Comments: Mommy Dearest
here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a
substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.
I can truly relate. I have very limited memory of my childhood. I know I felt I wasn't good enough. I remember a picture I was drawing being taken away from me as punishment. I never drew again. My mother and grandmother always bought me clothes they liked, not what I liked. I felt pressured. I was bullied in Jr high school. I had no backbone. In Sr high I did not fit in anywhere. All I know is I did drugs and alcohol to cope, to kill the pain. In a sad way it is good to know that I am not the only one who has very limited childhood memories. So there is a name for my experience, PTSD. I've forgiven my parents a long time ago, but never knew how to heal. Maybe now I can begin to heal further.
can certainly relate, having been through a terrible childhood as well.
It's so interesting about the shopping experience - same thing. We
shopped at second hand stores and my Mom always chose older styles,
something much older women would wear, because she didn't want me to
look like a whore. If I was even allowed to wear jeans to school, like
everyone else my age, I had to wear a dress over top of it. What
happened was that I grew up with no sense of self, who I was or what I
liked. I also experimented with marijuana, had no trust in authority,
have to be really sick before I go to a doctor (going to the doctor was
used as punishment), have no religious life (Mom would tell clergy all
the bad things I did), etc. As I got older, these traits were there
without my full awareness of them. Only when I kept hitting brick walls
with work and relationships did I seek help - the best thing I ever
did. The sense memories are the little pokes in the arm that your real
self is giving you. Some people, like my Mom, never got them and are
still miserable and wondering what's the point of being here. I'm so
sorry you had a terrible childhood. I'm glad the powers that be have
led you to seek help. It is frightening. I wonder also what could a
therapist possibly do except stir up old rotten memories, but you know
what? they validate, show you your value as human being, and teach you
to value yourself. You integrate all the crap and see how strong you
really are. Take care.
Dear Uncertain I'm sorry you've had such a traumatic childhood. It was very unfair to you to be treated that way. Your mother has also missed out on the friendship of such a loving, caring, and smart young lady. I can tell by reading your words that you are a strong person in search of answers. Don't stop until you find them. My childhood was also traumatic; but it was mostly my father who abused me emotionally and verbally. My mother just wasn't a safe shelter for me. I mean when I was abused by my father, there was no where to turn. Both of them were "weekend alcoholics". I am now 46 years old and still have troubled dealing with the childhood abuse. However, as I got older, and more mature, I realized first of all that it wasn't normal treatment. Then I came to see that it wasn't my fault. And later, of course accepting the fact that my parents had problems, issues that they never addressed. When I was 36 years old, my mother finally told me some things about my father's childhood, like...the way he was ill treated by his mother,...how he had to work at 8 years old to bring money in for the family...quitting school in the second grade...and when this was too much for him...he ran away from home...Just a child on his own. I asked my mother why she had not told me this sooner because it would have helped me understand why my father was so "mean" to me. She said she just didn't see the need to bring it up. We had this conversation on the way to the hospital. My father was dying of cancer. As I matured, I tried to look not only at was done to me; but tried to look for the motive behind the abuse. People say the way we turn out has a lot to do with the way we were brought up. I guess this is true because I used my childhood abuse as an area I would never venture into with my children. My father is dead now and I've had to rise above a lot of pain to try to have a relationship with my mother. But I do try and usually I initiate any encounter she and I have - whether its a card, visit or a phone call. One thing I know for sure is that this site has been such an encouragement. Stay close to it. Search high and low for a Therapist who will help you help you recover while you're still young. This will help you make life more "Sure" and you won't be "Uncertain" anymore. My heart goes out to you...Many hugs and best wishes...Betty
Uncertain, Although I experienced this on a smaller scale comparitively, from puberty until maturity, my father ignored me. I was daddy's girl up until this point. My father refused to make any decisions re: my life or my punishments. I'd ask him for permission to do something & his response was, "Ask your mother. She handles the girl things." (I have one brother, no sisters) I found myself questioning myself about what I'd done to deserve such treatment. I've attempted to talk to him about it & it did no good. He refused to acknowledge that anything was wrong, thus invalidating my feelings. It took me years to realize that the way my father acted towards me had nothing to do with me. It was/is his problem. He is a very selfish person doesn't know how to interact with people. In fact, he lives alone & hardly ever goes out. He's paranoid that if he leaves his house, someone will steal something of his. You are not alone, Uncertain. Give yourself time to heal. It may take a long time, but take it day by day. You're taking a huge step by merely facing the abuse. Congratulate yourself & please let us know how you're doing, if you want. JewelsMommy
I can understand some of what you lived through. I too liked attractive
clothing-but I learned not to ask for what I wanted. I was told that
wanting attractive clothing was shallow, that I was greedy and selfish.
If I complained about my mother's choices in clothing, I was told that
I should be grateful for what I had and to quit complaining. And if I
continued to protest her choices (and she picked out what I wore every
day until I started 7th grade), I was going to get hit. I know now that
my desire as a teen to be attractive and blend in with my classmates
was normal and healthy. That my desire to date was normal and healthy.
And that I was handicapped in college and later life because I didn't
have a clue about how to dress attractively, have any experience
interacting with boys, and didn't believe that my wants and needs were
important. The stubbornness that my parents tried desperately to beat
out of me, saved me. Now at almost 50 years of age, I'm more attractive
than ever, have finally learned that my wants and needs are just as
important as anyone else's, and that I am deserving of respect and
love. It's taken 3 abusive marriages, and therapy to teach me what
abuse looks like and how to avoid it. Life is so much better without
abuse-and if it means that I have only the most superficial kind of
relationship with my parents, so be it. I will not be abused, nor will
I allow my daughter to be abused. The last time they visited my home
(four years ago), they cornered my my then pre-teen daughter in her
room and told her that she was a "spoiled brat", I was a bad parent
because I refused to allow corporal punishment, and that if she had
been their daughter she would have been hit with a bamboo stick for
"backtalk to her mother." Needless to say, after that visit, my
daughter hasn't been anxious to see them again, and quite frankly
neither have I (especially after I talked to them about the episode and
they told me that they didn't know why I was upset, they were just
telling the truth). I also have no desire to hear the "truth" from them
about my daughter-she's gay and they believe gays are deviant, immoral,
and evil. They are not going to change (they're already rejected my
nephew who's also gay)-so I have changed how I deal with them. I do not
stay at their home, and see them only in a controlled situation e.g.,
large family reunion or at a restaurant. And when my daughter graduates
from high school, they are welcome only if they are willing to stay in
a hotel (it will be worth every penny I spend to have them stay in a
hotel), and agree not to make any negative comments about my daughter
or I. Therapy is a scary thing to contemplate, but it really will help.
Don't wait until you're in your mid-40s to deal with your issues, and
have several failed relationships behind you. Go for it now, and make a
better life for yourself! My life is so much happier now! And so is my
daughter's (yes, she's had counseling too).
Yes I can understand entirely those feelings and the worthlessness especially. It didn't start for me in a "heavy-duty" way until I was in my teens and it has continued (with my dad) up until now in my 30s. As of this very moment after another attack last night I feel that helplessness to badly. I feel so intimidated and humiliated and I don't know what to do. I have seen a cognitive therapist in the past though and Uncertain, it will help that's for sure. Chose the right person, make sure you feel comfortable with them and let it out. There are ways to deal with it I know, although I am really struggling right now too. Some really horrible things happened to me and he just denies everything he has done and blames me. Even last night it got so bad that I rang a help line. It's the first time I've ever done that. It helped so much. I live in fear of my father and I don't want to do that anymore. I do understand. (and thank you Dr Irene)
Well, I can certainly relate to Uncertain's experiences. My own mother seemed to take a perverse pleasure is asking me to clean my room, then when I'd finished, she'd march in, empty my cupboard over the floor and demand I do it again. And I was young - 6 - when she started this crap. as the years went by I naturally enough developed quite an aversion to "chores" but then of course I was now lazy. Could never please her..... And I had a mighty suppressed memory too - for the last 12 years my dreams were haunted by some sort of traumatic event, followed by strange personality splits and/or someone being trapped in a very strange way. Finally, at the age of 41 I got to the bottom of it all and recalled what had really happened - my own mother had assaulted me senseless when I was 5 years old. She kicked the living daylights out of me for standing up to her bulling (she was forcibly trying to make me eat a cheese slice I had dropped on the floor). But what was more surprising than what mum had done was what happened to me AFTER I remembered the assault. It was like an entire aspect of my personality had come to life - an aspect that could see people clearly for what they were, an aspect no longer afraid to stand up for myself. The mother of my children, who for so long I considered to be an evil mastermind who would never leave me be, has been relegated to the appropriate position of a Sociopath (with strong NPD tendencies). Now have 2 of my children in my custody and hope to have the third soon. (and in case you are wondering, yes, I have suffered some horrible abuse over the years - so much so that I've written over a 100,000 words on the subject - a full novel) And another surprise which may interest Uncertain - By getting to the bottom of my own problems I realized that who I really was had no relevance at all to what certain people were trying to tell me I was. Just no longer important. Must admit, I did have a big fear of finding out that I really was some kind of awful person. Just have to remember - that those people who put me down could have just as easily done the opposite and convinced me what I good person I was. But they didn't and they acted to control and manipulate. And they are still trying - both my mother and the ex are actively working against me in the Family Court. Sadly, my mother has done some horrid things since I remembered what happened. But knowing what I'm dealing with certainly makes the task at hand a lot easier... Mind you, I'm quite amazed that the Family Court in Australia seems to consider Sociopath mothers to be an impossibility. Steve. email@example.com
Hi Doc, Thanks for the prompt response! I appreciate your insightful comments. It is nice to hear that her behavior was inappropriate and that I have something that I need to "heal" from. Have you also noticed that you are not alone? I didn't mention that I am married, and one of my biggest hurdles is that fact that my husband does not seem to believe me about what happened. It's OK. He doesn't have to. It's often hard for a partner to view his in-law and picture them committing some of the stuff you describe. Especially since your mom has probably softened somewhat with time. (Other times, it's hard for a partner to believe you because it would bring up too many of his own issues...) Things haven't been going well with the marriage for a while, and I suspect that the trapped feeling I have been having is what triggered some of these memories of my childhood. That would not surprise me one bit. I do see that I am much stronger now than I was when I was younger, so I agree that I can "handle it better". Yes! That doesn't mean that I am thrilled about it! :-) I'd be surprised if you were! I don't know which is more difficult - suddenly realizing that I was in fact abused, suddenly seeing that it has been incredibly obvious all this time, or dealing with all of the dysfunctional things that I have done as an adult. Even the things that I thought were "good", such as work and academic success, seem like just another escape. As you heal, you will find that "escapes" are often productive, good things. Did you know many talented musicians, artists, etc. became/actualize their talents - because they found ways to escape in childhood? And many of the less positive things I thought I had come to terms with, but now that I see them from a different perspective, I have to find some way to come to terms with them again. You will re-evaluate many, many things. And, yes, I have a problem with making mistakes. It can be difficult to manage sometimes. I am very hopeful that after some therapy it will become less of an obstacle. Therapy should help you become more OK with all parts of you, the parts you like, and the parts you don't. I am sooooo glad there will be therapy!!! Thanks for the encouragement! I did start trying to find a therapist. :) I will have wait until later this week to continue...... but I am convinced now, and committed, so it will happen eventually (and soon). Your comment about the confidence is pivotal for me. It opens the door for the idea, for one thing, that maybe I wasn't necessarily born a horrible person, and even if I was, it was their job to try to deal with that, rather than just blaming me for being a burden. Bingo! You got it! Thanks again, (Less) Uncertain
Dear Posters and Dear Less Uncertain: I want to thank all you guys who took the time to respond to Uncertain. Without your input, the board loses.
Horrible childhoods are often not remembered, but are certainly not forgotten. They do need to be dealt with to make our own lives better, and certainly to break the abuse cycle for our children. Best wishes to everyone, and "see" you all next week. Doc
You are very brave for coming forth with your story. I'm sorry your
childhood was such a horror. Your mom was wrong. Please don't feel any
of this is your fault. I haven't experienced the same identical thing
as you; but I have experienced abuse...years of it! I'm almost 50 years
old and just recently can I appreciate that none of the abuse I endured
was my fault. Help is out there. Don't stop 'til you find it. Always
view your life as precious. No one has the right to treat you with
anything other than respect. I'm sure you are a beautiful person. Let
no one tell you differently. If, by chance, you look in the mirror, and
you tell yourself you're not beautiful...Then don't listen to "you"
either. Your life will get brighter soon. Sounds like the healing
process has already begun. Stay in touch with this site...The
encouragement will help a lot. You are not alone. Stay strong...MeMe Thanks MeMe.
Thanks to everyone for posting their own stories and comments. I agree with the first poster "in a sad way it's good to know....". You should give yourself credit for forgiving your parents. It's not in my plans for a long time. Maybe someday, but I can't even think about it now.
To the second poster, second hand shops? My problem was my mother wanted me to dress like a slut and I wanted to be recognized for being intelligent. She had something weird about doctors, too, and never took us unless it was for a school physical. Now that I think about it, we went to church but I would not have gone to the clergy for help either.
Thanks, Betty, for the encouragement. I don't feel very young at the moment, but I keep trying to tell myself that in a few years I will be glad I went through this now. At the moment I wish I had figured it out earlier. I can't believe your mother took that long to tell you about your father's history!
Hmmm, well, I can see that something is acting up with the posting here, and maybe when I refresh the page the contents are being resubmitted? I am going to try to put html newlines in to separate the rest of my comments instead of trying to post each individually.... I don't know what that will look like though html won't work here...
To JewelsMommy.... being ignored is very difficult. Trust me, I know. That was one of both my parents weapons. I will keep the board updated, thanks for asking!
To the next poster: your parents sound like a real piece of work. I am sorry that they did that to your daughter. Or your nephew for that matter. I am sure it is worth the money to keep them away, I know that is one thing I regret, not staying somewhere else because it cost too much even though I always hated staying at their house. I feel like I was selling myself..... that might be a little bit of an over-statement, but some things (peace of mind, a "safe" place to relax at the end of the day) are worth the money.
To the person who called the help line- I'm sorry you are still going through that kind of crap. I have problems with my parents now, too, with the manipulation and selfishness and criticism. And the obligations... their perception of exactly how much I owe them differs from mine. Thanks for the encouragement, and from what I hear, it isn't something that everyone just gets over once and everything is perfect from then on. Especially if you still have to deal with the abuse..... so I hope this finds you feeling better.
To Steve, the prolific writer: thanks for telling your story. It sounds like my mother, a little. Recently, while trying (childishly) to avoid my husband, I was stalling while doing some chore, I don't remember what, and I had a very vivid flashback to doing the same thing as a kid just to have a chance to stay away from the, well, it's hard to say mother, she was really the antithesis of the term, and now I have a reputation as lazy, according to my relatives. Ah, the injustice! I like your point that they could easily have made the choice to convince you what a good person you were instead. It's true. Once in a while people have a bad day, but the pattern you describe is a choice. Good job standing up for yourself and your kids! Good luck in court!
MeMe, thanks for calling me brave! It is very difficult.... but good. It's funny you should say that, I have always been very angry at my parents that one of the few compliments they ever gave me was when I was underweight. Geez. It's hard enough to have a positive self-image with the media and so on, let alone your own parents! So thanks for the kind words!
Thanks again everyone! :)
Yep, I've been a prolific writer alright. And it was extremely therapeutic too. Once I'd recovered my memories and got over the shock of how blind I'd been, I just could not leave the computer - 100,000 plus words in 4 weeks! Funny thing (in a demented way) - I KNEW 12 years ago I was dealing with a suppressed memory due to the bluntness of my dreams. And I KNEW my mother held the key. But when questioned, she not only got defensive, but extremely offensive. She went right out of her way to discredit me, ridicule me, to the entire family. As it turns out, if she had of been honest with me 12 years ago, I would have recovered my memories then, healed myself and avoided the horror of being a sociopaths victim for so long. All I needed was to know when and where to look. It's such a shame that a mother can consider keeping 1 dirty little secret above the well being of her son. I can easily forgive her for the assault, but her behaviour since has been downright evil. After all, it's pretty obvious to me now how dysfunctional I was in certain areas and mum must have known why. But now that I am pretty close to whole again, I'm faced with an even stranger dilemma - my sudden change in attitudes and personality has family members convinced I've lost the plot. Just can't get it through to them that I actually feel much better and happier. Same thing happened with some friends. But the better natured of my friends just seem happier than ever to see me. And my children aren't complaining at all. :-) Speaking of my children, it was through them that I finally healed - for it was when they were young that I realised I had a problem - I felt many abusive urges and I fought them like hell, tried hard to change, and that is when my dreams started telling me things. And that raises a question that still greatly puzzles me - as messed up as I was, I knew abusing my children would be wrong - so why is it that most abusive people refuse to believe they have a problem? As best as I can figure, it's because they would have to admit they were less than perfect. So sad that the very people who see themselves as being without fault are the very ones who make life hell for the rest of us. The mother of my kids once told me "I'm a fully evolved spirit, I have nothing more to learn on earth and I'm going to Heaven!". No wonder she has not changed a bit in the 17 years I've known her. Actually, she is just much worse...... Steve. :)
Hi Steve, It is surprising how some people cover up for abuse. The news story that set all this off was about some "parents" whose child died when she was "punished".... they were already lying when they made the 911 call! What did it take them, 20 seconds to already be covering up... I look back over the years and one of the things I think is sickest about my parents, yet also an indication that they knew something about what they were doing was wrong, is what I experienced as a kind of propaganda campaign about parenting. How parents who were "fooled" into helping their kids were, well, fools, duped by lying, sneaking brats. OK, maybe, but not true in the case(s) we were discussing. And so many things like that, little insidious comments that all point to the idea that the child is always to blame and it is the poor parent who suffers. Ick! All that "evidence" adds up over the years. As I have no doubt mentioned a dozen times already, I am really shocked that I believed them. Although, actually, I am not sure I did. All of these oblique conversations always left me feeling something. I am not sure what- hurt and angry and frustrated because they were very good debaters and it very difficult to argue against implications and insinuations. As to becoming a happier person, I certainly hope that happens! Right now, though, I am still shocked and disturbed at the level to which my parents sank. I am shocked and appalled at some of the things I have done, too. I mean, all I saw and learned about relationships was really messed up, so it is not surprising that I might have had (and have now) some messed up relationships, but as I look back I can see I have probably been abusive, in some, as well as inviting abuse in some, and that is what really makes me squirm. I can't really control what my parents did, and I can't totally blame myself for my reaction up to a certain age, but dragging other people into it (later) seems inexcusable. Please stop. We do the best we can at a given time. It's a good thing to look back and "Monday morning quarterback," but please stop with laying blame. Simply take responsibility for your actions in the future, now that you know better! Taking responsibility has nothing to do with blame and punishment and badness and all that yukky stuff. Taking responsibility assumes that at the time you did what you did, you did the best you knew to do. Especially since I remember deciding (sad as this sounds) sometime in my late teens that it was OK to hurt myself but not other people. Now it is hard to see that I didn't follow that rule very well. Ah, yes, I have had contact with people who use their religious beliefs and practices to conclude that they are infallible. Don't get me wrong, I am not against religion, I also have seen plenty of people who are deeply religious and are great, highly accomplished and happy people. But sometimes, people use the fact that they go to church as evidence that they don't need to change or to do any self-evaluation. Correct on both counts. My impression was that you go to church in part to become a better person. Or maybe that is what I was told and being a gullible child I believed it. In theory, that is the idea. My parents don't appear to have used it as an opportunity to take a step back and look at themselves. Unfortunately, that hapens. That's great that you were able to break the cycle of abuse. Very inspiring. Thanks! -Uncertain (and probably repeating myself, for which I apologize!)
Hi Doc, It's been another week, and I am not sure if I had anything new to add. My thoughts seem to be going in a cycle of disbelief, dismay, and regret. Sounds pretty normal to me. On the bright side, I have been doing a lot of writing about what I can remember, so I have had a chance to see exactly how abusive my parents were and how little choice I really had, even into my early twenties. Excellent! Still, it's very difficult because it is so hard to believe. I don't know when exactly I forgot my childhood but I think somewhere along the way I came to accept my mother's revisionist and highly positive version of events. And presumably it was positive for her, because she always got her way. I don't really mean that. Actually I feel very sorry for her. Both statements are true. I only wish it were clearly black and white! The thing is, when I feel some empathy for her, and I do, I don't know how much of that is because I am a nice person and how much is because she brainwashed me with tales of how unhappy she was (because of other people as well as myself, to be fair) for thirty something years. That you are empathic is true. That you were brainwashed is true. That she hurt you, without meaning to is true. Then I can't believe that someone would actually work so hard for so long to prove that they are not to blame for anything. Isn't that sad? I don't know anybody who never made a mistake! Then I think that it must be all in my imagination, I am the one who was always trying to blame her, and anyway I seem to have an inordinate need for a detailed attribution of responsibility when things go wrong, but wouldn't I have learned that from her..... and so on. Don't get confused here. You have a right to feel angry, to feel injustice was done. You also have a right to feel empathy, for she deserves empathy. But, she did hurt you. All of the above is true and none of it contradicts itself. Anyway, I did call and make an appointment with a therapist for next week. I'll let you know how it goes. Hopefully well. Thanks, Not uncertain this week, just confused! :-) Yipppeeee!!!!!!! Waiting to hear from you!
I understand, Uncertain, as my story is very similar. My foggy childhood is a mess that I have been running from as an adult. Lots of humiliation, mind-games, withholding, you name it. I have spent most of my adult life clinging for dear life to the bottom of Maslow's pyramid. I feel a lot of shame even attempting to recall my childhood - like I am once again just a failure looking to blame my problems and lack of responsibility on my parents. It gets tricky. A couple of things that I do know: The same horrifying stuff has kept happening no matter how healthy, assertive, and respectful of myself I have become. My self-esteem is solidly defended against overt abuse, but very vulnerable to slow, methodical covert abuse. That is the way my folks did it, and I probably teach people how to do it to me in the present. Don't know how - but that has got to be how it works. I have a very difficult time being decisive, clear-headed, or content with myself for any extended period of time. My childhood sometimes feels like a dark amorphous vine that is choking the tree inside of me. It is so wrapped around who I am, but if I could just rip it out by the roots - I would be free... So, Uncertain - I don't have answers but I do relate. I have faith that there is a way out, in spite of the relating that I have done here. I just haven't found it yet. Wishing you the best, Waiter. Start by recognizing that you have nothing to be ashamed about; that shame was put onto you - mand that you keep it alive today.
Your mother sounds like the parents I grew up with. Not a pretty sight. My father is very critical of my existence to this day. My mother was very critical of me as a teenager and young adult. She has been deceased for the past eith. When most kids are busy trying to chose their college majors, I took the low road out of that house and married an abusive ex-husband. Believe me, it has not been an easy road undoing their teachings. It will take some time to realize that you are not the monster or bad person you were told you are doing your formative years. I've been in counseling, for the past ten years. My job offers free services, and when it's time for the contract to renew, I am the first one there. This time I got up enough strength to tell me father exactly what I have been feeling, and that he can own what ever it is he feels about me at this late date. I am not the least bit threatened about being left out of a will which I am not going to be written into anyway. He is not speaking to me to this day, even though he is telling everyone he is not angry. However, I am not concerned with what he thinks at this late time in his and my life. I am concerned about me, and my own integrity and not allowing this to invade my life any longer. Good for you!
I hope you do find a nice supportive therapist. They can be
life-savers. Mine encourages me to start taking care of myself, to
trust myself, and to dream up and follow some life-goals. Just feel
free to shop around. You don't have to stay with a therapist that you
aren't comfortable with, or that you feel isn't helping you. Mine is my
third and the best! I recognize some of the pain you are in. I'm in it
too. Nothing like an abusive parent to destroy one's sense of
self-worth. The damage sticks. Therapy can help you kick some of that
damage so that you don't have to live with so much fear and self-doubt.
Also: You Get To Find Out: A) You are a valuable person same as
everyone else. B) You were a valuable child whether you knew it or not.
C) I wasn't your fault that your family was awful. D) It is not your
fault that some of those people still are awful. E) You were taught a
prejudice against yourself. F) Yes you can get over a lot of the fears
you are feeling now! G) No, you don't have to make the same mistakes
they did. H) You can learn to have dreams and plans for your life
again. I am continuously working on all these and on: I) You can learn
about who you really are inside. [Without the fear]
This last one is a doosey. After years of acting only out of fear, and
need, and self-protection, I'm finally finding out what some of my
under-lying personality is.
[I like games of chance, live music, and feeding ducks, who knew?]
I wish you well!!! --AdultDaughter Thanks for the good advice.
See ya all sometime next week. Doc.
Hi Waiter, Thanks for relating! "Mind-games" is an excellent way to describe it. Also, I know what you mean about the covert abuse. I know for myself that I seem to ferret out these narcissistic people to work for (and I know they are because other people felt the same way, over time, and in both cases these people have a long history of multiple co-workers and subordinates leaving or transferring. I am in a bad work situation right now. The person who is, I believe, narcissistic, is verbally abusive. Likes to publicly humiliate people, and is extremely good at arguing (read: distracting, subverting, attacking) so that they will "win". When confronted, this person will claim to not do these things or at least to not mean them. Lots of these people don't see their behavior as all that bad. Think of the stuff you're hearing on the news these days with Michael Jackson; that he doesn't believe he's done anything wrong. However, history (and not only with me) shows a lot of less-than-ideal behavior, so I don't think such denials carry much weight. Right. Trust your perception and remember the motto: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!" I wish that I had realized that I had such a problem and had gotten help earlier. Because this person was a first-class jerk in my interview, and I was lured in by the thought that I had passed some great demanding test and had been found worthy, instead of seeing it for what it was, a chance for this person to boost their own ego by bullying someone. I have tried very hard to be fair and above board in this situation, as far as admitting to my half of what is happening, but I think that some of what this person does is triggering, and although I can generally handle it, I just don't think it is worth my suffering. So I hope the therapy will help me. And the economy will get better! Yeah! I had to leave a different job because the woman there got so bad. At first the abuse was directed at others, and I had recognized it (for instance, by listening to her try to destroy people's careers by giving them horrible, catty, and totally untrue recommendation on the phone), but decided to stick it out for another year. It was very, very bad, mainly because the replacement for the last person she had driven away was not someone she could push around, so I got to be the victim, and I think now I stayed partly because by that time I felt so guilty about even implicitly being a part of what she did to the other people in the previous years. It was such a revolving door that now I don't even know how many of these poor people there were. She was a very unhappy person, and very, very manipulative. Anyway, I hope you get it all figured out! Try to think of the vine as a short-lived perennial- some do just whither away after a few years... :-) Uncertain, and confused
To the woman who wrote, "Your mother sounds like the parents I grew up with. Not a pretty sight. ...", I can relate. I recently found out that my parents had plans to get one last (and permanent) jab in at me in their will. They are so reasonable and subtle about insulting me. They have a lot of practice, I suppose. Thanks for posting!
To AdultDaughter: Thanks for the kind words and encouragement! Your list sounds great. I can only hope to get to all of them! Interesting about the last one.... I recently bought something that was way too expensive and not really called for at the moment, as I am trying to save money. I couldn't bring myself to return it, and after I read your post I realized that it is the one interest I can point to that is my own, not introduced by my mother or that I have acquired in my marriage. In the shock of suddenly discovering that everything I do seems to be about someone else, I had sort of forgotten that I had any such interests. I was very relieved to realize that once in a while I do do something for myself! :-) See ya all next week! Dr. Irene
Hi Doc, I did make it to my first appointment. It wasn't what I expected, or rather, I should say, I had hoped to be less nervous but I can't help it, all I could think of was my mother looking at me like I am some kind of monster, and my father constantly staring at me to see if I am lying. It's hard to shake that off. I know. That's why you're there. You bring these feelings with you everywhere. The therapist will help you with that. Please tell him or her you feel that way. I liked the therapist, though. I do believe that this will be very good for me. Yippeee!!! It's not easy. I have serious issues with feeling that my feelings have any validity, because every time I see a news story about child abuse, I think that I didn't have it all that bad, and I should just get over it. Well, I know you won't believe me deep down in your heart yet, but I'll say it anyway. Your feelings have validity. Even if everyone in the world disagrees with you, your feelings are correct for you. And they are valid. Promise! (You are the only one who doesn't know this!) Even so, I can't deny anymore that this is holding me back in my personal life and career, so it needs to be done. Thanks for all of your encouragement and for the much-needed pointing in the right direction! I am soooo happy you are finally going to deal with this stuff! It's too much baggage to carry around!
I understand completely. I remember well the feeling of being some kind
of monster as a child.
Honey, I suggest you let the healing process take it's course. It is
hard and painful but so freeing. My entire life was spent trying to win
my mother's approval and "be good enough" for her. I was amazed the
first time in my therapist's office that I was able to say "My mother
did not love me." I had been so afraid to accept that--but the world
did not end. And the healing began. I have not spoken to my mother in
13 or 14 years --except for the occasional manipulation by her ( I have
cancer, I'm taking you out of my will. etc) and my life has been
wonderful! I no longer hate and am no longer obsessed with the
situation. I have a wonderful relationship wiith my husband, and my
daughter. I have gone to school and granduated Phi Theta Kappa wiith
high honors and have a very rewarding job in computers and am highly
regarded by my peers.
Not bad for someone who grew up hearing how no one would ever love me
except my mother and I would never have friends if I didn't do "things"
People who have had normal mothers will not understand. I still here
how 'sad' and 'awful' it is that my Mom amd I are estranged. I just
smile and say "oh, well..." because they cannot fathom how beneficial
it really is.
Good luck in getting out from under the lies-- believe me--the Truth
will set you free
Hi Jan, Funny you should mention wills... one of the things that really pushed me over the edge was finding out that even after all this time my parents have plans to get one last insult in in their will, one last (and lasting) testament to my supposed inability to make even the most basic contingency plans for my own life. I don't know what you mean by doing "things" for other people, but my mother had a real (and unrealistic) bee in her bonnet about my lack of "real" friends. I always thought that this was because I never had them over, but now that I think about it, she knew quite a few of them, so I don't know what her problem was. She just wanted something to criticize me for, I suppose. She had (and still has) this thing about her friends, where she was convinced that they lied to her, to mislead her into looking bad and doing stupid things, for instance, and couldn't be trusted. Hmmm, now that I think about it, she pretty gives as good as she gets in that arena, so I can only assume that she is (and was) talking about herself. Nice job on going back to school and doing so well! Thanks for relating! Your mom is the one with the problem. Don't make her problem yours!
I guess this will be my last update for this board. I really appreciate
your help, and I need it. I have already cycled back into thinking that
I must have imagined it all (or at least be exaggerating), but I am
going to continue with the therapy. The cycling is normal and part of the process. I'm glad
you will continue. Whether
I can remember it all that well or not there are incontrovertible facts
of my life pointing to some problems, and I have people who count on
me, so I need to fix them (the problems, not the people! :-). Yeah! As you said, it is very important to break the cycle. Thanks again, and happy holidays!
God bless you and my best wishes to you always. Plus...
Happy Thanksgiving! Dr. Irene
Dear Uncertain, After reading about your experiences, I felt compelled to write as I have experienced some of the same things you have by my mother and stepfather. Especially frustrating was my mother telling me I was bad, made me wrong no matter what I did, and told me as I got older that her verbal and physical abuse was my fault and atleast it helped me to be tough (what a crock-- I am still struggling to have normal self esteem). I still can't remember a lot of my past and little by little it is coming back to me (I have lived away from home for 14 years). I still find that I have not healed from my child abuse and even harder, that I have to spend a lot of time understanding about my past so I don't end up like my mom. Even now, my mother is verbally abusive and I have to find new ways to deal with her mind games. I think what has helped me heal the most recently is to tell my mother to STOP whenever she tries to say what a bad kid I was, or when she tries to tell me how I should feel. I think she's finally getting the point that I don't buy what SHE says about me anymore. It sounds like you are just starting to recognize that you were abused and that your experience was NOT OKAY. It took me a long time to recognize this, and I'm still recognizing and dealing with it everyday. I send my love to you and hope that you have a beautiful life from here on out-- you deserve it!
Helloooo out there. I just read Uncertain's story and it hit home like a cannon shot. Finally at age 40 I am starting to realize that no matter what I do, say, look like, achieve, whatever, that I will never please her, she is nasty, cold and pathetic, and that this is not my fault. The night I pretty much ended contact with my parents (she is the leader and he has learned to follow her lead in order to avoid the consequences), it was my birthday. I ended up taking the family out to dinner, and they were in top form, being as nasty as possible. The focus this night was everything that is wrong with my 6 year old niece-all her failures as a person, and why she will never measure up. After hearing that (and getting sucked into defending her jsut so I could be the target for a while too), it dawned on me that if a beautiful, sweet, bright,a nd funny 6 year old is cast as a total failure and cannot be redeemed, that my whole experience withthem was never about me--it was about their incredible need to be idolized, and if they aren't, the swift and harsh punishment that follows. It was a miserable night, but it really cleared things up for me. Expressing yourself, liking green better than blue, having your own point of view politely expressed...these do not deserve punishment, but thats what we got. They lie in order to blame me for something, and then punish me for it. Even when the truth is obvious and can be shown, that's just another reason to be punished, because I've challenged their perfection and greatness. The truth is that you/we are not making this stuff up. We really were abused, neglected, belittled, insulted, demeaned, blamed, hated, and so on. There is a reason that they have no deep relationships with other people, they get in fights and lawsuits with former friends and coworkers. And for me, it is time to stop defending them and denying my self. I've had a lifetime of that and all it ever was was just buying into their BS. I am looking for help creating intimacy and family to take the place of the one I was born with because it hurts me so much not to have it. But I dont see how to be around them and deal with all the never-ending escalating BS. I wont sell myself out anymore just to have a pretend family. So my goal is to learn how to manage my bitterness and anger, get past it, and be free of this constant inner critic that speaks in their voice even when they aren't around and haven't spoken to me for 11 months (they live 10 miles away and couldn't even be bothered to come over whenI was seriously sick and housebound for 3 months straight).
Hi My father was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 13. To make a long story short, my mother kicked me out of the house after I graduated from university. She later blamed it on my father of course. She also ranted that I would never make it on my own. I assure you that I have "made" it and do not live on the street. Anyway, there came a point where I was called a "schizo" by an ex-boyfriend and my mother. The exboyfriend's father was a social worker and the boyfriend "dealt with people like me" all the time. He forgot that I had to "deal" with him getting angry all the time, demolishing his room, driving 40 km above the speed limit with his head stuck out the sunroof of his car, drinking and driving, etc. I wanted to do the right thing. My father had to be committed to a psychiatric ward. I wanted to be more responsible. So I saw a doctor. Although, I could barely speak from the string of traumatizing events, the doctor said I was fine. We had a few weekly chat sessions which helped ease the stress. My mother didn't want anything to do with the doctors although, she kept calling me a schizo. I knew she would deny these things if I told this to the doctors so I didn't mention the abuse. I asked to go see a psychiatrist who said I was fine. She made some comment about how I should just tell my mother to stop bothering me. Easy for her to say. My mother actually called the police a few times threatening to get me committed. Years went by. I went from one psychiatrist to another. I talked about little issues. I went in with specific questions about how to deal with this or that. I was always fine though. After a few years, I had put my career in jeopardy by not being able to pass some exams. I went to a psychologist specializing in educational matters. She probably saved my life. She told me I wasn't having educational matters but that I needed to deal with family violence issues. It was the first time that I felt comfortable enough to discuss what she called stuff that I had swept under the rug. I started seeing a family violence specialist weekly for about 3 months. It was enough to start putting me on the right track. It has been 6 years since then, and I just passed those exams I mentioned earlier. I definitely recommend trying to find help. It is out there. It is just difficult to find sometimes. Issues still crop up that I don't know how to deal with. For instance, I haven't seen my parents in about 5 years. Now that I have achieved the things, my mother said I never would, do I give them $500 for Christmas and pretend nothing ever happened? Or do I let them go on believing I am a loser? Or will contacting them only put my life at risk again? The stress never ends but at least therapy can help you be the person you were meant to be. peasant girl
Hello! I am so relieved to have stumbled on your website. I recently ended an abusive relationship with my boyfriend and needed "answers" as to how I could allow myself to become a victim. What I have found is that I have been playing the role of a victim my whole life. I am 22 now and it wasn't until a few years ago that I really discovered what my mothers abuse did to me. She is mentally ill, and although she was never fully diagnosed, I believe she shows signs of bi-polar and schizophrenia. I can totally relate to Uncertain's letter. Nothing was ever good enough for my mother. She had me doing a laundry list of chores by the age of 5. I could have done all but one chore and that was the only thing I would hear about. No matter how hard I tried I was never good enough. To this day I find it almost impossible to try anything new if I am not 100% sure that I will be perfect at it. She was also very good a manipulating and giving guilt trips. I remember one time my dad (before they got divorced when I was 4) was on his way to the store to pick something up for my mother and she wanted him to take me along. He had watched me all day and didn't think that I needed to go. My mother turned to me and said,"Well, I guess your father doesn't love you". This is just an example of the verbal abuse that I became acustomed to at such a young age. I find my self becoming the victim in every relationship I have. Luckily, my dad saved me when I was 14 and I went to live with him. I am doing better now that I do not speak to my mother, although it would be nice to break the cycle of abuse. I am so glad to know that other people out there can relate. Best of luck to all of you!
Hello, I can't believe I came upon this web-site! I am 32 years old, and have realized NOW that my mother was emotionally abusive to me in childhood and through-out my life. I am finally reaching out for help, now at 32 and I still feel that scared little girl inside like I'm "telling on mommy". I had moved to Florida to get away from my mother at 17 years old, but never new what I was running from. I didn't know that what I was living with was not normal. I set out to Florida to "prove to her" that I was a competant and capable person, not the stupid and worthless child who couldn't take care of herself as she made me feel I was, and my two older sister went along with it. I was damned if I do, damned if I don't, couldn't ask for help, without feeling as if I was "already supposed to know" something. I always felt like I was suppossed to already know what to do, but never had any idea what it was I was suppossed to know. She treated me as if I was a stupid and incompetant person who should be able to take care of herself. I was always fending for myself, rather than being taken care of and taught things. I never talked about my experiences with my mother before, I had no idea that I was abused, until recently, and now that I started to "talk about my experiences" so much suppressed hurt has been coming out, like a river flow of a hurt little girl, scared, lost, and alone. I had my first therapy session two days ago with a woman who specializes in emotional abuse. It is scary and frightening, but I realize that I have been living my life as an emotionally abused woman, because you don't heal from abuse from the past, simply by becoming an adult. Great books to read that I have read are "The Emotionally Abused Woman" by Beverly Engel. I moved and now have no contact from my mother at all, realizing that being in her presence causes me nothing but fear, hurt, and pain. It's time to find your power as an adult, and make the phone call you couldn't make as a child. A call for help. After I met with the therapist who validated my fears and my mothers abuse towards me, I felt like I finally made that call for help. -D.D. Finally Seeking Help
Haven't been to the site lately and so I'm a couple months behind in responding to this letter. Perhaps I can still help, though. I can empathize with you. My mother used similar tactics. Even though I don't know what exactly your mom did to humiliate you in front of your friend, I do know that feeling because my mom made a habit of cutting me down in front of people and humiliating me. There's no answer, I don't think, to verbal abuse. There's no magic way of recovering. But, by finding people who do understand you, you can start to understand yourself. I don't think I'll ever trust or forgive my mother. I'm hoping just to trust and forgive myself. I have been in therapy for most of my life and I promise you that a good therapist can save your life. Believe in the profession! There are thousands of people in the world who completely understand those awful, awful feelings your mother gave you. I am one.
I think that i'm getting verbally abused by my dad he is always making me feel like i'm the wrong thats wrong ig i do or did not do something its my fault even when its his fault i'm the oldest of five kids and its hard enough for me already without me being critizied over everything I do absolutely everything when I tell him something good I did he's like yeah sure whatever tahts good but with an attitude and I fell like if hes not even paying attention to me . Then he goes and baby's my little sisters because shes his favorite and she doesn't do anything to deserve it? I dislike it very much when my parents try to put me down well really only my dad my mom is very nice and shes doesn't critisize me like my dad does hes way worse my mom is very kind but my dad has problems big time and my grandma his mom is the same way to me too shes always trying to put me down and I know why too and she's even confessed that's why too and i know it true but i just take it all in and I an't say anything about it to her or i'll be the one getting in trouble. I see where uncerain is coming form too I've recently been having some very bad falshbacks too. I remmember one night when i was asleep my grandma started hitting me while I was asleep and she woke me up and I was like why are you doing this and she said taht i didn't even wash the dsihes and she was jsut hitting me and i was crying and i got up and went to the kitchen and I saw a bunch of dishes on the table but i had washed the dishes before taht day and when i went to sleep my brothers and sisters had went in and made more mess and she started beating me up for that and then my parents didn't even notice until I started crying and then they started arguing with her.But, my grandma is only like tha with me and she babies every one of my others brothers and sisters i just feel like shes only out to get me. She was like that with my dad too maybe taht's why hes like taht and i'm scared because i don't want to be like that and i'm starting to act like my dad sometime s and I get scared because i don't want to be like that. I think i;m going to go and tak to the counselor at school about this and i also believe i should take a anger management class or something because i have problems big time
Dear Uncertain, I could have written that letter about my mother as well. I know that I have a constant battle every day to tell myself that I have worth. When I became a mom, I used to say to myself " you won't say that about------'s mom." I figured that he deserved a mom with self esteem, even if I didn't feel like I had a right to it for myself. That happened when I realized that I had to leave my family and husband, and start new. Literally, all alone. I lost my whole family, divorced my husband, packed and moved, and found out that my 20 month old son was autistic in the same 6 week period.I figured that even if no one ever loved me, it had to be better than the abuse that I had taken for 30 years. I tried to talk to my family once, and told them that the past is the past, but I won't be sworn at, or called worthless, stupid, lazy, selfish, and ungrateful anymore, or physically abused. I also demand those same rights for my son. My mother screamed "how dare I tell her what to do". So I left. Sometimes it's really hard. When my boyfriend broke up with me four days before Christmas, I felt really needy and called my mom. She evidently heard the weakness, and started to suck me back in, and when I told her I was scared to trust her because I was so emotionally vulnerable right now, she suggested that I do the world a favor and kill myself. Seriously! Not all moms love their children, but I am so proud of the fact that I have never belittled, degraded, or even considered spanking my 3 year old son. Thank you for sharing your story; it's nice to know that there are other people who understand (I'd rather that no one elses mom was like that, but if they are, it's nice to know that sometimes doing the best that you can with the tools that you are given are enough for a little while, and that I have a right to be treated with dignity and respect(so long as I command it through my actions) simply by existing, and that I have the right to terminate any relationship of any sort where someone hits me, or screams at me, or calls me names. I see my son learning from my actions and it makes me proud of myself. It took me so long to even be able to think those words. Proud of myself. I once babysat for a woman who when her daughter got into an escalating power struggle, just stopped, smiled and hugged her daughter and said, "I love you so much...do you know that?" I realized that my mother would have beaten me, and then apologized to everyone in earshot for having been forced to do that by her rude and ungrateful daughter. You sound like a strong and honest woman; so many people would rather play "lets pretend everything is normal" than to face the truth. Good Luck, but I don't think you'll need it; I'm pretty sure that you are making your own luck. J San Diego
Wow. Dear Uncertain, I read your post and was dumbfounded. Truely. It was as if I was reading my own story. You are not alone. I am currently doing life coaching. More often than you could EVER imagine this happens between strong daughters and their insecure mothers. It seems that the mothers cannot handle that their daughters are so strong. They see a weakness in themselves. Instead of rising up to the level of strength they see in their daughters they choose to pull us down to their level by critizing and withholding. You may not see yourself as strong, but you are. Your core self is amazingly strong. Know this - if your deepest self was not so strong your mother would never had felt insecure enough to put you though this hell. It is so difficult, but I have found forgiveness has been the ONLY thing that has really helped me get through my healing process. Of course, forgiveness does NOT mean that you are now not allowed to be angry, or hurt. Nor does it mean that you are absolving her of all responsibility. It also does not mean that you need to tell her you forgive her. It means that you wish to heal for YOU. This is the BEST way to heal yourself. Do it for YOU not for her. When I began the process of forgiving my mother I was at a loss. "How do I begin forgive such a monster?" The first step is trying to understand that your mother was insecure and felt completely powerless in herself. See her as a weak child that is lashing out. Again, this does not absolve her responsibility. This is for you to see her in the light that is weak, not powerful over you. When you really can see that her behavior was caused from action taken onto her - it will help you see that this was not about who you were - it's all about who she is and what she's a product of. I will warn you this is a double-edge sword. When we realize that the action our mothers took against us was not our fault, we then realize we have no power over their actions either. Even though we would like to let go of the responsibilty for them, it's harder for us to let go of the underlying (false) sense of power to change them. Our thoughts that reflect this may be, "If only I did this right...If only I was better at this..." etc. Believe me, I know. I went through all of this myself. Unbelieveably, when I forgave her, very soon afterward, she started to change toward me. I can't guarentee that this will happen each and every time, but I can guarentee that when you forgive you are releasing yourself from all these self defeating emotions. I wish you the very best. You will be amazed at the strenth you have had all along once you peal off each layer of thoughts that were imposed upon you. love and light, Understanding
Hello, I hope you are still checking this. I have experienced very similar treatment in my childhood. I too could not remember my childhood for years afterward. I did however associate childhood with hell, I first became aware that not all childhoods were hell at a bus stop at sixteen when one of my friends said she would give anything to be a kid again. She had great memories. I dont have these. Like the comment above I remember being in clothing stores while my mother searched for the least flattering clothes for me. Saying I liked something was a guarentee I would not get it. She always dressed me so I felt like a complete loser and completely out of style. It was really tramatic for a child. An example was she would never buy us socks, the only socks I had were dirt stained and filled with holes. I thought nice clean socks were only for more worthy people and I was not deserving of such extravegance. When I would try and express my opinion, I was just a kid and my little world and ideas were not important. I was told over and over I would not make it life without them. Funny thing about that I left home at 16 and did just fine, I went to university and now live a nice comfortable life. I am still trying to deal with these issues though. My mother still engages in very controlling behaviour, like the Christmas I was going to spend I my in laws. My mother was so upset when she heard that she called me late one night and said "Your grandma is dying of Cancer and you cant even spend Christmas with her" First of all I didnt now she was sick, and to tell me news like that in that manner is completely heartless. It turns out my grandma didnt have cancer. The list goes on and on. Recently I have severed all contact with my parents. I found the ongoing drama and manipulation to be too much. My mother actually intiated the estrangement herself, she was upset with me for setting down some boundaries, she felt she had the right to say and do whatever she wanted to me, and I had no right to defend myself. I guess she thought cutting me off was punishing me. She even dragged my grandma into it, trying to convince her I am an ungrateful little wretch. For me that crosses the line. And I actually found the quiet wonderful, I suddenly found a lot more energy to do things, and I feel a lot healthier mentally, I feel stronger. My mother called the other day after several months of silence, asking if my family could come stay here a few days. I refused and I know all the nasty thing my mom is going to say about me because of it, but quite frankly I dont care. I have to admit I feel some guilt deep down, but now I can see the hurt and insults and a distance, and I feel I can make a choice not to allow that into my life, I am prepared for the concequences
Yes, I have experienced these issues. I'm 37 years old and just last night my mother told me the same thing she's been telling me since I was a little girl--that nobody likes me and I'm mean and selfish. She told me I didn't even care about my husband (who is out of town this weekend). I actually just called him and asked him if he thought I didn't care about him and if he thought that people didn't like me and if I was selfish. I know this isn't true and I told myself I wasn't going to let her get to me, but I've been crying all day. When she talks to me like that I feel so lonely and depressed. I can't believe my own mother doesn't even like me. She used to beat me too when I was little and so did my dad. I can remember being home alone with her and her going into rages and beating me with a belt. I've been through two years of therapy, but, unfortunately I still hurt from this and I have trouble getting along with people at work (although I've been at the same job for 3 1/2 years) it seems like no one there likes me, and I get more angry at certain situations then I should and act inappropriately--I threw a fit a couple of nights ago at the drug store because they were taking too long with my prescription and I was late for an appointment. I don't do this all the time, but, maybe 5 or so times a year--usually with strangers. I hate myself when I do this.
i know just how it is, i tend to get into alot of trouble so my mother gets mad at the judicial system for making me an adult when it's conveinent for them. but very hypocriticaly she turns around and does the exact same thing when i have a problem i'm an adult and need to fix it, or when i'm in trouble i am severly punished as an adult. but she restricts me to the most childish rules that i see 10 and 11 year olds allowed to do.
Having had a mother with mental health problems who was abusive to me, I can relate. My recommendation is read the book Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward. It is a great book which will be helpful.
am sorry for what your mother put you through. I have four kids that I
have been controlling of - not perverted and sadistic, I hope. Part of
it was from the way I was raised, and part of it was trying to raise
perfect kids, the way my church tried to teach they should be raised.
And part of it was from being young and selfish and mixed up myself. As
a result, my kids have felt hostile towards me at times, and untrusting
to say the least. It kills me. Now I have found out that one of my
daughters was sexually abused when she was 7. I am the last person she
wants to talk about this with, even though my heart is broken for her
and I want nothing more in the world right now than to make her feel
loved and worthwhile. BUT, I have been thumped in the head with the
awfulness of my relationship with my kids - now that the youngest is
12, and the others are teenagers. I feel like it's almost too late, but
at least I have changed completely, to letting them be who they are and
unconditionally loving them. My point to you is, go for it, getting the
help you need. My heart is so broken for my kids, and their messed up
childhood & mixed up emotions - it's really painful. Anything you
can do for yourself that would prevent you from even mildly repeating
your mom's controlling behavior with the people you love would be worth
the effort and even the pain you may experience dealing with your past.
My 12 year old son told me the other day, after leading me through what
he thought was a grueling exercise session - "I am not afraid of pain
at all anymore, because I know that I'm not going to die from it." I
thought that was kind of profound and encouraging. Godspeed.
My mother was (is) verbally abusive. She rarely crossed into physical abuse, however, she remarried a man who would do that for her. Her most fabulous weapon was to threaten to disown me as a child. In fact, she kicked me out of her house twice--once when I was 14 and again when I was 17. She also kicked my sister out of the house when she was 14 and my stepsister out when she was 16. She called it "love" and necessary discipline. To this day, I am terrified of angering her to the point that she withdraws from my life. There have been several incidents where she has refused to speak to me for months, one time it was 18 months. When I try to talk to her about any issue that has hurt my feelings or upset me, she will not listen to me. She hangs up, walks away or throws the letter in the trash. She says that I am always listened to and given the utmost attention and that she is refusing to cater to my autocratic behavior (her words). It is usually at least several weeks or months before she speaks to me again and it is not ever an apology. She will usually call me out of the blue and ask me to go shopping. I behave like to little lost puppy only too grateful to be restored back into her good graces. Pathetic. I have been married now for 8 years and am 4 months pregnant. Unfortunately, my husband is also verbally abusive. My sister confronted me about it and I confided in her. She became so worried that she called my mother, who had been treating us both with much love lately. My mother's reaction? To alert the whole family, neighborhood, friends, etc. When I emailed my mother explaining that this was a private matter that I would prefer to be kept private for now and that I be the one to decide who knows what and when, she responded with some of the worst verbal abuse to date. She has disowned me and says that she hopes I have a demon child. She has yelled at me and written things that would make your blood boil. Now she is telling me that I deserve the "SOB abusive husband" and that she hopes it continues. She hopes I have a horrible child because I deserve it. If you use her logic, then that explains why she was cursed with me--ha ha. At one point, we were arguing on the phone and I had listened to all the horrible things she was saying and became enraged. I called her a "whore bitch" and hung up. I know--classy of me. Well, now she is saying that all the things that she did wrong were because I had called her W.B. That is completely logical. There was no difference in her behavior before I made the comment or after I made the comment--except now she had a reason. Anyway, my problem is that when we of these instances occur with my mother or my husband, I become so enraged. There is all this pent up frustration, hostility, anger, rage, that I just want to break something. So, I usually do. It is very mature, I know. This is what I am most ashamed of--how I behave. I feel so guilty for what I do. I feel like there is something so horribly wrong with me. And it is just amazing how after I finally lose my cool, both of them have the same reaction. It is a 180 degree turn from verbal aggressiveness to "see what you do???" God, I hate myself at those moments. Anyway, this most recent fight with my mother has turned into p****** contest between her and my husband over 1) who can treat me the worst and 2) who has the right to treat me that way. 4 months pregnant. When I was a little girl, this is not how I dreamed my life would be. I had invited my whole family to the sonogram appointment (both my sisters, my mom, my stepmom, my dad, my mother-in-law) and was looking forward to it. Now, I have a choice. I can either field everyone's question "why isn't she here" or cancel the invitations and let mommy dearest win. I am not going to let her win. In fact, I am going to make it an even bigger event than what I had originally planned! Pictures, lunch, a whole day event! Then, I think I will "accidentally" send her the pictures! Maybe I'll name my daughter after my stepmother. It is what I want to do anyway because she has always been so kind to me, but have been too afraid of my mother's reaction. What's to fear now?