Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Details

The Panera Bread commercial comes to mind: "every detail tells a story". I've never really thought about it like that. To think about every memory and analyze it is something I've not done before, nor even thought to do. Like I've said, I merely floated through my own life, hoping someone would live it for me. It is for this reason, and perhaps because of the treatment I received as a child that I don't have many memories of growing up. Only recently, and that's mostly because of my wife, do I have recollections of my mother's behavior -- and even THAT'S marred by the denial I'm so violently drowning in.

In truth, I want to believe everything I've read on these blogs, AND what my wife says, I just have a very difficult time hearing it and, more than that, accepting it. She constantly tells me that I have to put myself in a place of extreme duress, that I have to push myself WAY out of my comfort zone because my comfort zone is....destructive in every way possible. She's right, I know she is, but I struggle to feel that it's right. If I feel that she's right, then I'm to accept that my entire family of origin is unhealthy to a point that they probably don't belong in our lives. I'm to accept that I was raised by a woman who only had her interests at heart and used me for her own gain. To really accept that and then to take responsibility for my life require skills that I've not yet learned and my wife has honed years ago it seems. That is why I require help from this community.

I am scared.
I am weak.

I have hurt the most important person in my life more than I'd ever care to imagine and I feel there's no coming back from that. See my downward spiral!!! I still feel that I require some kind of contempt for what I've done to my wife and perhaps that's a step in the right direction...

I told her today that this was the first real relationship I've ever had...and I'm not sure how to ... do it.

5 comments:

  1. I felt so guilty seeing the truth of my mother's behavior, because I thought I was 'wrongly' feeling hurt by much of what she said and did, because I 'wasn't supposed to feel that way,' so I was the one who was somehow wrong.

    Because the things she was doing were not obvious to me like what my father did, she was courteous and calm and patient with us, so when we kids were pre-school and in the lower grades, I thought she was also a victim of our father.

    So as we got older and more independent, I couldn't understand the real meaning of her frequent excuses for my father's unacceptable behavior, or why she told us kids not to be afraid of him, because his 'bark was worse than his bite' (I sure didn't agree with that!) or why she would frequently say he 'didn't mean it' when my father or brother would say rude and mean things (when she had carefully already taught us kids better manners than that),

    or why she sounded disapproving when I wanted to make a chart to keep track of whose turn it was to wash dishes between my sister and I, because we were in frequent disagreement about it, and that would help us know for sure.

    But she acted like there was something mean spirited about me wanting to keep track like that, and remarked that she and her sisters just all got along and unselfishly helped each other do the chores without worrying about whose turn it was.

    Good grief, we were young teens then, even I could see that there was nothing wrong with just keeping track on a piece of paper so we knew for sure! I was sorry for raising the issue, because I was sure my sister would have had no objection to my idea if I had just mentioned it between us, but since I had mentioned it with our mother there, and she had objected (in a way that made no sense and was troubling to me) already, I felt too guilty to just do it on my own and show my sister, or to negotiate with my sister that we both note it together.

    Then there were more subtle remarks about how things we said and did were somehow 'selfish' in some mysterious way, but never in a way that made sense, so I felt like I was just no good at social interactions, because of these kinds of remarks.

    That lack of confidence, based on what I now realize was false morality and misleading info, lasted for decades of my adult life.

    I was so bewildered, it didn't even dawn on me for most of that time, that I had no such attitudes or judgments that others were selfish or thoughtless when they did what seemed to be perfectly normal and reasonable and fair things; just somehow, if I did them, I felt automatically and inexplicably guilty and wrong.

    Finally I even started seeing that my mother was doing and saying things that not only made me recoil with embarrassment, but I was realizing, to my increasing dismay and distress and guilt, that they were things that I would be ashamed of doing and saying to others, and here she was, just blatantly doing them as if it was just fine!

    And I still didn't get it, I couldn't understand why she would do that, and I still didn't let myself wonder why I didn't just ask her, or object to what she said. Because I had an underlying awareness of what her response would be, that it would be very distressing to me, and I wasn't ready to face that or deal with it.

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  2. I forgot to sign the comment with the dish washing example in it-- quartz

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  3. Quartz- When my wife first began pointing out the absurdities and unhealthiness of my my mother's behavior and my other family of origin members, I didn't want to believe it becuase I constantly told myself and believed: mothers can't possibly want to harm their children intentionally...could they? No, I told myself. Never. I couldn't believe it and that's why it was so difficult to start letting those awful truths into my brain and learn that my mother was an awful person. Even after I found out about her mulit year, multi preson affair, I still felt that she could never want to hurt me. I am now coming out of that cloud of blinding denial and becoming increasingly angry with her.
    It feels good and feels awful at the same time.

    Thanks for your input Quartz,
    lifesizevision

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  4. I don't remember much of my childhood either. Sometimes my mom or my sister will say something to me like, do you remember that time we rented the motorhome and drove into Canada for a week? And I seriously have NO recollection of that. I only have a handful of memories, all of which are bad, and I'm certain the only reason I have those is because I've retold them over and over again to various therapists over the past 20 years. I have to make a conscious effort to remember things, and even then, I often don't have a starting point. Sometimes I will sit down and think, right now, I am going to remember as much as I can about the 4th grade.

    Oh, and by the way, I want to be married to your wife. She's exactly the kind of spouse I need. Does she have a brother? LOL

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  5. MC- Christmases with my family of origin have all become a blur. I don't remember happiness, I don't remember anything happened. I know there were Christmas mornings and Christmas Eves but the inner workings of those days, I couldn't say. There's really only one Christmas morning I remember: it was with my father and his wife and her three kids. They were all about giving giant presents and stacking the pile halfway up the our 15 foot tree (no exaggeration). Well thsi particular morning we opened up themed presents -- a sun hat, sunglasses, bathing suits. THen it was revealed that we were going on a pretty nice vacation. Other than that, don't recall much of anything else.

    I'm so very grateful for having met and married my wife. I don't tell her this as often as I should, nor do I show it often enough. This is somethign I am working on. I do hope though, that your husband builds his foundation solidily on your side, as I'm sure you're well aware, unity is the best defense to battle narc attacks.

    Best,
    LSV

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