Saturday, June 08, 2013
...................I've been avoiding this for a long time. My mother doesn't really love me.
I'll be 61 soon, and I've tried for most of my life to find approval from her. It was a complicated family and I am the oldest one and the parentified child, as it were. Some would say co-mother and now seen as rival. But I've only recently begun to see this. And to feel this.
I've spent a lot of time wanting what I couldn't have.
*Love from my mother
*Approval from my mother
*For my mother to ask one question about my life -- or at least not to cut me off if I say, in "check in" conversations with her, one thing about my work life update or my husband, or my children...and we're all good people. This is as I hear minutia about my brother....she doesn't talk about my sister at all.
I don't even think I have an imagination to know what it would have been like to depend on her for anything. I just tried to make her happy -- which didn't work, of course. And I tried to take care of the kids (my younger brother and sisters) for which I believe there are no external rewards now. I mean, no recognition, approval, regard, thank yous.
You know, I would do it again, of course. I was the oldest in a very ill family and I took care of the kids and tried to be "human shield" between each of my toxic parents in order to protect my sisters and my brother. From abuse. From shaming. From neglect. From really horrible trauma.
My priest advises I might see all of this as a prayer. I kind of was aware of this at the time and become more clear now about what I gave up for this. I mean, I think I went into "my cage" (see previous blog entry) at that time. Both rather dissocated from myself and also gave up social relationships with friends -- because I had to be home.... In fact, my brother and sisters had friends, but really, I was home to make sure my dad didn't abuse them and to make dinner and to offer some sense of normalcy. I did give up so much.
I became like a third parent. And while they depended on me decades ago, the aftermath, for the most part, has been a strained relationship. I'm not really a sister by history. And they don't see clearly the trauma. My younger of the two sisters committed suicide about 20 years ago --- she saw it. My other sister and I had some serious talks and a growing good relationship some years ago, but this closeness did not last. I am beyond belief sad about this... and I miss her so much.
It took me a long time to see that I was being scapegoated after my sister died and my father died. My husband saw it. My young adult children saw it. My priest saw it. A colleague and friend who I "let in" saw it. But I could hardly see it or accept it. I am still so very very sad about it. I thought I was bad. I so deeply thought I was bad. When I acted in a small way to change it and to take care of myself -- I was blamed by all of them. I could hardly believe it and while I have come to see it some, it is still so hard for me.
Taking care of myself means facing all of these losses and this pain and moving on. Its hard to really give up the idea/sense that I am bad and that this is all my fault.
To come back to the beginning, maybe I need to see that it has been *me* who doesn't love me. I have not been true to myself and have been "looking for love in all the wrong places." I do know about trauma, scapegoating, and families. I do objectively know that when one begins to take care of oneself, the hurt and ill family of origin doesn't necessarily stand up and applaud.
And yet, this is what I have wanted, and this is irrational, at the head level.
And really, taking care of myself and believing I am worth it, is a sort of declaration to myself that I am worth it...and it is a very different process than all of the beliefs I had as a child and young adult and all of the energy I put into procuring affirmations from people who were either abusive or caught in their own wounds.
Love is the answer. The answer is a spiritual one and for me that means I follow Jesus. I need to begin with knowing that I am cherished and loved and that I need to love myself, let go of pain, and forgive myself and others.