Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Parents => Topic started by: Hepatica on September 14, 2020, 01:09:48 PM

Title: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 14, 2020, 01:09:48 PM
I finished reading: But It's Your Family yesterday and if you haven't read it, I think it's really good and worthwhile. I know I will revisit it as I struggle with the guilt that resurfaces around FOO and the backlash I get at times when I open up about my family from people who don't understand (although I am keeping quiet about it more and more bc people have judged me.)

Anyway, there was a part later in the book where the author describes a scene with a baby born to a mother who smoked, and how the baby begins life in nicotine withdrawal. I read this part again and again and began to feel this incredible grief (to the point of sobbing) as I imagined myself as a baby - who was actually born to a mom who smoked two packs a day - and who bragged about smoking during her pregnancy my whole life, saying she did it to have a smaller baby and an easier birth.

I have so much grief and rage about this part of my childhood experience and I really wish I could time travel back and rescue myself as a baby. My mother is not, and was not able to handle any discomfort and I can only imagine the screaming that took place (from her) when I as an infant who naturally cried (esp. at night) and how she dealt with being forced to take care of me. Later she said that I never cried as a toddler. She could sit me in a playpen and leave for hours and she'd come back and I was quiet and playing.

That breaks my heart. For myself. And for all of us who experienced this in our initial stage of being on this earth.

In terms of therapy, has anyone ever gone that far back? Does anyone have ideas on what kind of therapy would help with healing this time of life? I am still the same way. I can sit for hours and set my needs aside. I am so so so passive. What would next steps be for someone like me to begin living bigger? It's hard I know with Covid, but i hope that one day I won't just survive my terrible childhood, I  really hope I learn how to live and thrive.

Wonder what your thoughts are out there. Any book recommendations? Anything you do to heal the really young parts of ourselves?
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Psuedonym on September 14, 2020, 02:03:12 PM
Hey Hepatica,

This one is of real interest to me as well. uPD M (now deceased) had a decades long issue with Xanax/Valium/etc. After one of her hospitalizations for Xanax toxicity she claimed that she didn't even remember when she started taking Valium and my dad offered, "I do. It was when Pseudonym (holy shit I just saw my name's misspelled, ha!) was born, because you were so anxious'.  :blink: I heard many times about how she was 'nervous wreck' the first year or two (one time ominously adding 'but you don't remember that' as in, its okay because you don't remember that. She used to tell me repeatedly that ONE TIME I cried for 15 minutes and she was so upset that she had to call a neighbor over. Now I"m not a baby scientist, but my understanding is that babies actually cry quite frequently. I was also told how wonderful I was as a baby because I 'never cried'. Which again seems very questionable.

Richard Grannon has some excellent videos on this subject (will try to find them) which are great because he's also very funny, but I think the unfunny part of the situation is that when you don't get unconditional love/comfort when you are that young it has some serious effects on your sense of self. I actually don't remember a lot about my childhood, which is pretty common. I know that M never wanted kids, and then a friend of hers has a little girl she thought was awesome and thought 'I'll get one and then I'll have somebody to keep me company/cheer me up (literally said that)  :stars: I can only imagine what she was like based on how she handled any sort of stress, anxiety, mild frustration. My H says maybe its better I don't. I think acknowledging that it happened is a great first step and then learning how to take good care of yourself is the second. C-PTSD From Surviving to Thriving is a great one if you haven't read it.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 14, 2020, 02:21:40 PM
Psuedonym, I thought you were just making that name your own. I like it.

I can only hope, for all of us, that we are a lot more resilient than we can even understand, but they do say those first 6 years are so important. I think, for me, it gives me some clues as to why I have issues around my "voice" - meaning I'm scared to speak up for myself. Here I am in my fifties and I break out in cold sweats thinking about confrontation. Plus I think I learned to cope rather than live.

After I wrote the post, I could feel this heavy anxious ball of sadness in my chest, so I drank a glass of water. Cleaned, which soothes me, and then made a cup of tea and let myself watch Escape to the Country (my soothe of choice.) I realize that I have to go way, way, way back now and literally re-parent myself in a loving and compassionate way. I am really conscious of my inner voice and making sure it sounds like a good parent would.

I guess this is going to be a life-long healing process. But at least I know what I'm dealing with now and at least there are others to share this with here, because feeling alone with it was so hard. I wish there were support groups for childhood trauma - in person. But generally just AA and ALAnon where I am located.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Spring Butterfly on September 14, 2020, 03:21:49 PM
Heartbreaking and especially heartbreaking that there's probably so many here that could relate including myself. Not during pregnancy but uPDm is famous for telling stories she thinks is hilarious about my childhood. Some of them truly break my heart.

Regarding your question on healing there are different inner child healing exercises you can try. One that I tried had to do with using your dominant writing hand as your voice and your non-dominant hand has your child voice. There are other methods for inner child work. I think Pete Walker might have something on his website too. There may be some stuff on our sister site out of the storm if I remember correctly.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 14, 2020, 03:23:33 PM
There are very similar things from my infancy/childhood. I was also either "the baby who never cried" or "an all-consuming, needy monster child" depending on what fit my mom's narrative at that moment. I haven't tried deliberately to go back that far in therapy, and I haven't done too well with inner child meditation because honestly, my memory of childhood is incredibly spotty, even long past that age.

But I will say that the most successful inner child meditation I ever did was connected to this. I realized that I have one really strong memory of my mother holding my head up while she washed my hair in the tub, the rest of me floating. I must have been tiny at the time. And this was a repeated thing. Whatever she was thinking on the inside (and I do wonder), she was always gentle with me then.

So in my meditation, I walked into the bathroom as an adult and told my mom "I've got this; you can rest." I cradled my own little-self's head in my hands, washed her hair gently, and then bundled her up in a towel, dried her off, and got her ready for bed. Then she sat on my lap and leaned against my shoulder while I told her that she was a good kid, that our mom has some big problems that aren't our fault, and that it wouldn't always be like this. I told her that some day, her life would be full of uncomplicated love. She fell asleep on my shoulder, and the meditation ended.

This is a bit of a tangent, and I hope it's okay. I've just been thinking a lot about that stage of life too, lately.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Spring Butterfly on September 14, 2020, 03:31:55 PM
That's beautiful
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 14, 2020, 03:50:34 PM
MamaDryad  That is absolutely beautiful what you wrote. Tears over here. Good tears. I love how you told your inner child that someday 'her life would be full of uncomplicated love.' Honestly, that phrase has touched the little one inside of me today adding hope and beauty to my day. Thank you.

Thank you Spring Butterfly as well. I will check out those resources. Interesting about the dominant and non-dominant hand. And I agree, much of this is heartbreaking. I think that's why it's difficult to go that far back, into infancy, bc we can't imagine such a sweet, vulnerable baby in the realm of such inept and often cruel people. It does hurt my heart. But all feelings must be examined and I am loving the lovely healing visualizations we can do to reach these parts of our selves.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 14, 2020, 05:40:47 PM
Mamadryad that was so touching.

I had the amazing experience of working with a trauma informed T to actually change and replace memories using similar visualization techniques.

The mind is like a computer....every time we take out a memory its6like opening a program.  We change memories every time we pull them up.  We can work through them, change them, create the outcome we want, and replace the old memory completely, which is life changing, IME.

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 14, 2020, 07:04:30 PM
I'm glad it resonated with people. Every other time I've tried any kind of inner child visualization, it's fallen really flat, felt like I was going through the motions. I'm not sure why this one tapped into something.

My therapist did point out that it was interesting that even in my inner child meditation, I had to begin by taking care of my mother.

I always feel really silly talking to myself, but it helps. And really, things got to a point a few years ago where I decided that I was in enough pain to try anything, no matter how corny it might seem.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 15, 2020, 12:29:32 AM

One of the first emdr sessions I had with my T.....
I could choose how to change the events I wanted to work on.

I chose to step in, as an adult, and help my mother parent. 

I could have sent a Super Hero or visualized my mother parenting any way I chose.....anything.

I chose to help her....bc it seemed right and good to do so.  It comforted me to help her, and my younger self and siblings. 

Do you mind sharing the high points if the session you're referring to, MD?
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: SparkStillLit on September 15, 2020, 12:32:03 AM
My nmum overwrites my childhood, but I'm fairly sure it's untrue. She did it just to try to make me feel like a bad parent. DD was my first, and she was demanding. I didn't know what she wanted, or how to help soothe. I tried everything I could think of. I temember asking my mom for ideas, and she would akways say things like, "ohhhh, you guys NEVER cried. You were VERY HAPPY children. I gave you ONLY ORGANIC food and you played OUTSIDE in the SUNSHINE and FRESH AIR and..."
"Ok mom, great, gotta go, got something organic on the stove...."
It was a nightmare. I'm sure we cried as much as any kid, all that notwithstanding. And BESIDES, I think I might have been a little bit challenging. Of course, I'll never KNOW. And instead of trying to figure it out, she might have been mean. I have memory of her being very slappy and worse.
All I did was cry and stir things on the stove with a screaming kid slanted away on my hip. Or cry and walk out in nowhere with same screamer. I did finally teach screamer baby sign language, and that reduced some frustration so she could communicate. She wasn't even a year. I had to do SOMETHING. Didn't want to be like my mum.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Call Me Cordelia on September 15, 2020, 12:36:30 AM
My MIL tells the same story, about how her children never fussed about anything and never cried. Their childhood was idyllic in every way.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 15, 2020, 01:15:03 AM
I wish I remembered clearly enough to convey it, Hhaw. My sessions are kind of a blur lately; I don't do great with video calls. I know they're helping me, if only because I can put things that come up during the week in the "I'll deal with it in therapy" box, but it's not nearly the same as in person.

I just do talk therapy with an emphasis on CBT. I'm a bit afraid to try EMDR; I have learned some things recently about my family that make me really reluctant to potentially un-repress anything. I'm just not ready.

SparkStillLit, my mother did that about pregnancy. I'm married to a woman, so obviously it was not a seamless process, and my mother never missed an opportunity to remind me how effortlessly she conceived me as soon as she wanted to and how disappointed my dad was that they didn't have to "try" longer (something she's been telling me since I was too young to understand what it meant -- blech). Her refrain for my entire pregnancy was "oh, we never worried about things like that." Unfortunately, I was still deep in the FOG and sharing way too many of my struggles and anxieties with her.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: SparkStillLit on September 15, 2020, 10:36:14 AM
Oh my STARS Mamadryad! Well hey, they just don't even let up! My second conception was not easy and required a bit of medical intervention. Just a little. I cannot even SAY the levels of absolute BS flown my way about that."It will happen when you aren't trying" "just relax about it" omg this is TWO YEARS ON. It's "had a chance to happen", I'm pretty sure we know how this works biologically? Already have one? Then my body wasn't that keen on hanging on to the pregnancy (more nonsense and bullshit) and DS was fairly premature (the most nonsense and bullshit ever). He was perfectly A OK as was I. Not even NICU. But it always and forever has to be All About Them and Their Glitter Shitting Unicorns Experience in The Glitter Forest of Perfection.
To her, I had absolutely fallen on my face in shit as a parent. UNacceptable!!
That's why she rewrote it. If it matches the experience of Perfect Family (my step sibs), it's a little bit more ok.
Annnnnyway, I really digress.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 15, 2020, 11:16:59 AM
I have never done EMDR or even CBT - just quite a lot of talk therapy, one on one. The last therapist was trauma based but I cannot figure out why I never felt quite bonded with her.  She was really a nice person, but I.. I don't know...

My issue currently is (probably a world issue) meaning feeling like I want to move from surviving to thriving. I feel like group therapy is the only thing that might help me work on my trust issues. I have become reclusive. I do have a few girl friends and my husband, but I wish to heal some of the trauma around group involvement. Anyway.

I think for me, it has just been incredibly eye opening that I have never spent time looking very very closely at the first year of my life. Last night I did some meditation similar to what how you described MamaDryad - and I felt that was very comforting. I'm grateful to read things that have worked for people here - to move me into a more courageous level so that I can engage a bit more with the outside world. (But Covid, of course doesn't help right now.)  :doh:
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 15, 2020, 12:48:46 PM
Hepatica, I'm so glad you found the meditation useful!

It can be so hard to find a therapist who is a good match. I really miss groups-- I've never done group therapy per se, but I was coming up on a year of attending ACoA meetings when everything shut down, and I really miss it. I found it incredibly healing to hear other people's stories, and I also struggle with group dynamics, so it felt like very productive, difficult work.

And wow, yeah, Covid sure doesn't help. Everyone I know is struggling, and folks with chronic pain and/or trauma are struggling even more than usual. No one I know is their best self right now. It's just all so much. All we can do is try to give ourselves some grace. I keep telling myself that it won't always be exactly like this. It might not be better, but it will be different.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 15, 2020, 02:06:27 PM
Thanks MamaDryad.
I think ACoA is amazing. I attended a few years ago even though neither of my parents are drinkers or drug users. My therapist said it was ok bc I suspected my grandfather was an alcoholic based on some of my mother's stories. I really got a lot out of the gentle support and watching the care that goes on between the members. Very moving. I just kind of felt like I was not supposed to be there bc I didn't have a parental or partner with an alcohol addiction. (My parents addictions are gambling and hoarding.) So I felt a bit odd and to be honest, I need to reflect on that bc nobody there, when I explained did anything but welcome me warmly. I think I'll revisit this when Covid restrictions lift (if.)

In the meantime I am wondering what brings people joy and passion these days, since our worlds are so much smaller and esp. for those in retirement who have time on their hands like i do. (I retired early.) I find joy in baking and writing and reading. I live in a small city and I am trying really hard to decide whether to move to a house in the country, with land, to follow this dream I have of having a huge garden project. (My plot of land here currently is tiny.) Big decisions to be made, but it all comes down to, 'do I give myself the dream I have always wished' or do I stay safe and live small in the city?
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 15, 2020, 03:20:36 PM
The meetings I attended were very explicit about being for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families, and there were grandchildren of alcoholics as well as people whose families didn't have substance use issues at all. Also, I think any addiction, chemical or otherwise, is going to warp the fabric of a family in similar ways. I think it's a great idea to reflect on where that judgement is coming from, and to give the meetings another try.

I'm in a very different phase of my life from you: I'm full-time parenting a four-year-old, and now homeschooling him, in a 2-bedroom city apartment with my wife working in our living room. It's a lot; there's not much time OR space for me to feel like a person. I got the virus early on, in the first wave for NYC, and I've had lingering respiratory symptoms that make taking long walks with the kiddo (my usual coping strategy) more difficult. So for me, keeping my mind healthy right now is all about trying to take joy in the little stuff, making a conscious decision to relax and enjoy my son's beautiful weirdness in the way my mother never could with me. I daydream about moving somewhere we could have outdoor space— even a balcony would be life-changing— but I want to raise him amid the diversity and complexity of our city, which is the only home I've ever known. There is a safety factor, as well, since we're a LGBTQ+ family, and I want him to know other families that look like his. I do take a little time each day to meditate and to write my 750 words, and that helps. Also baking bread, which feels like a little bit of wholesome, useful magic.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 15, 2020, 03:35:16 PM
My experience with Ts is....
the ones doing their own work are capable of putting their ego aside while working with clients.  My T does yoga, goes on silent retreats and shares links and sites that are timely and help integrate lessons.

She never pressures me and always backs off and finds another path to help me get take new information on board.

I feel super lucky to have found her. 

A friend did some very dark childhood trauma work with an EMDR T utilizing a light.  She moved through it super quickly....it was a goid pairing for them.

My T uses her fingers, back and Firth very quickly I follow with my eyes. 

On Zoom calls I focus on points on the wall....at eye level.  The T moves her fingers and I can see her and the points on the wall.

The EMDR is helpful, bc it facilitates right and left brain hemisphere  integration, as I understand it.

Because our brains shut down access to the frontal cortex it's difficult to move traumatic experiences into our processing center and deal with it so it can be moved into historic files. 

By engaging the brain through EMDR we have access to logic, reason, creativity and problem solving skills to help our brains get past the trauma and emotional looping....as I understand it.

The EMDR is a piece of what my T does....Reiki and tapping and memory reconsolidation..... All amazingly helpful, IME. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you trust your T and feel very cared for and supported.  Sometimes, shockingly,  just looking into my T's warm compassionate eyes brings me to tears.  Mirroring is an important part of therapy too.

In the beginning we'd identify an issue in one appointment, then actively work on the issue in the next appointment on a weekly basis.

We're going longer between appts now, and I feel so much better.  Everything we work on lasts. 

What a lucky little chap your son is.  To be embraced as he is and celebrated by parents who are stable enough to drop judgment and accept him for who he is.  Lovely.

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 15, 2020, 04:31:31 PM
hhaw Thank you for such great description of EMDR. I have heard only good things about it. I went for many years, when I lived in Vancouver, to see a Jungian therapist. She saved my life back then and much of it had to do with the warmth of her expression when I explained things to her. (I had probably never ever been looked at like that.) I still keep in touch with her and she is one of those people that I will remember for as long as i live. Since i've moved I have sought so many other therapists and I think I was spoiled by my former, bc I have yet to find a good fit. I esp. don't like when they tell you what to do like they know best. Have had far too many tries with ones like that. One in particular would say "Just go no contact with your parents." Of course, that was the right advice, but at the time I had no idea that that was even a thing. It isn't really a matter of fact choice like that. For me it has been a process of shaking off the FOG and she also did not give me any forewarning as to how the entire FOO would eat me alive.

Mamadryad I think I know what you mean by the safety factor re: urban vs rural living. I get a little agitated at times when I go beyond our city, as my husband is Latino and our son looks just like him and there is more judging that goes on in the rural communities. I feel safer in the city where I live. It's a big university town and much more multicultural and open. I raised my son in a small two-bedroom house downtown in the city and I've loved having that physical closeness. I think it made a difference in terms of intimacy as a family. I really think that. Big houses seem lonely to me in some ways. And you're so fortunate to have NYC to roam. I wish!!! :) Yes, about baking bread. I've been doing it too. It is the best. That must have been so scary having Covid. I was tested in April for it - had flu symptoms - came back negative, but I've been really fatigued ever since and wonder if it was a false negative.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 15, 2020, 05:01:47 PM

It feels like your first T had control of her ego.....
The other Ts, you didn't click with....
did not have egos in check, IME.

I experienced wrong fits in T, then found a good one last year.....such a relief!

If you understand what works for you, it's helpful to interview Ts till you achieve a similar fit, IME.  I didn't know what I was looking for, unfortunately.

skipping wrong Ts is skipping frustration for me AND Ts who can't help me bc they haven't been able to help themselves.

No animosity....just clear vision and acceptance of what's true for me.  That T might fit with others....doubtful, just not for me.

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 15, 2020, 06:14:51 PM
hhaw - I totally agree with you. Yes. That T's ego was completely set aside. Her focus was on me and she seemed to know I had not experienced enough compassion and empathy so she modelled that. I too have moved on from T's quickly when I felt they were working with their own ego guiding them. You can feel that. The last therapist I had was quite good. It was not a bad fit, but she seemed almost too passive. Goldilocks over here... I don't know that we have many more therapists where I am. haha!
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: MamaDryad on September 16, 2020, 12:36:53 AM
My therapist is pretty much the opposite of what I pictured when I imagined starting therapy: he's male and younger than I am. I was wary. But he seems to get me. He doesn't offer unsolicited advice at all, but when I ask him to weigh in, he always has something to offer. He does sometimes ask me how I would rephrase the thing I just said with less self-judgement, which I actually find really helpful.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: freedom77 on September 16, 2020, 10:00:24 AM
I can relate to your stories of early childhood/infancy trauma and neglect. They say we don't remember that far back, before age 4-5 years, but I disagree. I can remember stuff quite clearly from early ages. I too was told I was the "good baby", that I "never cried or needed much", that BPD/N mother could "take me anywhere and I was always good".

I don't know....FOO relatives have told me I cried plenty, and that mother would drop me off like an unwanted cat in a sack when she was having one of her "breakdowns". I've been told that my mother, who worked at a gas station evening shift during my 1st year, would leave me alone in my crib in a dark bedroom the entire time. Hungry, cold, and wet. My two siblings who were under 8 years old, in charge of me. They said they would turn the TV up loud to block out my cries, or go outside and ride bikes.

I haven't been formally diagnosed with any disorders. I really do need to get into therapy, and plan to at some point when other stuff calms down. I feel like I have the spectrum disorder, reactive attachment disorder, lower end of the spectrum. As a child, and even now, I find I am very passive and unattached. The only person I feel a tied connection to is my DD. I never married, have no best friend, and am rarely upset when people come and go as they often do. If we're friends now, great, if you leave tomorrow and we never speak again, that's okay too. Someone else will come along.

I find I'm a loner, and really require alone time, quiet time, or else I get exhausted and irritable. I do not trust easily, and always consider how to look out for myself, because I have zero expectations of anyone else doing it for me.

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 16, 2020, 11:03:20 AM
Freedom77, thank you for sharing that. I am sending you lots of love.

Even if we don't remember anything from the earliest years, our little forms are like sponges, incredibly intelligent and all of the wiring in our brains are forming - to be pruned later at around age 10. So when we hear loud noises, yelling, fighting, or are not responded to when we cry, we may be small but we adapt to that, for good or not so good. I am pretty certain that my little baby self heard all of the screaming fights in my family and that is linked to the massive startle reflex I have now and the ever running anxiety I feel - which is the CPTSD.

I can really relate to what you said about being passive and being ok with being alone. That is me exactly. The few friends I have say they worry about me bc I spend so much time alone. But when I was a baby and toddler I was left alone. I learned to live with it and didn't know anything different. And then, when the family did enter my realm they screamed and yelled so having them there probably didn't feel great and these were my first associations. I feel so bad for my baby self and I want to work on healing those early years if that is possible.

I love some examples of the visualizations given above. I think our baby selves need a lot of tenderness.

Thank you for sharing. I wish you hadn't gone through that, and me as well, but at least there is hope in a better understanding. So many books out there now and therapist who do fantastic work. Good luck to you.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: SparkStillLit on September 16, 2020, 11:21:15 AM
This is all so interesting. I wasn't left alone, I was constantly handled in whatever manner was wanted without any regard for my desires or wishes. Like I wasn't a person in my own right at all. I was also slapped and struck harder than that and with objects, for various transgressions.
I am touch-averse. Loathe it. Don't like people in my "space", which is huge. I love social distancing and think we should keep it forever. 6 feet is PERFECT.
Parenting was especially difficult because I'm easily "touched out" by a clingy child. Also DS used to run his hands back and forth lightly on my skin, over and over; it physically hurts me. I was finally able to get him to stop it entirely once I could communicate, and he could understand, that it hurt.
I maybe need work, too.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 16, 2020, 11:41:29 AM
SparkStillLit - totally makes sense. I was thinking about that sort of parenting style as well, the infant/baby/toddler that is constantly handled. Both types of parenting, the under and over style, fits the signs of disordered parent, in that they are not intuiting or caring for the needs of the baby at all, they are thinking only of themselves. Selfish parenting.

I too have difficulty with touch or having someone too close to me. I feel like a feral cat at times. I've gotten better though. But for me it was either being neglected or being slapped - which happened later, at least I hope I wasn't slapped when I was a baby. With my irritable father it wouldn't surprise me now, sadly.

I have difficulty with touch with my son too. I have to force myself to hug. I have to force myself to sit at a dinner table, bc most of the family violence in my childhood happened during dinner for some reason.

We all need work, but at least we care enough about ourselves to be reflective and move ourselves Out of the FOG to work toward healing. That's amazing I think, esp. a gift for our kids.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 16, 2020, 02:38:04 PM
Becoming aware is the first step to mindfully making the changes we desire for ourselves.

We can rewire our brains.  We can heal our nervous systems and restore homeostasis. Neuroplasticity means our brains can heal and change. This is science.  This is truth.

We were born perfect.  The tapes and voices installed in our brains by others can be identified  and removed.

We're all capable of remembering who we were before we were told stories about ourselves.  It's always us and with us...that truth.  We just have to remember, and goid Rd do that, IME.

We tease out the trauma and truth.  We shift our belief system and THAT becomes our new default setting, IME.

It's difficult to imagine the relief.....
but it started with feeling better for me, which was all I thought I wanted.  Just to feel some relief.

Layers of dread and anxiety dropping away permanently.  An amazing. thing I woke up feeling one morning.  It just happened when I was asleep....I guess.  Then unexpected joy, which can be cultivated,  showed up during a meditation practice in therapy.  I couldn't wipe the smile off my face, I was so surprised at that.

I'd like to add....choosing a T with Buddhist leanings was, for me, super helpful.  II think bc Ts on that path tend to be working on their own healing journey.....they.can remove their ego from the T/ patient equation.  They also drop expectation and get very curious WITH us.....and that's an amazing space to be held....and that's how secure attachment happened FOR me.

A well trained, super informed trauma T will have MANY avenues of showing us information without telling us what we must do, feel, say, etc.  IME, of course; )

 There will be some resistance.

There will be painful backsliding and doubt.

There will be guilt over failures and forgetting, but...
those moments are the field where we  harvest unexpected fruits and flowers...if we ficus, however imperfectly at first, and keep practicing as we can.  Our nervous systems calm down. 

We learn and begin internalizing practices, like breathing, being super kind to ourselves, dropping judgment, ACCEPTANCE, shifting into Observer mode and learning how to mindfully engage our parasympathetic nervous system ( PNS).... responsible for shutting off our fight or flight response.

Which makes it possible to BE present in the moment....so we don't feel chased and bedeviled any more. 

Feeling safe wires into our brains and we learn how to consistently forgive ourselves for performing these practices imperfectly.....then return to the practice.  Over and over, getting better at forgiving ourselves and being kind, IME.

The first time I really failed to focus and get something I felt was a gain in T......( really I was stuck in fight or flight)
I left that appointment mumbling to myself.  Upset at my MIL....specifically....
unable to get out of my typical reactivity and anger towards her for harming my children....
SEE anything else.....I felt I'd wasted an hour trying to forgive her...,wasted that precious T hour and could not GET to forgiveness.  I was kicking rocks and eating bologna samuches,,I was.

After driving angry for 20 minutes I came to a stop sign at a busy road.....looking left, right, left, right and all the sudden my lungs felt like they were fluttering upward....like blinds in the breeze.....and I got very still, bc...WTH just happened, and.....

I noticed....
All the emotional charge around my MI was gone.
Poor.  Just....
not there anymore.   

I'd worked to achieve this result around other traumas in T sessions, and it was a process.  THIS was new and kind if shocking.

The reactivity had passed....my brain apparently managed to bring more frontal cortex centers online through the eye movement left right left.  That small thing created the chance for processing that trauma and all the really harmful emotions looping it, as default.

I realized, or could finally SEE the lesson my T tried to share in her office....that I could
SEE, bc I couldn't calm myself down, which happened in T sometimes.

T wasn't asking me to forgive or forget what mil did to my children
 and me
and also to her own  son, my ASPD N late husband.

T was trying to help me get out of the hell that was old trauma overwhelming my brain, hijacking my biochemistry and robbing me if choice, the ability to respond and be responsive to loved ones and the world.

T invited me to release myself from eternal angry emotional looping s to restore choice and options.

T explained this isn't difficult.  It's easy.  It happens in a millisecond if we just give our brains

Our brains process information efficiently every second of the day, but for the difficult emotions attached to trauma.  Sometimes my T asked me to push on doirframes with all my might when I couldn't shift into breathing calmly, bc I was back IN the trauma, emotionally....sge said it felt akin to feeling  chased by a tiger.  The body believed it was in danger and released all the chemicals to survive that threat.  Our amygdala shuts down communication to our frontal cortex....think in terms of maybe perceiving tiger stripes in the dark jungle.  Survival brain ACTS...moves us away reflexively.  Frontal cortex /logical brain wants to look more closely and see the stripes, which isn't helpful if there's a real tiger, kwim?

Calming the brain down, integrating the whole brain and all its liguc/ reason/ creative problem solving AND revisiting the trauma while feeling safe IS, for me, the recipe for processing old trauma and filing it where it should be....in historic files.  Out if my body, where it kept popping up, asking for attention, over and over, till I figured out how to find someone to teach me how.

And dropping judgment and expectation was necessary.

Treating myself as I would a wounded child....perceicving the difficult, angry, broken hearted emotions AS my younger self....

And, as always, sitting at that stop sign wondering what just happened with all the fluttering.... Iwondered if that reactivity around my MIL was gone for good.

I have to say....every big leap of healing has been permanent.  My brain goes to creative wise places I forgot existed, bc my brain was still face to face with old trauma, doing battle, hyper vigilent....honestly I reflexively put my fists up when going up stairs or turning corners.  When I opened the front door I expected to see burning cars, zombies and chaos

That was my brain licked in fight or flight....it believed I was still face to face with all the trauma Id ever faced...,and my biology had been hijacked.....my defaults were reset.....my brain was too stressed to feel safe and move the trauma into my brain's processing center and do what it does best...

Once we help our brains calm down....feel safe....find the places in our bodies where the stress and trauma live....tend to it like we're tending to a child....with kindness, curiosity and zero expectation....we enable the brain to escape the alarms and perceived crisis....and it processes that trauma.

Some people don't need or want  to understand why or how this works.

 I did.
My T explains everything on different levels so lessons build on each other. 

I can worry worry worry as my primary coping strategy OR...
I can do everything I can, put the story on the shelf and go back to what's in front of me....which turned out to be joy.  Hard to believe, but there I was...
experiencing it.  And very shocked about it too.

When T explained my nose was stuck on a Pebble....explained I could invite spaciousness and see the entire field...,so THE Pebble became just another Pebble in the field...,I understood.


I was changing my perspective, adding spaciousness around the pain in my body..... to my entire being....I was expanding my window if resilience....making moments  before reacting possible so I had choice and freedom to respond....again.

Buddhism isn't woo woo, IME.  I learned a bit in martial arts so the concepts gratefully flowed.

  It's.growth and ability and access to emotional freedom, IME.  Not that I became aBuddhist.  It's more of a resource..  More part of a lesson plan that includes many different lessons and strategies and truths about how our brains and bodies work.  How both require tending, and may be sustained through practices that happen to be Buddhist practices among others.....tied into neuroscience.....one may choose how to  maintain oneself.

I couldn't see that and certainly couldn't feel that truth a year ago.

I smile at it now.

I tapped this out on my phone, one fingered, bc sharing my lessons helps me learn.

Because I so anyone, who might benefit, has the option to consider it without the resentment I felt about meditation when I tried 11 years ago, but couldn't for many reasons I understand now.

It's said, when the student is ready, the teacher appears.  I think that's how it was for me: )

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Boat Babe on September 16, 2020, 08:03:41 PM
Hhaw, my learning over the past two years, necessitated by yet another relationship with a disordered person, has led me to the same conclusion. 

Some of my teachers have been Gabor Mate, Kristin Neff, Pema Chodren and Alice Miller, among others.

Thanks to everyone for their contributions here.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 16, 2020, 08:34:29 PM
I've also found help in Kristen Neff and Pema Chodrin. I have done 2 six week meditation retreats here in self-compassion. This has really transformed my thinking and I am much more kind to myself than I was before.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Seven on September 17, 2020, 10:17:10 AM
This hit home too.  I remember clear as crystal back when I was 3 or 4 (back in the mid-1970s) I was taking swim lessons at the YMCA because uNPDm was afraid of water and she swore her kids would never be.  I even remember my swim instructors name.  I could tell you where she lived. Anyway, during one of these lessons uNPDm had to leave. I don’t Know what for.  She told me “I’ll be back for you”.  So when the lesson was over I recall sitting on a bench by myself and a lady (not my instructor) came up to me and said “are you by yourself?” And I could tell she was a little freaked out. I said proudly and without hesitation “don’t worry, my mom will be back for me”.  I mean, I was swimming, kickboards and styrofoam floaties  attached to my back. I was in heaven. By the time I was 5 I got my ankle band at our local swim club so I could go off the diving boards and swim in the Olympic pool without an adult.

And years later my mom would brag about it. “I left Seven alone at the Y and she was still there when I got back”. I guess she thought it was great because I wasn’t crying for her.  That she could just leave me and I’d be fine by myself.

I use to chalk it up to “the times” when you could let your kid go off by themselves and not worry about them being kidnapped.  But looking back, it’s not okay that she left me.

Man, now this just woke up another memory for me.  I use to say all the time when I was a single-digit kid that I would “play with myself”. Of course this got corrected to “playing by myself”, but it just goes to show that even with a large family I was alone a lot. Brothers and sisters off at school, Dad at work, and mom running a household of 9 people. I was by myself a lot. I guess that’s why when family gets together, I go (see my elderly parents post). 

The most recent brag is that when she found out she was pregnant with me she “cried and cried because she thought she was going to finally have a life after Bro6.”  Everyone is in school (or in college) and she could finally get on with her life, whatever that consisted of.  And that my grandmother (who died when I was 4) replied “how do you think I felt with you?” (UNPDm was also #7). Well, evidently mom didn’t like that comment from her mother very much, so I guess she had to pass it down to me. She didn’t just say this to me once.  The first time I could maybe find the humor in it.  But after the third time in a span of three months, her resentment finally shown through. Like it was a brag she didn’t choose to abort me and she sacrificed “her life” to have me.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 17, 2020, 11:03:05 AM
Seven, I was a child in the 1970's, and I don't know if it was geographically where I was from, or a sign of those times, but many of the parents in the neighbourhood I grew up in were exactly like the title of my post "Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents." Neglectful parenting seemed to be something to be proud of. We had one Mom on our street who was a healthy parent, who loved and cared about her kids and was protective of them, and she was made fun of by the clique of moms my mother befriended.

In other ways, it was an ideal childhood, compared to now, bc all of us kids ran around outside and played hide and go seek till dark in the summers. Lots of outdoor play. Fathers drove slowly on the street, and didn't yell if a hockey net was set out there. So we had what I've heard termed an "inside out childhood" meaning the good things happened outside because inside, behind closed doors, most of the parents were rageaholics (my mother) or alcoholics, so it was quite sad for he kids. The joy we felt outside was our freedom.

I feel for you about your Mother's comment about crying when she found out she was pregnant with you. How would a little kid be expected to take that? It's terrible to say something like that. The parents then seemed especially bad about imagining that their children even had feelings. And there we were taking everything they said in like sponges. I am not sure where the self-centred parenting style came from but I am relieved that it is shifting and people are beginning to learn and believe that little ones not only have deep feelings that last, they are affected for sometimes a lifetime by off hand comments people say about them.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on September 18, 2020, 12:29:53 AM

How were the retreats for you?  Did you love them?  Struggle?  Flourish?  We're they silent?
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Hepatica on September 18, 2020, 10:44:14 AM
Hi hhaw,

I did get a lot out of them but in a very quiet way if you know what I mean. I had a couple moments during them that were revelationary (made that up) but it was more later on, as I resumed regular life that I began to notice a shift in how I spoke to myself in my own head. Definitely kinder and slower, like I had learned to sit back and reflect rather than react, which was my former default mode. I like that all thoughts are allowed and not to be judged. That really helped me because I think before I had attacked myself for negative thoughts, kind of the way a parent might do when their child has a tantrum - very reactive and punishing, rather than reflective and calming. There's been lots of change there for sure. But it was like planting a seed that has grown over time. It didn't happen like an evangelical prayer meeting, or an aha moment that changed me immediately. It has been more gentle.

When Covid passes on I hope to continue doing more retreats like this. I also want to do some EMDR work.
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Fortuna on October 02, 2020, 04:51:12 PM
I understand this. While I remember almost nothing from early childhood, my parents used to tell the story of how I would put myself to bed under my crib. They thought it was a cute story, other parents laughed. They also made remarks like I practically raised myself, which alone speaks volumes in that they never never bothered seeing to my needs to the point I didn't even bother them with it and just did the darn thing myself. As an adult with children I have to wonder exactly how negligent they were to not notice their ONLY child had basic needs. Anyway, I've found these resources helpful:

Kris Godinez has some good videos in inner child work.
The Inner Child Workbook by Cathryn L. Taylor has several guided meditations and exercises to help go back to heal the infant self. (Working my way through it now)
Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: Jolie40 on October 03, 2020, 07:37:47 AM

yes, you could find a therapist to help you deal with this

research has shown that trauma/neglect can affect babies & surprisingly even before they are born

Title: Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
Post by: hhaw on October 03, 2020, 11:23:57 AM

That kind voice, in our head, is so important, IME.