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Hey, You! Validate me!
October 17, 2001
4:15 pm
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Cici
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Here I am. Life seems like it's series of intense crisises (spelling? whatever.). An unending succession of girding loins and trying to make it through to the other side having grown spiritually, personally and emotionally. The fact that I have somehow become the family rock is both absurd and bizarre. I happen to be even more insane than anyone else in my family.

My father's mental health in the face of his degenerative spinal disease and congestive heart failure hasn't previously been an issue. But in the space of a few months he has degenerated dramatically. He will often refuse to eat, and he has become above all, silent. The man who used to have an annoying but hilariously conservative opinion about everything has been struck dumb, and has begun to cry at the drop of a hat. Welcome to dementia.

My Mom is his caretaker, but if I have to listen one more time about how she regrets marrying my Dad and how you can't dwell on the past and you have to instead endure a depressing and unhappy future (yay, thanks a pantsfull, mom), I will probably go off the deep end and start sleeping in the woods behind K-mart wearing trash bags and eating cardboard.

I'm just ranting and raving aimlessly. I hate the fact that I allow my mother to manipulate me into the supremely unethical position of being my own parents marriage counselor. But I also know that they would never persue conventional counseling and I know that my Dad's declining mental state is aggravating the situation.

It's gotten to the point that my Dad's dog attacked my nephew severely a few days ago. Nephew is ok, had to have emergency surgery. It was all traumatic to everyone. But I spent about 4 hours on the phone last night feeling like a crisis counselor and feeling very uncomfortable in the position. The most ridiculous was the oft-repeated comment, "Oh, so-and-so is on the other line? Tell them I said blah blah blah." Tell them yourself! Are we adults? Have we lost the ability for rational thought and communication?

I have the sneaking suspicion that I choose to allow this to happen, I need to take responsibility for setting my own boundaries and be strong enough to stick to my guns. But I also have this overwhelming urge to maintain harmony and balance in the family, which no one else seems remotely interested in doing. They tend to be the bridge-burning type.

It doesn't help that I often get the be the butt of "fruity touchy-feely counselor" jokes, even though when the going gets tough the touch call Cici, unload their problems and then refuse to talk about the issue any further. It's this bizarre carnival of freakish dysfunction. I'm a broken record: talk about it, it's ok to have feelings and emotions, let's try to meet together and come to an agreement ("oh, no, not diplomacy!! But I'm right! I refuse to admit that I'm not right!")

I'm drowning in denial! GLUG glug glug. Blurp.

October 17, 2001
4:30 pm
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Ladeska
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....and you and I will pick up where we left off last time...my little pumpkin...(love you) anyways...remember I said - you weren't done with how you went off about saying this and that on another thread....well, you're not done, sweetie. Only just starting.

And your boundaries...are?

You are your own teacher and will apply wisdom you already khow when you think you've let the pain burn through you a whole large enough to hold all the flowers. Is the hole big enough, or do we need to wait awhile longer still.....?

i know, you hate me...(smile)

October 17, 2001
4:40 pm
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Ladeska
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Okay, Tinkerbell - let's take this a step at a time here, make it simple...I definitely believe in role playing, but since I don't have you in front of you - let's finger paint here on the screen.

Let's do a for instance...give me a scenario where you felt like you had no boundaries, paint it for me...let's start from the beginning of how this would develop, step by step....

October 17, 2001
4:46 pm
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Molly
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I don't think your drowning in denial, I think rather, your shouting from the roof tops about your family, ugh could you move over, and let me borrow the microphone?
Gifted people, and educated psych, ugh not psycho folk, just can't help when they walk into a room, but read the people,and use what we do. Then folks start asking questions, and we answer them. The first, and most likely best counselor my hubby and I went to ( why he never went back) right after I started working in the field, said there is a thing called graduate student syndrome, and all psyc grads do it. She did it, her girlfriends all did it says every body does it, then they learn. You don't use it unless they are in your office, and are paying Period.
I have also discovered the very same thing in Real Estate, they will ask questions all day long, but when it comes time to sign a contract, the family and friends go else where, besides, we never do good enough.
Its gotta be hard for mom, but I know you have your limits to, maybe in some loving way, you could say, mama, I know you and dad had your stuff, but he is my daddy, and please honor our relationship by saying only positive things right now? Maybe she doesn't have a clue. At least your mom is doing the care, my mom wouldn't go visit him in the hospital, she bitched from a distance, and then wouldn't let him come home, or my house for the holidays. I didn't speak to my mom for over 4 years over the issue after he died. Years later I looked back, and realized how impossible it must have been for her to look at him her prince, whom she called a bastard every 15 seconds in the state he was in. I still don't get how she couldn't take care of him, but understand that some of that was the displaced anger, for something that was so totally out of her controll. When we completed just before she died, she said you know he was a bastard, but he was my bastard, and I loved him, and he left me. That bastard. So, maybe you can endure just a little bit more, draw some lines with all the other drama, your dads condition, just makes everything in neon, doesn't it? ugh ugh, and besides I allready validated you. xxoo

October 17, 2001
5:03 pm
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Ladeska
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...come out, come out, wherever you are...I know you're over there...btw, good words Molly....too true...

...looking under the bed, nope, no Cici....looked in the closet, nope, just alot of books and boxes....stuffed animal or two, clothes no one wears....

maybe she folded herself up into a tiny little ball and stuffed herself in to the cabinet underneath the sink....well, the door isn't opening...TUGGGG, TUGGGG....I don't know here, doesn't look good...I see a shoe in the crack, hearing some blubbering, slight bit of cussing...spitting out fingernails.....starting on toenails - crunching is louder...uh-oh...growling noises now...

October 19, 2001
12:38 pm
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Cici
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Ha ha ha very funny you guys. I know it, too. My Mom told me about med school student's syndrome, where you suddenly seem to contract every bizarre illness you are currently studying. I guess it's the same fo rme, pathologizing friends and family.

BOUNDARIES! Say it ain't so, Lady.

Hmmm, here's one.

I don't have to be nice to everyone.

This one deserves elaboration because this is THE boundary I need to get up and running before I can even start on anything else.

My ex-roommate who moved back home to mommy at age 27 (hmmm) never owned a car that would function for more than 2 weeks at a time. He never asked to borrow anyone's car but mine. Why? Because Cici won't say no, she's too f*cking nice.

How about my new roomate, who takes an entire month extra to pay rent? He is always in debt to me.

But what I fail to learn to how to stick to my guns and not let people push down my boundaries. How DO you do that? I've always been envious of people like that. I want to know how to do that.

October 19, 2001
1:24 pm
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Ladeska
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You know, it's not about - not being nice....and if you want to know the "how" of doing this - this is where you start. You having a boundary isn't about - you not being nice.... Tattoo that one to your forehead little missy.

Now how "they react" to that boundary may mean that - you have to get firmer, maybe even - not nice - but that is because of what THEY DO and not what YOU DO.

What hangs us up, I think, is that we have that feeler out there, attached to our boundaries that says - if you don't like my boundary - then it's not good and I'm not a good person because of it....

Until that belief is erased in your own mind - you will continue to have problems with boundaries.

People who are boundary busters by nature - know their behavior works on you, or know after the first time of busting one of your boundaries. Your lack of being able to "hold the line" probably goes way back to someone in your past - in your formative years - a person that you got love or wanted love from - who busted your boundaries all the time and made you question "do you have the right to boundaries as a person" - i.e. - your mother. So, if I were you - I'd work on this one area - about her and you and your interaction....

I think when you greatly correct the way you deal with "her" - you'll be able to do so - with others in your life. Your self esteem is greatly attached to how she responds to you and even though you know in your head that - what she does is wrong, your little girl mind - follows along in tow....

So, you have to help your little one grow up, Cici. It's time. And while your mom still is alive, no matter how painful it is for you or her - you have to make boundaries with her and stick to them in order for you to blast through this.

October 19, 2001
1:40 pm
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Cici
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That's the crux of the situation. To this day, boundaries are intolerable to my mother. If you have any, you are not her daughter.

The first time I really tried to get out there and try my wings and create boundaries for the first time in my life I stepped away from the nest with no support because my Mother stopped talking to me for a year. I think it was me getting engaged that really broke the ice betweem us.

Sometimes I get angry about this, but sometimes I get that feeling inside that I can tolerate her because I would rather still have Mom around and just shut up whenever she starts. It's kind of working now, expecially becuase I have my husband as a buffer zone between her and I now.

She's as hard and brittle as they come, which I suppose comes from growing up in a third world country in poverty and during a war.

Part of the lack of boundaries is entirely culture shock, which I always felt but tried not to emphasize when talking about growing up to others. In Vietnam, children sleep with their parents throughout childhood, and sleep with younger siblings in adolescence. You don't move out of your house until you marry, no sooner unless you dishonor your family. Physical punishment is the rule rather than the exception and obedience is a necessity.

That's why it's so hard to see if the problem comes from her or merely my interpretation. If I had grown up in a community that was more culturally mixed rather than entirely white, I may have felt more able to accept that my family lived differently than others.

I used to put the blame on her shoulders but as I get older I start to see that the effect that various situations have had on me has come from my own interpretation of the situation, which stems from the I-bias that all humans have.

I'm getting philosophical to avoid the point, i guess. I know that my boundary issues with men are greatly effected by my past history of molestation and rape. What motivates my passivity is fear. Plain and simple.

October 19, 2001
1:57 pm
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Ladeska
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I remember when I used to do the dance with my mother. And I feared her "not loving me" when in all reality the woman wasn't even capable of being a friend, much less a mom. But, I wanted the picture I wanted in my head and I bloodied myself trying to damned well GET IT! ugh...20 years later....I stopped trying.

I started saying No, not a mean No, and not one with a long list of "whys" either. That really made her spin, let me tell you. And I think I knew this all along that she would spin. I took that on as - being my fault....when in all reality - it's just who "she is" and I had to see that real picture, accept it and then act accordingly, discarding my fairy tale. Wasn't going to happen.

Who I was, wasn't connected to "who she is" and when I really got that truth - I got free of her and my compulsion to be whimpy with boundary busting people. There should be no conditions on love and there always was with my mother. Always. She had strings running from me to her about everything..... I was this little puppet, jumping at her whim. Well....I got real sick of that. And I finally just stopped talking alot to her, started watching what was really going on and I realized - it was pretty much a one-way street with us. She projected, she talked and demanded and very rarely EVER really listened to me....I thought for years it was because of me somehow and it wasn't. She's a one-way person, rather selfish actually, really selfish quite honestly.

My sister still lives close by and she drives her insane. But, for some reason - no one but me ever told my mother No about anything and when I did - Oh My God, how dare you? Well, no - how dare YOU!

Not to say that your situation has to end in disaster with your mom, just that boundaries need to be acted on and control freaks don't like that, but oh well. You being controlled by someone like that - isn't about you loving "them either". You're not accomplishing anything good by it, just enabling a poisonous pattern to continue with them and you.

But, Cici, what a person does - in reaction to your boundary - isn't about you.....it's about them and their character, their choices and quite frankly all that needs to be revealed to you so that you know who you are dealing with here. If they don't respect it - you don't move forward, you step back. Someone of worth - respects boundaries and doesn't ram them. That means - they don't respect you and probably don't respect anyone, including themselves.

It's a warning flag you need to see and heed. I gave my daughter "permission" when she was about 10 years old to tell Mommie (in a nice way) when she might be saying something or doing something that was hurtful - that she had the right to say - Mom, this bothers me...do you need a time out right now?

In other words, if I was going off on her about her room or if I was just in a bitchy mood in general and she thought I was taking my stuff out on her - she had the right to call me on it, so long as - it was done with respect. We made that pact and she did it. Was pretty funny the first time - I just sort of stopped and went "huh?" She smiled and said - you said...I could!

And I went - you're right and now that I think about it - I do need a time out - give me 30 minutes alone.

That was one thing I think - made her aware that she has a right to her boundaries, to her personhood and that even mom's can be wrong sometimes and she has the right to speak up for herself.

She was always respectful and it worked well with she and I, got to be rather comical actually. Today she's really good with her boundaries. Doesn't take anything off of anyone. Is nice at first, but if you push her - she squares off her shoulders and goes - Like I SAID...this is the way it is. Is the sweetest thing until - you disrespect her and she is real, real quick to write someone off after they do it a couple of times.

She's very selective about who she brings close to her and if they are boundary busters - they are removed from the inner circle.

October 20, 2001
11:52 am
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Molly
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Cici, two points, one, your mom I assume is Buddist? Isn't that the opposite of psychology? I mean my intrepertation, is that they like the Indians are present, where psychology, goes backwards, and explains everything. i.e., We say I think its going to rain, and they don't get it! Its raining or it is not?
Two, these last two years have been interesting for me with my oldest more so than the youngest, although the youngest has learned as well about boundries. I like Ladeska allowed my kids to speak what ever was on their mind, critical or what ever. When the oldest dropped the bomb on me a year ago last Feb, damn it hurt, and in some ways I tried to make her wrong, for what she was attacking me for. Every one said to be patient, so I shut up, I quit chasing her, I drew a boundry with my kid for the first time. I got that she had to do and be and feel what ever it was,and had to accept. If I wanted to continue a relationship with her I had to respect that things are going to be different, and maybe some day...... its pretty ok right now, there are still some walls up, but Monday we have plans, and I will get to share some of her space, not allot, but time. Her sis had to learn not to cosign her big sisters agenda, and in a way, we now have a closer relationship, big sis has always been pretty dominating. We are all learning. But the main thing is just to keep a loveing heart, when all the psycho babble gets in the way, and you put feelings into it, it can get real toxic when you look at the what you want vs the what is. So, sometimes I go back to that It looks like its going to rain, and realize that , that sentense makes no sense.

October 20, 2001
4:26 pm
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janes
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Hi gals....

Long time no post...

What a group to read...

Cici...wish I had lots of insight to give....but I'm you.

sort of...

Sounds like you are getting the best advise from the best folks.

I love ya.

janes.

October 22, 2001
3:48 pm
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Cici
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Mom is as Mom does. Ha ha ha ha.

Well, Buddhism is pretty much a lot like every other big religion. There are a lot of branches, and there are your religious philosophers, and there is actually a branch of Buddhist exlporation expressly devoted to psychology. But their psychology comes from the philosophy: human life is suffering because we cling to our delusions: life is permanent, there is a self which can be hurt.

Indeed, part of my explosive anger is my own refusal to be accountable for myself. I know that I should allow myself to acknowledge my emotional reactions, accept them, and then release that emotion. I am slowly learning to let go.

Part of my daily devotional is meditating on self-restraint, which is a big issue for me. This also involves letting go of the need to be right. My faith teaches me that Truth is always relative, and I don't own exclusive rights to Truth. I am limited to experiencing reality through the "I-bias".

Maybe I'm just indulging in intellectualization, my Freudian weakness. Buddhism is so seductive in that way.

One day, I'll learn to be Present. As Ram Dass's book elaborated, I'll learn to "Be Here Now". I'll be able to release the ego injuries I carry with me from my past, because that person who was so injured has grown and changed and is not the same, and should not feel the pain so acutely from past wrongs. The past is past, the future is future but we are here, now, and we are alive.

I think my yoga practice is helping a lot. I still get angry, but it fades away quicker than I ever imagined it could. I used to hold hurts in my heart for days, but they seem to bleed from my consciousness in a matter of hours now.

Yoga comes from the sanskrit word "yuj" - to yoke. It is supposed to teach you to achieve a tranquil mind and then, from that tranquility, to dig deep into your subconscious and "burn" away the obstacles that make your psychic road so bumpy. Sometimes I am so full of emotion before I practice and then, I sweat for an hour or two and I feel like I'm lancing an emotional boil and I just gush Feeling. I feel it arise and I imagine forcing out the emotion with my deep breath. I am learning. I am still Sudhaka, the seeker.

I need to recognize the Sudhaka in everyone, even my own bitter mother. Because once I ackowledge that she is flawed and her anger comes from her own misunderstanding of herself, her bitterness has no effect on me. It is her own burden.

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