Monday, June 25, 2012

That's a Problem

My mother is looking at me.  She’s always looking at me.

At least that’s what I feel like now.  There are two people in me: a Little Me, crushed and broken, and the False Me, a distorted replica of my mother.  I share her behaviors, her thoughts, her lack of emotional response.

I am weak.  The difficulty I have overcoming the enmeshment with my mother is mounting.  Some days I feel it give slightly, and others I buckle under her weight.  That’s what I feel my mother is; an enormous weight that seems to pull me inward, like she surrounds my every molecule. 

She’s a Black Hole.

I’m so very heavy.  I feel it in my shoulders, like my arms and hands are too bulky for my body.  My hands feel swollen, pressurized from the Burden.  I clench them, attempting to free up some movement.

My knees are sore from holding up my enormous self.  Almost shaking.  My whole body feels tired, constantly tired from this ever-present Burden.  I want to give into it, it will be easier I know, it will relieve that crushing force.  I also know that giving in will ruin me, and everything I have.  Permanently.

I don’t want that.  Truly.  However, I have trouble showing that since I begin to give in and revert to old, familiar behaviors.  I’ve been using food to feel better lately.  I see its effects.  I don’t like it, but I’m not strong enough to will myself into do anything different.  Still, I’d like to.

Live by example.  That’s what I’m doing.  My mother spent my entire life teaching me to deceive.  I wasn’t very good at it, I got caught often, but I was also taught to not have any remorse when I eventually did get caught.  Such is the case today.

I spent a good twenty minutes raging at myself and my mother on a lonesome drive two weekends ago.  Using every derogatory word I could think of for myself and my mother, and our behaviors.  Still, I did not cry, but I was angry, and I could feel it.  I felt it in my gut (and in my hand when I struck my car.  I screamed so loudly, that a police officer heard me and turned to see what was the matter.  He was at an intersection directing traffic three or four cars ahead of me.  I felt that I needed to say all those things directly to my mother, but I doubt I am strong enough yet.  Also, I want a transcript of what I said, that would have been more than a little jarring to read I’m sure.

I’ve started to write out in detail some of my memories that I think taught me or can teach me something about myself.  As I write, I can remember what I’m feeling or not feeling during those interactions.  In some cases, I remember actively deciding to be dishonest and regretting nothing about it.  I cared only for myself and the “here and now”.  Tomorrow was a new day, a blank slate.  I suspect that was one of my defense mechanisms I developed as a child.  Maybe tomorrow I would feel the love I needed.  I didn’t actively think that, but looking back, that’s certainly a possibility anyway.

Still, even now, I find myself thinking it’s easier not to feel.  And yet, my mother has trained me so well that I still let guilt creep up in me, I feel bad for her and that she’s lost a son.  It’s preposterous, isn’t it?

I had to protect myself from her behaviors and I feel bad for her.  Absurd.

I feel like I have to learn appropriate and effective emotions because I didn’t get the proper training, something I’ve said before… I’m more willing to read now then ever in the past, books to help me rebuild myself.  I used to only read after a major argument, now I want to read all the time – and yes, time is still short after this latest death, but as I said, there was a Paradigm Shift. 

I want emotion, proper emotion to come flowing forth.  I’m scared of what that will mean though.  And that’s a problem.


  1. Oh, it's coming, it's coming. Mine exploded in a rage when I was 23: I completely DESTROYED my living room. This was my first "adult" home, a little cottage in the middle of no where and decorated with cast-offs, painted, fixed/repaired, built, lovingly cared for all my "babies" (my house plants started from cuttings).....and destroyed. That's a story for another time.
    Driving on back roads is a GREAT "remedy" for SCREAMING and Crying. I have to be careful-I'm a bit-oh hell, I'm A LOT of a "lead-foot." So you be careful too, Little One. Also, the shower is a great "crying place" for me as well.
    You're right-it WOULD be soooo much easier to "go back." I absolutely get that. The pressure is over-whelming. Right now, you're "Between Worlds:" You've still got a foot in the world "back there" and the other in the world "Here." And yes, that's a truly shitty place to be, LSV. But ya gotta go through this to get to the other side. There's just no way around it. You can't "un-know" what you know now, the world you see ahead, just out of your reach but you want it soooo badly. Once you crack open the door to self-awareness there's no slammin' it shut. But stepping over that threshold is an almost Herculean task. It's scary as hell. You can't enter that room without paying your dues first. And IMO, that's just what you're doing now.
    Many of us use not-really-great "tools" along the way: We drink/drug, use food etc. as a way to cope with the pain. As long as it's temporary I don't give a shit what all the self-help books say. The pain is indescribable. Progress is slow and arduous. We need "time outs" from this work. We need to "rest" periodically. We don't HAVE to be "perfect." We just have to genuinely TRY. Which requires some true get-down honesty with ourselves fist. You're NOT "weak"-I just can't agree with that, LSV. Anyone who's grown up in this craziness is far STRONGER than they know. You're human. Emotion IS flowing and it's THAT that's so scary. Your feelings ARE "right there." You don't HAVE to have them firmly under control (read "squashed like road-kill") at ALL times. This isn't a race; it's minimally a triathlon. There's NO "best time," "finish line" or other "competitors." Along your road, you have all kinds of people handing you water and other sustenance. There are "Rest Stations." Once you hit your stride-and you're on your way now-it'll become a joy, not a burden. The only sound is your own breathing, your feet hitting the ground and you look around: You're surrounded by beauty. And you aren't alone anymore: You've come home to yourself.

    1. Interesting the way you put it: between two worlds. THat's how I feel, a weird sort of limbo, where I'm pulled backward but attempting to move forward.

      I feel that if I can control the intake of food, that's one small portion of myself I have moved to the Light. It's like I'm a hermit being forced into the world of the living, the social living.

      I like that too: coming home to myself. I never felt like the house I grew up in was ever a home. Even though we lived in two houses for over 10 years a piece, I never invested myself in them. I was nomadic, a gypsy-man.

      Anyway, thanks for reading a commenting - I appreciate it. That goes for the rest of you below too.

  2. Anger is good in this case.

    My guess is that you aren't giving yourself enough credit for how different you truly are from your mother. For one, I doubt she's ever looked that closely at herself and assessed who she is. You chose a loving spouse who is completely on your side. You this is not what you want for yourself. I don't think you could ever go fully over to the dark side, no matter how many steps you fear you have already made in that direction.

    I thought for years that I was just one decision from being a sociopath. I give my therapist credit for not laughing me out of his office. But I had so many dark thoughts, felt the weight of my "evil", the pushing of my suppressed rage that I thought would destroy everything it touched. I just didn't realize the rage was not because I was rotten but because I had been so damaged and not allowed to feel anything that my parents didn't want me to feel.

    It's hard to separate out what is mine and what is theirs, even now. But now I have choices that are more free. I get to choose who I become, they don't.

    It takes a long time, but it is worth it. And I'm saying that knowing I'm not there yet, but I get glimpses and tastes of the best yet to come.

    1. That's me. I get to choose too, I have that freedom, but I'm still making the same decisions that reflect my mother's toxins that course through me. Rage was the only thing I had (and that was completely misplaced during the first years of my marriage). I felt nothing or suppressed everything else up until then. I have moments where some other genuine emotions break the surface, but they're fleeting. I'm trying to figure out how to make them stay for extended periods of time. I played with the idea of being a sociopath, even before I started reading about it. I must be, i thought, sadness, especially remorse was absent. My therpist and others have assured me that I am not, but that doesn't make me a good person either.

    2. Not to discourage you, but I make bad decisions still. I'm sort of a weird mess of emotions right now, most of which I not only don't recognize, but some scare the living crap out of me and I ALMOST wish I could shove them back into the Pandora's Box I've worked so hard to open.

      These days my rage mostly manifests itself in really horrible self-harm choices that I am still sometimes a prey to. I also sabotage myself all the time.

      Sadness is something that is only beginning to register for me. I would get irritated with therapists who kept telling me I was depressed. I wasn't depressed -- I felt no such emotion. The closest thing I ever felt to emotion on my own behalf was desire to lash out, but I seldom understood its root.

      I have always dealt with remorse, though. I always felt everything bad was my fault.

      Are you a good person? I don't know. I don't know whether I am either, although I'm thinking more and more that I might be.

      I'm no cheerleader for any particular kind of treatments, but I recently started PTSD therapy using EMDR (you can google EMDR to find out how it works). I've been shocked at the changes since I began, and I thought this stuff was a little too mumbo jumbo. But was desperate to break through stuff that all the talk therapy in the world wouldn't seem to touch. You might find it worth looking into.

    3. Funny enough, I looked into EDMR. I went to a therapist who'd been practicing that type therapy for over a decade. I didn't begin any treatments as it was just a prelim meeting. Once I knew about EDMR, I too was skeptical, but if flashing lights from video games can trigger seizures, there must be some kind of truth to EDMR treatments. I subsequently, did not try it, but opted for a lot of self-digging, hoping that I could bring myself out of the emotional zombie haven I put myself in.

      My actions and behaviors indicate that I am not a good person - but my only saving grace is my ability to have real emotion, buried under 26 years of supressive rock it is though. Slowly. Steadily. I chip away.

    4. You are a good person. You didn't do anything bad. Lying doesn't make you a liar, and you don't lie to hurt anyone, you lie to protect yourself. There isn't anything wrong with that. The part of you that is you is stronger than the part of you that lies and I think you're just trying to protect it. You are simply afraid. That's all. Just like you said, that part of you will get tired of the lies and you'll want to show it, the real you. For yourself. You'll know what to do.

    5. I began to lie directly to hurt people, especially as I got older.

      Right now, I'm writing out as much as I can, detail wise, from some of my memories, including how I was feeling at the time and why I did some of the things I did. My wife read them and said flat out they're scary. Perhaps I'll begin to post some of them here, but I'd like to get more done first.

  3. This has so been me the last couple of weeks. The NM has been crossing boundaries, and I've been too tired to fight it. I've been gaining weight, again, after fighting so hard. I've been curbing my anger, using healthier outlets. Last night, I couldn't hold it in anymore. No, I didn't give the NM or the EF a piece of my mind. It wouldn't have helped. They don't get it. They would have twisted it until I believed I was the problem 100%. I let go a half hour rant at God. I cursed at Him, screamed at Him, and blamed Him. I figure He's tough enough to handle it and smart enough to know what was really at the core of it, not to mention patient enough to wait me out. Today was a little better. I feel like I'm re-establishing those boundaries again -- the ones you don't have to worry about with healthy people -- along with the determination to protect them. This post and the comments helped me regain some perspective.

    1. That's good, you got "it" out. I'm still living with it, bottling it up, scared to let it loose, you know?


    2. Yep. I remember when I first started dealing with the anger. So does the frying pan I bent throwing against a cement floor. At least it wasn't an expensive pan, but I hated throwing away good money. It was useless. My sister would suggest clay pigeons against a brick or cement wall, with a tarp below to catch the mess. She wrote words on each one, and went through two full boxes. She'd like to do another.

    3. When I first started to let even a hint of rage out, I blacked out what I said and did. I was afraid that if I tried to embrace the emotions, I'd lose it completely and never come back from the black.

    4. I have this nasty habit of dissociating from emotions and interactions 90% of the time. Supression and ignoring. It's what I do.