You're on your way. Don't be in a hurry. It won't go fast no matter how hard or how much you push.
Btw - you need to reframe "My heart can't let it go. This baggage is never going to go away for me."
"I haven't been able to let this go on my own. I'm starting IC so that someone can help me learn HOW to let this baggage go. I will do it, little by little."
Baby steps YOP.
To back up just a little, I had read on someone else's thread similarities between my mother's issue and someone else's mothers issues. All these familiy of origin (FOO) issues going on around here. In this thread hey mentioned how their brother was sexually abused and that got me thinking. My mother certainly had written about it in her diary and clearly thought about sex with my brother and I. She crossed fantasy into reality with many other things, what if she had done that with my brother and I? That thought really bothered me.
IC Fri night. This was the fourth session and the first where I didn't do all the talking. Suddenly the counselor (C) started asking questions back. I brought up my latest horrible thought on what if my mother had actually planned and executed her sexual fantasies regarding my brother and I. Her question back,
C: "Why do you think your mother left that diary on the kitchen table?"
Me: "Because she's not that bright. I love her and all but I can honestly say that she's always been pretty careless and stupid about a lot of things. Sometimes she can be forgetful."
C: "I don't buy that for a second. Every little girl is brought up to keep their secrets safe and locked away. Let's say hypothetically you mother missed that lesson. It's still a diary that you guard with your life. Those never ever see the light of day. The fact that she left it out in the open, it may as well have had a giant neon advertising sign flashing on it."
C: "Let me ask you this question. Who do you think she left that book out for? Remind me again, what was the first thing your mother said to you on DDay when she saw you for the first time?"
Me: (Speechless thinking....holy shit! You were actually listening to me through me talking for three sessions straight).
C: "I can 100% guarantee you she was really pissed at your father and that may be the reason. But from the other things you told me about her, who was her intended audience? You don't write something that salacious and leave it out by accident. Just does not happen. So who was meant to read that diary?"
Me: "I've never thought about it that way before. Ever. I've always just thought she was careless."
C: "What was the first question she asked you when she came to you that day?"
Me: (speechless, mind racing, 1,000 light bulbs going off. Feeling very disturbed. Can't talk. Probably looking clearly uncomfortable and squirming in my seat for sure. )
C: "I don't want you to think that it was entirely for you. It could be for you, for you brother, or for your father, or for all of you. But it was probably not left out "by accident".
As it was towards the end of the session she wanted to make sure I was ok before I left.
So...now my head is all messed up. It's very possible that her leaving her diary out was meant for me to find and read. It's very possible that was her way of letting me know that she wanted to do those things with me. After all, her first question to me was...."Why didn't you come to me first?"
It's also very possible that she did do those things with my brother. It's very possible that could be one of the reasons my brother may have committed suicide. It's also very possible that's why I heard that there was a suicide note that he left specifically for her. It's also very possible that is why my aunt may have destroyed that suicide note.
Now I'm left with more questions than answers. Now I feel 10x worse than I did before Fri. I thought this IC shit was supposed to help. I would have been happy going through my life never connecting these dots. Especially because it is just speculation. I don't have real evidence. Tie it altogether though and it all does make sense. It all does line up neatly. WTF am I supposed to do with this? It's all I have thought about since Fri night. I don't know what the fuck to do with it. I have no idea how to process it or where to put it.
I've spoken about it with my W and a close friend. The friend had a good analogy that the IC is a lot like chemo and that it's making me sick to get the poisonous cancer out. I get it. And I realize this is very much like that. I really just don't have any idea what to do with these thoughts or where to put them.
I was warned ahead of time that some things would be brought to light once I started IC. BUT WTF!!!
WTF am I supposed to do with this?
To give you an example from my own life, IC and I have sort of discussed the probability and likelihood that I was sexually abused as a child. I don't have any memory of "it", but could tell you that if it happened, I know who/when/where/have a snapshot of the place and time in my head etc.
It probably happened. More than once with different perpetrators. There is no way to know for sure.
I've just logged that into my brain as "ok. This probably happened and the details are irrelevant. It's just information that let's me know where some of this dysfunctional thinking has come from. I don't need to remember it and experience the trauma of it. I can leave it where it is, and use the information as background to help me let go and move forward. "
I don't know if that's helpful to you. I'm sure you will have a lot of anger to work through before you can get to that point.
I also had anger towards my mother that didn't surface until she had died. I wrote a LOT of letters to her about it. A lot of letters. Sometimes with the same content over and over. The thing about letters is that after you write it, you have to read it OUT LOUD - preferably to your IC.
It's going to be ok. This is all just information, YOP. Shitty, hurtful, devastating information, but you can choose how to deal with it.
[This message edited by nekorb at 10:15 AM, March 9th (Sunday)]
Believe it or not....THiS is how it helps. You may think it's better not go connect the dots, and be left with new questions, but it is far far better to address and think about these things in the open, dealing with the turmoil and emotions and insights that arise as a result, than to simply mark that zone of your life as 'do not enter'. Yes, IC is hard work, as we have to delve in ugly parts of our past, our history, our family, ourselves, but I truly believe it is more productive to bring the light and air in. Later, once you have dealt with all of this, you will be more at peace, more comfortable with yourself, more healed.
It is a journey and not every step or even every mile is pleasant. But life isn't all about pleasant and good things will come out of this turmoil. Just be kind to yourself as you process everything and please trust in your ability to face your demons and come out from the confrontation stronger and more self-aware than ever.
[This message edited by norabird at 9:52 AM, March 10th (Monday)]
[This message edited by yearsofpain25 at 8:54 PM, March 10th (Monday)]
I'm sorry you're struggling with all of this. I hope someday you are able to release yourself from feeling responsible for your brother and his choice.
Keep going to counseling. You've got to get this stuff OUT.
Update to the latest chapter in my shit storm. Went back to my home town over the weekend to visit my father who has been very ill. I haven't mentioned him all that much in my threads because I don't have a strong relationship with him. We mostly just discuss the weather and sports. However a few weeks ago I did admit to him that I read a lot more of my mother's diary than I had let on. I knew the news crushed him but I think it was the catalyst for 2 separate conversations with him over this past weekend about all the shit that went down. We have never really spoken about any of it, so this was a first other than him telling me about his history. Long story so I will give the abridged highlighted version of the things we discussed:
- I brought up the diary and what I read in it. Turns out he didn't read the entire thing like I thought he had on DDay but he read enough of it and had read about her fantasies of teaching my brother and I how to have sex (with her). It was making him too sick to read it all on DDay. He gave it back to my mom at some point. WTF? The diary could still be out there if she has it. I asked him if there could have been sexual abuse with my brother and he said not very likely even with what she had written. Though he couldn't be 100% sure but he was mostly sure that there wasn't sexual abuse.
- Which leads me to there was a lot more mental and physical abuse going on with my brother than I knew about. Apparently my mother seemed to "have it in for him" due to his sickness and frailty. He didn't fit the mold of her "perfect image" of how her family was supposed to appear to the outside world. She would brow beat him, which I experienced a lot of that myself, and apparently she used to hit him frequently which I did not know about. After I found out about the A and exposed it, I started to rebel against her and detached from the family. She couldn't control me so she turned all of that on my brother. Post A he started to get his regular share plus my share. SAYING I'M FUCKING FURIOUS IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT. There is no emoticon for this feeling I have right now.
- Which leads me to the second suicide note that I had heard about. I asked him about it. He said yes there was one. He picked it up after finding my brother's body. My father hid it from the police and did not turn it over as he was afraid he would never see it again. He hid it in his dresser in the spare bedroom. It was addressed to my mother. My father said it was full of animosity towards her but no mention of sexual abuse. My brother more or less said that his real reason for killing himself was because of my mother. My father said there was so much hatred in that letter that he always wondered if there was more to what went on between my mother and him. He's pretty sure that it wasn't sexual abuse. The mental abuse definitely fits her M.O. My father was planning on confronting my mother with that second suicide note at a later date. When my aunt came to stay for a few days she stayed in that room. When my dad went back to get the note, it was gone. Only my aunt was in that room so he knows it was her that took it and got rid of it. I don't know if my mother knows about that note that was just for her or not. I plan on asking him this question next time we speak.
- My father also said that his main reason for sticking around was for us kids because of the abuse factor. He didn't have to worry about me as much because I was sticking up for myself in many ways and went on the offensive myself by pushing her buttons. His true concern was for my brother. Apparently my father used to threaten my mother with physical violence quite regularly. Saying "If you do that to him again I'm going to knock you on your ass. And every time you abuse him I'm going to knock you on your ass so don't do it." Probably wrong way to handle it but makes sense to me why he would threaten her this way (knowing my father's history). Not sure how much it worked though and I didn't have the heart to point that out. He said that when ever he threatened her she would back off for a while which is one of the reasons why he stuck around.
- We talked about my mother's "depression". I told him about the research I had done over the years in my quest for answers. I told him about NPD and how much my mother fits somewhere on that spectrum. He agreed. He was somewhat surprised to hear that since he left my mother that she was still in many instances behaving in certain ways. He thought that between the IC, the meds, and him being gone she would have straightened out. Told him there was no cure for NPD. He was surprised by that. Told him what I learned about someone with NPD having a parent that either was NPD themselves or had a parent that put her on a pedestal. My dad realized right away she had one of each. I want to ask him what he knows about my mom's mother in the future. I left it alone for now because of the next things that my dad said about my mother.
- She treated her friends like "servants". Apparently after I stopped cleaning the house my mother would call her friend and make her come over and clean the house. Are you fucking kidding me? My father had to put his foot down and told my mother that she couldn't do that. He would get into arguments with my mother about it. Asking her if she was willing to go to her friend's house to clean her house. Apparently shit like this used to go on with all of her friends. So it wasn't just our FOO that suffered from her narcissistic bullshit.
- I told him how my mother would ask me all the time why him stopped talking to all of their "mutual friends". I reminded him that I read the diary and that he didn't need to tell me why he never spoke to any of them again. I told him that I resented my aunt for her part in all of it too (letting my mother fuck OM at her house, going out on double dates with her, destroying the suicide note, etc). He said that my aunt would tell him that he just needed to get over the OM. In fact all their "friends" would tell him that he just needed to get over it. Remember that there was way more than rug sweeping going on as they were enablers and encouraged the affair. My dad said that even after the affair was all out in the open (practically was anyway) that their closest "friends" (who introduced my mother to OM and let them fuck at their house) would continue to invite OM and OM's wife to their dinner parties and other parties. They would make my dad sit next to him at the dinner table sometimes. Many times my mother and OM would sneak off whispering into the kitchen or wherever. My dad said at that point he was done with her and only stayed because of me and my brother. He was pretty sure that the A went underground after I exposed it. How underground could it go though? Sounds like it was still out in the open and in his face to me. Bitch.
Those are the bullet points on what we discussed. My father said he never wanted to talk about any of this stuff before because he didn't want to influence me in any way. Now that he knows I read more than a page of the diary and I'm already pissed at my mother without his influence he said that he's an open book and that I deserve to have answers to any questions that I may have. He will answer any questions to the best of his knowledge. I could clearly see that it was very painful for him to talk about. I'm sure I will have more questions for him in the future but time was up for me to come back home and he had been tortured enough.
Now I'm just feeling down and really fucking white hot angry. My wife asked if we still wanted to let my mother come for Easter. I said yes I do but didn't tell her the reason why as I'm still processing all of this in my head. I want this to be the best Easter my mother's ever had. I want her to have some time with her grand kids. I want her to have some time with me. Why? Because I have a feeling that I will be saying my quiet good bye's again but in a completely different context than suicide. My mother has never had a day of reckoning. She's never been held accountable for any of it. She's never had any consequences other than losing my father, Gregg, and having me move away. Her day of reckoning needs to come from my hand. So Happy Easter mom. Enjoy it. Because afterwards I will probably be taking a trip to where she lives just for her and for what's been 25 years in the making. She will get her confrontation with me. I will hold her accountable for all of it and that very well may be the last I ever speak to her. Fuck her.
I don't think you should invite your mom or Easter though. I don't think you need to ave any contact with her at all. Writ her a letter cutting her off if you must. But will all the anger you have, why go through the motions? Because it feels like some bitter twisted revenge? You're better than that YOP. You don't need to construct some elaborate plan about giving her this holiday and then showing her your true thoughts later. Just accept she cannot be in her life and tell her so if you feel you must.
[This message edited by norabird at 1:09 PM, March 17th (Monday)]
I can see how it looks though and I'll be the first to admit I'm not thinking anything close to straight at the moment.
As far as her day of reckoning, that is something I would do for my brother, for my father, and for myself. It's about getting closure. Not exactly sure what I would do. I'm certainly now starting to form a plan in my head of what to say and how I want to say it. I don't think I would use anything that I heard second hand from my father or any other source. I would only use what I have heard her say and what she wrote. I want to look her in the eye and let her know why I would be removing her from my life so there was no mistaking it. I would like to tell her that I read how she fucked OM in my aunt's house. I would like to tell her that I read about her fucking OM at their "friend's houses". I would like to let her know that I read about how she wanted to teach my brother and I how to fuck. I would like to let her know that I read exactly how she wanted to teach me how to perform oral sex on her. All in her own writing in that diary.
I would like to let her know that while I was in the same room and at various times that she was on the phone that I heard all of the following:
"It's not my job to tell (my father's name) how to make me happy. He should know that."
"OMs c!@# tastes great."
"I'm in love with (OM)."
"No other man could measure up to how good (OM) was in bed. He moved me." (what is "moved a euphemism for orgasm?)
"(my father's name) pretended to be impudent so that he wouldn't cheat on his girlfriend with me". (while she was probably still fucking OM I might add)
Look at that shit above. I'm not married to her. She's not my partner. She's my mother and I know all that. WTF!!! Trust me when I say I'm sparing you all the bulk of it.
I want her to know that I saw her emotionally and mentally brow beat my brother and come down on him hard. I want to acknowledge that she used to destroy my bedroom when I refused to do her bidding. I want to look her in the eye and ask her if she ever sexually abused my brother based upon what I read in that diary. I want to ask her who was her intended audience was when she left her diary out. I want to answer her question of why I didn't come to her first when I read that diary, that I never trusted her again and that she was dead to me as a parent on that day. I want to answer her questions on why my father cut out all of their "friends". I want to tell her that how in my own marriage when things weren't going well that I used her as the model of what not to do and I turned towards my wife. I want to let her know that this FOO shit dies with me.
And the list goes on and on. Might sound like I'm yelling above but I'm really not. And I don't think I would yell at her during a conversation like that. I would do it for my brother. I don't think a letter would quite get across what I want to convey for several reasons. I know she would read the first line and toss it and she also needs to here the inflection of cool anger in my voice. I can't get closure knowing that she probably didn't read all of it. No. I think she needs to be held accountable and I'm the only one left to do it. She needs to know why. This isn't revenge. I THINK a day of reckoning is something that I need to do to set the record straight for my FOO. Sure I think this needs to be thought through a lot more and I'm not 100% sure I want to do it.
If I wanted to hurt her and get revenge I would let her know that I plan on telling my kids someday and using her as a life lesson on what not to do. I wouldn't tell her that. I would tell her for the reasons of honest accountability.
I could just go the NC route and cut her out and have her be dead to me. If I do that though, she will never understand why and I really need to get that across to her for myself and for my brother.
I don't even know if I can honestly cut her out of my life completely yet but that certainly appears to be the direction I'm headed.
Off to my IC session at 5. I suppose I can go over all this shit with her too. I just want it to all go away.
I do think your kids will need to be told something (not all these details of course!), not to hurt your mom but to make them understand why she will not be in their lives. They will probably be confused to go from a happy extended family celebrating together at the holidays to having no or limited contact with their grandmother. An age-appropriate explanation would be needed for them to understand.
Does your wife have a preference here? Just curious.
I hope your IC goes well today. It's your family, your healing, your journey; we're all just on the outside, and the final decision rests with you.
Just checking in... How did IC go today? I hope your C did more than just listen today. You have so much anger and rage that is brewing inside you. And of course, it is easy to see why. I'm so glad you and your father had a chance to finally start discussing some of this. I pray it brings you healing in some way, in some form.
Take your time to decide how you want to deal with your mom. Norabird, as always, has wonderful insights and suggestions.
As a BS, my heart breaks for all your dad was subjected to... and of course, your brother and you as well. The damage is overwhelming. Hard to wrap my head around.
Keep "talking" it out here.... I don't always have great advice, but there's a great value in just getting it "out".
I hope you are doing okay tonight.... Concerned about you....
You are so right on the money norabird! While discussing all of this in IC, I can see a confrontation with her going either one of two ways. First it could fall on deaf ears and she continues to not accept any blame for anything and no remorse. Or, knowing her, more than likely what I think will happen is she'll go in the opposite direction on how I don't love her, I'm lying to hurt her, and she'll twist it around to be all about her. That's her M.O. Then I have to take into consideration that she will most likely follow it up with attempting suicide and that's the last thing I need to have on my conscience. That could happen with a confrontation or an NC letter. Either way I'm pretty sure she will do that again as she has attempted suicide twice before. The last time within a week of me moving out. I think it was an attempt to have me feel bad for her and get me to move back. I didn't play that game and didn't even visit her in the hospital. But I did go "home" to make sure she was ok later.
I'll be the first to admit that my head is screwed on completely sideways. I've even stopped posting here to other people's threads because I figure I'm in no condition to be giving anyone else advice right now. I really don't know what I want to do yet. After discussing with my C she said I shouldn't make any decisions about anything right now and that I should just sit and digest it. Come back to it when I'm thinking more clearly. I can say this with certainty though. Today I feel like I have to have a confrontation with her. Her day of reckoning (DOR). More for myself sticking up for the memory of what was once my family. I cannot let that go any longer. Even if it falls on deaf ears I think that it will make me feel better know that I at least stood up to her, stared her down, and showed her HER SHIT. The more I think about it the stronger I feel about it.
Today I don't feel as strongly about cutting her out of my life completely. Not sure if I want to. It's not that she was terrible and evil all the time. There were good times too. I look at her now and see this little old lady and I think to myself how could she possibly have done this much damage. I can't get my head around it.
My wife doesn't want to influence me one way or the other but she's in "mama bear" protection mode. She want's to go after my mother for me. I think is was sistermilkshake who said she wanted to "throat punch" my mother. I would say that's where my wife has been for a while and it's now amped up a bit more after this past weekend. We are both a little nervous about having her around the kids (not that we've EVER left them alone with her and never will). But she has been around them for years. The thing about this entire messed up situation is that none of it's new. Yes, I have just found out some additional details that I didn't have before, but I have never dealt with any of this and never dealt with her. Not really. I buried it all for years, rug swept, and went on business as usual for a very long time. So she's been interacting with the kids for 10 years and has always been a part of my life. Now 25 years later it's like this whole thing just exploded...but only for me.
Thanks for your continued support to StillStanding1. We also discussed my survivor's guilt for the first time yesterday at IC. But I quickly changed the topic back to how to deal with my mother as I thought I was going to start to cry. There are a few things on what I perceive to be true. I know they are completely irrational thoughts and my wife and inner circle of friends tell me as much. Rationally my head knows what they say is correct. My heart on the other hand feels differently and I don't think I will ever get past it. What I mean by true is the sense that if I had killed myself first he would still be here. If I realized he was saying his quiet goodbyes he would still be here. If I hadn't rebelled against my mother in this latest revelation he would still be here. No matter what someone says to me, I know these things to be true so I will always blame myself. Just the way it is even if my head knows that this is completely irrational. It's how I feel. Not how I think. My wife says I'm a stubborn pain in the ass on these points and she is right. I'm definitely stubborn and a pain in the ass for sure. I don't know how to think differently about it and don't know if I want to think differently about it.
I dont know what to say. Dont think there really is anything I can say...
Honestly though, your Mum has been this way all her life do you think she'll change?
I realise a HUGE part of confrontation is about what YOU need.. but what if you dont get it.
YOP.. I feel for you.
I realise a HUGE part of confrontation is about what YOU need.. but what if you dont get it.
This is really something you need to think about YOP. I can tell how desperate you are to get your Mom to realize just how bad she f***ed up and I know you want her to take responsibility and she absolutely should but you can't make her.
She will most likely shift blame because if she accepts her role the guilt will eat her alive.
If you can't forgive her, I think you need to forget her. I think it's very similar to what many of us have faced.... try to reconcile or divorce. In this case it's not your M but your relationship with your Mom. BTW... I don't talk to mine. Haven't for almost 3 years now and honestly don't miss it.
Hoping you find peace in the best path forward whichever path you choose.
BS: me 42
Married 18 years
D-day - 1/11/14
Filed - 1/16/14
Walked in on WH and BF while her H watched
However, one thing that my wife and I both agree on is that I need to have a day of reckoning with my mother. Whether or not it all falls on deaf ears is irrelevant. More for my own peace of mind knowing that at least someone held her accountable for her actions. I know she's going to twist it all around and make it about her instead of really listening to what I have to say. I know based on her sense of entitlement that she didn't do anything wrong. I know she's thinks this way and nothing I can do or say is going to change that. I also know that I will have a regret in life knowing that no one every really confronted her about any of it. I really feel this is something I have to do now. Not right away and I want to be more level headed when I do it. I have time. I've waited this long. What's another month or two.
Had an interesting day yesterday. I went out of town to see my cousin play in a lacrosse game. This would be my cousin's son. The cousin of my mother's sister. The one that enabled my mother's affairs. It's a long story but I have slowly been catching up with my cousins since my aunt died. Thus the trip out of town to see one of them play.
Make another story short, my cousin and I talked for the fist time about our FOO. She wanted to know why I wasn't coming the family vacation this summer like I have the last three years. No more lies and no more rug sweeping so I told her the truth. Told her it was because of my mother. Told her I have nothing but rage for my mother so spending 7 days with her is the exact opposite of a vacation for me. I asked her what she knew of my mother and what she has done. She says she knows my mother is "kooky", is a complainer, and thinks very highly of herself. That was all my cousin knew. So I filled her in. Talked about NPD. She talked about her father's NPD. We exchanged IC stories (she's in too for her father's shit), we talked about how the entire family on our side has "faulty wiring" as she put it. I put it as we are "fucking nuts". We have never spoken about any of this stuff before. I told her about my mother's affairs and the mental abuse. Couldn't get into too many details due to the company what was around us. She had no idea on any of it.
I wanted to know if she knew anything about our grandmother. She said that our grandmother had several affairs which she heard from her mother/my aunt. This was new to me. So I mentioned the abuse that I heard about from my mother. That was new to her. I went on to tell her about the second suicide note that my brother left and how it had to deal with my brother telling my mother that one of his main reasons for killing himself was because of my mother. I told my cousin how her mother had destroyed that letter. My cousin wanted to know if my mother read it to which I responded I have no idea.
I told her I was an open book and that she could ask me any thing she wanted to but I've been very hesitant to talk about any of it with my cousins because I didn't want to create a family rift or cause any ill will. So of course she focused on that and wanted to know why I was concerned about causing family issues. I told her because of her mother's part in all of it. Then she really wanted to know so I told her how her mother/my aunt would double date with my mother and let my mother fuck OM at my aunt's house. She was a little stunned and I don't think knew quite what to say to that one. I didn't mention that was why I didn't go to my aunt's funeral but I did mention that I resented my aunt for her part. She took it well and was very kind to me. I know she's going to take this info back with her and I'm sure my other cousins will hear about it. Only a question of time before either one of my cousins wants to know more or it's leaked back to my mother. Either way I'm good with it. Maybe it will be a catalyst for a day of reckoning if it gets back to my mother? Hopefully the timer has been set...
It does feel good to know that someone in my mother's family now knows a tiny sliver of the truth. My cousin was really surprised when I told her of my mother's A. She thought it was my father because that's what she had heard all along. Granted my dad technically was a mad hatter at the end which is where she may have heard that my father was the one that burned everything down. Felt good to say NOT SO.
I've been meaning to write an update with where I am now. I may have to torture you all and open up a Part 6 - Mother's Day of Reckoning/First step to healing thread. I've had two IC session now discussing my need to have a confrontation with my mother to get out what I need to get out. My C compared it to a victim statement at a sentencing...although this it would not be a sentencing it would have the same effect for me as a victim statement has in court. It's a way of getting out a lot of unresolved emotion that I need to direct to a certain person before I can move on with my life.
My personal opinion is that you should have your say with your mother. And lay out some boundaries from that point on as concerns your family, if you need to. My one comment is that you do this because YOU need to. It's because YOU need to say what you need to say, and expose the fact that you know your mother for what she is and has done to her. With no expectation that it will make any difference to her at all.
Go in with no expectations of any response from her. Of any expressions of regret or remorse from her. Exactly like that victim impact statement. Say what you need to say and do not allow anything that she says, or doesn't say, to make a home in you. Don't give her any power, detach, detach, detach.
Having your say, and exposing truth can be very powerful. Make that power, that truth your own.
D-Day, June 10, 2012