Storm Before the Calm?

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lonewolf

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Storm Before the Calm?
« on: March 13, 2015, 05:12:14 AM »
I posted this in my journal but thought about posting it here as well

Why is it when you want to move forward that the "crap hits the fan" so to speak in your family? Quite a few weeks ago before I realized I had CPTSD I reached out to several of my family members who I haven't talked to for at least 25 years. Mostly cousins. I wish I hadn't done it now because it triggered me big time.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be here now and I wouldn't have figured out the issue, so maybe it is a blessing. I am not sure right now. Silver linings?

What is so upsetting is that apparently my need to speak out about the abuse, the neglect of the family, etc. to my family has set off a crap storm of people calling my mom and "exposing" my rants about her. As a result, my mom was obsessively calling me all night (I didn't answer her calls) and then she left a horrible message. I mean, I felt like I had been ripped back into a time warp just listening to it. She is so selfish and mean even today. I am going to see my T tomorrow and I think I will give it to her to listen to. Is that a good idea? At the very least to find out if I am just crazy or if my mother really is emotionally abusive.

I just don't understand why my family wants to rat me out to her and re-victimize me. I am so confused. I feel like I am being victimized all over again at the age of 47!!! My mother is such a mean person. I just can't comprehend it. I really just can't understand why she is like this to me.

I'm sorry for the rant, but I can't believe this happening. I just want to crawl back in the hole I've been living in so I don't have to face this stuff. I feel I'm stuck between a rock and hard place. Wanting to recover and reclaim myself but then having to face this again.

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Anamiame

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 05:50:32 AM »
It's called re-calibration of homeostatis.

What this means is that there is a status-quo in your family that was in place for 25 years.  No talk.  You figured out what you wanted to change and made a change, like plucking a guitar string that was homeostatic (not moving) prior.  When you do that, the sound reverberates back and forth until the string is finally put back in it's homeostatic position. 

Or like throwing a rock into a pond and watching the ripples.  Now, if you PLUCK the string too hard, you can break the string and a new string will have to be put in its old homeostatic place.  You are the string, your family is the reverberations.  They are trying to get you to go back to your place so that the system can reach homeostasis once again. 

The fact that they are doing this lonewolf, only CONFIRMS that it's a dysfunctional and abusive family system and you need to break away from them.  You've done well and the backlash you feel is because you did it 'right.' 

You aren't crazy...they are. 

Anyway, I hope that made sense....

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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2015, 06:00:50 AM »
It made quite BEAUTIFUL sense. Thank you Ana. Your analogy to music makes it so much easier to make bear for some reason.  :yes:

Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2015, 06:56:34 AM »
Another thing I've heard people here mention repeatedly is the story of the Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys. Here's what I remember of it.

Most narcissists take great care to have a good public image. They work on seeming harmless, charming, ever reasonable, ever in the right. Most people have no idea what that person is truly like behind closed doors. And even if they know some of the facts, the narcissist will have made very sure that they believe the narc's version of the story. Those people then become the narc's helpers, her minions - her flying monkeys. They act for the narc, they side with the narc, and they do the narc's bidding.

Not that your mother is necessarily a narc. I've no idea. But what you wrote reminded me of this very strongly, so I thought I'd tell you.

I hope things will calm down soon, and that you'll be safe from your mother's machinations. I know veeeery little about therapists, but your mother's message sounds like a useful piece of data - an example of her abuse in action.

Now, feel free to ignore my next suggestion, but... in case you feel able to transcribe your mother's message, you could always post it here on OOTS? With a trigger warning, probably. (Your mother sounds like the kind of person who should always come with a trigger warning.) Then people could give you feedback on it. I mean, we were all of us on the receiving end of emotional abuse, so we know what it's like. As I said, just a suggestion, just ignore it if it's not helpful.

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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2015, 07:14:23 AM »
Hi Cat,

I think she is a narc!!! And she is very sneaky about it.

I've just been reading this site and a lot of it rings true to me -- especially #6 "She makes you look crazy."

(trigger warning) http://www.fortrefuge.com/Emotional-Abuse-Narcissistic-Mothers.html

I am definitely going to let my therapist listen to it. In fact, it is a perfect example of how she minimized, disparaged and punished me for the relationship I had with my father.

I did consider transcribing it and posting it here, although it will definitely need a trigger warning because it is pretty vile. In fact, I couldn't bear to listen to the whole thing. I'll see how tomorrow goes and I'll revisit that tomorrow. It would be very interesting to get feedback from people here.

I love your Wicked Witch and her flying monkeys analogy! Spot on.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 07:20:14 AM by lonewolf »

Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2015, 07:30:40 AM »
Thanks. It's not mine though. I don't know who came up with it, but I found it very fitting and also hilarious. That movie seems full of imagery that fits a narcissistic person. The wizard of Oz behind his curtain, pushing buttons and pulling strings in order to seem very great and impressive so he can get people to do what he wants. And when you get the narc out of your life, the Ding Dong song.

About the phone message: no rush at all - go at your own pace, and if it's still too painful, then don't force yourself to confront it. You might even ask your T if she'll listen to the message on headphones? I mean, there's no use in your retraumatizing yourself. If you've been burnt, you can wait for the blisters to heal before you go near a hot iron again. Stay safe.  :hug:

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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm? (trigger warning)
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2015, 08:22:49 AM »
It is quite hilarious and creates a great image of the minions flapping around trying desperately to appease the witch while shutting down the dissenter.

Mostly, at the moment, I feel betrayed. I obviously reached out to my family in a moment of pain (which they couldn't or didn't want to recognize) and they went running to my mother so she could shame me into silence. Or that's at least how it feels. Well, it worked to some degree. I unfriended them all on facebook, blocked them on my phone and have no plans of speaking to any of them again any time soon. Why take the risk? I can't live with this kind of drama.

It is shocking how powerful the emotional manipulation still is. I am hoping that the EMDR will help neutralize some of these strong feeling so I can figure out better ways to handle this and not feel so badly about myself.

When my father died in 1991, my mother had the gall to give me her wedding ring. I always felt the gesture was just weird and wrong (my parents divorced in the late 70s and she hated him) and I never understood why she did it. In the phone message she said that she wants the ring back (shrug) because she doesn't think I have a right to have it (punitive?).  :stars:  It's been hidden in a box for 24 years because this object brings nothing but bad memories and feelings. Do I just ship it back to her without a word? I just feel somewhat lost at what I am supposed to do. In fact, I feel like I'm 15 years old again.

Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2015, 10:08:32 AM »
I can believe that. I like how your therapist put it - your mother is the event. I've got such a person in my life - she's not related to me though, so it was very easy to go NC with her. But she was basically like a meat grinder. If you get close to her, you get caught in her machinery, and she starts pulling you in and digging her spokes into you.

As for the ring... the thing is, this isn't something I have ANY personal experience with whatsoever. Ideas do pop up in my mind, but I haven't road-tested them in your particular situation. So you'll have to look at them extra carefully to check if they're nonsense. Having said that: did you stumble upon the concept of Medium Chill yet? Ironically enough, it's my mother who taught it to me. She road-tested it with various difficult people. Also, she parented me via Medium Chill. So now I'm using it on her, which is probably bizarre, but it helped normalize our relationship. For a given value of "normal", obviously. I found Medium Chill to be a technique that lets me feel in control, and one that lets me adjust the level of closeness I'm comfortable with (when it comes to difficult people or difficult situations). A good description of MC is here: http://outofthefog.net/CommonNonBehaviors/MediumChill.html.

Not sure what the medium-chilly thing to do would be about that ring... maybe sending it back with a neutral card (if such a thing exists) and a few neutral words...? Not sure what those would be... What would you write to a stranger you've never met and don't plan on ever meeting? Something that is polite and doesn't present much the other person can dig her talons into. (Sorry. I find that I picture your mother as a raging vampire queen with claws.) In my language, that might be something like: "Hi, here's the ring you wanted returned", then the usual words of greeting you put at the end of a note to a stranger: polite and calm but without warmth and without heat. And the Medium Chill part of it would be: it offers no clues as to how you're feeling about this. And that gives the other person less contact surface to work with.

Our sister site Out of the Fog might be a good place to visit, too.

I hope you're able to recover from this event. It's sad that this has stirred up so much old pain.  :hug:

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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2015, 10:50:20 AM »
This is amazing. Very helpful.  I had read the term here in a few posts, but wasn't sure what it was all about. Now I know! Thank you so much for posting it. I like the idea of staying chill in these circumstances. I know it looks pretty dark where I am at the moment, but I'm getting in touch with some strong feelings I've locked away for quite some time.

You definitely have a way with words ... the meat grinder. Wow. Visceral image.

I like your advice about the ring. I don't have any attachment to it and would be happy to send it back to her with a polite note. And no need to apologize for the image of my mom. She is an emotional vampire. I actually think her voice mail message is quite the gift for therapy today because it really gets to the root of her abuse.

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And the Medium Chill part of it would be: it offers no clues as to how you're feeling about this. And that gives the other person less contact surface to work with.

That's the nitty gritty of it isn't it. The less you give with people like this the better. No ammunition.

I do believe that I will recover. 10 years ago I would never have been able to see her actions as clearly as I do now. It also seems possible with a forum of insightful and generous people on your side. I appreciate your input immensely on this one. Your words have helped me get through to the other side.  :hug:


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keepfighting

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2015, 11:18:41 AM »
Hi, lonewolf,

so sorry to meet another member of the (not so exclusive  :sadno:) club of scapegoats of a narcissistic family. The only good thing about having been assigned the role of scapegoat in such a toxic family system, is that the scapegoat is the most likely to reach out and get help for him/herself. So in a way, that makes 'us' (the scapegoats) the ones with the best mental health to come out of such a family system - which sounds counter intuitive because on the surface, it's often us who carry the most signs that something is wrong. But we are the ones capable of change and capable of learning how to be good and kind and nurturing towards ourselves as well as towards others.

My father is an overt narc, my mother a covert narc, one of my sisters a passive-agressive antisocial PD. I was the scapegoat, my brother the lost child, my other sis the co-dependant (married to an overt narc h to boot). It took literally years to figure out and absorb (....and be honest about it towards myself...) how toxic my family really was and how that affected me and my relationships with the FOO (family of Origin). For me, Medium Chill didn't work well enough so I had to go to LC (Low Contact) and eventually NC (No Contact) in order to protect myself and my kids from further (emotional) harm.

Like Cat suggested, go check out the Unchosen section of OOTF - there are so many helpful and compassionate people there to help you through a FOO crisis.  :thumbup:

I found a website with some good information about narc families on it: http://www.angriesout.com/grown17.htm

It also contains some ideas of how to leave the dysfunctional family patterns behind.

Dear lonewolf, I don't know what else to say then let you know you're not alone.  :hug:

About the ring: I'd ignore the entire request. Whatever was behind it when she gave it to you years ago and whatever is behind her request to return it now: It's meant to hurt and belittle you and make you feel small and insignificant. Keep the ring, throw it away, sell it or return it: Whatever you want to do with it. It's yours and she does not have the power to demand it back.

Best wishes and  :hug: to you!

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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2015, 05:07:30 PM »
Thank you for saying the scapegoat thing out loud. I feel safer knowing there are others in the world who have similar experiences, but it also makes me very sad.

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It took literally years to figure out and absorb (....and be honest about it towards myself...) how toxic my family really was and how that affected me and my relationships with the FOO (family of Origin)

Weirdly, I had thought I already did recognize it since for the past 25 years I've had little or no contact with most of my family for those reasons. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why it is suddenly rearing its ugly head again -- and my only thought is that it is part of what "real" healing is about. I just think I avoided for all these years as a survival mechanism but never looked at it very closely.

Thank for the link. Another great resource. And thank you for a different perspective on the ring. I do feel hurt, belittled and insignificant as usual. I don't want her to have this power over me any longer because its wrong and twisted. I'm looking forward to my therapy session today.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2015, 05:25:47 PM by lonewolf »

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keepfighting

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #11 on: March 14, 2015, 01:27:34 PM »
You're right: Meeting another scapegoat is double edged: Glad you're no longer alone and sad that someone else was subjected to similar hurtful things like you had thrown on yourself. Yet I'm very glad that this is a safe place to actually discuss these things and get us out of our isolation.  :hug:

Weirdly, I had thought I already did recognize it since for the past 25 years I've had little or no contact with most of my family for those reasons. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out why it is suddenly rearing its ugly head again -- and my only thought is that it is part of what "real" healing is about. I just think I avoided for all these years as a survival mechanism but never looked at it very closely.

My guess as to why it's suddenly rearing it's ugly head again (based solely on my own experiences with my FOO and especially the Ns in it): Being the scapegoat doesn't end just because you're LC or even NC with your FOO. The toxic people of your FOO need a scapegoat to carry all the shame, blame, failures and shortcomings. They have assigned that role to you in early childhood and it's still yours, even after decades of LC and NC - probably only makes it easier to spin their tales. They've probably used you all those years only on this occasion you for some reason were made aware of it. I'm thinking someone didn't get enough attention lately and is trying to make an almighty fuss, throw tantrums and use triangulation or whatever else it takes to get the attention she feels she deserves... (for an N, positive or negative attention are equally welcome...). N's also often feel the need to put someone down, belittle them or make fun of them in order to boost their own egos - so maybe that thought also enters the mix somewhere???

I hope your t session went well. It's good to have someone fighting your corner who can also teach you a few good strategies to improve your self esteem and go from survicing to thriving! It's a long journey but you're not alone!  :hug:

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marycontrary

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2015, 05:20:05 PM »
Here is a very good video...please watch it all. It helps explain the dynamic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMPaKJfrZrA


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lonewolf

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Re: Storm Before the Calm?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 07:53:54 AM »
Thank you Mary! I'll watch it this week.