Conditional Love and Parents

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goblinchild

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Conditional Love and Parents
« on: February 12, 2019, 08:47:34 PM »
 I've been going through a lot of big life changes lately and the result of some of them is that I will be seeing my mother more often. I've been having more clarity in the realization lately that she has based her entire personality around "being a mother" and it looks like she may have been leaning on it heavily as a coping mechanism through mental illness and trauma. I don't think this actually includes doing motherly things like preparing your children to be capable adults but rather doing things which make her feel motherly at any cost, even her children's well being.

It's complicated because it feels like she doesn't actually love me, she loves the way it feels to be a mom. I'm receiving all this affection and attention that I'm starving for but my true self isn't the actual target. My actual feelings and personality don't seem to factor into this equation unless being considerate of my feelings serves her. It's inconsistent and sometimes she's inconsiderate to the point of cruelty or she'll start snapping at me randomly.

I think my point in wanting to share all of this is that I'm beginning to feel confused. Even when I'm away from her I'm starting to have a harder time feeling genuine. Finding that core in myself that I like, identify with and feel can give and receive love genuinely is getting harder. I feel like I'm loosing it in a haze. When I'm in a situation where affection is being given or received I just snap back into that old mentality and even though I hate it and it scares me it's like I'm wearing a mask I can't take off. I feel like I have to be something other than myself or act a way other than what I feel. Present a front. I wish I could understand it better but it scares my brain numb and I feel like I'm trying to think with a block of swiss cheese.

I understand that I've conflated receiving love with embodying someone else's coping mechanism and internalized it to the point where it's difficult to "take off" when I'm dealing with people who aren't my mom.  But I feel so sucked into it when I'm with her. How can I be around her and not be sucked in?

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blues_cruise

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Re: Conditional Love and Parents
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2019, 10:01:29 PM »
Hi goblinchild.  :) What you describe sounds like my father and his approach to parenting, which was always inconsistent and based on what I could give him rather than any expectation being placed upon him to be the caregiver. I relate to what you say about your true self not being the actual target of your mother's attention and affection and know how soul destroying it feels not to be seen or heard.

I think my point in wanting to share all of this is that I'm beginning to feel confused. Even when I'm away from her I'm starting to have a harder time feeling genuine. Finding that core in myself that I like, identify with and feel can give and receive love genuinely is getting harder. I feel like I'm loosing it in a haze. When I'm in a situation where affection is being given or received I just snap back into that old mentality and even though I hate it and it scares me it's like I'm wearing a mask I can't take off. I feel like I have to be something other than myself or act a way other than what I feel. Present a front. I wish I could understand it better but it scares my brain numb and I feel like I'm trying to think with a block of swiss cheese.

I understand that I've conflated receiving love with embodying someone else's coping mechanism and internalized it to the point where it's difficult to "take off" when I'm dealing with people who aren't my mom.  But I feel so sucked into it when I'm with her. How can I be around her and not be sucked in?

It is really hard. I'm no longer in contact with F but it was exhausting being confined into my little box when around him to 'keep the peace' while desperately wanting to explore who I really was. I felt like an empty shell for so long. When you've been brought up within a toxic family value system you naturally accept it as your lot because you always had to growing up in order to survive. I think when you then see other people's ways of living more authentically and healthily as an adult it's natural that you want to experience something more genuine too, but the transition is very difficult when individuating has always been actively discouraged.

Something that's really helped me is the concept of having healthy boundaries (with everyone, not just a parent). The toolbox on the Out of the Fog website has really good pointers on this: https://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/boundaries and perhaps it would be a good start as you work out how to navigate what you are and are not comfortable with. Ultimately if your mother's behaviour is upsetting you then it's not healthy and you shouldn't be expected to forego your own peace in sake of hers. I hope this makes sense.  :hug:

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Blueberry

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Re: Conditional Love and Parents
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2019, 11:47:07 AM »
When you've been brought up within a toxic family value system you naturally accept it as your lot because you always had to growing up in order to survive. I think when you then see other people's ways of living more authentically and healthily as an adult it's natural that you want to experience something more genuine too, but the transition is very difficult when individuating has always been actively discouraged.

 :yeahthat:

Tools at Out of the Fog as well as reading posts on the Dealing with PD Parents board https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?board=4.0 have really helped me   There are more members at OOTF than here so far more posts. If you feel triggered there, then take it slowly and come back here to read and process.

For myself I discovered that I can hardly bear contact to FOO of my generation or older. The whole family system is deranged but they all think it's just me who's a problem. I used to have low-level anxiety all the time at home. Only when I told the whole of FOO that I doN't want phone calls and then enforced that, did I even notice the anxiety that had been because it was suddenly gone. I can't be around them and not sucked in, unfortunately. Some people manage. Healthy boundaries are super-important!

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Kizzie

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Re: Conditional Love and Parents
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2019, 07:05:20 PM »
Hey Goblinchild - Sorry you didn't receive responses before now, sometimes posts get missed and it can feel like no-one cares. 

Your post really resonated with me as my M has NPD and it's all about portraying herself as a good mother. There was no real love for my B and I and it took decades to figure out I wasn't a selfish & self-centred daughter who did not appreciate her. I was actually starving in what looked to be a sea of plenty.  It wasn't, it was a desert and just so confusing b/c she wasn't your 'typical' abuser.

She just wasn't in there and never will be b/c she has NPD.  It was hard to face all that and let go of the hope deep down that she would be the M I deserved.  I went through many of the feelings you seem to be going through right now, but as time passes and I keep talking about it, letting it comes to the surface I am coming to grips with it.

Facing the fact that your M did not love you is really, really tough. It takes an enormous amount of energy to deal with things we have been keeping at bay.  I hope you are beginning to work through things. :grouphug:
« Last Edit: March 05, 2019, 07:10:02 PM by Kizzie »