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View Diary: My 98yo mom kicks my butt (81 comments)

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  •  This is 100% true. This is brilliant. Stephanie is (3+ / 0-)
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    ms badger, cany, freeport beach PA

    right. I lived this, more or less, with my mom. Early on I tried to put up boundaries, to shield myself from the pain of being the "disliked" child -- another sibling was the "favored" child.

    As I became a young adult, I worked even harder, 20s, 30s, 40s, to become my own person. Somewhere late 40s or early 50s, it gelled. The buttons she had installed didn't work any more. That was a gradual process, progress every decade.

    It was all about facing the reality that if I waited for her to love me -- it was NEVER going to happen. I could turn purple, learn to fly, pick a house up with my bare hands, discover a cure for cancer, wait on her hand and foot for a million years... NOTHING was ever going to be enough. I had to get to the point that I didn't care if she loved me or not. I mean, it's pointless to care if there's no possibility of it happening. Ding! Lightbulb on. Whew.

    Let me tell you, that's incredibly freeing. It left me as me, to deal with her being her. From that point, basically nothing she did could bother me. And boy, she tried! "I know you're angry!" she said once in her late 80s, after one of her jabs. I replied, "Sorry, that person is gone now." I dealt with her as though she was a tantruming child (which she was), instead of as the wounded daughter, "How could she say/do that to me!"

    Imagine watching someone's 2.5-yr-old flailing and screaming "IT'S NOT FAIR," because they didn't get an ice cream cone, and everyone in the room is trying to keep from busting out laughing, because it's really kind of funny. I got to the point that the stuff she did was really kind of funny.

    But something else arose: a true compassion for her. A sense that I could chose to protect her as she became incompetent to care for herself. Something else was so profound I hope I can convey it. By her treatment, she had attempted to warp me into/ raise me as "the resentful, acting-out, unreliable, unavailable, angry child". But I wasn't any of that. EVERYTHING she had done to make me that person... had failed. I had re-created myself as a person able to be authentic, to rise above, to be present, and I had compassion for her, of all people. An ultimate triumph of maturity.  

    freeport, it sounds as though you and your sister are well on the way to that last phase I talk about... if you are there, it's amazing, isn't it?

    cany, a friend of mine once said, "It's easier after they're gone." If you can't detach before she goes, know that simple truth. There were many years it comforted me. It sounds to me like that book can catapult people directly into the final stage, hope you give it a whirl. The work to get there is so so worth it. Hope this helps.

    This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

    by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 02:43:29 AM PST

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    •  Thank you Allison for confirmation! (3+ / 0-)
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      AllisonInSeattle, cany, glorificus

      And, yes, I am totally there! The day I learned that I didn't need (and could never get) my mother's love, attention, support, understanding, recognition, etc....I was reborn.

      But it is still a struggle, because I mourned for the lost "fantasy mother" and my own compassion kept me trying to get her to understand.  I even went so far as to read her The Narcissistic Family, but she only saw it as an attack.  The book warns about this too.  It is very insightful, to say the least.

      I just got back from my 14 hour day of driving and visiting her, and I am exhausted!

      Allison, thank you so much for your message. I will respond tomorrow when i can think better.

      •  Thanks freeport, and back to cany: if we 2 can do (3+ / 0-)
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        cany, glorificus, freeport beach PA

        this, you can, too.

        So so few of us had the "fantasy mother", when you think about it. Lucky people had genuine, caring moms... but not "fantasy mom".

        Again, cany: it's do-able.

        This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

        by AllisonInSeattle on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 06:38:54 PM PST

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        •  I am a realist/pragmatist/humanist, (0+ / 0-)

          to me, a "fantasy" mom is one who is genuine and caring, nothing more.  For me, that WAS the fantasy.  

          I never needed/wanted "things"....just someone who would rock me or know me or go to my volleyball games.  
          Instead, my childhood memories are of cleaning like Cinderella for my mother's endless parties or brushing HER hair, never her brushing mine, of sitting in a third story window wondering if it was high enough to kill me if I jumped into the driveway, and not really knowing why I wanted to do that.....

          "Thou shall not be aware"....Alice Miller on the victims of childhood narcissistic abuse.  Becoming "aware" is what finally frees you.  cany, Allison and I are just trying to help you become aware.  Once you know, you can do miraculous things!  There are more of us than you can possibly imagine, and with all of us helping, we can all wake up and heal; ourselves and then the next person, and the next.  

          And then, your new knowledge will open vistas before you, which are the extrapolation of our families into the world at large.  Narcissism is what is going on on Wall Street and Congress right now!!  Please read my comment from another diary.

          It is time to reveal the narcissism around us every chance we get, personal, national, international.  It all starts at home and within each of us the power to end it.  

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