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Indigo Blue

Vent, JAWM.......related to dysfunctional upbringing, etc.

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I really dislike posting negative things, but it's just going to happen. Sorry.  I'm not going to give details ...just general ...whatever this is. I guess this is mostly a sort of vent.

Occasionally I have days where I feel really angry and sad inside and feel like crying for no reason. It doesn't happen too often. I can't really tell if it is emotionally healthful to cycle through it, or if these experiences are actually harmful. 

It seems as I age, I began to realize more clearly that stuff in my childhood REALLY was not normal. If I let myself get lost in reading about certain things online (documentaries, etc) or read a book on the topic, it brings things to surface and it's so painful. 

Anyway, the point of this all is that today I watched a fascinating and informative video on a topic and, in the comments, in addition to lots of comments where so many were revealing their abusive experiences, there were a few saying that this was "just how we were raised in the 70's and that most of this stuff was typical parenting for the day". No harm done; we all survived. Etc. These comments reminded me of a conversation during Sunday school where, one day, similar comments were made. People laughing and joking about the crazy reasons they got "switched" and how they learned their lesson. And I'm just sitting there thinking to myself (because I don't talk in front of crowds) that there is nothing normal about it. (At least not to me). It's abuse. Maybe they didn't experience it on the same level as I. Maybe it happened a lot less. Maybe their parents were otherwise stable and showed unconditional love even if they were being "less than" or disappointing to their parent. I just stared off and tried to not let it show that I didn't agree and that my emotions were being triggered.

And I felt "triggered" (I don't like this way of describing it; I just don't know what else to call it) when watching the video. I DO NOT want to reach out to my son(s) and put this on him/them. So I'm typing here. This will all pass. Really. It will be fine tomorrow.

I'm just "raw" today and for some reason it's under my skin that getting emotionally and physically abused by your parent is somehow a "normal"  thing we all lived through and survived as kids.. We live in the South. It's seems to be more accepted here. I don't want to talk about whether spanking/abuse is normal. I just want to vent that it's just not a good topic for me and I don't view it the same as others. Stuff is just coming out of me today and I just need to let it come, I guess. Just one of those days.

As an aside: The holidays are getting closer, too, and already there is the yearly negativity. I just need to find a way to not let this get hold of me this year and do something about it. If my parent wants to wallow in misery because Christmas is coming, fine. I just don't want to be a part of that again. With the mood I am in right now, I just feel like saying, "Fine. Let's just don't have Christmas here, then. At all. " I honestly think I might do this....but it would surely not end well. Sigh. I don't understand because Christmas there only involves visits from a few grandchildren, two of which rarely get to visit. There is no muss or fuss. It's really no different from any other day when one or two of them might drop by and have a simple snack or lunch there. So I don't get it. There is just nothing to be negative about. We are expected to be there, but there is so much complaining about it from October going forward. It's been this way for years and years. It just makes me scratch my head. No one can force anyone to have or like Christmas. It's fine with me, really. But for me, life is too short and there is so much to be truly joyful about. When your grown children will be home with you for the holidays, there is nothing more special. For all the Christmases that I'm allowed left on this earth to treasure, I will never take this for granted. Every moment treasured. I will mentally stick my fingers in my ears and pretend to not hear when the one who likes to dislike the holidays starts the yearly negativity. And this person is completely free and entitled to not be happy. I don't want to be because I've had enough of "not normal" and I will fight for "normal" as much as I can as long as I can.

And to be truthful, there is negativity about everything. It's not just a holiday thing. This is one of the reasons why I keep my visits a little more infrequent and phone conversations short. We can get along quite well as long as things are kept at "surface" level. Honestly, I'm grateful for that. I realize there are things that happened years ago that affect HER behavior, as does things done to me affect mine. It still doesn't excuse it. It at least puts things in perspective.

I'll be fine. Just having one of those days where I can't understand why I feel this way...when for days and months I've been just fine.

Please don't respond with negativity. No advice is really needed anyway. I am honestly just venting so I can feel better sooner and get out of this mood.

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Triggering IS the right word, and some of us have genuine PTSD from our childhood and families, and it does get worse when we're older and can see how different it should have been. And it IS made much worse, when family members we are trying to keep relationships with, are stuck in harmful patterns of the past.

It's OK to take a break from triggering settings. It's OK to need some time to work through it - you *deserve* time with your own thoughts, to process the harm and negativity. And it's more than OK to distance yourself from troublesome people at troublesome times of year...and make new traditions that are positive and happy, for yourself. (For others, too, if they can be happy and if that brings you joy. But specifically for holidays with bad associations in your memory, sometimes it really helps to do something totally different that brings you joy.

 

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(((Hugs)))

Some part of it really is about how far outside the norm your experience is. Norms change about physical punishment or how much independence is actually neglect for kids. But abuse is never normal, if that makes sense. And you recognized it just right - the people making those offhanded jokes about it probably did have otherwise loving homes and the things they experienced that would be seen as abuse today were in the context of a normal, loving home at the time. I'm so sorry they didn't see that their experiences weren't universal or might seem dismissive to people who experienced things that were very different.

It is okay to take a break if someone or something is triggering. It's okay to own that things trigger you. Those are really positive things to do and not at all negative. Self-care and advocacy is a super positive response to bad stuff.

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(((Indigo)))

Have you read the book Boundaries (I think Townsend is one of the authors)? Many people with unhealthy family backgrounds seem to find it helpful.

Though it sounds like mostly you are doing fine. Childhood stuff can stick with us a long time and gets reprocessed as our own life experiences and perspective change.

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I absolutely understand getting older and realizing just how dysfunctional things were.  That has happened to me.  At first I wondered why I couldn’t “let things go” after all these years.  In fact, I saw it getting worse and wondered why?  Now I know it’s because I’m old/wise/mature enough to see things clearer than I could in the past.  

And I understand the cycles/waves of things suddenly bothering you again after a time of them not bothering you.  And I also know what it’s like to be in a roomful of people who aren’t affected by the things you were.  I hate that feeling!  I tend to just look away and shut down, too, when that happens.  And I’ve also honed friendships with people who are tender hearted and empathetic when I say something upsets me, even if it wouldn’t upset them.  When I find someone like that, I start inviting them out to lunch a lot.  And I’ve let friendships with harder-hearted people slide a bit.

I have found, and this might not be the case for you in the slightest, that when I am sleep deprived that the cycles/waves are more often and more painful.  So, get some rest if you’re feeling overly tired.  It won’t necessarily solve things, but you might feel better, or get through this cycle faster.

I live 2500 miles from my family.  I see them very rarely.  This summer I saw them and it was like light bulb after light bulb went off, and I realized all sorts of things about them I’d never been old/wise/mature enough to see before.  I was able to then go home and go about my business and not have to see them over and over and see the dysfuction play out in front of me.  

If you live close to yours, it sounds like you will have to put distance between you in certain areas—like around holidays.

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I "liked" your post, but it wasn't really a like, more of an "I agree."

I find myself having days like that too. I don't want to wallow in self-pity, wishing my upbringing had been different, but I don't want to pretend that it was all rosy either. One cannot brush everything under the carpet forever. (Oh, and I am in the South, too.)

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I'm so sorry.

I have my own issues but whenever I hear about switching or spanking yeah, trigger is the right word. I wasn't hit. I can't believe, personally, that people defend this. It's hard.

You aren't alone. Your feelings are part of the healing and it is okay to have them. 

Hugs to you.

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I’m sorry. I went through a period of time in my twenties that I describe to myself as grieving the childhood and family relationships I did not have. There were a lot of tears; sometimes I just bawled my head off. Eventually though, I focused my attention on my family, the one I constructed (of course there are things over which I have no control, but I also get to choose things like nobody gets paddled, etc.) I can’t do much about the family I was born into but there is a lot I can do about the family I made. 

 

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hugs. I think there are some semantic issues. others in that group were using  "normal"  in place of "common.". . ... and there needs to be a distinction that "normal" doesn't necessarily mean "healthy". (or functional.)   and even then, there is a range.  

let me explain.  thyroid comes to mind.  drs will tell you "the normal" thyroid range is considered to be as high as a tsh of 4.  (not long ago it was 10.)  One thing thyroid patients who do their own research soon learn - normal =/= optimal.   "normal" includes those with still out of healthy range numbers, driving that "normal" range upwards into still unhealthy territory. (optimal for a hypothyroid patient is somewhere south of 1.) - it's more complicated than that - but I hope you get the idea.

the emotions need to be dredged up because that's how they get processed so they can be discarded. I've been through the process, and sometimes I wonder if I still have more work to do.  it can be overwhelming becasue they are strong, and they are deep. as I went through this, it was like peeling an onion - layer after layer. you think you've gone through all the layers, surely this is everything - then there's more to find.   it's hard, but it is worth it to get the sliver out.

I recently listened to a woman give her experience of leaving an abusive spouse.   she was surprised the things he said to her to tear her down - were more damaging to her psyche than the bruises and broken bones.  it has been recognized -  psychological abuse, is longer lasting becasue it undermines how you see yourself, leaving you with a shaky foundation.

 

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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14 hours ago, maize said:

(((Indigo)))

Have you read the book Boundaries (I think Townsend is one of the authors)? Many people with unhealthy family backgrounds seem to find it helpful.

Though it sounds like mostly you are doing fine. Childhood stuff can stick with us a long time and gets reprocessed as our own life experiences and perspective change.

Townsend and Cloud.  Boundaries are essential in all human relationships. I didn't know what they were called - but I remember first being led to enact them with certain people in my life, and how empowering they were.

there's the healing process, and the grieving process for what should/could have been - but wasn't.   part of that is that as my children became adults - I could see even more clearly how screwed up, dysfunctional, and *deeply damaging*  my own childhood was becasue I was giving them a healthier experience. part of it mad me more angry- but as I worked through the healing process - I was able to see them more clearly as well.  I could have compassion for somethings, and others . ..horror as I realized it was even worse than I thought it was when I was a teen.  (and even then, there were things I thought were pretty bad)

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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29 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

Townsend and Cloud.  Boundaries are essential in all human relationships. I didn't know what they were called - but I remember first being led to enact them with certain people in my life, and how empowering they were.

there's the healing process, and the grieving process for what should/could have been - but wasn't.   part of that is that as my children became adults - I could see even more clearly how screwed up, dysfunctional, and *deeply damaging*  my own childhood was becasue I was giving them a healthier experience. part of it mad me more angry- but as I worked through the healing process - I was able to see them more clearly as well.  I could have compassion for somethings, and others . ..horror as I realized it was even worse than I thought it was when I was a teen.  (and even then, there were things I thought were pretty bad)

 

 

The kind of childhood you've described in the past is beyond my imagination. My parents had plenty of imperfections, but manipulation just was not a thing in my family. That seems to be the most damaging bit of many of the stories I hear of truly dysfunctional families.

That and any situation where a parent doesn't see and treat a child as fully human. 

It seems to me that the sorts of relationship damaging things I experiences were much more temporary and limited in their effect--things like a parent losing their temper and going into a rage. I think that sort of abuse when set in a balance against what was normally a mutually respectful and loving relationship has less profound effects than ongoing manipulative or disrespectful/uncaring behavior.

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I found this today.

 https://daughtersrising.info/

I don't know how gimmicky it is because I didn't investigate too much. However, I wanted to post this for people who may be reading but can't relate to  these types of threads. This gives a better understanding of what it looks like to have a relationship like this where everyday life doesn't appear outwardly abusive, but there IS this insidious "something"  that you live with every day. (But then there are the times when things get worse and may become physical and you may see anger and rage evolve from some perceived slight at a moments notice. It's unpredictable.) And things can appear normal, even to the child. (At least at the time). For some people, sadly, I don't believe they ever know any different.

Anyway, it's a quick "quiz". The questions it asks are what I find so interesting. These questions really hit the nail on the head and put some things into words that I would never be able to do. I see my parent in every single one. Again, I'm not familiar with the person who is proclaiming the benefits of this free self-help. The questions and answer choices just seem so on point and very relevant to what I experience.....so I wanted to share.

It could give any mom something to think about at least. Things to ponder for self-improvement. 

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And over the weekend a friend (younger than I) was telling me some details about what caused her and her husband to split. We were alone together and she opened up to me.My husband and I had previously spent time with them, and I thought very well of them both. I've known the wife since she was a tiny girl, and I know her family well, too. She began to tell me things and it was so awful. Then it got worse. She finally told me that he had called her a "fat-@ss biotch". I can't imagine the pain she has been going through for so many months. She is a quiet, passive, sweet person. I was so angry for her. Things went from there to her  explaining that she was beginning to feel for her personal safety. It's not fair that people get to do this to other people. She lives near her parents and has a good support system. I hope she heals and finds the happiness she deserves. What a jerk. You just never know and this makes it hard to trust people.

Edited by Indigo Blue
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Manipulation.....

I witnessed my brother being very expertly manipulated into paying for a very expensive repair bill. Later the same thing was tried on me with a medical bill. (I recognized it for what it was only because of all the reading, soul searching, analyzing, remembering, and researching I had been doing for the prior six months. And because of what I had seen with my brother). A few months later, she was making purchases for nice things. Even a very expensive piece of jewelry she never wears. 

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50 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

Manipulation.....

I witnessed my brother being very expertly manipulated into paying for a very expensive repair bill. Later the same thing was tried on me with a medical bill. (I recognized it for what it was only because of all the reading, soul searching, analyzing, remembering, and researching I had been doing for the prior six months. And because of what I had seen with my brother). A few months later, she was making purchases for nice things. Even a very expensive piece of jewelry she never wears. 

I’m sorry. I can relate to this. My parents duped me over car insurance for a few years, even while I was no longer living at home. I think that a lot of this was “scarcity mentality”. When people are afraid they don’t have enough, they often become more willing to use others in ways they would not if rhey felt secure abouttheir needs being met. 

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1 hour ago, Indigo Blue said:

I found this today.

 https://daughtersrising.info/

I don't know how gimmicky it is because I didn't investigate too much. However, I wanted to post this for people who may be reading but can't relate to  these types of threads. This gives a better understanding of what it looks like to have a relationship like this where everyday life doesn't appear outwardly abusive, but there IS this insidious "something"  that you live with every day. (But then there are the times when things get worse and may become physical and you may see anger and rage evolve from some perceived slight at a moments notice. It's unpredictable.) And things can appear normal, even to the child. (At least at the time). For some people, sadly, I don't believe they ever know any different.

Anyway, it's a quick "quiz". The questions it asks are what I find so interesting. These questions really hit the nail on the head and put some things into words that I would never be able to do. I see my parent in every single one. Again, I'm not familiar with the person who is proclaiming the benefits of this free self-help. The questions and answer choices just seem so on point and very relevant to what I experience.....so I wanted to share.

It could give any mom something to think about at least. Things to ponder for self-improvement. 

I haven't really looked at the site so I can't say anything about that one in particular.  some are very helpful - there is one out there run by two women who are super manipulative, and they manipulate those who come to their site for help - doing more damage.  so, the whole spectrum there too. (I loved the "harpies child's blog".    It was validating as I read through and went 'check check check', I loved the name, but not particularly useful for how to overcome the effects.)

 

I just want to add - those on the outside, almost never see "it".  it is so far beyond comprehension.  that's part of what makes people in it think they're crazy - there is no validation that what they're seeing is real, and their feelings are legit.  often it is the opposite and people think they're being helpful by telling the person to "move on".  it's far less than helpful, even reinforcing they're crazy.

dh has a crazy mother - who can be manipulative, but most of her family don't' fall for it.   so, she gets a lot of push back that contributes to keeping her in line. (she too came from a very messed up background). 

even then, he'd tell me I was over sensitive with my grandmother, and just didn't know how to handle her (the last part was true. - she allowed no boundaries with her.  he twisted her tail on a regular basis simply by being excruciatingly polite and cheerful.)  it was years before she did something and his eyes were finally opened.  "i take it back, she's as bad as you say."

 

I guess what I'm saying is, if you're on the outside, and someone speaks of this but you can't see anything, and they're such wonderful people it can't possibly be true . . . . remember that appearances can be deceiving, and this person is on the inside.

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*hug* you are processing it, aware of the effect it has had on you and all of that is so good. You have every right to be "sad mad" about this and you didn't deserve it. Yes, it is deeply wrong for a group of people to happily embrace the harm inflicted on them. I think people come out with that view when in every other way they felt loved and supported by their family even if corporal punishment was used. Physical combined with verbal and emotional abuse tends to be the worst. It is hard to laugh and feel ok when someone who is supposed to have loved you and given you a secure base has been someone who makes you feel less than. Being aware means you won't repeat the pattern and that is wonderful for your family. 

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(Hug).

Boundaries is a very good book.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling someone on their complaints.  Then you can suss out if Christmas really should be cancelled, or whether the motivation is to try to get more attention, or more help, or whatever it is to stop the constant complaining. 

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2 hours ago, Katy said:

(Hug).

Boundaries is a very good book.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with calling someone on their complaints.  Then you can suss out if Christmas really should be cancelled, or whether the motivation is to try to get more attention, or more help, or whatever it is to stop the constant complaining. 

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Edited by Indigo Blue
PLEASE don't quote this paragraph!!

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I just want to add that I'm sure there are some who are probably mortified by the rantings in my original post and may think what an awful person I must be . But my typing this out yesterday has cleared my head and it made a world of difference. This place literally has saved my sanity, along with educating myself. It is just so dang hard when there are lies, manipulation, exaggeration, judgment of others (you are either good or bad; she decides), saying one thing but doing another, and general complaining. Not to mention you have to always be careful what you say. 

I've got my head put back together now so I'll deal with this. Somehow.

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IndigoBlue, if my relatives were still speaking to me, and didn't think they would go to hell for stepping foot in my house (literally, I am shunned by their church), I was planning to make a move to claim the hosting of the holidays as my children grow up. 

What would happen, if you spoke up for that? Tell your mother that you want your home to be the holiday gathering place, now that the children are grown, but thank you for hosting for so many years and of course, we want you to join us (whatever)...and then give a very specific invitation to your home on X date, for these exact times, and these activities. 

"But I always do it. It's my favorite time of year, and I just live for seeing the whole family at my house on the holidays." (Lies, she wants the control and the attention.) Think about what you will say. "The important thing is that we are all together. I don't want the children to feel obligated to attend multiple events when they come home for the holidays, and it's my turn to host. I hope you will come to my Christmas Eve party. It will be a lot of fun."

Then stop the conversation. You have to get off the phone (or leave to pick up a child) or whatever. Stay chipper but end the conversation.

When she brings it up again, "Mom, that's been decided, we are not going to visit grandparents on Christmas Day this year, but you are invited to the party at my house on Christmas Eve." Do not discuss further.

If she boycotts and stays home to cry, and tells the whole extended family that you have cut her out of your life and she will die without seeing the grandchildren at her house, LET her. Act like you didn't hear about it.

Again, I have not actually done this, they don't want to do holidays with us anymore, but this was my plan. I don't think it's wrong to stop going to Grandma's house for Christmas, when you become the mother of adult children. You can take it over and it shouldn't mean you are a horrible wretch of a person who hates your mother! Especially if you invite her!

And there is *nothing* to stop adult grandchildren who love their grandmother from making their own arrangements to visit her!! If a miserable, obligatory holiday is the only reason they'll go, because that's the only way they can celebrate a holiday with you, well that stinks. Grandparents need to nurture relationships so that people WANT to visit them.

 

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20 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

But yes, we will have a conversation and I'll need to be very careful not to make her angry. But we will discuss this at some point. If she doesn't want the holiday to happen, it doesn't have to. It's completely okay. 

 

Why must you be very careful not to make her angry?  The petulant complaining is, at the very least, rude and disrespectful of all of you. 

You might also like a book called Stop Walking on Eggshells, which is about borderline personality disorder, but it actually works well for all kind of personality disorders and boundary issues. It did make me far less careful about angering abusive people though, so be warned about that.

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3 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

Why must you be very careful not to make her angry?  The petulant complaining is, at the very least, rude and disrespectful of all of you. 

You might also like a book called Stop Walking on Eggshells, which is about borderline personality disorder, but it actually works well for all kind of personality disorders and boundary issues. It did make me far less careful about angering abusive people though, so be warned about that.

I'll second this book.

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1 hour ago, Katy said:

 

Why must you be very careful not to make her angry?  The petulant complaining is, at the very least, rude and disrespectful of all of you. 

You might also like a book called Stop Walking on Eggshells, which is about borderline personality disorder, but it actually works well for all kind of personality disorders and boundary issues. It did make me far less careful about angering abusive people though, so be warned about that.

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Edited by Indigo Blue

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6 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

I didn't mention it in this thread, but I believe she has a personality disorder....most likely NPD. Probably the vulnerable or covert type. If you are dealing with this, that's just the way it is. If they are set off and an argument begins, they will never be wrong. You'll probably hear well, I'm just a rotten mother. You will feel guilt and shame for angering them. They will find something bad or just as wrong and point that back at you to deflect from them. And if you keep going, rage. The thing to do is not to engage. Keep cool and stay superficial. If this were ANY other person, I would just sit down and say can we just talk about why you feel this way? Can we get to the root of this if something is bothering you about it? It's really hard sometimes for me to deal with this. You only get to see your grandsons once or twice per year. Don't you see how this is making me feel? It's a little selfish of you, don't you think?......See this kind of talk would make her angry. But this is really what I would want to say. I can talk to her, but I just would have to be careful how I word things. 

 

Definitely read the Eggshells book too. And you're right, you cannot control how she reacts to anything, but you can choose to call her on her drama and otherwise not engage. She's never going to care about how you feel, or how she only sees grandsons a few times a year.  That would be admitting the world doesn't revolve around her.  I agree with the poster upthread who said to just move Christmas to your house.  So I'd wait until she complains about Christmas, then say, "Well that's fine, we were already thinking about moving Christmas here.  So don't do Christmas, just come to visit us here (whenever)."

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Read up on Complex PTSD.

 

Your plan for this Christmas won't work, Hon. You'll ask, she'll flip flop. You'll let her decide, and she'll get pissy that she always has to be responsible. You'll do whatever she wants (if you can even pin that down) and she'll change her mind. You'll help as much as possible, and she'll get angry that you're bullying her into things she never wanted anyway.

Stay home and don't think about her. You don't have to worry about her getting angry and kicking you when she does that as a matter of course. You yawn and say "Boring! BTDT!"

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(((Indigo))) the reason everyone is pushing the books is that we all actually do understand. Every golden child, every scapegoat, we all think we're the only ones who understand how crazy it is and why we can't break free. It's *incredibly* empowering to start your journey of study, to learn that there are sooooooo many of us and we all actually do get it. 

And whether we break free with an explosion or a freezeout, whether it's fear or pain, the point is to break free. For me, the goal was not to pass it on to another generation. It took most of my children's childhood to really break free, but they are going into adulthood without these toxic relationships and baggage. I kept them safe and set them free.

You are not the only one. Start reading. Forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself. Create the life and family you want (and this includes the biggies like religion and holidays), and if the rest won't come with you into Normal Land...then start to let them go. 

 

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1 minute ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

(((Indigo))) the reason everyone is pushing the books is that we all actually do understand. Every golden child, every scapegoat, we all think we're the only ones who understand how crazy it is and why we can't break free. It's *incredibly* empowering to start your journey of study, to learn that there are sooooooo many of us and we all actually do get it. 

And whether we break free with an explosion or a freezeout, whether it's fear or pain, the point is to break free. For me, the goal was not to pass it on to another generation. It took most of my children's childhood to really break free, but they are going into adulthood without these toxic relationships and baggage. I kept them safe and set them free.

You are not the only one. Start reading. Forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself. Create the life and family you want (and this includes the biggies like religion and holidays), and if the rest won't come with you into Normal Land...then start to let them go. 

 

This x 1000! I've read many books, and I'll write down all the ones suggested. They have all been a great help. I just am reluctant to get any type of counseling (I need it and have thought about it).....I can't see myself trusting someone that deeply. But of course I seem to be comfortable blabbering on the Internet. Honestly, though, these posts are so helpful and so many do get it. It really makes a difference. I always feel so guilty later for doing it, though. There is no one IRL I tell this stuff to, except dh, and sometimes, if necessary, the boys (if they are involved).

Thanks so much.

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49 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

Definitely read the Eggshells book too. And you're right, you cannot control how she reacts to anything, but you can choose to call her on her drama and otherwise not engage. She's never going to care about how you feel, or how she only sees grandsons a few times a year.  That would be admitting the world doesn't revolve around her.  I agree with the poster upthread who said to just move Christmas to your house.  So I'd wait until she complains about Christmas, then say, "Well that's fine, we were already thinking about moving Christmas here.  So don't do Christmas, just come to visit us here (whenever)."

 

Katy, I gave you a personal reply so I could go ahead and delete what I had posted. Thanks!

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39 minutes ago, Indigo Blue said:

This x 1000! I've read many books, and I'll write down all the ones suggested. They have all been a great help. I just am reluctant to get any type of counseling (I need it and have thought about it).....I can't see myself trusting someone that deeply. But of course I seem to be comfortable blabbering on the Internet. Honestly, though, these posts are so helpful and so many do get it. It really makes a difference. I always feel so guilty later for doing it, though. There is no one IRL I tell this stuff to, except dh, and sometimes, if necessary, the boys (if they are involved).

Thanks so much.

I have been on these boards for years (but had to change usernames after the changeover) and have read many of your other posts.  I have always been able to relate to all of them.  It is so difficult for others in our life who haven't dealt with this to understand.  From the outside, everything looks great.  It is easy for us to question our sanity and perception of events when others tell us how great our mothers are.  

It wasn't until about a decade ago when I googled "why does my mother tell lies about me" that my experiences started to make sense.  Plus, there were actually "words" for what I experienced: gaslighting, projection, narcissistic rage, covert narcissism, walking on eggshells, golden child, scapegoat, triangulation.  

I don't think our mothers can be happy unless they are playing the victim or the martyr, and even then, I don't think they are truly happy.  It is really sad.

I get where you are coming from regarding Christmas.  It seems like it should be so easy to simply have Christmas Eve at your house, but the reality is that nothing is easy with this type of person.  It is impossible to have a rational conversational.  When you try, you have to deal with manipulative tears and the resulting guilt for "making your mother feel bad."  Now, I am not saying that you should go to your mother's house for Christmas Eve, but I do completely get why the conversation is difficult and dreaded.  Nothing is ever easy.  (hugs)

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2 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

And whether we break free with an explosion or a freezeout, whether it's fear or pain, the point is to break free. For me, the goal was not to pass it on to another generation. It took most of my children's childhood to really break free, but they are going into adulthood without these toxic relationships and baggage. I kept them safe and set them free.

You are not the only one. Start reading. Forgive yourself and be gentle with yourself. Create the life and family you want (and this includes the biggies like religion and holidays), and if the rest won't come with you into Normal Land...then start to let them go. 

 

Thank you, Tibbie! For me, this is the question: when does it end?

In rage and miscommunication, and replication of the same dynamic for the next generation?

Or with the energy of integrity and change, including healthy limits if boundaries are violated? Is anyone in the family interested in what healthier dynamics look like, or is there an embattled defense of dysfunction?

Neither my family nor dh's had healthy boundaries growing up, in different respects. And when I look back one or two generations on both sides, it only gets worse. I have no idea if the norm, a century ago, was treating children as unreliable witnesses to infallible adults with every abuse that entailed, or if we resonated with each other because of our unique histories. 

I'm sure that we have alternatives now, and I'm doing everything in my power to raise our children to listen to their inner voices, and to be free of all this horseshit--including mine.

To keep our children safe, and set them free. What higher calling could any parent hear?

Amy

Edited by Acadie
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1 hour ago, Acadie said:

I'm doing everything in my power to raise our children to listen to their inner voices, and to be free of all this horseshit--including mine.

 

Great post. I wanted to highlight this, for the benefit of anyone reading who sees herself in this thread.

From the time my children were very little, I had a sense that as good as my intentions may be, the fact was that I had witnessed a lot of bad communication and unhealthy patterns. Healthy relationships were not modeled. Correct boundaries were not observed. I thought I might really screw it up, in spite of my extensive reading on parenting and all of this. My kids needed a parachute or lifeline, if good intentions weren't enough.

So my kids always knew whom they could talk to, if the problem was me. Even as an homeschooling, attachment-style parent, with my little guys SO close all the time, I did the "normal" things just because they are right, and just because they build community: Regular visits to doctor, eye doctor, and dentist. Knowing our neighbors. Indicating which relatives were "safe" to call if they needed family help. Good coaches, mentors, and family friends. Occasional clergypersons were recommended (rarely). I was always saying, "If you want to go talk to Dr. for some reason but you don't want to tell me why, we can make the appointment." All of this was flat opposite of how I had been raised.

I worry about this in the homeschool community. I see families who have been hurt by their FOO, their church, and their public school. They want to join with other angry victims, ideologically, and hunker down so their children only have them, so they'll be "safe." I understand the motivation, but that's not how little humans grow. We have to keep taking a chance, so our children have more people in their world. It's a TON of work, reaching out, watching very closely, vetting the people in our kids' world. (I have spent hours watching my children from a distance, at their activities. We have a lot of rules for safety, too.) But there are still good people out there, and our children need them. If we decide to be their whole world to keep them safe, we will fail to prepare them to be safe, secure, and healthy adults who can manage relationships in a diverse society. And we won't grow, either. We need to get out there and live, too.

Just my opinion, and it's a journey. It's okay if the pace is very, very slow, and it's fine if this approved "normal" world for the children is quite small. No need to push too hard.

 

 

 

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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8 hours ago, Tibbie Dunbar said:

IndigoBlue, if my relatives were still speaking to me, and didn't think they would go to hell for stepping foot in my house (literally, I am shunned by their church), I was planning to make a move to claim the hosting of the holidays as my children grow up. 

What would happen, if you spoke up for that? Tell your mother that you want your home to be the holiday gathering place, now that the children are grown, but thank you for hosting for so many years and of course, we want you to join us (whatever)...and then give a very specific invitation to your home on X date, for these exact times, and these activities. 

"But I always do it. It's my favorite time of year, and I just live for seeing the whole family at my house on the holidays." (Lies, she wants the control and the attention.) Think about what you will say. "The important thing is that we are all together. I don't want the children to feel obligated to attend multiple events when they come home for the holidays, and it's my turn to host. I hope you will come to my Christmas Eve party. It will be a lot of fun."

Then stop the conversation. You have to get off the phone (or leave to pick up a child) or whatever. Stay chipper but end the conversation.

When she brings it up again, "Mom, that's been decided, we are not going to visit grandparents on Christmas Day this year, but you are invited to the party at my house on Christmas Eve." Do not discuss further.

If she boycotts and stays home to cry, and tells the whole extended family that you have cut her out of your life and she will die without seeing the grandchildren at her house, LET her. Act like you didn't hear about it.

Again, I have not actually done this, they don't want to do holidays with us anymore, but this was my plan. I don't think it's wrong to stop going to Grandma's house for Christmas, when you become the mother of adult children. You can take it over and it shouldn't mean you are a horrible wretch of a person who hates your mother! Especially if you invite her!

And there is *nothing* to stop adult grandchildren who love their grandmother from making their own arrangements to visit her!! If a miserable, obligatory holiday is the only reason they'll go, because that's the only way they can celebrate a holiday with you, well that stinks. Grandparents need to nurture relationships so that people WANT to visit them.

 

 

I'm so sorry Tibbie.

 

I also had the "i'm such a martyr" narcissist (or maybe borderline).  Should have gotten her a fainting couch.  she loved to lay guilt trips - even before I knew they were common and called that, I called them that.  (and that they sent postcards.)

she always had to host - but then she'd complain.  if I went over there, she'd always offer something to eat.  I'd say yes - then it would get back to me how angry she was about how much I ate (less than I was offered.).- so I started declining all offers of food. and she'd be angry because I turned her down.

and my favorite. .... "you're killing me. .. " if we did something she didn't like.   like protest to being embarrassed (and lied about) in front of her friends.

growing up - we always went there for christmas eve. dh did it once, then refused to ever do it again.  so we hosted.  I grew up doing christmas eve, so we had dinner on christmas eve.... she was mad because it wasn't christmas day.

seriously - you can't win with these people.   but you can protect your children.

I once told my mil how glad I was I could fulfill her need to complain.... . she ranted for a good 30minutes about how she doens't like to complain. (I could only laugh.)

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Okay. It's probably time for this thread to die off and go the next page, but I just had one more thought this morning. 

I was just thinking about the relationship my mom had with her mom. My mom felt like her mom let some things happen during her childhood that she wasn't protected from. Things that would cause emotional pain for her. She never said a word until after her death. Then she would bring it up once in a while....expressing how her mom didn't do such and such when she was hurting so badly. Her mom couldn't/wouldn't see her pain, according to my mom.

I just think it's ironic that my mom does so many things to others (not just me) that clearly show she is not thinking of how she is impacting others or how she is making them feel by her words and actions. I'm talking about serious stuff that cuts deep, not trivial little things.

God help me, but I believe with everything in me that, although I'm not perfect, that I don't behave that way to the people I care about. I always knew something was off, and when I had my children, I instinctively went out of my way to not do these things. I don't know why that is. I didn't understand any of what I understand now. I don't know why some break out of it and some repeat.

I just see her doing and saying things and not realizing (maybe she is?) how she is being hurtful. I can't fix her, and, as sad as it is, there has to be distance between us because I need that to keep myself off the emotional roller coaster that she puts you on when you get too close.

I also feel sad for everyone in my family that has been a part of this whole dynamic because I know they will never be whole, her included.

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not really related to the topic. But what does JAWM stand for? I have tried to research this on the board but could not find it. Sorry if this is OT.

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Just Agree With Me. Don't feel bad. For a long time, I thought it meant Just A Whiny Moment, which, in my case, I guess it is.

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On 9/4/2018 at 9:38 PM, Acadie said:

 

Thank you, Tibbie! For me, this is the question: when does it end?

In rage and miscommunication, and replication of the same dynamic for the next generation?

Or with the energy of integrity and change, including healthy limits if boundaries are violated? Is anyone in the family interested in what healthier dynamics look like, or is there an embattled defense of dysfunction?

Neither my family nor dh's had healthy boundaries growing up, in different respects. And when I look back one or two generations on both sides, it only gets worse. I have no idea if the norm, a century ago, was treating children as unreliable witnesses to infallible adults with every abuse that entailed, or if we resonated with each other because of our unique histories. 

I'm sure that we have alternatives now, and I'm doing everything in my power to raise our children to listen to their inner voices, and to be free of all this horseshit--including mine.

To keep our children safe, and set them free. What higher calling could any parent hear?

Sorry for the late jump-in. I have a crazy work schedule and just pop in here occasionally.

I grew up in a disordered household and then married someone from a disordered household that became disordered. It's a long, colorful story. He lives elsewhere now.

But not long ago I was moaning with a friend about trying to turn around my life and point my young adults in the right away, and he observed that this was my time to thoroughly deal with the whole mess and come out with hope for the next generation. I can stop this HERE. That gave me a lot of hope. I can call it what it is (a great first step), and go off in a more healthy direction. Because I'm dealing with it, they don't have to repeat my mistakes.

Now my young adults know enough to even point out when I'm being dicey again. We were dealing with a complex situation and my younger one said," Mom, just say NO. You think too much and take the blame." So I said NO.

So banish the sh*t with a smile on your face and go forward!

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