Reviewing an Old Journal: Rediscovering the Manipulation of My Sister and My Mother

Here’s another old post. Not the best night for this reminder but wanted to reblog anyway, since I read through the whole thing.

Sleeping Tiger

I finished my ‘to do’ list yesterday, except one thing. I wrote that I wanted to get through an entire notebook (journal) yesterday and that didn’t happen. It was the last thing I did from that list and it wasn’t until about 8:00 pm that I started.  But what I did do was to get through a section of a three subject notebook. I don’t have much doubt that’s contributing to my feelings of depression this morning also.

I didn’t find anything pertaining to the time of my father’s terminal illness. I didn’t think I would though because that particular journal dates back to 2009. It was on top of the pile though so I figured I’d start there to minimize the overwhelm.

It’s alarming to see the same basic themes running through me and my life back then as today. I struggled with authenticity just like I still do…

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Email From My Mother

I just checked my email for the first time in a little while. And found an email from my mother with the subject line reading, “???”

I debated only for a moment whether to open it or not.

I did.

She wants to know if the email address is still valid and if it’s one she can communicate with me through.

I haven’t answered. I am shaking. I am confused and don’t know how or even whether to reply.

In my heart I don’t want to sever all ties. And I certainly don’t want this to be about the subject she emailed me about. Her will. .

It needs to be changed to follow the laws and guidelines of the state she moved to.

She wrote, …although I do not plan on dying soon…” (“I need to update blah, blah, blah.”)

I admit, I was happy to read that she is OK and that statement hints to the fact that she is well.

The email is dated 5/22 and today is the 26th. I just got it this minute. She started by saying that she wants to make sure that my email is indeed the same before sending a more detailed message. That may or may not have something to do with her will.

I worry that responding will open up a gate for her to send numerous messages. And as much as I’d like to deny it, I fear that my response will make her think that despite my no contact, that I want to be sure I’m included in the will.

I have often wondered how it will be when she passes. If I will go to the funeral. Or if she becomes ill before she passes, will I go to her? Will it be right for me to go to her?

I miss a lot of things about her and I can feel the wanting of her approval right now.

I’m stuck and not sure what move to make and if I do write her back, if I should just tell her yes, this is still my email address or if I should just tell her to write me out if that makes her more comfortable, considering the circumstances.

It seems like it might be the right thing to do. But then I also feel like I’ve relinquished myself, bowed out, sacrificed myself enough.

Even if I did write back and tell her to write me out, I don’t want it to sound or seem like I’m being a martyr about it.

I’m noticing right now that I’m feeling the desire to relinquish right now. Just throw my hands up and give in. Just forget this whole no contact thing, at least with her.

I felt a disappointment and coldness in the email, despite little words. I feel that pull to stop her feelings of disappointment and possibly frustration of my stance.

I feel so pathetic.

Update: Already, I said, ‘Fuck it.” And sent a quick response to let her know it’s still my email address. That is all I said.

I am now at the point of going ahead and laying it all out. Clearing up her confusion as to why I don’t want to talk to her or see her.

When I hear from her I feel like I’m the bad one.

When I think about laying it all out, I have confused feelings about it.

Why bother? I’ve attempted explanations before and have been fooled into believing she understood only to be stabbed in the heart.

Fool me once and all that you know.

This sense of guilt that maybe I’m wrong and should just lay the shit aside and just be in her life.

Mother’s Day

This is a lonely day for me. I’m not a mother but biologically, like everyone, I have a mother. She is still alive and I miss her sometimes. Today, being the day specifically dedicated to mothers, I am thinking about her a lot. But I’m feeling kind of numb about the whole thing.

I think I’ve begun to put up a wall that blocks any difficult emotion, especially on days that are family oriented in any way.

And that’s because I feel the need to protect myself. I am my own mother, father and sibling now. I cannot depend on any of my family members for any kind of support anymore. And even though I know that cognitively, I know that I have not accepted it emotionally.

Hence the wall…to protect myself. To protect the child within who was not protected as was the case of the adult me too, who was pummeled with guilt, shame, abuse and bullying via family. The proverbial family scapegoat, trash bin and door mat.

But I will say here, although my mother will not see or read it, “Happy Mother’s Day, mom.” I miss you sometimes. And have thought about calling or writing you. But then I remember why I don’t stay in contact.

Despite how hurt I am by your actions and treatment of me, especially while my father was dying, let alone your emotional neglect and enabling of the abuse when I was a child, I wish you well and hope that you are having a nice day and that you hear from your other kids.

I don’t know at this point if we will ever talk again or if I will see you. I want to believe it’s possible. But realistically speaking I don’t think that it will happen that you will ever understand why I stay away. It is beyond disappointing to me that your actions indicate that I am and may have always been expendable to you and certainly not all that important.”

It is sad and shocking to be woken up by abuse only to really see so much more that was abuse all along after being led to falsely believe it was all and only me. How can a mother betray her own child in such a cruel way.

But I can say that since this is the truth I am grateful to have woken up and grateful to those who helped me see what had been going on.”

Bad Day and Birthday Card from the Mother

Today is/was my 50th birthday. Pretty significant birthday and it was harder this year than it’s been the last couple years without my family.

Its My BirthdayMy mother has sent me a card each year though. They’ve always come a day or two before the actual day and this year it didn’t.

I felt hurt that she hadn’t sent a card. But the last couple years I sort of wished she hadn’t sent one. The conflict is difficult.

This morning the hurt really caught up to me and I was so agitated I took it out on Mr. B. I realized what I was doing though and apologized.

But then we ended up in another misunderstanding, which turned into an argument and then I broke down a little.

We settled everything though, before he left for something he had to go do this afternoon and when he got back he brought the mail in. When I went downstairs I saw two cards sitting on the coffee table and the one on top was from my mother.

I was excited (and apprehensive at the same time) and I thought, “She remembered.” But that was a misfired thought process because…well…of course she’d remember.

I opened the card and read and felt stunned. She had pasted some poetic phrase inside the card that eluded to forgiveness and no longer being angry. It was basically meant to say that I should forgive whatever I’m angry about.

This made me angry and sad and I felt like I was back at square one grieving her absence all over again. It was a raw kind of hurt. I cried, hard. It felt good to let it out like that. But there was frustration in those tears too, because she so painfully and obviously doesn’t get it.

She is asking me to forgive without apologizing. She is asking me to let go of anger without even understanding what it’s about.

It’s tempting to respond with a hand written letter because she also wrote a note under the ‘punch line’ of the card itself. Stating something about how she must have gone wrong somewhere in motherhood. Indicating that she has not a clue that I’m hurt by the manipulation, triangulation and betrayal I last experienced in my involvement with her.

But I’ve been through that. The explaining of things that I was hurt about. Not these specific incidents of betrayal but  I’ve explained verbally on the phone plenty, to just have it ignored and minimized. Even the parts she claimed to understand were later disregarded.

Besides, she should know what the fuck she did.

So why? Why should I explain this to her? For one thing, she’s not even asking me to. She’s just telling me I should forgive. And for another, similar shit’s been explained already, so it only stands to reason, if it was disregarded then and continues to be, it won’t get through now either.

I don’t feel like this shit is in my court. The burden of forgiveness isn’t on me at this point. The apology needs to come first and then even after that, time and proven action needs to happen before true forgiveness can be finalized.

I don’t think she understands that forgiveness for such hurtful offenses, is a lengthy process. But if she doesn’t understand that, I don’t really think I should be the one to explain it, especially since she’s not asking for an explanation.

How dare she blatantly tell me to forgive in such a manipulative, emotion provoking way, without even the acknowledgement of her behavior.

Happy fuckin’ birthday to me.

But on a lighter note.

And I really need to add this, because even though it was a rough day, it ended well.

After I cried it out and Mr. B and I escaped into some YT videos, we went out to a quiet little Chinese restaurant for a low key birthday celebration. When we got back, I got a little tough on myself and made a comment about me ‘getting weepy.’

Mr. B said, “Getting weepy? Dealing with the BS your mom wrote? It’s understandable why you’d be so upset.” I’m paraphrasing. He said it in more eloquent way but I am not remembering his exact words at the moment. It was nice to be understood.

After he said that, I realized I was putting myself down, minimizing my own emotion and the pain I feel. So I talked a bit more about the message in the card my mom sent and the way I feel about it and why. I was ruminating really, telling Mr. B, but getting straight in my own head. I’m feeling supported though, something I really needed today.

More Than Just Sibling Rivalry

In my last post I wrote of an example of the lack of my own privacy as a teen. But that stage was set long before that. It can be asked “Why would a small child, prior to the age of 12 really need privacy?” But privacy isn’t just a matter of someone knocking before opening a bedroom door.

My brother and sister started young, taking the liberty entering my bedroom whenever I wasn’t home.

My Brother

When he was a bit older,  (this started when he was 10 and I was 13) my brother would use my stereo.This would piss me off when I’d come home and find him in there. So I’d run up, go in my room and say in a short and curt voice, “Get out.” Sometimes I’d say, “Get out faggot.”
He’d stop what he was doing, gather up all his belongs and quietly leave. I’d just shut the door behind him with no remorse for what I’d just said or how I just treated him.

Makes me want a redo. I feel sad for both of those kids. (My brother and me).
I’m angry at my parents who set us up in certain ways to act like this and even for me to treat him like this. I believed it was normal to be nasty to your brother, even call him names. But now, I know better. I’m angry and sad that my parents didn’t teach us about boundaries and how to respect each other and each others belongings and privacy while we were growing up.

I’m ashamed of my behavior while at the same time feel victimized by my parents in all of this.

My treatment of him makes me feel like I deserved his rage attacks later in our adult life.

When it comes to my brother and me and these types of interactions, I so wish I could go back, knowing what I know now. To have that awareness so that I can be kinder. I think it would change so much about our relationship probably, and also how I feel about myself.

I try to remember I was a product of the toxic and chaotic environment that was my family but it doesn’t make me feel any better about how I treated him or the way things turned out.

My Sister

When she was just a toddler (3 years old) and I was about 9, my sister always wanted to play with my gerbils. One day, while I was at school and she was unsupervised, she dragged a chair to my bedroom door in the hallway, stood on it and flipped the eye-hook lock that was meant to keep my younger siblings out of my room and the gerbils safe from the large family dog.

She of course used no precaution to keep the dog out when she entered, so when she took the lid off and took a gerbil out of the aquarium cage they lived in, it jumped onto the floor and the dog, instinctually stomped on it. Gerbil, dead on impact.

When I got home from school that day, just after I walked through the front door, I could see my mother and siblings sitting on the sofa with somber looks on their faces. My mom was the one to tell me the news. I don’t remember my immediate reaction.

I do remember however, how I felt during the preparation of the burial of this pet. We all kept walking back and forth from the basement to the back yard getting tools to dig up dirt for the grave and make a cross. I remember I was in so much emotional pain. It was overwhelming and a raging anger had built up during all of this walking back and forth. The family dog was right there as well, right along with us. The grief was also overbearing.

At the time I don’t think I was aware that I was angry at my mother for letting my sister invade my privacy that day and many other days before that. I was angry at my sister for causing the death of my beloved little pet. It was her fault this cute little gerbil was dead!

But even without being aware, when I think back on it now, I did know this, deep down I knew it was my mother’s fault. But to show anger toward my mother, to rage at my mother for making this happen, would surely mean abandonment for me.

So instead I got angry at the dog for delivering the deadly blow. I know even more deeply now than I did then, that it wasn’t his fault. But my little nine year old body needed an outlet for all the rage that had built up.

I’m ashamed that I smacked my dog as hard as I could with my little hand, while I tearfully raged, calling him a bad dog. And even then, he continued to walk beside us all, as we walked back and forth in preparation of a funeral for a rodent.

In response to my smacking the dog, my mom said, “I’ve already done that” in a somber and regretful tone.

What I really wanted to do was rage at my mother for not being a mother, for not stopping my sister from going into my room in the first place. I wanted to rage at my sister too. How dare they cause this unnecessary and untimely death to happen.

But I didn’t dare. Not only did I not have the words or understand my feelings of rage and anger at them, to rage at them, would surely mean a certain death for me.

The gerbil incident was one of the most painful events of my life as a child. The loss itself felt unbearable. But in addition to that, I wasn’t able and didn’t feel safe to direct my anger and rage toward the people who actually deserved it.

I’m angry that the opportunity for healthy relationships was stolen from me and my my siblings by not teaching us that all emotions are healthy and OK and that we weren’t nurtured and guided through those emotions to help us understand them as well as how to handle them.

Reviewing an Old Journal: Rediscovering the Manipulation of My Sister and My Mother

I finished my ‘to do’ list yesterday, except one thing. I wrote that I wanted to get through an entire notebook (journal) yesterday and that didn’t happen. It was the last thing I did from that list and it wasn’t until about 8:00 pm that I started.  But what I did do was to get through a section of a three subject notebook. I don’t have much doubt that’s contributing to my feelings of depression this morning also.

I didn’t find anything pertaining to the time of my father’s terminal illness. I didn’t think I would though because that particular journal dates back to 2009. It was on top of the pile though so I figured I’d start there to minimize the overwhelm.

It’s alarming to see the same basic themes running through me and my life back then as today. I struggled with authenticity just like I still do today. I struggled with depression, as I have since I was 18 but probably long before in reality. I struggled with communicating with my family and being treated with respect.

One particular thing that stood out was my sister’s treatment of me.

I took her dog in a couple times while she and her family went on vacation. Both times she promised to pay me for it. Both times she broke that promise. The second time I did it I was still angry about the first time. But instead of speaking up I kept silent.

I know there’s people would probably say, “It’s your sister, you should do it for free.”

Well I would disagree in our situation. Besides that, she’s the one who insisted on compensating me. She’s the one who initiated the topic of paying me. Whether it was all planned to manipulate me into taking her giant Rottweiler into our small house, I don’t know. But it was her husband who dropped off the dog with her young son. Pretty much assuring I wouldn’t bring up the subject of payment. Then when they got back, the husband picked the dog up again.

Later when I spoke to sister on the phone she told me ‘We’re going to do something for you. We just don’t know what yet.”

It breaks my heart that my sister could treat me this way. I’m also angry. I had actually forgotten about that until I read it last night. I want to go back in time so much and tell her how shitty that all was and that if she can’t come through on something, don’t fuckin’ promise it. It’s not even the not getting money that hurts and disappoints me. It’s the fact that she thinks and feels so little of me that I’m not worth much but to lie to and manipulate.

Makes me even more confident in my staying away from her and cutting her out of my life.

I’d also written some about my parents and their neglect and abuse from childhood. In fact one incident effected me so much that I wrote about it twice.

Between last night and this morning, I got into a small battle in my mind about writing about all this. And then I realized, one of the big reasons that adult children hesitate to write and sometimes never write about it is because we still want to protect them.

The other big reason we hesitate to write about what happened is because of shame.  Our own shame and the fear of being judged for what they did to us. Somewhere along the way, society has brainwashed many of us into believing that if we got abused, or hurt in any way we must have deserved it.

Last night I kept thinking about how I still want to believe my father loved me. I think he believed he loved me. But I don’t think he really knew how to love. Abuse can be confusing because I wasn’t abused continually every moment of every day. My father and I had some fun times together too.

When I was younger, I believed my mother was the good parent, the nice one, the patient one. The one who didn’t yell. (My father didn’t yell either, he bellowed.) My mother was the one who let us do things that my father didn’t. We didn’t have to walk on eggshells when he wasn’t home. She was less drama and I could be a kid for the most part.

But there was neglect too. I did have friends and spent quite a bit of time playing with them, but when I was in the house with no friends, I played alone a lot.

When I was 9, one of my small pets died because my mother hadn’t been keeping an eye on my sister who was 3.

I went to school without homework being finished when I was just in first grade. And was abused by the teacher for it.  I went without a Winter coat one year in high school. And where I’m from, a Winter coat is a necessary item. I compensated with a sweat jacket underneath a jean jacket. And then there’s the enabling of the abuse my father inflicted most of the time.

I list those things above because I do see most of them as a mom’s responsibility for the most part. But it’s really both parents who were responsible for these things. I don’t hold my father too responsible for the death of my small pet because he was at work. My mother was home. She was just downstairs, while my sister was upstairs.  The homework was an issue because my father was abusive when he “helped” me. Simply avoiding him wasn’t always possible when I was six.

In the end, while my father was dying, my mother teamed up with my sister to triangulate and manipulate me. She had me believing she validated and understood me during one particular conversation between the two of us, then threw a dig in as well as excused an incident of my brother raging at me as “just an emotional reaction.”

In my opinion I waited too long to sever ties with these people.

I’m also questioning this healing capability of journaling. I posted a video where Dan Mackler talks about it here.

I’ve journaled…a lot. Not recently, but I used to. So why am I not healed?

One reason I think is because I allowed my family to still be a part of my life for so long. I allowed them to treat me like a dumpster and a doormat and I allowed them to manipulate me. But in my defense, I really didn’t know what exactly was going on. I can’t even be sure that if I had been so aware in my 20s, 30s and even part of my 40s that I would have severed ties.

I knew something was wrong. I’ve known since at least from my early 20s that there was dysfunction in my family. I know now it was a lot more than dysfunctional. It was toxic. But each time I attempted to confront something or resolve something, I walked away feeling like it was me who was the problem. Because, if only I could let go of the past.

Even when later I would feel the anger again. Or the confusion or sadness or depression. I would at times feel so astonished and perplexed after a confrontation or an attempt at discussion because I would walk away from it feeling beat up.