I started writing this just after I completed my therapy on Wednesday but was quite depressed so stopped, so here we go again.
I have started getting to the horrible heart of stuff, physiologically re-experiencing some of the abuse I had as a child, principally from my mother.
Re-experiencing this physically and emotionally has been tough. It also shatters some of the distorted internal working models I have about me in relation to my mother.
For decades I have been constantly “defending” her against my sisters, who are older than me and see our mother as quite scary, abusive, manipulative, seemingly uncaring, divisive etc.
I have guarded emotionally against these ideas although intellectually I know they are correct and she was these things and much more.
I could not afford until now not to feel and confront some of deceptions and denials I have had about in relation to my mother. To be honest I was unaware I harboured so many of them.
My childhood internal working model of the world could not have dealt with the crushing emotional reality that my mother could sometimes act in a violent, apparently “monstrous” way. To me in particular.
I chose instead, in order to survive childhood, an internal working model, continually developed throughout my life, that mother was a victim of circumstances, she was tragic, had mental health issues, addiction issues, that it wasn’t really her fault!?
But this is denial. I have had this model shattered in the last few days. My mother did act in violent, monstrous ways to me for a number of years, especially in very early childhood and this was in addition to all the other emotional heart ache of living with a mother who was rarely there for me as a son needing maternal affection.
These things happened. I have to stop denying this. I have built a view of the world built on this denial. Instead of addressing the hurt I have experienced, the sense of injustice, the rallying against the world, all the things I felt about my mother deep down inside I have instead projected these feelings onto the world while “protecting” a false view of my relationship with my mother. Even to the extent I have been hostile to my sisters on occasion for stating things about our past that were true and I did not want to hear.
My internal working model is a fabrication and needs updating.
The fights I have with the world are really with my mother, the injustice I feel sometimes is really against my mother’s behaviour. It has been a lot to take in but it is what I have to accept this.
Internal Working Models colour how we perceive the world and how we think and act in the world. The matrix that is the world, the world we perceive via our senses is also perceived or coloured via our emotions and feelings. We perceive the world not as an objective reality but, subjectively in relation to how we feel about ourselves.
Much of what we feel about our selves is the consequence of our upbringing and also often the unresolved feelings we have about that upbringing. In other words, negative emotions and feelings about ourselves and our significant loved ones can distort how we perceive reality.
My mother is no longer alive and cannot go into recovery like me and make amends – hence therapy is being accountable, not responsible for the hurt of the younger me.
It is the extracting of emotional thorns which I have not stuck into me but which I have increasingly pushed in over the years. Slowly but surely they are being forced to the surface and a new skin will heal over the painful hurt of the past. I feel it is this organic in many ways. Our human organism is set up to heal.
There are sins of commission and omission. Now I am dealing with what was done to me, omission. I dealt with my sins of commission in my steps 4-9.
My sisters were not subjected to the same scale of physical, emotional and mental abuse as me. Paradoxically, this seems to have allowed them an emotional distance to see my mother more as she really was at times. I have never been able to. I was deep in the hurt and abuse and had to make sense of it more than they had to although it has left lasting emotional scars for them too. My eldest sister seems in a trenchant denial about all of it, as if it never happened which seems the most intractable condition of all.
For years I would return home to visit my family and often there would be a falling out or even physical fights between my sisters and my mother. It used to kill me and I could never figure it out, why my return would provoke such extreme emotional behaviour, such an eruption.
They were unconsciously fighting over our past, and I was like an emotional bomb ready to go off. I now have an inkling why they argued and fought. They were powerless just like me. They reacted differently, hating my mother on many occasions for what she had subjected us to as children and adolescents. Two sisters dismayed at me for “defending” and protecting mum after all she had done.
They didn’t realise I had to emotionally, it would be too much of an upheaval to suddenly realise what they were aware of and the extent of my maternally-based abuse.
I am getting there, but I will never end up at the same emotional destination of hating my mother. I love her. I understand her predicament. I am just trying to get well. I forgive her completely. I am just attempting to straighten out this emotional reaction to the world, that was seeded in early childhood and which has reaped a terrible consequence in the succeeding years.
I choose to love rather than hate and always have done and always will do.
The problem with C-PTSD as opposed to PTSD in the insecure attachment and emotion regulation issues that have to be dealt with.
After my first bilateral stimulation session we did not do this process again in my last therapy session. We didn’t need to in fact as the emotions of early childhood came flooding back.
Turns out the thing I have most run from in my life is the truth.
The truth of my mother’s frequent psychical abuse, the night violence.
All my life I have defended my mother, mainly against what she had done to others.
Getting to the start of realising some pain around this stuff made me realise that this was only the tip of the iceberg.
It was too much for me to become aware of , my mum as a violent night time monster so I did not, I constructed another view of her as victim and me as being the reason why she acted the way she did. I constructed a lie to protect me, although it appeared to simply be protecting her. This is what my sisters and me also have not realised before.
The truth is sometimes unbearable.
I had to re-experience the violence and finally express the feelings of being subjected to it.
Throughout my adolescence I was I was also an enabler to my mother, serving her her Valium, her solpadeine, be codeine prescription, her cocktail of legal, medically prescribed “buzzes” .
Her drugs, I helped service, unwittingly serve her the drugs she had become addicted to, I anticipated that our chemical bonding would raise her spirits, overcome her depression, soothe her anxiety, our forthcoming chats and chemically heightened affection and warmth.
I loved it, this medically prescribed attachment, it was a whole lot better than nothing at all.
It was here that I learnt the mechanics of being an addict. I would use this working model in later life with my pseudo family of drug abusing friends, the same rituals of chemically induced attachment to other human beings.
It was all I knew , it was how I reared, how I grew up.
Her drug use was like one of those intimation fires around which we congregated to feel the second hand glow of enhanced human warmth. Via her drug use.
It was a lot better than nothing.
The artificial fire of drug using and belonging.
The second hand love.
My heart would even soar as I saw and heard those nose tingling bubbles of solpadeine fizz and gently hiss in the bubbly water as I brought my mother her next fix.
My mum took drugs increasing as she become more addicted and more divorced from the self than beat her son.
This is where I learnt my drug taking behviour.
The truth had been become a foreign country for my mother and then increasingly for me.
I am still trying to get back home. To me.
The journey back is so hard but so worthwhile and takes strength and courage to both survive during and thrive after 🙂
very well put Lucy 🙂
Radical Honesty. I am on a journey home to myself, finally, at the age of 55. I abandoned myself a long time ago in order to survive a horrible relationship with my mother. Now for the first time ever, I am really showing up for myself. I tried to do this over the years in lots of different ways and sometimes succeeded, but something has really shifted in the past couple years. I really see my own mortality now and thus see that making radical changes in my approach to life and in relation to myself is a Do It or Die, MotherF%cker prospect. I don’t have the luxury of taking my time. I have to have my own back NOW. Deception is everywhere in the form of denial, mixed messages and minimization. I don’t have time for bull$hit anymore. Getting honest with myself has been one of the most painful experiences ever and hands down, the most rewarding. Like most addicts, I was always in relentless search of liberation from the soul crushing pain of self-hatred. Bearing witness to my own truth has been the most liberating experience I have ever known. I am happy for you, thanks for sharing!
thanks for your radical honesty too MJ! I wish you all the best on your journey home! I am like you in the sense I have been chipping away at this for years and years, via Buddhism, counselling, psychotherapy, 12 steps etc. Something tectonic has shifted in me too. For me it is also that I have been in recovery long enough to be able to handle the journey back so to speak. Although I am aware of the risk of my “getting better NOW” thinking at times, this stuff takes as much time as it takes. I have given my self the time too. One of the legacies for me of my past is that I have to do stuff and achieve stuff to feel good about myself. Even now,tired from therapy, I am pushing myself to do stuff. I am recognising this behavioural part is the old me and the one I am trying to shed. Everything is on the table. It is not only healing but changing maladaptive ways of being and acting. These will take time The most important thing now and always is to take action on this stuff. That is really all I can do one day at a time. Take action. I love that line “bearing witness to my own truth…” that is what it is. Denial has been my greatest enemy in life. A fog that prevents us seeing things as they were and as they are, a stupor I have stumbled through life in. How powerful is the unconscious mind!? All the best MJ ! Keep us posted on how you are getting on?
Yes, this stuff takes as much time as it takes. And I have been at it for years. What I meant in saying I don’t have the luxury of taking my time is that it has really dawned on me that I have an expiration date. As such, I must not pass up the opportunities in each moment to be my own best advocate. This naturally includes much needed rest. Just This Moment! 🙂
I still haven’t reached the stage of always being my own best advocate and I look forward to that time 🙂 I do however understand myself a whole lot better than I did before and that is a blessing.
Thanks again for your honesty. Remember, in so many ways you are not alone. Others are on similar journeys, some have gone before, still more will follow with our increasing understandings and the awesome capacities these newer techniques enable. Your courage to share your journey really does help those of us on almost parallel paths paths. It certainly helps this little Vegemite. Hang in there Brother. Best regards in fellowship. Mark
thank you Mark for your comment and encouragement – it is great to know I am not alone, that others are in similar boat. Takes me back to early recovery and having a similar realisation and how great that felt. Still feels good to hear it today so thanks for that. You words have helped me today too, thanks for sharing them. I agree and believe that new therapies can yield powerful therapeutic effect. All the best to you Mark, I hope things are good with you? 🙂
Things are exactly the way they are supposed to be today. And just for today, that’s all I concern myself with. I still have a long way to go, yet i cannot deny the progress. My recovery is being gently led. Thanks and keep going!!! M 😉