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I am in shock
September 29, 2005
10:45 pm
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cpt1212
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I know what I am about write is going to sound pathetic, especially since I am almost 30yrs old---my parents approval and unconditional love is something I have always craved and never felt secure about. My mother has VERY strong political beliefs and it is the only topic she really cares to discuss and is very passionate (that is a nice way of saying obssessed) and does not take kindly to dissenting opinions. I do belong to the same political party as she does and I am very well informed but I am not as judgemental, extreme or as vocal as she is. She recently bought me a political magnet for my car and I tried to tell her this weekend I didn't want it on my car but she dismissed it and I backed down and put it on and even though I could just take it off and put it back on when she is around I feel very guilty doing that. So she called me today to tell me something she saw on C-span and I got up my nerve and told her I didn't want to hurt her feelings but I didn't want that magnet on my car. I told her it wasnt' that I necessarily disagreed but I am uncomfortable putting my political or religious beliefs on my car. She became very aggressive and told me that I was a coward, a sheep and that she is ashamed of me. At first I was hurt then I got a little pissed. So a few hours later I called her up and told her that she hurt my feelings. She said, ?What is it now". I repeated what she had said to me and she said, "yes, I did say that, but what do you want me to say. Take if off your car, be whoever you want to be, but I am very disappointed in you." And I still can't take the damn thing off my car!!!!!!!!! I really feel bulldozed. And it really seems so silly to be so upset about this.

September 29, 2005
10:54 pm
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bonita1
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No it doesn't seem silly!!! She was unkind, rude, and insensitive. You would not take this kind of treatment from anyone. But you are giving her that power to treat you in such a shabby manner.

I understand your position. I struggle with that in my relationship with an abusive father. But I have taken steps to set up boundaries. Number one being that I do not call or visit.

He comes over my house and acts like all is hunky dory but I am very reserved and distant around him. I struggle too with standing up to him because deep down I am still that child afraid of him and his violence. So, I can feel your pain.

((((((hugs))))))

~~bonita

September 29, 2005
11:05 pm
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cpt1212,

My father is in his mid sixties and still avoids saying, doing things as not to upset my mother. She has always been very controlling. So your story doesn't shock me because my mother has been this way with me. Mostly about religion, but about other things as well. She loves me, but this is the way she relates to people. It's hard to live with people like that so you find yourself doing things you don't want to just to shut them up. It has taken me years to learn not to say "I'm sorry" when I don't mean it.

You will feel better if you take it off your car, no matter how she derides you. Eventually she will lose her steam, though it might be uncomfortable at first. You will feel better simply because you are doing what YOU wanted to do. It is not a hurtful act. However, her behavior is.

My mother has very strong opinions as well. We also have similar politics, but she is obsessed and a lot more educated than I am about current events. If I say something that doesn't jive with her she begins a lecture I don't want to hear. I know what my opinions are, I don't need to prove myself to her. I am grateful to my parents for holding some of the ideals that I do, but we do not agree on all things- as is the case with you and your mom.

Politics can be as personal as religion. Not even your family members are entitled to intrude upon your beliefs and opinions if you do not wish to share them. Many people simply do not discuss politics in certain company- that is wise. It is explosive, emotional stuff.

This will blow over. But do right by yourself. Would I be correct in guessing that this is not the only thing she behaves this way over? Or is politics just particularly touchy?

-ella

September 29, 2005
11:32 pm
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cpt1212
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Mzrella---

No this not the only thing that she acts like this about. It seems like she only loves me if I think like her, like what she likes, but she is especially this way over politics. She told me a few years ago that there were 2 things that could get you kicked out of the family--1. being overweight 2. being a member of the other political party. I have gained quite a bit of weight the last few yrs and I know she is ashamed of that, and now she is ashamed of me for this. I really can't believe that I am this old and still feel such guilt about disappointing her.

Thank you both for your kind words.

September 29, 2005
11:40 pm
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exoticflower
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cpt, this is the way I was raised as a child as well, the only way to win my fathers aproval was to agree with him completely on any matter, politics having been the most recent few years, but it was always something...mostly the pressed and pressed message that I had to earn my love by knowing what was right and good and ethical and moral and virtuous (saddly, we are not religious people...and so, where was I expected to look for this? Certainly not the bible, or god...um, not the god the people outside ofo ur house knew!

Have you concidered getting the thing off and putting on a nice little bumper sticker about loving our children? One of those silly bumper stickers with the cottage style heart saying something like "a mother holds her childs hand for a while but their heart forever" or something?

I said that so sarcasticly like I DONT have a coffee mug that says it! But you get my drift, right?

September 29, 2005
11:46 pm
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exoticflower
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And of course you are upset by yourm others treatment. She made a political cause more important, you must feel, than the comfort of her own daughter. Saying things like she did is really very hurtful, and they are the things one does not say out of anger alone, but in order to have some power through shame. It is so frustrating to know that your parent wants you to feel shame, WANTS you to think less of yourself! There's a lot of that going around in my relationship with my father lately, and my new plan is to simply refuse the treatment all togeather. I am doing no contact, but previously, would simply say "when you aer mean to me or make me feel bad about myself, I won't deal with you. That isn't what I need from a parent." and would hang up or walk out of the situation with a polite firm I love you but I have to go right now. Maybe you guys aren't having those kind of problems, but the mindset behing it may be something to concider hanging onto when she gets this way. Own your right to your feelings, you will come out feeling hurt still, maybe, but a heck of a lot less bulldozed or frustrated!

September 29, 2005
11:48 pm
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cpt1212
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Yes I get it! I have thought of several mischievous things like that and they do bring a smile to face.

I am just starting to work out becoming my own person and I am begining to see that it really is going to suck before it gets better. I just hope my mom loves me when this is over. I feel so terrible about disappointing her---and she didn't seem to care one bit that she had hurt my feelings. I realize I am never going to get what I need from my parents but when am I going to stop chasing it and allowing them to have such a hold over me!?

September 29, 2005
11:57 pm
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cpt1212
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EF-- I wish I had the confidence to do what you are with your dad. I have this overwhelming feeling of responsibility when it comes to my mom--I feel that I can't let her down, that I have to make up for the fact that my brother and sister are such disappointments,I don't want her to feel like a bad mother. I have in the past in isolated instances tried to say to my mom like you did with your father, "when you aer mean to me or make me feel bad about myself, I won't deal with you. That isn't what I need from a parent." But my mom would just be dismissive and say I am being melodramtic and I would hear my dad in the background making fun of me and can tell that my mom is trying not to laugh at him. Then I end up feeling like the crazy one. Also, I just hate disappointing her so much---she has always whispered conspiritorially to me that I am her favorite and that she loves me the most and that we are just alike.

I just need to know how to get to the place were I feel confident in myself and I honestly don't know how to get there. I am 28, don't most people go thru this stage of adult development much younger?

September 30, 2005
12:24 am
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Lass
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cpt1212, Honey,

The only disappointment here is your mother's behavior, not you or your siblings. How sad for you to have someone you love act so badly

As my aunt once said to me, "Your problems-- you come by 'em honest." So do you. This kind of disfunction is a legacy handed down from generation to generation. Do your best to leave it behind, and affirm yourself with your mother. That's some pretty crappy stuff she hands out.

'Course, my own sweet mother once called my husband a Nazi. You just consider the source.

My theory: Narcisism!!!! They don't get what they're doing at all, so quit pestering the pig. Anyone who can't see or doesn't care that they are hurting others near and dear is very, very sick.

Love, Lass

September 30, 2005
12:34 am
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cpt1212
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Thanks Lass,

I have always suspected my mom is a narcisist, but quickly would banish that thought. Want to know the best part?---my mom is the nicest, most loving member of my family.

Shit, I think I am going to cry. I havent cried since I was a kid.

September 30, 2005
2:15 am
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Neshema
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WAIT A MINUTE HERE!

September 30, 2005
2:26 am
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Neshema
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Did you say your mother said you are a coward? Did I read that correctly?

September 30, 2005
2:31 am
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mamacinnamon
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CPT:

I did read earlier and saw lots of posting as to what I would have said. It's a shame your mom is like that. I know there is a need inside to get approval of her. My kids have/had that same need from their father. This is what I told my kids.... (you replace you and your mom)... "Your dad loves you in the only way he knows how. You have not been able to please him and I doubt you ever will. You need to understand it is not anyting you did, but it is him and his problem. The best you can be is the best you can do for yourself, him, mom, or anyone. God doesn't expect you to be anyone other than who you are. Why should you put so much emphasis on what someone here on earth thinks of you. Be who you are and be what makes you happy, coz other than God there is nobody else you are required to make happy."

We've had that conversation over and over and over till it's almost memorized. But what my kids don't know that I will share w/ you is that even tho I was not abused... my dad was a very unemotional person and I desperately needed his approval. At the time in my life when I was honestly gonna end it all, I needed my dad to say he loved me. He did say it that one time. In the last 25 years I have never heard it again, but I know he loves me.

As for my mom. She'll never be happy w/ me. She wasn't even gonna come see her 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grandchildren when they were born. She'd come tomorrow if she had time. Hurt? Shoot yes; specially when she has to see my sister's twins on a daily basis and "her" boys can do no wrong. They are perfect children" WRONG Upetting tho when my kids notice gramma's bad behavior. But, we again have the same talk as above. So, I am here in my reality and if my mom wants to join me ok, but if not ok.

IF you are gonna move past this point then you will have to come to terms w/ things in your mind. Such as ... mom isn't gonna change, i'm sorry.

September 30, 2005
2:33 am
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Neshema
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Cpt-

You are NOT a coward. I cannot imagine a mother saying that to her precious daughter. For whatever her reason, your mother obviously doesn't understand how hurtful this is to you. Can you possibly stand up to her and educate her that this is not appropriate behavior and you are a grown woman and find it unacceptable? Show her you are strong. Set a boundary. What do you have to lose, except emotional abuse? You do NOT deserve this! I have read enough from you to know that if I were your mother, I would be darned proud of you. How about some respect? Don't you deserve that. You can start by showing her you respect yourself. I respect you for sure. It might not be easy, because this is after years of a dynamic between the two of you. You have to break the cycle. Are you ready? Love, Neshie

September 30, 2005
2:43 am
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Neshema
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No, she might not change, but you can change. You do not have to take it. You can let her know you won't be expecting anymore of that from her, even if you love her. IT is not acceptable. This is not unconditional love. We don't have to take any abuse thrown at us. This is an adult-adult relationship now. You are not a child anymore. You are not in her custody. You are a grown woman with your own values, your own political views, and your own choices. You respect yourself. You require a certain amount of respect from others. You know many of these books talk about confronting your abuser. Well, you can at least but some limits on what you will be tolerating from now on. Let her know who you are. Once you establish that, you can work toward your next goal with her.

September 30, 2005
3:08 am
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cpt1212
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Thank you both. I have been trying very hard to differentiate myself from her as you suggest Nesh. But she just sees it as an attack on her, and she is not happy for me in that I am trying to find my independence. It took a lot for me to bring up this subject to her today--I expected her to be upset, although I didn't expect her to be so hurtful and especially not to say that is ashamed of me. I guess a naive part of me was hoping that she would just say it's okay I understand. I love you no matter what. But I am not going to get that from either of my parents and I am just begining to realize that and at the same time admitting to myself that I really do want that. I read something on another post yesterday about emotional abuse and how people around you can twist things and make you feel like you have the problem and I finally see it---that is what they have been doing all along---why would you do that to your child?

September 30, 2005
3:20 am
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Neshema
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cpt-

one of the hardest things in life is to grow up and realize that your parent cannot be your parent...or the idea of what you wanted for a parent. It feels like you suddenly became an orphan. It is so tough. But you picked the right word ("differentiation"). You are too enmeshed in her. Her opinions of you don't matter. You have now realized her approval is not everything, and she is NOT your role model. You should be hers! You are your role model. You are your unique beautiful self, and getting better all the time...like a fine wine, whereas she is stuck in an ugly place hurting those she to whom she is closest, those from whom she potentially could receive the most joy and love. I feel sorry for her, but that is not your issue to fix alone. The only hope of fixing it is to take care of yourself and to make it clear to her you love and respect the STRONG, INDEPENDENT woman she didn't know you were! Now, work on letting go of that most hurful fantasy that parents are super human beings; rather, they have some major faults. Now you know. Welcome to the harsh reality of adulthood. You can get through this loss, and it is a loss. Love, Neshie

September 30, 2005
3:27 am
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cpt1212
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Yes, I guess it is a loss. I have known my parents flaws since I was quite young and have grown up in an abusive home. But like the rest of my family I have minimized and chosen to ignore things and have made excuses for the actions of my parents. But for some reason my views are changing and I am begining to see things differently and it hurts and I feel very alone.
But the validation I have found here helps and it makes me feel much more "normal" to see other people trying to become healthy, confident individuals and it really isnt something to be ridiculed.

September 30, 2005
4:11 am
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Neshema
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CPT-

My mother who is very ill was yelling at me last week. She was yelling and yelling. Her emotions are running high. Now, we are all trying to help her. But, frankly, I got tired of it, while I was dealing with my promotion and barfing from my own medicine, and trying to hold down a job. We are all trying to help her, and can only be her punching bag so long. I know I am the kid and should show her respect. But, hey sorry, I drew the line. I had to yell back (or she would not have let me speak). I said "HEY, HEY, HEY...YOU JUST STOP THAT...THERE WILL BE NO MORE YELLING...IS THAT UNDERSTOOD? I AM GOING TO STOP TALKING TO YOU UNTIL YOU STOP YELLING." Then, she stopped yelling. I thought she would get really mad. I couldn't believe it. She hates when we stand up to her. Well, I had had enough, and I just told her I wasn't taking it. I figured there would be two possible outcomes. She would get mad, which was just as bad as her yelling, or she would stop and respect me. She stopped. So, it couldn't get worse, and it actually got better. Sometimes they fear losing you, I think, FYI.

Hugs, NESHIE

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