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mother issues and life stories.


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8 replies to this topic

#1
powersquash

powersquash
  • 42 posts
Hello all,

I have been looking into my past with the help of Stefan's podcasts and my wife's input. Whenever my wife and I first breached this subject I insisted I had a wonderful childhood and had no inclination that any of the personal issues I have were caused by my upbringing. I thought that hitting children was ok as long as it wasn't to the point of "beating" and backed up this idea with the good ole' but I turned out fine. I felt as though I owed my parents for raising me by visiting them on holidays even if it was uncomfortable. My wife would often opt out of visiting my dad and step-mom because of issues that they had with her. I often sided with my parents on these issues because I thought they knew best and usually ended up despising my wife in one form or another because of it.Needless to say, this soon changed.

After some difficult conversations with my wife and a few podcasts I began seeing my childhood in a different light. I couldn't believe some of the things I was subjected to and the fact that I used to not only normalize them but think they were "right". After being enlightened to the abuses I suffered as a child, I have been gathering up the courage to talk with my parents about it all.

To give some background information- My parents were seperated whenever I was 2. I lived with my mother, Sid, until I was in 2-3 grade. I then lived with my dad, Greg, and stepmother, kelli, until I was in 7th grade in which I moved back with my mom for a few months, and then back to my dad's. Then, once more to my mom's house during my last semester in high school. I know that's a little hard to get straight, and I apologize, but to make it easier to keep straight I will refer to my mom as Sid and my dad and step mom as my parents.

All throughout my life Sid and my parents hated each other. Their contempt for each other was never hidden from me, in fact, it was usually smeared in my face as propaganda to fuel a hatred fire within me. I don't remember too much from living with my mom the first time other than being with my grandparents an extraordinary amount of time. My grandfather was an abusive man. Once I was staying the night with them and was called down to the living room to get spanked with a belt and told it was so I would know what would be coming if I did anything wrong. My grandmother had me trained to the point that if she so much as looked at the fly swatter I would stop whatever it was I was doing. I don't believe Sid was a huge part of my life at this point. She was living her life or whatever it is young mothers say to excuse themselves from parenting.

Whenever I moved in with my dad I was introduced to a whole new level of abuse. My stepmother, kelli, was quite the mind-fucker in the way of beating logic out of children so that they would "do as she says". Anytime I or my two younger sisters spoke out against her or questioned her we were answered with hitting. God was of very high importance in the family. A lot of the abuse was in humiliation. If we did something "dumb" we were ridiculed in front of the rest of the family, friends, whoever was around. Once I had spoken out against my dad and I was stripped naked and thrown into a mud puddle at the beginning of our driveway and made to walk back to the house. The use of instruments in beating was frequent. Once my smallest sister was about 4-5 and was being hit with a wooden spoon by Kelli. It got to a point where as a 10 or so year old I thought it was excessive so I tried to pry the spoon from her. That only ended in me getting hit instead.

Whenever I moved back in with Sid, she was on her third marriage. She was with mark, a "man" who had lost the ability to see his son because he abused him as well as cocaine. She soon had a baby with him. I remember coming home from school and being with mark and my sister alone in the house and I could here him screaming and yelling at her to shut up when she wouldn't stop crying at the ripe ole' age of 1 month. I told Sid of this and she told me I was very brave to say something. Nothing came of it. I moved back with my parents after that.

The abuse continued into my teenage years. The tactics naturally had to change a little. The emphasis was much more on the psychological mind fucks and put downs. I had once dated a black girl and was grounded whenever they found out. I was also forbade from continuing the relationship. I was told it was for my own good so I didn't get persecuted against. Fast forward to me wanting to move into sids house again. The conversation with my parents explaining the reasons I wanted to went terribly. My dad ended up choking me out saying I had "bowed up" on kelli. He then told me to get my shit off of his property and said if sid stepped foot on his property he would shoot her dead.

Blah blah blah. I moved into a lady-friends house and into a very bad and abusive relationship. Things did not end well to say the least. I then moved in with my wife. Sid had given us a good bit of furniture from my grandma to help furnish our house and had even given me an old truck of hers for transportation. We've had a faux great relationship in my adulthood. Only now am I seeing her for who she really is. I've not been accepting her calls as I am currently processing everything that's been done to me. So, now to my current predicament, she texted me asking why I haven't been speaking to her. I replied that I was angry about my childhood and past and was processing it all. Also that I did not want to speak with her about it yet. She then sent that she had no clue what I was talking about. Two days later she sent another message saying how she was pissed off, then listed the things she's helped me out with in my adult life and finished it off with if I'm ostricizing her and her family with no reason, then I'm no kind of man. The last sentence was "put that in your craw and chew it." Needless to say, I became quite frustrated. I don't think I can speak to her without yelling and using choice language. My question is can I have a meaningful and self-helping conversation with her over text messaging or should I just call her and out myself into a situation in which I can become enraged. Also, I know my grammar became quite mundane through the long bits. I apologize, when such a long post is in the works I find it hard to pull out my mental thesaurus. Thank you in advance for your help.
This is the full text Sid sent me today.

" Ok, so I went from being hurt and confused to downright pissed off. I have not done a single thing but try to help you, neither has neens. I supported whatever you wanted to do, right or wrong, you needed stuff when you moved I scrounged it up for you so you could have something and not do without, you needed money I gave it to you, you needed help with (our son) when (my wife) had surgery so I got on the phone and got you some help, when Kelli and Greg hurt your feelings I tried to make you feel better without bad mouthing them, you needed something to drive I gave you the tracker and the truck. I don't butt in, I don't try to tell you what to do or run your life and i have never judged you or put you down. I love (our son), you, and (my wife), I did everything I could to make her feel welcome and part of my family. If you are going to ostracize me and my family without even telling us why or picking up the phone to try and resolve whatever you think the problem is, then you are no kind of man at all. So put that in your craw and chew on it."

I also realize this is an extraordinarily long post and I completely understand if nobody has the time or the want to read it all and reply.
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#2
Emanuel N.

Emanuel N.

  • 79 posts

I'm sorry for what you're going through, and what you had to live through as a child. That was wrong and you did not deserve any part of it. 

I want you to know that what you're doing is incredibly brave and honest, going through your history and opening up to other people. It must be very painful for you to realize these truths about the people who were there to take care of you. 

There's so much going on here that I don't know if I can answer your needs correctly, and I didn't see a question anywhere in your post.

Nevertheless, I want to express my empathy towards your past neglect and suffering and your current struggles to get to the happiness you deserve. 

 

It must hurt you very deeply to show your pain to your mother and have her attack you and boast her own virtues and good actions. That's so far from honesty it breaks my heart. And she says that she loves you, I'm so sorry for everything. What do you hope to gain from contacting your mother about this? I think you might want to get on the call-in show as soon as possible, I think Stefan can really help people going through these painful moments in their lives. You might get the clarity that you need to get to where you want. 

Did my response meet your expectations and your needs? I hope my words show you that some people care and that you deserve that attention and love you didn't get earlier in your life.


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#3
powersquash

powersquash
  • 42 posts
Thank you for your reply. My question, though not worded too closely to a question, was if a meaningful conversation regarding what happened could be had through texting or if I should just call her, which would most likely end up to the point of being enraged and have an unproductive conversation.

As to answer your question of what my expectations from the conversation, I want to see what she has to say for herself. I feel as though if I were to never speak to her again, my internalization of her would always make excuses for everything she did or didn't do, which in turn would make me possibly regret the decision to not have my past abusers in my life.
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#4
cynicist

cynicist

  • 417 posts

Oh my god that was difficult to read, and not because of your grammar. I found myself feeling enraged during much of that story. The arrogance of this woman to claim that she did nothing but "try to help you" while at the same time abandoning you to abusers as a child (you didn't mention why but it doesn't really matter) is an astounding feat of denial. She is more concerned about her own feelings (being "hurt and pissed off") than she is about why you may be angry about your history. I mean honestly if she really had no idea what you were talking about, and was this perfect angel of mother, would she not be curious as to what you mean by it?

 

 

My question is can I have a meaningful and self-helping conversation with her over text messaging or should I just call her and out myself into a situation in which I can become enraged.

 

Just based on that text she sent you I see denial, defensiveness, minimizing, distortion, manipulation, put downs, and all sorts of passive aggressive behavior with absolutely no curiosity or interest in you as a person, so no, you absolutely will not have a meaningful conversation with her, text or otherwise about this particular issue. You already know what she is going to say about it based on what she sent you. She will deny and make excuses, pretend as if you are crazy and then act as though your anger is a confirmation of that if you have a problem with her abusive behavior.

 

I'm sorry to hear about your history but happy to know that things are changing for you at least. I think a more productive thing to do would be to continue exploring where things went wrong on her end as a parent and trying to realign this story that you have about her with reality. (The only reason I am suggesting you have a story about your relationship to her is that a part of you is excusing her behavior) It might help to look at the actions she took and imagine hearing about a friend doing the same with his kid and seeing how that makes you feel. I'm curious what your wife thinks about all this as well. I think her view could help put things in perspective for you. (I can totally empathize with how hard it is to see things from inside yourself, don't kick yourself for it we all have this problem)

 

Another thing that might be helpful is just to send her a text saying that she might be absolutely right about things and it could just be your issue but you need to take some time to sort things out for yourself and to do that you are going to take a break from the family for a while. Then take a few months to sort things out in your own head and see how you feel about seeing her again. Remember that it doesn't have to be a permanent break, and if she truly "supported whatever you wanted to do, right or wrong" then she should be able to support you here in your difficult struggle with your past. I think her response to that idea may also help you.

 

Regardless of what you decide to do I just want to say you are not alone and I'm also having difficulty with this. It is a hard thing to recognize that what you thought to be true was actually manipulation and lies, and that your parents could have been abusers. Part of the hardship of this conversation is that you begin to see that most of what people are doing in society is an attempt to hide this information from themselves and pretend like none of it happened. Anyway I wish you luck.


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#5
powersquash

powersquash
  • 42 posts
I sent this to her " I feel hurt and disrespected by how you completely ignored what was obviously bothering me and instead of being curious as to what I was referencing, you attacked me and asserted how you helped me in my adulthood. Saying you tried to make me feel better whenever Greg and kelli hurt my feelings minimizes the abuses I faced and makes it seem as though I'm overly sensitive. I said specifically the issues I had were with my childhood, by ignoring that you ignored me. "

And she replied with this " I have no idea what's bothering you. You refused To tell me so I'm at a complete loss, all I know is you suddenly quit talking to everyone then you decide you have childhood issues that you are angry about, I don't have a clue what you are talking about, you never asked any questions, you never eluded that there was a problem."

I think I may just respond to this with your suggestion about me just needing to work through it all without her. Just reading the part where she says "then you decide you have childhood issues." As if I decided to have those issues. Bitch please. Also, as a warning, I just copy pasted the text conversation. There are surely a few misspelling errors I looked over on my proofreading of her part.

And to answer your question about how my wife feels about this.- She was the one who helped me to realize who my mom really is. I've always had open problems with my dad and never have I felt they raised me correctly, however, with my mom that was completely different. Whenever my wife would point out inconsistencies with stories of my mom's or how I felt about it, Iwould become enraged and defensive of her. It eventually got to the point where I thought she was attacking my mom for no reason. After she introduced me to Stefan's podcasts, I began to see the reason more clearly. Even still I can feel myself becoming defensive of my mom's parenting "style" or her actions though I logically know they are not correct. I both would not nor could not get through this without my wife.
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#6
Zava

Zava
  • 21 posts

First off, don’t worry about your grammar, you made yourself clear. That's some really intense stuff and I'm so sorry you endured that. Here's just a few quick impressions I got from reading her note:

 

“Ok, so I went from being hurt and confused to downright pissed off.”

 

To me this sounds like, “I tried expressing hurt as an emotional manipulation, without any genuine caring feeling of curiosity about you and when that didn’t work, I’m quickly switching to my usual dominating tactic, since I’ve had a lot of success with that in the past. “

 

“I have not done a single thing but try to help you, neither has Xxxx. “

Sounds like, “I’m perfect, you’re blind/insane.”

 

“I supported whatever you wanted to do, right or wrong, you needed stuff when you moved I scrounged it up for you so you could have something and not do without, you needed money I gave it to you,”

 

Sounds like, “I am such a good mother. I even indulged you in wrong things like giving you stuff you needed. Maybe I regret it now since you’re not obedient. I sacrificed my entire life for you, it was so inconvenient for me. I did this to be good, not because I took any joy in helping.”

 

“you needed help with Xxxx when Xxxx had surgery so I got on the phone and got you some help, when Xxxx and Xxxx hurt your feelings I tried to make you feel better without bad mouthing them, you needed something to drive I gave you the tracker and the truck.”

 

Sounds like, “I don’t do things because it’s right to do them. I do them so I can make you feel guilty later and as a veneer to hide all the bad things I’ve done.”  

“I don't butt in, I don't try to tell you what to do or run your life and i have never judged you or put you down. “

 

Sounds like, “I’m perfect” yet she contradicts this statement in the very same paragraph by incorrectly judging and insulting you with the statement, “If you are going to ostracize me and my family without even telling us why or picking up the phone to try and resolve whatever you think the problem is, then you are no kind of man at all.”

 

You never said that you were shutting them out of your life forever; you said you needed some time. You were simply expressing a genuine emotion and her reaction is like firing bullets, at your manhood no less.

 

“ So put that in your craw and chew on it.”

 

This part is so ridiculous. It’s immature and combative.

 

I think cynicist’s thoughts about this are really good.

 

After reading your additional communication, it’s clear that she is feigning confusion. She clearly lacks any kind of curiosity. Her reply asks no questions. Instead it’s like a slammed door in the face.  

 

“then you decide you have childhood issues.” Is a brutal thing to say as well and I’m so glad you caught that!

 

Anyway, I'm so sorry you had to endure this but glad you're making great progress and with such a supportive, loving wife helping you.


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#7
powersquash

powersquash
  • 42 posts
I appreciate all of the feedback. It's seriously been such a help getting some outside perspective. Yesterday with some help from my wife I sent my mom this text.
" I did not refuse to tell you. You have not yet asked. You simply told me how wrong I was and attacked my "manhood" for my thoughts without so much as knowing or understanding them. I did not simply "decide" I have childhood issues. I have decided, however, to look further into it to better my person. "
I think it included everything I needed to say to her. I was attempting to remain as neutral in aggression as possible as to not stir up another angry fueled text from her. I'm not positive I need or want anymore time to inwardly look on my younger self. Have any of you had these conversations yet? How do you know you're ready for them? And how did you prepare?
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#8
cynicist

cynicist

  • 417 posts
You never said that you were shutting them out of your life forever; you said you needed some time. You were simply expressing a genuine emotion and her reaction is like firing bullets, at your manhood no less.

 

“ So put that in your craw and chew on it.”

 

This part is so ridiculous. It’s immature and combative.

 

Yeah I felt the same, like she is switching between attack and defense constantly. It's all about protecting her emotional integrity at all costs.

 

 

And to answer your question about how my wife feels about this.- She was the one who helped me to realize who my mom really is. I've always had open problems with my dad and never have I felt they raised me correctly, however, with my mom that was completely different. Whenever my wife would point out inconsistencies with stories of my mom's or how I felt about it, Iwould become enraged and defensive of her. It eventually got to the point where I thought she was attacking my mom for no reason. After she introduced me to Stefan's podcasts, I began to see the reason more clearly. Even still I can feel myself becoming defensive of my mom's parenting "style" or her actions though I logically know they are not correct. I both would not nor could not get through this without my wife.

 

 

It really warms my heart to hear that. This world can be a tough place to navigate without people watching your back.

 

 

I think it included everything I needed to say to her. I was attempting to remain as neutral in aggression as possible as to not stir up another angry fueled text from her. I'm not positive I need or want anymore time to inwardly look on my younger self. Have any of you had these conversations yet? How do you know you're ready for them? And how did you prepare?

 

 

I think being neutral is a good idea, it's easy to get back on that treadmill of the past so keeping a clear head is important. As an example I tried to have a similar conversation with my mother not long ago and I ended up feeling angry and was distracted by her from the more important issues, though I still found the conversation valuable.

 

For preparation it's helpful (since we know our parents so well) to imagine their responses so we can be ready for them when they come up. Also try to focus on your feelings instead of the events of the past. This is important because while memories can be hazy and disputable, they can't logically tell you that your own feelings are wrong. During my own childhood convo, my mom kept saying that she remembered things differently from me, so I had to continue to go back to something like, "Ok, well I understand that you may think things were fine, but I remember feeling terrified as a child.".

 

As far as continuing the conversation with your mother, Stefan has some good advice that I will repeat here. He suggests that if you still have lingering feelings of uncertainty regarding your parents, that it's important to continue talking to them (taking breaks is fine, but putting it off indefinitely is not) because from those conversations you will either break through and find something salvageable in the relationship or you will gain closure from the realization that it's not possible. If your mom continues to ignore and belittle you, keep talking (it will be painful) until you just absolutely have nothing you want to say to her anymore. That's how you will know that it's over.

 

 

I'm not positive I need or want anymore time to inwardly look on my younger self.

 

 

I won't tell you what to do but this part alarms me. Do you mean because it is hard/scary? Or that you just don't think it will help you? I'm not an expert in this area by any means, I have a hard time doing it myself, but my understanding of psychology is that this younger self inside you is not gone or dead just because you are older. There are certain perspectives we have that remain within us as we age; an example of this is when someone is described as looking at a rainbow with a child-like wonder. Those parts can get locked away or suppressed inside our minds because of traumatic events, and it is important to reintegrate these aspects of ourselves in order to have access to the full range of human emotion and spontaneity that we are capable of. I think freeing these parts of ourselves that are trapped in our history and which can provoke us to repetitive, destructive actions is the whole purpose of therapy. This is not to suggest that you should do anything, but if you find yourself repeatedly in similar, negative situations that's a good sign that you have something unresolved from your past that is playing itself out in your present in order to get your attention. (This warrants further exploration of your past, and possibly therapy depending on the severity of the issue)


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#9
powersquash

powersquash
  • 42 posts

For preparation it's helpful (since we know our parents so well) to imagine their responses so we can be ready for them

She wasn't much of a disciplinary figure in my childhood. Her MO was more to feed me to the wolves so I find it difficult to imagine what her responses would be.

Also try to focus on your feelings instead of the events of the past. This is important because while memories can be hazy and disputable, they can't logically tell you that your own feelings are wrong.

When I first read this I felt as though that wouldn't work. I tend to view situations based on the facts, not so much how people feel during the situation. I've been working on my empathy for myself and others. I don't have much at all, in fact, before self-helping I thought I was a sociopath due to my lack of emotions. After keeping that in mind and speaking with my wife about your suggestion I realized that is probably the best idea.

I won't tell you what to do but this part alarms me. Do you mean because it is hard/scary? Or that you just don't think it will help you?


I didn't word that quite as well as I should have. I meant I don't think I need anymore time to mull it over before I have THE conversation with her. I've done a bit of self-reflection and don't feel I need anymore before I begin this leg of the journey. Not to say I won't need more overall. I have, though, been thinking of this process as a one-and-done situation and after reading your post I understand it is probably best to have it over time and not all at once.
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