The Pain of Not having a Mother vs Being a Mother on Mother’s Day

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dysfunctional mother daughter relationship
Texting with my Daughter Katie

I have three amazing and wonderful children. They were all under the age of 12 when I started this specific type of emotional healing journey that I write about here in Emerging from Broken. 

I have worked at being close to my children. I decided when each of them were born that I would be intentional in the way that I did relationship with them. I was intentional about what I communicated and how I showed them love and acceptance.  My main goal in the beginning was to inspire them to be who they are in spite of living in a world full of people living a dream someone else had for them. I had a slight concept of the millions of kids (like me) who tried to “fit in” by being what they perceived others wanted and by being / doing what they thought others would “love” them for.

Mothers Day articles and dysfunctional mother daughter posts along with dysfunctional and toxic parent child relationship posts are the most popular posts that I write when it comes to the search engines like “Google”. (not so much when it comes to sharing with social networks such as Facebook) My blog posts on this subject are found in search engines hundreds of times a day. There is a lot of pain in the world around toxic mother and child relationships.  This year I became aware of some new things about motherhood; the emotions I had to face as a mother caused me to reflect even MORE deeply on the way that my own mother treated me. And it was painful.

This year my oldest daughter Katie (she is my middle child) went off to the University of Lethbridge to study Neuroscience. Although it was an exciting time for both of us, feelings of pride and love mingled with fear and insecurity. There were so many unknowns! But life ~ at least life without restrictions has a way of going forward in spite of those fears.

The University of Lethbridge is only a three hour drive away so my daughter Katie was able to come home on many of the weekends. During mid terms and finals however, she would stay at the University to study and then sometimes I didn’t see her for almost 3 weeks straight.  And I could “feel it”. I felt an absence and a longing. Sometimes my chest would ache with missing her. Sometimes I would get up and pace the room, rubbing that empty spot and marveling at how my heart actually hurt with missing my baby.

Both Katie and I were surprised at the degree and depth of the homesickness that she experienced. I was scared that she wouldn’t miss us at all actually.  Without realizing it I had braced myself for rejection. I was afraid that she wouldn’t need me anymore and that she was all grown up and independent now. Perhaps she would even rejoice in “getting away from me”. I thought university kids were supposed to be celebrating their freedom from parents and calling their parents “lame” and all that sort of thing. I realized that I had been really afraid that Katie would go off to University and never think about me again. And that fear came from the experiences that I had with my own mother.  Not because I left home at 17 and never wanted my mother again, but because my mother never wanted me. My mother didn’t pursue me, but in my mind I blamed myself for that for so long that even when it came time for my daughter to leave home deep down I believed that she would not want me anymore either.

Katie wasn’t shy about expressing her homesickness which also surprised me. She wrote status updates in facebook about it all the time. She even posted a few screen shots of our text conversations. I had feelings that I had never had before such as an unbridled excitement that perhaps I had succeeded in achieving a really loving and mutually respectful relationship with my daughter!  

Katie and I had this one conversation on text messaging during her finals in the second semester where I told that I missed her so much that my chest hurt and she said that hers did too; she told me that it felt like her heart was crying. YES ~ that was the best way to describe it.  Another time I told her that it felt like something was missing in my chest and she said “It’s me! Its me that is missing” and YES ~ Katie was exactly what was missing.  

As time progressed I became aware of other thoughts just niggling below the surface; thoughts about my own mother. I wonder why my own mother never missed me? I moved out when I was only 17 years old. I moved across the country when I was 19 years old and my strange mother never seemed to give me a second thought.  She made “keeping in touch” my responsibility. She never showed any kind of vulnerability towards me by any sincere expression of missing me or having even in having any interest in me. I saw this all in a new light when I missed Katie so much my heart ached. I had to face the pain of being rejected by my own toxic, seemingly narcissistic mother in a new way when I acknowledged how much I missed my own daughter.  The “why questions” came flooding back. How could my own mother have been so cold?

This is a very painful truth. The deepest and most painful truth that I have had to face in order to overcome depression, dissociation, post traumatic stress disorder and all my other struggles with self esteem, living fully and finding freedom and wholeness has been to face that my toxic mother didn’t care and my emotionally unavailable father was never interested in me. By their actions, they didn’t love me. This realization came in layers over the years that I have worked on setting myself free. I have to constantly remind myself that understanding the people who hurt me is not part of the solution in the way that acknowledging and healing from the damage is. 

I missed Katie and acknowledged the pain of those feelings quite a few times this past year before I allowed myself to think about that pain in relation to my own mother. The deeper realizations are still so painful that sometimes I just don’t see that new level of acknowledgement right away.

It has been painful to comprehend that my own mother did not love me; my mother doesn’t LOVE me, the way that I love my own kids.  my daughter love

BUT it is also a reason to celebrate! I love my kids and I have learned how to have relationship with them based on equal value and mutual respect! I broke the cycle of neglect and parent child dysfunction!  I don’t expect my children to fill a hole in me like my own toxic mother did. I don’t emotionally neglect them or neglect them any other way. I went a step farther in my healing and broke the belief that parents have more rights and more value than their children have. I have modeled equal value for all people in my own family and my kids want to have a relationship with me.  Not only am I free of the oppression I used to live in, but they are free to live in wholeness too.

This Mother’s Day I am celebrating BEING a mother! ~ A real mother; a functional mother, a loving mother.  I had to re-parent myself for several years in this process of healing. I had to become the mother I never had (to myself) in order to become the mother I am to my own kids. I am proud of my kids and today I am proud of myself too!

Happy Mother’s Day!  Even if this year you are only celebrating the mother that you can be to yourself, please share your thoughts.

Darlene Ouimet

The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

 

289 response to "The Pain of Not having a Mother vs Being a Mother on Mother’s Day"

  1. By: Mimi Posted: 18th June

    Janie,
    If you’re interested, the letter I wrote is comment #218 here. 🙂

    Thank you for the birthday wishes. It’s going to be a good day!!

    Love,
    Mimi

  2. By: Janie Posted: 18th June

    I just wanted to clarify. Knowing what my friend went through, and she is a great mother, is even more amazing to me. I feel like I reverse judged her in a way for not experiencing abuse the same way I did…..
    Her daughter is getting better, but largely due to the fact that her mom is there, advocating for her every day. She is also a medical professional, and knows what is right to do, and when her child is getting blown off. She has some difficulties being vocal to staff about everything, but gets them on the big omissions or inconsistencies…….

  3. By: Janie Posted: 18th June

    Wow, Mimi has written her letter, and I may have unwittingly written one as well. I posted on a site for these same issues, on Facebook. I mistakenly thought it was a private group. General posts from the group would appear in my feed, but never people’s individual posts.I think what happened was,a friend saw the group, was curious, and entered the site. She responded to one of my posts on there, then a few other friends somehow saw it and posted as well.
    It was a post actually about what a great mother i thought this particular friend was,it would happen,as she cared for her teenage daughter in the hospital. It brought up memories for me, when I was a teen, sick with mono and rheumatic fever, at the same time: fever, sores in my throat, painful nodules over my body, unable to swallow even my own saliva. The doctor told my mother to take me immediately to the hospital, as I was getting sicker. She then engaged in a 2 hour phone call, ignoring me. I would write her notes (as we were well trained not to interrupt her on the phone),telling her how sick I felt, and when were we going,and she just brushed them aside. When we got to my room at the hospital, she proceded to leave right away,kind of dump me, which I still find shocking!
    So, one friend tells me she is sorry I went through all of that,and gave a healthy response. Another, asked “How is your friends daughter?” totally ignoring what I said, but giving a clear message here. THe “good mom” I was writing about, sent me a long email, teling me how she still loved her mother, even though she beat her with a belt, sending her to school with welts she would have to explain away. She then pretty much gave me the let by gones be bygones speech, and “They did the best they could,they didnt know any different,” lecture. When I pointed out to her, you were beaten severely, yet you never laid a hand on your children, how did that happen, then? She just reiterated what she had said “they didnt know any better” followed by some AA talk. Why is her way of dealing ok, nd not mine?
    My FB site was then barraged by, “glass half full” posts,”living in the past” posts, and “My mother beat me with a belt and I turned out better for it” types of posts (that one, from a DIFFERENT friend who had confided in me that she had been physically abused!)
    The worst part for me,is that someone in my extended family was sure to have seen this. I did not intend to start WWIII, or suffer anymore emotional abuse, from people who cannot understand.
    I dropped out of the group, and deleted my posts (left the ones about my sisters up there tho, tough luck for them)
    Feeling traumatized. Thought it was a safe place to share, and wondering how it happened…………

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th June

      Hi Janie
      The most contraversial post I ever wrote was about a parent who publically threatened his kid on you tube. On the you tube post itself (where he used a gun to shoot her laptop) there was WAY more support than there was people disagreeing with him. My mother used her abusive mother as an example to me. It was so sick how she would say that no matter what her mother did, she was still her mother and she still loved her mother. I said “what the hell does that mean???” Where does society get the idea that abuse is acceptable if it is from our parents?? (and answering that question (which I have written about tons in this website) helped me see and then change my belief system) There are LAWS in place about this stuff. What your mother did Janie was neglect. There are laws about neglect too.
      I think people stick up for abusive parents for 2 reasons. Because they are still way to scared and controlled by thier parents and the false definition of love to do anything about it and so they can justify doing it to their own kids. Again, I have written lots about both these things in this site.
      Thanks for sharing Janie. Sorry that you went through that!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Janie Posted: 18th June

    Mimi, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a wonderful day. It sounds like a most memorable one is planned. Your new kitten sounds like a great little pet.
    I think it is normal for the dreams to return/increase around times that are usually of family celebration. That happens to me to. I wonder if it is a form of PTSD. It is very jarring.
    I just turned 50, and only heard for one of my 4 siblings, and my mother. My guy also went out of his way to make my day wonderful, which probably saved me.
    I definitely think you are on the right track, and are making progress! The feelings of freedom you write about, I think are a positive sign. I think the more you make your life about yourself,what you will allow in and accept, and what you no longer let into your life, the better it is for you. Remember, these people chose to act this way, to be abusive and mean, and they are reaping what they have sown!
    I think I had a hard time, when I went NC with certain people, that they didnt fight to have me back in their lives. But that is still valuing yourself through others’ eyes, and the ones we dont have contact with, we know how flawed their view of the world really is!
    So make it a great day, because it is your birthday, and that is all about YOU!!!!

    Janie

  5. By: Mimi Posted: 17th June

    Darlene and Janie, everyone,
    I did do a search in archives for the months surrounding that time… when I was finishing up that class. I just can’t find it. It disappeared I tell ya!! It just doesn’t seem to be there. UGH!!!

    Tomorrow will be my first birthday without any family. I mentioned that to my husband today and he said that’s why he’s been extra attentive. He is the grill KING, and he grilled some excellent marinated chicken (he knows is my favorite) breasts for me today with a great salad. He’s taking half the day off tomorrow so we can go to my favorite restaurant, then spend the afternoon boating. It will be a great day.

    It was my choice to tell my sisters I thought this would be a good year to stop gift giving, since mine comes first, and it involves mailing gifts miles away now. We decided to stop giving xmas gifts to each other several years ago. I thought it would be a good idea to not have those expectations of each other anymore. And, the obligation, money involved ~ just thought they would agree.

    I got a funny bday card from my oldest sister last week. My mom sent me a giftcard with a greeting card. I had told her in my letter to her that my budget was mine and she no longer could decide if and when I bought gifts. I added that I didn’t expect any from her either. She sent one anyway. I don’t know how to feel about that. Did she do that because it would look bad for a mother to NOT get a gift? Who knows. I hate that I STILL have a place inside me that she has the ability to touch, and make me question if she love(d)(s) me. For the first time in a long time, I’ve actually thought about the card, the words in it, with a bit of emotion. Nothing earthshattering at all. But, I feel a little twinge inside… perhaps a wish that her words were true ~ a question if they are. I’m not really sad. It is a reminder of what’s been lost. The fantasy I lived in where she meant the words she said.

    I took a nap this afternoon. I went into a very deep sleep and had a bad dream about my mom and my oldest sister. It’s not uncommon to have bad dreams about either of them. But, I’ve never had one with both involved. It was a 2 for 1. They treated me horribly. It’s always the same painful atmosphere in the dream. I haven’t had one for 4 months I’d say. I thought they were over. NOPE…. my mind just keeps reminding me.

    I’ve never had any dreams about my middle sister. I also haven’t gotten a birthday card from her. It won’t surprise me if I don’t. It won’t hurt me either. It was my choice to stop contacting her several weeks ago. Since I made that decision, it dissolved, as predicted. It’s a relief to know where I stand. Knowing that relieves me of any obligation to keep it alive.

    Since this distance with everyone, I feel less pressure. I feel some freedom to do and feel what I want. I don’t have to please them or prove myself…. that I’m not crazy, I’m a product of a really screwed up mother. My sisters didn’t get the more raw treatment the scapegoat inevitably gets. They don’t get it. I’m okay with that, and I’m even more okay with not trying to explain or prove it. Or, explain why I’m so screwed up. Explain the fears, anxiety, anger, craziness, inability to cope. With no contact, I only need validate myself, understand myself, prove it to myself, and trust and believe myself. It was once lonely, and still is at times. A moment of lonely is far more appealing than disrespect and all out lack of loyalty, or questions about why I try to process things that happened “so many years ago”.

    So, anyway, tomorrow I’ll be doing my birthday with my husband and I. It will be wonderfully relaxing on the water, just the two of us. I might make myself a little cake or a big cookie with a gallon of frosting. YUM!!

    Thanks for listening! Hope you all have a fantastic week!!
    Peace for all,
    Mimi
    ps – I do have a new kitten that was kind of a birthday gift. He has surely brought playful life and love to my days. I am crazy over his fuzzy little self!! =^..^=

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 18th June

      Hi Mimi!
      Happy Birthday (late) Our birthdays are only 5 days apart! (mine is the 23rd)
      Each year it gets easier to not hear from any family on my birthday. (well my father sometimes still phones but usually I am not here when he does and what the heck to I say to him anymore?? It is all so phoney! He doesn’t want to work on any kind of relationship at all and I told him I am sick of the obligatory b.s. relationship that just reminds me of how much he never knew me, never saw me and never wanted to) ~ Anyway, about the rest of my family; it was really hard the first year and I found myself going between guilt (being willing to take the blame for NOT having a family anymore) and fear (scared that my mother would phone and ruin the day!) But now I don’t hardly even think about them on my birthday. I hated birthdays and christmas in the past (and was never sure why) ~ but today I know that they came with so much freeking baggage!! I don’t have any of that anymore! And I don’t miss any of that either!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Janie Posted: 16th June

    Hey ladies, thanks for looking for me! I am have finished my last paper, and getting ready to type it. She has responded to me yet again, with a BLANK response, when asking for direction on the final assignment. I take that as a giant, S***w you, quit bothering me, up here, on high. LOL, another narcissist in my life. I have been playing coy for a bit, here, but am getting ready to send a scathing email to the college President. She needs to go, or at least go back over to the technical side of allied health, and leave spirituality to the spiritual.
    Thanks again!

    Janie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 17th June

      Hi janie,
      Let us know what happens! Yay for sticking up for yourself! Hugs! Darlene

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 16th June

      Hi Mimi
      I know there was a big discussion going on on more than one post. (I posted a link for someone to read the other thread at one point.. but I can’t remember where either. (perhaps because there are over 17,800 comments in the website!!!! LOLOL) Even using search words in the back end isn’t working!
      I hope you find it!
      Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Janie Posted: 15th June

    Mimi, thanks, it is so crazy making! I am done with the class this weekend, then start a new class on Monday.I am going to report her to the President of the College. I am gathering evidence to ask for a new grade if necessary, as she has been withholding my grades, behind on the last 3 papers grades. I connected with others in the class, who are having the same experience.
    I can not believe that woman yelled at you in front of the class. And repeatedy! What a bully! This one here will not answer my questions straight forwardly either. I love the student she also picks on, who submits items outlines of questions, all business, “Please expound on this point” and ” this requirement is contradictory,please clarify and explain”. Right back to her! (This is online class)Thanks for sharing yor experience! I am glad you got through it, and that gives me hope.I will finish up my two assignments this weekend and be done with it. She will not deter me from my goal, when I am 2/3 done with the program!

    @ Dave, Wow! So true that Want and Need are not the same in regards to a family. I want mine to be normal,present and involved. It’s not there! They don’t got it on them. I do not want or need the role I was assigned in all of that dysfunction.
    And, yes, it is okay to grieve the loss, even if it is of an abusive/dysfunctional group of people. I think it is the saying goodbye to the Family Of Origin, as well,that is tough.
    I am so glad for you, that God blessed you with a wonderful wife!
    Your post was really inspirational,helps to keep moving forward. Thanks for all of your insight!

    I need to go back and catch up on the reading in this thread. School and work has kept me so busy.

    Hope I dont always feel like the newbie at this. Maybe I am keeping myself super busy to avoid the pain of this all……..

    Janie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th June

      Hi Janie,
      There is a huge discussion in this site about the situation that Mimi went through ~ Mimi do you remember the post that it was on??
      Good for you for reporting! We have to take a stand for ourselves. It is such a huge part of self validation; and validation is something most of us never had much of before.
      Hugs, Darlene

  8. By: Mimi Posted: 14th June

    Janie,
    I had a bully teacher a few semesters back. It was brutal, and I left class in tears several times. She singled me out for attack and I sat in the front row. She spoke just below a yell, so all the students could enjoy her attack on me too. I turned her in to the Dean. My class had two invitations to review her performance after the semester was over. Of course, she didn’t shine in my review. It never occurred to me that someone teaching at the college level would be so immature and insecure that they use their position to soothe their own souls. It was very true in this case. It makes me a little warm in my blood STILL, when I think about it. I was paying that woman’s salary. I couldn’t think of a single reason in the world why she should get away with treating me with all out disrespect, contempt, and bullying. I couldn’t even get her to answer my questions. She had no trouble answering other people’s though. I spilled it all to the dean, and I don’t regret doing that at all. My only regret is that I didn’t do more IN the classroom to give right back to her. I basically crumbled. I was having a very tough time at home, and I feel in my heart that she detected my vulnerability which gave her a perceived open invitation to run rampant all over my dignity and self esteem. The dean allowed me to finish the semester without going back into the classroom. I got notes and recordings from another student.

    I’m not finished with school yet. I can tell you this for sure, I won’t tolerate that kind of disrespect again from a person whose salary I am paying. Good luck to you in the remainder of the class you’re in. I hope the “spiritual” leader sets a better example of true spirituality in the future.

    K. Ella,
    Last night I came in late from work and sat down and typed a response to your comment above. I was almost completely done, (3 good sized paragraphs), and my brand new kitten fought me tooth and nail to walk across my keyboard so he could be in my lap. After about 13 times of peeling him off, he finally deleted the whole dang thing!! AGH!!! I tried to recover it, but, I wasn’t able to. =^..^=

    I was saying that I went through similar things you describe last year when I started to uncover the truth in my family, and most of all, my mother. I had no choice but to process it all and it was incredibly intense. I was very confused. I questioned every memory and historical event that rose up. My foundation crumbled before my eyes. I remember wandering around the house, just not knowing anything. Tough to explain, but, I really wasn’t functioning. I just had to move through it at my own pace and process it as I was able. I cried a LOT. I was even afraid to go places because I wasn’t sure I could keep from crying. I also journaled a LOT. Journaling isn’t something I LOVE doing, but, I made myself do it. And, it was extremely liberating. It is amazing what comes out when you decide to just write. After I made the commitment to do it, I would spend entire days sometimes, just writing. It was really therapeutic. There is so much to sort out, and it’s painful and confusing. I begged God for relief. He didn’t heal me miraculously, but rather, he showed me what I needed to do to heal. He eased my pain at times, but mostly, he showed me the tools I needed to get through it in a way that would afford me lasting change and healing. I believe in my heart that he also brought me here. I can look back and realize there were absolutely no accidents. Even the painful things happened for a reason. I agree with Dave that God is not the author of confusion. For me, it was a natural part of it, however. How could I have possibly expected to wade through all of that emotion and pain, and crumbling foundation, without being confused by it? How could I find out all these new things about my mother and my upbringing, and uncover so many lies and deception, without being a little confused? Don’t be too hard on yourself K. Ella. It is an incredibly tough time. It’s okay if you have some confusion in my opinion. That doesn’t mean it will last forever. Certainly it didn’t for me. I also wondered daily, if it would ever end. I questioned my sanity, and wondered if I would ever be out on the other side. I’m not entirely there, but the confusion has lifted 95%, and I’m much more settled than I was this time last year. I rarely cry now, and I am back functioning at nearly the level I was before. Each revelation was painful and confusing, but I knew the importance of moving through it instead of turning my head. It was perhaps the toughest thing I’ve ever done. I can tell you without a doubt in my heart, there is hope. I have great hope that you too will come through it and see brighter days again. Even if you don’t feel hopeful right now, I think that’s okay too. I didn’t have any hope for a period of time either. I believe in my heart that all that will return to you. It just takes time. I will pray for you K. Ella. And, I hope that your days begin to get brighter.
    With love and much hope,
    Mimi

  9. By: Dave W Posted: 14th June

    K Ella – God is NOT the author of confusion. Some of this i believe is you being attacked. Stand your ground as a child of God created in his image to fulfill a good purpose. I pray that your faith will be strengthened during this trial. This too shall pass K Ella.

    Its ok that i dont have family. I am MUCH better off without them. they were way too toxic to stay in my life. I am much happier and healthier without them. I dont need them. I dont need a mother or father. there is a big difference between want and need. Sure i wanted a good happy family but it just was not there. they were broken people who would have destroyed me had i not cut off contact. they were both sinking ships trying to take me down with them. I cut loose and said goodbye. You will experience a sense of loss (perfectly normal) – you have lost an important relatinship in your life. You will get through this. Do things you enjoy please K Ella – go do something you enjoy or something that you have fun doing. Please take care of yourself and nurture yourself during this time. You have got to be the parent now. You can do it ! You have the strength within you. God will help you ! We will be praying for you !

    love and blessings,

    Dave

  10. By: Janie Posted: 14th June

    Hi everyone,
    Today is not the best of days. Last night, trying to sleep, everytime I drifted off, I was jolted awake by thoughts of mean things my sisters or mothers could have said, old arguments where I felt bullied by my sister. It feels almost like post traumatic stress. The weather of spring also makes me nostalgic, and thinking of childhood, of the good times, before all of this became evident, and of my extended family, alot of whom are gone now.
    But it is sick to miss people that hurt you and think you are dirt……
    Just feeling overwhelmed, with work, relationship, and with an actual bully teachng my “Spirituality in Healthcare” class. Seems unbelievable that this mean woman is allowed to teach this. No spirituality observed in her whatsoever!
    Thanks for listening.
    Will read and ponder on your posts this evening. Hope you are all feeling well!

    Janie

  11. By: Risé Posted: 14th June

    K. Ella (#241) … when you said, “that ONE person is a BIG deal, this isnt like a friend or uncle or etc. this is my MOTHER, one half of me.”

    Oh, do I ever understand where you are coming from!! A mother and daughter bond is INCREDIBLE. A daughter sees herself through her mother’s eyes!! It’s debilitatingly painful when a mother not only sees you as despicable, but treats you that way too! And you’re right! Your friend doesn’t understand that this abuse didn’t come from a sibling or a friend or an aunt or uncle – it came from your mother. It came from the person who is supposed to lift you up, encourage you, build you up, help you become all you can be … and our mothers did the severe opposite of that. And when its our mothers who did this it is NOT a ‘just get over it’ thing. And I’ll tell you truthfully, I’m not sure we will ever, in our whole lifetime ever be completely over it even when we think we are. {HUGS}

    I thought of this song … although it is bittersweet for daughters like us … I think this might help communicate the powerful bond of mother and daughter, the way it should be! (I cry every time I hear this song.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gX-04oKskFs

  12. By: Risé Posted: 14th June

    And Dave … still praying for you!

  13. By: Risé Posted: 14th June

    Dave ~ (#239) … Don’t worry about the é … its a working of the keyboard to get it. 🙂 … All my documentation, legal ID – stuff like that just has the usual ‘e’ – so am not at all offended. I know who you mean. LOL! I am going to be 47 this year myself, Dave. I ousted my mother around the age of 35 (I think I said that already somewhere) when I realized that the way she loved me was WAY DIFFERENT than how I loved my own children. Her “I love you’s” quickly became empty because no one can truly love you if its not backed up in affection and action!! That was my starting point. And oh, what a journey its been!

    Sounds like your sessions are going awesomely!! I am so happy to hear of the recent progress! And yes, sometimes, the Lord can heal us quite quickly. When He binds up a wound, it gets healed … sometimes its quick and sometimes its slow. Sometimes I think when its slow there is purpose for it in some way that is a benefit for us.

    K.Ella (#237) … I’ve been there!! Not knowing who I am and feeling like I have nothing left to give. It feels like such an empty place to be! I used to think of myself as an empty shell – I had nothing to give anyone, I didn’t have anything to give to myself even! After all these years, I am still not 100% certain of who I am, but I have a lot better idea in these past two years than I have had in a really long time. I have to constantly tell myself that I am not who my mother said I was. I am not her. I changed my name a year ago because I couldn’t get the negative connotation of that old name out of my head. Every time I heard my name I was reminded of my mother’s hatred of me and I just couldn’t live that way anymore. Because my mother was able to reflect on me who she thought I was and claimed I was – then I also saw myself the same way (if that makes any sense.) Which means I saw myself the way she did – I saw myself as she saw me (wretched, undeserving of love & affection, worthy of degradation and humiliation – you get the gist I’m sure.) So, I did what I thought would help free me from that (which I know isn’t something for everyone – but was necessary for me), so I changed my first and middle name. A friend of mine suggested my name, Risé – I fell in love with it and its been ‘who I am’ since. 🙂

    So, if I can offer any advice, its to take it one day at a time and BE KIND TO YOURSELF – tell yourself every day, “I deserve to be loved” – something along those lines anyway. Learn (if you haven’t already that is) to breathe … what I mean by that is to learn to slowly breathe in and then slowly breathe out, this usually calms – it did me. Calm helps. Anxiety is normal when going through this stuff. Feeling like you were the bad guy, also normal. They made things our fault so much that we still take blame even when sticking up for ourselves. This was my experience anyway. (Forgive me if I seem to be rambling or going off topic here – I’m running on vapour today!) 🙂

    Toxic people are never healthy for us. I struggled through a lot of false guilt and false shame, initially in the process – and it was hard to sort out at first. But when I would replay in my mind the things my mother said and did to me – I was able to say to myself, “This was the right and best decision I could have made for myself … and for my husband and especially my kids.” It can be confusing and it really is exhausting. It pays to remember to be kind to yourself … you deserve so much more than your mother could have given you.

  14. By: Risé Posted: 14th June

    Mimi ~

    I love the quote and your testimony … I hope too that someone, or that some someones will come forward … for now, all is silent. So, we’ll see.

    I know of one aunt and one cousin for sure who did see what went on … I have been really unsure about reconnecting. I just feel I’m at a place where I’m not sure who to trust right now when it comes to family. Thank you for sharing this though, it does give one hope!

  15. By: K. Ella Posted: 14th June

    @Dave, thank you for the encouragement. You are wonderful, through your pain and struggle you still find it in your heart to help others. I love that about you, I am so glad to have your support. I have been really trying to get closer to my faith and hope that GOD can fill the void of not having my mother in my life. I was talking to a friend about my situation and they were trying to be helpful, but she made the statement that its just one person, and not to let that one person negativity affect me. However that ONE person is a BIG deal, this isnt like a friend or uncle or etc. this is my MOTHER, one half of me. I am sorry you do not have the support from your family, but I am happy your wife stood next to you and understood. I am unsure about my relationship at this time, but hopefully It will all be clear to me in the future. Some people are used in your life, to show you love, God puts people in your life for a reason. I just would love to wake up and feel not confused. I appreciate your kind words. Love you and wish you all the best.

  16. By: Mimi Posted: 14th June

    Rise’,
    In your last comment, you wrote you hope not too far from now, the truth will be revealed. I read a little quote on pinterest this morning that made me think of you…..

    “If you’re brave to say ‘goodbye’, life will reward you with a new ‘hello'”
    ~ Paulo Cohelo

    This has happened for me. Some family that I never dreamed would come forward and be by my side, have opened up to me. They shared that they’ve observed the dynamics in my immediate family, and they’re well aware of what’s REALLY happening. I was shocked and so blessed. When I thought there was literally no one, they came forward. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, God rearranged things again… in a good way!! I’ve stepped back from trying to have it all figured out and meticulously predicting what will happen in the future and with whom. Such a waste of my time, lol. I would have never predicted the support from these people in my family. So, I gave up trying to know everything!! Heehee!

    Perhaps you will find new support and love in a place you least expect it. I hope so. I wanted SOMEone to see the big picture in my immediate family. I was becoming okay without it, but the desire was still there a little. It’s proven to me that I truly can’t predict ~ and that not only has pain erupted in all this, but, some unexpected beauty has too. I will pray for the hidden things to become known in your situation. I hope some unexpected beauty comes from your ashes as well.
    Peace to you,
    Mimi

  17. By: Dave W Posted: 13th June

    Rise – (i dont know how to get the little mark above the e in your name – dont take it personal or anything – i just dont know how to do it !) – thx for your feedback. I appreciate it. I appreciate you and your prayers and support. I just turned 49 last month. I had a really good session of EMDR today and got rid of a LOT of crap. I have the ability to let go of a lot at once. I can stay “in the zone” where i am feeling deep emotional pain and intense anger for several minutes during these sessions so i really go to the deep part of my being. It was an excellent session. i have a great therapist who is a god send. So glad you have made peace with your past. I think there will only ever be a small core of us who ever really understand this stuff and what we go thru. I heard a msg yesterday about Job and how his 3 friends got it right in the beginning when they just stayed with him but then eventually they all gave up and left him. my therapist just said people cant handle not being able to fix someone who is broken. they arent willing to take the time to help nurture us back to health (except Darlene of course :). She said that people dont place any value on doing that so they just dont do it or it makes them uncomfortable and they cant handle it so they just disappear. I feel i am very close to getting the rest of the real deep core of shame and guilt completely out. I can tell its getting easier to process because there is not a lot left but what is left is very deep and intense. Please keep praying for me !

    K Ella ! I so wish I could hug you until all the pain and hurt was gone. I so wish i could change the way you feel. I wish i could absorb the pain and hurt for you. I KNOW that feeling of being distraught. I was there just a few weeks ago. You are NOT ALONE. I understand that feeling very much. I have been totally abandoned and betrayed by my family. I am praying for you. I am praying for the Holy spirit to guide and strengthen you. Hang in there K Ella – you will make it !! You will get through this. It does get better. I do understand that feeling of starting from day one. I totally get that. I was just there recently. I know what you mean. You are a beautiful child of God who was created for good. Your identity is in Christ. You are a new creation. You are his child. You are a princess and an heir to his throne ! Its ok that you feel like you have nothing to give right now. that is totally normal for what you are going through. There was a time when i told my wife a while back “i cant give you anything right now. i am empty. I dont have anything to give.” she was very sad. I was just being honest. As i have processed through grief and pain it has gotten much better. I now can give her what she needs from me. God has healed that part of me and our marriage. It didnt take him very long. sometimes he works very quickly. You have suffered a big loss K Ella. You have lost your family of origin. thats huge. there will be a time of grieving this loss but you will get through it and you will come out of it and be so glad that you did. I honestly dont miss my family at all. they were so mean to me and so abusive. Yet that was all i knew for 40 years before i finally broke away. It was like i was wandering in the desert for 40 years and finally found water. I have been thirsty ever since. You are a strong and brave woman. You have chosen wisely. God will honor your decision. We are here for you. We love you !!!

    blessings,

    Dave

  18. By: Risé Posted: 13th June

    Mimi (#235) … I don’t mind you replying at all!! And I totally understand and it does bring me validation that the abuse of an NPD mother is FAR WORSE than being abandoned. Being abandoned I think is something you can come to terms with way easier – WAY easier. I do wish I was abandoned – I would like to think I would have never known the struggle of wondering who I am! Everything you’ve experienced with your mother I’ve experienced, Mimi. My father – though distant and passive when it came to raising us, never tore me down like she did. The man never berated me, and knowing the past my father had it was very easy to forgive the man. He never tore me down or did any of the things my mother did … but it did hurt when he still chose to not believe me when I came forth with the details of her abuse. But like I’ve said before (at least outside this forum anyway) … you cannot make someone love you, and you cannot make someone believe you. I can only hope that one day, not too far from now, the truth will reveal itself at the right time.

    Just the other day I was having a day where I was feeling like, ‘am I really the crazy lady?’ … and its easy to fall into that thinking even still, even though its not as often, and it still takes sorting to know, ‘No, I’m not the crazy person.’ And what you shared validated me once again that their abuse is much worse than people can know who have never been through it – who have never endured it. It’s hard, it hurts and man, is it HARD to sort out. People don’t get it when they say, “Can’t you just let it go?” Oh, how we all wish we could. It is a rewiring of the brain, this I know.

    I don’t know why I thought of this just now, but I just recalled another breakthrough I had some time ago … the whole time I was going through healing, I always thought it was about changing myself – there is that thinking again (ingrained by mother) that I’m flawed and that I have to change if I want anyone to love me. The truth is, NOW … its not about ‘changing’ – its about ‘healing.’ And healing will reveal who we really are at the core of us. Finding out who we are can be scary … but also exciting, exhilarating even … freaky even … sometimes. But you know, its all good.

  19. By: K. Ella Posted: 13th June

    Hey @Janie and all, I have no contact with my mother, at this time and sometimes I feel peace and then others I feel distraught, lately I have just been feeling like I don’t know who I am, like I was created to be this person, and told I was this and that, and I became that. I don’t know who I am, and recently after deciding that my mother was not a good thing to have in my life, I feel like my whole life has fallen apart. I feel I am starting from day one (birth) to just be ME, it is so hard to explain, but I realized I have nothing to give in my relationship at this time, and had to put that on the back burner. I hope I do not mess things up with that, but I can not focus on that at this time. I don’t know what I want in a relationship, just every aspect Im so confused in. I just need some advice on how to deal with this, Hope all is well with you all.
    @dave I hope all is going well with you, it seems the new med changes are good for you! I hope you continue to improve and move forward, It is a hard road and its sad these people have no idea what they have done to us, but We will make it through

  20. By: Janie Posted: 12th June

    Hello All!
    Just stopping by to say thanks for the awesome shares! It is amazing, how these women seem to all be cut from the same bolt of cloth!
    I am very low contact, and feeling at peace today.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and offering hope, so important, that we dont lose hope……….

    Janie

  21. By: Mimi Posted: 12th June

    Rise’,
    You said in your note to Dave you felt it would have been easier if you’d been abandoned. I was basically abandoned by my dad at age 11 I can tell you that at this date, I have much more forgiveness and acceptance in my heart for him than I do my seemingly NPD mother.

    My dad’s absence meant he wasn’t actively injuring me. He didn’t jerk me around emotionally, and play games with my head and heart. He didn’t spend his life’s energy trying to make me hate myself, he didn’t call me names and look at me with contempt. There was no question what his deal was, or where I stood.

    You’re right…. it’s much tougher with the one who tries to spin your head around, crap on you while pretending to love you, lie, manipulate, divide and conquer, try to convince you something that’s obviously black, is actually white, etc. That screwed with my head FAR more than my dad whose simple act of walking away said it clearly. He never pretended. He never hid his first love was in the bottle. Although it likely sounds a little strange, not having to question where I stood was far easier to accept. All those mind games from mother is what really screwed me up, I believe. I don’t intend to suggest that I wasn’t in abject terror of my father when I was really young. I was terrified of him. But, I can look at him now and realize it was child like fear. He was big and strong and I was little. (If that makes sense). And, when he got mad, it was sometimes violent. Still, all that considered, it didn’t do to me what the head games from my mother did. Hers lasted WELL into adulthood. The issues with my dad ended when I was 11.

    Anyhow, I know you didn’t aim that at me, but I felt inclined to share how the abandonment affected me compared to abuse.
    Love and Hope,
    Mimi

  22. By: Risé Posted: 12th June

    Mimi (#230) …

    My parents had nothing to do with each other for the first, I don’t know for sure, 12-15 years since their divorce. The only reason they were at the same family event is because a sibling invited both of them without telling either of them that they would be there. But since is went off without too much of a hitch – they’ve done it for special occasions ever since (so last I heard anyway.) My mother did the same – blamed my father entirely for the failure of their marriage. My father shared one negative thing only once with me – that is the only time I have ever heard him say anything negative about her. He never put her down, at least not in front of us kids anyway.

    Yes, the long and short of it is, no matter where the rejection comes from or how it comes about – its painful. There is no way around it, but through it. And like I said, I am finally at a place in my life where I can rejoice in what I have learned from all the ugly. Ashes to beauty. 🙂

  23. By: Risé Posted: 12th June

    Dave ~ (post #227) … About envy- funny! 🙂 LOL! Thanks for the compliment for being like a sister you never had. I, myself, was the oldest of four kids. The second one was mother’s favourite. I was never close to any of them until there was an incident between my two younger sisters (the younger one really admired my mother’s favourite until then.) It was only then we became close … but about 4 years ago, it waned … fast. I have never been close to any of them, especially the favourite. I have always felt like I was on the outside looking in.

    Going what we go through is brutal and many don’t understand it – they don’t understand how hard it is to move past it either. For me it was gruelling, as before I found Emerging From Broken – I thought I was the only one with a mother like mine and I was in a place where I felt completely stuck. And here we are on a site with others whose mothers were very much alike – freakishly alike. If I don’t know what helps the healing process, knowing others who ‘know’, then I don’t know what would! I am thankful for my husband too, as in my healing process he also encouraged me to get my mind off of my past as much as I could by redirecting my energies into other things. This is hard when its so deeply ingrained in us to question everything we do and say and whether or not its right or wrong, or worthy of correction or not. I found myself some hobbies I do enjoy though and started reading books of the fantastical nature – turns out I love this genre as they are a complete escape for me. It wasn’t easy to start – but I did. And as I find things to get my mind off my ruddy past and onto thinking about things that have beauty and calm and peace and joy … they have given me a new zest for life. It all takes time – but the beauty of life is something amiable to aim for. 🙂

    I went through a time where I hated my mother too. I hated what she did to me and how she treated me. I hated how she couldn’t love me. After these many years of healing though, my feelings for her now are complete indifference. They say the opposite of love is not hate, its indifference. Now … I have no ill or negative feelings toward her. When I do think of her, I think of a verse that says, “A woman who tears down her own house inherits the wind.” It really is true. What really helped in therapy for me too – in letting that anger go, my therapist asked me if it was possible for me each day, to just let go of a little anger, just a little bit – just a molecule. Molecules are easy to let go of, they are so puny, but to consider letting it all go at once was just too overwhelming for me. :o) I still find this exercise very helpful in ‘letting go.’

    When I came off of Cymbalta, I didn’t go on anything else. I find that since coming off of them, I can be quite emotional (and I’m not ashamed to let myself cry anymore) and it doesn’t take much sometimes to trigger the waterworks – they just come spilling out. I don’t know how people can control when they cry – I have never been able to do that. The pain is so raw that when it comes to surface, it floods out … there is no trickle. 🙂 My physician said that if I find I can’t handle being off of Cymbalta to go back on – he gave me another prescription just in case. So far, I haven’t had need of it, although I think I might function better on it. But I really want to live without it, if I can.

    I know what you mean about parents – I know someone who was abandoned by her mother … I think I would have much rather been abandoned. It would have been easier – it would have still affected me of course, but not like having a mother with NPD does! I did the same as you, always trying so hard to win my mother’s love and approval, but nothing I did was ever good enough. I’ve learned in this journey, that there is nothing you can say or do that can make someone love you. They either love you or they don’t – and if they don’t – this too is not my fault, its not your fault – it is theirs! When I learned this – it made it easier to let go (which is still not an easy thing to do.) When my father went into a rage like yours did, I was always very afraid of him when it did happen – you just never knew if he might hurt you. I’d leave the house, go for a walk, or even shut myself in a room until I figured he was calmed down. I am so amazed at how when there is one parent who seemingly has NPD – the other is a passive parent – I mean, do these two kinds of people attract to one another or what?!

    Dave, I am assuming you are in your late 40’s?? For the record, so am I. I was about 35 when I chose to not have my mother in my life anymore. I was newly pregnant with baby #3 at the time. She made me into an empty shell and I couldn’t take it anymore. People with NPD really are a form of emotional vampires – going about sucking the life and worth out of their victims.

    I will continue to pray for you Dave, for healing and wholeness … may the Lord be with you.

  24. By: Dave W Posted: 12th June

    Mimi – my experience has been that men who “dont want to talk about it” are not really dealing with their issues. They may break off relationships but it does not mean that they are working on their issues and getting better. My father broke off many relationships but continued to be very abusive. There is a big difference between breaking off a relationship and working through all the feelings related to it. If you are not willing to talk about it then it means you are not really wanting to deal with it. Thats not healthy. that has been my experience with the vast majority of men. Many will break off relationships but few and far between are the men who will really take time to work through their issues and the pain surrounding it.

    dave

    Dave

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