Author Topic: What do I say when people don't understand  (Read 6222 times)

2224Jessica

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What do I say when people don't understand
« on: January 03, 2006, 04:56:04 AM »
My Mum  wasn't very nurturing to me growing up and I was afraid of her and I didn't trust her. I don't remember sitting on her knee and being held and feeling safe. My earliest childhood memory was being in the hall way in a playpen and feeling very scared.My dad nurtured me a bit and my older sister looked out for me. She's the one that washed and combed my hair, she's the one that laughed with me cried with me, held me in her arms and kept me safe. I was terrified by mum and it damaged me alot.  I  hold my own daughter on my lap and cuddle her and kiss her and I think to myself, I wish I had this from my mum. I was devastated and locked up for a long time. She was like terrifying for me and I felt like she was the queen and there wasn't anything I could do to make her happy. And I had to earn her love and kindness. I was there to please her. Anything else was an inconvenience for her. She always called names and critised me and I don't remember her speaking to us in a kind way except when we were out in public.
Only recently I realized that I was still doing and saying things to please her and I had to earn her love. I feel like she doesn't respect us. I was raised to please her and if I dissapointed her then I would be treated soo badly. There are four of us kids. Three of us just have had enough of her and my youngest brother is living in denial. She is a N, She fits the profile very much. People think she is great from the outside.

As a child, she screamed, she bashed, she controlled, she never listened. I didn't trust her, I was terrified by her and I had to deal with life pressures on my own. She used to accused  me of things I didn't do. I wasn't seeked out for who I was, I was emotionally in turmoil, I couldn't understand why I was hated so much. I cried alot as a child and I felt like nothing.  People I hardly knew comforted me in those times. I didn't believe in staying home and baring the brunt of physical, emotional and verbal abuse along with no unconditional love but rules of expectations I wasn't meeting. I used to escape to friends houses.  I needed to be reached out to, I was dying inside, I was immensely grieving, and I was often alone. Where was my mum? The only thing I did wrong was run, hide, stand up for my rights as a person and try and survive in the pit of hell I was in. I don't understand why there is no emotional attachment. All I hear is how I have upset her life.
She treats me and my siblings as children still. I feel like we have to please her to have a relationship with her and there is a certain expectation to follow.   I do feel that I cannot talk to mum about any of these issues as she overreacts and thinks only of herself. My sister went to counselling with her and she denied everything.

I know mum has had a hard life but she has to choose what kind of person she became. I know many people who have had hard lives but become wonderful graceful people and fantastic parents.
 I recently wrote a letter to my Dad about how I felt about mum and how I experienced my childhood with mum. I knew she would read it too because my dad is under her spell. I tried to appeal to my Dad about how I experienced life with mum. I was shaking as I wrote it and I was immensely frightened but I did it. I haven't heard back but I have support by two of my siblings. I heard through one of my siblings that she talks about the letter as lies. I spoke very openly and vulnerably in the letter. it was a huge release to get all my feelings out and now they know how it was for me. Even if nothing comes of it I feel like in someway I got to say what I had to say.
I have had to accept myself as valuable and have come to the realization that unless she accepts my feelings then I have cut off contact. I feel sooo much freer and I actually pity her. She is the one that has to live a lie, she misses out on having a great relationship with her kids. She is a terrible Grandmother. She doesn't really care about any of her grandkids and doesn't care to see them. They are an inconvienience for her. I have used this experience to be positive. She destoyed my childhood but she will not destroy my adulthood. I am a strong, caring person as a result and strive to be honest, open, loving and accepting. She thinks she has the upper hand on me but she is sooo wrong. It's been painful knowing that my mum may never hear  me. The best way I have moved on is accepting that I can live without my mum and she is the one missing out on life. I have emotionally let go of the hope of her changing. It sounds harsh but I often tell myself that I don't have a mum.
My husband agrees that she is a narc and can't believe she pulls off coming across like a nice person. What should I say when people ask why I don't want to see my mum. Alot of people don't understand. They say "but she is your mum, she loves you". They can't understand that she doesn't care. It's hard explaining it because they think she is nice. I wish people really knew.

Healing&Hopeful

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2006, 05:16:20 AM »
Hi Jessica

I am so sorry to hear about your childhood, but I can see you have come a long way and loved hearing about your daughters cuddles and kisses.  I also could totally relate to not knowing why I was hated too when I was growing up.  I know what you mean about feeling like you have to explain yourself when people ask about your Mum.  We had some friends over at New Year and one asked if I sent my dad a christmas pressent.  I just said No and changed the subject.  In fairness it was none of her business and she has no idea of what I've had to put up with.  Close friends ask me if my dad has got in contact with me... they seem to know to ask the right question if you know what I mean.

I would advise to tell people what you feel comfortable with.  From the sounds of it your husband is supportive and you have your siblings.  I feel that you don't have to explain yourself to people who don't know the whole ins and outs of it all.

Take care hon.

H&H xx
Here's a little hug for u
To make you smilie while ur feeling blue
To make u happy if you're sad
To let u know, life ain't so bad
Now I've given a hug to u
Somehow, I feel better too!
Hugs r better when u share
So pass one on & show u care

Marta

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2006, 07:36:50 AM »
Jessica Dear,

Each of us without exception have been in your shoes, and we all feel your pain. However, few of us has had a nurturing sis or siblings who can see through the N mom or a supportive husband. How truly blessed you are.

I too was burnt badly recently by confiding in a friend I trusted regarding my family. It is really terrible, makes us feel doubly victimized. I don't have the right words to make you feel better except to say that I feel for you.

Do you have a T? It seems to me that you have a lot of issues you are dealing with, and having one might just be as helpful (as not,  :wink:)

 

2224Jessica

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2006, 08:46:20 AM »
Thanks H&H and Marta,
wow!!! I am soooo amazed at the amount of support there is here. thankyou sooo much. I can't imagine dealing with life without my sister and my hubby, yeah I am blessed. What does "T" stand for. Does that stand for therapist? Yeah I have been considering seeing one. Because although I seem confident, I'm heartbroken and I have alot of healing to do. You have been a great help and its only been day one as a newby. I hope I can help and support you guys too. :)


Sela

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2006, 09:53:24 AM »
Hi Jessica:

Welcome! 

I ditto what the others have said and am so sorry for all you've been through.  I hear a very loving voice coming through your words and how amazing is that???  After the example you've been given by your mother?  What is truly wonderful is that you have learned to mother with so much love and gentleness!  Fantastic!

Quote
I wish people really knew.

Then I say......if you want to........tell them.

When people ask "why don't you want to see your mum?"

You could answer:  "Because she emotionally abuses me every time I try to communicate with her" or

"because she is abusive"  or "because I choose not to be abused by her any longer".

If they say:  "But she's your mum, she loves you!"

You could answer:  "She's my mum but neither you nor I know...what she feels.  I can only judge by what she expresses, which is no where near love" or

"Giving birth does not necessarily make people good parents.  Unfortunately, my mum doesn't know how to love and mostly hurts me" or

"That may seem like reality to you but it's truly no where near what it's like for me.  She's biologically my mum but she doen't express love or behave lovingly toward me."

You do not have to hide in shame from the truth of your mother's behaviour.  It's not yours....it's her behaviour.  She is bioligically related to you but not emotionally connected (maybe another good answer to those who ask??).  There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't maintain much of a relationship with your mother because there isn't much to maintain.   It's not your fault that she does not behave like a loving mother.   It's not your job to MAKE the relationship whole.

People may seem shocked when you respond truthfully but eventually......if they are worth communicating with.....they will have respect for your feelings and quit trying to put the onus on you to carry all responsibility.

You have absolutely no obligation to parent your mother.

She is an adult and by now........under regular circumstances........she would treat you with respect and as an adult, with consideration and caring......if she were a loving mother.  But the circumstances aren't regular.  She isn't regular.   And so......your irregular response to her....which is due to your need to avoid further abuse from her....is also irregular but quite understandable.....by anyone with half a brain.....and.......necessary.

And those that don't get it.....well........no need to keep explaining.  Plain, simple, factual responses are ok.  As a matter of fact.....they might end up being a bit purging in themselves, those responses.

It's not up to you to keep the lie.......that facade.......of a loving family going.
It's not up to you to pretend things are regular.
It's not up to you to play the part of loving daughter to an unloving mother.

Please take care of you and do what feels right for you and what helps you.

Since your mother isn't doing her job.......you have to do it for her.....which means you must soothe, nuture and protect yourself.

(((((((((((((((Jessica)))))))))))

Sela
« Last Edit: January 03, 2006, 09:55:40 AM by Sela »

darky

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2006, 10:34:59 AM »
hi jessica, your story could be mine. its the most painful thing in the world to have a mother like this. i tell people it would be easier if she was dead, yeah harsh words i know but at least then she could not torment me by using other people, people i care about.
i think the hardest thing is what it does to my head, i always knew something wasnt right about her, i had feelings, she just manipulated people and me and messed with my head with her comments that could stop traffic on a motorway!

 for example, her best friend lost her son, it was a tragic accident he died whilst in the army in training. my "mother" said "it serves her right, shes done bad shes getting what she deserves"  another example, one of my cousins is blind, she has been blind since the age of 8yrs old, she had optic nerve was severed from the brain she was always going to be blind, it was like a time bomb waiting to go off, my mother said "its the mothers fault, she must have been wacking her accross the head" of course my mother never did that, yeah right, she would protest she never did, but i rememeber quite a few cracks about my head from HER.

one of my "mothers" favorate sayings was "i never wash my dirty laundry in public" so you can imagine me, as a child, i had a rather big mouth i spoke out of turn,always, in fact i was well known for it! i know now i am an adult aspergers, one of the things that makes me is i say things, without thinking, i opened my mouth and boy did i ever used to get it. that look of evil, "you and your big mouth, get out of my sight!" then a slap and be punished.

the hardest battle i have had is having to go through my life in detail, rewinding and now making sense of all the evil things she said and done. now i feel much better off. she had a hold over me emotionaly for years, now i realise im the lucky one, im out im free. i have a wonderful life with three children whom i adore each and everyone. i have a good husband, so i have a lot to be grateful for. i know what she is, theres no point in me even hoping for any reconciliation. theres no point in thinking i need to get even. i have already! she couldnt live her life like mine, she was envious of me, everything i did and do, me having a life and being happy is my revenge to her, she will hate that!! isnt it great???

seriously, i gave up with other people a long time ago. i dont feel i have to protest no more, hopfully one day you will feel the same too. what does it really matter what other people think? the best thing you can do is to stop trying to get justice, stop trying to explain to people, what does it matter what they think, you know, thats all that counts. if people turn their back on you, thats their look out because they are still victims! you are out, count your lucky blessings. hugs to you xxx

Plucky

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2006, 12:56:19 PM »
Hi Jessica,
I  can relate to everything you said.  You could have been writing about my life.  I also have this issue where people think my mum is so wonderful.  Those comments sound a bit intrusive to me - try not to discuss it with people who are so far from understanding.

Most people will not be able to relate to what happened to you.  Even if you explain in detail.  So for me, I just avoid.  I wish I had someone in my flesh and blood life who understood.  I have no one.  But at least I have cyberfriends!

I say things such as this.
- my mother is nice to other people but it's hard to be in her family.
- my mother can be difficult, that's just the way she is.
- you never know what goes on inside other families.
- I guess it looks that way but from my standpoint things are different.

And leave it at that.  If I open myself up to people with no understanding, I am liable to be exposed or hurt.  You have your siblings, and that validation is priceless - my sister is still blaming me for the way my mother treated her as a child (I was younger).   You have your wonderful family and your husband.  You don't need others to get it.

I'm glad you are dealing with the hurt and the truth and please get help if you can to work it out.  There is always more coming out of the woodwork once you start to let things out.

Plucky
« Last Edit: January 03, 2006, 01:07:18 PM by Plucky »

miss piggy

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2006, 01:50:09 PM »
Hello Jessica,

Welcome to the board.  As you can see, we have lots of nice people here who don't have nice parents!  :?  So we get it.

One of the things I would be soooo puzzled by (I'm starting to figure it out) is how two people can experience the same third person so differently.  A real head scratcher.  I think that sometimes what motivates people to inquire is this puzzle "how can the person I know and like so much be rejected by her own daughter?"  I know that thought isn't accurate to your point of view (the rejection part) but that's how it looks to them.  Sometimes people just want to know things are ok with you.  And sometimes they are just looking for dirt.

Anyway, a close friend very matter-of-factly told a real nosy best friend of Nmom, "There are two [mom's name].  A public one and a private one.  I know both."   

If you want good friends of your own to understand, it will be difficult.  Just like war vets, no one really knows what they've gone through, and what they've seen except fellow war vets.  Plus society holds fast to its dearest myths like big happy families.  I know I did.

Good luck and welcome, MP


Hopalong

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2006, 06:16:34 PM »
Hi Jessica,
Only my very best friend, whom I "educated" about N-ism by blabbing obsessively about it for YEARS, really gets the N thing. And even she, now and then, goes all treacly about NMom because of all her (NMom's) astonishing resilience and charm. I have several other very good, very longtime friends who still don't get it fully. I just accept that and though I talk about it some, mostly I try to move on and talk about other things with them.

I had a miracle happen this year. I made friend with a woman at church who has a raging NMom herself. We have bonded incredibly over this...not just the anger and pain, but really working in our talks to help each other move forward and process it (including compassion and forgiveness). There is NOBODY in my life except this woman (and my T, and she still "gets it" in a way he doesn't quite, since she's living it) who truly understands.

I can totally relate to your frustration as can everyone else here. Thank God for this board, which is another miracle of understanding.

It would be amazing if there were ACON support groups the way there are groups for "codependents", ACOA, etc. But in effect, that's what this board is. So glad you found us!

Hopalong
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

guest444

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2006, 08:48:22 PM »
Hi Jessica,
I am new here too.  I feel very much like you do--what will I say?  Is it because we've been lying about them for so long?  Keeping up appearances?  It's like adding salt to the wound when people say "but she's your Mother, she loves you."  I think to myself how can this be love?  And I'm sure I get a real contorted look on my face as if in pain.  Also, it's hard not being honest when you want others to understand.  I fear saying too much to people who ask and then wondering if I've said that--too much.  Who should I trust?

I think you will come up with something that sounds right, and maybe ask someone you trust to practice saying that phrase with you until it just sounds natural (I mean it is a very unnatural thing you're describing).  There were some great suggestions given above, thank you everyone.  This helps me immensely too.

Wishing the person would change is the hardest part, but your heart knows that in order to heal yourself, you must do this.  Remember, you are valuable and deserve to be healed. 

guest444

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2006, 09:08:12 PM »
I just thought of a funny one.  How about replying with "maggots love the flesh they feed on too."

he he he  J/K!

mum

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2006, 11:04:53 PM »
welcome, Jessica. I don't have an N mom, but I am in a legal situation with my ex N and many times, when people ask me about my situation, I hesitate to share, because SOOOO many people love to give advice or share their opinions unsolicited. 
Then it's hard for me to even speak, as they have NO clue what I deal with, and to tell them just sounds like so much defending of my position, that I shouldn;t have to do. 
So I avoid talking to people about it, but ifthey offer their opinion and it is unsupportive, I change the subject,
 or say something to the effect that I am sure they would feel differently if they knew the full story (but that one is loaded with promise of getting some drama out of me...so I hardly ever use that),
 or my personal favorite, one size fits all reply:
"hmmm. interesting". followed by my exit.

good luck with all of this. it's tough to get people to shut up and mind their own business, isn't it? Especially when you are a nice person who wouldn't dream of acting that way.........

Guest444

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2006, 09:18:46 AM »
 
Yes, mum.  Well spoken.  And I personally love this:

Quote
"hmmm. interesting". followed by my exit.

A perfect response to them as well may be, simply, a blank stare.  It makes you seem mysterious.  <smiles> <wink>

I do think it's important to eventually try to tell people who you would like to be close to you (ie, SO's, or potential SO's, relatives who you'll be needing support or understanding from eventually, maybe a few friends, but maybe not--I don't feel there's a rule that my close friends need to understand every detail of this, especially since they won't likely get it.  Relatives kind of need to know something is up, even if it's only to understand why you're not with the N. I suggest "I'm just not up for their antics right now," or "I'm feeling overwhelmed right now and cannot handle anymore emotional stuff right now" or "I'm taking care of myself or I need to take care of myself right now, so I'm sorry if I appear selfish, but I really do need to look out for me--no one else is going to do it, if I don't"...(and I'm experimenting with all these, lately, myself too.  To see which ones work for various people in my life who know both me and NMom).  It's OK to admit that you have a problem--you have a Very large problem on your hands.  The assumption that you'll get from others is that there is an easy fix and there just isn't.  Likely there is no fix, other than Save Yourself!  So, don't feel bad not having to explain that, or for using the minimal number of words to explain it--which will often be none.

This is a large part of who you are and what you're dealing with, so don't tell everyone if you're not comfortable as that would be exposing pretty much all your vulnerabilities.  I always feel I must have enough shielding from those who are not that close to me and likely never will be (coworkers and others you must maintain casual relationships with), for my own comfort.

BTW, it's easier as you get older to just feel like others don't have to know everything and to practice this.  This of someone you know who is just quiet on a subject and perhaps try to emulate them.  It will give you quiet strength, which is often the best kind.

bean

2224Jessica

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Re: What do I say when people don't understand
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2006, 09:39:22 AM »
Thankyou for all your advice.
It has been a great help to me and I think this site is just the best thing ever..

Jessica  :) :)