Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.

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Bermuda

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Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« on: January 25, 2021, 11:59:47 AM »
Often I'm reminded of things I was told growing up, and things that I unknowingly accepted as true, and things that I always knew were most certainly not true.

Abusers often say things to justify or minimize their abusive role. What were you told?

Here are a couple examples of things I was told repeatedly:
My personal fave:" You think it's not fair, well life is not fair!" (I remember from a very young age wanting to point out the fallacy in this argument, but I most certainly kept my mouth shut.)
If I had been permitted to speak I would have had lots of pointers. "I grew up in a horrible home, and no one ever taught me how to be a parent. I'm doing my best!"
And this, which I believed. "If you don't give anyone a reason to want to beat you, then you wouldn't be beaten. Sticks and stones..."

What phrases come to mind? What stuck in your mind? What follows you around in adult life?

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woodsgnome

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2021, 06:44:40 PM »
I had several like yours, Bermuda, that were awful, but so forceful that the hurt behind them seems almost to fulfill one of the worst -- "it'll just have to beaten into you." Yuk.

One that continually circulates comes via the father. "It's not what you say, it's how you say it." Huh? Invalidating and meaningless, but it amounted to total disregard for anything I'd ever say, or want to; rather like: "shut-up if you know what's good for you." The overall message was always "You don't count for anything".

He was also an enabler and excuser of the multiple abuses of the mother. No matter what she felt like, it all came back to me as in "you're hurting your mother"  (like after she beat me?   :stars:). In the end, "it's all your fault" seemed to wrap things up, satisfying them but leaving me to stew in misery.

So many more rattle around in the mind's cobwebs.  Fortunately, they're long gone from my life but I also have learned to talk back in thought-speak, with strong encouragement from my T.

I just dismiss them, sometimes angrily, but also just with a curt dismissal of "you can go now" or something similar. What does the most good is just knowing the further back they've receded into the rear-view mirror.

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Bermuda

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2021, 03:57:21 PM »
Speaking back in thought sounds like a great practice. I will have to give that a try. I have done that with the life's not fair remark, almost as if it's my driving force to move forward.

It's strange how we can have such rebellion that keeps our spirit up, but then simultaneously be so beaten down and broken.

It's so terrible that we were made to feel invalidated.  There is no excuse for abuse, no justification. it's so remarkable that you have come so far woodsgnome. It makes me feel hopeful.

I can't help but be reminded of a couple more phrases:
Children are to be seen and not heard.
It hurts me more than it hurts you.

I guarantee that it hurt me more, and children are not an object to be given purpose to. They are their own beings.

That triggers another:
I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.

Oh my, did I believe that one. Children are not objects, not possessions, and have every right to feel safe and pursue happiness.

I'll have to remember to say this to my abusers when they pop up in my head.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2021, 07:19:34 PM »
Good observations, Bermuda  :thumbup: I just have a small example of something I picked up from the BBC TV version of  "The Secret Garden book (there's another thread on this forum, in the 'cafe' section, which discusses this as well).

Anyway, at one point main child character-- Mary -- recalled a saying that she heard said when someone wanted to tell another person they were no longer needed.

The saying was "you have my permission to go". Nothing dramatic, fancy, or shouted; just a simple indicator that life can move on now. I've found it useful in my 'talking back' moments. Delivered in a peaceful tone, it feels less disruptive than other methods, such as anger or rage, might imply.

It can vary a bit, but in general, for me, it relieves the immediate tension I sense rising when I recall those awful comments that uprooted my whole being.

Like so much, this probably wouldn't always work for everyone, but it does for me, so thought I'd share it. Hope you can continue bringing forth better ways to deal with these leftover but still detrimental sayings.  :hug:

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Alter-eg0

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2021, 08:35:43 PM »
Hmm, good one.

The first one that pops into my mind, isn't so much as a saying as it is a concept. My father would always call upon the "Emotional Bank account". Which is a fine concept in it's essence, but in my dad's interpretation and the way he used it was purely a tool for manipulation. If I ever wanted something, or didn't want to do something, he'd remind me that I was basically already overdrawn. It was used to ensure that guilt would always pressure me into doing things that I didn't want to do.
It got so crazy that my whole life became one transaction after another, in my head. Like, if someone would even smile at me, i'd feel guilty as though I had to "repay" them immidiately.


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Bermuda

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2021, 09:33:55 PM »
Thanks for the encouraging words. :) I have looked over that thread woodsgnome, I first read the book as required reading in primary school and then again as an adult and I feel that because of this I have interpreted the book quite differently than others on this forum seem to have.

Alter-eg0, that sounds dreadful. What a burden to have to live with. I also felt indebted to my parents, and this mindset has followed me into adulthood. Fortunately, we do not owe anyone anything because we are not a burden or a commodity, and we are not responsible for the "emotional bank" of others. Managing our own emotional banks are a full-time job. :)

...At least mine is...


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Alter-eg0

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2021, 03:13:07 PM »
Alter-eg0, that sounds dreadful. What a burden to have to live with. I also felt indebted to my parents, and this mindset has followed me into adulthood. Fortunately, we do not owe anyone anything because we are not a burden or a commodity, and we are not responsible for the "emotional bank" of others. Managing our own emotional banks are a full-time job. :)

...At least mine is...

True that! Althout sometimes my nervoussystem disagrees with me ;)

I just remembered another one. You know those cliche comparisons, such as "You're not hungry, the kids in africa are hungry". My parents had a knack for those, too.
Tired? What do you have to be tired from, you're a kid. Hungry? Kids in africa are hungry. Sad? Others have it worse. That kind of thing.
It bothers me to this day, when I see people comparing their stuff. "Don't complain, you have it easy, xyz was much worse". It's so invalidating and condescending.
And the reasoning is weird. I mean, then you could also say "You can't be happy, others have been happier".  :Idunno:

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Bermuda

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2021, 12:29:48 PM »
Oh Alter-eg0, that one triggers so many for me! What a strange thing for people say. This is one of these argumentative fallacies that makes my mind try to jump through a thousand pitfalls to understand.

I once had to spend the night, the whole night, at the table because I couldn't finish my bowl of pea soup. ...Because starving children in Africa.
The message I got was that I should overeat to show my respect for these children who would kill to eat my food.

Such a rational logical argument. ;)

I don't know who started this, but I hope that it can stop. The notion that children should be forced into being grateful only turns them into adults who don't know how to meet their own emotional and physical needs. I'd rather be ungrateful. I am quite ungrateful. That's fun to say.

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CactusFlower

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2021, 05:12:27 PM »
Oh man, it's amazing how much programming we have we don't even realize. That whole "life's not fair", I heard that a lot until I learned to just stop saying anything was unfair. A lot of mine were "instructions", like "Measure 4 times so you don't screw it up." or "Do it right the first time or don't bother." or my least favorite "You should know this already."
It's often even harder to realize I hear these in *his* voice, not even mine.
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woodsgnome

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2021, 08:56:14 PM »
For me, there's one glaring omission to all of those mentioned -- what was unsaid and/or even intended. These are worse than even the words quoted in this thread. Yet it's these unheard sayings that has haunted me even more.

What I never heard is easy to describe, harder to accept. No one -- ever -- uttered these 3 simple words: "I (or we) Love You". Not once did I hear those words uttered in my direction.

This has led to a lifetime of relational problems. As an adult, there were people who did utter those 3 words, some of them over and over; as if they sensed I wasn't taking it in. And I just couldn't absorb it. I'd find myself dissociating a lot; or even freaking out if I did register those words.

I find myself every once in a while researching what this love stuff is supposed to be about, as I had no personal frame of reference. Whenever I heard the term love, It just seemed another of those bits that were meant for others, not me.

Two words describe my reaction -- "If only". If only I'd heard, and felt "I Love You" -- even once (I've wracked my brains several times thinking did I miss this?).

So many times I'll begin to feel better about myself, and the non-memory -- of what was never said -- destroys any good vibes I've worked so hard on. My self-concept crumbles into dust as shame, anger, and regret fill the void.  :'(



« Last Edit: February 02, 2021, 09:14:06 PM by woodsgnome »

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bluepalm

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 12:40:43 AM »
Woodsgnome my experience is the same as yours. Not once in my childhood did anyone say 'I (we) love you' in my direction. And so I accepted it as normal when I married and had children with a man who also never said 'I love you' to me. I didn't expect it. I didn't feel worthy of it.

As for sayings - the one that used to puzzle me the most, because I was a silent, passive, invisible child who was constantly alert as to how to please my parents (or at least avoid their anger), was 'you always spoil everything'.

But I understand now that it makes sense because I seemed to evoke anger in my parents merely by being present in their lives. There was nothing I could do about this as a child. I was helpless to fix the problem. It's left me always wary about whether anyone wants me present in their life, always alert to any sign that I am intruding, I am unwanted, that I should leave their presence.

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Jazzy

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 02:31:47 AM »
Whoa, I've never thought about this, and I'm not sure I'm even ready to think about this right now. I would like to spend more time on this at some point soon though. Let me add it to my list of things :)

I'm not really sure if it would fit, but the one saying that immediately comes to mind is:

"There are no accidents, just carelessness".

... and there's a lot packed in to that one sentence for me. It's also going on to the list somewhere.

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Bermuda

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2021, 04:42:51 PM »
Woodsgnome and bluepalm, that must have been so hard. I can imagine that has effected your adult interactions. I was told I love you often, mostly during and after punishment, as an excuse, or as a form of manipulation. I suppose I haven't thought of it before.

Oh Jazzy, there is a lot in that statement. It is literally teaching you to self-blame. What a horrible thing for someone to teach a child.

Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2022, 07:44:37 PM »
Some of the ones that I was told,

Your to smart for your own good.

Lifes not fair.

Go ahead, get up and walk it off.

Is it broken?  No?  Well then, you can finish your chores.

Adoptive mother would always criticize my art I would bring home from elementary school.  It got to a point where I stopped bringing them home.

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Unbroken1

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Re: Sayings and idioms, and overcoming them.
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2022, 04:31:28 PM »
Overcoming the impact that the empty phrases that my parents used as their yardsticks for life is even more of a challenge for me because I have assimilated them so completely, they’ve become a part of my  inner critic’s “not good enough” monster that whispers in my ear 24/7.

Since dad (uNPD) was the control freak in our little triad, his principle carried a threat of violence. If I was upset (for example, I always got the Sears version of what I might ask for when Christmas came around)  and he perceived me as not being grateful, he’d say “would you rather get a poke in the eye with a sharp stick?” which shut me down and taught me to not expect or deserve anything good in my life.

Mom (uBPD/uNPD)., having been a beauty pageant contestant, was all about the appearance of how I should behave: “if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Were these or similar sayings used in your family? I struggle showing up for myself and have realized that I was trained to self-erase.  To this day I am triggered by hypocrites and anyone whom I perceive as trying to manipulate or control me.