When I was a kid my parents got us a puppy! Although I only have one memory of playing with the German Sheppard puppy that one memory is a happy one.
I have very strong memories however of how much my mother hated having the puppy. Long after the puppy was taken away, I heard her complaints about it.
The reason that they puppy had to go was not because my mother hated it though. The reason that the puppy had to go was because both my oldest brother and I were allergic to it.
My mother had an uncle who was a dairy farmer in Quebec. I have a few memories of visiting the farm, of the cows, the milking barn, the orchards my great Aunt and Uncle and their two hired men. I remember the smell of the big kitchen, the fresh baked pies and the fresh garden food that we ate every time we visited.
My father LOVED the farm. He has spent summers there as a teenager. My mother hated the farm and didn’t make much of an effort to try to hide it. I think she went there out of family obligation and also because my father loved it there so much.
After I got so sick in grade 5 and developed asthma as a result of being so badly emotionally abused by my teacher, the pediatrician told my mother that I was too weak to visit the farm anymore because of my asthma and allergies. I was 10 or 11 when this news was delivered. I remember feeling really badly because my father (and my brothers) would have to miss out on the visits to the farm all because of me. I don’t think my parents would dare go against the Dr.s orders when the same doctor had threatened them with a court order if they didn’t get me out of the teachers class.
We moved to another Province the following year and my parents split up, so going to the farm or not, never came up again.
When I was all grown up and moved away from home I ended up marrying a farmer myself, this time on the other side of the country from where I grew up. I married a beef cattle rancher; we had lots of cows, I brought my horse with me when I moved in and pretty soon we added a dog to the growing list of live animals. My husband also puts up a lot of hay and grain, something else that I had always been allergic to on my Uncles farm.
My mother didn’t try to hide her disappointment that I married a farmer. She even made a bet that my marriage wouldn’t last 5 years. (Another way she defined me, but that is another story) It started to come out how much my mom hated “the farm”; our farm, my home. I started to remember how much she hated her Uncles’ farm… and one day she told me that her Uncle got in bed with her when she was a kid and tried to press his erect penis through her legs from behind. (So now I knew why she hated “the farm” so much.)
But here is what I am getting at; One day when I had been married a few years and at least 2 of my children were born, my controlling mother made a comment about how she had made all these “sacrifices” for her children and what a “slap in the face” it was that my older brother had 2 German Sheppard’s in his house, and I lived on a cattle and hay farm and had a horse and a dog. I gapped. She added that she “had to give up HER dog because of us” and that “she had to stop going to her Uncles farm” because of me.
I reacted like I always reacted ~ with a whole bunch of explanations about how I had to wear a mask when I groomed my horse, and how I had to wear gloves when I rode. I defended myself with the fact that our dog (a scotch collie) had a double down coat that was the least allergic for me, and how my allergies were MUCH better now than they were when I was a kid… and on and on. I was so used to having to justify every decision that I ever made that went against anything my mother wanted or didn’t want. The truth is that it was NONE of my mother’s business where I lived or what I did anymore and I could have just told her that instead of defending myself out of guilt and shame every time she brought it up. The truth is that she only mentioned it because she saw a way to get a dig in against me. And as always she hit her mark.
Today I realize that this is a great example of how manipulative people will use whatever information they have to point a finger and “prove” that the problem is you and always HAS been you; YOU caused the problem and of course YOU OWE them for all they have done for you. This is “the message” that causes so much damage.
My mother sacrificed for me?? I guess she didn’t think I would remember how much she hated that German Sheppard puppy dog and how much she hated going to her uncle’s farm. The situation had worked in her favor, but she used it against me anyway; she used it to prove how hard life had been for her and that I was failing (as usual) to make it any easier.
This was one of the things my self-centered somewhat narcissistic mother said that was so telling and so revealing about the lengths she would go to blame me. This was not the only incident of its kind. When I started to come out of “the fog” I realized just how pathetic it was that my toxic mother pulled this particular card; SHE hated that dog and she hated her Uncles farm! She should have been thrilled that I was allergic to both! I also realized how pathetic it is that abusers and controllers (owners) will always push to see just how far they can go to get you back in line with what they want you to “do” and how they want you to feel.
Among others things in the dysfunctional relationship with my mother, I learned that LOVE does keep a tally. I learned that (in spite of all the sayings about love) the love that I was taught has to do with a life time of gratitude and obligation. I learned that according to her I always make the wrong choice and never do what is best for me and that only she knows what is best for me. She knew so much better than me that she insinuated I married the wrong guy (a slap in HER face?) because his profession involved things that I was allergic to! Those messages are not anything even remotely related to love. Those statements come from dysfunctional family belief systems. They show examples of dysfunctional mother daughter relationship. They reveal how my toxic and manipulative mother regarded and defined me as stupid, unable to take care of myself and disrespectful to her wishes and her “sacrifice”. They are related to manipulation and control over another person; me. And the highlight the sneaky ways that psychological abuse work.
I am extremely grateful that I learned that the LOVE I was taught, is not love at all. The false definition of Love had to be replaced with the truth.
P.S. Interesting that although I do have that one happy memory of having the puppy, for some strange reason I am very afraid of German Sheppard dogs to this day.
Please share your thoughts on these kinds of controlling messages from controlling manipulative people.
Exposing Truth, one snapshot at a time;
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