Why can’t I stop poking the bear? (Borderline estranged daughter)

ButCoffeeFirst

New Member
It was my birthday yesterday. i had a lovely day and a very happy dinner out with my son and husband.
But I could not resist checking my estranged daughters TikTok account. I know better, but sometimes I am weak.
And there is was. The nasty, mocking video. I knew it would be there. And I still looked.
i knew it would not be enough for her to ignore my birthday. She would take the effort to make a video that day that would cause me pain, and hope that I would see it.
Do other parents of estranged unwell children do this? Intentionally cause themselves pain because they cannot seem to resist?

I think that I have detached with love. I think that I have finally stopped crying about the horrible, unexpected estrangement from our unwell child.
But then I poke the bear, and check her social media and my world falls apart again.
The hatred for me that she needs to express, her desire to inflict pain, will never be something I can brush over.
So why can’t I stop looking?

It shatters my self of self. It is like I am looking in to a mirror and my image is always a bit cracked and distorted. The way she has described me for the last 3 years has permanently changed the reflection. Narcissist, abuser, egg donor, piece of :censored2: human, unworthy of the title of mother. “I know she stalks this account - comment here so she can feel the hate.”
And when I give in to that craving to look at her social media and see all the new accusations and bile, the mirror explodes into hundreds of shards and I shatter and cannot see myself at all.
I don’t learn.
So I fall apart for a day or three, then start putting the pieces back in place again, rebuilding my self of self and remembering who I am and how much I loved and supported her and how her words do not tell the story of us. And then just as the mirror is taking shape again, and I can see myself, cracked and distorted but essentially intact, I do it again.

I have to hide this from my husband and son because I am entirely responsible for my relapse. I know that looking always makes me feel this way. I know I should not look. I know it makes them feel responsible for me. I know it makes them anxious that I may spiral downwards and again become that person who could barely function for grief. I know that it makes them feel like their love and support will never be enough.

When will I stop? HOW do I stop?
 

Deni D

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
Staff member
Coffee ~
but sometimes I am weak.
you are not weak. In these times, birthdays, annual dates of whatever we check in to see how our world is. And yes sometimes we are hoping for a miracle, that most likely will not come.
She would take the effort to make a video that day that would cause me pain, and hope that I would see it.
And yes she did, hoping you would see it. She looks in the mirror, in lightening speed moves the blame for her life onto you and hopes you suffer for it.
If she didn't think about you, and blame you, if she were moving on with her life and taking responsibility herself she would not have done that. And that is on her.
Do other parents of estranged unwell children do this?
Yep, and when my son was at his lowest he looked everywhere but to himself to try to lay blame, and I looked into his life as much as much as I could. I think it's called pain searching.

I think that I have detached with love. I think that I have finally stopped crying about the horrible, unexpected estrangement from our unwell child.
But then I poke the bear, and check her social media and my world falls apart again.
Detaching with love is to accept someone for who they are, warts and all. But it does not mean accepting their warts are your warts. This one is so hard to explain without going down a rabbit hole. For many years my identity was wrapped up with how my son saw me. That is not your identity, never was , and was not my identity. I searched and searched for answers, and yeah I was not perfect but have a solid base under me now to know, without a doubt. I did not cause my son's emotional issues. I was there and present, and did not bring what they now call generational trauma into my son's life. Now it's blamed on my parents with this bs because blaming me is no longer working. Um, no, I am now and was always present in my son's life. I have been down this road for way too many years, with way too much actual questioning of my behaviors, emotional reactions, physical reactions to know now how to separate myself from my son at this point.
The way she has described me for the last 3 years has permanently changed the reflection.
You need to get back to the reflection of you in the mirror. This description from your daughter, it should not be permanent. I thought it was for me with all of the hate coming from my son who I gave away myself to, for so many years. I thought of myself as a failure when the most important person in my life, my only son, was so hateful towards me. Like if the most important person, the one who I had poured all of my love, concern, time, and energy into hates me then wow I must be a real piece of crap because even this person thinks this of me. I must be that piece of crap. But with time and space, and I think with therapy in your case, you can be brought back to yourself. Who knows what she will think, do say, whatever. But I have to tell you, you are only here on this earth for so much time. You deserve to find joy in your life, peace in your life, simple things, you know what they are for you, and to be able to appreciate the people in your life who quietly simply celebrate life with you.

Love to you, it's hard but please do whatever you should to be present for the others in your life while detaching with love, letting it be what it is.
 

ButCoffeeFirst

New Member
Deni, thank you for your very empathetic and insightful response.
Having children who we loved so hard and nurtured so fully, view us as destructive, traumatising parents is like living in the upside down world. At least some of the time.
It gives me hope that you have managed to see yourself whole again, as you were and not as your son painted you. I am part-way there, but do relapse and again question everything about raising my children.
Your words rang true, especially those about finding joy and peace in simple things, and being able to appreciate the people in your life who quietly simply celebrate life with you.
I am lucky to have a close and strong relationship with my son, which helps tremendously and remind me that I was a locing, supportive mum.
I have three very dear friends who have known me for longer than I have been a mother, who raised their children with mine and who have spent hundreds of hours with me and with my children. They also remind me who I am, and who I was, and that they love me.
I just spent a week with one of these friends, enjoying the freedom of pursuing a mutual hobby now our children are adults. I have known her since I was 10 years old. No-one knows me better. We talked and shared and laughed like drains every day.
i have joy in my life. I have so much love in my life.
The set-backs and self-doubt may never leave completely, but I now allow myself to be happy.

Thanks again, Deni
 

DazedandConfused

Well-Known Member
Hi ButCoffeeFirst,

That social media post is the epitome of narcissistic abuse. Likewise, they never have to change because "it's" always someone else's fault. Until they own "it" and their part in "it", they become stuck in a self-perpetuating cycle of inflicting abuse on others as a way to regulate their emotional turmoil. For me, it is my 28-year-old son. Get this, he still lives at home. Long story, but we rarely interact unless he wants to act haughty and cackle at something he thinks is stupid about me or something I have done. I am his scapegoat and have been for most of his life. I decided to stop feeding the vicious narcissistic beast he has become. He blocked me years ago from his social media. Honestly, I don't want to know. I have detached from him so much that I question whether I feel any love toward him anymore. That I even question likely means I don't. What kind of mother feels nothing for her child? I guess a mother like me. I tried, I really tried.
 

ButCoffeeFirst

New Member
Dazed and Confused,
You are a better man than me, Charlie Brown. i cannot imagine living with my daughter. It was a daily hell then, and would be worse now that she seems to have abandoned any restraint in her desire to wound me.
Your question “What kind of mother feels nothing for her child?” haunts me too.
I wonder if the only way to survive this is to detach so completely that I feel nothing for her.
When the only interactions are shows of cruelty designed to cause us pain, it is difficult to see another way forward.
And yet, we forge on. Surviving. Trying to find joy and fiercely loving those who love us back.
❤️
 

ButCoffeeFirst

New Member
Yes. It is my lack of restraint that is the problem.
It is the only mechanism I have to check that she is still alive, how she is travelling, where she is living.
To see her. To hear her voice.
I have good friends who check her social media sporadically, and promise to tell me if there is anything I need to know. To try to keep me from looking myself.
But sometimes, (quite often, If I am honest) I cannot resist looking.
Poking the bear.
 

JMom

Well-Known Member
BCF,

Is it possible to delete the app? Could you allow yourself some peace and make it her responsibility to reach out when she is ready to do so in a loving manner? Boundaries can feel good and offer peaceful protection for you. Please do not torture yourself. I do understand to see the ugly truth of the situation but it doesn't sound like she is being truthful, just hurtful. Hugs to you, please choose to be kind to yourself and not peek!
 

Copabanana

Well-Known Member
“What kind of mother feels nothing for her child?” haunts me too.
I wonder if the only way to survive this is to detach so completely that I feel nothing for her.
I am in this place, too. My son came for Christmas, and within a couple of hours, my friend M, took him to his house, because I could not bear it. And on Christmas when they came back, I asked him how much money he needed to leave, I gave him a hundred, and bought his train ticket out of town. I felt horrible. Not that I did that. I only saved myself. But the sadness and despair was so great. I feel like I am wrecked. When it is him, whose life is a wreck. I am wondering now if the only way to survive this is no contact at all. Because if our children live intolerably, (my son lives on the street--and I blame myself for that...) how can we expect ourselves to tolerate them? Isn't it kinder all around to tell the truth, rather than to keep trying something that is unbearable? And if it's your child? What kind of a mother feels nothing for her child?
 

ksm

Well-Known Member
Hugs, Copa. The pain we feel is like a wound that we can't let heal...or we try to let it heal, but let our guard down and the wound gets opened up again.

Ksm...
 
Hugs Copa! We feel your pain. Please be kind to yourself and honour the wonderful woman you are. This is not on you. It’s on him. We have no control other than our reaction. I have worked so hard to make my core and well being not about my son, but about me. I found that if I continued to make it about him, I would spiral like a broken puppet at the hands of someone Who in reality is incapable of caring the way I want to be cared about. What a hard journey and road we travel. Know that you are surrounded by many warriors who will hold you and hug you and help you keep walking.
 

New Leaf

Well-Known Member
Hi Copa and all.
I have been in this place, the nothingness. Looking back, I think it is self protect mode, because to feel becomes incredibly unbearable. So we go the opposite to try to mend our hearts that have broken over and again. Holidays are so difficult perhaps because they are reminders of what once was when our wayward kids were little. Or maybe it’s the overwhelming desire for normalcy in such bizarre circumstances.
Because if our children live intolerably, (my son lives on the street--and I blame myself for that...)
No, just no, Copa! You have offered your son innumerable chances to live comfortably in your home, then in a home you own. He refused to follow rules and boundaries, that’s on him.

how can we expect ourselves to tolerate them? Isn't it kinder all around to tell the truth, rather than to keep trying something that is unbearable? And if it's your child? What kind of a mother feels nothing for her child?
I don’t think it’s feeling nothing. I think it is a way to stop the pain until we can find ways to cope with this ongoing continued feeling of loss. I think after so many years of suffering desperation over the awful choices our adult kids make, we have to come up for air. I have written many times that I have felt cold hearted when I don’t enter that slippery slope towards the rabbit hole. Nonsense. After years of this onslaught, something has to give. We are either going to roll over and perish from the pain of it, or go numb and find ways to get back up. I find that after contact with Rain, I have to put up boundaries all over again, not only for what I will tolerate from her, but boundaries for myself and how far I will go with the intense sadness. It’s an ongoing process. I am so thankful for the folks here who understand. Sending love and big hugs to you Copa, and all who have to work so hard to live on with the madness of it all. Please be gentle with yourselves.
(Hugs)
Leaf
 
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