is all the good. To her, you...are carrying everything else.

    All of it.

    She knows it is wrong, but she is doing it, anyway.


    In your family of origin, no one admired your courage.

    They called it defiance.

    No one acknowledged that lonely, frightened little girl's superhuman self control, her courage or pain or loneliness or confusion, then. It will be an act of defiance to claim that right, now.

    Until you can fight them for her Copa, I think healing into internal, versus external, locus of control will be difficult for you.


    The sister's behavior has the effect it does on you now because she is, probably intentionally, given the undeniable nastiness of the actions you have described her to have taken, still projecting her shadow self onto you.

    Raised as you were Copa, you have no defense.

    As an educated adult, Sister will have some awareness of the moral implications of her actions. Even so, there is no adult now to enforce your subservience Copa but...you.

    Stop it, Copa.

    You did what you had to when you were a little girl, and you got both of you through what was at times a dangerous and chaotic childhood.

    Again Copa, I ask you to place your son at that age into the situations you have survived.

    ROAR will happen so fast, Copa. You love him fiercely. You will protect him. In doing so you will learn to see that little girl you were for the first time.

    I think you will like her so much, Copa.


    I am sorry, Copa. I know how hard it is to acknowledge these things that are true about our families of origin. I know how stupidly wasteful it seems that those harmful patterns set up then should still be viable, today. It makes everything seem so hopeless, once we no longer have that concept of Family Dinner. It is a very lonely feeling, to let the hope of it go.

    It is over, and cannot be undone. But what we can do is see with clarity and reclaim internal versus external locus of control.

    That is the gold standard here, Copa.

    Internal locus of control.

    You came in to FOO Chronicles later than Serenity or I did. You are right on schedule Copa, and are coming through beautifully.



    I am sorry for the pain of it, and for the ugliness, Copa.

    It will not be so much longer, now.
  16. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Cedar and all.

    Cedar, I read through your post and will respond shortly.

    I want to tell you guys that I did leave the house at 11 am, brought M his lunch and coffee, helped him make decisions. He was a changed man. Enthusiastic. I did not return to the house until 4 pm, doing errands the rest of the times.

    Thank you,

  17. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    You know, it is a coincidence, because just today I was thinking about all of this. Actually, later, when I was a teen. I was thinking: You know I was a D C. The only difference is that nobody cared.

    I remember: Banging my head against the wall, frustrated with my mother's irrationality. I remember being beaten by my step-father for insolence. I remember shutting the flatware drawer on my sister's hand when she lied or tried to bait or insult me. Even then, she was a little jerk.

    I flunked out of college the first semester. Although the college was 20 minutes away I was sent to a dorm because nobody could stand me.

    When I flunked out and came home, my mother made me leave the house at 8 am to look for work and I went to the library. Etcetera.

    Everybody in the house was mildly nuts. Except me. That was how I felt, and still do. Except that they had the power and I had none.
    Until my step-father came, that was the case.

    My memory is that before then, I felt the responsible one. Not just for my sister or the house, but for my mother, as well.

    Actually, that is borne out by what happened after my mother divorced my step-father after 19 years.

    Again, my mother made me responsible for her emotionally. I remember a co-worker/friend at that time who would hear me at work speaking to her commented: Your mother sucks the life out of you. You carry her emotionally. I remember this because of how jarring it was. I was not ready to hear this at this time. Or still.
    Remember the story, Cedar, how my 3rd grade teacher called my mother to school. For 55 years or more the story was that Mr. Wilson told my mother: "COPA can be anything in the world she wants to be. Even President of the United States. She is smart enough to be President."

    And in the year before my mother died, when she could see me with other people, how confident I had become and comfortable with myself and others, the real story came out: ....if COPA had confidence, she is smart enough to be anything in the world, even President.

    But little COPA had not confidence or support. She served to serve. And to reflect well, when she could.
    In the same years that at least in my own mind I was carrying the family, my mother would rage at me. In addition to slaps across the face there were hysterical beatings with wire and wooden hangers. I would run.
    I remember I would cry at school. That must be why the teacher called my Mother.

    When one day I arrived to school, soaking wet from rain, I was so touched that they allowed me to sit in the office by the heater to try out. My mother had called the school when she became aware that I had walked to school in a deluge.
    "]Yes. There is no other way to see it. No other way to explain all of her actions towards me. Her attitudes were sanctioned by a system. While she is responsible, now. She learned at her mother's knee.
    When my son was little and always, really, I fought viciously for him. Like a tiger, I fought. The thing is I love my Mother. You cannot imagine how much. I have her ashes left. That is all. If I have to choose between us, still, I choose her.

    I think that is why I left all those years ago. I could leave, but I could not, would not fight her.

    It will take time for me to bear it. To feel that I can choose myself.

    I am the best of her, really. I am very, very like her. I see that, now.

    I believe my sister took the worst of her. Self-serving and selfish. Justifying the most base of motives. My mother's materialism.

    When I am out and about, I sometimes feel my mother is with me. My warmth. How I chat up the sales clerks. Today at Sears 3 different women, I had beaming with pleasure. How beautiful you are. To another: Your makeup. How do you do that? So perfectly professional but at the same, time glamorous. Oh, my, you are so nice to me. Please call the manager. I need to tell her.

    To the manager: Everybody is always so kind to me here. Every time I come in here. Everybody. Is that you, your influence? You are over the clothing and accessories? Never in my life have I seen such a well-trained and gracious staff. And you can see how old I am. We need to call Eddie Lambert right now. (The CEO of Sears and controlling stock holder.) Then we joke about Eddie Lambert--who actually is driving Sears into the ground.

    I am so grateful to you. To be treated with such kindness and courtesy by Everybody. I do not minimize this. Thank you.

    Of course she thinks it is over the top. But so happy, she is. And me too.

    That is my Mother (actually times about 5. I really milk it, because I was having such a good time, and they are too.)

    You see, I am grateful to my Mother. She gave me very little, but I got very much.

    It will take time. Thank you, Cedar, I will miss you.

    I will read this post over and over again, while you are gone.

    Last edited: Oct 16, 2015
  18. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When my Mother was still alive and she came to know M well, she said: Nobody in your whole life has been so good to you, treated you so well.

    And it was true. Imagine that.

    What does it mean, that a mother would say that? Of course, she may have actually meant what she said. But what was she saying about herself?

    Was it an acknowledgement that I was given little?

    Am I still trying to see through her eyes? I think so.

    Let me try harder. I was a waif. I was well-dressed. I was clean. Emotionally I was as close to an urchin as there can be.

    I remember no kindness from my mother. None.

    I could have grown up to be a personal shopper. Because that was my role to her. To accompany her shopping and to mirror back to her her beauty.

    Hours and hours waiting. I knew the Emporium Department Store like it was my own home. And Joseph Magnin. We would play on the escalator, my sister (my sister might have been 3 or 4) and I, 8. Once I fell. The elevator had come from the 2nd floor, and we were on the 3rd. (Well, that is interesting, given my fear.) I caught my leg in the stairs as the steps entered the floor at top.

    I remember still the attention I got. My Mother? Trying on clothes in the dressing room.

    I am getting mad now.

    That has to say something. A 3 year old supervised by an 8 year old. Playing on an escalator.

    And so many years later, my memories of childhood, receiving attention from strangers.

    I am getting madder.

  19. Feeling Sad

    Feeling Sad Active Member

    Copa, I wanted to say how very proud I am of you. I am so happy for you. You said that M was enthusiastic...how did you feel?

    Did you enjoy your outing?

    You go, girl!

    I have had a long tiring day with a boring school site council meeting after work. This is the best news I have heard in a long time!

    Keep it up! Make it a routine. One foot in front of the other.

    Great news.

    Roar. You met the challenge.

    You deserve a new warrior tunic...

    Your fellow warriors, Leafy and Cedar have given you great advice and support. Who says we aren't valid friends?

    You HAVE this!
  20. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Somehow I envision a Roman toga here. I do not think you had this in mind. There is a brand I love. I saw it at that store you told me about City Something. Maybe with your permission and encouragement, I will buy one. Of course, it is close to the most expensive brand they carry.
    I feel that I am the only one, really, that was not morally compromised and had a true sense of responsibility.

    My sister is able to take responsibility, but it is very strange. It feels like she is playing a role in a play. It seems very shallow.

    My mother could take responsibility, but here too, her sense of responsibility had very clear limits. She would mail letters. That would be about it.

    My sister is very odd. When her youngest twin, maybe 18 then, became a binge alcoholic, she responded appropriately and sent her to treatment.

    When she told me, she laughed. The affect was all wrong.

    There is just something wrong with everybody. I mean, I have my limits, and my issues. But I think there is some there there.

    So that addresses their limits, to some extent, at least perceived by me.

    I am thinking now of my childhood's mother who would say over and over again that she had never seen a child with so much responsibility. I was 9. Housework. Watching my sister. Making dinner.

    I remember my mother coming home from work and telling me somebody had told her she looked like Sophia Loren. I was 8. That seems odd that I would remember that. Except think about how happy my mother was.

    The happiness of my mother was everything. My mother was happy only when she was told she looked like Sophia Loren, or when she was dressed up to go on dates.

    That would be my happiest moment. She would look a starlet on the red carpet. A cloud of perfume surrounding her. She would smile. I would be her audience. Oooh. Aaah. To get her smile, would make me happy. I was there to be her audience. I was happy for those moments.

    The rest of the time she was unhappy. Too much responsibility. Kids around she did not want. Too much work. When she was not happy, I was frightened.

    I think my mother may have had a mood disorder. She was told that, but always refused medication. That I know of she never became depressed like I have been. She would become moody. Irritable. Impossible. Self-indulgent. And when she was like that she wanted the world to suffer with her. I was that world. I would try to buck her up, to make her feel better. I hated it when she was moody. She could be very mean.
    Well, of course, this must have been so. She must have targeted me, blamed me, if she was unhappy. She would have picked at every single thing. She would have blamed me if my sister cried. She would have held me responsible for my sister's care. And been mad at every little thing not done well.

    Of course, I would have believed it was my fault if she was not pleased. What choice did I have? What other way could a small child think?

    My mother is mad. She is unhappy. She says it is my fault. There was nobody else that could be responsible. Nobody else to turn to.
    This is a choice that a small child cannot make.

    It is a choice that an adult can make. I will try to get there.
    When I was able to say: My sister is Germany and I am Argentina. Germany as a nation can be aggressive, kind of wacky and can be mean. They take themselves very seriously.

    Argentina does not need to take Germany seriously. They are too far apart. All Argentina has to worry about is a few Nazi war criminals. And, who cares about Germany in Argentina? They have the Tango and Borges.

    When I was able to see my sister in that way, and myself, too, I could get to the point where I no longer judged myself or looked at myself through her eyes.

    We really have nothing to do with each other.

    It is just that I wish it had all worked out better. I wish I had had a family that could love me like I needed. I wish I could have been close to my mother, like a real mother. Instead my mother hurt me. I was afraid to be close to her. Because I had been so hurt by her.

    I never really trusted my mother to hold me in a safe place. If given a chance my mother would have eaten me alive, like she did in the months before she got very, very sick. Given a chance, my mother would have consumed me.
    I did, Cedar. And it almost killed me. But I did it anyway.

    As I write this I realize that while I might feel responsibility for the outcome there is nothing I could ever have done. My Mother's and sister's personalities were formed...they were who they were. Their destinies were determined by that.

    It is like watching an ocean liner like the Titanic sinking from afar. There is dread but there is nothing that can be done.

    It is actually a minor miracle that I am who I am. I took the best and made the best of an environment that was difficult and hostile and conflicted and dangerous and cruel...and impossible to understand. Thank God for my Grandmother. Both my Mother and Sister thought she was a little bit nutty. She saved my life.