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Adults estranged from parents

Posted by sage121 (My Page) on
Tue, Jan 13, 09 at 19:47

Hi,
I thought I would start up another thread, as the last one reached it's max number of replies. This has been a very helpful, thoughtful and supportive thread for those of us who are dealing with estrangement from their parents and other family members. It is not easy, and having people to relate to who are in the same situation helps so much.

Sage


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage,

I'm glad you posted this. I wonder what happens to the other thread. I wanted to refer to it again to answer some posts..This has been helpful to me too. I'm still here...this week I have a friend visiting from out-of-town, so I probably will not be able to post again until this weekend....I hope you Dave & Silver are all doing okay...


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower,
I think the other thread is still there; it just max's out at 150 posts, and requests that a new one is started. All the previous posts should still be there...
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi everyone,
I haven't been posting lately... kind of depressed, the end of the holidays, my daughter coming back from her grandmother's and having to "de-bug" her attitude again. I'm pretty frustrated. Every time she goes to her dad's or grandparents she comes back with the worst attitude. I told her dad about her attitude this time and he said that when his mother went over to my mother's to pick up my daughter that it was "just her and grandma". Like that was something bad. He was implying that my dd spent the entire time with just grandma. Um... I know she spent time with other family members too, and it's his parents that left after she was there only 3 days because they had made other plans.

Just a rant. But I'm frustrated. No real communication with my mother. Just little, strange things that I'm sure only I would be irritated by.

I guess I need to exercise more, get outside more, play more. I go to work, go home, and am exhausted. Make a quick, easy dinner. Don't do the dishes. My kitchen is a wreck. I'm depressed, no two ways about it. Laundry piling up, and so much to do. Just can't quite bring myself to do anything.

sorry guys. don't want to bum anyone out. Is it being 30 and reaching a new stage of "adulthood"? I have nothing really to be upset about, everyone is healthy, my relationship with dh is good, my daughter is quite well behaved despite my complaining. My job is fine.

Anyone else experienced this?


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Hi Sage, Thanks for starting the new thread. When I made the last post on the old thread and hit "submit", it didn't give any indication I had gone over the limit. I didn't know what was going on, until I went back to the thread later. Thanks again!

Hi Silver, It's nice to hear from you again. Sorry to hear that you're finding yourself depressed and frustrated. I've been there. In my 20's I was diagnosed as a chronic depressive and put on medication. I remember how aimless, moody, dark and lethargic I felt before I was on meds. I was only on meds and therapy for a few years (they did help), before I decided to try deal with things myself (unmedicated). It was bumpy ride. I can still slip into much milder depressions, but things are much, much better.

It sounds like you know what would be good for you. Exercise, get outside, play more. This all worked for me then, and still does now. I also find that when things pile up and overwhelm me, I'll make a deal with myself to do just one thing. If the kitchen is a disaster, I make a deal that I'll just clean up one counter and quit. If there are three loads of laundry to do, I agree to just do one. Sometimes I just do the one thing, sometimes once I start, I do more. Either way, I feel a little better.

"I have nothing really to be upset about, everyone is healthy, my relationship with dh is good, my daughter is quite well behaved despite my complaining. My job is fine." There is always the debate, is depression just a biochemical imbalance, or is it a disturbance in our being, calling us to do something? Having been medicated for depression and having wrestled (unmedicated) with my demons of depression, I take the latter view to be true for me. I don't propose this is true for everyone. For me this led me to be something of a spiritual seeker. This has been my experience. I think we all need to answer this for ourselves. Maybe you just haven't found the right antidepressant. Or maybe you just need to get out and take a walk more often. I hope you find something that will get you out of your funk. Peace.

Dave


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Hi Dave,
It's just that, a FUNK. Not really a depression. I'm just unmotivated. And complaining. thank you for listening!!!

I'm sorry to hear what you went through. That must have been really difficult. For me, I don't feel dark or really moody. Just sloth-like.

Although, I just went down to mail some letters and went outside, it's BEAUTIFUL out there today. Probably 80 degrees and blue sky. I caught myself skipping up the stairs. 20 stairs, and my legs hurt. I think exercise is the key. My daughter has been bugging me to go outside... first the bike was broken, now the tire needs air. she peddles, but the back wheel just spins over the training wheels lol!! I feel bad for the kid. If it's not one thing, it's another. Toilet running, tire deflating, etc.

whine whine whine.

Trouble is, when I get stressed I get shingles. Not really bad, but enough to knock me on my bum. Then I get depressed, in pain, and unmotivated. Can't think about much, because I can actually feel my thoughts travel from my head to my shingles on my back. A direct line. It's kind of amazing actually.

I know what you mean about making deals with yourself. I've already told myself, when you get home, it's time to do the kitchen and throw some laundry in. Just get it done.

But then I have to mix concrete for a project outside, etc. That I dread. I think the thinking about it makes it worse than it really is. I usually leave work feeling motivated and get home feeling exhausted.

At least I don't have to shovel snow!!!


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Hello Silver, Dave, Flower,

I have dealt with what I have thought to be 'depression' on and off throughout my life too. I too have tried different anti-depressants, but they did not work for me. They actually made me feel strung out, or dozey, and made me feel worse. They are very powerful drugs, and their effect on me scared me. So I don't take them anymore. But for some people they do work, so I am not against them, they are just not for me.

I can relate to you Dave, my spirituality has been what has helped me the most. Yoga and meditation in particular. Music also helps me alot, I play guitar and sing. To me music and spirituality are connected.

Delving into my own spirituality is what has helped me the most. Having all these family problems, and most of us have had unhappy childhoods as well, that pain is so deep rooted and affects us deep in our souls. I think that eventually these demons have to be faced, and in a way, 'released' otherwise they fester.

It is such an individual thing, so I hope you find your own way to deal with it. The key is to just keep trying anything and everything, and you will find the right combination of things that works for you!

For the first time ever, I emailed my parents a letter stating how I feel. I finally did it. Thanks to everyone here for the support. I have wanted to do this for years and years, and have written countless letters, but never sent them. I didn't rant (although with the anger and resentment that I still hold against them, it is hard not to rant), I felt I was being fair, and I just stated the facts. I feel good about it, and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Whew.

Silver, Glad to see you back! Take care of YOU...and I hope you are feeling better soon.

Take Care, Sage


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Oh, and also...
Dave, True about exercise too. I know it is hard to get motivated to do anything at all when feeling really depressed, I have been there, but giving yourself a big push to just do a small task around the house is all it takes sometimes to pull yourself out of the funk-zone!! I still struggle with that. Have a good day everyone! Sage


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I often avoid talking to my husband about the details of some of the conflicts I have had with my parents. I just don't want to re-live them. We usually talk in general terms. Tonight we talked in detail.

I had forgotten about this one particular visit. One time when my parents were visiting us, we got into an arguement, as usual, and they were being bull headed and not giving me any chance to speak, and just flying off the handle.

I was upset and crying out of utter frustration and left the room to regain my composure, my father went outside and said nothing which is what he always does, and all my mother said to me was "I don't understand why you are so angry". I proceeded to tell her why, and she just made her usual accusations, interrupted me, and accused me of being too sensitive...etc etc etc.

My husband said to my mother that maybe they should just listen to what I have to say for a change it would help. He was calm, and just tried to get them to not leave without saying anything to me. They didn't, they just decided they were leaving.

My mother said the following to my husband just before she left: "I can see why sometimes parents kill themselves."

I think that this is a completely insane. I didn't think much of it at the time, but I can see how selfish it is now. And she did this a few times when I was young. Once she even got a gun out and threatened to kill herself. I think I was 8. It is disturbing. Perhaps my mother really does have some sort of mental illness and that is why she is so impossible to talk to. But I don't feel sorry for her, her craziness has cause me so much pain, that I don't feel sorry for her at all. It is her responsibility to get help for herself. As discussed in the previous thread, with depression, we must find what works and help ourselves. She is an adult, and is responsible for herself. I know for a fact that she never ever would seek help. She sees that as weakness.

Just a few thoughts...thanks for listening/reading.

Sage


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Hi Sage, What a sad story about you and your parents. Threatening to kill oneself to control someone else is just so over the top. There is just no excuse for this kind of behavior. None! From what I've read about narcissists, they grow up controlled and manipulated, and as a result experience much emotional pain. As parents they find some relief from this pain by controlling and manipulating their own children. This works unless the children refuse to be controlled and manipulated. For the parents to really change their own behaviors, they would have to deal with what happened to them in their own childhood, and also realize what they have done to their own children. That would require a lot of insight and perseverance; and a lot of courage, to work though all the pain, anger, and guilt. I have to think it's rare to find someone who would do this. And since the source of the parents pain is deeply buried emotions, it's unlikely that any rational argument would mean much to them. I guess this pretty much describes my situation with my parents. It's very sad, because I would have liked to have parents that I enjoyed seeing and talking to. What's even sadder though, is trying to have a relationship with them, while they continue to behave this way. And so here I am estranged. There's a bumper sticker I saw once that made me smile: "Now that I've given up all hope, I feel much better". That's how I feel about my parents. It hurts more to continue to want something from them they can't provide, than it does to finally realize it's just not going to happen, and to get on with living a life without them. As it turns out, I'm discovering life is better when I face reality. Actually, it can be pretty good. :-) Peace. - Dave


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Hey Dave,

Thanks for the understanding. Yes it is over the top. The ultimate selfish act - suicide. I have felt suicidal myself at different times in my life, I know that feeling of not wanting to live....but I would never burden someone with that sort of comment. And I can't imagine a parent burdening their own children with that kind of threat as she did.

So did she mean that because of me, and because of what I do, that is why she feels like killing herself? Wow, am I that bad? I don't think so. That is bs. And it is so silly, because I was the one who was simply expressing how I felt, trying to fix things, and I wanted to talk - and that made her want to kill herself? Yikes.

The worst part of this is that my grandmother (my mother's mother) committed suicide herself!!!! Shotgun to the head in the living room. Tragic, horror, sick. Obviously, mental illness is in our family, although nobody would ever speak of that. So my mother knows first hand how hideous suicide is, yet she chooses to threaten suicide herself, and place her own anxiety onto our shoulders. It is all about HER isn't it.

And I am supposed to feel guilty, and feel sorry for her? I believe that is what she thinks and wants. Well I don't. All I feel is anger and resentment. It is sick and twisted. If she had dealt with some of her own problems, I do think that things could have been different.

I admit, I have gone through times where I too did not face that I had a problem dealing with the past, I was depressed. But I did not hurt others continually year after year after year by not dealing with it. I did seek help, because I finally saw how it was affecting myself, and my husband and friends. I know I am not perfect, and can admit that.

I do believe my mother is a narcissist, unable to face reality, unable to bring herself to even say 'I was wrong', or 'I need help', or even simply 'I am sorry'. So frustrating dealing with people like that. She just blames, and then feels sorry for herself. Again, it is all about HER.

Dave, I love that bumper sticker!! lol There is some relief and empowerment to finally saying that you have tried, failed, accepted, and are now moving on. I feel the same way. At least we tried. I truly can not think of any time when my parents really tried to mend our relationship. I bent over backwards for them, and my brother too. Perhaps at that point I was not facing reality myself, it was all just a pipe dream I had. I had false hopes that I could change things all by myself. Sometimes I regretted that I did try for so long, because it only resulted in hurt, time after time. But now that I think about it, it gives me some peace of mind to know that I truly did try. I was sincere about it, honest, upfront, I overlooked things they continued to do to hurt me - all in an attempt to have some semblance of family. But I can't do it by myself, it takes their effort too, and they did not put any effort forth. That is why it failed. And that is why it is time to move on.

Yes, life is good and only getting better!

Sage


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Hi Sage, Dave & welcome back Silver,

I've had a friend visiting this week from out-of-town, otherwise I would have posted much sooner. It wore me out and getting over the flu, but it was good too.

I wanted to respond to a few of the previous posts.

Dave, thank you for what you said here, "Yes, I'm strong, but I also have my vulnerabilities. I've been prone to episodes of depression..." I feel overwhelmed just reading about all the stress in your life. I think I would be more than prone to episodes of depression. I think I'd be in a fetal position, and not functioning at all. And yet you find a way to keep going. My heart goes out to you. Keep finding ways, to keep going."

A wave of relief just washes over me when I hear you acknowledge that I am strong. My family has dismissed my feelings as "too sensitive," and "mentally deficient and unstable," all of my life. Ditto for some of the self-centered, irresponsible and insensitive toxic idiots my husband attracts. I won't even begin to touch on all the toxic hostility from his side of the family. It helps me to feel understood when you and Sage acknowledge my strength--even now it just makes me feel like I want to cry and brings tears to my eyes. When other people get you, because they've been there and experience similar feelings and situations it helps me feel less alone, and I know both you and Sage have recongized this too, so I'm so glad I've found this site and all of you. I wouldn't want to wish this on anyone...and we all know this.

Sage,thank you for what you say here: "I give you alot of credit for continuing to remain open and honest with your husband. But you cannot make up his mind for him, and I know you know that, he himself has to be ready to seek help."

I don't know if he will ever get to that point. I've just had to let that go for the time being, because I've had too much to focus on. I don't know if he will ever come around. My therapist did say that his issues have become my issues.

And thank you for what you say here, "I can relate to your husband in respect to attracting destructive people, and it is indeed related to patterns which he is copying from his own family history. I do believe it was the same case with me. I can relate to the fear of even considering going to therapy, the fear of admitting you have a problem to deal with, and fear of having to bring up and deal with all the emotions from the past. I put off going to therapy for years and years. And suffered.

The destruction is not something you really see while you are in the midst of the mess with toxic people around you. Only in hindsight you can see just how bad it was. I am not defending your husband, because I think he needs to wake up and see the hurt he is causing you. So I hope he will see what is happening, for your sake, and for his own sake too. Hang in there, take care of YOU and find your own way."

I think he has regrets, but it doesn't seem to motivate him to deal with his own issues. His whole family suffers from the "too little, too late syndrome". I know you are not defending him (others make excuses and they do not get the full story). That has created a situation for me where I felt I had no one to turn too, isolated and alone. Except here, and a few other people, I've become less open in my communications with as it appears they tend to "not hear" or interpret situations in twisted ways, instead focusing on what is trivial, shallow and of little consequence. I tend to get frustrated with it and then as a consequence I find little incentive to want to be around some people. It's hard for me to trust or cultivate respect given some of the responses of people. I am just appreciative of finding someone who understands the situation and acknowledges it as you have. I know a few sane people, but the rest seem like mind-boggling crazies, with deeply destructive ways of coping.

For me my involvement with destructive people came when I hit puberty and in high school. I will not get into the details here, and maybe some other time it may feel good to reveal it, but I do know my family had a lot to do with that--I was vulnerable. By the time I was 18; I was burned-out and sought different people. (I know my mother would never be able to cope with what happened to me--she would take it as blame and deficiency and twist it to blame me). I don't tell her anything any more. I really never felt like I could trust her. As for my husband, at first, he seemed supportive, but eventually he started acting like his family, attracting toxic people and then refusing to see the damage it creates. He prefers to stick his head-in-the-sand, and if he doesn't like the message, he kills the messenger. He started being dismissive of my feelings as "you're too sensitive too". I have a hard time trusting him, because of his poor choices and his refusal to look at his own deficiecies, but I just have to take care of myself and focus on me for the time being.

I got into therapy for entirely different reasons (a crisis and response to an assault). It had a huge impact on my life. I continued and found therapy a good place to talk about my family, and his and the lack of emotional support. Well, I think I've written enough for today, but I'll come back later...Thank you for listening everyone


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Flower,

Take it as it comes, sounds like you are handling it well. Your husband is going to have to deal with his own issues, when he is ready to do so. I can relate to the destruction that hit in the teen years. I really de-railed my life, but survived. I have realized it was 'self-destruction'. I didn't like myself very much. And I don't blame everything on my parents, but alot of how I viewed myself was due to how I was raised and what I had to put up with. I was a stressed kid. And that stress took it's toll eventually. Lots of anger.

Do you do alot of stuff on your own? I know with my husband and I, while we do like to spend alot of our free time together, I think it is really important that we do things separately too (classes, clubs, sometimes I take mini vacations on my own, or just time with friends without going out as 'couples'). I think it makes our relationship stronger when we balance our time together, while maintaining our own individuality. Just wondering.

I found another site relating to estrangement from parents. experienceproject.com Some good food for thought.

Sage


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Hi Sage,

Your mother may have mental illness and it could be a combination of factors (personality disorder), etc. Still threatening to kill oneself to control someone is over-the-top. My friend who recently visited is dealing with this type of thing with his wife and he really resents the manipulation and control.

I've felt suicidal many times and have suffered bouts of clinical depression. Meds helped me, but so does talk therapy (so I don't feel so alone, overwhelmed, and isolated). I've been seeing a therapist for over 3 years now to help me cope with health issues, chronic pain, etc., and my in-laws and my own family (mother). I did attempt suicide in high school and was taken to a hospital. Afterwards, my eldest sister couldn't wait to tell me how my mother and father complained about having to spend the money on me, and especially how my mother sounded delighted that the doctor was really harsh with me and reprimanded me. The next day my mother was trying to force me into telling her what the problem was (when most of the time she was oblivious, dismissive and self-absorbed) and she had me pinned against the wall screaming at me and slapped me across the face in a rage. That was how she behaved after my suicide attempt.

As far as depression goes, I get out and exercise and do whatever I can to help myself. Blue moods pass, severe depression doesn't. I'm not against medication, because it helped me. I don't need it now.

My mother was as you described above "never sought help," and "sees it as a weakness". Her depression (left untreated) turned into a full blown psychosis (she had paranoid delusions)--that was another stressful, horrible ordeal. It was awful watching her descend into madness like that. She eventually was institutionalized and now she is in a facility where she has to comply with taking meds to treat the delusions. A lot of people do not know this about depression. It doesn't happen in all cases, but it can become very severe.

I'm not like her. I don't view it as a sign of weakness to get help. I think it an act of courage and it takes a very strong person to admit there is something wrong. I notice someone on the parent's board really reacted to something I wrote and it was very obvious from their angry response that they viewed therapists and those in the helping professions in a very negative light. I feel for their children. My mother refused help and none of her daughters feel close to her. We feel an obligation and other feelings, but I don't confuse it for what true closeness means.

Yes, I can really relate to what you say here, "I do believe my mother is a narcissist, unable to face reality, unable to bring herself to even say 'I was wrong', or 'I need help', or even simply 'I am sorry'. So frustrating dealing with people like that. She just blames, and then feels sorry for herself. Again, it is all about HER."

This applies to my mother as well as my MIL (rageful, alcoholic) and my husband's parents and sibling. So, I know all about that--lot's of experience here in dealing with these types of people.

I can really relate to what you say here, "And I don't blame everything on my parents, but alot of how I viewed myself was due to how I was raised and what I had to put up with. I was a stressed kid. And that stress took it's toll eventually."

I don't view it as blame to understand how your parents molded and shaped you as a person. They modeled to their children how to be a man and woman and they model family life and that is not insignificant. I don't know about you, but I find it quite tiresome to listen to someone automatically start in with the "don't blame your parents," when you are acknowledging the very real, and very significant impact of the relationship. Habitual behaviors take a lot of work to change. Self-introspection is not for the faint of heart. The reason so many people mock it, or respond as they do is because they are afraid of it. It's easier to stick the head in the sand than face up to the truth about their lives. Some parents will always be estranged from their children, because they will never connect the dots and they are unwilling to look at their own part in the problem. They lie to their children and others, but the biggest lies they tell are to themselves. I will probably post later today or tommorrow again. Have a good day and thanks for the other site. I'll take a look at it.



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Sage, I tend to agree with above posters. Your mother is not being logical. She wants to be rescued. I think it may be possible that since she never got the mother she wanted she's resenting you for wanting the same thing.

Being willing to take responsibility for one's actions is difficult. It's hard to say I'm wrong and I'm sorry.

It's so hard for me to relate because my mother is exactly the opposite, yet so much the same. She takes too much responsibility, and in a very "good communication skills" sort of way. Very "workshop" and "self-help" oriented. But it's all words. It's like the words have become her crutch. So if she says "I take full responsibility for what you are saying you feel" somehow it comes out that she is absolved because of her good communication. We could talk all day about "intention" and "withholds" and "clarity". Yet it's all her perception. No one else has a valid view.

Have you ever met someone whose energy is on such a high level you can practically feel them vibrating? That's how she is. I can physically feel her energy.

Flower,

"and especially how my mother sounded delighted that the doctor was really harsh with me and reprimanded me. "

That's interesting. I was hospitalized for a few days in ICU in high school because of an adverse reaction to some medication, combined with a really bad flu. When my mother walked in the room she said "well, you got what you wanted, didn't you? All the attention on you"

Where does this kind of attitude come from?

Have you noticed this coming through you toward your kids? Sometimes I notice a lack of caring/consideration coming through to my daughter. She really wants to be babied, and I have a really hard time doing the "oh baby, poor you, are you ok" thing that "normal" moms do. If I catch myself, I can do it, but my instinct is to tell her to buck up and keep trucking instead of seeing what she needs and providing that for her. And not in a catering to a baby way, but just being able to see what someone needs (a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a hand up) and provide it. I'm a little awkward in that aspect, and it feels funny.

I had the lovely opportunity to work with a friend of my dh's yesterday... who really is depressed, clinically depressed. And I realized I'm very much not depressed. Just in a funky place. The poor man was bouncing off the walls, couldn't get anything done, kept telling DH why his project wouldn't work, while I'm mixing load after load of cement he's having a very difficult time concentrating. And this man is 10 years older than me and in good shape. But unable to keep it together. It was a very interesting experience.

Cleaned my house... whew!!!! And then made a huge dinner last night and just could not get the kitchen clean. So I'm back to where I started... So goes life, right? So my plan tonight??? go home and get it back together. If I can just keep on top of my little things I think the big things will seem littler. The constant construction we're doing is a big reason. I work so hard outside that it's hard to do anything inside. I just want to sit on the couch.


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Hi Sage, "It is her responsibility to get help for herself." You put this in an early post and I wanted you to know how much I agree with this. It seems like we, on this forum, are all trying to become more sane, healthy people, while our parents continue their descent into craziness. If we hang on to our parents, they pull us down with them, if we become more sane, we pull father away from them. I'd like to bring them along with me, but that doesn't work. As you said, they have to help themselves.

Hi Flower, "I did attempt suicide in high school ...my eldest sister couldn't wait to tell me how my mother and father complained about having to spend the money on me ...my mother .... had me pinned against the wall screaming at me and slapped me across the face in a rage." This doesn't sound like a family, it sounds like some bizarre form of psychological torture. You are so unhappy you want to die, and your family is mad at you for the inconvenience this causes them. That is so sad. It's hard to imagine being treated with more disrespect or disdain. You would have been treated better, if you would have been raised by a pack of wild animals.

"Some parents will always be estranged from their children, because they will never connect the dots and they are unwilling to look at their own part in the problem. They lie to their children and others, but the biggest lies they tell are to themselves." So true. You are a very insightful person. I think most of our parents can't look at their own part in the problem, because facing what they have done would be too horrifying. At some level they know who they are, but all the drinking, and blaming helps them avoid looking too closely at themselves.

Hi Silver, "Have you noticed this coming through you toward your kids?" Yes, and it scares the hell out of me. I think I was afraid to have children, because I was afraid I would do them, what was done me. This is probably why I didn't have my first child until I was 39. I had a second when I was 41. Two boys. And I love them dearly. I do on occasion have my father's anger burst out, or I can slip into my mother's cold, harsh criticism. I feel terribly ashamed, when I do this. But I do something my parents never did. I apologize to my whole family, and I commit to them to not do this again. This is difficult to do, and very humbling. I also find it very healing. :-)

By-the-way, if I was doing construction work all day I think I'd sit on the couch and do nothing too. Who do you think you are Superwoman?

Thank you all for being here. Peace.

Dave


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Dave...

Thank you for the affirmation. I've just had a hard time catching up. Getting up at 5, getting home at 2:30, working until dark outside, making dinner, cleaning up, getting the kid bathed and in bed, doing "kid-time" things, doing "spouse-time" things...Being an adult is overwhelming.

I agree with you that it is healing to work through the issues constructively with the family. Talking things out with my dd when my mother would have just yelled and mentally abused me is like therapy. Very very difficult therapy, because I have to really inspect my intentions and define my actions moment by moment.


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Hi Everyone,

Flower,
That is terrible what your parents did when you had tried to commit suicide. Just terrible! I know how lonely if feels when you get to that point, and to be further rejected by family must have hurt deeply. It clearly shows how self centered they really are. I mean, who cares about money at a time like that? And your sister sounds like she was heavily influenced by your parents as well. That is harsh. My parents ignored me when I told them I was sexually abused. They believed me, or so it seemed, they didn't accuse me of lying...but they did NOTHING! It was never spoken of again. They even knew the person who did it, he was a neighbour. Afraid of what people would think I suppose, and an embarassment. Sick sick sick. I was in Grade 3.

Flower said: "Some parents will always be estranged from their children, because they will never connect the dots and they are unwilling to look at their own part in the problem. They lie to their children and others, but the biggest lies they tell are to themselves."

I agree, that is exactly what my mother did the other day in response to the letter I sent them. Blamed me, even though I opened my heart and tried to explain my side of things,and elaborate on why I felt the way I did. It felt good to say it, although I sent it knowing full well that I would not get any understanding. I did it for myself, to get it off my own chest. They don't care to listen and don't want to deal with it - in respect to my feelings, or in respect to their contribution to the bad feelings and conflict. They do not acknowledge that they played any part in the conflict between us. None whatsoever. They blame me entirely. And I know that it is not ''me''. RRGGGHHH....I give up.

My mother is not in reality, she doesn't remember things as they happened, or misses key parts to stories, it is bizarre. My dad just remains quiet, incapable of speaking of anything. And in the past, he drank too much to escape himself. Both my parents are extremely superficial, never looking too deep at anything,(it is even hard to have a conversation with them about current affairs, or ANYTHING, they sum things up and that is the end of it, very narrow minded), and most definitely not willing to look at themselves. They sum things up conveniently, then, no matter what anyone else says, their view is the right view and it never changes. So frustrating.
Dave, Your kids are so fortunate to have you! You should be so proud of yourself to overcome your parents crazy influence, and become such a good father! Recognizing that you do see some of their influence surfacing is a real accomplishment. You have overcome alot to get to where you are. I really admire that.

Humility is something my parents completely lack. There is nothing wrong with being humble, sensitive - isn't that being human? To me it is. They are afraid of it, because it involves emotion. The more I think about my parents, I almost see them as non-human. Their lack of any sort of empathy, kindness, caring. It is very disturbing to me.

We should all be so proud for breaking the cycle, and not turning out like them. Major accomplishment to do so, as their influences run so deep.

Silver, You sound busy! Yes - you are Superwomen for sure! :) And I have alot of respect for you too for being such a great mom, and overcoming your own mother's influence on you. Not easy to do. I don't have kids, so I can't really relate to the parents here on the level of raising kids. But I was a kid, and can imagine how nice it would have been to feel some love, to feel secure, and that someone actually cared how I felt.

I got a crazy response to the letter I wrote to my mother the other day. It was short, irrational, skewed, angry and very very cold. I wasn't sure if they would respond, and if they did, I know it would be just that. Not surprised in the least. It set me off, but I have not cried about it at all. That is progress to me. I refuse to cry about them anymore. It is over, and their response to my letter just confirmed that breaking ties really is the right thing to do. They had the chance to possibly mend some of the hurt, but once again, for the millionth time, they did not bother.

Dave said: "It seems like we, on this forum, are all trying to become more sane, healthy people, while our parents continue their descent into craziness. If we hang on to our parents, they pull us down with them, if we become more sane, we pull father away from them. I'd like to bring them along with me, but that doesn't work. As you said, they have to help themselves".

So well said Dave,and so true. They are stuck in a vicious cycle of their own, making no effort to get out because that is all they know how to do. It is comfortable for them. Thanks so much, that really says it all.

Thanks for all the support. It has helped me more than you know. And thanks for tolerating my long rants!! It helps so much to share with people who understand.

Take Care everyone,
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Oh Sage!!! I've been wondering what happened with the letter.

Like you said, this is progress. Even if they met your expectations (unfortunate) it is a step in you healing and moving forward. Sometimes getting what you expect can be freeing.

I'm going to tag onto what Dave said. It bears repeating over and over and over...

"If we hang on to our parents, they pull us down with them, if we become more sane, we pull father away from them. I'd like to bring them along with me, but that doesn't work."

I have a hard time believing that a parent would just let a child be molested without doing anything. (not that I don't believe you!!!) This is the worst offense. Being cold is one thing, being neglectful... But that is serious abuse. I watch all men around my daughter like a hawk, as does my DH. We have talks all the time about touching, and "my body's no-body's body but mine". I constantly tell my dd that if anyone does anything she's uncomfortable with to tell me, that I am her protector. No matter who it is. Dad, Grandpa, Grandma, etc. I too had issues with molestation as a kid, and that is something that stays with a person forever, even as I've come to terms with it, it will never go away. I have a huge sense of accomplishment that my dd has made it to 6 with no incidence. It's a day-to-day diligence, awareness, achievement. And your parents should be embarrassed... of themselves. Once that innocence is gone, it cannot be replaced. That's horrifying. I'm so sorry.

I still keep going back to your parents having a different view of what happened in your relationship than you do. This is common, even among friends, but I think it's a really big piece of this puzzle.

I'm not dissing any estranged parents, so if they happen to come across this, please take it with a grain of salt.

On the Parents forum there are at least 5 threads about estrangement. Most all of them say they didn't do anything, that it came without reason, cause, justification. That they were good parents, etc.

Do you think your parents think they were good parents? Do you think this may have something to do with the whole "I was a better parent than my parents, at least I didn't do ________ to my kids like my parents did to me"... justification?

I constantly tell my dd that I have never been a mom before, that she didn't come with instructions, and since she has never been a kid before we're learning together. I want her to know that I don't always know what I'm doing, but I want to do my best by her.

I just don't understand how so many kids would be estranged from such good parents, and how so many parents would be estranged from such good kids.

What the ______ is going on?


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Thanks Silver,

I too have come to terms with the molestation. It does not traumatize me today, although I still have anger towards my mother for not helping me or protecting me. It happened, and there is no way to change that now. I was starved for attention when I was a kid, and I liked the attention this man gave me. And continued to seek attention from men as a teenager in this way. It was how I got love, attention and nurturing. Sick, I know, but I can see now that the lack of relationship with my father played a part in that...I think. I still don't know 100% why, and never will, but it doesn't really matter that I do find out why anymore. I also never felt it was somthing I held against my mother for not doing, I was able to let it go in order to try to heal our relationship.

It was my friends older brother who lived down the street from us. I think he was around 20 yrs old at that time. My parents knew him. I came home from their place one day and told my mother what we 'did'. For christ sake, I didn't know what IT was! How would I? Nobody ever told me, and I was in Grade 3!? I told her everything...kid's just tend to do that! She got mad at me, I remember her yelling at me and I cried. It was evil of her not to talk to me about it, or to even tell me it was wrong. She didn't really say anything other than 'don't go over to their house anymore'. But this was never enforced, I went over there the next day and often went over there when he was babysitting us. Yes 'babysitting'. I know that my friend was severly abused, she was mad at me for telling my mom and told me we would be in deep trouble. I guess that is how he controlled her. Sad sad sad. The thing is, my parents could have stopped him from abusing me, my friend and who knows how many other poor little kids. I wonder if they ever think of that? I doubt it. For her to not even acknowledge that this was a mistake she made is very disturbing. Perhaps she really does believe this had nothing to do with her?

I know you believe me! I have questioned my own sanity at times, and even thought I was sure I remembered things correctly, I would question myself. Thank goodness for my husband, he has been very supportive. He was actualy there through alot of these incidents with my parents and is a witness to the facts! They skew things, to suit themselves, and I don't really understand why they can't humble themselves to just face the truth of what happened.

I think you are right, they lean heavily and justify themselves by staying 'Things could have been alot worse,I did the best I could.' They insinuate I am ungrateful for what I was given. They didn't have what I had when they were kids, and they were mistreated more than I was.

There is something very wrong with my mother. And I don't say that off the cuff. Perhaps a mental illness, maybe narcissistic personality disorder, or something else. Just based on how she reacts, how she skews stories and how she cannot seem to show any empathy or love to me.

It is very hard to believe that any child would just turn on their parents for absolutely no reason at all. I find that really really hard to believe. Maybe the parents may not believe whatever happened with their kids as they were growing up was severe enough to justify estrangement. I am not saying it doesn't happen on occassion, and in the case that a child would cut off contact with their parent for no reason at all - I would then question the mental health of the child. But some parents make that accusation against their kids immediately, blame them, without really honestly looking at themselves and looking at what transpired over the years. I did not immediately accuse my mother of possibly being mentally ill without careful consideration of what has happened, particularly over the past few years. I have never said that to her, but I have mentioned my suspicions here on this forum.

I know that in my case, I screwed up as a teenager, yes I did, and I have admitted that to them. I made alot of bad choices, some were my fault, and some were heavily influenced by how I was raised.

I don't blame my parents for everything. I have said that to them. As an adult, my life has been quite 'normal' and rather uneventful...as far as anything bad happening goes. I finished school, was very successful in my line of work, I have a wonderful husband of 17 yrs, of course we have had our ups and downs, but nothing major. We lead an honest, rather simple life, work, have friends. I don't know where they get off accusing me of being such a trouble maker and terribly flawed person!? True, I got in trouble when I was younger. But that was 20 yrs ago!

Maybe they resent that my life did turn out OK? Hmmm, never thought of it that way before.

I have chosen my words carefully with them over the years. Yes, I have blown up at them, and yes, I even told them to F off, out of sheer frustration. I just wanted them to LISTEN, to maybe try to understand my feelings - to acknowledge and to validate my feelings - not just disregard them and blame me. The breakdown of our relationship was NOT due to only me, THEY had a part in it. I have never done or said anything with the intention of getting back at them, or hurting them. I just wanted understanding, and acknowledgement. There is only so long a person can pretend everything is OK. I stuffed my emotions for years, I had to let them out eventually. Not being honest with them for so long, by pretending everything was OK was eating me away inside.

I always wanted family,which is why I tried for years to fix things. I think most people do want that too. But the parents have to face reality, realize that even though things that may have happened in the past are trivial to them - to others, they may not have been trivial.

Like both you and Dave said, you are open and upfront with your children. You show humility, sensitivity and understanding. And you listen. Even if you don't agree with you kids, you listen and try. I think that is all you can do, because nobody is perfect! Everyone makes mistakes, and I can imagine that parenting is not easy at all. I think it is these arrogant parents who don't do this is where the root of the problem lies.

I am glad that our relationship is finally coming to a close. I have been thinking about it for years, and I see now, particularly from my last ditch effort to contact them, that things will simply never change. They are in their 60's and will likely go to their grave believing that I was a horrible daughter who did nothing but cause trouble. I am learning to accept that now, because that is all I can do at this point.

Thanks for listening, I know I repeat myself and didn't intend on going on another long rant today! lolI am just getting it out of my system, purging. Talking/writing about it helps.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parentss

I have read some of the parents forum to try to gain an understanding of how my parents might feel. There are many who remind me of my mother there. Difficult to read.

Is the denile by some parents of any wrong doing, followed by arrogance about it, a defense mechanism? And perhaps a form of power tripping? Power tripping because they have lost control over their children as they grew up, and then experienced a further loss of control as they chose to estrange themselves from their parents?

Just wondering what your thoughts are on that...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

I think you can read your post backwards and the same could be said for the children. OR...maybe you just read what mothers feel when their heart is broken and they don't know what to do because everything they try is either ignored, or turned around on them. When in pain and cornered many people will do just what an animal would do...
After all...both sides are hurting, which proves there are parents that know what the problem is and don't make efforts to correct their mistakes - and children who don't either. So sad, too bad the offenders don't care enough to be reading and responding to the posts but I know they are the ones who don't care and I think that is certainly the case on both ends. Parents on the other site won't see their children trying to find answers and children on this site most likely won't find their parents reaching out on the other site either.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage,

"Is the denial by some parents of any wrong doing, followed by arrogance about it, a defense mechanism?"

Yes. I think so.

Straycat wrote...

"When in pain and cornered many people will do just what an animal would do... "

I think that pretty much sums it up. I think, in deference to this thread, that many parents feel threatened. They may feel rejected because their children don't subscribe to the lifestyle/way they "raised" them to participate in.

I think that many children feel threatened. They do not feel accepted as adults. They are rejected for being "who" they are. Only if they do as their parents wish will they be ok again. For some, the sacrifice is not worth it, even if their parents are "right" and anyone would agree with that. Sometimes the pain of estrangement is less than the pain of acquiescing.

For sure, it is a two way street. Generalizations don't work.

"So sad, too bad the offenders don't care enough to be reading and responding to the posts but I know they are the ones who don't care..."

I personally am not offended or think it is a lack of caring that my mother is not on this forum responding to my posts. I am confident she has no clue this forum even exists.

I also don't think that those who are estranged don't care. I care very very much. That's my problem. If I didn't care, this would be so easy!!!

I think everyone is searching for an answer. For Sage, I think her mother is trying to figure out how she could have raised such an appreciative son and such an unappreciative daughter. If she didn't care, she wouldn't respond. She would have written her daughter off a long time ago. My mother is trying to figure out what went wrong... everything was "perfect".

As for reaching out...Sage did reach out. She put her pain out there. It was denied as implausible. I reached out. I told my mother it wasn't working, what we were doing. She reacted with venom, accusations and took absolutely no responsibility and now will not acknowledge her part in our "drama".

What I really appreciate about the people posting here is I don't feel there is a lot of "I need sympathy, I'm hurt, I'm wounded, I've been mistreated" going on. I feel it's an honest display of feelings, but rational and willing to look at cause and effect.

Something that just occurred to me:

Sage, you wrote that you still have anger toward your mother for not helping or protecting you from your neighbor. I'm going to assume that you are also angry that she has not acknowledged (adult woman to adult woman) that her behavior/reaction at the time was harmful to you.

So you are stuck. The little girl in you, the hurt, confused (I liked it, but I didn't like it, it felt good, but it didn't feel right...etc...) child is still a bit bruised over that event. I don't know about you, but for me, forgiving the sex offender was easier than forgiving my mother. He was obviously sick/confused/deranged in some way. My mother was supposed to protect me. And, even if she were not able to protect me from the actual event, she should have protected me from the true injury, which was that to my psyche (physically I can't say I was "harmed" in a lasting way, although that sounds weird?). And were she not able to "fix" my injured psyche, she certaintly should not have added her own disapproval/disbelief/blame to a child for something I really didn't have much control over or understand. Mental injury lasts longer than physical injury.

So... I would assume that your mother probably feels a lot of guilt over what happened. In her day, girls were blamed for that sort of thing, pedophilia was not the poster child it is today, it was covered up. She is stuck in the middle. The way she was raised, and what is acceptable today are at odds. She is suffering from cognitive dissonance. So, because she cannot accept what happened, she blames you.

And, because you cannot accept the blame, and carry that load anymore, because you feel the need for closure, there needs to be an acknowledgment of your pain, of your experience. Which is unlikely because she is unable to accept that burden. Because it would mean she failed. At the one thing women of her generation were "made for". Motherhood.

But what she doesn't understand is that failure is ok. She did not fail because you are a productive member of society. She raised you to adulthood. You have relationships outside of immediate family that are loving. She failed, and yet succeeded. You are her living success. (Not that you had no impact on your own success, but simply that she has a lot to be proud about. She raised a daughter able to pull herself up by her own bootstraps, if nothing else!) But she cannot see that through her guilt. It is easier to blame you for being ungrateful than it is to look in a mirror and forgive herself. And that is the greatest tragedy.

I hope that made an inkling of sense. It did in my head, but I have a hard time translating my feelings into words. If I got it wrong, or displaced my understanding onto your situation please don't be offended and let me know.

~Silver


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Silver,

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes indeed, it is a two-way street, as any relationship is in life is whether it be with your neighbour, husband, friend, people you meet in forums like this, or your dog. Pets need love too! :)

Just because someone gives birth to you, does not mean that you have to love them no matter what they do, especially when they don't show any love back. Just like with anyone else. I think it was Dave who brought this topic up awhile ago. Loving someone like that is just painful and frustrating.I battled with the expected 'unconditional love' thing for years. No more.

Yes, the injury to my psyche was more severe than the injury physically. I felt alot of guilt and shame. I did think it was my fault at one point, I think. Just as I thought my dad's drinking was my fault and alot of other things that happened. I wish someone would have told me it was not! But at least NOW I know! I don't think I was damaged as severely as some people have been. Some people never can get to the point of not blaming themselves.

I may have mentioned this before...my healing has come alot from some of the volunteer work that I do with the police victims unit. I have had the opportunity to work with kids who were just like me. And I tell them it was not their fault. You can see it in their face, a sense of relief. It does not make it all go away, but it helps. And I have also had the opportunity to work with some parents, and I see my own parents in them.

I am stuck with alot of issues still, and may never become unstuck. But as long as these issues are not eating away at me, that is progress. I am not sure I have forgiven the sex offender? I don't hold alot of anger towards him personally when I think about him. I also don't feel sorry for him at all. I can't seem to pinpoint my feelings for some reason. So part of it stays with me.

Hmmmm, not sure if my mother feels guilt regarding the sexual abuse. I tend to not think so. She has stuffed it somewhere deep inside herself if she does have any feelings about it. I agree that the fact that she is from another generation plays a part in her inablility to express emotion. She was raised ultra conservative, and nothing was ever spoken of in her house either - plus there was alcoholism, mental illness (for sure, this is not a speculation) and god knows what else. I know very little about it. But she could have broken the cycle if she had the desire to do so. I think she did not look at herself close enough to determine this.

I helped myself as an adult, and am glad I did. She was too proud to do so, and too shallow and superficial to care. Not a priority for her, from what I can see looking back, how she looked to the world was the priority, and continues to be. She definitely does not want to appear to be a failure, to herself, me or anyone else.

You and Dave both were able to overcome those negative influences from your parents in order to try to not pass the hurt on to your kids. It takes strength of character to do so, and it takes being humble and admitting your own shortcomings. This was discussed here a little while back. Someone like her, who has been so arrogant and rigid for so long would have a very hard time doing that. I can understand that aspect of it.

I have to disagree with you about the comment that I am her living success. I wish I could view things that way, but in my case I don't feel that. She did not raise me to adulthood. I left home very young, lived on my own. Yes, she gave birth to me, fed me and I was provided with the basics in life until I was 15 when I did left - but I was not nurtured by her while I lived in her home. I was barely noticed. I have to believe that I am my own living success, because of my own will to survive, along with the help of some people who were there for me along the way. People who I felt cared for me, because they TOLD ME they cared. If a kid is never shown affection, never really talked to, and never told they are loved - how are they supposed to know anyone cares? What does that do to a kid's self worth?

She finds it easier to blame, than to take a good hard look at her own actions and how she played a role in some of the hurtful feelings that have developed between us. That IS the easier road. I can't change that, or force her to see things in any other way than she has decided to see them.

I was always the one who ended up re-establishing contact after incidents of arguements; never would she bring herself to do so. She did not feel it was her problem. And each and every time she never apologized, or admitted any wrong doing whatsoever. I would just swallow that, stuffed my emotions and just carried on pretending nothing ever happened. It is so incredibly freeing to quit pretending now!

Silver, I am not offended by anything you say! Don't ever worry about that. I appreciate your feedback and viewpoint, allowing me to see things from another angle. I hold alot of respect for you because you never criticize, judge, or attack people without reason here. It is hard not to do that when dealing with such emotionally charged topics - and people!! I have found a great deal of peace of mind lately and having this forum has been a real blessing. Thanks for the support.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage,

:) I'm glad everyone doesn't agree all the time, I wouldn't learn anything! And you are a wonderful person, from what I can tell, and I don't doubt that is because you have always been a wonderful person who hasn't always had guidance and has had to find her own way (probably one of the reasons you're such a great person! you've had to work hard!)

To clarify what I meant by your mother was successful as a parent is that while she failed you, the human (at the animal level) need for procreation and life has been fulfilled. She had you, you survived until you could care for yourself. Therefore on a very basic level she succeeded. Not that you owe her, or your success should be attributed to her, but your survival (in spite of your upbringing?!) indicates success. Again, on the most basic terms possible.

I think if your mother were able to see that we all fail our children, and that you have become a viable adult in the community regardless of her desires for your behavior/attitude/lifestyle she would be able to let go of her attachment to whatever preconceived ideas she had about who you would become.

But I don't know. :(

"She finds it easier to blame, than to take a good hard look at her own actions and how she played a role in some of the hurtful feelings that have developed between us. That IS the easier road. I can't change that, or force her to see things in any other way than she has decided to see them."

I understand! My mother doesn't blame me, she blames my spouse. She did it with my fiancee when I was 20, with my ex-husband at 25 and with my current husband at 30. I'm never to blame, it's that awful man. And while they had their own issues I cannot lay the blame on them. She role-plays her own relationship dramas in other peoples relationships. For her, this is easier than seeing the role I've played, or the role she's played. It's all the man's fault.

It is all so tiring, isn't it? I'm glad you feel you have peace of mind and feel free now. What a wonderful feeling!!!!!!!!!
~Silver


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Silver,

Aw, thanks, I think you are quite wonderful too! :)

Thanks for clarifying, I did misunderstood your point a bit. I see what you are saying. That is interesting, and yes I agree. She could very well think that, it is somthing I never thought of from that standpoint before. It is hard to know what other people are thinking, I drive myself nuts thinking about it sometimes. I truly do want to understand her logic, but in reality, I am starting to think that is impossible. I am trying to just let it be now.

Maybe your mom was trying to take you back from your husband, former boyfriends etc and that is why she wanted to 'attack' them and create conflict (you and her...against them)? I have seen this interference of mothers in my friends marriages/lives and it can cause alot of trouble. Again, it is hard to know for sure!!!

My mom looks down her nose at my husband, and always has. Seems she compares everyone to my ultra-intellectual-elitest-but-ethically-corrupt-brother. Nobody measures up to him! She has one weird relationship with my brother and I cannot even begin to imagine the psychology behind that one! sigh SIGH SIGH...

Yes, it does get tiring when a person thinks about it too much - which I have (most obviously to everyone reading this forum) been doing lately. I am still mulling about it, the letter, what I should have said...etc. I think it will subside now that I sent the letter, and made a few concrete decisions. I will probably never be over it completely, but I know that without their half truths, arrogance, and fakeness to deal with, my life will be better. I don't know anyone who is like that, that I even consider a friend, so why on earth would I put up with them?

Take Care, Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage and Silver and Dave,


Sage, I think we have a lot in common when it comes to our families sorry to say...I know very intimately the pain you speak of. I was sexually molested as well--the first time by the boyfriend of the mother of a friend (when I was 12). I never told my parents about that (I guess I realized that they would chose to not believe me), and worse that it would be twisted into that it was somehow my fault and that I would be punished and blamed. I'm so sorry to hear that your parents ignored you when you told them about being sexually abused. Eventually, my father sexualized the relationship with me as well. I never told my mother, but my eldest sister did. My mother never listened to her. She never believed her. My middle sister claimed he didn't abuse her. (Of course, each of us were victims). My suicide attempt had a lot to do with these situations and others. The friend eventually got involved in prostitution and she tried to indoctrinate me into the same type of lifestyle. I resisted...Oh the stories I could tell you. She also got involved with criminals and I was exposed to those types of people through her. Eventually, I severed the relationship with her in an effort to save myself. This was all before I turned 18. I had a hard time of it finding men who didn't act sexually inappropriate or aggressive. I desperately wanted to find emotionally safe men in my life (men who wouldn't sexualize a relationship with me), and women who didn't respond to me with odd, bizzare behaviors of jealousy and cruelty. I seldom speak of these things as they are so close to the heart and painful. So I know of the emotional pain that you speak of....I know it all too well. I rarely talk to anyone about it (curiously, I find a lack of empathy or understanding) and people often respond in ways that make the situation worse...adding much insult to injury. I've always dealt with these issues privately (in therapy). I think it good to open up to you here--it is easier when people are not so judgmental.

I think it was good for you to write the letter. Sad to say, that I'm not surprised by the outcome, but that does not mean that I don't feel for you (I hope you know that). I really do understand why you desire your feelings to be acknowledged and understood, instead of dismissed or blamed. I've always felt that way too. I know this will never happen with my mother. She will never take responsibility in a way that would help all of her daughters to heal. It just won't happen. She turns her own deficiences around to blame us and tell us what horrible daughter's we are. It's very twisted, but she just can't face up to the truth, because she feels inadequate. Sadly, I know too few people that are willing to admit their shortcomings--it might unburden them if they could and it would probably help their relationships to heal.

I have more to say, but I'm tired tonight. I will try to post tomorrow or this weekend.

Take care everyone...


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Sage, It's mind-boggling to think that your parents ignored the fact that you were sexually molested in grade 3.

Flower, Your parents seemed be intent on destroying you in every way possible: emotionally, physically, sexually. Their complete and total disregard for your well being is incomprehensible. It is subhuman.

The most basic bond between a parent and a child is that the parent protects the child. And yet, somehow your, all of our, parents malfunctioned and failed to protect us. It's just incomprehensible. In my family I suspect my father's drinking to be a big part of this breakdown in basic parental functioning. Regardless of the cause, they blatantly violated their relationship with us, continue to do so, then seem puzzled why we can't have a relationship with them. How hard is it to get a clue???? Really!! What's amazing is how long we all have hung around trying to get along with them without any sign from them that anything has changed.

Hi Silver, "On the Parents forum there are at least 5 threads about estrangement. Most all of them say they didn't do anything, that it came without reason, cause, justification. That they were good parents, etc." My parents would say this. While it seems theoretically possible that good parents could raise someone who becomes estranged from them, I suspect this is rare. I say this simply because the parent's come first, and they create everything in that child's world for years. Aside from my own parents, I'm old enough to have watched other terrible parents raise children who are then shocked, when their adult children become drug addicts, or ended up in prison. They seem totally baffled, and yet it wasn't hard for others to see this coming. It appears some parents are completely and utterly oblivious to the ill effects of their parenting to the point where they actually believe they were good parents. How tragically sad. :-(

Anyway, I'm glad that we all have found this small haven of sanity, understanding and support. Our parents didn't protect us, but we can look out for each other. It helps. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower, Dave, Silver and anyone else reading..

Flower, I am glad you can, although unfortunately, relate. Your situation was severe, and I think you should be very proud of yourself for getting through it, and for being able to discuss it. Sorry for what you had to go through. I know that feeling of feeling stupid for opening up to them, and not wanting to even say anything about it again for the fear of being yelled at or punished, or worse - not being believed.

Your mother put herself in a state of complete denial about it, by the sounds of it, to protect herself. That is selfish. It is the ultimate selfish act, as she could have faced herself, in order to help her daughter, but she chose not to.

I was also tempted into prostitution - and refused - thank goodness for that. I hung out with a really bad crowd in my teenage years. I turned to that bad crowd and considered them my family. I felt more love, and felt more included in that group than I did in my own family. I guess I can understand the gang mentality somewhat...kids who are not feeling loved at home are certainly more vulnerable to getting involved. It is not really kids just being 'wild' and looking for trouble at all.
We do have alot in common. I too had horrible relationships with men. I ended up with some real losers, and one who I lived with was a chronic alcoholic, worse than my own father. He ended up abusing me, and one last final time pulling a gun out on me and breaking my nose. I ended up in the hospital, and subsequently ended up homeless and in a women's shelter for god's sake. That is when I woke up to the reality of the situation. It was a life changing moment, as after that I returned to school and since that time things have gone well.

I ended up moving away from that city, far away, and that is how I severed ties with that whole crowd. I came to my senses I guess! This all happened with me before I was 18 yrs old too. I look at 15/16 yr olds now, and it just completely floors me to think that was 'me', and all I did at that age...it scares me.

How I eventually ended up meeting my husband, who is the most wonderful man on earth, is beyond me. I am lucky, and so grateful! :)

"I seldom speak of these things as they are so close to the heart and painful".

Me too. But it is good to get it out. It helps to share, especially with those who can relate. It makes us face those feelings, and that is the very first step to healing, and putting them behind us so they don't affect us in the present.

Thanks for the support on the letter. I am glad I did it too. Yes, I understand your point and know what you mean. I too suspected the outcome. But I wrote it thinking that perhaps they would be receptive, and if not receptive, at least it would make them think about it. Not sure if they are capable of that, or if they would even think deeply about it ever. I have my doubts, but I tried.

Dave, Yes, mind boggling it is. But speaks volumes as to all the other things that happened after that and how they handled them. I agree with you and Silver about the parents forum. Seems unlikely, although not completely impossible, that someone would estrange themselves from family for no good reason. I say that knowing how painful it is. I can't imagine anyone doing that without reason either.

"It appears some parents are completely and utterly oblivious to the ill effects of their parenting to the point where they actually believe they were good parents. How tragically sad. :-( "

Well said Dave, true true.

I think this forum is a good place to get everything out in the open. It helps alot.

Take Care everyone, thanks for being here.

Sage


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RE: two things that made me think

Hi Flower,

This really struck me...

"I had a hard time of it finding men who didn't act sexually inappropriate or aggressive. I desperately wanted to find emotionally safe men in my life (men who wouldn't sexualize a relationship with me), and women who didn't respond to me with odd, bizzare behaviors of jealousy and cruelty."

WOW!!! from my brain to your lips (or fingers?!) This is exactly my experience! And the problem is that I didn't have the preparation to establish these relationships I was seeking! How can a person be expected to engage in a healthy relationship when they don't have a working model?

I know I have acted inappropriately in the past in relationships, both with friends and lovers. And I can trace that to my ignorance to "proper" behavior (not rules, but the basics of kindness, generosity, appropriate sexuality, demonstrating love, both sexual and non, how far to go out of my way to help, when to sever ties, etc...)

Dave... you said:

"'m old enough to have watched other terrible parents raise children who are then shocked, when their adult children become drug addicts, or ended up in prison. They seem totally baffled, and yet it wasn't hard for others to see this coming."

What is amazing to me is that many of these "terrible" parents provide a nice, clean home with newer vehicles and toys, all the things they believe nurture the production of "good" kids. Because of these things, they expect success. "But I gave them everything" is a common parental lament.

Obviously, to me anyway, these kids were lacking something. Otherwise how could children succeed without "everything"(the women portrayed in Homeless to Harvard and The Glass Castle are two striking examples).


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Silver,

Interesting point. Some parents do think that 'giving their children everything' is very much related to materialistic things. I see that in my own parents...hence my, and Dave's, mother's sending us those crazy 'parcels' by force.

I have had alot of trouble with relationships in general. A therapist made me aware of the connection with my upbringing. And before that, I never really considered that connection, but used to just blame myself and felt nobody liked me. I had really low self esteem.. It sure did make sense to me though when he first mentioned it, I remember that day distinctly. I used to, and with some I still do, have troubles with all those 'proper' behaviours you mentioned.

Funny thing, I had zero money when I was a teenager, but I used to buy things for people, loan money to people (often not re-paid) to try to get people to like me. I was not spoiled growing up, my parents never had much money to begin with, and the money they had they did not manage well. Alot of their focus was always on shopping and buying. Weird, hey?

Any conversation I used to have with my parents, throughout my entire adult life, was based around shopping, eating, money, and little else. It would drive me crazy, considering all the other things that I knew we should have been talking about...and that were always lurking just below the surface.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello again,

When I sent my mother that first letter, I took out most of the parts about my childhood. I don't know why I felt the need to 'edit' the letter. I guess I just wanted to see if she would be receptive, and didn't want to bring too much up all at once. I don't know.

Anyways, I only sent 2/5 pages of it. I wanted to keep it short and focus on the more recent problems we had and to maybe resolve those problems first. But after reading the cold, finger-pointing response I got from her in regards to the first letter, that contained absolutely no compassion or understanding whatsoever, I have been regretting I did not send the entire letter to her. Why didn't I? Why would I even try to protect their feelings in any way? I don't know. I sure was not shown any consideration.

So I decided to go ahead and send the rest of it to her.

Even though I swore I was not going to respond to the crazy irrational response she sent me!!! I figured she may as well know it all at this point. I mean, why not? Why was I holding back in the first place? That is not being entirely honest on my part, is it? And is not much better than them continuing to ''pretend''. I don't want to be like them.

If I want to end this whole fake fiasco, it needed to be done, instead of having these lingering regrets. Now this can be laid to rest. I said it all, and don't feel I left anything out now.

I am done. For real this time! I sent it. This part did come across as more direct and angry. So be it. It is the truth, and exactly how I feel. No regrets now.

Whew..

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Silver, Sage, Dave....

Silver...You said, "WOW!!! from my brain to your lips (or fingers?!) This is exactly my experience! And the problem is that I didn't have the preparation to establish these relationships I was seeking! How can a person be expected to engage in a healthy relationship when they don't have a working model?"

So true...we all come to our situations differently too. I mean people's responses are unique to their own situation, not just due to their experience, but also whatever they've learned. I briefly participated in a group of women with similar issues around sexual molestation, incest, etc., and some people shared very similar responses to their trauma, while others coping mechanisms were different. Some women become involved in a string of different sexual partners and respond with more overt sexuality--other women overcompensate in other ways. Although, I liked some attention from males it also made me very nervous and stressed. I may not be saying this the right way, but my response was to downplay my feminity and sexual attractiveness as a means of trying to win acceptance by other women (to deflect their jealousy) and as a way to deal with men and their sexualized focus, which made me feel invisible. I wanted and desperately wanted people to focus on me the person (the human being) and not on my sexuality or just focus on the outside (what is superficial). I had a hard time finding people who responded appropriately. I do not think that all of that responsibility lied with me. I do think I was very vulnerable to certain types of people, given my skill set and emotional makeup. However, I'm a very strong person (emotionally), which very few people acknowledge or give me credit for.

I had this odd mix with my parents. I was raised with a foundation of Christianity, but then there was the abuse (secret). It was crazy-making. My coping mechanism was to develop acute emotional awareness--I'm very good at reading other people's emotions. I had too, in order to survive in my family. What I'm not good at is compartmentalizing my emotions the way other people do and I'm not around people who value this trait. Instead they devalue it, or it is selectively valued.

I also get what you say below.....

"I know I have acted inappropriately in the past in relationships, both with friends and lovers. And I can trace that to my ignorance to "proper" behavior (not rules, but the basics of kindness, generosity, appropriate sexuality, demonstrating love, both sexual and non, how far to go out of my way to help, when to sever ties, etc...)"

Sage, I'm glad you sent that letter off. You take care of your parents emotions and try to protect them, but they do not take care of yours--they are the parents and you were the child. Oh, do I ever get that and it is skewed (I think you know what I mean). I posted about this much ealier in this thread...about parent's using their children to meet their needs and not the other way around. It's crazy-making. I'm fumbling with words today (I'm tired). There's so much here that you have all been bringing up--I do want to respond. I'll try to come back later today....


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello all,

Sage and Silver, I can't even begin to wrap my mind around the sexual abuse you both have suffered. For someone to repeatedly and knowingly done something this destructive to another human being's psyche for one's own selfish gratification is beyond appalling. My heart goes out to you both. It's a testament to your strength and inner-drive that you have survived this and have gone on with your lives.

Silver, "How can a person be expected to engage in a healthy relationship when they don't have a working model?" That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? It's not easy either, is it? I've experienced a lot of pain, and caused more pain to others than I would want to, because of this. One positive thing about this for me is that now I do really appreciate the good relationships in my life, and am willing to work to keep them that way. Doing this has been very healing for me.

Sage, Sending the rest of the letter sounds like what you needed to do. I'm glad you did it. For yourself. I can't imagine they will be able to hear you, but you will know you told them what is in your heart.

I thought my parents would leave me alone for awhile, but they didn't. They sent me a hand written questionnaire in the mail. It went something like this:

From Your Parents: RM & GT

Circle Yes or No.

David: Do you want correspondence from your father? Yes/No
David: Do you want correspondence from your mother? Yes/No
David: Do you want to be informed about health issues of your mother? Yes/No.
David: Do you want to be informed about health issues of your father? Yes/No.
David: Do you want to be informed about the death of your mother or father? Yes/No.
David: Do you want to be informed of an address change of your mother or father? Yes/No.

Your Father: (signature and date)
Your Mother: (signature and date)

Your signature:_________ Date:______

Request return in self-addressed stamped envelope ASAP
__________________

It's so weird I don't even no where to start thinking about this. I've told them if we can't discuss issues about my father getting drunk in front of my teenage sons and my mother defending him, then we don't have anything to talk about. So how do they respond? By sending me weird s___t like this.

I told my wife I wanted to put a yellow sticky note on this form that said, "Let me know when you are both dead", and send it back, but I didn't. Although the thought did make me chuckle. Both the questionnaire and self-addressed, stamped envelope have been deposited in my shredder. No response will be forthcoming.

Anyway, thanks for listening, yet again. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave,

Your parents are truly selfish and thoughtless sending a crazy letter like that. I'm glad that you shredded it too. They seem truly spiteful. I think I would reiterate what you said above here.

"I've told them if we can't discuss issues about my father getting drunk in front of my teenage sons and my mother defending him, then we don't have anything to talk about."

Then I would just ignore it for awhile. They are trying any babyish behavior that they can to guilt trip you and pull you in. Good for you that you see the behavior for what it is and don't allow it. They don't really deserve a reply.

And thank you for what you said here, "Flower, Your parents seemed be intent on destroying you in every way possible: emotionally, physically, sexually. Their complete and total disregard for your well being is incomprehensible. It is subhuman."

My mother was/is a victim and selfish. It is probably the reason why I never went to her about a lot of the abuse, because I knew she would twist it around.

I agree with what you said here, "The most basic bond between a parent and a child is that the parent protects the child. And yet, somehow your, all of our, parents malfunctioned and failed to protect us. It's just incomprehensible. In my family I suspect my father's drinking to be a big part of this breakdown in basic parental functioning. Regardless of the cause, they blatantly violated their relationship with us, continue to do so, then seem puzzled why we can't have a relationship with them. How hard is it to get a clue???? Really!! What's amazing is how long we all have hung around trying to get along with them without any sign from them that anything has changed"

That's very true. I think it true of a lot of relationships where abuse is prevalent--the child and eventually the adult trying to still get their needs met from the parents--that bond is strong, even if it is a very unhappy one.

I'm feeling quite overwhelmed lately and that is one reason why I haven't been posting as much.

Take care...


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower,

In my previous post I goofed. I meant to start out, "Sage and Flower, I can't even begin to...". I'm sorry, I was a little distracted by parent's communication.

Thank you very much for your kind and supportive words. It really helps to hear from someone else who understands these kind of situations. It really does.

"I'm feeling quite overwhelmed lately and that is one reasons why I haven't been posting as much." Please take care of yourself. I know that as helpful as a forum like this is, it can also stir up a lot of old feelings and emotions that we might not want to deal with all at once. Sometimes it's too much. Take as much time as you need between posting. I know I can't process things like this all the time. I really enjoy activities where I'm not thinking about stuff like this at all: skiing, biking, getting into a project, reading a good novel, watching a good movie, learning something new. I try to find the right balance for me which seems to vary based on what's happening at the time.

Anyway, thanks again for your understanding words. They are very comforting to me. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi everyone,

Bizarre indeed Dave, a manipulative act, and I agree, a very childish way to deal with any given situation. Very black/white thinking on her part. She showed her true colors again, hey? So sorry she did that, totally ridiculous.

I think it would be easier to deal with our parents if they were completely mentally ill, and diagnosed as such. I am starting to think that has to be a factor. I find it so hard to believe that someone of 'sound mind' would write something like that, a questionaire, and do some of the other irrational things that we have all brought up and discussed here. We reach out to them in honest, heartfelt ways, and they continue to bite back in outlandish, irrational, skewed, and hurtful ways.

As far as drinking goes, I am not a believer in 'alcoholism' being a disease. I think it is a choice, and a coping mechanism chosen to be used by people who refuse to deal with their own reality and also people who are self absorbed in creating their own pleasure. I strongly feel my father chose drinking with his 'buddies' over spending time with his family, because it was more fun, more interesting, and allowed him to be this macho, big mouthed, womanizing, clown and show off. He could never get any satisfaction to fulfill his ego in that way from his children or wife. He came home to eat, recover from hangovers, and rest up for the next party.

He joined AA the same year that I left home (when I was 15/16 yrs old). And suddenly, everything was supposed to be A-OK! When I did see them, they made joke after joke about how he used to always be drunk, how he craved liquor, and about some of the things he did when drunk. Ha ha ha ha ha. So funny!?!? Give me a break. To me AA is sort of a cult. Some, not all, think that if they join they are redeemed of all wrongdoing in their past. My parents went head first into AA and Al-Anon, and I felt they hid behind it completely. They thought they were super-ethical for being able to 'overcome' this so-called addiction. I equate it to the same way some people use religion/church. Some people sin all week, but because they are church members, and attend church every Sunday, that somehow makes everything OK, and makes them good people in their own minds.

They never apologized to me, it was never discussed - other than making a complete mockery of it - and they never acknowledged the terrible hurt and worry I went through being constantly rejected through the years which were my formative years. My dad lost jobs, would be found sleeping in his car, humiliated himself in the small town I grew up in, we went bankrupt, I was always afraid someone would see him drunk, and I was always afraid driving with him the the car when he was drunk. I was stressed and not consoled in any way by my mother when I was stressed.

Ahhh this is bringing back fond memories of Sat afternoons with my dad.....which included driving around on country roads, collecting beer bottles from ditches, and taking them to the bottle depot so he would have money to buy more beer. On the exterior, nobody would have ever suspected we were that down and out, they put up a nice facade of middle class normality. Sick. How could he make me do that? I think it was easy for him, because he was only serving his own selfish needs.

I say this about AA because I too used to drink quite alot. Throughout my teens, and into my 20's. I never let it affect my job, and it did not destroy my marriage. I used to go out for a couple drinks after work, and get 'carried away' with drinking all night with friends until 2am. It was a weekly, Friday night 'habit'. And yes, I liked it alot, it was alot of FUN! I looked forward to doing it.

At that time in my life I had a hard time 'feeling', or even talking about my feelings, unless I was drunk. I know I used/abuse alcohol. It felt like a 'release' to get drunk, spill my guts to a friend, or my husband. Sober, I could not do that back then. Since then I have somehow managed to develop a way to be able to be open with my feelings when I am sober. I can do this freely now. Thank goodness. I still drink, a few glasses of wine a week, and that is OK. I don't feel the urge to get drunk anymore.

I was an adult, as was my father. I had choices, and so did by father. Why was he different, because he blamed it on addiction? I chose to quit, and I think my father had that same choice to make. I didn't have kids, and he did. Should that in itself not have made him look at himself and have some self-respect? Did he just not care about his kids? Did he not want kids to begin with? Did he not want his family to be proud of him? Did he not see that his actions were harming his family? His 'habit' was what he enjoyed.

I cannot believe that at some point he did not see what he was doing to me/us. He CHOSE to ignore it and carry on with his drunken lifestyle. It is easier to take that road. I always wanted to at least see some remorse from him, regret, and maybe forgive him a little bit to lessen my own hurt. At least I tried to talk about it, he never did. He just blamed his 'disease'. It was not his fault.

That is my cynical rant on alcoholism, I can't tell you how many times I mull that over in my head. So much is surfacing since I sent the letter to them, I need it to be laid to rest. So thanks for reading/listening to my vent!

Flower, Take care of yourself first and foremost, try to find a little something to give you some peace. I am sorry you are feeling overwhelmed, I hope you feel better soon. It takes a long time to come to terms with all of these issues, but eventually we all will. Because from what I can tell reading here, we are all strong and intelligent people. We are not the flawed people our parents accuse us of being.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

(((((((Dave,Flower and Sage)))))))) Your posts have brought tears to my eyes and I'm sorry about the things your families and parents have done to you. I have no advice, I just wanted to hug you. Nancy


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave,

No worries....If it had been me, I'd probably get distracted by your parent's idiotic communication too. I have a little more time today to write, because it is so cold outside.

I'm just going to put this out there...Have you ever thought to keep their communications and file it away, just in case you may need it at a later date. I got tired of all the nut-inducing communication's from my family and kept them for future reference. Actually, they have come in handy.

In your case, I'd be almost tempted to try a new tactic and turn it around on them--treat them like the children they are and call them on their BS! I don't know if embarassing them would work or not. It could escalate the situation, but who knows. I would have been tempted to xerox their moronic questionnaire and send them a block of cheese to go with their ridiculous whine...a belated Xmas gift...Maybe ask them if their silly, trivial, babyish rants make them feel any better.

You've got to know that you are a much better person than they are and give yourself a lot of credit for seeing the situation as it is and bettering yourself.

I am sorry to say that I think your father has much greater problems than just alcohol, and your mother sounds like the typical enabler, making excuses for him. They both have serious issues...probably something about their past too. Reading their questionnaire makes me mad too.

I'm glad that I can be of support. Yes, this forum does stir up old feelings, but it is helpful too and very good to write here and get it out. I just fell again last week on ice and that wasn't good for my previous injury and then in addition to that had a friend visiting from out-of-town. I also had to put another person in their place (I wrote her an email), because she made assumptions and jumped to conclusions about a situation that she doesn't know anything about--something she should know better than to do. However she's another chronic whiner and self-focused type of person...everything always about her. So all these issues is partly why I haven't written here as much.

Honestly, sometimes it all gets to be too much, but I'm still here and now that I've found you all, I don't want to lose contact with you....later...


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Nancy (misskittycat1),

Welcome and thank you for your kind and supportive words. It is a comfort...especially when dealing with these situations is so hard.

I remember you on another thread in the parent's forum. I hope you are doing okay too.


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RE: Alcoholism and estrangement

Hi Sage, Dave, Silver and everyone,

Sage, I tend to agree with what you say here, "As far as drinking goes, I am not a believer in 'alcoholism' being a disease. I think it is a choice, and a coping mechanism chosen to be used by people who refuse to deal with their own reality and also people who are self absorbed in creating their own pleasure."

I'm also so sorry to hear that your father treated you so poorly, choosing alcohol over his child and family. He neglected you, which is a form of emotional abuse. The man was selfish and self-absorbed and you have every right to feel as you do towards him.

There are other people who view AA similarily--like it is some type of cult. There is a website devoted to that. I agree with you on the redemption part and also believe that many people are able to hide behind it. Their behaviors are insincere and they don't really change. It's just an illusion and looks good to others--and this allows them to continue with their destructive behaviors. Oh, maybe some of them may stop drinking, but the person still remains the same. My grandfather was an alcoholic (he died when I was very little), so I don't remember him. I do know that it had a huge impact on my father and explains a lot about my father's behaviors. I've heard similiar stories of people in AA too--they laugh and joke about the drinking, but they do not really take responsibility and they are flippant about the damage it creates to others around them. My mother-in-law was an alcoholic (the family blames her second spouse). These two were highly-functioning alcoholics and it didn't affect their jobs either--their behaviors only affected their family with their rage, malice, misery, ruthlessness of character and all the other vileness of character that they reeked of. Truly, his mother was a hateful, angry, self-centered person, which poured forth from her in abundance. She didn't care about who she hurt or abused--there was a lot of evil in the woman--no remorse and no accountability. Her husband eventually sobered up, but she complained about the AA people, never sincerely worked the program and didn't stop the alcohol until almost a year prior to her death. It was her doctor that intervened. She was hospitalized 36 times during the year prior to her death and then she was institutionalized (the family blames the drugs that the doctor's gave her).

Ive experienced similar types of conduct in other people that join AA--the self-righteous attitude that somehow "they are redeemed of all wrongdoing in their past and that they are super-ethical for being able to 'overcome' this so-called addiction." Yes, they do hide behind it and they don't take any measure of personal responsibility. They get away with that s--t! Unfortunately, then it all gets twisted into how wonderful they are...

And I also agree wholeheartedly with this observation, "I equate it to the same way some people use religion/church. Some people sin all week, but because they are church members, and attend church every Sunday, that somehow makes everything OK, and makes them good people in their own minds."

When I get around people like this my instinct is to head in the other direction. They usually don't change the character traits that made them abuse alcohol to begin with and then they trade it for another addiction, and more lies, deceptions and BS. And you are so right that these types of people "never apologize, never take responsibility and make a complete mockery of it."

It disturbs me hearing about your father--he was completely self-absorbed. It's horrible that you were exposed to that type of neglect and emotional abuse. The same goes for your mother--she certainly enabled him and is very selfish herself. You've survived. You're the strong one.

I occasionally drink, but only with a meal and I don't abuse it. People were always making fun of me, because they wanted me to join in and I didn't want too, so they would judge and label me as "goody-two-shoes," or "little miss innocent". These mindless dolts were clueless about my life, and probably wouldn't care. How could they when they were trying to pressure and push me around. It was my husband's idea to be around them. I never wanted too. I guess I flat out didn't like being around drunks, or being exposed to out-of-control people. I didn't like the lies they told others and mostly the lies they told to themselves. Some people are just turn into plain nasty, vile idiots. And there were just too many bad experiences as a teenager that stuck with me. Overdoses and death. I'm lucky to be alive.

Everyone labeled and judged me as "too sensitive," but I could never understand why it took them being drunk to be able to open up about their feelings, and even then so many people didn't seem open, just miserable and unhappy and especially prone to making poor choices.

I'm glad that you've come out of it and have learned to cope and develop ways to be open about your feelings. This is an accomplishment and something I hope you feel good about. Given your parents and background--the outcome for you could have been different, but you've survived and are strong...

I agree with you that people choose to blame their behaviors and poor choices on addiction, rather than own up warts and all, to their poor choices...

It's difficult when one would like to see a parent express remorse or regret and at least acknowledge the deep hurt. I doubt they ever will...They have a convenient excuse and maybe they just don't care too. My mother makes excuses...a lot of people do. They will not take responsibility for anything--the disease model has allowed a lot of people to blame it all on the diesease and never own their poor, destructive behaviors. Honest self-introspection is not what these people are capable of.

Sage, I don't think you are cynical...not about the alcoholism. There are other people who feel the same. I'll try to find that website if you are interested. I found it very informative and I felt some relief in finding others who felt as I did/do. You vent to your hearts content. It's good for you. And yes, it does take a long time to come to terms with all of these issues. I don't think the loss of family ever completely goes away, because that is huge. I think the grief lessens, the process is slow...it's a journey. Sometimes you'll feel that you have let it all go, and then there are other times when these issues crop up again and again. I just accept that for what it is and try not to dwell on how others think I should feel about it. Loss is not easy to grieve and yes, we are strong.

Take care....


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, "I think it would be easier to deal with our parents if they were completely mentally ill, and diagnosed as such." That's a very good point. I think it would be too. Even without the official diagnosis, I'm finding it helps me to think of them this way anyway. I helps remove any doubt in my mind that there is a possibility of connecting with them in some way. At this point, it's just better to consider them too far gone to ever reach. Sad, but better.

"We reach out to them in honest, heartfelt ways, and they continue to bite back in outlandish, irrational, skewed, and hurtful ways." Yes they do, don't they.

"As far as drinking goes, I am not a believer in 'alcoholism' being a disease. I think it is a choice, and a coping mechanism chosen to be used by people who refuse to deal with their own reality and also people who are self absorbed in creating their own pleasure." I agree. At least in the alcoholics among my family and relatives, which are too numerous, I can see they all experienced pain in their lives, and alcohol was the pain killer of choice. However, alcohol doesn't just kill the pain, does it? It creates another whole set of problems. When drunk these people are much more prone to violence, sexual abuse, and neglecting their families. This causes them more pain, which requires more pain killer, and so it goes. Even if they could stop drinking, they have all the problems they created while drinking, as well as, the original problems they started with. No one in my family has ever stopped drinking. The only solution I've found to having people like this in my family is to keep my distance.

"my father chose drinking with his 'buddies' over spending time with his family, because it was more fun, more interesting, and allowed him to be this macho, big mouthed, womanizing, clown and show off." This describes my father perfectly. It's a little creepy how similar both your mother and father are to mine. Of course all my father's friends thought Mr. Party-Boy was a great guy. What they didn't see was when he came home and had huge screaming arguments with his wife, and beat his sons with a belt. He was quite the party-boy then.

"To me AA is sort of a cult. Some, not all, think that if they join they are redeemed of all wrongdoing in their past.....I equate it to the same way some people use religion/church. ... sin all week,....attend church every Sunday, ...makes them good people in their own minds." My parents do the church thing in a big way. They believe God forgives them, and that makes everything OK. If I have a hard time letting go of what they have done in the past, or are still doing now, then it's my problem that I'm not more forgiving. Their solution to this is to pray for me. So they have figured out how to use the church to avoid any accountability for their poor behavior, and turn it into my problem. How convenient for them. It seems like churches attract some of the best, Mother Theresa types, and some of the worst hypocrites and scoundrels that use the church to cover up their poor behavior.

Hi Nancy, thank you for the hug and the support! It means a lot to know that others care and sympathize.

Flower, "that bond is strong, even if it is a very unhappy one". This is one of the more troubling aspects of my relationship with my parents. Rationally I know they are bad for me, emotionally it has been very hard to pull away. This forum has certainly helped me weaken the pull that my parents have on me. Thanks!

"Have you ever thought to keep their communications and file it away, just in case you may need it at a later date." I do keep what they have sent in a file folder. I did scan the questionnaire they sent, so I still have it saved on my computer, but it also felt really good to put the actual piece of paper into a shredder. Occasionally, I go back and read some of their stuff just to remind myself how crazy they really are.

"In your case, I'd be almost tempted to try a new tactic..." I've been responding to their idiotic, childish, manipulative, spiteful letters for some time now. I've had some fun with this at times, and gotten pretty snarky with them too. At this point, I feel better just ignoring them. I just don't seem to care enough anymore to want to take the time and energy to respond. In a way it seems like a positive shift for me to get to the point where I just really don't care.

"I am sorry to say that I think your father has much greater problems than just alcohol, and your mother sounds like the typical enabler, making excuses for him. They both have serious issues..." Yes, my father has more, many more problems than just alcohol, and my mother is the classic enabler. They are dangerous people to be around.

Sorry to hear you fell and hurt yourself. Ouch. I hope you are recovering quickly!

Many thanks again to you all for being there. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage, Dave, Silver...Everyone,

Dave, this really stands out to me, " If I have a hard time letting go of what they have done in the past, or are still doing now, then it's my problem that I'm not more forgiving." Wow. I can't tell you how many times my family, and other's who don't take any personal responsibility for anything, have tried to manipulate me with this type of spiritual shaming. I know Sage has mentioned this too.

Forgiveness is always the non-solicited advice that people offer. It always comes up, almost immediately. It's the instant gratification answer to everything. I feel it a cliche and not helpful. Actually, I feel it does far more damage and is destructive when it is brought up prematurely and offered as the ultimate solution.

I can relate to this too, "So they have figured out how to use the church to avoid any accountability for their poor behavior, and turn it into my problem. How convenient for them." How convenient for them is right and so true! I mostly kept these similar observations to myself.

It's just another form of emotional abuse, only this time it's spiritual. And yes, they use the church to cover up their poor behaviors. Actually cons are good a manipulating the sheepeople's into trying to bully and shame people into forgiveness.

Awhile back I started researching "forgiveness," wondering if there were other people who may have felt like I did. I'd never met them previously and in fact, didn't think they existed. Then I stumbled upon a site which discussed the skewed "avoid accountability" and make it your problem of being "unforgiving" approach. The site also discussed the cult like behaviors of AA--everything that Sage posted. It is an online book called, THE ORANGE PAPERS, One Man's Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous, by "Orange"

I hadn't been to the site in awhile and when I recalled it earlier today I thought I'd revisit. I just looked at the letters section. Apparently a few people agree with him, but mostly he got a lot of criticism. I'm glad to see he is still there. I've posted a link to the site below, in case you are interested.

I used to attend a co-dependents group (a spin-off of AA and the 12-steps). The people scared and creeped me out and I stopped going. It just wasn't helpful and the people created more unhappiness and problems for me. I found reading books and private therapy/counseling far more helpful. The co-dependents group was suggested to me by a volunteer counselor at a Rape Crisis Center. To her credit she did caution me about the people. At a meeting several males who were also attending AA meetings approached me and suggested that I check out an AA meeting. I only did a few times. I found it very overwhelming. There were probably 500 people in attendance. I heard all the drunk stories and bad behaviors (this time told by a woman) and the audience laughs. And afterwards you're hit on by a bunch of men, who I didn't know and who want hugs. YIKES!!! I didn't go back.

I won't step foot in a church anymore either, unless it is absolutely necessary. Once in awhile I get the urge to go (nostalgia), but then I think of all the spiritual abuse, the memories and hypocrisy...It's not for me...It's a relief for me to have found this forum...

Here is a link that might be useful: The Orange Papers


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello everyone,

Hi Nancy, thanks for your kind words, the understanding is appreciated and something I don't hear very often. I have not told many people about my past, other than my husband, and have never shared as much detail as I have here on this forum. The few people I have told a little about my past,and my feelings of wanting to cut off contact with my parents, has been met with comments like "But you just can't do that; they are your parents!!".

Flower, Dave, Thanks for relating. I felt like a complete idiot after I wrote my last tirade on AA and religion and felt like I may have crossed the line a bit, as these are touchy subjects that are very individual. So I am a little relieved that you can relate to some of what I say! :O)

I am not a fan of organized religion, obviously, and have had alot of personal experience with people who are hyprocrites who use religion to hide behind. I grew up in a town that was evangelical/mennonite. We were 'Catholic', and outsiders to begin with. The town I lived in was even voted to be 'dry' - meaning no hard alcohol is sold or served. But beer and wine were served in the bar and restaurants. What makes beer and wine ok!?!?!? How lame is that!!! lol Complete hypocrisy! I also saw many really seriously bad people, time and time again, who were high ranking in their churches.

I never really considered myself a 'Catholic', even there was a period of time where my mother would drag my brother and I to church every week that was located in a different town. She used to say 'pray for your dad'. Ya, whatever. Why not take some action, stand up for yourself, and get your children out of the dysfunctional situation!? Deal with reality first, and then we can pray!?! I see this now as hiding behind religion. The whole catholic system was so different than the christian/evangelical system too. Which completely confused and scared me. ie confession when I was 10 yrs old! I didn't get it, as none of my friends were catholic, and when they talked about sunday school and such, it was totally different. Of course nothing was ever explained.

Come to think of it, my mother started attending Al-Anon long before my dad stopped drinking. Wow, isn't that weird? I forgot about that!!! I have not thought about all this stuff for quite awhile. She would give me books from AA, that were written for children. I would not really look at them. I did peek in them every once in awhile, but never really read them. Her way of helping: dumping books in her kids room, but never ever talking about anything. Gifts? Like the parcels? lol I remember thinking, why can't we just leave and get away from him? I felt myself being so stressed, and feeling like I was going crazy at a really young age. I just wanted out and wanted the worry and stress to stop already. But it was easier for my mother to just stay. She was definitely an enabler too. But chose to use the religion and Al-Anon to clear her own conscience of any wrong doing on her part. She thought she was 'doing the right thing'.

I don't know exactly what my coping mechanisms were when I was a kid. I know I would cry alot, and isolate myself in my room. I would make up stories about having a happy family, and later on when I reached my teenage years, as having boyfriends who loved me - which I never really had. Plus I would eat alot. I was happy when I was eating junk food, and it was not restricted. I looked forward to eating. It is sort of sad that I don't remember alot of fond memories from my childhood that were not based around eating. That also carried into my adulthood.

Once again, it was all about her! Leaving would have meant she would have had to to take responsibility, it would not have been easy, and her own life would have been disrupted PLUS she would look bad to everyone around her. Easier to just hide it, say nothing and carry on. As an adult that was easy for her to do. As a kid, I did not have the coping skills to just brush everything off. I also remember my dad joking about her going to Al Anon meetings, and she would giggle about it too, while he was still drinking. Whoa. How twisted is that?

Were children just treated as objects to them? Maybe they think that we really didn't have any feelings, that we were given the basics and should be happy with that? It is almost like they didn't consider me a human being. More like a possession they had to provide for, and drag around with them.

Back to the topic of religion. I am not completely against organized religion. I feel everyone has to find their own individual way that gives themselves peace of mind in this crazy world. As long as they 'practice what they preach', so to speak. I am deeply spiritual myself, my beliefs are not specific, but lie in the areas of yoga practice, meditation and eastern religions. Now, I myself have had people tell me Yoga is a cult! lol It sort of makes me laugh, because I have always been quite strongly against organized religion, yet my practice is also 'organized' to some degree. sigh. I am not fanatical though, and remain open minded about other people's beliefs without criticizing them, or disregarding them. I think that is what the difference is, to me, in regards to the term 'organized religion'. What I don't like about alot of church based religions is that they are completely closed minded towards anyone elses beliefs, and think their way is the only way. That is what irks me about them. They become very cliquey, and sometimes people will not even associate themselves with people outside of their group.

Dave, We do have alot in common. I agree with the way you are handling the situation with the questionaire, I can understand that you have reached the end of your rope. Bickering back and forth with them does nothing other than create more bad feelings of resentment.

My dad was very popular with his drinking buddies, the life of the party! And get this...he was a cop! In a small town, they were sort of looked upon as pillars of the community at that time. I remember them all getting together at our house and drinking confiscated liquor. That always confused me, because when I was a little kid, I used to be so proud that my dad was a cop, dispite all he did, I used to brag about it. When he did terrible things, and acted like an idiot, it confused me. I guess I wanted to be proud of him. Really disappointing, but I didn't know what my feelings were at the time it was happening, I was too young, and I didn't get it. I remember hating and fearing all his beligerant friends though. I dreaded them coming over, dreaded partys, and dreaded any sort of family gathering with extended family. As I knew it would always be over the top drinking. I spent alot of time feeling embarrassed, worried, and basically stressed. Too bad, because I resent not having been able to enjoy a carefree childhood in any way. And even thought they would never admit it, it affected me.

Flower, I remember I met some of my mom and dad's AA friends, and they were all creepy too. They became their life. Anyone who drank at all, they no longer associated with. It makes me sick that they laughed at their behaviour, I saw my parents do this ALOT. They act like they were just disruptive children, getting into all sorts of mischief! It was much more serious than just that, and created lasting wounds. That is not really addressed by them from what I can tell. Yes, there is a 'step' where they are supposed to talk to the people they hurt and admit it, but my father obviously skipped over that step, or possibly is oblivious to the fact he caused any harm at all. I tend to think he is of the mind-set, like my mother, that things could have been much worse (ie, they think I am just lucky to be alive, after all some people living with alcohlics are shot and killed. He was not THAT bad!) They think that way, and I remember them both saying things like that. Wow, sick.

They should talk about their past antics seriously, and should be humiliated by all their mistakes. It was not funny, not funny in any way. None of it. Oh my, and the fact some of the men hit on you after the meeting...wow, that is so wrong considering what people are really supposed to be there for, for support. Trying to pick someone up when they are already feeling vulnerable. Low, disgusting, lewd behavior - but not something that surprises me considering these people are hiding their own deep issues behind 'AA'.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I have not heard of it before, or the website. It will be a difficult read, but I will most defnintely check it out and read it.

Spiritual abuse, that is an interesting term. I can relate to that. That is exactly what it is.

I feel a huge amount of cleansing going on this week within myself, purging all this garbage that I have not thought of for such a long time is such a relief. I never really realized how crazy,and cruel some of these things were until I think about them now.

Take care everyone..Thanks once again for listening and being here, I am so glad I found you guys.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Silver, Sage, Dave and Everyone,

Silver you said, "Being willing to take responsibility for one's actions is difficult. It's hard to say I'm wrong and I'm sorry." I agree, but then I wonder the reasons why it is so hard. Is it because of our parents and how they failed to take responsibility for themselves and didn't model humility or demonstrate how to apologize, or how to empathize with others. And if they did fail us, it is not too late for us to make those changes to improve the quality of our relationships (maybe not with them). I think you Sage and Dave demonstrate empathy in your responses. I think we are all instrospective about our behaviors.

Silver, I can relate to what you say here and it is so true of my parents, despite their denying otherwise, "No one else has a valid view." I believe that for so many people being right at all costs is far more important than relationships. Its very rigid and destruction thinking, and unfortunately the costs are huge.

My mother cant take responsibility and neither could my father or my siblings. They cant even acknowledge my feelings or point of view. Disagreements I can handle, but when people respond dismissively with sarcasm, slights, and criticism that is an entirely different issue. Sadly, Ive known very few people who do take responsibility or make amends. The good friend who recently visited me did so, after I got very hurt in a situation involving another person. Sadly, I find this the exception rather than the rule. That is a long story, but he recognized the hurt this other person created and his involvement in it. Of course, it was "unintentional", but he still took responsibility and acknowledged the hurt. His willingness to acknowledge his part helped to foster a greater closeness and depth to our relationship, which probably would not have been possible if he had tried to manipulate a "look the other way," approach and response, or pretended that it didnt happen. I knew he was sincere as well. Of course he values the relationship with me, more than inflexibility of his positions or getting his own way and theres the key difference. His ego isnt so huge that it prevents him from seeing that he occasionally can make a mistake, hurting others as a consequence. He also acknowledged my process of how he could help me to let it go. It was very healing for me, especially since it was another situation of betrayal and spiritual abuse. But again, he demonstrated behavior which I find is the exception, rather than the rule. Most people want to blame, sweep it under the rug, pretend it didn't happen, or insist you look the other way, citing that they are "only human", "make mistakes", "imperfect", or it was "unintentional", rather than step up to the plate and apologize and acknowledge feelings--the latter behaviors fostering healty relationships and healing.

Silver, I think my attempted suicide and hospitalization a bit different of a situation, than the one you described. However I think the response of resentment, anger and inconvenience the same and that is what I think you were responding too. And no it wasnt nice, it wasnt loving response and you didnt deserve it. Its the attitude of a selfish child"its all about me, its all about me" blah, blah, blah. "That's interesting. I was hospitalized for a few days in ICU in high school because of an adverse reaction to some medication, combined with a really bad flu. When my mother walked in the room she said "well, you got what you wanted, didn't you? All the attention on you"

"Have you noticed this coming through you toward your kids? Sometimes I notice a lack of caring/consideration coming through to my daughter. She really wants to be babied, and I have a really hard time doing the "oh baby, poor you, are you ok" thing that "normal" moms do. If I catch myself, I can do it, but my instinct is to tell her to buck up and keep trucking instead of seeing what she needs and providing that for her. And not in a catering to a baby way, but just being able to see what someone needs (a hug, a kiss, a pat on the back, a hand up) and provide it. I'm a little awkward in that aspect, and it feels funny."

Silver, regarding what you said above, I agree with what Dave wrote. I think you are doing your best and you are one step ahead because you recognize your behavior. Give yourself credit for recognizing it, instead of just reacting on auto-pilot the way many people would. I think you know the answer as to where it comes from, but you know you can change that. I think it important to try to offer a balance of "buck up" and keep trucking mitigated with responding to her needs with a pat on the back, a hug and kiss. I tend to feel that if you over cater and do too much babying that it creates dependency and that creates a whole different set of problems. A lot of parents foster this and it comes at a high price down the road, but then again I think it all about the parents desire to feel needed and their ego.

Yes, being in a blue mood or a funky place is a whole lot different than clinical depression. I know, as Ive suffered that type of depression and it is not something that one can "snap out of" or just have "happy, positive thoughts" and "get busy". You lose your ability to concentrate and its very, very debilitating and if left untreated can worsen. No one in the world would ever want to wake up feeling depressed. Yet, there are still people out there that think that way, despite all the scientific evidence which proves otherwise. A lot of people are resistant to education and knowledge about the subject, which is quite sad, given all the people who suffer. Sadly, these types of people make the situation even worse and seem to have a knack for finding the downtrodden and kicking them when they are down, instead of actually being helpful, or problem-solving. These types of thinking are prevalent in families where there is mental illnesseveryone denying and denying and making the situation worse.

Well, you take care..Ill try to post again later this week.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

I agree there are a lot of abusive parents out there who do not consider their actions in the least bit abusive. My children had many friends who would seek shelter from the storm at our home especially on the weekends. In fact one of my daughter's friends mother went so far as to deny her the food brought into the home...after she turned 16 she expected her to work to earn and pay for her own food, toiletries, clothes, etc. Needless to say I furnished her with a lot of meals, soap, shampoo, etc. Another friend was verbally abused every time (almost every week-end) his step father would drink and he also spent a lot of time in my home. In fact-I made sure he had a key. I had a lot of parents call after 2:00 in the morning (when the bars closed) looking for their teenager-who was wrapped up in blankets and a sleeping bag on my floor. I did what I called "head checks." I never got mad at the parents, I was actually glad they at least called to see where their kid was. I was never make aware of any sexual abuse-but I did wonder at times.
I was not perfect-I know-but I did try...and I have asked "what did I do wrong" many, many times...I really don't know and I have reacked my brain trying to see what I could have done to distance my children away. Unlike the parents you speak of-my children have not old me why they are estranged from me. I bought books for girlfriends who didn't have any family support. Made trips across the country to rescue them from a marriage, tragedy (wreaks) and other peoples cruel parents....Honestly-I try and try- NO-I've never sent a letter like Dave received from his parents. I think that was cruel and was intended to make him feel responsibility for their mistakes, and I am glad he didn't buy into it!
I am sorry for the injustices - cruelty you have all suffered, and I am so glad you have found some peace in sharing with each other. I do think it's helpful to share especially when you know someone is going to understand and give you the acceptance you need to heal.
You all sound like mature, loving adults and I think for that you can each thank yourself. They say "pressure makes diamonds." and I believe you are "diamonds by now."
Take care of your hearts.
stray


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

I don't know what to say Stray.
From what your write, it seems fair to assume that you feel that in your own mind you have helped people alot, that you have gone out of your way for your kids, and your kids friends and others. Giving people things, a place to stay, maybe money, or meals when they need them. That is generous. Whether that indicates how you treated your own kids, as a parent - I don't know.

Perhaps your children thought you spent more time worrying about other people and they felt they didn't get the personal, and emotional attention from you that they needed? Maybe they didn't respect the fact that you didn't set any limits, and allowed their friends to crash at your house after the bar closed? Perhaps they viewed you as a pushover for doing so? And having all those other kids around must have been somewhat disruptive, and taken some attention away from your own family? Or maybe they viewed your 'help' as interfereing with their friends lives, rather than helping them? Parents calling you after 2AM to check if their kid was at your house, and you doing a head count, something seems very wrong about that to me.

I don't know for sure, and I am guessing, because I don't know your whole story. So if I am off base, I apologize for that. It is just a few thoughts that come to mind strictly from reading your last post in an effort to help you figure out why your children won't have contact with you now.

Some of the things that are shared here are very blatent examples of abuse are the injustices that anyone can see. They are clearly 'wrong', 'cruel', 'abusive'. They spur horror in people, and anyone who has not experienced these things first hand is shocked, and horrified by them! But we all also write of the more subtle things that really hurt us too. Honestly, the things that hurt me the most were more of these subtle things like not paying attention to me, not caring how I felt, disregarding my emotions. And even simply not spending time with me. I feel more resentment for that, than the sexual abuse. That may seem weird, but it is the truth.

Again, and we have discussed this before, I have an extremely hard time believing a child, or all of your children in your particular case, would just become estranged from you for no reason whatsoever. Your children have reasons. You are just not aware of what their reasons are. If they are not even able to speak of it, it has to be something that hurts them deeply. I am sure when they are ready to tell you, they will. Or maybe not. It is not an easy thing to do, and some people just choose to stuff their emotions inside forever, and estrange themselves from the hurt. I can relate to that. I hope that they will tell you to your face 'why' sometime.

Maybe a therapist could assist you in analyzing the past, and give you some good insight into the possible 'whys'. Instead of just feeling like you have no idea at all what you could have done. You are missing something, and I have no idea what it is. All I have written are just possibilities, based on the very little I know about you. If you want to know why, you need to take some action and work towards figuring it out. Good luck..

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Thanks Sage. I do know how... I just couldn't believe it but I just had it repeated to me tonight by my ex-husband so I guess it's true. Christmas eve two years ago, while I was at a church service my garage door was vandalized-even the hinges were broken and removed, and the sides wouldn't even go down. The police came and took a report and said it must have been someone who had a real anger issue with me and wanted to know if I had any ideas who. I didn't.
Later my step-father called and said my ex had been over to their house that night upset. (their house was less then a mile from mine). He had told my step father and mother that our children had told him I had cheated on him when we were married (by the way, not true). I couldn't believe my kids had said this but he could have said our children told him that as an excuse for thinking or feeling them out...you know how divorces bring out the worst in people....Anyway my step father suggested that he was the one who destroyed the door.
The next day I called him and two of my grown children were with him. I asked him if he destroyed the door and explained that if he did he needed to pay the deductible on the insurance. He didn't say anything just hung up on me. Apparently he told our children, they got mad-stormed over to my house and my oldest son screamed something so terrible to this day I can't believe it....over and over and over.
I know they were hurt over the divorce, but each admitted; he was a good father, but a bad husband...now he is a HERO.
So-that is what I did.
No, I always spent time with them, in fact as teenagers if they became irritable I declared the next Saturday Mom's Day which meant we spend the say together doing whatever. Just spending time together. Their friends did spend a lot of time at their house because my children liked to stay home and it was happy and safe.
Their friends were at our house and it was the parents who were at the bars and called at 2:00 am looking for their children. When I said I did a head check I meant I told the parents I checked and yes their child was spending the night. I always knew who was staying over. I didn't have a house full because I brought them home...they were friends of my children.
My mother asked me once how I could afford to feed their friends and I explained it was a blessing to know they were safe and who their friends were and that they wanted to be home. Once my son and a few of his friends were invited to a party at another friends home. They left and came right back; my son asked if they could order pizza and I said sure but what happened? He said they got there and alcohol was out for everyone, so they left. This was at a prominent doctor's home! I was so proud of him and his friends.
You know, one thing I always tried to make sure of was every night no matter what, before my children went to
sleep that they knew how very much I loved them. I tried with all my heart and soul to be a good mother. That's all I have ever wanted...all.
I was not perfect, but I tried. And I am still trying.
You are probably right..."in my own mind."
stray


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage, Dave, Silver...Everyone,

Sage, I can relate to what you say here too, "thanks for your kind words, the understanding is appreciated and something I don't hear very often." In my family I was always criticized. I never felt appreciated or loved for who I was/am. That was not the message I heard. Ditto for my in-laws and their hostility and rejection. The only time I may have ever heard a kind word was when I performed exactly how they thought I should. I had to win their approval and this is not a healthy message to give a child--that they are loved for what they do, rather than who they are. I also have a fairly extreme aversion to joining groups of any kind. Ive experienced and seen far too much manipulation, deceit and especially abuse of power and then, of course, all the DENIAL.

As a teenager I did hook up with destructive people and they were a type of familyit felt like they were accepting me for who I was (my familys behaviors made me very vulnerable). I eventually came to realize that it was superficial and I removed myself from the damaging influences. I don't credit my family or anyone other than myself for pulling away from these destructive influences.

I have an aversion to groups in general which Im certain is very much tied to my past and experiences as an adult. I just dont tend to trust the group mentality. I think people are prone to "cult" type thinking anyway-demonstrating rigid doctrines and thinking, inability to tolerate a different opinion and the vying for control at the expense of individual members. I've experienced far too much abuse of authority...I tend to be more of a loner, rather than cave in to the unhealthy, inflexible stereotyping that groups tend to impose.

Sage, I can also relate to what you say here as well, "I have not told many people about my past, other than my husband, and have never shared as much detail as I have here on this forum. The few people I have told a little about my past, and my feelings of wanting to cut off contact with my parents, has been met with comments like "But you just can't do that; they are your parents!!" I havent provided as much detail in this forum as you have. It is too overwhelming to me at times. Truthfully, it hasnt been for lack of trying to reach out to other people (in my personal life), but responses were similar to what you indicate and judgmental as well, so it has been a huge disappointment to me. Ive found most people lacking in insight or empathy. Having people dismiss me as "too sensitive," always focusing on themselves and their needs and then dismissing my feelings has not been conducive to providing me with an emotionally safe environment. And certainly not one where Id feel compelled to open up. A lot of people tell me I'm reserved (well why wouldn't I be in the face of their insensitivity and selfishness). My experience of most people is that they just dont care. Its all about them. They want you to listen to them, but they cant be bothered with you. It has not been a two-way street; at least this is not what Ive experienced. I am thankful for this forum and Im glad that Ive found you here

Sage, you didnt cross the line about AA and religion and I wouldnt think you are an idiot for expressing your opinion, even if I disagreed with you, which I don't. I agree that they are touchy subjects, but you are not alone. So many of your posts have re-stimulated a lot of similar experiences and emotions in me.the same with Daves posts. My parents were not alcoholics, although my grandfather was an alcoholic and there were other relatives who had those problems too. I think my father stopped drinking when I born, but to my knowledge he didnt abuse it. We were raised Baptist (NOT Southern Baptist and there is a difference). It was similar to Methodist. I rebelled and stopped attending my parent's church when I was a teenager and was influenced to attend another famous Evangelical "fundamentalist" church. I studied eastern religions and philosophy in college and the negative, close-minded responses from the other church membersfrom just desiring to educate myself compelled me to leave the church. I despise zealots and religionists of any kind. I'm extremely intolerant of anyone who in any way, shape or form demonstrates any kind of control and manipulation period. And this is especially so of those who try to dictate my spirituality. That is spiritual abuse of the worst kind and it just fills me with rage and hostility.

Your last post has really re-stimulated a lot of experiences for me, which I will touch on when I have more time to respond. Theres so much you say that resonates with me.Thank you for listening and being here.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Stray, Sounds like your kids hold anger regarding the divorce, which is understandable, especially if it got ugly as it unfortunately often does. That violence is disturbing! Perhaps the issues around the divorce are part of their reason for estrangement. I am familiar with the term 'head count', and knew exactly what you meant by it. While it is generous to want to take care of these kids, and help fix things for them, I am not sure if that was actually helping the kids, or whether it really did any good for your own kids. I don't know? I say that because when I was a teenager, there were certain parents homes which we used to 'crash' at. Can't say these parents were viewed by us as being helpful...we viewed them more like a place to stay where we could do whatever we wanted, come home as late as we wanted, drunk or not, without getting hassled by any adults.

Flower, Yes, I know what you mean, this has been bringing up alot of hurtful, and almost numbing, feelings for me too. Good to get them out though, I think it is therapeutic...alot of this I have not thought about in a long time. I think you have to analyze it, when you are ready, and then let it go.

I have to watch how long I allow myself to go 'there' because I have the tendency to mull about it too much, and it is emotionally exhausting. While I was writing the letter to my mother, I found myself spending hours just sitting there, thinking about it, thinking about the past, thinking about events that happened - I really thought hard to make sure I was remembering everything that happened - and it was getting to me in bad way. So I have to keep tabs on it, and I think you do too! It is like I am holding my breathe when I write here.....sigh...! Gotta breathe! :)

One thing I didn't mention with my father, sort of forgot about (or blocked, because it makes me so disgustingly ill!) is that after he quit drinking, and was all involved in AA, he became addicted to perscription meds. Slept alot, was dopey alot, half asleep all the time. Stoned, I suppose would be the appropriate term!! I understand it is a replacement addiction. Quit one substance, start another. He still leans on drugs, heavily. My mother told me once that he got a perscription, but didn't know what it was for, but was still taking the pills anyway! She told me the drug name, and they were anti depressants for god sake! Just another one to add to the mix. He also joined other clubs/cults like Knights of Columbus (associated with the Catholic Church) and the Masons. I guess after all he did, these groups, including AA, made him feel like a 'good person' - whatever that means. Geesh, I had forgotton about that. Good to remember though, because when I look at the whole picture, it just makes me realize the craziness that surrounded me.

Yes, the whole group mentality can be weird and any group can become cult-like I think, if people are vulnerable to that. rickross.com has a good website on cults too. A friend of mine who lived in Austrailia got caught up in some motivational speaker type cult, I did some research on it for her, which led me to the Rick Ross website which had an article on that particular speaker. Thank goodness she came to her senses and quit her involvement with it. It was scary, and disturbing.

I can see the allure of cults/gangs/religion though. When you don't have strong family ties a person seeks out somewhere to feel like they belong. I can see how people who feel particularly isolated, or lonely, get sucked into these groups. I went through that, especially as a teenager, but as an adult too.

It is OK to be sensitive, I have learned that is a good quality, not a bad one. And I think it is true, most people do only care about themselves, I agree! But that doesn't mean you have to let people like that into your life. We discussed this awhile back. I am very selective, and become more selective as I get older as to who I let near me. I just can't deal with toxic people, am very impatient with that as I feel I am 'sensitive' to their affects, and well...life is too damn short. I am tired of trying to change people, as I know that is impossible to do, or waiting, tolerating them, and hoping they will eventually change. My husband and I talk about that alot. We know alot of people, aquaintences, and are constantly meeting new people all the time, because we run our own business. We have a smaller circle of friends than we used to and like it that way. Actually, I would rather be all alone than with jerks. I used to fear being alone, but am comfortable with it now.

I think I wouldn't have even had such issues with my father's drinking if he just admitted to it, apologized, maybe just some acknowlegement was all that was needed. But that is all speculation now, because right now I KNOW that I will NEVER KNOW! I am accepting that. I have to catch myself when I start getting lost in thinking about the ''what if's''. Right now, that is not what is going to help me heal. Thanks to you for listening too.

Dave, Hope you are doing OK dealing with the aftermath of the questionaire. I know the feelings that creep up are hard to ignore, but I am sure you are dealing with it. Been thinking about you anyways, although I know that doesn't help a whole lot! ;o) Wish there was something I could say that would help though...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

I've been a little busy. My garage door torsion spring door broke (you can get the door up, but it's very, very heavy), and I've been busy looking for parts, and figuring out how to repair it. I also went skiing yesterday :-)

I seem to have worked through a lot of the unpleasantness regarding the "questionnaire", and am feeling much better. Thank you all for your support and encouragement. It really helps to have friends, when things like this happen. Everybody should have friends like you. You guys are great!

You've all posted really insightful comments about religion, AA and cult-like groups. Like you Sage, I was raised Catholic. When I was 14 I told my mother that I would no longer go to church. I did this because I was profoundly unhappy at home and going to church where they talked about love, generousity, and kindness made no sense to me. It seemed fake, because "real" life in my family was mean, selfish, angry, critical, cold and at times violent. However, even as a teenager I remember being drawn to some kind of spirituality. I became very interested in eastern religions and meditation. In the 80's I lived near Boulder, Colorado and got involved with a large Tibetan Buddhist community with their very own Tibetan Buddhist Master, Chogyam Trungpa, who had escaped from Tibet in 1959. Trungpa turns out to be a notorious alcoholic who dies of sclerosis of the liver. Before he dies, he appoints a successor "The Regent", who turns out to have aids and infects several members of the community, before he dies from aids. There's more I won't go into. Needless to say, I lost interest in this group.

I still continued to be drawn to spirituality, but it was on my own. Eventually, I came back to a more Christian view of spirituality, but on my own terms. I do believe that "all rivers lead us to the ocean", in that all spiritual paths lead us to connect with our spiritual nature. I am painfully aware that most organized religions/groups have too many scoundrels, predators, and hypocrites. But I've also found some very good people there too. My strategy now is to not let the bad people keep me from enjoying what is good in the world. It's my world too! Bad people stole my childhood from me, I refuse to let them take anything else good away from me.

Sage, you mentioned your father was a cop. Mine was in the military. Protecting his country, while terrorizing his family. Fathers in uniform. Mine was also some big shot in the Knights of Columbus. Hmmmm.....

Flower, I want to mention that you seem stronger and more confident than when you first joined this forum. I don't know if I'm reading you correctly, but I wanted to say it. You seemed to be in a stronger more self assured place.

Stray, thank you for your sympathy and kind words. I'm sorry to hear about the estrangement in your family. Estrangements are sad, painful affairs that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I hope you can find the healing and peace that we all need.

I'll share with you all another one of my favorite bumper stickers,

"It's never too late to have a happy childhood".

I spent too much time being miserable when I was younger. While life still has its setbacks, I consciously work at focusing more on doing things that makes me and others truly happy. Bark less, wag more. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello everyone,

Dave, Sorry about the garage door, I know those things can be a royal pain to fix! You sound happy, and thanks for bringing a smile to my face today. Glad you are handling it all in stride. Time for us to be happy, it is, I could not agree more.

Flower, I agree with Dave, you seem alot more stronger than when we first 'met' here. I think that is great! :) Gaining a little understanding goes a long way, this forum has helped me feel stronger too.

Dave, Wow, more similarities. Yes, a uniform really means nothing, does it? So much value is put on that piece of clothing, just another facade to hide behind. My dad was some kind of ""Grand Poobah"" too...it is sickening how people hide behind these organizations, isn't it?! It makes me so angry.

I have heard similar stories of many different buddhist 'gurus' too. It is sick, and disappointing. I believe you have to find ''god'' within yourself, while using spiritual guides of your own choice, which may or may not be a part of a religious organization, to guide oneself to your very own place....the place which is God. Hope that makes sense! lol And, in the meantime, a person has to be so careful to navigate around these crooked groups, they seem to be absolutely everywhere, in every religion.

I have considered getting involved in a Buddhist group, but I did not care for our local group - same thing, alot of people in it were just such hypocrites! I attended a couple of their functions, but it didn't feel right. So I practice on my own, read alot, participate in a yoga class, and go on occasional meditation retreats - and I prefer that be the extent of my involvement with any 'group'.

I have found it very comforting and fulfilling to explore my own spirituality. I think it is important, and I don't feel such a void within myself anymore, like I used to. I think I was missing real spirituality in my life all along. The Catholic religion used to scare me when I was a kid. All that talk of purgatory, confession, rituals, and hell. I never really believed in it. I also found it to be so ironic that what was preached, was never practiced in our own home. It was confusing.

ha ha ha, I LOVE that bumper sticker. I need to find one for my car!!! lol

I am so glad to be back in the groove with my music. I let it fall by the wayside over the Xmas season a little, it is like it dies for awhile when I feel troubled. It is so weird. Glad it came back though, it always does, and is a good sign that things are on the up and up! :)

Take care everyone, have yourselves a great weekend!
Sage


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Abuse and Organized Religion

Hello Sage, Dave...Everyone,

Hello everyone,

Sage, now Ive got a little time to respondI can really relate to what you say here as it is exactly how I feel, "I am not a fan of organized religion, obviously, and have had a lot of personal experience with people who are hypocrites who use religion to hide behind." And also what you say here, "I also saw many really seriously bad people, time and time again, who were high ranking in their churches."

I saw the same thingpillars of the community abusing others and their authority and hiding behind their positions and the church. Ive personally known of several women who were the victims of incest and their fathers were ministers. I had a high ranking man of the church tell me that "sperm was good for women. He rationalized his aggressive, disgusting sexualized behavior towards me, while at the same time blaming me for his inappropriate conduct. I was only a teenager. Unfortunately, Ive found these behaviors all too common and even more disturbing; no one is ever around to turn to for support. They were all oblivious. In fact, a lot of times they would "disbelieve" me. Is this willful ignorance?

In my eyes most people in the church are complicit in the abuseit is just easier for them to look the other way, as it would disrupt their life, so they will not have to take responsibility. It is easier for them to "blame the victim," Of course, if they are on the receiving end of abusethey want you to help them, but they couldnt care less about you otherwise. No one has the right to tell me to "forgive and forget".

My father used scripture to advance his own agendas when he sexualized the relationship with me. He actually used the Old Testament claiming men had sex and married their own daughters to reproduce. He tried to make it sound like this was acceptable in the eyes of GOD. He would focus on my virginity as being important to men like it was some kind of prize. Even worse was that he lectured me about how my value and worth as a woman was based solely on my virginity, age and perceived beauty. He also actually told my older sister that if he ever caught us "screwing around with guys that he would try us out for himself." He said and did even worse things than that.

Unfortunately, Ive met and worked with a lot of men who routinely have abused their authority by trying to sexualize relationships with subordinates (me). Its occurred in several different work environmentseven a Vice President of a company that sexually harassed me. Its hard to explain and went way beyond that. When it is a VP or CEO, companies are more invested in overlooking the behaviors or dismissing it entirely. I stood up for myself and that is a long story, but a woman I knew who worked there told me that people (mainly the other women co-workers) spread rumors that I was a "whore and a slut", despite the fact that I didnt encourage the low-life (they couldnt be bothered to know the truth) and rebuked his behaviors. So, again it was another life experience of violation and betrayal, involving the complicit behaviors of other women. This was a huge motivating factor in why I struck out on my own, starting several of my own businesses.

Back to the subject of religionI also agree and have similar feelings to what you observe about your experiences of the church. There was too much dissonance between actions and what is preachedtoo much "hypocrisy," lies and excuse-making. All the emphasis was on intent, rather than consequence. Perpetrators and manipulators can always fall back on how "imperfect" they are quoting scripture out of context and twisting it to further their own self-serving agendas. Organized religion was never a place of solace or comfort, but a scary confusing place that harbored and enabled perpetratorsit was a complicit ally in providing them with an environment ripe for spiritual, emotional and physical desecration and abuse of the worst kind. And all those Sunday school lessons and sermonswhere you said, "Of course nothing was ever explained." I doubt I will ever be able to step into a church again.

I feel rage at the malignant hypocrisy of organized religion, although I dont demonstrate it. Im convinced that religionists really dont care at all about people. If they did wouldnt they practice what they preached"? Wouldnt it be demonstrated in their actions? They care about money and power and they fail their members and especially their children. I didnt find religion or bible study or any of it, a place of comfort. There was no understanding, no empathy and no compassion. If I could count on anything it was recognizing that it was just another hopeless situation where I would never receive any type of help or compassion and NO one to turn tooto help solve a problem. Instead, problems were ignored, and there was more abuse and twisting of scripturethere was never any acknowledgement of any kindjust the offering of "pray for them" and "forgive and forget". Yes, people use religion to hide behindto clear their own conscience of any wrong doing. Seems to me its more a place where perpetrators can turn to others to enable them to avoid taking responsibility, and where they can get the help of others to conveniently turn their problem into yours. They want empathy and compassion, but they do not give it.

I am not completely against organized religion either and would agree that everyone has to find their own individual way. I have a scientific background, but I also cant quite make the leap of unfaith. I agree with what you expressed about the need to witness people who 'practice what they preach', so to speak. Truthfully, and even more disappointing, is that I seldom find thatlack of integrity and accountability seem more commonplace to me. I guess Ive experienced far too much abuse of powerthe phony gurus seem to be as common as cockroaches. Its hard to spot a trickster when he/she has their trickery well placed. I remain always guardeda coping mechanism Ive accepted about myself, despite the irritation that others feel towards me for not immediately trusting their motives (trust and respect is earned), and the negative connotations that they unjustly try to burden me with.

Like you Sage, I also try to remain open minded about other people's beliefs without criticizing them, or disregarding them. The only exception to that is if I detect any type of proselytizing, or any type of manipulation. I dislike arrogance and see it for what it is. And I remain wary and cautious of anyone who tries to frame themselves as trying to help me. That is disrespectful. They need to learn how to differentiate between help and compassion. These behaviors incite rage (undemonstrated) and cynicism. I remain always wary and cautious. I get irked about the same behaviors you observethe close-mindedness, the cliques and the cult-like behaviors of the groups. Sometimes, I feel truly contemptuous towards the subservient, accountability-avoidant herd-mentality of groups. They always seem composed of sheepeoples whod make a lemming look like a rugged individualist.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi again...

These posts have restimulated a lot and it feels good to write about it...to get it out!

Sage, I also spent my childhood much as you did, "worried, and basically stressed." I was also fearful. I, like you, often felt and feel resentment at not having been able to enjoy a carefree childhood. There were moments of course, but it was crazy-making. I, like you, always felt constantly "stressed" and "like I was going crazy at a really young age". Ditto for your observation, "I just wanted out and wanted the worry and stress to stop already." I wanted the sexual abuse to stopall the cruelty.

My family (mother and father), like yours, exhibited a similar convenient type of mind-set (that we didnt experience and were not that "abused") that "things could have been much worse," etc. Yes, they think that way and, I like you, recall them both saying things like that, and turning it all into how they were abused, or providing reasons as excuses. Yes, I agree that is SICK! My mother basically knows nothing about my life and at this stage and given her mental illnessit will not happen. Shes is/was basically a DENIER and an enabler. And yes, she choose to use religion and twist her deficient parenting skills into what "horrible children we were," to clear her own conscience of any wrong doing on her part. She cant bear to address her own issues or take responsibility for them and frames everything as, "she thought she was 'doing the right thing'."

Yes, I feel similar about my mother that, "Once again, it was all about her! Leaving my father, or at least standing up for her daughter's would have meant she would have had to take responsibility, it would not have been easy, and her own life would have been disrupted PLUS she would look bad to everyone around her. Easier to just hide it, say nothing and carry on. As an adult that was easy for her to do. As a kid, I did not have the coping skills to just brush everything off." Yes, this unfortunately resonates for me tooalways dealing with the crazy and cruel behaviors and doing my best to cope.

I stay away from the AA types and religious types and anyone basically that exhibits narcissistic behaviors. Ive become more of a loner. It hasn't been for lack of trying that I haven't found empathetic people to turn too. I just haven't been so fortunate I guess--so many people are self-involved. Becoming a loner has really been the only way that Ive been able to cope and persevere. I'm not anti-social. I do have to turn inward to regain my sense of self--to solidfy and strengthen. This has always been what I've had to do to survive.

I also agree about the creepy, low AA people and the laughing about behaviors that were very serious and create lasting wounds. I also agree that they tend to behave like they were "just disruptive children, getting into all sorts of mischief!" They only give lip service to the idea of accountability and gloss over their destructive, abusive behaviors. Yes, they skip the steps of being accountable and responsible for their actions. I deal with them by dismissing them out of my existence. Unfortunately my husband has not been very helpful in this regard. His people-pleasing made him attract these types into our life together--all his own issues, but they've become mine.

As far as the book goes I havent read it (I've read so many others), but Ive spent a lot of time on the websitetheres so much good information there and I appreciate his insight. Prior to finding you here, I really didn't think people who felt like me even existed. His website encouraged me.

I've also done a lot of research on the rickross website too. I got a lot of good information on cults there as well as on manipulation and control.

Sorry this has been so long. I wanted to respond sooner. And thanks once again for listening and being here, I am so glad I found you guys...and take care


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower,

You have a lot you deserve to be angry about. I dont think Ive met anyone who has been as abused, betrayed and disrespected as you. I know from my experience that being betrayed by my parents made it hard to believe that anyone else was trustworthy. This led me to a lot of anger, fear, anxiety, and finally depression. I also think Ive been attracted to people like my parents as a way of reenacting this painful relationship with them, perhaps hoping I could get it right the second time. I never did. Sometimes, when we dig ourselves into a hole, the only solution is to stop digging. Ive discovered that there are ways out of all this to a better life, but it is not an easy road. I hope that writing in this forum is helping you move forward in dealing with all of the terribly abusive situations you have experienced, and helping you find a better life than you have experienced in the past. Take care of your heart. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello everyone,

Flower, Glad you can relate, ya, feels good to just get it out. I think it helps alot. I think religion, politics and any position of power over others invites corruption. Seems to be the case alot. I also think alot of people who have the tendency to abuse children, seek out positions where they are in power over children. Minister, teachers, etc. Being a parent is also a position of 'power', that is unfortunately often abused in many ways, sometimes sexually, emotionally, physically. These people must really feel low about themselves to inflict such pain on others, especially children. It is sick, and disgusts me. These people know kids will likely not be 'believed', and they manipulate them into believing that is the case. Religion has always been used as a means of political control and fear mongoring since the begining of time. Not all that much has changed with it, in my opinion!

"My father used scripture to advance his own agendas when he sexualized the relationship with me. He actually used the Old Testament claiming men had sex and married their own daughters to reproduce." That is terrible, I am sorry he did that to you, he is a sick man. I think you realize that. That is typical cult like behavior, isn't it? He uses sex, and threats of sex, as control.

My career was very male dominated, and I was the only women in management, plus there was alot of socializing with clients, drinking and such - so I did see the behaviour. I was never put in a compromising position, but definitely was subjected to some verbal comments about my sex, and it was humiliating. I never had that happen with any of my managers, but I did know of that happening with others. One was taken to the point of filing a complaint with Human Rights. I did see how people in higher positions did get away with it, and subordinates were dis-believed. Sick sick sick. On the other hand, I have seen women use their sexuality, have affairs with managers, etc. to get what they wanted - perks, more money, able to get away with doing less work, and even promotions. I worked for large corporations, and it is just amazing that this all went on when there were so many ''programs'' in place to prevent abuse, and these programs were always being advertised. Yikes.

I am glad to be self employed now as well. Seeing some of the crooked behaviour by upper management was also a huge motivating factor for me. Maybe I was more sensitive to this type of behaviour, I don't know. And I don't know if that sensitivity stems from my upbringing or not. I seriously don't think I could deal with the whole corporate b.s. and office politics at this point in my life!! Being self-employed has been a much better way for us, we like having control of who works with us, who we work for, and we can make sure none of the horrible things that we witnessed in our former working lives, never happens in our company. We are very small, and not a huge multi-national corporation like the ones I worked for, so it is easier. While I think in larger companies, there is only so much they can do. Perhaps there are improvements they could make, but people will be people, and management can't ''control'' what everyone does. Overall, I think people are generally mean and like to see others fail. I know, that sounds sour, but when I sum it all up, that is the conclusion I come to! lol Machiavellian..! I am not saying there are not some good people around. I know there are, but they are not as abundant.

Sounds like typical behaviour from your fellow women co-workers. I hate saying this, being a women myself, but I have found other women I have worked with have been less than supportive of me as a manager, than men. And also found that they thrive on the gossip. I have seem men behave like that too, but unfortunately, I think women are worse. It is too bad, but that is what my experience has been. Being in a male dominated field of work, I did not expect this, I thought women would support eachother - that is certainly how I felt - but I quickly realized it was not that way, very early on. I don't know if it is intimidation or jealousy or what. Never quite figured that one out. I understand the feelings of betrayal though when you are subjected to that sort of exclusion.

Diehard people who lean on their 'religion' of choice use it to further themselves in the business community, to boost their own ego because they deem themselves as 'good' people if they belong to a church, and as a means clearing their own consciences..because no matter what they do, they can pray for forgiveness....or on the other hand, use the scripture to justify their abuse, as your father did.
I think people do find it hard to be on their own as far as spirituality and religion goes. They want justification themselves that they are doing the right thing, and that what they are doing is 'real'. I know this feeling, because I felt I was looking for a group of people to join for a long time, only to always always always be disappointed. So I am leaning towards finding spirituality by myself. And realizing it is OK to be alone. I used to have a real fear of being alone in general, not just spiritually, but physically and socially. I am not afraid of that anymore. I am quite content being alone, and with a small group of friends. In the past I used to always want to have lots of people around me, good, bad, or whatever,that is when I felt 'secure'. Not anymore. As I said before, I would much rather be alone than be surrounded by jerks. I just get annoyed now very easily! lol

I think the level of disappointment and abuse we suffered as kids, makes us even more sensitive to this sort of thing. I have to believe that. I get very cynical, and I just want out when I sense any sort of dishonesty, corruption, half truths....maybe I jump to conclusions a little too fast sometimes, but I have a big fear of rejection. As adults we CAN control who we allow close to us, and we choose whether we allow them to hurt us. That is a luxury we did not have as kids.

"...sheepeoples whod make a lemming look like a rugged individualist." Hilarious, so true! lol
I am seeing a real trend here on this thread with all our parents exhibiting this weird 'cult like' behaviour. I never really made that connection before, and it is interesting. I was always disgusted by my parents lack of individuality, and their criticism of anyone who was in the very least way 'different'. They were mean. And always just went with the flow, never stood up for themselves, or me, or anything they believed in. I am not sure what they really believed in? They were ethically void, very neutral, never cared to debate anything at all, just blah. Were they afraid? I don't know, but I suppose it explains how they got sucked into these 'cult like' organizations like AA, Masons. And also explains why they simply don't want to listen to me, at all, no matter how I approach the situation. Because they think that they know best, they know what is right, and have condemned me years ago - and like all their other rigid opinions and decisions I have witnessed over the years - they will not change their minds.

Your mother has been diagnosed as mentally ill. What was she diagnosed with? Just curious. I know that my mother will eventually be diagnosed, or perhaps early dementia. I don't say that to just write her off, I have put alot of thought into that, and have discussed it with my husband, based on her irrationality and her actions. There is something wrong with her. Plus mental illness does run in our family, my grandmother (her mother) committed suicide. And one of her sisters was also menatally ill and hospitalized. I said in another thread that I wished she was diagnosed, and that would be easier to deal with, but maybe it would not be, based on what you are going through.

Perhaps the 'cult mentality' that seems to have gripped our parents to some degree, is the same mentality that makes them not see what they have done, or face up to taking any responsibility for it. This lame excuse of "I thought I was doing the right thing".."I did the best I could" is a complete cop out to me. I just don't buy it. If I have made a mistake, I never think that way! As a matter of fact, I always think I could have improved on many things I have done in my life. And I don't have a problem saying that 'I was wrong, I know I could have handled this and that differently, in a better way'. Why do they have such a problem saying anything like that? Are they that lost within themselves?

We find that we don't run across alot of 'AA types' now, but we do live in an area where there is a huge evangelical church, most of the town belongs. But alot of people do not belong to the church too. Same thing, as always, those who go to the church and who are heavily involved seem to exhibit the same type of craziness we discussed, so when we do hear someone we meet is involved in the church - particularly if they flaunt it - we put ur guard up, and are wary of them!!

My husband and I are quite harshly criticized by these people because we chose to not have children. They think this is horrible, and very strange. They assume we hate children and are self centered - not true. But, I rarely defend myself anymore, and don't really care much about being criticised. It has been something I have dealt with throughout my 20's and 30's, and now that I am 40, people don't ask ''''when''' I am having kids anymore, and they often assume there is something physically wrong with me. sigh. I resent when people are so close minded, why not accept people for who they are, and for the choices they made? We are all entitled to make our own choices, and should celebrate our differences. Why does everyone need to be the same? I guess that provides people with some comfort when they are all the same. Is this also the appeal of cults??

I hope your husband comes around, deals with his issues and comes to some realization of what he is allowing to happen! It is important to have that kind of support. I hope you have a couple friends there that you can turn to. Even though you are married, do your best to not make his problems yours. I know that is not easy to do. But you sound like you have found some ways to cope, that are healthy, and that is good!!

I am a little afraid to read that book on AA at this time...but I will order it,and will read it one day. I read a book on "Adult Children of Alcoholics" and that book really hit home for me. I could relate 100%, it was like they were writing about me.

Wow, this has been enlightening. I never really made the cult connection with my parents. It is most definitely a factor, and most definitely had some sort of influence on my parents. I am going to research that a little more myself, it is interesting, and does provide some insight into WHY they do what they do.

I read 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle awhile ago, and parts of it made alot of sense to me. (I really dislike Oprah...so I was a little leary because of how Oprah was gooing an gahing over him...but I decided to read it anyways). I am glad I did, it made alot of sense to me in how I view my past, and gave me new perspective. Hard to explain, but I would recommend this book. It helped me to dwell less on the past, and realize that re-living my past (constantly mulling over my 'sad story', which it is) was affecting now. I have heard this before, but there is something about how he presented it that hit a note with me. Or if you have read it and hated it, I would also like to hear your opinion!! ;o)

I am long winded today, feels good to get it out, you are right..

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hell Dave & Sage,

Dave, Im familiar with Naropa University in Boulder and knew of the Buddhist connection. I didnt know that Chgyam Trungpa was a notorious alcoholic. I also didnt know about his successor who infected several members with aids, before dying of it. A former writing (instructor/leader) teaches there. She, like, many of her students, became involved in New Age spirituality. Although, I try to remain open about other peoples beliefs, Im probably too skeptical to really feel connected to people who embrace these groups. I think they can sense my skepticism and because of this they dont feel comfortable with me and Im treated like an outsider and not really accepted. At one time I desired to feel accepted and more of a group, but no more. I dislike the cult like behaviors and black and white thinking that seems so prevalent in these groups.

I was introduced to eastern religions in college, and was very interested in Zen. Other than some study and reading, I really never pursued it. I knew people who didwho went to retreats at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Centerthe monastery located in the Ventana Wilderness. I was approached several times by different Zen enthusiaststrying to recruit, persuade or manipulate me into attending some function, etc., claiming it would be good for me. They didnt like my quiet resistance. Some of the people were very aggressive. I recall one incident where again, I felt manipulated into attending a meeting (long story) which was held at a private home. They were all chanting and then afterwards, they swarmed us with a recruitment strategy. It really angered and creeped me out. Most of the time when people start talking religion with me, I feel like Im being sized up and qualified for a sales and recruiting session. It is very disconcerting to me. I dont find people so open or tolerant of a different point of view and given my experiences I tend to clam up and redirect the conversation, or cut it off entirely. Ive just realized the nature of group dynamics and see that most tend to want to recruit and indoctrinate others to be another card-carrying member of the herd. Its probably a natural tendency and behavior, but in many situations its unhealthy and stinks! And I really despise the "herd mentality" of groupsthe ruthlessness of the leaders, the lack of accountability, the utter spinelessness of character and stupid sickness that seems to define and be so rampant among members. Im certain that sounds cynical, but it just makes me MAD!

I can really see how you would lose interest for the Buddhist group. I would have too. Although it bothers me to hear what happened to you, it really doesnt surprise me. Its sick and disappointing. Ive heard similar stories about inconsistencies of behaviors and phony gurus. Walking is my choice of meditation--unfettered time in the fresh air is good for my soul and stirs up my creative juices. Ive also taken yoga classes, but only as a means of exercise. I dont believe in past lives or reincarnation either. I do believe in energy and the existence of a soul.

Im still drawn to spirituality too, but I believe as you do that it has to be on your own terms. Ive always tended to find that place of spirituality when Im in the mountains or in nature, less around people and more in contemplative solitudeand most of all when Im true to myself. I have a scientific background, which can be difficult to reconcile with spiritualitythen again, Ive never quite been able to make the leap to unfaith. When I was recovering from my surgery, I recall watching the series: Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason.it was well done, with different perspectives, not at all what Ive usually encountered. Ive found too few people with that type of depthonly in books. Ive always been a reader. I, too, have found it comforting and fulfilling to explore my own spiritualityI think it a life-long journey.

I have a friend who believes that "all things happen for a reason". We are not of like-mind in this regard as I believe much of what happens is random and there is no meaningonly the meaning that we attach to it.

"You have a lot you deserve to be angry about." Yes, I do and thank you for acknowledging this without judgment. Yet, Im not always angry. It does help to write in this forum. I think it helps my heart enormously. It helps to feel heard and it is a type of validation to have others with similar experiences respond as you and Sage have. I really havent found this, except in private therapy. Still there is a world of difference in having people with similar feelings and observations respond as you both have, with empathy and compassion. Theres much that you both have written which I understand, feel and can relate too And theres much in Sages last response, which I intend to respond too.Being able to come here and write you both is helping me to take care of my heart and I appreciate both of you being here and listening...thank you for that


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Hi Flower, the whole Trungpa/alcoholism/AIDs thing was very weird. There were lots of ironies and contradictions. While ultimately I left, while I was there, their were some benefits. I still practice some of the meditation techniques, and some of the teachings I still consider relevant to my life. I think ultimately I left Buddhism because I found it be a very intellectual, introspective and self-focused view of life, which I think I needed at the time, but I also needed more than that. I've come back to a more Christian perspective, because I found more emphasis on service to others which resonates more with my heart and how I want to live my life.

"I have a scientific background, which can be difficult to reconcile with spirituality". My degree is in electrical engineering so I think I understand some of what you mean. For example, I have a hard time with those who insist the Bible is the literal truth and that the world was created 4000 years ago, when we have scientific evidence this is not true. I find in areas of true spirituality, there is little conflict, simply because their is so little overlap. There is very little science and engineering can say, or contradict about what we perceive and feel in our hearts.

I just wanted you to know that I was glad to hear that you aren't angry all the time. You've been through so much, and have every right to be angry, a lot. I also know that being angry a lot, isn't much fun. It sounds like you really enjoy your walks. I like going for walks too! Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello friends,

I did not know that about Trungpa either, but I can't say I am surprised. Too much power/money does tend to corrupt...all too often, unfortunately. I think it was Trungpa who actually started a monestary in Nova Scotia, Canada, Campo Abbey (sp?) and I think that was probably after he left the U.S. This is where Pema Chodron resides now. And...I must admit, I have read all of her books, and they hit a serious chord with me. They give me such comfort, peace, perspective on life. Hard to explain. I have to wonder though, what does she think of her 'teacher'? Sigh..Hope they don't find her to be rotton too..!

I am quite familiar with Buddhism, learning mainly through books. I also find it a little too introspective as well. I need to 'get outside of my own head' so to speak, so it is a little too intense for me. I could not see myself becoming heavily involved in that particular religion, and the rituals involved. I can't see myself committing to any one single religion for that matter.

I went to a Yoga/meditation retreat last summer, and I was feeling a little leary at times because I saw people who were clearly desperate. Some people had chronic illnesses, and were convinced the visiting guru could cure them, that the 'practice' could cure them. I feel torn, because I thought to myself: "Who am I to judge?". Maybe the practice does help to some degree...I believe in your state of mind being directly related to your health - but I just do not believe in miracles.

To me, some aspects of the retreat felt a little fanatical, and I didn't like that feeling. But at the same time, I felt I could sit, meditate, practice the yoga, learn, and take what was positive from the practice - and leave the rest that I did not feel right to me. I think in the past I used to always try to see if I could 'fit' into one particular religion completely, and I know now that I don't, and that is OK.

I have a technical background too, in Chemistry, and while I have the tendency to be very skeptical of spirituality/religion to begin with - I actually considered myself an athiest most of my life! My beliefs have shifted over the last 5 yrs or so. In addition to Buddhism, I lean more towards Pagen beliefs as well, relating to nature. I do believe in service too - living an honest life, helping others. Having a clear conscious.

I believe the bible is a book, not to be interpreted literally. Many other books have been written over time that contained similar teachings. Really bugs me when people interpret it literally!! Geesh.

Well said Dave, I agree with what you say: "There is very little science and engineering can say, or contradict about what we perceive and feel in our hearts."

Thanks for sharing guys...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, regarding Trungpa, I guess I'm willing to some degree to separate the teaching from the teacher. It's like a really good surgeon who saves a lot of lives, trains other surgeons, but lives an unhealthy life and dies young. Trungpa was a knowledgeable and insightful teacher of Buddhism. Pema Chodron was his student for many years, and I too have read her books and gotten a lot from them. I also attended talks given by Trungpa and found him to be a very engaging and insightful speaker. I can't approve of his alcoholism and his choice of a successor, but he also seemed to have helped a lot of people with his teaching. It's hard to figure out.

"I felt I could sit, meditate, practice the yoga, learn, and take what was positive from the practice - and leave the rest that did not feel right to me." This is exactly how I approach these things now. I too used to figure it was all or nothing. That was too limiting for me. I like being able to try things out and see what works for me. The hard core adherents of these groups don't seem to like people doing this, but so what? That's their problem, isn't it? Not mine.

Anyway, thanks for being there. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Dave,

I hear you. I do know what you mean, the teachings are very good, and have had a big impact on me personally. So I guess that is the part that a person has to take, and leave the rest. There is some good to him dispite his personal choices. Too bad he got caught up in himself, at least I think that must have been what happened. Who knows.

Yes, the die hard followers don't like it if you are not 100% committed. Them judging us, that is their problem, I agree. Our local Buddhist group is rather snobby this way, and as I said before, some are rather hypocritical, so I have kept away. I know a couple of the members personally, and do get together with them once in awhile to attend meditations, but that is it.

Spirituality is such an individual thing. I too am open to trying out new things all the time. I am leary of people who immerse themselves in a religion too deeply, lose themselves in it. I guess it goes back to the cult mentality. I think it can also make people narrow-minded, and not willing to look outside their own beliefs...which I personally think is important,to respect others diversity. Have seen his happen far too many times.

At that yoga retreat I was at last summer, while there were a fair number of fanatics there, I also did connect with several people who held similar beliefs as me. I do try to not judge those who I consider 'fanatics', but I find it hard not to. When people slip into what I call 'magical thinking', it just sets me off...and completely distracts me.

Glad to hear you are a Pema C. fan! Somehow, I really connect with how she writes. Good food for thought, I always have one of her books on the go.

I was just reading some of her material the other day, and she was relating the past with an itchy rash, and how you have to stop scratching it, or it just gets worse. You have to 'let the past go' for the rash to go away. Otherwise it is always there, and at times you may not be scratching it, but you are still resisting scratching it, and it is there in the back of your mind. It reminded me of my issues with my parents...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Dave,

Pema Chodron was interviewed on the Faith & Reason series--she was interesting. I watched the entire series and would highly recommend it.

I have to admit that I have a hard time being able to separate the teacher from the teaching, especially when it involves "spirituality". It's difficult for me to separate people from their behaviors--from their humanity, particularly "spiritual guides" who I tend to hold to much higher standards and levels of accountability.

People's behaviors very much spoil my appreciation of their works and deeds. With spiritual guides in particular, it takes on a whole different dimension. It feels violating. Regarding people's behaviors, I could offer the example of writers--sometimes literary biographies go into great detail about their personal failings and shortcomings. I find personal cruelty hard to bear and especially difficult to separate from the person. Still, even though there is much to despise about their character flaws and deficiencies I can find merit in some of their works--maybe their writing style. However, I will add that knowing about particular flaws, say personal cruelty also lessens my ability to give much credence to their words and ideas. Same is true for political leaders, although in that area of "public service", I almost tend to expect "self service", corruption of power and deception. Unfortunately, there are few people who I hold in high esteem or respect and I know that is a sad commentary. I don't expect perfection of character. I do have a hard time with the inconsistency of their behaviors (again practice what you preach) and dissonance between actions and words. Lack of accountability is a pervasive problem--one that undermines faith in other people.

Yes, I too, have a hard time with those who insist the Bible is the literal truth, when scientific evidence does not support this "literal truth". My father had similar conflicts and he turned to Reasons to Believe, (Dr. Hugh Ross).

I also agree with what you say here," There is very little science and engineering can say, or contradict about what we perceive and feel in our hearts."...so true.

I do really enjoy my walks...I love hiking too, although I haven't been able to enjoy that activity as much as I would like, because of dealing with chronic pain resulting from an injury. Actually this has prevented me from enjoying my life to the degree that I would like and how I normally would. It is getting better and I've been working consistently and very hard (physical therapy, etc.) to help alleviate the pain.

One way I cope with all the emotional insanity is to immerse myself in pursuits that I enjoy. I have varied interests, but I always turn to nature. I love nature--it tends to fill my spirit and I find great beauty in it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bill Moyer's on Faith & Reason


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, "...she was relating the past with an itchy rash, and how you have to stop scratching it, or it just gets worse.... at times you may not be scratching it, but you are still resisting scratching it, and it is there in the back of your mind. It reminded me of my issues with my parents..." This is a great analogy! I do think there is a real need to understand what has happened to us in the past, and to allow ourselves to experience all the rage and anger associated with this. We can't ignore this, and we may need to do this for a while. But, eventually we need to let this go. I have been a very angry person in the past. I needed to feel this, but it didn't make me happy. The biggest motivation I have had to move past my anger, not just repress it, is to be a good husband and father. Being angry a lot is not good for my marriage, and it hurts my relationship with my sons. When this happens, I am not happy at all. Good motivation.

Flower, "I have a hard time being able to separate the teacher from the teaching." I do too. While I'm willing to acknowledge that Trungpa's teachings were helpful, I lost interest in being part of his community. The problem seems to be that spiritual traditions are attractive not only to true spiritual seekers, but also to scoundrels/con-men. For con-men to take advantage of people they need to be trusted. Spiritual/religious communities are perfect for this. On the other hand these spiritual traditions often contain thousands of years of accumulated wisdom and insight that are of real benefit to the spiritual seeker. And not everyone involved in them is a con-man. So what is one to do? Stay away or get involved. I've done both. My current thinking is to be more involved, but to be careful. Not ideal, but nothing seems to be.

"One way I cope with all the emotional insanity is to immerse myself in pursuits that I enjoy. I have varied interests, but I always turn to nature. I love nature--it tends to fill my spirit and I find great beauty in it." I think this is very healthy. Sometimes the best way for me to unburden myself of the past is to do something truly enjoyable in the present. I too find nature to be very refreshing, pure, untainted, and very calming. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower, Dave,

I agree, we have to live through the 'rage' first, which I believe first entails acknowledging it is there (something I did not do for a long time), then feeling it (scary, I avoided it for a long time), and then working through it which is the tough part - all before letting it go. I know the feeling, I had, and well...still have...a fair amount of anger within me. Things are getting better though. I am not doing Pema's analogy justice, it was so well put by her! She really has a way with words.

I enjoy nature too, and nothing gives me more peace and perspective than a hike in the mountains. It is when I get so depressed about the past that I can't enjoy the present that makes me the most frustrated. My life has come to a complete standstill many times. I have spent far too much time 'there' in that dark depressed and angry state, ruminating about the past. And when I do that, it makes me even more angry. I did not have a carefree childhood, and then my inability to get over what happened in my childhood, and all the stress surrounding dealing with my parents and brother since then, robbed me of part of my adulthood as well. A big waste. And it is a viscious circle. But then again, all I knew growing up was worry and stress, and I think I manifested it in my adult life. But on the plus side, that does not happen as much as it used to, times are much better now, and I can see times getting alot better in the future - so that in itself is some progress!

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Everyone,

Sage, Im now returning to what you said above and I agree and concur with your observation that you think, "religion, politics and any position of power over others invites corruption." I also agree with your views about religion used as a means of political control and fear mongering. We are also in agreement about a lot of people who have the tendency to abuse children, such as ministers and teachers who seek out positions of power over children. The big C word (CONTROL) rears its ugly head in parenting. And yes, I agree that, "Even being a parent is a position of power over a child." Yes, being a parent, especially a mother is mythologized. I hear it all the time and know it to be UNTRUE.

I tend to read straight psychology books, because it has been more helpful to me. One such book that I would recommend is Prisoners of Childhood: The Drama of the Gifted Child and The Search for the True Self, by Alice Miller. Dave mentioned narcissism above in another post and Miller focuses her attention on narcissism.

In the book she writes, "Our contempt for "egoists" begins early in life. Children who fulfill their parents conscious or unconscious wishes are "good," but if they ever refuse to do so or express wishes of their own that go against those of their parents, they are called egoistic and inconsiderate. It usually does not occur to the parents that they might need and use the child to fulfill their own egoistic wishes."

The statement above completely goes against mythologized motherhoodthe stereotype of a mothers self-sacrificing and unconditional love. And the role of fathers is reduced and minimized by many women as merely sperm donors--this is detrimental to the child. I'm certain this observation would make a lot of women and men react with anger and rage. Im certain they would be quick to make dismissive comments or become argumentative as it challenges their feelings and long held beliefs. Im also not suggesting in any way, shape or form that all parents are bad, etc.

She then writes, "If a child brought up this way does not wish to lose his parents love (And what child can risk that?), he must learn very early to share, to give, to make sacrifices and to be willing to "do without" and forgo gratificationlong before he is capable of true sharing or of the real willingness to "do without."

And what she writes here is significant in my life as well, "The drama of the giftedi.e., sensitive, alertchild consists of his recognition at a very early age of his parents needs and of his adaptation to these needs. In the process, he learns to repress rather than to acknowledge his own intense, feelings because they are unacceptable to his parents. (You could replace parents here with church, "cult of humanity", neighbors, co-workers and in-laws, and spouses friends).

This short book is loaded with so much insight, wisdom and perception that I would be quoting almost every sentence. In my own life, Ive met a lot of extremely controlling and manipulative people who are quick to dismiss my feelings and opinions, who criticize my choices and try to suggest that I am selfish for merely trying to seek my own path and live my own life. I have not met truly supportive people who try to help me achieve my goals, rather they try to control the outcome, limit my choices and erect obstacles. Perhaps Ive met an over-abundance of very aggressive and domineering people who demonstrate extremely low tolerance levels for a person like me, someone who is different from them. One of my therapists did respond to me this way...and I've certainly experienced this way. I've truly recognized that I've never felt loved for who I am, but rather what I do. My experience of other people is that they do not value me as a human being, but only as a human doing. Who I am is there for them to get to know and I've been open and aware of my feelings. Yet, they do not get to know me as it is all about them. And they do not hear...they have eyes, but they do not see, they have ears, but they do not hearI will leave this today and return later to your thoughtful post. There is much to sayand thank you both for being here and listening.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Everyone...

Sage, I'm following up on one of your previous threads above, which re-stimulated a lot in me...

"My career was very male dominated, and I was the only women in management, plus there was a lot of socializing with clients, drinking and such - so I did see the behavior. I was never put in a compromising position, but definitely was subjected to some verbal comments about my sex, and it was humiliating."

Ive experienced similar in the workplace and actually inappropriate sexual remarks and behaviors from my mostly college professors, which was also male dominated. Curiously high ranking women were seldom responsive in supportive or appropriate waysthe Dean of Student Affairs, merely chastised and sought to blame me for a professors inappropriate and very sexual behaviors. One would think that women would seek to help one another, back one another up and support each other, but this has never been the case at any of the places that Ive worked.

"I did see how people in higher positions did get away with it, and subordinates were dis-believed. Sick sick sick."

I agree that this is sick and it is also a constant recurring pervasive problem in workplace environments. I tend to feel management justifies it through rationalization of how much they compensate these employees. The employee who receives the lesser compensation routinely gets dis-believed and shafted.

"On the other hand, I have seen women use their sexuality, have affairs with managers, etc. to get what they wanted - perks, more money, able to get away with doing less work, and even promotions." Ive watched the same behaviors. Actually, in the company that I worked for, which I mentioned above, a long-time employee (woman) who I unfortunately turned too, told me, "that when she was 25 and had a sexy body and all the men were checking her outshe used it to work for her." Blah, blah, blah and barf! I was very surprised when she made the comment. I found it incredulous that anyone would think that way, but in fact, Ive seen it so many times that I no longer feel surprised by it. Yes, it is amazing that this continues to occur despite so many "programs" in place to prevent abuse. It is all lip service. It disgusts me. I think I would have serious problems with intimacy and would really hate myself if I rented out my vagina for a promotion.

"Sounds like typical behavior from your fellow women co-workers. I hate saying this, being a woman myself, but I have found other women I have worked with have been less than supportive of me as a manager, than men. And also found that they thrive on the gossip. I have seen men behave like that too, but unfortunately, I think women are worse. It is too bad, but that is what my experience has been."

I agree and have had similar experiences and have come to the same conclusions. After the incident, I ended up working with a woman that came to work there after I was transferred. She befriended me. I watched how she used the companycoming in early when no one was there (but they viewed her positively because she came in early) and she would use their Xerox machine for personal business and their stationary, etc. She had one of the married men, running personal errands for her, because he felt sorry for her that she was a single mother and he would vent to me about how fascinating she was, while at the same time observing how ruthless and self-centered she was. He would also stick his nose into my sexuality. I later learned that she lied about her credentials. This idiot also helped her to look for other work, again using the companys time and money to do so. She eventually told me that if I went to court about the sexual harassment that for a price and a percentage of what I was awarded that she would offer to testify on my behalf. Then she used another tactic of persuasion letting on that she knew even more about the situation than what she had previously let on. She talked to a few other people about her scheme too and they were equally as manipulative. I saw this woman after hours and had considered her a friend. She rationalized her behavior stating that she was a single mother supporting her kids. She couldnt be bothered to come forward, because it would have been the right thing to doit was all about money. And she socialized with me outside of work and referred to me as a 'friend'. SICK, SICK, SICK.

This woman was also a mother and she tried to recruit and manipulate me into mothering her daughter. She tried to exploit my emotions and "good" nature to see if I would be her daughters friend and take her away with us during weekend camping outings. I suggested she come along with her daughter to spend time with her and she said that she had done that enough already. Turns out her phony concern for her daughter wasnt real and all she was really after was to see if she could use me as a baby-sitter, so that she could run off with her new boyfriend. She complained bitterly about having to pay $10 dollars for family counseling which was ordered by a judge, because her daughter was the ring leader in grand auto theft when she was 15. Yet, she had no problem purchasing a silk jacket for herself for $150 dollars, which she saw at a shop, while we were together. She revealed that she would (control) her son and the outcome of the sessions by telling him what to say during the meetings, claiming that no one saw what she had to deal with or go through with her daughter. The poor girl attempted suicide and had contacted this womans last ex-husband (an afganistan prince). The daughter was institutionalized for a time. And what did this mother do?? She complained bitterly to me about her daughterhow manipulative she was and how she and her first husband never wanted her daughter. I asked her then why didnt she have an abortion. Her response was because they didnt feel it would be right. All that came out of her mouth was her resentment towards her daughter and that nobody saw what she had to go through. She considered her son perfect, because he started working when he was 13 and was no bother at all (and she could control him). I moved and she eventually moved back to Seattle. I thought that was the end of her and was happy to be rid of her. She had no compassion for anyone and used people. Then about a year later she left a message on my voice mail. I didnt return the phone call. She said she was visiting and wanted to see me. I didnt return any of the phone calls. Why would I. She left a total of 17 messagesthe last one sounded very angry. I recall her stating that, "she just couldnt believe that I wasnt answering any of her phone calls." What a complete horror of a human-being. I was glad to be rid of her.
"Being in a male dominated field of work, I did not expect this, I thought women would support each other - that is certainly how I felt - but I quickly realized it was not that way, very early on. I don't know if it is intimidation or jealousy or what. Never quite figured that one out. I understand the feelings of betrayal though when you are subjected to that sort of exclusion." I agree and feel the same. I have a very hard time of it trusting women due to my experiences. Ive been around too much deception, abuse of power and manipulation. I am always cautious and wary of people and their motives. I do think a lot of women jealous. Im instantly on guard with women who advance their motherhood status. Ive just been around a lot of women, far too many, who use "motherhood" as a convenient rationalization and excuse for their deception, exploitation and manipulation of others. They do so, because it works.


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standing up for oneself

Hello Everyone,

I fought back and stood up for myself (the sexual harassment/assault). I wouldn't have respected myself if I had not at least tried to do this for myself. This process was another story in itself and my husband didn't want to deal with all the conflict. I think he would have preferred it, if somehow I could have ignored it and let it all go. I didn't see how this was possible when I felt so violated. It changed me as a person. I felt a lot of anger and rage. It also restimulated previous experiences that I had tried talking about, but was silenced by responses lacking in empathy or compassion. The people that I was around were just so self-absorbed and emotionally numb that they didn't want to hear about it and couldn't hear my pain. They just wanted to dismiss me as "too sensitive," and wanted me to get over it, which meant "dont' talk about it". This only deepened the anger and rage I felt and the hopelessness and despair.

At one time I wanted to write about it, but my husband discouraged it. (I think he didn't want to deal with it and because of that thought that no one else would be interested either). I wanted to release it and write about it as that would have been helpful to me and a valuable part of the process of letting it go. In some respects perhaps he was right, because I've met far too many people who respond with judgment and cliches, rather than compassion or empathy. I've also had a lot of other experiences since then that have superseded it as a coping priority--my mother's slide into mental illness, being one of them. What is curious is the insistence that some people have in wanting me to provide them with a happy ending--a short little snappy list of what I've learned and how strong I've become. And when I don't comply--they demonstrate impatience and then try to rewrite my story to suit their liking of how they think I ought to feel and react. This happened with a man, who after asking me what I learned from the incident...and when I didn't respond as he would have liked, told me that yes, I did learn something--that I had become stronger, etc. and a bunch of other BS. NO, NO, NO...that is not my reality at all. The truth was far more messy and probably something that no one wants to hear and wouldn't like. I don't have a positive spin to offer and I think most people couldn't deal with the truth. They flat out don't want it. My personal truth was that it left me with conflicting emotions. It created great emotional pain and left me with unresolved feelings. I felt an even greater sense of loss. The truth for me is messy and probably inconvenient to hear. My truth is that it is hard for me to trust others and that is why what Sage wrote resonants so fully for me as well.

"Overall, I think people are generally mean and like to see others fail. I know, that sounds sour, but when I sum it all up, that is the conclusion I come to! lol Machiavellian..! I am not saying there are not some good people around. I know there are, but they are not as abundant."

Yes, unfortunately, I feel this too--it fully resonants for me given my experiences.

And yet, I also want to say that despite everything and me having a lot to feel angry about...I am not always angry. I can find and appreciate what is good in life. I do not dwell on these thoughts every day. It is true that certain times I feel these greater feelings of loss, sadness and the crazyness of it all.

Once again, I will leave this today and return again to your thoughtful posts and thank you again for listening and being here.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Also--the man who wanted to rewrite my story...he was interviewing me as a potential participant in a program that dealt with adult's dealing with child sexual abuse, incest and sexual molestation issues. I can't recall the name. I did participate in the group, but during the very first or second visit when I started to open up and talk about my story (something very difficult and emotionally painful to do), some crazy woman reacted and went completely off her nut exhibiting wacko and beserk behavior. She just out-of-the-blue went off on me. She really reacted to my voice (I'm soft-spoken and not loud), mimicking it and making fun (something some women are prone to do), including my hateful mother-in-law. I stayed with the group for awhile, but never returned. I really didn't need to have to cope with those crazy-making behaviors. I've dealt with it more than enough. Whew that feels good to write that and get it out...thank you again for listening.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello everyone,

Flower, I like to read psychology based books too. I have always had an interest in psychology in general, and at the same time I seek answers to why I am the way I am. If there is some sort of explaination out there, that is! lol

Sounds like an interesting book on narcissism. The quote: "Our contempt for "egoists" begins early in life. Children who fulfill their parents conscious or unconscious wishes are "good," but if they ever refuse to do so or express wishes of their own that go against those of their parents, they are called egoistic and inconsiderate. It usually does not occur to the parents that they might need and use the child to fulfill their own egoistic wishes."

Interesting statement. I find quite a few people that I know with children to be fulfulling their own needs, rather than their children's genuine 'needs' or best interests. But I also find many of the same people to plead that they have indeed made the ultimate self-sacrifice of being a mother/father. Hmm. I am saying this as a complete observer, as I don't have kids, and chose to not have kids many years ago. And my husband made this decision for himself years ago too.

While I see people using their kids for their own egotistical purposes...people have accused us of everything from not being willing (or capable) of taking on the responsiblity of children, to being selfish, to being immature. I think most people genuinely want children - while others have them because it is what is 'expected. Few choose to not have children, so we are the minority, for sure. Whatever the reason, like religion, I don't see why people have to be so judgemental about it. We give back to society in many other positive ways without adding another 'life' to the world.

This was also something my father in particular thought was bizarre - just not 'right' for us to not have children. My grandmother (my father's mother) passed away a few years ago, my father told me she asked about me a couple weeks before she passed away. All he said was "She asked if you had children." That was it. Unbelievable. He said nothing else and just looked away....I remember him looking down, like it KILLED him to tell her that no, we did not have any children!! Geesh. Like it is some major disaster, and disappointment.

I think most people get defensive when their long held beliefs of the ways things are "supposed to be" are challenged. It makes them uncomfortable. I feel this with my mother. She does not think that any good daughter should question anything the way I do, or criticize how she treated me as a child. To her, I am just a s*it disturber. That is how she views me. She thinks that if only I would say nothing, and be pleasant, everything would be just fine!

"The drama of the giftedi.e., sensitive, alertchild consists of his recognition at a very early age of his parents needs and of his adaptation to these needs. In the process, he learns to repress rather than to acknowledge his own intense, feelings because they are unacceptable to his parents. (You could replace parents here with church, "cult of humanity", neighbors, co-workers and in-laws, and spouses friends).

I can relate to the above quote. Repression was a very very big part of my childhood. I was always guessing on how to react, how to feel, how do they want me to act, react, feel. I was a very bright child, intellectually. But my emotions and stress squashed my self confidence. This carried into my adult life. I think that sort of repression makes a person feel like they lost themself. That is how I felt for a long time. I just wanted to act, and do, what others wanted me to do. Of course, it is completely impossible to please everyone, and being sensitive to rejection, I interpreted someone not being impressed with what I had done as 'rejection'.

You said: ....suggest that I am selfish for merely trying to seek my own path and live my own life. I have not met truly supportive people who try to help me achieve my goals, rather they try to control the outcome, limit my choices and erect obstacles. Perhaps Ive met an over-abundance of very aggressive and domineering people who demonstrate extremely low tolerance levels for a person like me, someone who is different from them.

I can relate to what you say in the above paragraph. And I sympathize with you. I know how hard it is to find like-minded and genuinely supportive people. They are few and far between, that is for sure. I felt lonely, disconnected and like I never fit in anywhere for most of my life. And I truly believe those feelings are linked to not feeling secure as a child, or as a part of my so-called family. I never felt that, and I cried for hours on end in my deep lonliness. I learned to 'fake' it well, and always had a group of friends etc. But I always felt alone. I still do in a way, but I am more accepting of it now, and know it is OK. As a kid I yearned for that feeling of wanting to belong, because I thought that is the way everyone is supposed to feel.

I feel fortunate to have connected with my husband and a few other people who I consider 'family'. I am OK with only having a handful of genuine 'friends', and with aquaintences I am very purposely quite guarded. I would truly just rather be alone, than with flaky, shallow people who don't bother to hear me or see me for who I am. I think that in the past I also used to fear being alone. Even though, essentially I was. Sigh, hard to explain, hope this makes sense!!

Sorry about your situation with your so-called friend/co-worker. I know how it feels to be sucked in by someone like that, and wanting to help them - but just being decieved. What a horrible, manipulative person she was. Good for you for cutting her out of your life!!! That was a good move!!! I certainly have very often seen people use work, co-workers, managers, their motherhood, fatherhood, and many other circumstances as a manipulating tool to advance themselves. It is sad people do this. I don't get it.

I am glad you stood up for yourself in the assault/harrassment situation. I think you should be proud of yourself for doing so. You did it because you have self respect and a conscience. Of course, doing nothing is the easy way out, and stuffing the emotions is also easier than dealing with them.

Well, I do tend to lean towards the side of thinking that all people are 'basically evil', to quote Machiavelli! lol. That has just been my experience. Most people are rotton. I hate feeling that way, but to me it is the truth, and if I see things change - then I may change my opinion on that!! It makes me sour and very very cynical when I think about it too much, so I have to pull myself back from that mind set. Yes, overall people are jerks - but not everyone is that way, thank goodness..!!! lol There are a few good ones out there, and I hold onto that and am grateful I have crossed paths with a few that are not nasty. This realization for me coincided with my exploration of my own spiritual beliefs.

Funny thing is my husband and I are almost polar opposites on this subject. He thinks most people are generally 'good', honest, etc. Guess we must balance eachother out in a way. lol

Take care, thanks for sharing Flower, interesting topics you bring up! :)

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Flower, "I would recommend Prisoners of Childhood: The Drama of the Gifted Child and The Search for the True Self, by Alice Miller."

Funny you should mention this. About 25 years ago my therapist gave me a copy of this book to read. I hadnt read it in many years, but a few months ago when narcissism was being discussed in this forum, I pulled it off the bookshelf and reread it. I really agree with your comment, "This short book is loaded with so much insight, wisdom and perception".

I was wondering as you write about number the men you have met who have, or have attempted to, sexually exploit you, and the number of women who have not come to your aid, or they themselves have exploited you, if you have considered whether or not you are reenacting your you relationship with your parents. I ask this because I know I have done this in the past myself. At one point I tended to be attracted to either very opinionated, domineering women like my mother, or their polar opposite, someone very docile and accommodating. Its like I was trying to fix the past by reliving it in the present. Of course this never worked, and left me frustrated and unhappy. Theres also a section in Alice Millers book where she talks about this:

"Much has been written about the compulsion to repeat: the uncanny tendency to reenact a trauma which itself has something cruel and self-destructive about it."

Anyway, having been through this myself, I was wondering what you thought about it.

Another quote from Alice really speaks to me: "That probably greatest of narcissistic wounds not to have been loved just as one truly was cannot heal without the work of mourning. It can either be more or less successfully resisted and covered up (as in grandiosity and depression), or constantly torn open again in the compulsion to repeat."

We havent said a lot about mourning in this forum, probably because it isnt very pleasant. However, it has helped me immensely in emotionally healing. I do know that when I can truly feel that young child in me that has been ignored, abused, hurt, mocked, bullied... and can cry deep heavy sobs at how sad it was that this child wasnt cared for properly, when I can do this for as long as I need to, I can feel a positive shift inside me. Sometimes a song will bring this sadness up, or a movie. Reading stories in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books can do this too. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else has any experiences around mourning.

I did successfully replace the torsion spring in my garage door, without hurting myself, or anyone else :-) And so far, nothing from my parents on the questionnaire I never returned :-) However, I am working on my taxes now :-( Oh well, it can't all be fun and games. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi there Dave, Flower,

I agree about the tendency with reenacting your relationship with your parents over and over. I feel I have done that too, many times in my life. I ended up dating several chronic alcoholic men before meeting my husband. One ending in a seriously abusive situation, that involved guns and me with a broken nose. It boggles my mind how this happens, but it just does.

"...the tendency to reenact a trauma...". That does sound like a very interesting and insightful book, I do plan on ordering it and reading it myself.

I also found myself feeling attached to older women whom are friends - in a motherly way - doing what I thought was motherly type things together with them gave me a great deal of comfort (ie one showed me how to sew and cook, going on day trips, sightseeing or shopping). But on the other hand, the slightest opinion, or criticism, from them would really set me off. And when I would see them with their own kids, in real and healthy, loving relationships, I admit that I would feel jealous and somewhat rejected. I did the same with men, bosses or co-workers, who were always quite a bit older than me, sort of looked up to them like a father figure. I wished my father was like them in a way. And same thing, the slightest criticism would crush me. Now that I think about it, it is twisted. I am embarrassed to even admit it.

Mourning. Funny you should bring that up Dave. After I wrote the last letter to my mother, and her last response was "..I plan to reply to this, but I have other priorities here first." I felt like that was ther real end. Things have been not good for a very long time, forever really, but that cold response letter from her, after I spilled my guts, was the real end. I feel like they have both died to me. And I am sad about that. At the same time am not feeling any desire for things to change. I don't feel I am mourning the loss of relationship though. I am sad, but more relieved.

I also relate to how movies, or music, or books, will bring up the emotions. I was just watching the movie "P.S. I Love You", which I pretty much cried throughout....but the scenes of the mother/daughter, who had a close relationship in particular, brought such deep sadness to me. Because I will never talk with my mother that way, and never have. That relationship never did exist and never will. And I can't have that kind of relationship with anyone else, there is not any replacement. So it is not like I am mourning a 'loss', because there was never anything there to lose...but mourning something I never had. I find that hard to rationalize.

I guess I closely associate mourning with death. A therapist once told me to mourn for my inner child, and it took me awhile to understand that, but I can relate to that inner sad lonely and abused child. That brought out alot of repressed emotions in me, and it was very cleansing.

But what about the adult who has grown up and is missing a part of him/herself? There is a piece missing. To tell you the truth, I am not sure how I feel right now. It is hard to pinpoint. How does a person really mourn? How do you get it all out? What do you do? And after you do it, how do you move on? I don't know how.

What I do know is that I am past the point of crying hysterically. I used to do that alot, cry and cry, anytime I had any contact with my parents, I would cry for days afterward - it was ridiculous. In that type of hightened emotional state, a person can't think clearly. I would 'lose it' and then stuff the emotions afterwards. I have not cried lately over them. So maybe that is some progress(?) I feel that it is. I am looking at it for what it is, more realistically than ever before, and I have never really been able to do that before.

This quote really interests me.... "That probably greatest of narcissistic wounds not to have been loved just as one truly was cannot heal without the work of mourning. It can either be more or less successfully resisted and covered up (as in grandiosity and depression), or constantly torn open again in the compulsion to repeat."

I look forward to hearing more on what you guys think on this subject of mourning. Thanks for bringing it up Dave.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend friends...
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave & Sage,

Posting here brings up a lot of stuff for me, but I think it good to be able to release it, and especially with people who understand and can empathize. No one else understands--not anyone that I've ever been around as they lack self-introspection and can't connect the dots. When I read what you write I want to respond, but I need to think about it too because one thought mushrooms into another...and there is so much. That is how it was with one of Sage's posts--it was loaded with minefields for me and so much there that I could understand, empathize and relate too. I've also been having some interesting dreams which I know are related to what we are expressing here.

Dave, the book by Alice Miller is what I'm slowly reading now. I actually first read her book called, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayl of the Child. It was hard-hitting, liberating but also validating for this "too sensitive" person. I've always felt that most people walk around completely clueless and oblivious as to what motivates them. Sage mentions jealousy and I think that emotion huge and a driving force with narcissists--of course they will always deny this. I've read so many books that I had to stop for awhile and also my focus has been on alleviating physical pain.

Dave, yes I have thought about the re-enacting, not only with the issues that I have with my parents, but also with my sisters as well. I have thought about the mourning part too. I have much to say on this as I believe culture plays a significant role here too. I have always identified with stories about survivors in a huge way and this has been greater for me than seeking spirituality to fill the void. I've done a lot of research and reading on this subject. I may not be saying this the right way, but survival is about spirituality at a very basic core level. Since as you, Dave, observed that I have very few allies--the only thing that I could do was go inward. I'm also very intuitive--I read other people's emotions well, but I had to do this to survive. If I was an evil person--a person without empathy, then I could have honed this ability to use and exploit people's weaknesses and emotions (people's behaviors to me are transparent and predictable), but I chose not to do that.

Re-enacting is probably true with my personal relationship with my husband, but the workplace is a little different. I will need to expound on that later. My therapist told me that the way I've been dealing with this has been to stay at home--it has been a type of refuge. Of course my injury and surgery made me home-bound too. Becoming strong physically helps emotionally--the health issues have been a necessary distraction. I became critically anemic (a long story) during the time my mother was sliding into her mental illness problems. I felt so alone. I've always felt like I never had a mother, or really anyone. I never found a type mother replacement (an older woman to turn too) as Sage did, nor a father--the men were always sexualizing me.

I have to say that I never could understand these men and their sexual behaviors. I know that makes me sound naive. It was scary and confusing to me, because it started when I was 11. I had very poor self-esteem and never felt attractive. It's very curious because I was on the receiving end of a lot of attention that was UNWANTED. I was very unlike woman who put themselves on display. I would never dress seductively accentuating my breasts, etc., or call attention to myself physically. That would have made me very uncomfortable and I figured it would draw even more unwanted attention. I also always felt that women who behaved that way were very pathetic--I saw them as undermining women's success and personal power. I guess I thought that because I didn't dress that way (advertising) myself that I didn't understand why these men would bother me, and why they just didn't go to the women who openly displayed themselves. I guess I somewhat figured that if I dressed suggestively then I could understand why men would make undesireable sexual comments, but because I dressed professionally or like a school teacher (this was what the woman co-worker above stated to me) that I just didn't get their sexualized behaviors. I'm certain that sounds naieve and stupid to some people, but I honestly just didn't get it. My tactic with all men was to bolt and run. I have a platonic male friend who always teases me about my "rigorous evaluation standards". While he has no problem praising my intelligence and analytical mind, he also laughs and tells me nothing gets past me. A male (marriage therapist) observed that I picked up everything, while my husband picked up nothing (this was in regards to interactions with problematic people). He is a people-pleaser and attracts narcissists as I've previously stated. I want healthy relationships about equality and respect with people who understand concepts of mutualism. I'm fed-up with the whiney, self-absorbed, disrespectful losers that he has exposed me too--it's just his chronic issues with his parents resurfacing. I mean his reaction to my health issues and surgery was bizzare to me, yet at the same time he could listen patiently to some self-absorbed loser down the street whining miserably about stubbing their freaking toe. Now how crazy is that! He's "too nice" to tell the idiots to STFU!

I've written enough for today...thank you for listening and for bringing these topics up.


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Hello All,

Sage, its nice to know that someone else has experienced the "compulsion to reenact". Knowing I do this has helped me, when I find myself drawn to a particular person or situation. I feel I can make more conscious decisions about what kind of relationships I want, rather than just being blindly drawn into situations as I have done in the past. It also helps me end relationships when I can see that they are not good for me. This has allowed me to feel safer and calmer around other people, because I know I can choose the kind of relationship I want or dont want.

"I also found myself feeling attached to older women whom are friends - in a motherly way". Almost all my male friends have been older than me, and all have acted in a fatherly ways towards me. Teaching me how to do things, admiring my achievements, encouraging me when I needed it, listening to me, joking around and kidding with me. Even volunteering at Habitat, Im mostly working with men older than me who are teaching me a lot about building houses. In a way, they have all helped fill the hole left by the father I never had, and always wanted. It has been very helpful to me emotionally, and it has helped me learn how to be a better father myself.

Regarding mourning, I found this passage in Alices book, slightly paraphrased, " The achievement of freedom is hardly possible without deeply felt mourning. This ability to mourn, that is, to give up the illusion of a "happy" childhood, can restore the depressives vitality and creativity. If a person is able to experience that they were never "loved" as a child for what they were, but for their achievements, success, and good qualities, and that they sacrificed their childhood for this "love", this will shake them very deeply, but one day they will feel the desire to end this courtship. They will discover in themselves a need to live according to their "true self" and no longer be forced to earn love, a love that at root, still leaves them empty-handed."

"But what about the adult who has grown up and is missing a part of him/herself? There is a piece missing. To tell you the truth, I am not sure how I feel right now. It is hard to pinpoint. How does a person really mourn? How do you get it all out? What do you do? And after you do it, how do you move on? I don't know how." I dont think I've gotten back any missing parts. But if I hang on to the idea that I can, Im stuck living in and reacting to the past. For me mourning is acknowledging I never got something, and I cant go back in time and get it. Mourning has freed me to live more fully in the present. The lost childhood is still there, but the memories are less painful, and Im less angry about it. My own experience with mourning is that I never have gotten it all out. It seems to be an on going process. But over time I feel more alive in the present, and less haunted by the past.

It sounds like with all your crying over your parents, you may have done a lot of mourning already. It may be part of the reason you are as healthy as you are regarding your parents. Crying didnt come naturally to me, (you know, all the boy stuff growing up about how boys dont cry), so it was something I needed to learn how to do.

Flower, I just noticed you submitted another post while Ive been writing this. I dont have time to keep writing now. It sounds like you are processing a lot right now. Im glad we have all found this forum where we can be heard and understood. Peace.

Dave


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Hi Flower, Dave,

I was having a bad day yesterday, and just felt 'unwound' and angry about things. Sort of overwhelmed. That book you guys have been quoting has brought up alot of emotions in me. Mourning does not sit well with me. I don't know why, I can't seem to wrap my head around it. It has been a roller coaster for me emotionally since the 'letter incident'. I am feeling better today. Reading posts here triggers alot of emotion in me too. But I feel good about how things are turning out. You have both given me alot to think about, and your support has really been helpful as well as comforting.

...Insert DEEP BREATH here...!

What you both say makes sense. I am looking forward to reading that book.

Dave, I know what you say is true. It is about acceptance now. It is impossible to get any of those missing parts back. And it is not by any means the end of the world. I know my life is better without their poison constantly bringing me down. Life is good!

" The achievement of freedom is hardly possible without deeply felt mourning. This ability to mourn, that is, to give up the illusion of a "happy" childhood, can restore the depressives vitality and creativity. If a person is able to experience that they were never "loved" as a child for what they were, but for their achievements, success, and good qualities, and that they sacrificed their childhood for this "love", this will shake them very deeply, but one day they will feel the desire to end this courtship. They will discover in themselves a need to live according to their "true self" and no longer be forced to earn love, a love that at root, still leaves them empty-handed."

Whew, wow, that quote hits a chord with me, very deeply. I need to think about that more. I see much truth in that statement.

Dave, I am glad you could find some comfort from developing healthy relationships with 'father figures'. That is great. I found I got that kind of support from older men I worked with. They were supportive of my career, accomplishments, encouraging. I felt a real connection with them, and enjoyed the relationship. It was like a father/daughter relationship to me. There was nothing sexual about it. I think I craved that kind of support, particularly early on in my career. I always worked with men much older then me, in a workplace that was mostly men, and connected more with men than women at work. And I was lucky to have had that.

Flower, I did have some older women friends, and while I did get comfort from them, and learned from them, enjoyed the time I spent with them - I tried to make them a daily part of my life. Too close. I had a different relationship with them than the 'father figures' I had. I leaned on them more for emotional support, BUT there was always alot of disappointment, and tears because I regularly felt abandoned by the slightest criticism, or comment from them - it would just send me reeling. More so than with men I looked up to. I think it was me re-enacting my relationship with my own mother. Or from the disappointment that I felt being unable to fill the void inside me that I desparately wanted to fill with a 'mother figure'. I am not sure? I am still friends with a couple of these women, but limit my time with them. I find it is better I only see them once in awhile now, and keep the relationship rather 'light'.

I find it very comforting to think all these things through. Without being all intensely emotional about it. Just thinking about things rationally, logically, peacefully . I think this is part of the healing too. Deep thought, and while still feeling the emotions - not 'reacting', as I used to get so upset.

Dave, I think I cried more out of frustration than anything. From trying and trying and trying, and always failing in respect to mending the relationship with my parents. That horrible feeling of rejection, and abandonment. They made me feel so low, and to the point of breaking down at times. About 5 years ago was when things started to change, and I cried less. Something changed, some acceptance of the situation, and I was starting to 'give up', finally. I know now I have completely given up.

I am glad you were able to cry...I do think it is part of the healing process. I understand the 'boys don't cry' thing, and that probably stems from your father's military background. Crying was viewed as weakness by my parents, and anytime I would cry as a child I would usually be alone at night, or they would laugh at me. But never comfort me. It was mean, and sick.

Flower, You mention jealousy in Narcissists. I agree. I think that perhaps my mother resents me because she was pregnant with me and could never pursue any post-secondary education herself. I was unplanned, and she was young when she had me. Of coure, married asap after finding out about the pregnancy. Hmmm, I wonder. Does she resent my success? Does she resent I have a loving husband who isn't a drunken jerk like her husband (my dad)? And putting my brother so high on a pedastal,losing herself in him, and disregarding me. Is that something she did to get back at me? In reality, I don't expect to ever have concrete answers to my questions. But I do expect peace, I feel some peace already...

Sage


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Hello Everyone,

Sage writes, "I also found myself feeling attached to older women whom are friends - in a motherly way - doing what I thought was motherly type things together with them gave me a great deal of comfort (i.e. one showed me how to sew and cook, going on day trips, sightseeing or shopping)."

I searched for this too, but could never find it. Actually, I experienced all kinds of women, even much older than me, turning to me for emotional support and wanting me to nurture them. This started when I was a teenager and still continues. People want me to take care of them and always comment about what a nurturing, non-judgmental and sensitive person that I am (except my family who frame me as selfish). It never occurs to them that I have needs or feelings and that I may also be in need of emotional support and sensitivity.

I have experienced people, especially women, who seek me out stating that they know that they can trust me. They say this almost instantly, without really knowing me--anything about me at all. I feel now that it's a code word for that they are out to manipulate me and it is very difficult for me, given my experiences to think of anything else. They also tell me that I seem like a "sensitive" person. This, of course, is always framed as a plus when it is all about their needs, but used as a negative as in "you're too sensitive," when I ask for reciprocity. These women were also prone to nasty fits of jealousy, malice and envy--the meanness coming out in sometimes subtle and hard to detect ways. I experienced them as draining, unreasonable, and selfish and most of all lacking in empathy--truly incapable of understanding what someone else (me) and probably anyone is feeling. Yet they are very demanding and filled with entitlement towards me. And of course, all of these women are mothers. I don't place mothers on a pedestal, as most of these women already place themselves there and think their needs come front, row and center. Its funny though as when I dont give them what they want and demand and when I merely ask for reciprocity, then they have no qualms about acting like a thoughtless ahole and then leaving the relationship. I see who and what these people are, so being rid of them is a blessing. It is my husband who had a problem with it, and instead of offering understanding to me, it was convenient for him to label and frame me as the problem. This is was/is the legacy of his horrible, self-centered mother and what she did to him, as well as his sister and father (who favored the sister and failed his son). He learned that he was unworthy to receive consideration of his feelings or to even ask to be treated fairly. And he treated me the way they treated him. He criticized me for standing up for myself and he allowed me to take the heat for him and they all targeted me with their rage. I was a convenient scapegoat.

A marriage counselor (a male) tried to get my husband to acknowledge how I helped him to stand up for himself, but he does not give me credit. Instead he criticizes. How he learned to get what he wanted was through passive aggression and also manipulation--he tries to manipulate other people's opinion of him. He is neither honest or direct with people about what he feels, although he has no problem with asserting himself with me. And the narcissists that he is around are angry, self-absorbed, malicious people blurting and spewing like thwarted children when it isn't all about them and they don't get their way. These vile idiots pay lip service to it's the truth that they want to hear. They lie to themselves. They are no interested in the truth about anything. The truth about who and what they are is ugly and disturbing--it is not something they seek or desire, because they couldn't face it.

As for friendship, I have one friend now who is older than me, and she is more nurturing than other women who I've met. She doesn't burden me with everything is "all about me". She doesnt come over and criticize, under the "guise of helping" and she doesnt appear to be jealous and insecure (we all suffer some insecurity). I wrote an earlier post about another woman who I had to write a corrective email to about her lack of consideration. I was direct and set the record straight, knowing full well that if I spoke about how I felt, that I would possibly risk her not wanting to preserve the relationship. I cant live my life that way, not being honest with people and I feel that one can accomplish both honesty and compassion. With this woman, I feel that I also have to manage the relationship with her due to her lack of boundaries and aggressive behaviors. I also tend to have to reproach her for her lack of boundaries and self-centered behavior. She did not respond to the email, but I knew she wouldn't. I find that typical of most people (that they are unwilling to take responsibility). I will bring it up at a later date. She is older than me and I see her less, due to her self-absorbed focus as it really puts a strain on the relationship. Honestly, it's like training a bad puppy, although quite frankly I think dogs are whole lot smarter and better human beings than most people. I also tend to think a relationship with a pet is probably more rewarding too.

As for men...I searched for father figure types too, but these emotionally safe and respectful men alluded me. Most men who I tried to turn to for support all tried to sexualize the relationship with me. I desperately desired emotional safety, but had a hard time finding that and as I wrote previously I did not behave in ways that would give them any idea that I returned their inappropriate interest. In fact, I feel that I erected obstacles and offered up deterents. These miscreants, fools and idiots wanted me to play Lolita to their horrible, old geezer and this was definitely NOT what I wanted...SICK, SICK, SICK! They never bargained for the type of person that I am...no one ever does. It can fill me with anger and rage just thinking about the mindless dolts! Sadly, I tend to think that a lot of women encounter men of this caliber and it is hard for me not to feel scorn and contempt for these insecure, cowardly males. I do have one (platonic) friend of the opposite gender, but he too struggles with his feelings from time to time.

I also wanted to add that I found this quote in the Alice Miller book, Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Societys Betrayal of the Child, which I thought was pertinent to our previous discussions...

"An unacknowledged trauma is like a wound that never heals over and may start to bleed again at any time. In a supportive environment the wound can become visible and finally heal completely."

Ive had some of that supportive environment in therapy, but this has been lacking in friendships. For me, you both are offering support and understanding and that is a valuable part of my process, which has been very lacking elsewhere. Sorry this is so long and thank you again for being here and listening.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Everyone,

Another great book which resonates with me was taken off the Rick Ross website. It is called, In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People. It is by George K. Simon, Jr.

This is also a short book, which is also loaded with much insight, wisdom and perception as well as offering ways to cope. It's proved invaluable to me and it is also a great comfort to know that there are others who think and feel like I do. I've included a link below to an excerpt:

Here is a link that might be useful: Dealing with Manipulative People


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Flower & Sage,

Flower, I don't have much time right now, but I did want to respond to your earlier post.

You say, "I have to say that I never could understand these men and their sexual behaviors...I had very poor self-esteem and never felt attractive. It's very curious because I was on the receiving end of a lot of attention that was UNWANTED...I was very unlike woman who put themselves on display... I guess I thought that because I didn't dress that way (advertising) myself that I didn't understand why these men would bother me, and why they just didn't go to the women who openly displayed themselves."

It sounds like you may not understand male sexual predators. Men like this arent looking for normal, healthy, intimate relationships with women. They are looking for prey. Women who put themselves on display, may have other issues, but at one level they are communicating to others a certain amount of confidence and strength in their sexuality. Predators avoid strength and confidence. Male sexual predators are more like wolves following a herd of animals. They are looking for the weak, the vulnerable, the already wounded. They are looking for an easy kill. They avoid the strong and healthy. Too dangerous. Your poor self-esteem and trying to look plain would be just what a predator would look for. And given your history of being sexually abused, I wouldnt be surprised that they could sense you had already been wounded. I would have to believe that as you become healthier and stronger, men like this would be less drawn to you.

Anyway, I just wanted to post this, while I had a few minutes.

Sage, I'll write more later.

Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, "I was having a bad day yesterday, and just felt 'unwound' and angry about things. Sort of overwhelmed. That book you guys have been quoting has brought up a lot of emotions in me." I still have days like that too. There just seems to be a lot of my past that can come up under certain circumstances. Like you, I generally view this as positive, but it can be too much at times. When that happens to me, its a good time to go to the gym, go for a walk, just get out and do something physical.

Its interesting what you say about finding mother/father figures. It sounds like it went better with the men than it did with the women. Why do you think the women would trigger more negative feelings than the men? When I was younger, I had some female friends that were older and somewhat motherly. As I got older this just didnt happen as much. Part of it was probably my career which was mostly male. Perhaps its also because my wife has been a very nurturing and supportive woman in my life, and maybe thats a lot of what Ive needed.

Flower, I hope my posting about sexual predators wasnt too harsh. Unfortunately Ive met men like this and I find them appalling. Its beyond cruel that they seek out women who are vulnerable and have already been hurt. I would feel better if men like this were all locked up. We would all be better off. Thats all for now. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Dave,

No, your posting about sexual predators wasn't harsh. Dave, you are always empathetic and it is very appreciated by me. I know you understand. The fact is that what you say is true. I know it and the truth is often unpleasant and can be harsh. I got upset reading it, not because of anything you said, but just because of the truth of my situation and the emotions it stirs in me. I read it to my therapist who I saw today. I've been reading some of what I write here and how you both respond to me as well. And she agrees that this forum is healing, healthy and positive for me. I don't have much time right now to respond as I would like, but I will follow up later...Yes, what we have all been writing has been bringing up emotions for me too. I believe this is good, but it can be overwhelming to process as well.

I appreciate you both and am glad that I found you. We can help each other. Take good care of your hearts my friends, and I will write more later...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Flower, Dave,

Flower, First, you are welcome, glad we can go over these issues here and relate. No need to apologize for long posts! :) I find your posts very helpful to me.

Manipulative people are everywhere. It is up to us to avoid them, and why we attract them is something that we have to examine within ourselves I think. I know, I have been 'taken' many times by people like that. I don't know if I try to find it as part of the 're-enactmnet' of my childhood. I am not sure, but I know I don't do it as much anymore. I strive to only allow really solid and positive people close to me. Nobody is perfect, and I don't snub people in any way if they have problems (I am loaded with quite a bit of 'baggage' myself.) What I mean is that I just don't allow people to drain the life out of me anymore with their neediness, dysfunction and drama.

I am sorry your husband won't acknowledge your help and support of him. To me appreciation and showing appreciation is really important. I used to struggle with doing that, and had to learn how to do that. And it makes me feel good now, very important to me personally and in business.

I can relate to your husband as he was the one who was left out, and his sister was favored. I know what kind of feelings develop. He is not honest or direct with people because of his own deep insecurities. That is my opinion anyways. He wants to be what other people expect him to be. A facade that I hope he will be able to break free from some day, and get real with himself, his feelings and who he is. It is a good sign that he did attend counseling.

You talk about your friendship with an older women. I think that is a good relationship you describe, and that is the type of relationships I try to keep in my life now. People who are supportive and happy for my life choices, decisions, thoughts, work - not critical, or completely self absorbed with themselves. And people who are happy and content with their own lives. Nobody is perfect, including me, but I know the people I don't want to be 'friends' with are those who don't listen to me at all (self absorbed), those who seem to jump from crisis to crisis to crisis without having any periods of happiness (drama), and those who criticize a little too much and are generally not all that supportive. I have had so-called friends like that, and after spending time with them I feel stressed, sad, drained, and usually ruminating over things they said....ha ha, the same feelings I have when I spend time with my parent! We do not have to have people like that in our lives! It is our choice.

In regards to the email you sent to your friend, I agree. Most people will not take responsibility. Or they simply don't see themselves as being 'wrong' in any way. I seriously think some people live in a 'bubble world', and they are oblivious to anything outside of their own personal bubble. My mother is that way. Nothing is ever up for debate, or up for discussion, and she already knows what is right and wrong - and it is not her that is ever wrong! The ultimate in narcissism, isn't it? If some issue arises, she would choose to just ignore it completely. This shows a complete lack of empathy as well. Because if someone approaches you with an issue, completely disregarding them is hurtful to them. I don't think some people see that. Remember, it is not up to you to 'fix' your friend. You can try to nurture the relationship for awhile, try to make it work, but sometimes it just doesn't and ends bringing down the both of you. Sometimes it is better to just cut ties. If you can't relate, get along, and have what I call a 'friendship', why bother? In my mind, friendship should be comforting, fun, interesting, trusting and warm.

The encounters you had with those older men are sick. There are alot of sexual predators out there, it is disgusting and demented. I experienced that as a teenager after I left home at 15, I was very vulnerable. I craved attention from men, did not put myself on display, but attracted alot of users in the process. And I was taken advantage of. I was insecure, and young, and people sense that.

I totally agree with what Dave says about sexual predators. Targets are usually the already 'wounded'. For the most part it is about manipulation and 'conquering'-power. I believe the women who put themselves on display are looking for something too, not necessarily just money, sex and a good time. They are damaged as well for some reason.

I am sorry you had to go through all that Flower. I can see how that continued breaking of trust has hurt you.

This quote, from Alice Miller's book.......

"An unacknowledged trauma is like a wound that never heals over and may start to bleed again at any time. In a supportive environment the wound can become visible and finally heal completely."

I agree, acknowledgement of these things is key, and makes them real. I think we are doing alot of that here. As I said in a previous post... just thinking about these things from the past in a calm, logical way, helps. Just going through the events that happened, writing here, processing the feelings, attempting to find out where these feelings stem from, acknowledging that it did happen and I was not twisting it, or misinterpreting it. Being able to do this now, without getting hysterical and deeply depressed has helped and is very empowering. When I do this calmly, I find I am not ruminating about it as much throughout the day.

Dave, you asked: "Why do you think the women would trigger more negative feelings than the men?" I think I hold more resentment towards my mother. I had little to do with my father, overall, when growing up. And even as an adult, our 'relationship' was very light, just small talk and I rarely even talked to him period. Perhaps just my circumstances too. I dedicated alot of time to my career, and I worked entirely with men, other than admin staff. That was what I did throughout my 20's and into my 30's. My husband is also very understanding, calm, caring, and very open. I am very thankful for that. I have learned alot from him.

I agree Dave, working out really helps alot to diffuse anger and intense emotions. Even though when I am down I feel like just crawling into bed, I have to force myself to go for a brisk walk or get on my treadmill! :) It always helps. I find music helps too. When I play guitar it is like no other thoughts can enter my head. I am so glad I can do that again. For awhile over Xmas, I just couldn't get into my music at all. It was very frustrating.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Flower, I'm glad you were OK with my comments about predators. Sometimes after I post something, I worry that I may have offended you or Sage. Other than my wife, I don't discuss these topics with other people very often. I think a part of me is still afraid that someone will react like my parents did around these topics. I know rationally that neither of you would do this, but at some emotional level apparently I'm still afraid this could happen. I think it's been very healthy for me to be write about all these topics and to be heard by others who understand and are sympathetic. It's very good. Thank you both!

I'll write more later... Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave & Sage,

I sometimes worry too, after I post something, about whether or not I may have offended you or Sage. I don't discuss these topics with other people very often for the same reasons and this includes my husband as well, because they react inappropriately and don't seem open to exploring a topic further. Yes, it's similar to my parents too, but truthfully this tends to be my experience of most people too--everyone wants to keep it light, unless it is all about them and their issues and then they don't observe boundaries or even acknowledge other people's feelings. I have a hard time liking people who behave that way, and basically don't want to bother with them period.

I often feel that I'm repetitious in stating that I find most people lack empathy and do not offer understanding--it is constantly all about them. Truly, other than a few people this is the first time I have ever felt heard and where I don't feel someone is over-reacting, while at the same time twisting it around to being my issues as in judging that "you're too sensitive," and the same BS, instead of about their thoughtless disregard for others. I really find most people draining.

I spoke with her about your post--about the predators. Women can be predators too, but I think it more subtle. Women become mothers for different reasons. It is a pervasive lie to suggest that motherhood makes them better people or that they are nurturing and self-sacrificing simply by giving birth. There are a lot of reasons why people have children and they are not as altruistic as people claim.

This is good for me too...I appreciate you both. I will also write more later...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Flower,

Dave, Don't ever worry about offending me, I appreciate your honesty and feedback more than you will ever know! :) Thank you for being here too, and you too Flower.

I don't talk to anyone else about this either, and have that same fear - because although there are very few people I have mentioned this to in the past, I have been criticized. I am finally dealing with this in full, it is about time, and it feels good.

What has been crossing my mind lately is how I will deal with relatives, if I ever see them that is. I just dread it. I am not in contact with anyone at all right now, and never have been. Of course they will judge me for estranging myself. But chances are I will never see any of them. The only time I have ever seen them is at the occassional funeral every 5-10 yrs. So I don't know why I am thinking of them, or why I care what they think.

I guess it leads back to the fear of being judged, the fear of being misunderstood, and the fact that they only get my mother's side of the story which is always horribly skewed. In the back of my mind I sometimes think that they MUST see what she is really like, a little 'off', but I don't know that for sure. I mostly fear being misunderstood, because none of them know any details; they only know what my mother tells them, and I can only imagine what that is. I have dreams of this. And that I am trying to explain myself, but nobody listens, or believes me and they just call my crazy.

I had a cousin come up to me at a funeral once, and I could not believe what he was saying to me. I had to correct pretty much everything he was saying to me, because it was based on what my mother told him about me and my husband. My mother even skewed what I did for a job at that time, and I was shocked. I could just sense they are uncomfortable talking to me, and that bothered me.

I doubt I will attend any funerals at which my parents will be, including their own, and I will pay my respects in my own way here, and alone. I know we discussed this before, and I don't have to decide now, but when I really think about it, I do believe I have already made up my mind.

I was always made out to be the 'black sheep' of the family. When in reality, other than leaving home young, I never did anything completely outrageous, or have given them any reason to look down on me as they do. Yes, I did get into drinking and stuff like that when I was a teenager and still living at home. I was very angry (with reason, but that was never understood), and I was a little on the 'wild' side. But after I left, I pretty much took care of myself. I stayed with an aunt for a little while, but other than that, I worked. I was not that bad!!! (If I must say so myself!!!!)

It is my mother's fault. She liked to complain about me, talk about me like I was mentally ill and disturbed, and what a burden I was on them, and how much stress I caused her, how disrespectful I was - perhaps to get sympathy for herself? Or just plain attention? I don't know. I just know it is completely untrue how she has portrayed me, and that is unfair and mean. I have always been 'ok', not perfect, but relatively normal, and did not cause all that much trouble in the big picture of things. And even though I did accomplish alot, that was always overlooked. THEY caused trouble for ME when I was a kid - and that had damaging and lasting affects. I never did that to them.

I think my mother judged me for what she 'thought' I was as a person, in her mind. She clearly judges others strictly by their accomplishments though (education, awards, recognition, what they 'do' AND what they 'have'), and sometimes I used to wish she would have judged me for my accomplishments, because I have lots of those. But she didn't. And it was disappointing. Never being able to please them, or get their acceptance. I wanted them to brag about me like they bragged about my brother I guess. I don't know why, I feel like a fool for ever even trying. I got sucked into their dysfunction, but then again, I didn't know anything different growing up other than what they did. I still hold alot of resentment and hate.

Just some thoughts...

Have a good day!
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, "Don't ever worry about offending me, I appreciate your honesty and feedback more than you will ever know! :)" Thank you for saying this. Like I said, rationally I know this is true; I just need to get past some old emotional reactions. Its good to be able to find a place like this forum to help work through these things.

"I am finally dealing with this in full, it is about time, and it feels good." I agree. Its hard to believe it took this long for me to finally completely sever contact with my parents. I catch myself thinking, they cant hurt me anymore. I dont have to ever listen to my mothers cold, harsh, criticism. I dont ever see my father drunk again, and listen to him endlessly brag about everything he has ever done. Deep breath... :-)

"What has been crossing my mind lately is how I will deal with relatives, if I ever see them that is." Given that most of my relatives are 2000 miles away, and I never saw them much growing up, I grew up in the military, I will probably never see any of them again. It sounds like youve decided not to go to your parents funeral. Im still not sure what I will do. I could imagine it going either way. Part of me wants to see them put in the ground. Another part never wants to have anything to do with them. We will see.

It sounds like your mother says a lot of bad things about you to others. Im sorry you have to go through that. That just sounds so mean and vindictive. I dont know if its any consolation, but people like that are not very happy.

I have no idea what my parents say to friends and family about me. I guess I know my mother told my MIL I was mentally ill. I could see them saying a lot of bad stuff, or I could see them being too embarrassed to say much at all. You know, pretend like everything is great.

Flower, "I often feel that I'm repetitious in stating that I find most people lack empathy and do not offer understanding". It sounds like you have an over abundance of people like this in your life. Write about it as much as you need to. Its good therapy. I do know there are some good people out there because I've met them, but obviously there arent enough. You are doing the right thing by taking care of yourself and protecting yourself from the bad ones. They will steal your soul, if you let them.

Thats all for now. Tomorrow I work at Habitat, and Friday Im skiing. Ill likely be off-line for a couple of days. Take care. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage & Dave,

"Manipulative people are everywhere." Yes, they are. And one of many reasons that I liked the book is that he doesn't fault manipulation victims. He recognizes why some people may get hoodwinked and the reasons why.

Another reason I liked the book above is that he discusses covert aggression and how it is often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation. He also observes that certain personalities are defined by the way they habitually perceives, relates to and interacts with others and the world at large. There's a huge difference between someone who occasionally may manipulate others to get their way and someone who demonstrates habitual behavior.

A quote from the books states, "The tactics of deceit, manipulation and control are a steady diet for covert-aggressive personality. It's the way they prefer to deal with others and to get the things they want in life."

Sage you say, "It is up to us to avoid them, and why we attract them is something that we have to examine within ourselves I think."

Maybe. I hesitate to use the word "attract" in some situations. I probably was re-enacting SOME of these issues with the woman co-worker above (women betray other women all the time and this is also a pervasive problem in sexual harrassment in general), but people reveal themselves slowly and their hidden agendas are not easy to detect. When I recognized her agendas I distanced myself from her and eventually cut her out of my life. She was the one who tried to contact me and I was not receptive. I believe that particular situation (sexual harassment) and her reactions, plus the other co-workers behaviors was a multi-layered incident. I also see culture at play in both the environment that allowed it to happen and the outcome. I did fight back and there is always a cost to fighting back (some of the costs are not easily detected either), but it came down to not being a choice for me at all. It is what you do and what you don't do. I would not have been able to live with myself had I not fought back and that part of the equation is all about me and how I see myself.

Here is another quote from the book that has proved insightful and valuable to me:"

There are two basic types of aggression: overt-aggression and covert-aggression. When you're determined to have something and you're open, direct and obvious in your manner of fighting, your behavior is best labeled overtly aggressive. When you're out to "win," dominate or control, but are subtle, underhanded or deceptive enough to hide your true intentions, your behavior is most appropriately labeled covertly aggressive. Now, avoiding any overt display of aggression while simultaneously intimidating others into giving you what you want is a powerfully manipulative maneuver. That's why covert-aggression is most often the vehicle for interpersonal manipulation."

I purchased the book because the excerpt resonated with me. I see my sister-in-law as extremely manipulative. It is a character trait that other family members (mainly her cousin, aunt and step-mother) also observed in private to me, and the step-mother revealed to my husband. He, of course, does not confront her about it. Yet, when I read the book I've applied it to other people as well, including members of my own family.

I also try to find solid people as well, although I have found it very difficult. It takes time and energy to develop relationships and get to know people and people are very good at concealing their motives and true natures. I also try to limit my exposure to people who, "who drain the life out of me...with their neediness, dysfunction and drama." This has been even harder for me to accomplish, given that my husband will not get on board (due to his people-pleasing behaviors) nor cooperate to provide his wife with some peace-of-mind. He is part of the problem with these types of people and his issues have become mine, despite doing everything in my power to cope.

Regarding women...I did see the one woman yesterday and briefly interacted with her during the past few weeks. She made no mention and yesterday was not the time or place to bring the topic up. I will do so in my own time. I think a few of my emails have given her food for thought and she was not as difficult to be around. I even enjoyed myself (guarded), but I will definitely limit my interactions with her and seek out other friendships with more appropriate people. (I do recognize that despite all of her issues and baggage, she does have some good qualities).

As for my husband, you state, "It is a good sign that he did attend counseling." Unfortunately, it is not something that he continued or participates in. I had to push for counseling and his response was to stubbornly dig in his heels. His family enables the situations and the stress and tension as do his choice of "friends". They would have much to loose (their control and manipulation), if he started to look at his own issues.

He also doesn't seem too interested in "straight psychology," but prefers more "New Age" spirituality. His sister is in to that and alternative healing (she was a Jehovah Witness) and now runs a "colonics" business. She is not a health professional and did not have to earn those credentials, such as nurses and doctors. Yet this does not prevent her from playing nurse/doctor and health practitioner.

She does not take any personal responsibility for her actions and continues to manipulate and control people with her "charming" persona. I see little that has changed in her life, only an outward superficial "re-invention" of herself. She reminds me of the AA people that we've discussed. I think straight psychology would be too painful for my husband as it would not allow him a way out of his feelings and he would finally have to confront some ugly truths. I do believe that is why so many people avoid it as much of the "New Age" seems to gloss over it (what I've read and seen).

You mentioned that you read 'A New Earth' by Eckhart Tolle. My husband's sister (SIL) gave him some CD's to listen too and he wanted me to listen to them too (although he has no use for straight psychology, unless I push the issue). It was another title and not the one you mentioned. I don't do well with books on CD or tapes. I fell asleep. I think he may have had a late night infomercial as well. I try to remain open to other philosophies, but I have to admit that because I am very well aware of whom and what she is (my SIL), I'm highly suspicious of anyone or any author that she would recommend. She's extremely deceitful and a master manipulator and very much like religious types who would use scripture out of context to advance their own agendas. The only difference I see is that she is now using "new age" spirituality to advance her agendas, rather than advancing her agenda's through the religion of Jehovah Witness. She hasn't changed; she's merely substituted one for the other. She is masterful at demnstrating false sincerity as many manipulative types of people are. So, it is difficult for me, given my experience of her, to spend time reading his work. People like her, so deceitful and manipulative; undermine the credibility of authors like that. For me, it all comes back to what we were discussing previously about hypocrites and cons, etc. These people talk the talk, but they dont walk the walk and for me it goes way beyond making errs or "just being human". They deceive and lie like common thieves. I think "New Age" spirituality full of these quacks and charlatans as they are well versed in their trickswhat better audience than the spiritually wounded and those disenfranchised with their childhood religions. I may not be saying this well, but I'm hopeful that you will understand what I'm getting at here.

Well, I've written enough here, so I'll close for now and write more later,

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Flower,

Dave, Thanks for the understanding. I still feel somewhat torn, and to tell you the truth, I am feeling a little paranoid. Mulling over this is a waste of time, and deep down I know that my worry is serving no purpose at all. It will not change anything. My mother could very well just be pretending everything is a-ok for the most part. I would not be surprised if that was the case. She does that alot too, as you said your mother does. Very good at pretending, and never wanting herself to look 'bad'. I am an embarassment to her.

I still am unsure what makes me care. Maybe my own insecurity? Do I want everyone to approve of me, to know it is 'not me' with the problem? Why would I care what people think of me, distant relatives or anyone else for that matter, that I have not had anything to do with for more than 20 yrs? And I know that I have not done anything 'wrong'. They don't know me, and I don't know them. Even if she is spreading half truths, it does not matter. I can't change that and people are going to believe what they are going to believe.

Flower, I think there are master manipulaters and quacks everywhere - including psychologists, new age types, medical doctors, religious leaders, and even the average 'person next door'. It is something that is rampant. Plus, if there is a dollar to be made, it gets 100 times worse...people flock to promoting whatever it is that makes them a buck! Colonics seems to be the latest thing, which has been proven to be a complete scam. I find the placebo affect to be quite interesting though. The mind is powerful.

Yes, I read Ekhart Tolle's book, and was taken aback by his view on how to look at your past. It was very thought provoking for me, and put forth in a way I had never really seen before. And it helped me alot. But......that is me!! The fact he was on Oprah made me very very leary. But I thought I would give his book a read anyways, and am so glad I did.

I think a person has to sift through it all for themselves and determine what works for them, find what makes sense to them, and in the end a person has to hang on to what makes them happy and at peace with their own existence. It is a very individual thing. Spiritually wounded people are vulnerable, unfortunately, to many kinds of abuse and manipulation. I agree. I tend to be a skeptic and cynic, but I do my best to remain open-minded. I am open to learning about just about anything these days. Finalizing things with my parents has been a huge turning point for me, very emotional, plus making me look inward more than ever. It feels very right, and I don't have that feeling of 'dread' anymore. Hard to explain.

This is the very first 'holiday' my mother has not sent a card. She used to send a damn card for every single holiday you could ever imagine on earth, which always included Valentines day, Halloween, Easter - you name it!!!! And it used to drive me absolutely nuts. Such a fake, commercial, shallow gesture. But was her form of communication I suppose. It is sort of a relief...! :)

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage & Dave,

A few times this week I've had dreams about writing you both articulating everything that I want to respond too and all I want to say. This forum brings up a lot for me, yet I feel overwhelmed at times too, like there isn't enough time to respond how I would like or touch on every important issue. It's odd that I feel such a sense of urgency at times, like I will only have one opportunity to get it all out, before I'm SILENCED again. (And I'm not suggesting that either one of you will attempt to silence me either.) I know that is a strong part of my experience is feeling that other's just want to constantly silence me, or that they get impatient and don't want me to explore issues further--they just want me to shut up and pretend being happy. They don't want me to ever revisit anything again...just act and behave like a damn drone.

Sage, like you I've been severely criticized. I can relate to almost everything that you say about your mother.

What you say here resonates very deeply with me too, "I guess it leads back to the fear of being judged, the fear of being misunderstood, and the fact that they only get my mother's side of the story which is always horribly skewed."

And I can relate to this, "I mostly fear being misunderstood, because none of them know any details; they only know what my mother tells them, and I can only imagine what that is. I have dreams of this. And that I am trying to explain myself, but nobody listens, or believes me and they just call my crazy."

I also experience the same with my sisters and with my husband's family and he makes it worse by not confronting them or setting the record straight, but playing along, because he doesn't want to deal with it.

What you say here resonates with me as well, because I was also made out to be the "black sheep", the "trouble maker", the "mentally ill one", etc. This continued with my sisters. I was always framed as something being wrong with me, NOT with them. The experienced the same with my husband's family and HIS choice of associations and acquaintances, which he tried to CONTROL.

I didn't do anything completely outrageous either. Yes, I did take some drugs, but those were influenced by friends. I did start to smoke, but that was also influenced by a friend--the one who tried to recruit me into prostitution. My mother and family know nothing of any of this...ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The only thing they know is my suicide attempt and all their blame and judgment is due to that. They know of nothing else that happened to me, because I know they would twist it into what a horrible child, sister and burden that I was. My sister, as an adult would criticize me and then when I would react would judge me as "too sensitive," or she would tell me that I was "too proud to take her advice", etc. When I tried to tell her about my eldest sister's abuse of me (slapping me across the face because of her temper and control issues), her response (and this was as an adult) was to say that, "You were a f---ing spoiled brat who deserved it!"

I, like you, didn't do anything completely outrageous to give them look down on me the way they do. The only mistake I ever made was to try to turn to them for empathy or support, which they had NONE to give. They treated me like I was a burden, but they twist it all around as if they were so loving and caring and that I discarded that and that I'm the one with all the issues. Yes, I do completely understand where you are coming from, as I've experienced the same. And you know it is their problem.

I can relate to this as well...

"It is my mother's fault. She liked to complain about me, talk about me like I was mentally ill and disturbed, and what a burden I was on them, and how much stress I caused her, how disrespectful I was - perhaps to get sympathy for herself? Or just plain attention? I don't know. I just know it is completely untrue how she has portrayed me, and that is unfair and mean. I have always been 'ok', not perfect, but relatively normal, and did not cause all that much trouble in the big picture of things. And even though I did accomplish alot, that was always overlooked. THEY caused trouble for ME when I was a kid - and that had damaging and lasting affects. I never did that to them."

My mother's DENIAL and refusal to seek help for her depression, ultimately lead to a complete breakdown. Some people say denial is the gift that keeps on giving. It is no gift to the people around them. Ultimately it was no gift to her. Her slide into mental illness created enormous emotional pain, which I cannot even begin to discuss here. I suppose most people, if they knew fully what I had to go through may say that she is lucky that I did try to help her. I could have walked away given her mistreatment of me and all of the emotional pain and neglect. Still others' may judge or criticize me harshly (church type people). They know nothing and their words are as empty as their minds. I often feel scorn, contempt and disdain for a lot of people, which I feel they merit in their arrogance, ignorance and stupidity. They are fools who are not worth caring about. If I could count on anything, it would be that they will always not understand, that they will always misunderstand and judge and criticize, without knowing a damn thing. That is how the mentally deficient herd operates. And it is all about them and their mind games.

I've written enough for now. It makes me angry to think about it--all the lies and how when I needed people to offer understanding and empathy--THEY FAILED ME miserably. I've always felt so alone in having to cope and deal with harsh, difficult situations.

You are not alone Sage...I understand. And Dave, you are not alone either....I understand more than you know....

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Flower, it sounds like you have a good understanding of manipulative people and how to keep them out of your life. That must be very satisfying given how much you have suffered at the hands of these people. With these people out of your life, I hope you have more room to find healthier more supportive relationships.

Sage, "I still am unsure what makes me care." I think being concerned what others who know us, think about us, is very normal. One of the hardest things about becoming estranged from my family is learning how to turn off that part of me that cares what my parents, and anyone they associate with, think about me. I still care about what my wife and sons, and my friends think, but at this point I just don't care what my parents and their circle thinks. It's been hard to get here, but I like the way it feels.

"I think a person has to sift through it all for themselves and determine what works for them, find what makes sense to them, and in the end a person has to hang on to what makes them happy and at peace with their own existence." Very well put! We really do have to find it ourselves, don't we? And it seems it takes a certain amount of determination to keep our happiness and peace.

"Finalizing things with my parents has been a huge turning point for me, very emotional, plus making me look inward more than ever. It feels very right, and I don't have that feeling of 'dread' anymore. Hard to explain." Me too! It doesn't need that much explanation. In a way I feel like I'm starting a new and even more positive phase of my life. I think I'm still haunted by demons from my relationship with my parents, but the demons aren't as scary, and they have lost a lot of their power over me.

"This is the very first 'holiday' my mother has not sent a card." Congratulations! I can understand your relief. After everything I've brought up with my parents, when they turn around and send cards like everything is OK, it's like they are saying, we could care less what you think or feel, we are just going to ignore it and pretend like everything is fine. It's just too much.

Anyway, that's all for now... Peace.

Dave


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re: estranged adults

Hi Flower,

It looks like we posted at the same time. I'm glad you have found a place where you can be heard. I know what it's like to need support and understanding from our parents, and to have them fail us miserably. To be so alone and hurt. I know how crushing and life-draining that is. You've been through a lot of pain and disappointment. I hope that writing here gives you some comfort. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Crazy mother's and manipulation

Hello Sage & Dave,

Same here and this is very true for me as well and how I experience my mother,

"My mother could very well just be pretending everything is a-ok for the most part. I would not be surprised if that was the case. She does that alot too, as you said your mother does. Very good at pretending, and never wanting herself to look 'bad'. I am an embarassment to her."

"They don't know me, and I don't know them. Even if she is spreading half truths, it does not matter. I can't change that and people are going to believe what they are going to believe."

Yes, I've come to this conclusion too, that people will believe half-truths and lies, as it is convenient for them to do so. They can't be bothered with the truth and, in fact, most don't want to know it. Most of them are just idiotic drones who can't think for themselves and don't want too.

"Flower, I think there are master manipulaters and quacks everywhere - including psychologists, new age types, medical doctors, religious leaders, and even the average 'person next door'. It is something that is rampant. Plus, if there is a dollar to be made, it gets 100 times worse...people flock to promoting whatever it is that makes them a buck! Colonics seems to be the latest thing, which has been proven to be a complete scam. I find the placebo affect to be quite interesting though. The mind is powerful."

Yes, I agree with you. I've had a few negative experiences with a few psychologists, one in particular was overwhelming. She was on my insurance list of providers and she wound up having a breakdown and was hospitalized. She sought me out to help her. Again, I was placed in another position of fighting for someone's rights--this eventually happened with my mother as well. This was inappropriate, overwhelming and "too long" to get in to on this forum. As for my experiences with doctors, I've had better experiences, especially my current physicians who I am in awe of, and their nurses and staff who were all instrumental in helping me to get through my surgery. They were/are all professionals. I often think of them and there isn't a day that doesn't go by where I don't feel gratitude for their hard-work, for being there and mostly for everything that they did.

I have had negative encounters as well--a few inappropriate interactions along the way. One physician was I believe negligent in providing appropriate care. As a result of their misdiagnosis and failure to be thorough in their diagnositic testing, I wound up critically anemic (another long story). I've survived, but there were consequences.

I've met more quacks and cons though in "new age" type recruits and believers, religious leaders and so called "spiritual guides" and alternative health believers. I believe as you do, that it appears to be rampant behaviors among the pathetic herd.

I hope you didn't get offended by what I said about Ekhart Tolle's book. It's difficult when a recommendation for a book comes from my SIL, who is extremely manipulative and someone who I don't have an ounce of respect for. Perhaps one day I will consider it...

And I do agree with you that people have to sift through it all for themselves and determine what works for them and what makes sense. I believe it is a life-long journey. That journey may entail times of greater intensity, periods of peace and learning of great significance. The only requirement is while taking care of one's heart, that we may keep our hearts open to the learning. I try to do that, yet I also find that doesn't come without consequences and difficulties...

Take care of your hearts my friends...I come here everyday to read and search for you both, even if I don't post. And just know that I'm thinking of you both...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Flower,

Dave, Thanks for relating. Funny thing, almost every single time I post I think 'nobody is going to understand this, and when they read this they will not have a clue what I am trying to say...they are going to think I am a neurotic nut-job.' lol More insecurtiy surfacing I guess. I am so used to being rejected. When I start thinking too deeply about this stuff, I do feel neurotic and obsessive and stuck inside my head. Slowly, I am letting that go. I am very embarrassed by my whole family situation. I find it very humiliating and at the same time it makes me so mad. I feel wronged. Things getting better though.

Flower, I am never offended by anything you say! I welcome your opinions and insight, I really do! And Dave's too. I can't say there is one author that I agree with 100% (although Pema Chodron comes very very very close). But her work deeply resonates with me for some reason. Ekhart Tolle has put really interesting 'spin' on a couple issues for me. But some of his points I simply did not understand. And he sometimes borders on what I call 'magical thinking', which always distracts me. He does have some good food for thought anyways.

I cannot ever see myself fitting into one specific belief system, so yes, I agree, I consider myself a life long learner and explorer. I no longer try to fit into one belief system, so I don't feel as much as an outsider. I guess it is similar to how I have 'given up' with my parents. That has brought me peace. I have also 'given up' trying to fit into one belief system as far as spirituality goes. For me my spirituality has become quite a solitary thing. I don't think it is that way for most people.

I know what you mean, if someone you don't like recommends a book - it is hard to believe that you will find any pleasure in reading it! I can understand that.

Enjoy what is left of the weekend friends. I am getting together with a few people to play guitar/sing tonight and am looking forward to that! Getting lost in the music for a little while...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave & Sage,

"Flower, it sounds like you have a good understanding of manipulative people and how to keep them out of your life. That must be very satisfying given how much you have suffered at the hands of these people. With these people out of your life, I hope you have more room to find healthier more supportive relationships."

Thank you Dave. My first therapist agreed and observed that she thought I did have a good understanding of what motivates people. I'm just around idiots that don't listen or give me credit and that poses problems for me. I've kept the book that I've mentioned above and refer to it often. I've sought every possible way to fight back, because I believe those types of people are numerous and have far outnumbered the existence of good, decent people that I've encountered.

Manipulator's and narcissists are charming people. Their appeal lies in knowing how to appear confident and outgoing to others--those are highly prized traits in our culture (confidence, extroversion, popularity, attention). Most people I encounter are shallow and don't think these issues through, so it's easy for someone with a charming persona to exploit their emotions. Then on top of that is the denial issue, so even if you are aware that something isn't right and you try to warn others--they refuse to listen and basically, if they don't like the message, they kill the messenger. I've watched this scenario play itself out repeatedly, especially with my FIL and SIL.

It takes time and energy, as I previously said, to get to know people and to really see them for who and what they are, so it's easy to get suckered in to more subtle forms of manipulation.

All of our parents are manipulators, and even some of our siblings and other relatives. Maybe not to the degree that a sociopath may exhibit, however it is there. I see it in my father-in-law (FIL) and sister-in-law (SIL). He went to jail for embezzlement, but the family story was to blame others and say that he was set-up. From his actions towards us and others (his constant money manipulations), I don't believe him. He is a chronic LIAR and manipulator. My SIL is the same. I believe they should both be locked up and not allowed to interact with decent human beings. Her new "colonics" business is just another way for her to manipulate and charm unsuspecting and ignorant people, which there seems to be a steady supply of. DAMN the MINDLESS HERD!

I found this quote from the book quite insightful: "What our gut tells us a manipulator is like, challenges everything we've been taught to believe about human nature. We've been inundated with a psychology that has us seeing everybody, at least to some degree, as afraid, insecure or "hung-up." So, while our gut tells us we're dealing with a ruthless conniver, our head tells us they must be really frightened or wounded "underneath." What's more, most of us generally hate to think of ourselves as callous and insensitive people. We hesitate to make harsh or seemingly negative judgments about others. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they don't really harbor the malevolent intentions we suspect. We're more apt to doubt and blame ourselves for daring to believe what our gut tells us about our manipulator's character."

The same theme, as well as denial, is also explored in another excellent book called, The Gift of Fear. I recognized early on how certain uses of scripture, or should I say abuses of scripture, especially when it is taken out of context and not fully explained, helped to create situations ripe for exploitation. I think this also true of some "unhelpful" views in psychology too.

This was another good, insightful observation taken from the book which I agree with, "Almost everyone is familiar with the term defense mechanism. Defense mechanisms are the "automatic" (i.e. unconscious) mental behaviors all of us employ to protect or defend ourselves from the "threat" of some emotional pain. More specifically, ego defense mechanisms are mental behaviors we use to "defend" our self-images from "invitations" to feel ashamed or guilty about something. There are many different kinds of ego defenses and the more traditional (psychodynamic) theories of personality have always tended to distinguish the various personality types, at least in part, by the types of ego defenses they prefer to use. One of the problems with psychodynamic approaches to understanding human behavior is that they tend to depict people as most always afraid of something and defending or protecting themselves in some way; even when they're in the act of aggressing. Covert-aggressive personalities (indeed all aggressive personalities) use a variety of mental behaviors and interpersonal maneuvers to help ensure they get what they want. Some of these behaviors have been traditionally thought of as defense mechanisms."

Sage, I am not a proponent of magical thinking either. I find it distracting as well, not to mention that I can feel contempt towards people who are so inclined to act or think in this way. This reminds me of the narcississtic co-worker, who I previously mentioned, who was so obviously in dire need of a psychiatrist, and instead saw a psychic and talked about her past lives--she was always a famous person, princess or queen. These people are all the same. What is with them! I have absolutely no patience for this. I do recall feeling irritated at some of the points he was trying to make--like people think too much and that creates unhappiness, and something along the lines of that people stay inside their heads and dwell on issues. If I recall it correctly, I got very irritated with his presentation and where he was headed with this, although I did note that this idea seemed to please my husband. This unfortunately didn't suprise me, because of his numerous issues with sticking-his-head-in-the-sand about emotions that he can't deal with, which he finds unpleasant and his denial issues. If anything, I believe people don't think enough about issues, but I'm not talking about obsession, which is a different issue. The main point here is that they lack critical problem-solving skills. And how does one develop that skill when they are constantly told to keep quiet or silenced by a bunch of fools for dwelling on issues. How does one go about developing critical thinking skills when they are dismissed as a joke or as a pain in the ass and scolded for dwelling on issues, or for merely trying to find a solution to a problem. Now how freaking obtuse and crazy-making is that. Another serious problem with this issue is the number of lemmings and mind boggling simpletons who stupidly try to promote instant gratification solutions to complex problems--this is a serious problem with the herd mentality. I start to get very angry and intolerant towards these whiny herd members who promote this kind of nonsense. ENOUGH ALREADY!

ONWARD....Dave, thank you for acknowledging this, "I know what it's like to need support and understanding from our parents, and to have them fail us miserably. To be so alone and hurt. I know how crushing and life-draining that is. You've been through a lot of pain and disappointment. I hope that writing here gives you some comfort." I know you do understand and I'm sorry for the pain that you have experienced too.

It does give me some comfort, but you do know that it is how you and Sage respond, that provides the comfort too. If you responded with cliches or made dismissive shallow comments, rather than heartfelt empathy it would not be the same. I've had a steady diet of that elsewhere, including religion, so it is great that I've finally found two people who are willing to discuss these issues deeper and who can also relate to what I think and feel. That has been a huge void in my life--finding people who can relate. Thank you for that. I will close for now and write more later...

Flower



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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, I hope you enjoyed your music with your friends. I really treasure those things in life that I enjoy with friends and family. I had very few things like that growing up. I think that makes them that much more dear to me now.

Flower, "I'm just around idiots that don't listen or give me credit and that poses problems for me." I don't think I would be very happy, if I was around very many people like this. Fortunately, I'm able to live my life around people I like to be with. For you to constantly have to deal with people like this must be very frustrating and demoralizing. I hope you can find ways to reduce the time you have to spend with them.

"Manipulator's and narcissists are charming people." Yes they are. My brother is a first class example. When my wife first met my brother she commented to me what a charming a delightful person he was. I said, "Just wait". It didn't take long for her to realize what deceitful, irresponsible jerk he really was. I've only seen him once in the last seven years. It was at my father's 80th birthday. It was a big party, 100+ people. My brother got drunk and passed out at 7 PM, missing a lot of the party. But not before screaming at my mother, because he had prepared a toast for my father, and she forgot to ask him to give it before dinner. Lots of drama. Not for me. Not anymore.

Now that I don't spend time around people like this, it's a lot easier to not be upset by them. I like to think of them as rattlesnakes. (Real rattlesnakes are very common where I live.) It doesn't do any good for me to get angry at rattlesnakes. A rattlesnake is going to be a rattlesnake, whether I'm angry at them or not. They are just being who they are. If I get too close, I can get bitten. All I can do is be aware they are around, and keep my distance. The more I know about rattlesnakes, their habits and habitats, the safer I can be.

"I know you do understand and I'm sorry for the pain that you have experienced too." Thank you, I appreciate your sympathy. We've all suffered a lot at the hands of some very unpleasant people. I hope we can all find a little more joy in our lives, as we move forward. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage & Dave,

Sage, I just re-read what I wrote about Eckhart Tolle and I get very worried that you may get offended by what I wrote and then never want to talk to me again. I know this is because it has been my experience of most people (starting with my family) and a continuation of other people that I've meet. And if they don't stop seeing me, then they try to control the outcome of conversations and it is all about them. Like you I've felt judged, criticized, misunderstood, NEITHER LISTENED TOO NOR HEARD all of my life. This has created a core of anger and rage in me. My family always dismissed me and treated me like a joke, ignoring my feelings or making fun of them. My husband exposed me to his selfish, hateful family and more of the same with his idiot associations and friends.

I do have a few friends--the one I told you about who is more nurturing, but she really doesn't know the full story about the issues that I discuss here or the challenges that I've had to face. I have another friend who I've turned to for emotional support (who is not judgmental), but he lives out-of-state.

After you mentioned the book, I went to Amazon to look it up and read the reviews. I found myself feeling irritated and angry and not being able to get through it. I chalked it up to the memory of what I was going through during the time that my husband introduced me to it and my anger towards him for ignoring issues and not wanting to deal with difficult situations and the emotions that they bring up. It also made me think of the countless people who I've met who offer cliches or make comments which sound a lot like "get over it" or "move on" or "you think too much" and that sounds a lot like I don't care and shut up.

I feel a tremendous amount of rage towards the thoughts and feelings police. They are like that damn Gestapo trying to dictate people's realities or emotions. It makes me want to start cussing and swearing. For God's sakes, all it is--is an emotion and that is a valuable tool and a piece of information for "awareness" learning. Even if it is unpleasant, and people want to run and hide from it and what it brings up for them, it is after all just an emotion. I feel an intense amount of rage towards anyone who would somehow suggest that I need to justify my emotions to them, while at the same time burdening me with their issues. I get that they would like me to act congenial and pleasant around them 24/7, but that is not real and I do not like pretending. And anyone who behaves like that has major issues and I feel does not care about me at all. If they did and could face one iota of truth about themselves, then they would see how behaving like that creates enormous emotional pain and how they are destroying the relationship with their alienating behaviors. I have to think that they just do not care at all, or they would listen and take measures to change.

During that time in my life (when he brought home Tolle's book on CD) I was dealing with critical anemia, invasive medical procedures, inadequate insurance coverage, incompetent physicians, changing jobs, financial difficulties, my mother's mental health deteriorating, a therapist (one on my list of insurance providers) who I had turned too, (who was apprehended and hospitalized in a psychiatric facility) who was now turning to me for support. This was a long story, but I had contact with her attorney, out-of-state family members, etc. On top of that my husband had increased his visits to his own family as his mother almost died and then due to her drinking was being constantly hospitalized as well. I would be here all day talking about this stuff. During this time I was extremely stressed and seeking viable solutions to these very difficult problems and feeling so alone...with no one to turn too for support. Having people wanting me to "not feel stressed" or "not think" or "still the mind" was inappropriate, distressing and very unhelpful. Oh, I get stilling the mind, which is what I did when I slept and I get the value of coping mechanisms, which I did when I would go out walking, but I had to think, analyze and focus, because there was no one who was helpful or who was going to do this for me.

I had immediate problems which needed addressing and the only way I know how to do that is to confront situations, regardless of how unpleasant they are, HEAD ON. Sadly, much of my experience has taught me that people are part of the problem, not the solution.

I told my therapist about the book and even read her a few of our posts...She said she was going to read it and would let me know what she thought. I told her that I've always read straight psychology as I just found it gets right to the heart of the matter and has been more useful to me. I also gravitate to survival stories and books about survival as I feel those get right to the heart of the matter too. Take this quote for example:

"The human organism, then, is like a jockey on a thoroughbred in the gate. He's a small man and it's a big horse, and if it decides to get excited in that small metal cage, the jockey is going to get mangled, possibly killed. So he takes great care to be gentle. The jockey is REASON and the horse is EMOTION, a complex of systems bred over eons of evolution and shaped by experience, which exist for your SURVIVAL...The jockey can't win without the horse, and the horse can't race alone. In the gate, they are two, and it's dangerous. But when they run, they are one, and it's positively godly."

This resonates for me. I wrote earlier that there is something very spiritual for me about survival. I find it difficult at times to explain, but it's there and I feel it. It's very core stuff. Understanding emotions is key to understanding ourselves. It's what drives us. I've always been aware of my emotions...dealing with people who cannot accept my emotions, because they cannot accept or face their own has been an issue for me. I've written enough for now and will write more later...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi guys,

I posted earlier, but I see it didn't actually "post" after all...sigh. So here I go again. If the old post does make it's way here somehow, sorry if this is a repeat!

I was out of town, and away from the computer. I just got home.

Flower, I was not offended at all. I promise I will tell you if I feel offended. :) So don't wory, K?! I love to hear people's opinions. And have come to realize people who have no opinions really annoy me - like my parents. Never ever wanting to debate anything, or understand another person's point of view. They were always happy just smiling and nodding. They would never voice an opinion for, or against, anything. I guess they had strong opinions, but never were interested in debating anything, ever. I remember them gossiping alot, never saying things to people's faces. This gave me a real complex growing up. They always were harsh with me if I said the wrong thing, what was wrong in their opinion that is. I remember always wondering "Is this how I should feel?" "Is this what I 'should' say?". It is enought to drive a person mad. I remember being stressed, and half the time I didn't know how I really felt, or what my real opinion on anything was. Always worried. When I think about it, they never treated me like the child I was. They were completely non-nurturing, and cold.

I found the E.Tolle book really hard to read, and parts I found I just didn't 'get' at all, even after re-reading them a few times. I am still on the fence about him, some things he says really resonated with me, but others not so much. I like hearing what others think of his writing - good, or bad. I find myself taking bits and pieces. The part of E. Tolle's book "A New Earth" that really hit home for me was the part about what he calls the 'pain body'. If you are interested in checking out that part, I would be interested in what you think about it. If not - no big deal! :)

Dave, I did enjoy our time with friends. I treasure that as well, and never had that feeling of closeness, or 'special' times growing up. It means alot to me now. I think we do have a heightened awareness and gratitude, since we never had that growing up.

I agree, keeping those idiotic people away is key. Or at least, minimizing time spent with them. My brother is the same way. Just a complete jerk. But, on first impression, he is rather impressive-highly educated, good looking, travels. Oh my, your brother is a real peice of work! That sounds so typical. Good to be out of that drama, it must be a relief for you. I love the analogy with the rattlesnake. Very true. I gave up trying to change people. They are what they are, best to avoid them, and not get angry at them.

Flower said: "I feel an intense amount of rage towards anyone who would somehow suggest that I need to justify my emotions to them, while at the same time burdening me with their issues. I get that they would like me to act congenial and pleasant around them 24/7, but that is not real and I do not like pretending." I agree, I think the only person we have to justify our emotions to is ourselves.

Flower said: "I have to think that they just do not care at all, or they would listen and take measures to change." Ya, I am pretty sure some people really don't care. That doesn't mean you have to listen to them, or even be around them. I think some people simply don't want to understand, and don't want to help others. Many are self-absorbed unfortunately. That has been my experience anyways. I try now to only nurture relationships that I really feel strongly about. There are good people out there, I know that because I have a few of them in my life....but I am sorry to say that my experience has been that they are few and far between. BUT I have found that the more ''good'' people I have in my life - and by good, I mean people that I feel genuinely care about me, that really listen, then the more other ''good'' people I meet. Is it networking..?! lol I don't know, but I have said this before, but we really make a point of keeping the poison people out.

Flower said: "The human organism, then, is like a jockey on a thoroughbred in the gate. He's a small man and it's a big horse, and if it decides to get excited in that small metal cage, the jockey is going to get mangled, possibly killed. So he takes great care to be gentle. The jockey is REASON and the horse is EMOTION, a complex of systems bred over eons of evolution and shaped by experience, which exist for your SURVIVAL...The jockey can't win without the horse, and the horse can't race alone. In the gate, they are two, and it's dangerous. But when they run, they are one, and it's positively godly." Great analogy!!!

I need to think about that one for awhile today.

I hope this isn't too 'out there' and off topic. But I am really upset right now. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer today. Nice news. And it is a fact that it is caused by having HPV, which I have had in my past. It is a fact that having multiple sexual partners is a big factor, which I also had years ago as well. Another factor, is having sex very young. Which I did. Not exactly by choice, but had sex early, and then was sexually active regularly from a young age. Was also on birth control pills since I was 14, yet another factor.

Now I feel like it is 'payback time' for me. Why didn't I stop myself from being that way? And I find myself wishing things were different, that my family was different, that someone, anyone, would have cared enough about me so that I didn't move out of home so young and so I was not so insecure. I wish my parents would have given me up for adoption, maybe things would have been different then.

I didn't out of the blue one day decide that I needed to seek the attention of men. I did that because I was seriously lacking something when I was growing up. I was missing a relationship with my dad, and my mom too. I was not this evil kid who became possessed by some spirit that caused me to sleep around. And at that age, I didn't just choose to be that way based on pure pleasure. Yes, I made the choices, but I didn't know why I made them at the time. I was looking for something. I feel like a fool. There was some reason for me behaving in that way.

I know it is ridiculous to blame my parents for my condition, for causing my cancer, I know that is irrational, and I am not really doing that. But I am just finding myself feeling such resentment, regret. rrgh, I have been crying most of the day. I feel like I have been hit by a train. My doctor says this is very common, and there is a 96% chance the treatment will be successful. That is high odds. So I will be going for a LEEP procedure, and see what happens after that.

Thanks for listening, sorry for dumping this on you guys.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, I'm so, so sorry to hear about you having cervical cancer. That's terrible news!! Just terrible! I can't imagine everything that's going through your mind right now.

"Now I feel like it is 'payback time' for me. Why didn't I stop myself from being that way? And I find myself wishing things were different, that my family was different, that someone, anyone, would have cared enough about me so that I didn't move out of home so young and so I was not so insecure. I wish my parents would have given me up for adoption, maybe things would have been different then."

There's a lot to be upset about isn't there? Sigh..... I just want you to know that as teenagers and young adults we just didn't know what we were doing, and there is no reason to beat yourself up now. None of us had a clue what we were doing, or why we were doing it. I did a lot of really stupid, dangerous things myself. We just didn't know or understand what was happening to us!!! A lot of teenagers like us never recovered. I'm glad you survived to be where you are today. It's not your fault you were born into the family you were born into. It really would have been nice to grow up with loving, supportive parents, and not have to go through all this. I'm really sorry.

"I know it is ridiculous to blame my parents for my condition, for causing my cancer, I know that is irrational, and I am not really doing that. But I am just finding myself feeling such resentment, regret." I don't think it is ridiculous to realize now that your parents behavior was directly related to your teenage high-risk behavior that is now a known factor in cervical cancer. We have become estranged from our parents, because we know they have been, and still are, emotionally harmful to us. Apparently, they are also harmful to our physical health as well.

I'm really glad there is a 96% success rate for treating this cancer. That's very good. Hang in there, and take care of yourself. Keep posting on here whenever you need to. I'll keep you in my prayers. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Sage,

You are not being too "out there" and if it is off-topic, who cares. It is an important topic and on your mind. I'm sorry to hear about this and I understand how upsetting it would be for you. Your reaction is normal and I don't feel that you are blaming your parents for your condition. I don't judge you for feeling as you do or your reaction to the news. I'm feeling a loss about what to say or do to comfort you as "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem like it is enough to offer. I think you need to talk about it as much as you need too and no reason to apologize and you are not dumping. I've had a lot of health issues myself, different from your, but it has been difficult to cope with and to persevere. So you feel free to talk about it and go ahead and cry--it will help you too. I don't know about you, but sometimes tears offer such relief, but I've always tended to cry in silence and by myself. Crying in my family and elsewhere was always construed as a sign of weakness and made me vulnerable to more bullying and emotional restrictions, so I've learned to do so alone--it offers less temption for malicious people to attack when you are down.

Listen Sage, your parent's failed you. My parent's failed me and Dave's parent's failed him. You are just reacting to the loss and that is huge. Your doctor's say cervical cancer is common?

I can relate to what you said here, "Another factor, is having sex very young. Which I did. Not exactly by choice, but had sex early.." Yes, I connect the dots here with what you are saying...I didn't seek out the attention of men either, but if you had, it is not for someone to judge. I certainly don't and understand the part about what was seriously lacking. It only natural that it would make you vulnerable and that you would turn to others. My response was a little different as I eventually learned to run from men, due to the predation--it's something one doesn't forget easily. I'm just wanting to say this to you, so that you will know that I don't judge you and I certainly don't think you were or are evil. No one at that age knows why they make the choices they do. No one gets the consequences--you need loving parents to help guide the way, and if you cannot find that, someone who cares, but sometimes that care comes at our expense. You are being much too hard on yourself Sage...I recognize this because I'm hard on myself too.

Of course you went searching for what was missing. That is natural...Look, what you are experiencing to the news right now is natural, even if it is unpleasant. I've got to run and don't have much time to post right now, but I'll write more later....Just know that I'm thinking about you...and you too Dave.

Flower


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RE: Rattlesnake psychology

Dave,

I loved your rattlesnake analogy too. I've even asked my husband many times to stop feeding the rattlesnakes. He just doesn't seem to hear me...but I definitely do all I can to avoid them.

It looks like you posted while I was composing. I don't have time to respond, but I will write more later...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi guys,

Thanks for the support. I had a bit of a melt-down yesterday. Whew. Better today though. I don't cope well with things like this. And the more reading I do on it, of course the more upsetting it is. So I am not going to research it any further. I know enough, and it is what it is. Can't change things now and I certainly can't change the past. I appreciate your support. Dave, thanks, I know logically I did not really know what I was doing in a way. Everyone feels invincible when they are young. I still hold alot of guilt about my actions. And it is partially their fault, they did not take care of me when I was a kid. At least they could have tried - they really did not. I grew up with little guidance, and perhaps if I had a little guidance, maybe a small amount of care-things could have been different. Flower, Yes, my dr. says this level of cancer they detected is fairly 'common', whatever that means, it doesn't make me feel better. I believe he meant the procedure is routine and very successful. I have never had anything really 'wrong' with me physically. But I just turned 40, and did smoke for many years. And all the other things I did on top of that. It is somewhat inevitable to have a few things go wrong. Thanks again guys, I am doing better today. Moving on, moving forward....

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Sage,

I'm glad you are doing better today. I can only imagine that you will be up and down a lot as you deal with this. This seems like a double whammy for you. For most people it would be all they could do to deal with the cancer. For you, you have the cancer and all that it brings up about your parents. That's a lot to deal with. I know you have said that you have become more spiritual over time. I hope that you can find some peace and comfort in your beliefs. I know in times like this, it can make a big difference.

"I still hold a lot of guilt about my actions." I understand feeling guilty about things we did as teenagers and as young adults. There were things I did that were very wrong. I think it helps, if we can forgive ourselves. That doesn't mean what we did was right. It just means we don't have to punish ourselves for it the rest of our lives. That is something our parents would do to us. Let's not be like them.

Tomorrow, my younger, 13-year old son, is off school and I'm taking him skiing. It should be fun. I'll check back in this weekend. Take care. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Sage,

I don't have much time today to respond, but I understand why you reacted as you did. I think it normal to have a melt down considering your situation and the news that you received.

"I did not really know what I was doing in a way. Everyone feels invincible when they are young. I still hold alot of guilt about my actions. And it is partially their fault, they did not take care of me when I was a kid. At least they could have tried - they really did not. I grew up with little guidance, and perhaps if I had a little guidance, maybe a small amount of care-things could have been different."

I understand this too. I often feel lucky to be alive considering some of the situations I was in. My parent's, especially my mother, were oblivious, while at the same time authoritarian and controlling. It was very confusing.

I don't know what the fairly common means either and I agree that it would not make anyone feel better. I don't know why doctor's always give one statistics. They did that to me too and it didn't make me feel any better. That happens in our culture anyway. Anything you read about health and there are always statistics along with age, and for some reason people like to quote them. Trouble is, you are not a statistic and being just another number is far from comforting when dealing with health issues. Feeling hit by a train when delivered news like that is exactly how it feels.

My health stuff was different, but I also went through invasive medical procedures to check for ovarian and uterine cancer and it was very scary to me as well as the eventual surgery. All of it was very overwhelming. A lot of health issues are genetic. Environment and choices factor in as well. It effects everyone differently, so why they feel compelled to throw out statistics at one is a mystery to me, unless it makes them somehow feel better. I smoked as a teenager too, but quit, except for the occasional cigarette when I was around others who regularly smoked.

Sage, you will have good days and bad days dealing with all of this. That is natural too. The bad days are hard to get through, because we feel we shouldn't have them. (I think we are trying to live up to some cultural expectation of how we ought to deal with feelings). Our culture reveres stoicism and not openly talking about one's feelings--not the other way around. If it was the other way around there wouldn't still be snickering and stigma around seeing couselors and therapists, as if one is spineless for doing so. Certain feelings are acceptable and others are not. It's not helpful when one is feeling overwhelmed and it just adds another burden to someone who is already suffering emotionally. I had to put everything on hold and focus on my health. There was no other choice, but that is why I'm still processing things now and feeling the need to talk about it. I think it may be the same for you--that first and foremost you will need to focus on your health. That is natural and the wisest choice for you to make.

I will write more later, but you take care...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Thanks again for your kind words Dave and Flower. Yes, I always think I was so lucky to have survived my childhood, my parents affect on me, and then my youth, considering all the predicaments I put myself into. In reality, I know this is something that is treatable, and I know I am overreacting, letting my emotions take over. I get comfort from looking at it logically. There are worse things, and in the big picture, this is very very minor. I asked my doctor for all the statistics, but they don't really mean much. If there is a slim chance it could be more, even if it is only 4%, then the worry is there. I know all too well how much stress can affect a person's well being, and I am getting a grip on myself.

Yes, it does seem it came at a bad time. I was just FINALLY getting things settled with my parents, a huge emotional upheaval, and feeling pretty good about everything, and I didn't need this worry right now. Ah well, such is life I guess!!!!

We are going out tonight, and tomorrow night...and as much as I wanted to cancel on everything we had planned this weekend, I am going to force myself to go. I need some distractions! Some good music and the company of friends will help. I have not told anyone except you guys, and my husband. And I think I will keep it that way. I don't want to act like my parents, always dragging everyone into the slightest little health issue, or any other little problem that may come up, and going on and on and on about it endlessly. It was always all about them. I really hated when they used to do that. I sort of feel myself doing that the past couple days. So I need to get outside of my own head for awhile, it is driving me nuts! :) Thanks for listening and enjoy your weekend!

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage,

I can only imagine that being diagnosed with cervical cancer has changed everything for you.

"In reality, I know this is something that is treatable, and I know I am overreacting, letting my emotions take over. I get comfort from looking at it logically. There are worse things, and in the big picture, this is very very minor." This sounds like you are starting to handle this. My guess is that there will still be days this is overwhelming. Hang in there.

"Yes, it does seem it came at a bad time. I was just FINALLY getting things settled with my parents, a huge emotional upheaval, and feeling pretty good about everything, and I didn't need this worry right now. Ah well, such is life I guess!!!!" It's hard to understand all the twists and turns our lives take. I do have a sense that there is a purpose to the events in our lives and we are not just some pinball randomly bouncing around in life, until we die. The hard part is trying to understand and learn from these events. I'm not sure I'm very good at it. I think it's interesting that you confronted you parents now. It makes me wonder if at some level you knew you had cancer, and that dealing with your parents was an important part of dealing with this cancer. Have you heard of an author, Louise Hay? She wrote, "You Can Heal Your Life". Like a lot of books in this vein, some of it I find interesting, other parts, I'm sceptical about. Anyway, she has a section where she lists how holding specific thoughts, can cause specific illness. I think of this as something to consider, not the absolute truth. So she writes that a probable cause of cancer is, "Deep hurt. Longstanding resentment. Deep secret or grief eating away at the self. Carrying hatreds. What's the use?". She then goes on to write about how to let go of old thought patterns that make us sick. Her background is interesting. When she was about 5, she was raped by a neighbor. At 15 she dropped out of high school without a diploma, became pregnant and, on her 16th birthday, gave up her newborn baby girl for adoption. As an adult she found she had cervical cancer, and she concluded that its cause was her unwillingness to let go of resentment over her childhood abuse and rape. You can probably see why your situation made me think of her. However, I'm not endorsing of Louise's point of view. I do think it is interesting and worth thinking about. I still think you are the only one who can assess your situation, and decide what it going on.

I'm glad you are still getting out and having fun. Also, I don't think you would be acting like your parents, if you told your friends. It sounds like you really care about your friends and they care about you. Letting your friends in could give them a chance to show their love for you, and for you to feel that love. That could make both of you feel better. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Dave,

Hi, and thanks for your kind words. I trust you had a fantastic time skiing with your son! :) :)

I am finding this situation rather mind blowing. I have been thinking about exactly what you said. You are reading my mind again! I do believe that there is some truth to it, I really do. Stress alone can kill a person, I believe that. I have noticed that with people I know, and a couple family members. Their dysfunction, sadness, depression and various other 'problems' seemed to make them 'sick' in some form or another physically. Cancer, Lupus, etc.

Interesting connection Dave regarding the timing of this all happening, with my decision to break ties with my parents for good. Perhaps on some level I did know I had this happening in my body. That is a very interesting point to ponder. And now I need to treat the cancer right now - just as I need to 'treat' the anxiety and pain that is associated with the estrangement from my parents right now. Neither can be left, buried, forgotton about. And I certainly cannot ''pretend'' that there is nothing wrong. I need to treat my body, and my spirit.

I too do believe we can manifest disease in ourselves. And yes, I have heard of Louise Hay. I have a few of her CD's. I have read a couple of her books too, although quite awhile ago. I need to revisit them, since when I read them, I was not dealing with a health problem. I think they will have a new meaning to me now. Thanks for reminding me of her.

I had a really good weekend, and my intention was to create some distraction for myself, and keep busy. It helped to be out and about. So, it was all good...but now that I am alone again, I feel deeply depressed and very numb. I have to snap out of this because I know it only makes things worse - mentally and physically. I have a Dr. appt tomorrow.

I really appreciate your thoughts and feedback. I do believe very strongly that everything happens for a reason, there is some reason for all this - and the timing of it. It is hard to see the reasons, but they are there. My husband is so supportive, and although I have not told anyone else yet, I will tell a good friend. She just left for a holiday, so I decided I will tell her when she gets back.

I really need to find some way to let ALL this stress go.

Hi Flower, if you are reading...

Thanks again, and take care of yourselves,
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Dave,

Sage, I think distracting yourself with a good weekend was a very good idea. It's good to keep busy, but most of all active with some kind of physical activity or exercise. That was harder for me to do because of my injury, but I persevered as best I could.

I've never heard of Louise Hay, so I have no comment there. What I found helpful was reading up on survival stories and books. I've always had an interest in it, but it seemed more pertinent to my situation and the experiences that I've had to deal with.

For a time I felt as if I was responsible and to blame for my health issues and that had far reaching and negative consequences for me. I think it because of reading ideas that put forth that if I had negative thoughts that they would somehow manifest themselves in the form of disease and I heard that as yet another way that I was deficient or that I somehow caused or created illness in myself.

One's mental outlook is important and no one of us is perfect. I think we need to strive for balance. I do think there is some merit to understanding the body mind connection. If someone is depressed they generally don't take care of themselves as best they could. I do know that unexpressed emotions can lead to health issues. I forget the term psychologist use for this. I think what is important is that people need to be able to express themselves openly and one needs an emotionally safe environment to do so. No one can have a positive thought or control having a positive thought every single day and I don't feel that either balanced or healthy for myself.

I was very fearful of surgery. Having people tell me that I shouldn't feel that way, or not too, or minimizing my fear didn't help me. It actually made things worse, because I felt dismissed and I didn't feel safe expressing myself emotionally around them. On the other hand reading about survival was a good coping mechanism for me, because it put into words something I already knew, but needed to hear from another's perspective. It was validating. Survivors don't dismiss or ignore their emotions. They honor them and acknowledge them for what they are, and even more important they get them to work for them. I think you are already doing that Sage.

I think it very normal for you to experience ups and downs and a full spectrum of emotions. I know I did, despite our health situations being different. I had good days and bad days, including feeling depressed and numb.

I don't know if I'm expressing myself clearly today and I don't have a lot of time to write today either, but if you are interested in the book I found helpful, I'll get you the name later. I've kept it and return to it again and again. It resonated for me more than anything, although my reading has been quite extensive, so maybe it just really synthesized everything that I had read up until that time. I have a hard time describing it today.

Next time I'm at the bookstore I will take a look at the Eckhart Tolle. I had two doctor visits yesterday and two more later in the week, plus one procedure. Writing here has restimulated a lot for me, but that is a very good thing. Some of my emotions had to be placed on the backburner, because I was dealing with so much and always felt so overwhelmed and then the health stuff had to come first, so now I find myself returning to what I need to process it more fully.

You both are a real comfort to me, and I hope that I am for you as well and I'm glad that you both tolerate me protesting the herd. I appreciate you both. I should be able to write more tomorrow...take care of your hearts!

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Flower,

Sage, I had a great time skiing with my son, thanks for mentioning it. It's interesting we were thinking the same thing. Whenever I am sick or injured, I usually like to stop to consider what my mental state might have to do with what is going on with me physically. Sometimes I think we just get sick, sometimes I think my mental state is an influencing factor.

"but now that I am alone again, I feel deeply depressed and very numb" It seems inevitable that feelings like this will come up, while you are going through this. I know you are a fan of Pema Chodron. She has a lot to say about dealing with life's setbacks. I try to find time everyday for prayer, reflection and reading. It's a real refuge for me in the storms life sends us.

I'm glad you are going to tell a good friend about your cancer. I think it will be a good thing for both of you.

Flower, "For a time I felt as if I was responsible and to blame for my health issues and that had far reaching and negative consequences for me. I think it because of reading ideas that put forth that if I had negative thoughts that they would somehow manifest themselves in the form of disease.." This is certainly a pitfall of being told our thinking can make us sick. For me, I guess it's like finding out my diet is making me sick. I can feel like I'm to blame for getting sick, which is a downer, on the other hand, if it's true, and I learn how to change my diet, then maybe I can be healthier. I feel the same way about some of my past ways of thinking. When I was younger, I was a very angry person, I also had a lot of back pain for which I had two painful back surgeries. To me, I've felt the two were connected. I've consciously worked to really get past my anger, not just stuff it somewhere, or pretend it doesn't exist, but to move past it, so that it doesn't dominate my life and my health. I can still get angry today, but I am much better about processing it and moving on. And I have less back pain than I have had in 30 years.

There's an analogy about anger that really rings true for me. If we are traveling on foot and come to a river with no bridge, a boat comes in very handy to cross the river. It's dangerous to jump out of the boat, before we are across the river; however, once on the other side, carrying the boat with us is huge burden. This is the way my anger has been for me. It helped me get away from people that were bad for me, but once I got away from them, I kept carrying the anger with me. Then my anger was a burden. What I've learned from all this is that it's OK for me to be angry, but not any longer than I need to be.

You've mentioned a couple of times that you really like survival books. Have you read, "Man's Search for Meaning", by Viktor Frankl? He's a Jew who survived the Nazi concentration camps and went on to become a notable psychiatrist and author. He has some interesting things to say about his experience.

"You both are a real comfort to me, and I hope that I am for you as well and I'm glad that you both tolerate me protesting the herd." Thank you, and you are. Tolerating makes it sound like something unpleasant, it's not. You have a lot to deal with, I think you are doing what you need to do to deal with your situation. I'm glad we connected here.

Anyway, that's all for now. Tomorrow is another ski day with some buddies :-) Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave & Sage,

"This is certainly a pitfall of being told our thinking can make us sick. For me, I guess it's like finding out my diet is making me sick. I can feel like I'm to blame for getting sick, which is a downer, on the other hand, if it's true, and I learn how to change my diet, then maybe I can be healthier."

I understand the diet analogy; however people can eat a balanced and healthy diet and still suffer from illness, because there is a strong genetic component as well. When I wrote my post, I was thinking about past articles and books that I've read, promoted by the alternative health followers, when I was researching my own health issues. I put time and money into this despite already living a healthy lifestyle (not a perfect lifestyle). This didn't help me and eventually increased my pain and symptoms and negatively impacted the quality of my life. It created more physical pain for me which also impacted my emotions and placed me at risk for other problems. My health issues escalated which pushed my decision for surgery as being the only choice. My doctor/surgeon assured me that it was nothing I did or didn't do as to why I had this health issue. Her empathetic and professional approach helped to ease my spirit and lifted a heavy burden off my shoulders, of feeling that I was somehow responsible for my health issues. She also reassured me, by telling me that she would take good care of me. I think she recognized my fear and instead of responding in a caustic, condescending and dismissive way, which is what I'm used too, she responded with empathy and kindness. She also behaved in another way, which Ive also seldom experienced; she chose to connect with me as a human being. Somehow the subject of traveling in Italy came up and we found a mutual appreciation of the art and the landscape. At one point she acknowledged that she felt that I may have a greater appreciation of it due to my background. I dont recall her exact words to me, but the point is that she was actually appreciating something about me and not feeling the need to condescend or put me down or engage in competitive one-upitis and my heart was so hungry for someone to just appreciate me as I am. She was obviously a very secure person and I cherished the moment, because they are so few and far between. After they started sedating and prepping me for surgery, my husband told me that when she arrived at the hospital I reached out my arms and hugged her. I know that morning I was the terrified little girl againalways frightened and disappointed, trying desperately to be strong and to believe that I could trust her or anyone to actually take care of me and to follow through. She also gave me just enough of her own experience to connect, but not so much as to make it all about her and overwhelm me with her issues. (Im very used to that as well.) She offered the perfect balance of empathy and professionalism. I had doubt, but it was mitigated by her responses to me. I cant say that I honestly believed 100 % in the outcome, as trust is a very hard thing for me to muster, given my experiences. Yet, there was something reassuring about her and I know in that moment I was comforted by her presence and believed that she actually cared about the outcome and other people.

I was going to make some other points, but somehow got off on a tangent here and thinking of all of this has me crying this morning, because I felt so alone in all of this. My husband was there physically, but emotionally he was distant as I think his focus was on his mother, trying to get his needs met and her constant health issues and all of the constant drama surrounding his selfish family.

As for my family, I never even called or told my mother, because she was always responding in an inappropriate way and everything was all about her. Eventually, I wrote her, but I just didnt want to deal with her and her crazy-making behavior, because her mental health was declining and it was all so draining having to cope and deal with her. There was just never any peace of mind. About 7 months prior to the surgery is when she was institutionalized. I was tired of the constant focus always being on her, or my husband's mother and family.

I cant even talk about any of that right now, because just thinking about it makes me want to sob uncontrollably as I am while I write this. It was so overwhelming to have to cope with all of it. I do know that health situations are individual and ultimately we have to sort through it all and make choices for what makes sense to us.

I think Ive written enough for today. I hope you are off having a nice time with your friendsIts interesting that you bring up the word tolerate. I guess that is how Ive always felt about my family that theyve always responded to me or my being honest about my feelings as if they were having to tolerate methat caring about me or responding to the honest expression of my emotions was an inconvenience, because its not all about them. I often feel that way about my husband as well, because of how he responds and acts to my distress or hurt. He can listen to acquaintances talk all about themselves, but he doesnt see how neglectful he behaves to his own wife, but then that is a learned response from dealing with his narcissistic family as everything is all about them. To feel as if one is an inconvenience is just a horrible way to experience a relationship.

I will write more later and thank you for listening.

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower, Dave,
Thanks for your support and insight. I am feeling much more at peace. Yes, distractions do help! I need to get more physically active, as it has been cold here and with the bout of depression I just have been very sedentary which is not good, any way you look at it. You are right flower about good days and bad days. I think that applies to alot of different things, including dealing with the estrangement from our parents. I am pretty sure negative thinking and stress can cause physical ailments, I believe that. Major internalization of trauma must also come out in some sort of physical form as well. I find it amazing to think about, it is interesting. But a person can get caught in a viscious cycle of blaming themselves, causing more regret, stress, guilt and subsequently causing more disease. Yes, nobody is perfect, that is for sure. I think forgiving oneself for not being perfect, and being understanding with your own self is important. ie not beating yourself up.

Balance has always been hard for me to achieve as I have always been rather 'extreme', all or nothing sort of attitude. But I am getting better and realize the importance of balance more than I ever have in my life. Still struggle with that though.

Flower, Good point about not dismissing your emotions or fears. That is important, I agree. It is expected for people to be 'strong' and rational when they find out something is wrong with them. But the initial shock is emotional.

I guess I have struggled with depression most of my life, since I was a kid, on and off, and I feel finding out about this medical condition, perhaps in conjuction with all that happened with my parents, has triggered the depression again. It swallowed me for a few days, but I am feeling better. I have unfortunately been in this state of mind before. It is scary, and I feel helpless and like my world is going to end.

I know this procedure is relatively minor in the big picture of things. Yes, a concern, but not something to get so frantic about. Plus the situation with my parents is something that needed to be done. It was for the best and I am convinced of that. I am OK with grieving the 'loss' of the relationship with them, but for me to go into a tailspin where I am so depressed I can hardly function makes me angry. I resent it, and it is so frustrating.

And those are really the only two problems I have. Lucky me, because I should be grateful for that. I feel flakey and shallow sometimes, because I don't have any problems, I have a good life, a very good life, great husband, friends, with very little day to day stress and alot of freedom. Business is going well, I have everything I could ever want. Why can't I just be happy right now, and cope with these little problems that pop up? Yet how can I get so deeply depressed!? This has happened before where a small worry will trigger me, set me off into a serious depression. It is hard to understand. Maybe there is no reason.

I refuse to try any further medication, as I have tried different meds over the years and they made me feel worse. I am concentrating on myself spiritually, and I am hoping it will lift me above all this and be able to see and appreciate all I have. Gratitude, so important to me, but seems to have fallen by the wayside lately. And physically, I could take better care of myself via food and exercise. I think that will help alot too if I could just get motivated!! Another viscious circle this depression. I have started another Pema Chodron book this week, one I have read before: "Comfortable with Uncertainty."

Dave, I am glad your back pain has subsided!! Wow, the power of the mind, it always amazes me. I wonder what Louise Hays says about back pain??

I really like the anger analogy, with the boat. That is great..! So true.

I have read,7 "Man's Search for Meaning", by Viktor Frankl, quite a long time ago. I am going to have to re-read that one, it is very good.

Flower, Very true about the genetic factor. And I think that while the mind plays a big role in how our bodies react, and can manifest some conditions....I do also believe that disease can just happen sometimes too,it can be in our DNA, and no matter what we do or think, it occurs. The mind is a facinating thing. I think most doctors don't support the mind/body connection very much.

So glad you got such a good doctor. That is rare. Sorry you are having a rough day dealing with everything. I know it is overwhelming. You are right, health situations are very individual, it is hard to make any sense of them. But accepting they are there, getting past them, and moving on is what we have to do. I have felt like an inconvenience in my family for most of my life. It is not a good feeling. Funny, I was just thinking of that, about how my family has 'tolerated' me for most of my life, how they judged me, and now they must be happy to not have to tolerate me anymore. I strongly feel they must be relieved. So that is good, because you know what? I am relieved that I don't have to tolerate them anymore either. So it is a win-win situation in a way. Unfortunate we could not come to common ground, but right now, things are as they should be.

Take good care of yourselves,
Sage


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Hi Flower & Sage,

Flower, "...people can eat a balanced and healthy diet and still suffer from illness, because there is a strong genetic component as well." I agree. Sometimes we just get sick. I'm glad you found a good doctor who could help heal you. It sounds like some part of that healing was just finding someone who cared about you.

"..a person can get caught in a vicious cycle of blaming themselves, causing more regret, stress, guilt and subsequently causing more disease. Yes, nobody is perfect, that is for sure. I think forgiving oneself for not being perfect, and being understanding with your own self is important. ie not beating yourself up." So very true. When we dig ourselves into a hole, we just need to stop digging, don't we? I know I've gotten caught in these negative, downward spirals. I'm better at catching these before they get out of hand. Cultivating my spirituality has been very helpful in this regard. It has helped me learn to be more gentle and forgiving towards myself, and more grateful for what is good in my life. When I can be this way with myself, it naturally flows into my interactions with others. This is how upward, positive spirals start for me.

"I guess I have struggled with depression most of my life ... It is scary, and I feel helpless and like my world is going to end." I think one of my biggest fears is that some how I will end up back being that depressed, alone, hurting, unloved little boy I once was, who lived like that for years, not knowing it would ever end." Rationally, I know this is not possible. But on an emotional level this is a terrifying fear. When something in the present really freaks me out, often it is something that has triggered this fear. I'm better at recognizing and dealing with this than I have been in the past. Thank goodness.

Anyway, life is very good. :-) I hope you both enjoy your weekend! Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave & Sage,

Dave, "I'm glad you found a good doctor who could help heal you. It sounds like some part of that healing was just finding someone who cared about you." Yes, I think this is true. I didn't have such good experiences with previous doctor's, but she offered a good balance of professionalism and empathy--qualities I find sadly remiss with many people in general. It's very hard for me to place my trust in anyone, because of the abuse I've suffered at the hands of people who have demonstrated and proved that they were untrustworthy. And sadly these people were in positions of authority.

Dave, I'm glad that you are having less back pain. I can't imagine enduring two painful back surgeries. I have back issues too, but that stems from injuries, which I'm working on. I think the body/mind connection has a lot of merit and I don't discount it. I've just met people in healthcare who I feel offer it up as a reason too soon, when treatment has not produced immediate results, or in more difficult cases when results take longer. I think it insurance driven and I disagree with treating people like they are statistics. There is some merit in knowing statistics, but outcomes don't always follow linear paths.

I don't believe my back issues are connected with my emotional state, although I do not discount that physical pain can affect one's emotions. I recall a time when I was showering and unhappy thoughts of a supervisor obtruded during what was usually a very pleasant experience for me. I noted the experience and wondered why I would be thinking about the idiot during an activity that I usually enjoy. Thoughts about his behaviors made me react with anger and agitation, which I later discussed with my therapist. It all boiled down to the physical response I had to drinking coffee on an empty stomach(I'm sensitive to caffeine), which produced a highly agitated and angry state, which in turn had triggered unpleasant memories of the jerk and the very similar unpleasant emotional responses I recalled at having to cope with the behaviors of this clown.

My husband's cousin opted to NOT undergo chemo when she was diagnosed with cancer. I don't know why. She was involved with selling vitamins and herbal treatments and so instead attempted to treat her illness with alternative health remedies and vitamins. Her cancer became worse and she died. I don't know how advanced her cancer was when she finally sought treatment. Her family blamed her doctors and also her ex-husband, who they claimed murdered her (long bizzare story).

During this time I worked for a woman who had also been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her response was different as she decided to opt for chemo. Despite the chemo her cancer returned and she eventually had a masectomy. She told me that she didn't mess around with her health, but sadly she met a lot of women who ignored their symptoms and were in denial about their health. We had these discussions when I told her about my husband's cousin and how I didn't understand why she wasn't more aggressive about her treatment. About a month or longer before my husband's cousin died, her step-mother wrote an email to some of the family member's stating that she was finally coming to terms with her illness and basically no longer in denial, but it was already too late. She really believed in vitamins and other therapies and positive thoughts to cure her cancer.

I don't know why so many people refuse to listen to their doctors or even bother to avail themselves of preventative screenings. I've even had people try to label me as a hypocondriac simply because I go in for routine screenings. This is one reason why I have a hard time with belief systems that suggest that having negative thoughts are responsible for health issues. They can make it sound like they are blaming people for creating health problems such as cancer, which undermines the strong genetic link. As usual an idea gets taken to extreme and I can't think of anything more cruel than to suggest that someone is responsible for their illness. I get very irritated too at the industries that promote some of this type of thinking, such as the alternative healthcare industry or vitamin pushers, who don't suffer pangs of conscience at manipulating people's vulnerabilitis and insecurities to advance their own agendas. I hear it all the time.

I've also noticed that people who routinely go through life in denial generally speaking also never take responsibility for their lives and blame others for unhappy outcomes. My MIL was like this, as is his entire family and so is my own mother. I find these behaviors quite nut-inducing and don't respect it.

I liked the anger analogy. I haven't read the book by Viktor Frankl. My therapist mentioned it and thank you for bringing it up. The book I was thinking of offered hard science and how your brain reacts--working memory and primary and secondary emotions in survival situations. It was combined with some epic survival stories. It's hard to explain...I found it very helpful, validating and supportive. I usually always listen to my gut instincts as they are good. I would rather be wrong, than wind up being hurt by someone else's stupidity. Besides, it's the people that I've been around--my family, co-workers and associations who routinely stick-their-heads-in-the-sand and don't want to listen. I've been around that a lot and their reasons for not listening have included judgments about my being "too sensitive", while at the same time advancing their own thoughtless agendas. It is one contributing reason as to why I have a hard time trusting people and why I don't respect them either. Denial is a huge problem and that is another reason why I fear the herd as their consistent stupidity places others at risk. The only way to combat such foolishness is to take care of oneself as the idiotic herd is resistant to learning..of course that is the cynic in me, but it comes from experience. Well, I've written enough for today...

I hope you are both enjoying your weekend.

Flower


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Hi Sage,

I'm glad that you are feeling more at peace. I know physical activity helps regulate my moods and I'm less prone to depressive episodes when I'm active, especially when I can get outdoors, but I also know how challenging it can be to get exercise when it is cold outside too. More sunlight helps me too.

"I am pretty sure negative thinking and stress can cause physical ailments, I believe that." Well, it sure doesn't help and depression can create greater problems healthwise too. One suffers from fatigue more easily and it's difficult to get motivated and people are less likely to take care of themselves.

"I think forgiving oneself for not being perfect, and being understanding with your own self is important. ie not beating yourself up." I agree.
"Balance has always been hard for me to achieve as I have always been rather 'extreme', all or nothing sort of attitude." I still struggle with achieving balance too, although I continue to strive for it, because I feel healthier as a result.

Sage, the thing about fear is that it is just an emotion. Fear can actually be good. Too much fear is not. I too, have struggled with bouts of depression and sometimes these were very serious. You lose your sense of time and it often feels like you've been swallowed whole. Yes, I found it scary too, often terrifying, but I'm better at recognizing the signs too and I know the ropes, so I've also become better at dealing with it too.

I believe that you will persevere and come through this. I think it a good sign that you are concentrating on yourself spiritually. And I agree that gratitude is important. It gives one perspective and an entirely different focus. It is actually what many survivors do--they find wealth and happiness in the smallest things.

Sage, "So glad you got such a good doctor. That is rare. Sorry you are having a rough day dealing with everything. I know it is overwhelming." Thank you...I appreciate your compassion. I hope you are doing okay and had a nice weekend. I will write more later...Take care...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave, Flower,

I have a cold, so my mind of feeling a little fuzzy today!

I have not been ill like this, with a sore throat, for a very long time. I think it was likely brought on by the depression, which in turn has had me neglecting my eating healthy. I rarely get sick.

Overall, I am doing better though, in a fairly good state of mind. Feel like life completely stopped for a week or so, but is back again, moving forward. I am in the process of 'stopping the digging', putting the shovel back in the shed!!! lol ;)

Yes Dave, I agree that being able to catch what is happening is key. It comes down to self-awareness, and catching the downward spiral before it does get completely out of control.

I have been having strange dreams again. I dreamt my father called me (which has only probably happened twice my entire life). I was sort of glad, hopeful...but he didn't say much (which is always the case)...he kept carrying on a conversation with my brother who was at their house. I could over hear their conversation, and my brother was being demanding and rude. Weird. Anyways, once again, the anxiety runs deep.

I have the same fear, of being alone, so sad, and unable to snap out of the downward spiral. At times I feel 'this is it, I am really losing it this time.' I really find that disturbing. But, I never have completely 'lost it'. It always passes, and I always get better. So I try to remind myself of that. It is an irrational fear, but I do understand how certain circumstances do trigger those feelings. It is a relief to 'recognize' those triggers, that helps alot in dealing with them and knowing 'why' the feelings emerge. Rather than just dealing with blind emotions.

Flower, I think it is a very individual thing for each person, and each specific illness and each person's own belief systems. Some people are strictly about science, others religion/thoughts. And then there are those of us who are somewhere in the middle. Positive thoughts can only help, because it takes the body out of a really high state of stress - but there is a fine line. A person has to utilize technology as well. The vitamin/supplement industry is huge, it is sad that people get sucked into it and misled. Alot of times this borders on the whole 'magical thinking' issue we talked about before. There is alot of fraud going on, no doubt about that.

True, alot of people slip into denial, they just don't want to deal with their health. I know alot of people who don't go for routine screenings. I believe it is fear. I too go for regular check-ups.

On the other hand, the medical system itself is somewhat crooked too. The cost of medication, over perscription, fear mongering and the hideously high cost to treat cancer!! Tens of thousands of dollars...I don't know how many fundraisers I have been to in the last couple years, just so people can pay for their treatments. And unfortunately, it did not buy them much more time. Guess it boils down to the individual, we have to find the right combination - which is always a calculated risk to some degree!

Denile is a funny thing, not funny ha ha, but strange. I know because I do believe I was in total denile about what was going on with me and my parents. It is a way of self preservation, when things are too hurtful to face. But the fact is, when you do finally face it after being in denile, it is alot worse. I like to think I have for the most part been a realist, for most of my life. And now, more than ever.

Thanks for your kind words Flower. Yes, being active helps, but it is like climbing Mt. Everest when I am down. Ridiculous, and makes me so angry I cannot even describe it. It is like I am paralyzed. Yes, it is all about balance, isn't it?

"You lose your sense of time and it often feels like you've been swallowed whole." Yes, it feels like that. I agree, as I said above, recognizing the signs, self-awareness, and being able to somewhat control it. Feel it, but not let it take over entirely. Same thing with all the emotion around our problems with our parents - feel it, but don't let it interfere with day to day living and happiness.

Thanks for being here! :)
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Flower & Sage,

Flower, "My husband's cousin opted to NOT undergo chemo when she was diagnosed with cancer." This seems very foolish to me. While I believe our emotions and thoughts can affect our health, I have no problem seeking the best medical procedures available to restore my health. I still pay attention to my thoughts and emotions as well. One thing that can push my buttons are the Christian Scientists who let their children die because they refuse to give them antibiotics. Unfortunately this happens.

Myself, I get regular physicals and try to take good care of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually. I'm not always successful, but I try. I really want to live a long, active, and rewarding life.

Sage, Sorry you got a cold. I rarely get colds either, but getting depressed can make me more susceptible too.

I don't know much about treating cervical cancer. What do you have to go through now? How long before you would know whether or not the treatment worked?

Anyway, I need to get busy and work on my taxes, not my favorite thing, but it feels good when it's done. Take care. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hey Dave,

Ya, the depression does wear me down mentally as well as physically. I really notice it in the way I look...just looking in the mirror, I look tired and drained. Not like my usual self.

Now I am just waiting for a date to go into the hospital, and they will do a procedure to remove the cancerous cells. It is an outpatient procedure, so I am just in for a few hours. They send the cells off for further testing, and then I wait. Not sure how long, probably a few weeks I am guessing. Then I have to just keep getting re-tested every few months to make sure they got it all or that it didn't reoccur. I am feeling better about the whole situation now. I think it will be OK. I am glad I do get physicals regularly so things like this can be caught before it is too late.

I am caring for myself this week, and am going to keep myself 'up'. Catching up on some reading. I just can't get so down anymore, it kills me. It is up to me to take care of myself, nobody else. I have to really step up and remind myself of that.

Have fun with the taxes Dave, I know, it is a task I just dread! It is a big relief when it is done!! :) I feel sick about my rrsp's this year, lost so much money. Ah well, the thing with money is you can always get more. lol

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Best wishes Sage... I'll be thinking of you :)


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Dave,

"Yes Dave, I agree that being able to catch what is happening is key. It comes down to self-awareness, and catching the downward spiral before it does get completely out of control."

I think Ive learned to do this fairly well now as I notice the signs. My doctor was ready to write me a prescription for depression meds when I told him that I didnt want it. I said that I knew the difference between when I was really starting to go down with it and what I wanted from him was to know that he would write me a prescription if I needed it. I told him just knowing that he would do that would offer me comfort and relief. At that time everything was in a downward spiral. I informed him of my plans to get into counseling as well. His response was to say, "Okay, youre the boss." He also replied, "Well, trust you, since youve been through this before, to know the signs."

And you know it did give me comfort to know he would be there to at least provide me with meds, should I need them. It also gave me comfort that he didnt try to control me, or condescend to me, but he did listen. He left the decision and choice up to me, and I was comforted that he would be there, should I need him and the fact that he treated my wishes with respect and didnt talk down to me or argue with me, or try to persuade me to do something that I didnt want to do felt good to me. It really felt like a first. Ive kept him as one of my doctors through everything. And he said all of this after watching me breaking down into a flood of tears describing the stress of dealing with my mother during the apex of that long nightmare prior to her being institutionalized. Since Ive been in counseling I havent the need for meds, because I can talk to someone about what is troubling without hearing insane clichs back or in one way or another being told in some way to keep quiet, keep it all in and shut up. Being able to talk through situations is very healing for me and this has really been missing in my life because most people that Ive metare oblivious and it is all about them and they want you to listen to them. You can tell a lot of people are not listening and distracted or they cant pay attention unless its about what they want to talk about. They want you to hurry through, so they can make it all about their unresolved issues.

"I have been having strange dreams again. I dreamt my father called me (which has only probably happened twice my entire life). I was sort of glad, hopeful...but he didn't say much (which is always the case)...he kept carrying on a conversation with my brother who was at their house. I could over hear their conversation, and my brother was being demanding and rude. Weird. Anyways, once again, the anxiety runs deep."

Ive been having dreams too. Ive been reading some of our postings to my therapist as it really brings up a lot of emotions for me. Some of it was placed on the backburner while I dealt with my health issues (and still do but it is getting better). It was just overwhelming dealing with it all. She feels this is good for me as I said previously.

"I have the same fear, of being alone, so sad, and unable to snap out of the downward spiral." I do too, although I know I can get out of it and so I feel much stronger in this regard than I used too. But sometimes I also get terrified that I may become like my mother, and that thought truly horrifies me. I know that I havent brought that up here yet, because I think the hurt stills runs too deep to talk about itand it has to be one heartache at a time.

I also welcome being alone too, because I feel no one can impose on me then with their constant no win situations (my mother). I know that I have an addictive personality as well, but being around these types of people (its all about me) makes me feel like Id like to drink or do whatever I can to numb my emotions to deal with them and just get through it. Now how sad is that.

"It is an irrational fear, but I do understand how certain circumstances do trigger those feelings. It is a relief to 'recognize' those triggers, that helps a lot in dealing with them and knowing 'why' the feelings emerge. Rather than just dealing with blind emotions." Well said, and I agree with this.

Sage I basically agree with what you said here, "Flower, I think it is a very individual thing for each person, and each specific illness and each person's own belief systems." Im all for doing what people can do for themselves for alleviating stress. The situation with my husbands cousin was very disturbing. Although, I do not know how advanced her cancer was before she sought treatment, I do know that she was hospitalized and she opted not to undergo treatment for vitamins and herb supplements. I would not have made the same choice. I dont believe her ex-husband murdered her, as is rumored by some of her relatives as insidious an allegation as that was. No, I think her denial and probably magical thinking made her situation worse and it lead to her death.

"True, a lot of people slip into denial; they just don't want to deal with their health. I know a lot of people who don't go for routine screenings. I believe it is fear." Yes, probably, although I doubt they would admit that to themselves or anyone else. I find it curious though, because some people have no problems in taking risks with their own health and the life and health of others when they drink and drive, or take drugs, or engage in other high risk behaviors, yet they are afraid to see the doctor and get regular health checkups? They complain about the cost, but they have no trouble with shopping therapy, purchasing beyond their means therapy and all other forms of high stress denial living, to ward off their emotions and any sort of honest introspection about their behaviors. And ultimately some pay a price, although health wise, some people can still get sick no matter what. Im thinking of my mother-in-law nowIve watched enough damage spreading to others with this type of thinking and it is painful.

"Thanks for your kind words Flower. Yes, being active helps, but it is like climbing Mt. Everest when I am down." Yes, I know, but you watch yourself emotionally too. I know for me not having the stamina to move day after day was a sign for me. If it is only occasionally we all have those days, but if it starts to creep in day after day I think that a sign. I prefer not taking meds too, but Im not against them as they helped me, so I know that feeling well. During some of my bouts of depression, which were quite serious, it was really the only way to get me out, so I am thankful for that.

You keep taking care of yourselfboth of you.

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave,

Flower, "My husband's cousin opted to NOT undergo chemo when she was diagnosed with cancer." This seems very foolish to me." I agree. I don't know why, but it's a relief to have someone else agree with me about it. It just actually feels good to be able to talk about it.

The whole situation led to a very tragic outcome. She had seven children. There was a lot of poor communication around it too and I don't think it even clear to my husband what happened, but he did say that some members of her family blamed her ex-husband alleging that he murdered her. That is very typical of his family and relatives--lots of secrets and skeletons in the closet and no real open or honest communication and then blaming others. And what a horrible rumor to have circulating in a family.

If you try to get clarification they react as if you've offended them and interpret it as a sign of disloyalty. They made it clear that I was an outsider, so I'm certain that they would see my desiring clarification as intrusive and also react with hostility and resentment. It's a very oppressive family dynamic. I'm certain you both could understand why I feel as I do. I know there was tension and problems in the family and with the in-laws and I think they needed to blame someone. Yet he did tell me that he had also heard that she refused chemo and set on a course of vitamins and herbs for treatment which she referred to as healing. It feels like a relief to talk about all of this though. In a way, I feel like I'm letting out poison--theirs.

The whole situation was biazzare. The story that he heard was that one of her doctors allegedly had told her that she had enough lead in her to kill her. They blame her ex for somehow poisoning her with lead. They believe that he accomplished this by lacing her vitamins. They also believe that it compromised her immune system and that eventually lead to her getting breast cancer and that is why they blame him for her death. These are the incredeulous rumors that have spread around the issue. I found it and still find it disturbing.

I don't know what my MIL died from either. I think I know, but his sister told him that she died from some type of blood toxin caused from the medications that she took while in the hospital. Apparently he is willing to believe this or just not deal with it, which I think more his problems. His sister is not a doctor or a nurse. She does not have a medical background. She gives colonics and takes seminars in blood chemistry, without a science or medical background. She is very good at manipulating people and comes off as believable to those who want to believe her. They think she is charming and sweet. I've always seen another side to her.

"While I believe our emotions and thoughts can affect our health, I have no problem seeking the best medical procedures available to restore my health. I still pay attention to my thoughts and emotions as well. One thing that can push my buttons are the Christian Scientists who let their children die because they refuse to give them antibiotics. Unfortunately this happens." I agree here too. I as well pay attention to my thoughts and emotions as I think it important. Balance is key. I just don't like the magical thinking which we've previously discussed. I've met too many people who exhibit extreme behaviors and I have a hard time coping with it. It appears that common sense is not all that common.

When I first met my husband he wanted me to accompany him to visit his aunt and uncle, their family who had rented a cabin in the mountains. His father and grandmother were also there. I was getting over a cold and still had a cough and rather than demonstrate a caring attitude towards me, they too, acted like I inconvenienced them with my presence. I recall my husband telling me that his father judged me as a hypocondriac merely because I had a cold. Good grief all these people ever did was talk about themselves and they had zero empathy towards others. I think they resented me from the very start and just were looking for any reason they could to dislike me to justify their ugly behaviors towards me. Really they were the most unpleasant, selfish, and cruel people, but they sure knew how to put on a phoney face towards others and act charming.

"Myself, I get regular physicals and try to take good care of myself, physically, mentally and spiritually. I'm not always successful, but I try. I really want to live a long, active, and rewarding life." Me too, and I'm glad to hear that you do take care of yourself.

I need to work on my taxes too. I say that every year and then procrastinate, because it's just no fun. Take care,

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Silver, Good to see you here, and thanks for the thoughts and wonderful pic - especially on the stormy cold day we are having here today! I am doing fine. :)

Flower, Yes, people make their own decisions regarding their health, and sometimes that may even lead to their own demise. Unfortunate, but that is life - a series of decisions, right? Really, who know what the right decision is? Perhaps with medical treatment she would have extended her life for a short time but still not survived for long, or maybe it would have cured her and she would have lived to 100. Nobody knows. I personally don't believe in the whole Scientology thing. Particularly when dealing with children.

With children, I think every form of science and technology should be used in order to keep them alive at any cost! I don't agree with the Scientologists either. Kids don't have the capacity to make their own decisions with their health. When they are adults, they can make their own decisions regarding religion and health and whether they want medical treatment or not.

I agree with making your own decisions re: health, I find my doctor is the same way, and treated the depression meds the same way. He only recommended, and left it up to me to decide what was best for ME. I am not going to consider taking meds anymore, they do not work for me, I have tried them enough to know that. He is fine with that, he does not criticize me. I think the big poison in my life was my parents, and now that I have truly faced that, made some decisions, I will heal. I have thought about it alot (far too much probably). I am not against meds. For some people they work. And I think for some people with a chemical imbalance the meds correct that imabalance and help them immensely. I took them in the past, and for short periods, I think they did help me too. Perhaps even saved my life.

Sounds like we all take care of ourselves, and that is good considering we were not taken very good care of when we were kids and did not learn the importance of many crucial core 'values'. I am glad we could gain the self awareness, and empathy that we did not learn growing up. I don't think I had a good foundation of basic morals. Only observed my parents who were flakey, not very kind, and cold. I remember feeling torn over things like the treatment of animals, I felt sorry for animals, and people, who were hurting... and I noticed they never felt that way, or reacted.

I remember my aunt being sick, and my mother never going to visit her even though she was just a few hours away. And she had to time to go. She avoided it, as she avoided alot of things. Just went on with her merry life like nothing was wrong. My aunt died, she never did see her before she died. She very easily could have gone, as she was close to her, they were also had a very close relationship their whole lives, she was her sister. I find that so bizzare. She dumped her sister as soon as she got sick. I know this sounds harsh, but I can't see it in any other way. She could not get past her own 'self' to reach out to her own sister when she was in need. I must say, it is typical of her. This leads me to believe there is something deeply deranged in her mentally and I never saw it quite as clearly as I should have. Is there any excuse for this lack of empathy? I don't know.

My mother just won't deal with anything emotional. She doesn't even try. I don't believe she, or anyone 'can't' deal with something like this. It is a decision. You make the decision to show you care for someone, or you avoid them. I know it is not easy to deal with the emotions surrounding the whole situation when someone close to you is dying, and it is not easy to go to the hospital to see them - but at some point, expeically if it is someone very very close to you, you MUST. How can you not? I just can't fathom that. She just let her die, and then attended the funeral and thought she did her part. I remember her saying, there was nothing she could do, so I didn't go and see her in the hospital. Wow, that blows my mind when I think about it now. I remember stifling alot, holding back, retreating to my room to cry. Not healthy.

Flower, I have a fear of becoming like my mother too. I see little glimpses of that sometimes and it stops me in my tracks. I know inside that I am not like her though and have made a conscience effort to not be like her. I can express my feelings, I care, I have empathy for others, I have my own opinions and am not afraid to stand behind them and speak up, and I can show and receive love. These are things she didn't do, and didn't bother to try to do. It would be different if she made an effort, but she never did. I never saw it - and believe me, I looked for some sign of her caring. It is too bad, but she made her decisions I guess has written me off - just as I have written her off. And that is OK. At least I tried, I feel that I did make an honest effort.

Yes, tax time. Ours are at the accountant's office, and it always seems to be a bit of a surprise every single year, I never know how it will pan out. I just dread dealing with it!

Hope everyone is well today...

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Dave,

Eckhart Tolle was on a PBS program the other night. It was on late, so I only watched a small part of it. At least in that section I was in agreement with his basic opinion about awareness--what he called being in the NOW. I've always called that being emotionally present and I probably read that somewhere and agreed with it.

During his presentation, he used an example of a hypothetical couple (complainers) who immediately upon coming into a place started whining and complaining and detailing about what is wrong with whatever--food, space, just whatever and then how to fix it, etc. My older sister is a fixer, as was my mother (but to a lesser degree) and I was their science project, placed under their imposed microscopic scrutinty. Oh, what fun that was! NOT! It was horrible always being treated as if there was something wrong with me that needed fixing or correcting. If they approved of me then I got a scrap of love. I was only loved for how I made them feel, not for myself. I truly hated them for that, and it undermined my self-esteem. My sister to this day remains condescending and very sarcastic. I know it is a cover for her low-self esteem and anger, which she refuses to own or take responsibility for. Still it was very erosive to our relationship and created a lot of distance. She even told me that she didn't approve of the things that I did, which I found very bizzare given that I had merely told her of my desire to work for myself and some dreams and goals that I had to pursue writing. She would have offered approval if I had taken her advice (which was unsolicited) and lived my life according to what she thought I should do and how I should behave. She also waits for every opportunity to remind me of my failures, never missing the golden opportunity to tell me how I've messed up (one cannot be honest about mistakes)...etc. Then she remains clueless as to why we are not close.

One of the last times I saw my therapist she stated that I've estranged myself as a means of protecting myself from the emotional assaults of my family. I'm protecting myself from their destructive aggression and of course they don't take responsibility for anything. Their response would be to always say that they didn't "intend" to hurt me, etc. That is NOT taking responsibility.

Back to Tolle and his example--I've met a lot of people (co-workers, in-laws and my husband's friends and even my husband) who complain, are very cynical or have a serious case of jealousy and onupitis. A lot of these people focus on what is trite, petty and superficial. My MIL thought she was Helen-of-Troy as does my SIL and so they would routinely criticize other women and their looks. They are extremely jealous and narcissistic, expecting everyone to focus on them like they are the center of the universe. They are examples to me of very outwardly focused people and that is a major hallmark of people who are emotionally unavailable.

I read a great book about emotional unavailability that I refer to often. The author talks about the difference between securely attached and insecurely attached babies who grow up to be children and eventually adults. It's based on attachment theory. There's a long discuss about the research and what it means, but she says that unattached people are nto present emotionally. They make promises they don't keep, and they rarely apologize. They also frequently used other people without remorse and are often characterized as cold, distant, and angry.

Securely attached adults on the other hand are able to express their emotions and seek out people who do the same. Everytime I merely tried to express my emotions in my family I was labeled as "too sensitive". They twist and turn everything around and put it all back on me, and then try to fix, control, shame, belittle and "correct" my emotions.

I'm very selective and have become increasingly more so towards who I confide in and how much emotion I am willing to demonstrate. I'm certain a lot of people would characterize me now as reserved, but why wouldn't I be after being judged as "too sensitive". One needs to feel emotionally safe with people to be honest and that will not happen when people offer judgment and don't listen.

Well, I've gotten off on another tangent here, but it feels good to write it out and get it out of my system. Thanks for listening....

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Sage & Flower,

It's been a busy few days. I love having two teenage boys, and they keep me very busy with lacrosse, school plays, science fair, piano lessons, track, wind symphony, indoor-drumline, and boy scouts. I also managed to almost finish my taxes. :-)

Sage, I hope you are doing better with your depression. Dealing with depression seems to be an ongoing theme in my life. And one that seems to be improving with time. Seeing the progress over the years has been encouraging. It helps me believe I'm going in the right direction.

"I have a fear of becoming like my mother too." One of the things I've had to learn to accept is that while I am very different from my parents, some of the things I dislike about them the most, I can see coming up in me. I'm aware of this, and when it happens I'm pretty good at cutting it off. It seems over time that the less anger they can provoke in me, and the more indifference I feel towards them, the less of a problem this is for me.

Flower, it sounds like your in-laws are seriously delusional. It's a good thing you have an awareness of what they are up to so that you don't get caught up in their unhealthy and destructive ways. My experience with people like this is that they are toxic to everything they touch. I do everything I can to avoid people like this.

"One of the last times I saw my therapist she stated that I've estranged myself as a means of protecting myself from the emotional assaults of my family." That pretty much sums up my estrangement from my family. Self protection. The irony of all this is that if they understood how harmful they are to me, we probably wouldn't have this problem. Its so sad we have to protect ourselves from the very people who should have been protecting us. So sad. But there is life after wacko parents. We can heal our broken hearts. Thank goodness. :-)

That's all for now. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Dave,

I actually met a friend today for breakfast and a walk. Then she asked me to help her write her senator. It was a nice change of pace for me and this friend is a better communicator and doesn't overwhelm me with constant personal issues and problems, nor is it always about her. I appreciated that. It helps me to feel that there is some measure of balance and that it isn't a one-sided relationship. I would have been bettered served if I could have found more empathetic and less judgmental people in my life--someone to understand the challenges and difficulties that I've had to face. I appreciate this forum and that I've found you two....Thank you for listening. It helps me to feel less alone and less despair.

My mother has sent me several letters, which I've left unopened since last October. She sent me a birthday card, which I've left unopened. I just couldn't deal with it and have enough on my plate to contend with. Just seeing it triggers a sense of forebooding and anxiety with everything that I've had to deal with. It's sad, but any communication from her and it stirs an unpleasant reaction. I always wonder what kind of complaints she will have as her letters and communications are always focused on negativity and problems. I feel a tremendous burden having to cope with her. I opened one communication, but have left the others to deal with later. Maybe I'll open one next week. She had a birthday last week and I sent her a card, but I didn't write anything other than signing it. I will eventually write her, but I really don't say much. It breaks my heart, because she is my mother and I can't help but wish this were not so. At the same time I feel guilty, as if I'm somehow deficient for not being stronger. I think some of this has been imposed on me--really all of my life. It's hard to shake off other people's words always making me out as if I'm somehow to blame for not being better able to cope with her constant negativity. I'd prefer not to use avoidance and distance as a coping mechanism, but you cannot change someone else, and if they don't listen what other alternatives does one have. Relationships are a two-way street. It's not all up to one person. It's always been a no-win situation. I feel as if I've been mourning a loss forever.

Also--the other woman who has been self-absorbed, I've confronted her with a few emails to set the record straight. I was surprised, but maybe my emails have given her something to think aobut. She actually just called to thank me for making her dinner last week--some homemade soup and a dessert. People that I've known (my husband's associations and friends) don't usually do that--they are too wrapped up in themselves to demonstrate kindness, gratitude or sensitivity. None seem to know what being gracious is all about. I've had nitpicky people criticize my taking the time and effort to make them a nice meal. I think it stems from insecurity and jealousy, so I no longer extend those invitations to others. People he knows are off limits as they are far too selfish. I did make an exception this time with this woman, although I'm cautious with her as she has a lot of insecurities and tends to be judgmental and stereotypes people.

Dave, I'm glad you are enjoying time with your sons. I'm feeling happier today for being able to get out and exercise and those changes in the routine are always good for one's soul.

I'll write more later...take care everyone...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello,

Dave, Your sons are lucky to have such a great Dad! :) Sounds like they keep you busy with all sorts of fun stuff too! I am happy for you, for the way you are able to overcome and cope with the estrangement from your parents, your outlook is very inspiring.

Flower, I agree with what Dave said, your in-laws sound delusional. Try to limit the time you spend with them, as much as you can. I know that is not easy to do, considering they are relatives...'in-laws'. I have found too that avoiding toxic people as much as possible, or cutting them out of my life completely when possible, is the only way to avoid their affects. I don't feel bad about doing that, because I have been burned far too many times. It is self preservation.

I have found that after trying and trying different ways of coping, avoidance is sometimes the only coping mechanism that is left. It is a last resort for sure. True, relationships are two-way streets, and it is impossible to have a relationship with someone who does not realize that. Sounds like you are aware of the people who are toxic though and cautious of them. I like to give people a chance too, but my patience is quite short these days, I must admit. And life is better that way. I never used to realize how toxic some people were until after I let them hurt me. And even then, I used to blame myself. I have made alot of progress with not allowing that to happen anymore.

We have discussed this before, and I still struggle with the sense of loss myself. I think we will all be mourning the 'loss' of our parents forever. It is a strong bond that none of us really had completed properly, so it is something that will be present forever as I think it is hard-wired into us when we are born. Those feelings of loss and like something is missing. I feel it, but am not going to let it take over. I have to remind myself that is is not 'me'...when I reflect back on things that have happened over the years I know it is not 'me'. And I discuss them with my husband, and he just shakes his head, and does not see how I can blame myself. He has spent time with them, and he sees first hand how they are. For years and years I thought it was me, and that is something else I regret and resent. I don't know why I have to keep reminding myself. Someday it will sink in, and I am seeing the past more clearly now than ever. Just a habit of always blaming myself I suppose, since I was always blamed and belittled by them.

Accepting that things will not change, and that I cannot make them change, is the way to at least move towards some healing. I feel I have started to do that. Anything else I have tried has only left me feeling empty, frustrated, and depressed. I feel better with the steps I have taken in the last few months to deal with them and the emotions surrounding the whole situation.

Thanks for listening, it feels good to discuss this. You guys have helped me alot, more than you know. Just reading here, and having some 'food for thought' to ponder. To see my situation from a different angle, based on experiences from people who truly understand, has been very comforting.

Enjoy the weekend!
Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

...This is the first year I will not send birthday or mother/father's day cards. Every year I would find it horribly difficult to shop for them, and pick out the most generic card, that wasn't too gushy, because I could not send anything like that because it was even more fake. Alot of times I would just buy blank cards and write a simple "happy xxxx day". I felt like a complete fraud, and it was upsetting to read the loving sentiments in the greeting card aisle. I felt completely obligated, and that I was in a way forced to go through the motions. I can't explain it, but it really was a stressful ordeal for me to do this. For years and years. I felt the same way recieving cards from them. I would dread opening them.

One year, the father's day card I sent must have got lost in the mail and my mother said my dad was 'wondering if I forgot about him' (whatever that means). Funny, because I had not even spoken to him for nearly a year at that point. Ridiculous. I found out that the card was not received by him months later via an email from my mother. I guess he defined our relationship by the one generic card he received from me each year?? I don't know. Because there was no relationship there to speak of. Hmmm, I wonder if I was forgotten in his mind all those times he showed up drunk on my birthday, didn't remember my birthday, or didn't show up at all on special occassions? I don't really feel I am trying to 'get back at him', get any type of revenge. I know it sounds that way. I am just tired (soooo tired) of pretending.

Just some thoughts, as Flower had brought up the subject of letters/cards.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello,

Flower, "My mother has sent me several letters, which I've left unopened...I feel a tremendous burden having to cope with her. She had a birthday last week and I sent her a card, but I didn't write anything other than signing it....It breaks my heart, because she is my mother and I can't help but wish this were not so. At the same time I feel guilty... I'd prefer not to use avoidance and distance as a coping mechanism, but you cannot change someone else, ...I feel as if I've been mourning a loss forever."

These are difficult and painful relationships aren't they? It's been an incredibly difficult and long process to get to the level of indifference I now feel towards my parents. Even writing that I'm indifferent towards my parents seems like I'm doing something wrong. But I'm not. They left me no other options. And it has taken a lot of mourning to get here. And I think there is more mourning to come. But with each cycle of mourning I feel a little lighter and more free from painful feelings from deep in my past. Things continue to get better. I hope you can continue to emotionally untangle yourself from the negative people around you and find a more peaceful and enjoyable life. You deserve it!!!

Sage, "Your sons are lucky to have such a great Dad!". Thanks for saying so! Through some kind of grace, I think we are given things in life that can help heal us, for me that has been my sons, and my wife. In so many ways they have saved me, and helped me become a much better person than I ever could have been on my own. And they continue to do this for me. It's so humbling.

This is the first year I will not send birthday or mother/father's day cards. Every year I would find it horribly difficult to shop for them, and pick out the most generic card, that wasn't too gushy, because I could not send anything like that because it was even more fake. ... it was upsetting to read the loving sentiments ...I felt completely obligated, I can't explain it, but it really was a stressful ordeal ...For years and years. I felt the same way receiving cards from them. I would dread opening them.

You're describing my own situation perfectly. I didn't send them anything for Christmas and no birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day cards will be sent. I think I just sent the cards over the years to keep the peace. I think I knew how traumatic it would be to confront them, and I just never wanted to go there. Now that I've done it, and a lot of the trauma has subsided, I'm glad I did it. I feel more real.

"Accepting that things will not change, and that I cannot make them change, is the way to at least move towards some healing. I feel I have started to do that. Anything else I have tried has only left me feeling empty, frustrated, and depressed. I feel better with the steps I have taken in the last few months to deal with them and the emotions surrounding the whole situation." Well said. I feel the same way. It's taken a lot to get to this point, but it does feel better than everything else I've tried.

Thanks to you both for being there. It's been very helpful and healing this last several months to be able to talk to you about all this. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Dave,

You are right, this mourning is a process. The more I think about it, I think it will be a life long process. But as you said, it will get easier and not cut so deep in time. The worst part is over, that being cutting ties. I think that was the hardest part of the whole situation.

You said: I think I sent the cards over the years to keep the peace. I think I knew how traumatic it would be to confront them, and I just never wanted to go there. Now that I've done it, and a lot of the trauma has subsided, I'm glad I did it. I feel more real.

That is exactly the situation I felt I was in. If you are still in touch with them, even minimally, you 'have to' send the cards. It is expected, and if they are not recieved it is a big deal. And that would have just come with more judgement about what terrible children we are, or how mentally disturbed we are for not doing what is expected on those occassions.

I still feel guilty, but know deep down it is the right thing to do for my own sake. Believe me, I wish I had someone who I really did care about, and who cared about me, to send a nice card and gift to on mothers and fathers day. A real, heartfelt gift. But I do not.

I am grateful for my husband, my friends and my day-to-day life I live now. Our businesses are successful based on being upfront, fair, caring, and honest. We follow through with doing what we promise to do and we are proud of that. It is how we live our personal lives too. It is real, it is a good honest life, and there is no pretending. I do lose sight of that from time to time, especially when I start getting depressed. It is important to reflect on what we have, and not dwell only on what we don't have.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage & Flower,

"Believe me, I wish I had someone who I really did care about, and who cared about me, to send a nice card and gift to on mothers and fathers day. A real, heartfelt gift. But I do not." I do believe you, because I feel the same way. I wish I had parents I cared about, and who cared about me. Like you, I just don't. It's sad and painful. We can mourn this, and we can feel it slowly release it's grip on us. And we can have a good life that is satisfying, and pleasing.

I read this on the following website: http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html

"Interaction with narcissists is confusing, even bewildering -- their reasons for what they do are not the same as normal reasons. In fact, treating them like normal people (e.g., appealing to their better nature, as in "Please have a heart," or giving them the chance to apologize and make amends) will make matters worse with a narcissist."

This has certainly been my experience with my parents. Here's another choice quote:

"They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist]."

I don't think I've found a better description of interactions with my parents. Thank you both for being there to help me keep my bearings. Reading things like this just strengthens my resolve to stay away from my parents, and to stop trying to communicate with them.

I still have bad days dealing with things about my parents. But these seem to be getting fewer and more manageable. Being thankful for what I have now, and continuing to remind myself that they can't hurt me anymore, helps a lot.

That's all for now. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

I forgot to put my narcissist joke in my last posting:

How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb?

One. But you have to wait for the world to revolve around them.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi,

I wrote a reply, but it disappeared!! Darn!

Ha ha, good joke, isn't that the truth. Nice to laugh about it for a change.

Dave, you have really got me thinking about NPD. I have always known my mother was 'off', I realized that some time ago. I am not saying I am perfect, because I know I am not. But at least I have attempted to face some of my own issues. I never pegged her as NPD, I have thought about it before when the subject was brought up, but was not sure. She is exactly the way you describe via the quotes! Exactly. It has sort of floored me reading those quotes.

There is nothing more frustrating than when I know exactly how a certain event transpired, even have witnesses to validate it, and my mother skews it completely. I have been there far too many times. And that is exactly what I do, tell someone (my husband), go over and over the situation to make sur I am remembering it right. It does make me feel like I am going crazy, like it is 'me'. I felt that way sooo many times.

I don't understand it. Why not be real? Isn't it easier to live that way - in reality? Instead of twisting everything and causing hurt and turmoil? She must know what she is doing, I have a hard time accepting that they do this unconsciencely, because of NPD. I guess it is yet another self-serving method to validate herself.

It also shows in the way she brags endlessly about my brother. It is really quite disturbing. She loses herself in him. I think it is just fine to be proud of your son, yes, he has accomplishments...but there has to be some sort of limit as to how much you brag about anything. I think she feels that he is a reflection of her because she raised him - and is flawless - the perfect child. Just like how she is. I am not nit picking my brother because he was the favoured child, he is a genuine jerk, anyone on earth could see that. Well, except for her that is.

I don't think my father has NPD. To me, he is just a shell of a person. He has no substance, and perhaps that is why he was so prone to drinking too much alcohol. I have no respect for him, he is spineless, but at the same time critical. He blames his drinking too much on the 'disease' of alcoholism, yet does not take any responsiblity for his actions, or for who he hurt. And that is part of AA I suppose. A load of crap. It is so weird. The last few times I did see him, he would talk about my cousins, and how they did this and that with their parents. It is like he wished our family was that way. But it is not - and it is his fault things were not better. He was the adult, and he could have made things better if he wanted to. Seems he expects things to just happen that way, that families are just close naturally. I still hold alot of hate towards him. Why could he not just step up, be a parent, be a decent human being and maybe things would have been different? He has always always lived in these pipe dreams of what he was going to do and accomplish - alot of talk, but rarely any action. I remember him being that way forever.

I have done some reading on NPD, and I understand that even therapy does not really help alot. It must be so deeply ingrained into who they are. It is how they live, cope, and interact with others. And they must feel good about themselves. I agree the situation is made worse when you try to reach out to them with any emotion. I found it to be humiliating, the way my mother brushed me off when I sincerely tried to express my feelings. I was so so SO careful not to offend or attack. Why I even have that kind of consideration towards them is beyond me. They certainly have no consideration for my feelings. Never have. It is a sick thing to do to brush someone off when they reach out to you, especially your own offspring. It shows her complete lack of empathy.

Ah well. It is so true Dave, it feels good to know they can't hurt me anymore. There will be no more awkward, uncomfortable moments with them, and there will be no more feelings of frustration, resentment and anger when I did have contact with them.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Dave & Sage,

I've had a very busy week. A lot has come up for me. Finally reading the build up of unopened letters, although I've only opened up one, from my mother restimulates a lot of emotional debris. It feels so empty reading anything that she writes and it all seems so phony. I do care about her, but the relationship is not what I would have wanted and the situation is not how I would have liked things to turn out. Despite my best efforts, it is what it is and I doubt that will ever change, because it takes two people, not just one to make it so. What I really long for is for her to take some measure of responsibility, but I know that will not happen. It would be important, very important to allow healing, but I know it will never take place.

Sage, I've felt the same as you where you say, "Every year I would find it horribly difficult to shop for them, and pick out the most generic card, that wasn't too gushy, because I could not send anything like that because it was even more fake...I felt like a complete fraud, and it was upsetting to read the loving sentiments in the greeting card aisle. I felt completely obligated, and that I was in a way forced to go through the motions. I can't explain it, but it really was a stressful ordeal for me to do this. For years and years. I felt the same way recieving cards from them. I would dread opening them."

I feel this way about my husband's relatives and family too, given how horrible their treatment was towards him and me, but mostly directed at me. It feels phony, fake and insincere. It actually feels even worse than that, but I'm having a hard time finding the right words to express it. I just opened a Xmas card that his aunt sent addressed to the two of us, and wondered why she even bothers. The inside note was a bizzare generic how's the weather type of thing and it really gives me the creeps how they just ignore all the garbage as if it doesn't exist and persist in these idiotic phony rituals. If situations were discussed and people were open and honest, then I wouldn't feel this way at all, but everything is so oppressive. My husband seems fine going along with it all and has always adopted the stance that he "doesn't want to rock the boat". He is like that about everything, and doesn't seem to mind their mistreatment and inexcuseable conduct. He feels emotionally safe not opening up these wounds and persisting in the if I don't talk about it, then it doesn't exist and I don't have to deal with it approach. It works for him, but it's not good for me, and essentially I feel it has a negative impact on him too, but he is unwilling to look at it and lacks the courage and strength of heart that it would take to face his own demons.

It's also very odd to me how they cling and over-attach such great significance to the ritual of sending and receiving cards, when the huge elephant in the living room is ignored. In fact, it isn't just a one elephant in the living room, it's an entire herd.

Sage, you say, "One year, the father's day card I sent must have got lost in the mail" this happened to me too. He didn't say anything though and thanked me for the card about 6 months later as it finally reached him. He used to say and wonder why I never came home and "never visited".

Well I didn't come home because of all the sadness and heartache. I didn't come home because I couldn't live with feeling burdened and overwhelmed by them and their poor treatment of me. I couldn't live like that and feel good about myself. I didn't come home because I had to protect myself from them. I also didn't come home because I didn't want to see my husband's family either, or be around him when he did. I was hopeful that he would finally find his voice and assert himself with his family and rock the boat a little and set the record straight. I was hopeful that he would deal with situations himself and he chose not too. Had he behaved differently then I wouldn't have felt as stressed as I did, always having to cope with his adherence to his family's rules and don't talk rule. It was very, very hard on me.

"I don't really feel I am trying to 'get back at him', get any type of revenge. I know it sounds that way. I am just tired (soooo tired) of pretending." No, it does not sound like you are trying to get revenge, but from this comment I hear that you must have been criticized and not offered understanding. The guilt has been imposed by others and that is why it at times feels wrong, as if you've done something. I know this because I've been on the receiving end of the same types of behaviors. I've had people try to suggest that my distance is a way of punishing them (my sisters). That is so far from the truth. I'm only trying to protect myself and he (his denial) has been a serious part of the problem. I'm saving myself, not punishing anyone. I think you only react that way, because you've been criticized for taking care of yourself, just as I have. Whoever has said that to you is unwilling to offer empathy to you or to understand your perspective. I've dealt with that constantly too. It's a convenient way for people to not take responsibility and shift blame and guilt to someone else and they get a lot of help from others in accomplishing this.

Dave, "These are difficult and painful relationships aren't they?" Yes, very true.

Thank you for what you say here "It's been an incredibly difficult and long process to get to the level of indifference I now feel towards my parents. Even writing that I'm indifferent towards my parents seems like I'm doing something wrong. But I'm not. They left me no other options. And it has taken a lot of mourning to get here. And I think there is more mourning to come. But with each cycle of mourning I feel a little lighter and more free from painful feelings from deep in my past. Things continue to get better. I hope you can continue to emotionally untangle yourself from the negative people around you and find a more peaceful and enjoyable life. You deserve it!!!"

I feel as you do, but I must admit I alternate between indifference and caring. I think I probably always will. Some days are better than others. Maybe it is natural to experience conflicted emotions, although at times very unpleasant ones, around all of this and realize that they will eventually pass, or come and go. I don't know if it is completely possible to not feel as I do--the sadness, the anger and grief for what has happened. To not feel about it would be to feel emotionally numb. I just have to refocus my energies, but that does't mean that I still don't feel sadness and pain or other emotions.

Well, I've written enough for today...Thank you for listening and being here. Take care

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello,

Sage, "It has sort of floored me reading those quotes." I felt the same way when I read them. It really helped crystallize in my mind how detached they are from any reality we could share. The only reality that we can share is their reality, given that they have zero ability to comprehend that I have thoughts and feeling that are separate from their reality. I cannot under any circumstances continue to exist in their reality. - Goodbye mom and dad. The excruciating pain of being in any kind of relationship with you beyond bearable. It is death itself. I want to live. I have to leave and can never come back, ever again.

"It is like he wished our family was that way. But it is not - and it is his fault things were not better. He was the adult, and he could have made things better if he wanted to. Seems he expects things to just happen that way, that families are just close naturally." My father has the same attitude. He thinks he can spend his entire life being a crude, selfish, loud-mouthed, hot-headed, heavy-drinking, violent, jerk and I'm suppose to grow up and admire and respect him. Please, just shoot me now ;-)

"I have done some reading on NPD, and I understand that even therapy does not really help a lot." I've also read that it tends to get worse with age. A frightening and spine-chilling thought. I need to run and never look back.

"it feels good to know they can't hurt me anymore" This is almost a mantra for me now. If I start getting anxious about them, I start repeating this. It's calming.

Flower, "I don't know if it is completely possible to not feel as I do--the sadness, the anger and grief for what has happened. To not feel about it would be to feel emotionally numb." I remember thinking this too. It's almost criminal the way others can trap us in this painful emotional prison for which we have a hard time seeing a way out. While you may be overwhelmed with sadness, anger, and grief about what has happened, it is very possible for this to greatly subside without being replaced by numbness. It can subside and you can have a feeling of well being and enjoyment of life. I think the work you are doing now is moving you in that direction. Don't give up.

Next week is Spring Break and I am leaving tomorrow to spend the week with my wife and sons in the mountains skiing. :-) I won't be back on-line for a week. Have a great week! Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

As some may know I am working on a documentary to try to enlighten people about estrangement... parents who aren't listening, children (adult) who have something to say. I know that many of you have very strong feelings on the subject and it is so painful for everyone...
I am hoping that some of you will be willing to step up and be interviewed for this very important piece. I don't want to know names, or specific nitty gritty.. I want to talk about the big picture.. what you feel.. how is this affecting your relationships.. your wife/husband, your children, the rest of your family..etc
I want to talk about the overview of your situation.. do your parents step on your boundaries, do they seem to be deaf? dumb? or otherwise?
If you are willing, please contact me!

Thanks so much..

Sarahsmom


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Flower,

Thanks once again for relating. Dave enjoy your week with your family.....sounds like loads of fun! :) :) You have the right outlook, and I really do respect how you have come to terms with the estrangement. It is the truth - it is death itself to be in a relationship with them. I could not agree more. I tried to get through to them, and I failed. But they also failed, they just don't admit it.

I am starting to see the link between all of our parents, they all seem to have one thing in common-suspected or diagnosed mental health issues. Is this about dealing with people with mental illness? I don't say that off-the-cuff...it is a conclusion I have come to after putting alot of thought into it. Unfortunate that none of them seem to want to face that reality, or get help, and it is also unfortunate that we had to be affected by their issues and they won't see that, or even give the concept any consideration whatsoever. I admit I have had problems with depression, whether my parents played a part in that or not (I do suspect they did), the point is that I admit it. I sought help. I don't want to hurt others around me because of my issues. I helped myself so I could be at peace, and so that I would not harm others. Why couldn't they do that?

They don't want to hear about our hurt or even help us get any closure. Just listening would help. But this is very often the case when dealing with mental illness, isn't it? People remain in denial about it, often for their entire lives? They blame, they don't see their short comings, and it is never their own fault in any way, they take no responsibility justifying it by saying they 'did the best they could'. This is typical with NPD.

And they think WE are mentally disturbed, go figure! Sigh, this is why I don't see any resolution. There is no common ground. I find it mind boggling.

I get alot of comfort from knowing they can't hurt me anymore too Dave. I have to keep reminding myself of that.

Flower, I can relate to going from caring to not caring, as I did that for many many years. I certainly do understand the conflicted emotions. I think they are worse than actually breaking ties completely to tell you the truth. We can only do what is right for each of us, everyone's situation is so unique. I think you are doing the right thing for you and doing a good job with helping yourself, and finding ways to cope.

Flower said: It's also very odd to me how they cling and over-attach such great significance to the ritual of sending and receiving cards, when the huge elephant in the living room is ignored. In fact, it isn't just a one elephant in the living room, it's an entire herd.

I agree. I don't understand this whole attachment to the card (and parcel) sending ritual. And it is never 'personal' at all. In my situation, I think it is their way (my mother in particular) of showing they care. I know that not everyone is 'touchy/feely personal' - but to be so ultra cold, that shocks me. She truly believes that even if she has not spoken to me for a year (which happened), and if she sends a parcel at Xmas, she has 'done her part to keep in touch and show she does care'. Wow, that is shallow! If the cards had something personal written in them, or if the gifts were remotely personal, it would be different. But no, they are always generic hallmark cards and generic gifts. I find it disturbing beyond measure. Is she that distant that the only way she can relate is via shopping? I felt obligated to do the same thing, and I did the exact same thing, which I felt horrible about. No more.

Flower said: "He used to say and wonder why I never came home and "never visited". My father used to say this alot too. I have a really hard time being at my parents house. Alot of bad memories. I used to force myself to go, and thought it would be therapeutic to 'face it'. But it never really helped. I had to see all the crazy 'shrines' with a hundred pictures of my brother, and it always left me feeling like I never should have visited. It just created more resentment every single time.

Yes, I have been criticized for causing trouble in the family, by not leaving 'the past in the past'. The bottom line is that they are cold, harsh, incapable of empathy from what I have seen, and possibly have some deep rooted mental issues based on how they have acted, and reacted, over the years. And those type of people - whether they are blood relatives, friends, or just someone I happen to meet on the street - those are the type of people I don't want a relationship with, because they hurt me.

Sarasmom, I am not interested in participating in a documentary. While I appreciate someone trying to gain an understanding of our situations, I don't really want the personal information that I posted here used. I realize I did post it publicly (which may have been a big mistake on my part) so I don't think there is much I can do to stop that other than to ask you to please respect my request to not use my information. This has been a painful process, not something I want to share via a documentary. Thanks.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Sage,

I know Dave isn't around this week, so I thought I would send you a heads up that I just sent you an email. I also included in the subject heading flowergardenmuse. I'd just found your email address to send it.

Also, my mother left me a message. I always find anything from her restimulates painful memories and emotions--these are more current/recent memories from the ordeal of having to deal with her mental health issues--her mental health deteriorating. I really haven't written about that fully, because it is so painful to think about. I was just having to cope with so much that I felt continuously assaulted from all sides. It is hard to cope when you feel so overwhelmed with your own health issues, chronic pain and then on top of that everything else. I think and know that you and Dave would respond appropriately, with empathy and compassion, but I've been criticized by others and this of course, has been damaging. I've had enough of dealing with other people and their presenting and framing criticisms as helpful, when they are anything but that, or listening to constant excusing making or framing it always as the other person's problems as in, "don't take it personally". I've dealt with that enough already and far from allowing people to open up and offer a safe environment conducive to healing it does the exact opposite and stifles honesty and openness. And that sucks out emotional safety and intimacy.

I can't post more right now as I'm running short on time, but hopefully you will receive my email and I'm planning on writing more later.

Take care and I hope that you are doing okay.

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello! I'm new here. I was glad to see this topic in the forum. It has been so hard for people to understand why I'm estranged from my family especially my mother and I'm sick of hearing "but that's your mother"! They do not understand that she was not the sweet protective mother with my best interests in mind like their mother; she was sadistic and abusive. They cannot fathom that my own mother is the least safe person on the planet for me to be around. So I've found it easier to just tell people she is dead. Really my paternal grandmother was the closest thing to a mother I had and she is dead so it's not that big of a lie.

My relationship with my father, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc was not much better. It has recently hit me just how much this has impacted my relationships with men as a single woman. I was never anybody's little princess growing up so I guess I have been subconsciously looking for that in my relationships with men - a combination of an adoring father and an equal partner. I think I have work to do on myself in this respect. :o)

This is a long thread so it will take me time to read and get to know each of you but I wanted to go ahead and pop in and say hello.
Rachel


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Welcome Rachel, Hi Sage, and Flower,

I've been skiing on Spring Break with my family. Despite my wife tearing her ACL, we still managed to have some fun. She's doing pretty good, but will need surgery :-(

Rachel, I hope you find some support and encouragement here. I know I have. I know I'm fed up with the reaction I get from others, if the topic of being estranged from my parents come up. It's just not worth bringing up with people who don't understand.

Also, I think the relationship with my parents has negatively affected my adult relationships. I think being aware of this, and working on this, has helped me move a more positive direction.

Sage, "I am starting to see the link between all of our parents, they all seem to have one thing in common-suspected or diagnosed mental health issues. Is this about dealing with people with mental illness?" With my parents, I'm convinced it is. In a way, thinking about it like this makes it easier. It is still not easy.

Here is another quote from the NPD website, I mentioned earlier, that perfectly describes my parents:

"Narcissists are very disappointing as gift-givers. First, narcissists lack empathy, so they don't know what you want or like and, evidently, they don't care either; second, they think their opinions are better and more important than anyone else's, so they'll give you what they think you ought to want, regardless of what you may have asked for; third, they're stingy and will give as gifts stuff that's just lying around their house."

This explains why I've been getting a bunch of cheap crap from them for years that I donate to charity. I have told my mother for years that I wear a size "XL" shirt or sweater. She always buys me "L". When I ask her why, she says my dad wears and "L" and I'm about the same size so it should fit me. I suspect she's been sending me stuff she bought for him that he doesn't want to wear. This is almost funny. But not quite. ;-)

"And they think WE are mentally disturbed, go figure!" Since they have accused me of this, I've told them my family doctor thinks I'm fine. So now they have accused me of Elderly Verbal Abuse, because I write things to them like I find them to be insincere, and that spending time with them is stressful and unpleasant. I guess if I'm not mentally ill, then the only other reason for me to write these things is that I'm intentionally trying to abuse them. This almost makes sense. Of course the idea that I might be trying to express my genuine thoughts and feelings is out of the question.

Flower, "I always find anything from her restimulates painful memories and emotions" Yes it does, doesn't it. This still happens to me, but it doesn't last as long as it used to. I hope you can find more safe havens in your life, places and people that can help you heal.

Anyway, that's all for now. I hope you are all doing well.

Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Rachel, Welcome! I sure have found this forum helpful, it is very comforting to find people in the same situation. Nobody else can understand, and I am sick of the responses I get from people too. Right now I do not have any contact at all with my parents, or any other blood relatives. You will see the jist of my story from my (long-winded, and ranting) posts here!! ;)

I am not single, but I do know how my relationships with men were influenced by my relationship, or lack of relationship, with my father. It was not good. I can see clearly how the problems I had were related to by upbringing.

There is another thread here with the same title. It is an older thread, which has just been continued here in this new thread.

Dave!!!! You said/quoted...
"Narcissists are very disappointing as gift-givers. First, narcissists lack empathy, so they don't know what you want or like and, evidently, they don't care either; second, they think their opinions are better and more important than anyone else's, so they'll give you what they think you ought to want, regardless of what you may have asked for; third, they're stingy and will give as gifts stuff that's just lying around their house."

Once again, EXACTLY! That is what my mother did, for as long as I can remember. No matter how many times I have told her year after year how highly scented candles irritate me, she gives them too me all the time. I even told her several times that I had to give them away, please dont' buy them for me anymore, I can't have them in the house. She didn't 'get it'. I tell her my husband does not wear aftershave/lotions - yet she buys that for him anyways, time and time again, for years. It is mainly just junk. It used to hurt my feelings that she could not take the time to put thought into anything, or even add a personal note to a card. I have sent loads and loads of stuff from her to the thrift store. That is an interesting trait of those with NPD. Very very intersting. Thanks for sharing that Dave.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Speaking of gifts reminds me of something that happened from as early as I can remember until the last time I exchanged gifts with my mother years ago. I never opened a surprise in her presence. She'd always tell me what the gift was before I could get it unwrapped. If someone else brought me a gift she'd find out what it was and tell me as I was unwrapping it. Other adults even scolded her for it but it was like she couldn't help herself. What is that all about?

One more random memory that came up as I was typing the above - when my grandmother died she left a large diamond ring to me. My mother got it and it was about a year before I got it from her. The next morning I took it to have it appraised so I could have it properly insured. Well imagine my surprise when the jeweler told me that was not a diamond but a piece of cubic zirconium! He said the ring had been designed for a diamond and that it looked like the prongs had been opened recently so I have always been convinced that my mother switched the diamond with a fake one before she gave me the ring! I never even bothered to confront her because she'd never admit it and give me the diamond.

I can't even trust her to know where I live or work. A few years ago she called the HR department of the place I worked at that time and told them she was trying to find me because I never called her or came to see her! OMG I was so embarrassed. And she was always bad about just showing up at my home unannounced.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Oh no Rachel, that is terrible what your mother did with the ring! And also with phoning and showing up unannounced. I know that feeling of them forcing themselves on you. I find it feels like an assault.

The whole gift thing has been a real problem for me, and for Dave too, as you will see if you read some of the past posts. Then the whole feeling of being obligated to send them a gift or card.

I was still in touch, although infreqently, with my mother, mainly via email, around Xmas this past year. I requested, kindly, in October, that we NOT exchange gifts this year. Just cards. I was very clear about it and careful how I worded it. Not a big deal...I actually requested this from a few other people too. Nobody had a problem with it. She didn't respond to that request. Although she responded to the email, so I know she read it. Xmas arrives, and suprise...this parcel comes from my mother. I confronted her about it and she said something like: "you can't tell me what to do, if I want to send a gift to you I will. Because I care no matter what you say." Wow.

Come to think of it, my mother has told me what gifts are before I open them, too. Mainly gifts I have received from other people. Does she not want me to be surpirsed? Does she want to ruin the surprise? Does she want to be the only one giving gifts? It is a very weird thing to do in any case.

This gift issue has come up alot of times here in this forum. I find it very disturbing that my mother uses 'stuff' to somehow proove she cares. Her actions and words certainly do not reflect that sentiment at all.

At one point, I had not heard from them AT ALL for over a year. And a parcel shows up at our house at Xmas, just like nothing happened, 'Love mom and dad' is what the card said. That to me was creepy and bizarre. No phone call, no letter acknowledging the estrangement - nothing. Just a box of stuff and a generic Xmas card, the usual. sigh. It is not that I don't appreciate gifts. Because I do. It is just that I am actually offended by gifts that are not given with any sincerity.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Okay, something else has surfaced. It's interesting that I just found this forum because just recently I've realized even more problems that my upbringing has caused in my relationships. I don't think I've ever been involved with a man who was really on my side and the second I realize that it completely turns me off.

In most families you can count on them to have your back when no one else does. In my family my relatives were my worst enemies. Most people lock their windows and doors to keep the bad guys out. I locked my bedroom door to the rest of the house but kept the window unlocked and ajar so I could dive out it any time and I did have to dive out it more than once. I was already in the house with the bad guys!

I don't even remember my family backing me on anything and some of the trouble makers at school caught on to that and thought it was so funny to tell my mother that I had done this or that and she'd rip me apart in front of them never for a second considering that I might be innocent.

My younger brother was the only one of my siblings who had anything to do with my mother. I left home as soon as I graduated and she was fine with little contact until my younger brother died. Then she called me and informed me that now it was "up to you" to take care of her and she wanted to move in with me! No way! The harassment kept on until I had to cease contact with her. My life would be over if I were dumb enough to let her move in with me or if I lived anywhere near her.

I'm afraid she has tried to turn my younger brothers sons into substitutes for him and has tried to groom them to take up where he left off when I refused to. Last I heard one of them has daily contact with her and the other left home at 17 to get away from her according to his mother who also doesn't speak to my mother for tormenting her child until she ran him off.

She wants what she wants and it doesn't matter what you have to go through as long as she gets it. She doesn't care if you are a child either she'll still suck the very life out of you.


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Welcome Rachel, Hi Sage & Dave.

Welcome back Dave. Sorry to hear about your wife tearing her ACL (that hurts). I'm glad that you had a good time, despite that and it's good to hear from you.

Rachel I can relate to what you said here as my husband does not stand up for me and it is a role reversal as he is a people pleaser. "I don't think I've ever been involved with a man who was really on my side". Yes, I know exactly how this feels and it doesn't feel good at all. He says that he is on my side, but then acts in ways that demonstrate that he is completely clueless and I feel as if I've been talking to a wall. I would prefer a response which offered understanding and empathy, and then to build on that if he would take steps to demonstrate awareness of what is important such as such as correcting people when they are wrong, instead of resorting to passivity, or speaking up and setting boundaries on inappropriate behaviors. Instead he reinforces the behaviors and I believe rewards the negative, destructive behaviors. In fact, he is an enabler. He refuses to stand up to people, to set the record straight or to even attempt to establish boundaries or enforce them. He is a people-pleaser. He has no problem in allowing people to try to scapegoat me. This has caused a lot of problems for us, because he refuses to learn to stand up for himself and prefers just appeasing others and going along and to not rock the boat, even when it would be in his own best interest to fight for his rights, and then mine.

His behaviors are directly related to his family dynamics, especially his mother who was a rager and an alcoholic.

Rachel, I can also relate to what you said here, "In most families you can count on them to have your back when no one else does. In my family my relatives were my worst enemies." That is exactly how I feel about my sisters and mother and father. I could not count on them to fight for my rights or to stand up for me. It makes one very vulnerable and you are right as other people catch on to this. Unfortunately I internalized much of these behaviors and started to doubt myself or even the validity of my legitimate concerns. I ended up taking on other people's attempts to blame and scapegoat me. Very wrong, but people will try to do this again and again and manipulators are quite good at getting others to take sides. This is a ploy of my sister-in-law who destroys relationships due to her underhanded manipulations, but other people are very willing to enable this conduct as well, including my husband as he doesn't like being the target of their rage and unhappiness. He wants to belong to the group at all costs.

You have every right to have your own life and not have your mother try to impose herself on you and drain the life out of you. My situation is a little different, as is everyone, but there is much of what you say that I can understand and relate too. She probably has a personality disorder or type of mental illness.

I don't have much time to post today, so this is all for now and I will write more later.

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Sage...Everyone,

Rachel, from what you say below I think your mother was trying to embarrass you by making herself out to be a victim and it was a very manipulative ploy on her part. It was also thoughtless and inconsiderate of her to just show up at your home unannounced and not invited. Those are behaviors that are typical of narcissists. She may even have a personality disorder or some type of undiagnosed mental illness.

"A few years ago she called the HR department of the place I worked at that time and told them she was trying to find me because I never called her or came to see her! OMG I was so embarrassed. And she was always bad about just showing up at my home unannounced."

I did not have this particular problem with my mother as I have always lived far away or in another state. I don't think my mother would behave that way as she has other disturbing and difficult behaviors. However, my husband did have a friend who would show up unnannounced and many who made suggestions or invited themselves. He has a host of people who consistently IMPOSE on US in various ways all the time and he refuses to participate in setting boundaries or even problem-solving. He likes people to view him as friendly and sociable as he is seeking their approval and wants me to fill the role as the bad guy, burdening me all the time with being the source of people's anger and rage, because I will not appease their ego's or tolerate their thoughtless, selfish BS. He really drives some situations between us, so it has been a constant source of friction and difficulty because the types of people that he attracts are users, manipulators, liars, deceivers, etc. In short they are all infantile, babyish narcissists.

I also never felt like I was around anyone who understood my difficulties and I always felt like I was constantly being placed in the role of the parent figure (the serious one), because someone else refuses to grow-up or to take responsibility for their fair share of work in the relationship or with dealing with others. So, in essence I felt like I was constantly having to cope and deal with a constant assortment of a bunch of superficially charming losers, idiots and aholes. Outwardly, the appeared and acted like adults until one got to know them better. My husband suffered these fools because of his own issues and upbringing and he resented me not doing the same. He would try to control and dictate my choice of friends and would even impose himself into my relationships with others, essentially cutting me off from having friends of my own. So it was all about his issues and needs and his trying to force me to be "friends" with the idiots he brought into our existence. It is hard to explain, but it is no fun being in this position and it wears on a person emotionally. I see my husband as someone who learned that his feelings didn't count in his family, and he learned that his value lied in taking care of others and what he did for others, not for who he is/was. I kept trying to get him to realize what he was doing, but he resented it and didn't want to change. He wanted me to stand up for him, but he didn't want to learn to stand up for himself or to ever stand up for me.

I do not like "side-taking" for what it evokes in me as I see my sister-in-law as engaging in this behavior to destroy relationships with others. I do feel what was lacking in your family and mine was a family who would intervene or stand up for your rights. A child needs the protection of their family and when this is missing and the child is the target/victim of the parents it gets horribly skewed. The victim experience (stripping someone of their personal power) and the experience of powerlessness is a terrible teacher. It's lesson can be long-lasting. Once someone is aware and knows that they have a choice, then they can make other choices, but this can be a long process. The message from the abuser is clear: "You have no right to make the choices that impact your life. I have all the power, you have none." That sounds so much like a lot of parents who probably do not see themselves as victimizers or abusers. And people who have no power, have no voice and people with no voice believe themselves to be invalid. Well, it is very difficult for people to view themselves as valid when their parents or siblings refuse to listen or to hear them, act indifferent to their feelings or twist what they say. That is not a dialogue. That is one person trying to get their needs met at the expense of another and there is NO relationship in that when it is all about the other person.

Well, I've written enough for now and will write more later...Take care everyone...

Flower


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RE: Mothers

Hello Dave & Sage,

I was going to post more, but I don't have more time. Dave you brought up a lot that I want to respond to when I have more time. My mother has been increasing her contact with me and now is leaving messages. It's creating a lot of stress for me. I know I have told you both that she was eventually diagnosed with mental illness. I haven't talked about that much, because it was so incredibly painful to have to deal with on top of everything else. For the longest time I've felt like I was just coping and dealing with one problem after another...health issues, chronic pain, etc., surgery and more and more stuff unloaded on me. I really never felt like I even had the time or energy to even process any of it, as I was too busy just surviving, if that makes any sense. I still feel that way. I've also had to cope with far too much abuse in my life and people imposing on me, ignoring boundaries and behaving in very aggressive, deeply destructive ways. I've always felt like a lot of people are very disrespectful of my feelings, boundaries and personal space. It takes a long while to sort it all out, to talk about it in a way that feels healthy for me. I think you both know and understand those feelings very well. Anyway, I will write more later....

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi All,

I found this website, which I've listed below some time ago and periodically have revisted the site. She has some info on personality disorders and mental illness. The Rick Ross site is also on the links page, although I found that link on another site, which I previously mentioned about AA, called the Orange Papers, etc. The site was created by a woman who is estranged from her daughter and so I think it more from a parent's perspective, however she has a lot of different links, articles, etc. More recently someone who posted on the parents forum established another online support group called estranged stories, (I think that is more for parents as well too)--you have to be a member and register for the site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Estrangements


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi Rachel, Flower, Dave, and anyone else reading,

As a child I also did not feel anyone was on my side. I sure can relate. Feeling alone, unsafe, unloved, and not part of any sort of 'group', like you belonged anywhere. I developed insecurity very young, and it only got worse. I was suicidal very young. I was constantly told I was overreacting, too sensitive, too dramatic, etc. I think I was just looking for some attention.

When a child is crying hysterically, how on earth can anyone just shout these type of accusations at them? When a child says 'nobody likes me' to their parents, and continues to cry - which I remember doing alot - how can they just brush them off and not even sit down and talk to them about it? My parents just treated me like an adult. They expected me to act like an adult when I was 5 yrs old, which is beyond ridiculous. My whole life they have always pointed the finger at ME. They take no responsibility whatsoever. To this day, they are adament they did absolutely nothing wrong and did "the best they could". I have given up trying, I tried for far too many years to have a relationship with them.

BUT on the plus side - I KNOW it was not me. The more I reflect on my childhood, the more I know it was not me at all. I resent the fact that they made me feel everything was always my fault. I went through years and years feeling like there was something wrong with me.

It is unnatural to not be given nurturing when you are a child. Almost all animals belong to a 'pack' of some sort at the beginning of their lives. There is a bond and feeling of security. I never felt I had that kind of bond with my parents. When that bond is missing, I believe it creates all sorts of serious problems in future relationships.

Rachel, Your mother sounds like she may have NPD traits. I am sorry for what she has put you through. I have just recently realized my mother fits this personality disorder to some degree. Although it does not justify her actions in any way, it is good to know and to understand some of the reasons why she did what she did.

I'll check out that site Flower...thx! :)

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Rachel, I can see why you stay away from your mother; stealing your grandmother's diamond, calling HR where you work, that is so completely unacceptable, it is so over the top. There is a theme in this forum around none of our mothers having any sense of our boundaries. And when we try to establish our boundaries, they invariably go completely berserk. Staying away seems to be the only solution to people like this. I think we all know what this means: "she'll suck the very life out of you."

Sage, "When a child says 'nobody likes me' to their parents, and continues to cry - which I remember doing a lot - how can they just brush them off and not even sit down and talk to them about it?" That is so cold, and so wrong. It makes me want to cry. How could they have been so cold and indifferent to their little girl who needed them? It reminds me of when I was in 5th grade, 11 years old, and had to write an autobiography as a school project. Every time I would start to work on it, I would start crying and not be able to stop. At age 11 I already found my life so sad that writing about it made me cry uncontrollably. Do you know what my mother's solution was to this? She wrote it for me. That's it. She wrote it, I turned it in and that was it. It's funny, it's still that way. It doesn't matter how I feel now. She will still tell me how my life should be, write it for me so to speak, and that's it. That's what I'm supposed be, that's whats supposed to be turned in. But I grew up, wised-up, and she can't get away with this anymore. But she still tries.

Flower, "For the longest time I've felt like I was just coping and dealing with one problem after another...health issues, chronic pain, etc., surgery and more and more stuff unloaded on me. I really never felt like I even had the time or energy to even process any of it, as I was too busy just surviving, if that makes any sense. I still feel that way." I don't know how you do it. I feel overwhelmed just reading about your situation. I hope you can find a way to make some progress in all the chaos around you. I really don't know how you do it. Hang it there. I'm thinking about you.

Thank you all for being there, and for all the support and understanding you offer. It's been a blessing finding you all. Peace.

Dave


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hi everyone,

Thanks Dave for the understanding and I am sorry it made you sad! I resent my mother's extremely distant and cold treatment of me in similar situations to the one I stated. It makes me cry to this day. Was she that self absorbed? I don't get it, I just can't wrap my head around it. What kind of person does that? They made me feel like there was something very wrong with me, even when I was a little kid, that carried well into my adult life. There was (and is) NOTHING 'wrong' with me. I was reacting as any kid would to growing up and trying to function normally in an abusive home.

I went through a period in my adult life when I really did seriously question my own mental health! Because I could not get along with my parents, could not seem to please them, and also had other relationship problems with people too. Men in particular. In reality, I did not learn how to have good relationships when I was a child, I was just living the way I learned how to live - in distress. I am so thankful I did realize it was not me causing the problems, it never was.

I am getting off on a tangent........

Dave, I understand your sadness as a child. That is horrid what you mother did with your autobiography! It is very sad that a kid in Grade 5 has to have that kind of stress, and to not feel they can write about their life. Typical, and something my own mother would do - just 'wash' it over, submit it, and move on, and never ever speak of it again. I was very depressed from grade 3-5, I remember that time period distinctly. A kid should be playing and having fun, not sad and worried about what was happening at home. And back to the NPD factor - your mother demonstrated a complete and utter lack of empathy.

"She will still tell me how my life should be, write it for me so to speak, and that's it. That's what I'm supposed be, that's whats supposed to be turned in. But I grew up, wised-up, and she can't get away with this anymore."

That is well said. That is what my mother does. My mother has always been hung up on the way thing are 'supposed' to be, how she appears to others, it is nicer for her to keep her head in the sand. Very selfish.

I was doing some more reading on NPD, and parents who have NPD. I ran across an interesting point about how it is common for these NPD parents to blatently favour one child over another. That one child becomes their idol, and that favored child reflects who they, the parents, are. This has happened to me, as I have brought this up numerous (too many) times on this forum. It was very obvious that my brother is the 'golden child'. Were my parents that devoid of their own sense of self that they needed one of their children to represent them as people? If they only realized how deeply that hurt me, how left out I felt, and how alone it made me feel. But they don't see it that way. They see it as me being 'troubled' and my brother being the definition of success. They overlook his short comings entirely. What is up with that!?! It makes no sense to me. I hope to understand the psychology of it more, but right now, I just don't get it. It seems so irrational. The more I research NPD, the more I see my mother. I am so glad the topic of NPD came up here.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Dave, Sage and everyone,

Sage, my mother and father behaved the same--my mother would tell me (I think she did the same to my sisters) how terrible we were as children. She would tell me that I was horrible and a brat. She would complain about how awful I behaved. They gave me nicknames such as bratty_____. I think she just felt deficient and turned it all around and put it all back on me. My sisters claimed that I was favored and both poured forth their resentment towards me in abundance. Both told me that they felt I was a "f***ing spoiled brat. One told me that I deserved to get slapped and hit. She said this after I tried (many times) to tell her part of the reasons why I am not close to my oldest sister, why I feel distant and wary of her. She hit and slapped me across the face and had a very explosive rageful temper. It was like dealing with a type of jekyll & hyde type of person. I never felt comfortable or safe around her. I've tried several times to talk to them about how it feels to be on the receiving end of their behaviors and what it did to the relationship. They cannot hear my emotional pain, dismiss my feelings as "too sensitive" or dismiss me as mentally ill, etc. All it does is that they twist what I say, make excuses or turn it into all about themselves. It is always about them. They don't ever take any personal responsibility for anything. They cannot connect to my feelings or emotions as it is all about them. Connecting to my emotions for them means that they talk about themselves, or try to deny my reality and tell me how I should respond and feel. They always try to fix me. Apparently they feel that I'm broken and a big disappointment. They cannot feel good about themselves unless they poison the relationship with belittling or criticizing me. That have to feel one-up all the time.

They were physically abusive and emotionally abusive. They all slapped me in the face, hit, whipped, shook me, or pinned me to the wall, except the middle sister (who is also older than me). According to them I deserved it, because I was horrible or a brat, etc.

I have a scar on my chin and I was told by my eldest sister that my father hit me when I was a toddler and it split my chin open. They had to rush me to a hospital. She also told me that I wasn't wanted as a baby and child. She said that my father didn't want another child and so he apparently was abusive to our mother while she was pregnant, because he resented her being pregnant with me. Later, when I asked my mother about the situation her response was to say that my eldest sister was the one who didn't want me around. She said that she didn't want me. Can you imagine how hurtful it was to hear all of this.

Another time when I was just a kid (maybe 5 or 6), I put a pill up my nose (kids do silly things). My father told me to hold my nostril and blow to get it out and then he really thumped me in the head (which really hurt) and when I started to cry, all he did was laugh about it. Another time he was cruelly teasing me at the dinner table and my sisters and mother were present, I kept telling him to stop and he wouldn't. I started crying and left the table and all he said was that it was good sensitivity training. My mother didn't do anything. She never intervened while he bullied and abused me. My sisters just watched and learned from his expert instruction. They are emotional bullies.

The only person who didn't hit me was my middle sister (or I can't recall), but she let me take the heat for her and didn't speak up when I got punished for something that she did. The way she assaults is through her words and actions, but she doesn't assault me physically. She makes huge issues about gifts. Actually both of my sisters do. Apparently the eldest felt ripped off because she felt she was more generous financially giving me gifts, than I was with her. The other flew into a hissy fit because I didn't send a thank you note right away--I sent it within a month's time frame. Apparently she didn't either get it or she had a very rigid time frame (less than a month) or it was unacceptable. She sent letters loaded with sarcasm (her special brand of cruelty).

Dave, I can relate to what you said also about the sadness you felt as a child. You mother demonstrated a complete lack of empathy for you and once again turned it into all about her. Her focus was all about herself and still is. I experience my mother as similar, although as I got older I filled the role of being empathetic towards her, so she felt closer to me than my sisters, because I finally had a use for her--I was no longer the horrible toddler/child that she had to put up with. Now I could listen to all of her problems and be her therapist. I've found myself in this role with many women.

I think my mother-in-law may have had NPD or she was just a narcissist. My own mother I experienced as emotionally unavailable, and I think she did have a personality disorder, but I don't think her problem was NPD. She's been diagnosed with something else, which I may talk about at a later date. Well, I've written enough for today...

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello Everyone,

This restimulates so much for me (the dismissing of my feelings, dictating my reality and denial around issues) and I just recalled another incident involving my middle older sister. When I started therapy for the first time, after suffering a sexual assault/sexual harrassment ordeal on the job, and subsequent clinical depression, I revealed to her a childhood bullying incident involving another little girl who lived in the neighborhood before we moved there. This little girl was the neighborhood bully and quite the manipulator. I started a club and she and her younger sister were invited, and her response (I can only speculate that it was jealousy, because she wasn't number 1) was to make a card. On the outside there was a nice picture, but on the inside she wrote, "We Hate You", and it was signed by several other kids in the neighborhood. I had been sick and both her and her sister came to the door and gave it to me, and then waited for my reaction. They laughed. I don't recall my mother ever comforting me or doing anything about it, but I recall how I felt. After this girl and her sister moved, about a year later they returned and they rang our doorbell wanting me to come play with them and I declined. I recall remembering this incident and how it felt, and my sisters response was that she got very bogged down over a small trivial detail--the exact date--of when they moved, and then proceeded to dismiss the whole entire story and my feelings by wondering and suggesting that it was a dream. When I said it wasn't she wanted to argue about it. That stopped the conversation short. I was used to her always making sweeping generalizations and dimissing my feelings as a joke. She has always responded to anything I say in a very dismissive way, by judging, over-generalizing and by trying to dictate my reality. She once even responded to my expressing how I felt by saying that she experienced my feelings as "nebulous", and then proceeds to dismiss and minimize my feelings further by stating that I'm mentally ill, and that is why I react as I do, which she always judges as "too sensitive". I think their behavior extremely cruel and insensitive. I've always experienced them that way. And they wonder why the relationship has gone sour and why we are not close. Just how stupid are these people?

This is how my family behaves and it has always been a very consistent theme with them--label and judge my emotions as "too sensitive" or dimiss me as "over-reactive", they constantly minimize my feelings and dictate my reality. Once, my therapist asked me where was my mother when this happened and my response was to say that I didn't know. I don't recall my mother ever responding to me in a comforting way. She just minimized everything that I felt. I think she resented me and felt that I was just a lot of trouble. She even told me once that mothering was a hard job and that she didn't enjoy it. When I tried to discuss a situation involving my husband's friend's wife, who spent the entire time in my home unloading on me like I was her therapist (and she was completely focused on her issues, negativity and problems)they had stayed with us with their infant and 3 year-old-daghter, and the problems that occurred due to their visit, instead of my mother supporting me, she turned it all around to what a loser I was and focused on what a horrible brat I was. I think what set her off was that this woman's daughter was very poorly socialized and the mother was constantly hovering over her, and so when I tried to connect and interact with her little girl, she was unresponsive. I think the problem was due to the mother, and there were a lot of other problems due to this woman, but my own mother could not relate, or chose not too and it gave her another opportunity to talk about her resentment towards me. That is how I experience her.

As to why the first little girl responded to me the way she did, I can only speculate that she was jealous and angry and already had learned how to manipulate and bully others. It's sad that I didn't have anyone who could respond in an emotionally validating way. I was just a child. Even as an adult people are so self-absorbed that they cannot relate or make appropriate emotional connections.

Flower


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Flower,

I can relate to how your parents brushed off your emotions and reactions, mine did the same. This topic has come up alot, we all seem to have experieced this. It is both humiliating and confusing to not have your feelings validated in any way, especially when you are a kid. Yes, I am sure they all met our basic needs when we were babies, but past that stage, I can see some similarities in our situations. They all seemed to treat us as if we were adults at a very young age, and did not provide the nurturing we needed.

Your mother was abusive Flower. It is so wrong to talk to a child how your mother spoke to you. Harsh.

My dad was a bully. He would always joke, and wrestle around, but take it way too far. Both my parents gossiped endlessly, and mocked just about everything, were racists, even laughed about disabled people. I remember this insensitivity they showed from a very young age. They would call people in wheelchairs 'gimps'...stuff like that. I distinctly remember when they would make comments like that, it felt like a knife going through my chest. I felt so bad, and knew it was wrong. I felt sorry for those people, and didn't understand why they had to be treated badly.

My emotions were always brushed off, and I was very often accused of being too sensitive, over reacting etc. I hold deep resentment about that, and that treatment continued into my adulthood, right until the bitter end. That has been a major issue for me. It was a major roadblock in why we could not establish any sort of relationship. I will never fully understand it. They have no empathy whatsoever.

I was bullied, and unfortunatly I did my own share of bullying too. That hurt and guilt lasts for a long time. I think of how my parents really were not conscious that I was a 'child'. It almost seems as if they were oblivious to the fact that I was influenced by what they did around me. How could they be that unaware?

Childhood memories can be very painful to recall. But even though we were victims then, we are not victims today.

Sage


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Sage: You said "I was suicidal very young." I can so relate to that. I can remember as early as age 4 standing by the road and thinking that if I just ran out in front of a car it would all end. I was convinced that I must have done something terrible in a previous life to have been placed in the family I was born in this time round.

And this "To this day, they are adamant they did absolutely nothing wrong and did "the best they could". If I could point to one single thing that has set me free more than anything else it was the realization that my parents really did do the best that they could. They were horrible abusive parents but that's all they were capable of. That was the best they had to offer. It doesn't make it okay what they did to their kids but I've realized that they really did their best and I can't ask anymore of a person than that. Realizing that was when I could really let go of the anger, stop trying to get them to change, and turn around and walk away to start a life with no place for them in it.

And this: "it is common for these NPD parents to blatently favour one child over another. That one child becomes their idol" My mother clearly favored my oldest and youngest brothers especially the youngest and guess what? They are both dead now and the middle brother and I have nothing to do with her. She was fine with this until the youngest died and she called me and informed me that now it was up to me to take care of her. I don't think so! Unfortunately she has targeted younger brothers sons and has tried to groom them to take his place. She is now in the process of sucking the life out of them. I remember when I found out my youngest brother had died one of the first thoughts I had was that he had to die to get away from her! I won't let that happen to me. I've kept my child away from her too.

Dave: My parents were not even involved enough with me to have written a paper for school. I don't ever remember any help or concern; either I did the work or I got a failing grade and they didn't care. Education was not valued at all. Both parents dropped out in middle school and all 3 brothers dropped out. I was the only one to graduate high school and when I went on to complete college and graduate school it was deemed by them to be a "waste of time and money".

I do think my mother has some NPD traits but she also has quite a few Sadistic Personality Disorder traits. I've got to go run errands now (in a thunderstorm!) but I'll be back.
Rachel


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RE: Adults estranged from parents

Hello All,

Sage, "Thanks Dave for the understanding and I am sorry it made you sad!" Don't feel bad about this. We all write about some very sad things. I think it is healthy and helpful to feel sad about these things. I think it is part of the mourning process and will help us heal and grow.

Flower, "They were physically abusive and emotionally abusive. They all slapped me in the face, hit, whipped, shook me, or pinned me to the wall...". I'm glad you are getting some perspective on this and working on having a better life. No one should ever be treated like this.

Rachel, "And this "To this day, they are adamant they did absolutely nothing wrong and did "the best they could". If I could point to one single thing that has set me free more than anything else it was the realization that my parents really did do the best that they could. They were horrible abusive parents but that's all they were capable of. That was the best they had to offer. It doesn't make it okay what they did to their kids but I've realized that they really did their best and I can't ask anymore of a person than that. Realizing that was when I could really let go of the anger, stop trying to get them to change, and turn around and walk away to start a life with no place for them in it."

Thanks for saying this. I've never quite thought about it exactly this way. I've always heard them say that they did the best they could. Like some how that made it OK. I guess something I would have liked to say to them is, "Fine, that was your best, and it was a f-ing disaster. And since you don't have a clue how bad it was, or how awful it is having a relationship with you now, then adios, for good." Anyway, thanks for the insight.

"My parents were not even involved enough with me to have written a paper for school." I'm sorry they didn't care more. It sounds like you provided some of your own motivation get an education. I don't remember my parents caring much about school, when I was in Junior High or High School. I think this autobiography project got her attention, because I was only in 5th grade, and I was sitting at the kitchen table crying uncontrollably. I think she just wanted me to stop crying, and this was the easiest way she knew how to get me to stop.

That's all for now. Thanks again for all the support and understanding. You guys are great!

Peace,

Dave


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