Thursday, January 17, 2013

Being the perfect child

I'm starting to realize that my feelings and my own self have both been forbidden from a very very young age, and this can be the reason behind all the family stories about how "perfectly behaved" and "special" I was. The stories about me were:

I was a baby that never cried. The explanation was that my mother was so perfect, that she paid attention to every sound I made, no matter how faint it was, and she attended to my every need, so I did not have to cry at all. Sometimes she mentioned that she never could bear when babies cried, and that she decided that if she would ever have a child, that child would never cry at all.

I was a toddler that no one noticed. Friends and relatives came to visit my parents and they always thought I was at my grandparents' house. Until NM proudly led them to me. I was usually sitting in a corner, silently minding my own business. I never ran around, I never destroyed any toy, I never unpacked my whole toy box and left them scattered around, I never touched anything that was not mine, I have never opened wardrobes or drawers, I never touched porcelain vases or valuable sculptures or any decoration, I never screamed, I have never been a "terrible two".

I was a kindergarten-aged child who hated everyone in her age. They were all like children. When they visited us, they unpacked and destroyed my toys, then left them scattered. They ran. They screamed. They opened all the wardrobes, pulled out the drawers, started playing with a toy and moved on to the next in two minutes. Before they came, NM made sure that I knew this would happen. When they left, NM always came into my room and told me: See, Scatha, how awful all they are? They are bad, bad kids, they are not good, they cannot behave. See, Scatha, how they destroyed your toys that you always take good care of? See, now all things that they have scattered around, now Scatha and NM has to pack away, to spend such a long time having to clean up the mess they made, to fix what they broke, and all is left to us, because they didn't even make the effort to pack away things, see? If we visited them, NM always told me after we left, how everyone thought that all rules applied to us. That I wasn't allowed to play as I wished when I was visiting someone, because I was the guest, and how they allowed themselves to do anything they pleased at our place, because they were the guests. And how unfair all of this was. I loathed children. I dreaded the time when they visited us. I looked forward the time when they left. In the meantime, sometimes I enjoyed playing with them, because they were company, and they seemed to like me. But the overall feeling was hatred, disgust, despair, sadness.

I preferred the company of adults and they did not want to be friends with me. The visiting parents wanted to talk to my parents, and "let children play". I did not want to play, I wanted to talk to the grownups about science, books, or anything like that. They did not understand my behavior and I was usually pushed away with "you are only a child, you don't know anything about [topic], don't talk into adults' business". I was trying to express my views on politics, or economy, talk about interesting biological facts or how the different cloud types influence the weather. I was still under 7. I felt isolated, I did not belong to the children, and I did not belong to the adults either.

The only love I got was when NM paraded around with my accomplishments. How I could read at the age of one and the half. Show Scatha, read this complex medicine description to NM's Friend. See, NM's Friend, how clever is Scatha? Now, Scatha, tell the doctor lady how many bones (I knew almost all of them) you can name in the human body. Show her the lifelike drawing of the human organs you made. Now, Scatha, tell the poems you wrote to Grampy, I am sure he would love to hear them.
  • NM: Scatha, would you like to sing the song you wrote to Auntie, show him how talented you are. 
  • Scatha: No, Mommy, I'd rather not, (thinking: I hate performing, I am not that confident, I just want to disappear)
  • NM: Sure Scatha, you would like to sing to him
  • Scatha: no please Mommy, I'd rather not sing now
  • NM: But Auntie woud surely LOVE to hear you sing, don't you, Auntie?
  • Auntie (everyone fell for this trick): Yes, NM, I would love Scatha sing, she must be cute
  • NM: Hear, Scatha, he would love to hear you sing, you don't want to make Auntie and Mommy sad, do you?
  • Scatha: pleaaaaase Mommyyyyyy pleaaaaase nooooo I dont waaaant tooo
  • NM: You are rude, surly, impolite and inconsiderate. How can you do that to Auntie and Mommy. How can you want to deliberatly make Auntie sad. How cruel you must be to do this to her. You WILL sing.
  • Scatha: :sings and hopes that she can disappear afterwards:
  • NM: See, how impolite and bad you were, you did not want to sing for Auntie to show how good you are, now she is happy that you did sing for her, you ARE happy Auntie, aren't you?!
  • Auntie: Yes, yes, it was wonderful, how talented your child is, amazing.
 And then, she harvested all the praise. Sometimes I was praised too, for what I could do, for my grades, for the things I knew, for being way more adult than my age. But I was never praised for my ability to love, my values, or for being myself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Proud of myself

I feel proud for two reasons.

The first is, that after one and a half weeks of not talking to my mother, she called me (and acted as if nothing has happened, this still weirds me out). We talked about the weather, she foreshadowed that she and EF will both die, I did not react the way she expected me to, and then I hung up. Before that, she told me that she would call me again in the evening to inform me that they are safe (there was nothing threatening their life, but she loves to create drama to feel more important and get more narcissistic supply). I told her that if I don't pick up, I am busy, and she should text me if she wants to tell me anything. I didn't ever intend to answer the phone, and so when she called, I let it ring. After a few hours, she texted me, and I did not answer that either (it included them being OK and an invitation for breakfast). I answered the text the next day, around noon, stating that I'm happy that they are OK, and I'm at work.

I have managed to stay myself. Yay!
I know that she will attempt to reach me, and that I might or might not be successful in protecting myself, but I do consider this as a thumbs up. I consider this as a success, and if I relapse, if I stumble, even if I fall, I will not consider it as a failure, but merely as another step.

The other reason is quite weird, but I still feel good for some reason. We have discovered, with my therapist, that there is simply no aspect in my childhood, that was healthy, normal or functional. I think I feel proud because
  • I'm the "best" at something, even if it is something very sad.
  • I feel validated, I feel that all my feelings from my early childhood that something was "off" in my family, are supported by measurable facts now.
  • Despite all of that, I am still here, and I am still capable of working on myself and raising myself.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A free weekend

I haven't heard of NM since the last phone-related event. I feel lighter and closer to my own self every passing minute. There is a tangible difference between not having to even think about her for days, and between being constantly bombarded and smothered by her emails, text messages, phone calls, visits, or other attempts at completely occupying my every thought.

Yesterday morning I knew that I would hear of her soon, and that with each passing day that I spend with something else than groveling at her feet will add to the pile of sh*tstorm that she intends to hurl at me as soon as she figures out the cruelest way possible. But I couldn't care less now. She had the chance of saying what she wanted, now she has the chance to contemplate on why I did not return her calls. I bet she will not ever do that though.

She did send her one and only flying monkey though: EF, who sent me a short email including some music (we both love music, whereas NM not really), I guess it was a way of saying hi, and then he added "I hope you are well, kisses". A bit before midnight, when I got home, I sent some music back to him, added that I just got home and as a result was tired, but otherwise nothing special, kisses.

If he only wanted to know whether I was alive, and whether we are okay, he knows now. If he wanted to spy for NM, I will know soon, since there was no useful information for NM in my mail, and she will be furious.

I feel much better without her constantly devouring me.

My therapist and DB have both told me that I am making a huge progress in my reactions to NM's behavior, and now I give myself the pleasure of being proud of myself for getting this far.

I don't have any illusions, she will attack me soon. And I intend to remain myself instead of being dragged back to her psycho-play.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Holidays, phone issues

We have spent Christmas with DB's family due to health issues. The first thing his mother told us, when we told them that we could be either here or there was, that she loves us no matter what, and we do what is best for us now. NM started with accusing us that we didn't spend the holidays there and started guilt tripping.

I have called her that night to wish happy holidays, but she was cold and claimed that she had to spend the holidays completely alone (despite EF standing next to her).

After that, we were there almost every day until New Year's Day.

Yesterday she called me and I didn't want to deal with her (since we met already in the morning), so I didn't pick the phone up. And as it has happened before, in a few hours I became suicidal, and could do nothing more than sit in my room and pray not to kill myself.

Today, EF whammed at me as her best flying monkey, that I was rude and impolite lately, because I didn't call on New Year's Eve, didn't return NM's yesterday, and her text message today at dawn. That I texted her on New Year's Eve, that we spent half day there on New Year's Day, that I spent two hours at their place yesterday did not matter.

Today, I have called NM to ask why she called yesterday. Guess what. I was guilt tripped, emotional blackmailed, she was sobbing, claiming that I was cold as ice, that I was not loving, not kind, that I was commanding her like some policeman, that she can never reach me, that she wants some solution that she could always reach me whenever she wanted to and that she would leave notes on my door if I don't pick up the phone at 7AM. And also asked me whether I use my phone only for them to reach me or whether anyone else knows my number (I didn't even understand this question). I replied that I wanted respect, that I am asleep at night and that I have done nothing else but listen to her in all my life. And that I do not have time for this since I have to work, so either she tells me what she wanted yesterday, or I have to go back to my responsibilities. Of course she didn't tell me, just went on with how inaccessible, unloving and cruel I was. I told her that I had no more time for this, that I had to go and hung up. Not five minutes have passed, and NM has already called me twice.

Again, I'm the evil one.

I'm completely freaked out. This is downright scary, and I have absolutely no idea what to do. I have goosebumps all over and I'm shaking and panicking.

I have this feeling in my gut that she will attempt suicide today.