Psycho-Babble Psychology Thread 874970

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Mothering my mother and family dysfunction.

Posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

I really don't know what has gotten into me lately, but I have just been the boundary WOMAN.

When I was a child, my mother was a shining example of abuse, neglect and out of control behaviour. Basically, my brother and I were left to our own devices, and when we happened to make a mistake, both my mother and/or father was there with a swift kick, slap or beating.

Over Christmas, my mother started behaving in her typical, threatened, hurtful manner and I told her that if she didn't stop it right then I was simply going to punch her in the face.

Okay, I admit, that was a little drastic, but I told her to stop insulting me several times - calling her out each time she did it with no result. Long story short, she stopped.

However, the thing that absolutely confounds me the most is her inability to deal with the slightest of upsets without calling me in to either hold her hand, fix it, or just listen to her endlessly fret about it. Anything less from me means I don't love her. My father reinforces her belief and indicates that it is the job of the daughter to tend to the mother (does anyone else think there is something very very wrong with that belief), but to be honest I just don't think that my father CAN deal with her.

She had a minor surgery on her leg a couple of months ago that literally broke the camels back (with me being the proverbial camel). I spent countless days nurturing that woman and all the while my resentment just grew and grew and grew.

So, my mother was set for a routine yearly medical test today (mammogram), it should be soooo simple, but she simply can not handle it. The calls started last week, until I finally told her that if it bothered her that much, she simply should not have it. She indicated that I just didn't want to have to deal with her and her problems, to which I replied that I shouldn't have to.

Well, she told my father that I told her not to have it done and he called me last night accusing me of making a decision that directly threatened my mother's life.

I had just had enough I guess. I told him to never call me again accusing me of such a thing. To me it was the lowest form of emotional blackmail and I would not tolerate it.
Further, I added that if he were so involved in my mom's preventative care that HE should be the one to field the 20 calls a day, and the one to call the doctor, radiologist, nurse for my mother so she could get the results earlier than any other patient while not appearing as crazy as she actually is.

To my immense surprise, he apologized for blackmailing me and told me that he would handle it. He didn't realize what she was like.

I thanked him for his apology and hung up the phone.

They say setting boundaries means you let go of the outcome - you've decided for yourself what you will or won't do and the other party is left to make their own choice.

Given my recent interactions with my parents, I think that is very true. I was literally drawing a line in the sand that would not be crossed. I will no longer mother my mother and I will no longer tolerate my father's indulgence of her at my expense.

It feels wonderful. I should've done this YEARS ago.

Thanks for reading and letting me share.

Seldom.

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by Partlycloudy on January 19, 2009, at 14:22:12

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

I'm so happy for you for being able to do this. It's a really big deal, and admirable of your father to have apologized. So good to have stopped doing that particular dance.

pc

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by MusicLuv on January 19, 2009, at 16:35:19

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

Hi Seldom,

"They say setting boundaries means you let go of the outcome - you've decided for yourself what you will or won't do and the other party is left to make their own choice."

This was brilliantly stated! You have no idea how much I needed to read this today.

I am so SO happy that you stood up to your mom and dad the way that you did. I have problems setting boundaries because I focus too much on how the other party will react. I'm going to take your situation into account and fix some boundaries of my own today.

Thank you for your inspiration and strength.

~ MusicLuv

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction.

Posted by yellowbird01 on January 19, 2009, at 16:42:36

In reply to Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen, posted by MusicLuv on January 19, 2009, at 16:35:19

Congrats seldom on standing up for yourself like this! It's incredibly hard. I think it takes a certain amount of self-worth and respect for yourself to be able to do that, especially with parents. No matter how bad parents are (and they can be terrible!!) it seems that it's always harder with them... for me anyway. I started a new job a year or so ago that really taught me to draw my boundaries or get trampled. It was hard, but a year or so later, I think my self esteem and self confidence has increased tremendously. Drawing boundaries can be hard, but so worth it in the end. :) Good for you!

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by fleeting flutterby on January 19, 2009, at 17:15:20

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

Wow-- such a wonderful thing to share with us!

YOU go girl!!
Boundaries can be so healing.... I'm working on them myself..... I know it's not easy but it's OH so important and empowering.

Hooray for you, Seldom!

flutterby-mandy

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by raisinb on January 19, 2009, at 18:24:10

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

AMAZing. Congratulations! Most people just cannot set boundaries as healthy as that. I hope you can share it with your therapist the next time you see him and you can celebrate together.

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by 10derHeart on January 19, 2009, at 19:47:26

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

You were amazing. And I love the way you've described how it felt afterward to be that way. You father's response was just like icing on a cake, too. People never cease to amaze and surprise us, do they?

I am proud. Nice, nice job.

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by Dinah on January 19, 2009, at 23:25:36

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

That is so wonderful!

It is so amazing how when you change your part of the dance, often other people change theirs as well.

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction.

Posted by sassyfrancesca on January 20, 2009, at 8:42:24

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

I am SO PROUD of you.

I joined the army to get away from my mother; furtunately 30 years later, she has mellowed, but (I live 900 miles away)....I let her know when she says/does something hurtful.

No one stood up for us as children; we now have choices as adults......and can and should set boundaries.

You go, gurl!

Hugs, Sassy

 

Thank you all for your posts

Posted by seldomseen on January 20, 2009, at 8:48:07

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

Honestly, I'm still glowing from your feedback and the steps I took with my parents.

My mom went to her mammogram and dad cleaned (is cleaning) up the mess - good for him. Putting all that on me (the daughter) is just not fair.

Anyhoodle.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when my father apologized for his behaviour. I'm so thankful that I was able to graciously accept his apology and didn't punish him for it. I truly think he might prove to be trainable! I also think I earned, in some measure, his respect by not bowing to the manipulation. He pushed and I pushed back - harder.

My mother is now and will always be the person she is. There will be no change with her. I accepted this long ago, I'm glad that I *finally* was able to change.

Seldom

 

Re: Thank you all for your posts seldomseen

Posted by Phillipa on January 20, 2009, at 12:23:51

In reply to Thank you all for your posts, posted by seldomseen on January 20, 2009, at 8:48:07

Mine died so could never set boundaries. So missed out on that. Phillipa

 

Re: Thank you all for your posts seldomseen

Posted by Partlycloudy on January 20, 2009, at 13:34:15

In reply to Thank you all for your posts, posted by seldomseen on January 20, 2009, at 8:48:07


> Anyhoodle.
>
LOL!

pc

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen

Posted by Wittgensteinz on January 20, 2009, at 14:27:34

In reply to Mothering my mother and family dysfunction., posted by seldomseen on January 19, 2009, at 13:55:55

This was really inspiring to read. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm sorry you have to put up with this from these people who let you down so terribly but good for you for standing up to them and how wonderful that they responded well to your laying down of boundaries.

Witti

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. PS

Posted by Wittgensteinz on January 20, 2009, at 14:37:43

In reply to Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. seldomseen, posted by Wittgensteinz on January 20, 2009, at 14:27:34

PS. I imagine reacting to your father's unexpected response was even more of a challenge - but by the sounds of it you handled it just right. Yes you can change, but perhaps so can they (or at least your father).

My mother had the same thing with her parents, and it was a daily frustration for her (they were abusive to her as a child (I don't know too many details just it was bad), she hated them but she never kept her boundaries with them - ultimately they died and in the meanwhile she was repeating the same pattern of abuse with her own children - my brother and I). She never stood up to them - I'll probably in time have this with her, as she ages, but I intend too to put a stop to this pattern.

Witti

 

Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. PS Wittgensteinz

Posted by seldomseen on January 21, 2009, at 17:25:04

In reply to Re: Mothering my mother and family dysfunction. PS, posted by Wittgensteinz on January 20, 2009, at 14:37:43

I was discussing this today with my therapist actually. He's so proud of me, but to be honest, he said he saw this coming after the "punch you in the face" episode at Christmas.

Yes, it was also a huge relief to just accept my father's apology. In my family, even an apology typically just meant further punishment, and couldn't just be accepted. In fact, "I'm sorry" is usually met with the phrase "Oh yeah, you're sorry alright - a sorry excuse for a person" or something to that effect. I'm not going to allow that kind of behaviour - even from me -in my life. It's just wrong.

You know witti, I had just gotten so used to being a vessel for my mother's illness. For all parts of it - the abuse, the fear, the need. I took it all in and held it.

Either that vessel finally got filled to the brim, or I finally just smashed it (or both).


Well, you know what? There's some stuff of my own that maybe I would like to fill that vessel I guess. Good stuff too.

So mom's stuff -well, it has to go.

Peace

Seldom


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