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Old 06-24-2020, 09:05 AM   #1
ButterToast
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Post Mothers And Shame

Last session I asked if I should be angry at my parents because I felt that maybe you were. I was not angry at them then, I felt sadness for them and could relate to them through it, but I've had some time to think about everything we've been discussing and some things from memory started falling into place.

I still feel sad for my parents, but I am now also furious and disappointed at them, not because they neglected me emotionally, but because I am starting to believe that when that neglect began manifesting as depression when I was four, my mother coped with her shame by pushing the blame on me and others, and made me internalize it.

I think I mentioned before, that when I started showing signs of depression my parents took me to a psychologist and after weeks of therapy and trust-building I told the psychologist that I was scared of- and hated my mother. The psychologist asked if she could tell my mother this and I agreed because I was under the impression telling her would be the start of things getting better.

But after my mom was told, my visits to the psychologist stopped and my mom started using what I had said to the psychologist as fodder in our disputes. She would throw it back in my face that I "hated" her and made her out to be a horrible mother. She would make me feel ashamed for even thinking that the problem, any problem, could lie with her. Even now, nearly 30 years later, she gets very defensive and offended if you suggest even the slightest bit of introspection and growth is necessary on her part. Although, in all fairness, she has been making a much bigger effort of introspection these last three-to-five years.

I'm furious because in grade one, when I started to think more critically of her, she made me believe that some children are just naturally "bad" and "problematic", like there's some kind of bad gene in specific children. And if you have it you are cursed to be a villain, while your poor parents just stand helplessly by and watch your carnage. Yes, in some cases that is probably true - but I'm starting to think that it was definitely not true for my case.

It's not like her thoughts regarding this has changed much over the years either, we had a discussion about it in 2018 and she still felt the same: "It is the child's fault because the parents are doing all that they can." I suggested then that she and my father may have been too immature to raise a child when they got me and she became very offended, ending the conversation.

She made me believe that I was a problematic child because I was not like she wanted. She made me believe that there was something deeply wrong with me, she other-ed me, she made me ashamed of myself and she made sure that I internalized it by repeating this narrative to me every time I became critical of her or did not live up to her image of me. Maybe she did this by accident, but as I learn more about this and become more of an adult myself I find it harder to chalk it up to innocent ignorance.

So many of the problems I faced growing up, nearly all of the problems I face as an adult stem from the stuff my mother did to me as a toddler and small child. I am furious at her for it - not just because she did it, but because to this day she does not comprehend or maybe chooses to ignore the impact of the things she did and still does. She still struggles and sometimes outright refuses to introspect. At almost 60 years old she can be extremely self-centered and still doesn't have the capacity to take responsibility for her mistakes or even authentically apologize to me. Throughout my life I've been made to feel ashamed for myself and say sorry to her for so many problems that she herself caused.

She put defending her fragile ego above developing mine and my personal health. I am angry at her for that and fearful of her all anew.

I have never really trusted her or depended on her emotionally, because she would always let me down when I tried to as a child and teenager - but looking at all of these things now in retrospect I feel that I have been far to lenient in forgiving her and giving her second chances in trust. I am more fearful of her now, because I am concerned that she knew what she was doing this whole time and chose to do it anyway - like a manipulator, like my ex-boyfriends. Maybe she is the very reason I struggle to set healthy boundaries as well.

My unhealthy relationships, my shame, my self-hatred, my fear, my depression all stem from the narrative she made me ingest as a child. And yet she can't even offer me an earnest apology, never mind start looking at herself and attempt to learn from past mistakes and genuinely grow as a person. It's scary, because I'm unsure about her intentions. Where before I simply figured she was willfully ignorant, I now worry she may actually be deceitful and malicious. Willing to damage me if it means protecting herself. She acted childish and manipulative when she was supposed to be the adult in the relationship.

I can't be mad at my parents for being negligent, someone needs to work to make money and keep us alive and secure - but I believe I am allowed to be furious at them for using what little time we did spend together to mess up my psyche.

I'm not saying she should be punished or fall into a cycle of self-pity and -hatred. Because I'm not exactly sure if she is a bad person or just confused or acting from an extreme place of self-destructive coping and defense.

I'm saying she was/is too immature to be a parent and should not have been allowed to adopt me. I'm saying that when these evaluative thoughts initially occurred to me as a child, I was right to think them and should not have been made ashamed for thinking them.

She should have taken responsibility for the mistakes she made, as an adult should, and she should have endeavoured to make up for her shortcomings - not just shift the blame to whomever was conveniently close and unable to defend themselves. But I know that is very difficult and she's just a person too. But then she shouldn't have been allowed to adopt a child.

I want her to be made aware of this. But I know telling her may result in a gross display of manipulation and self-pity, as she loses control and disgustingly mopes and tantrums around trying to make the whole world see her as the victim.

Ironically that is exactly what my exes have accused me of doing. And I know well that I am not doing it for self-pity or manipulation, or even to take on the role of the victim. I become miserable because I genuinely am. I become self-destructive because I know myself to be shameful, bad and worthless because that is what I see and believe regardless of knowing that it has been drilled into me from a young age. When someone actually says out loud the horrible things that you think inside it is like condemning you to die. And maybe my mom feels the same. But at least I try damn hard to learn and grow from my mistakes even if I keep failing. At least I don't just close myself off to critique, shut my ego in a safe little box and distance myself from my mistakes. Or maybe I do and I can't see it, maybe she also tries and I just can't see it.

In spite of trying I still feel worthless anyway and I still want to die. I wonder if she also wants to die? Can you feel worthless and not want to die? I know she is scared and I'm pretty sure she is ashamed.

Maybe my mother had a horribly immature and egotistical mother too and it made her become one, and maybe I am most-likely one already as well. I couldn't understand why you used the word tragic so much but I understand it now - it's a tragic self-fulfilling cycle through generations of families.
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:23 PM   #2
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. I thought I would offer you a link to Peg Streep's blog here on PC... "Knotted: The Mother-Daughter Relationship". Perhaps you may find some of the articles to be of interest:

Knotted: The Mother-Daughter Relationship

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Old 06-25-2020, 02:36 AM   #3
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Thank you
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