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My Mother 
31st-Oct-2006 08:56 pm
sara of the woods
LJ-Cut for length and mentions of emotional abuse.

Yesterday Mary Ellen, my therapist, did a session with me and my mother. She sugested it when I saw her last week, and I agreed despite the fear that it would go terribly wrong and blow up in both Mary Ellen's and my faces.

It wasn't disastrous, but I don't really think it was constructive, either. I felt like we kept harping on the money issue long after it had been resolved. We agreed to better communication, but it's nothing we haven't tried before. I don't foresee any drastic results, since we didn't really get to the Issues.

My big Issue in communicating with my mother is that I can't trust her. I've dealt with too many versions of her to be sure. I never know when my words will be taken as intended or twisted all around, when my words will be accepted or hurled back at me, when my words will be quoted or misquoted. How can I trust my words to a woman who secretly read my journals for years and used them against me? How can I trust my words to a woman who doesn't listen to what I do say and accuses me of saying things I've never said?

If I can't trust her with my words, neither can I trust the words she speaks to me. She says she loves me, but three years ago she looked me in the eyes and told me, "You have drained the lifeblood out of this family in every possible way." Those are neither words of love nor words you can take back. They were deliberate. I remember her tone, her voice, her look as well as I remember her words. I saw no love there, only blame and disgust for me. I was never sure before then if she meant it when she said she loved me, but I have never believed her since.

Last night, I felt manipulated into saying that I loved her. I do love her, as much as I've wanted not to. She's my mother, and I don't know how not to love her. The questions were leading, and I resent being manipulated. I said I loved her because I didn't want to look like a bad person and because I felt obligated to fulfill my mother's emotional need to feel loved. I resent feeling I have to say I love her when that's not what I want to say. Oh, so much rage there.

I can't be open with my mother; she's too much into the guilt trips. Some of it is me, I'm sure, but every time I tell her how I really feel, I end up feeling like a terrible person. For years, her words told me that I was responsible only for myself, but her behavior told her I was responsible for keeping her happy. When the mother was unhappy, bad things happened to me and my sisters. Eventually I made myself responsible for the entire family. When a counselor wanted to have DHR remove me from the home, I told him I couldn't because I'd already ruined my family and I didn't want to make things worse. I also thought I had to protect my sisters from the mother.

I can't have a healthy relationship with her when I never know what my role is. I am supposed to be the daughter, but in the past she's forced me into being mother, best friend, therapist, confidante, and surrogate spouse. I can't be those things. I can only be one person at once, and I can never tell which person she expects me to be. I can't have an adult relationship with her now because I never had a healthy childhood relationship with her. I am stunted emotionally in my relationship with her.

I don't see how I can ever have a trusting relationship with her. She is an abuser. She made my life hell for years, and she hasn't really changed. She just knows I won't take the overt stuff now--the screaming, cursing, threatening, throwing things at me. The subtle stuff is just as bad, but I can't call her on it because outsiders rarely recognize it, so she acts righteously outraged, and I get angrier and make myself look bad. So I don't say anything. But I can't trust her.

I hate this. I still want her to love me. I think if I just try harder she will...but it never works. I want to curl up in bed and cry.

1st-Nov-2006 02:40 am (UTC)
Sounds like your mother is a LOT like mine. I can relate. You're very brave to have a session together with her. Maybe you can discuss how it went with your therapist - I'm suspecting the therapist will see the passive-aggressive behavior and the other things your mom habitually tries. In any case......
*big safe hugs*
1st-Nov-2006 03:58 am (UTC)
Yeah, I see my therapist again next Wednesday, and I think I need to process the session with my mother. My therapist has seen through my mother's behavior before, so I figure she will again. It just makes me so angry that my mother can behave this way without 99% of the world seeing through it.

1st-Nov-2006 04:50 am (UTC)
both my parents have some of the behaviors you're saying about. they're alcoholics, and maybe it's because of it, too. but they are the kind of alcoholics that drinks only at home, after work and weekends, so by the outside world they always have been seen as totally different people than they really are. they still drink. i don't live with them from ages, but i'm still seeing them too often.

i agree with knitting_hobbit, you're brave to have a session with your mother. i wouldn't do this for my parents, because no matter what i say, they always turn it in totally oposite way, or use it against me.

lots of hugs sending your way.
1st-Nov-2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
I don't think it has anything to do with being brave--more with being desperate. My depression's been getting worse, and my therapist thought this might help. It didn't make me feel better, as such, but it has brought to the surface a bunch of issues I need to work through. So maybe that's good...?
2nd-Nov-2006 03:31 am (UTC)
yes, i think that would be a good thing if it does help with working through issues that you maybe wasn't sure they were as much of a problems as they are, or as much important to work through them. and maybe therapist would better know how to work through them when seeing your relations with your mother, than only from your point of view. if it makes sense.

lots of hugs.
1st-Nov-2006 07:00 am (UTC)
You are an incredibly brave person. I doubt I'd ever willingly bring my mother into a session with me. :/

I don't really have any words of wisdom, I just wanted to share how brave I thought you were, and let you know that my heart goes out to you.
1st-Nov-2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks...not so much brave, just didn't know what else to do. My therapist seemed to think it was a good idea. I've pretty much given up on the mother ever being a mother to me.
1st-Nov-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Desperation may have been what prompted you to bring your mother in, but I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit for having actually gone through with it. :)
1st-Nov-2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't have a session with my mum. She has similar behaviours. She also is emotionally more chaotic than I am.

She's never going to support you the way you seem to still want her to. The tricky bit is trying to get over wanting her to. Staying away from her in the meantime won't hurt either.
1st-Nov-2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
I don't know how to get over wanting her love and approval. Part of the problem is that I'm financially dependent on her right now, and she uses that to control me--she loves to make me beg for money for food and the like. I'm not able to handle the stress of going to school and working--can hardly handle just school at the moment. So I have to get money from her. Which means I have to stay in contact with her. [sigh]
2nd-Nov-2006 07:45 am (UTC)
I'm really, really, glad I live in Australia and that I qualified for a government benefit for being unable to live with my emotionally abusive mum.
1st-Nov-2006 03:11 pm (UTC)
::big safe hugs:: Wow... having session with your mother is so daunting, I'm glad that it wasn't completely explosive, but I'm sad that it went how it did, too. I think knitting_hobbit said it well - hopefully discussing how it went with your therapist will give you a chance to really get some stuff out
1st-Nov-2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see my therapist again Wednesday. I don't think we will be having any more sessions with the mother--it's pretty much pointless as far as resolving (or even getting close to) any of the real Issues that affect our relationship. So it's a waste of time in therapy that I could be using to process stuff.
1st-Nov-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
I know the feeling. My sessions with my mother when I was trying to resolve some stuff with her were fairly useless, too. But, the important thing is that you did try, and that took a lot of strength, even if your mother missed the point entirely
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