Polar Opposites

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Hepatica

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Polar Opposites
« on: April 29, 2021, 10:16:29 AM »
Just wondering how it can be that two siblings can have nearly polar opposite views on their childhoods.

My sister (waify-sickly-self-focussed) who I am out of contact with now after she pressured me to keep involved with my toxic parents, speaks of our childhoods as if it was a fantastic experience.

I, on the other hand, remember day after day of yelling, slapping, hitting, denigrating. I remember one specific incident when my parents sat on a couch and severely abused my sister emotionally - as if they were two little kids picking on another kid at the playground, in kid voices, telling her she was crazy and needed to be put in a mental hospital.

But still my sister defends them and stays enmeshed. She does believe in the commandment honour thy father and mother and is very religious.

But she spins a story of a great family and I didn't see that. I feel like I'm a downer because I don't remember anything about my childhood with my uNPD parents that felt good or safe.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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blacksheep7

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2021, 12:25:17 PM »
Hi Hepatica,

I am in a similar situation with my sister, the last in line, the lost child.  I am an extrovert, she an introvert.  She
 was  approx 6 yrs old when the violence with NF started.  The eldest, gc  and I were beginning our teens.   After doing much research when I landed here, I began to understand that the impact was different for both of us.  Being very young with NF's  rages her reaction was different than mine, the brain/body had difficulty handling the Trauma and she shut down.  She was parentified by  NM which was absorbed as love.  Has had episodes of depersonalization which explained everything.  She has been on medication since her early twenties and did not continue therapy.
 I always wanted to be her protector feeling sorry for her, looking so fragile and helpless.  At one point in her early years of motherhood she kinda asked me if family was important for me, not just my friends. I had problems of my own (divorce) to work through.  Later in life when she had another episode and was on sick leave I had asked her what was wrong, she replied «what difference will it make?».

She is aware of our past but it's behind her.  She does her own lc when needed with NM who is a covert narc, got worse since NF died.   I was her emotional garbage can and later found out that she would repeat what I said to NM creating chaos.  She would ask me for support and when I gave it to her she ignored it. I slowly disengaged after my nc with gc & nm but her dd would say that she would ask about me cause we were close before.

I decided to write to her at the beginning of the year explaining my nc as I still care about her, not my brothers as much and that one day we would reunite.  She never answered me.   She suffered from crippling self-doubt.   I did most of the talking in our relationship. 

Unfortunately she is like M, closed minded and likes to remain in her comfort zone. Never dealt well with change.

I believe that it is a question of our personality and experiences.  I had more of a diverse life than her.

We sometimes believe what we want to believe to make our lives easier and less painful by ignorning the truth.  IMO
« Last Edit: April 29, 2021, 12:32:48 PM by blacksheep7 »
I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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Hazy111

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2021, 12:46:22 PM »
Me and my sister too and she was the "Bad child". Denial is the word, plus disassociation to painful events i believe and the deep suppressed dark thoughts that she maybe not be the person she thinks she is .

She once recalled how our mother locked her in her bedroom as a young child (using her dressing gown chord, she remembers these details )  til my my father came home from work. Told with no emotion completely dispassionately.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2021, 03:57:46 PM »
It’s also possible that the parents directly gaslight the children about how “wonderful” their childhood was, with wildly different degrees of success. When we are small we have to believe we have good parents, and only with maturity is coming OOTF even possible.

I’ve heard a LOT of spinning that narrative from my in-laws. At first I was really surprised by it. There was a sharp contrast between my husband and his sister’s everyday existence of a severely disconnected family, and the “special times” that took up all the stage. Two largely absent parents, keeping their children’s schedules packed with academics and activities, lots of TV and computer alone in their rooms when they were home. But they took lavish vacations and THAT is the picture they all talk about. The couple of weeks a year they went to some exotic locale and jam-packed it with sightseeing and photo-ops. The bragging about what a “special” childhood they were able to give DH always made me queasy. My DH remembers both, but the Narrative still has a disproportionate pull on his perception of his childhood, the way I see it. He used to think I was just jealous because my FOO despises travel. But now he wonders why they always had to go to other continents in order to “connect.” In our FOC we live nothing like that and still somehow like our kids. I think it was in large part doing his own growing up and experiencing a different approach that he judges to be more successful, despite his parents’ worries that our kids would be missing out on “essential” life experience, that the cognitive dissonance was able to break.

I think you’re on to something black sheep when you say you had a more DIVERSE life. Experience outside the FOO is eye-opening.

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blacksheep7

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2021, 04:50:26 PM »
It’s also possible that the parents directly gaslight the children about how “wonderful” their childhood was, with wildly different degrees of success. When we are small we have to believe we have good parents, and only with maturity is coming OOTF even possible.

I’ve heard a LOT of spinning that narrative from my in-laws. At first I was really surprised by it. There was a sharp contrast between my husband and his sister’s everyday existence of a severely disconnected family, and the “special times” that took up all the stage. Two largely absent parents, keeping their children’s schedules packed with academics and activities, lots of TV and computer alone in their rooms when they were home. But they took lavish vacations and THAT is the picture they all talk about. The couple of weeks a year they went to some exotic locale and jam-packed it with sightseeing and photo-ops. The bragging about what a “special” childhood they were able to give DH always made me queasy. My DH remembers both, but the Narrative still has a disproportionate pull on his perception of his childhood, the way I see it. He used to think I was just jealous because my FOO despises travel. But now he wonders why they always had to go to other continents in order to “connect.” In our FOC we live nothing like that and still somehow like our kids. I think it was in large part doing his own growing up and experiencing a different approach that he judges to be more successful, despite his parents’ worries that our kids would be missing out on “essential” life experience, that the cognitive dissonance was able to break.

I think you’re on to something black sheep when you say you had a more DIVERSE life. Experience outside the FOO is eye-opening.

Interesting.  Your inlaws probably took the trips to keep the kids happy, to show them what good parents they were as not every family has the money or opportunity to do so.  I've heard that narrative also.  My NM told my cousin that raging father made her miserable but that he took the kids (us)  to the beach nearly every year and that was because NF liked vacations!  :stars:


Two things: I agree that the parents gaslight as it is a trait of a narc and I believe it is coupled in being parentified.  When you are young you take the attention  for love.

My diverse life was Very eye opening having several partners in my lifetime because of always  chosing the wrong men having childhood problems themselves, repeating history. That is what made me see different personalites and  behaviors in men that were either abusive or plain manipulative. It took me a lifetime of  to understand. lol.
I traveled every chance I could because I liked to go to warmer weather.  I had many friends when I was working.
My sister on the other hand is still with her dh, she wouldn't do otherwise and never had friends really, only when she was in school.  Her dd said I was her only friend.

I'm sad for her in a way but then again she chose that life and she is happy by  being superficial, avoiding crowds and meaningful conversations.    She would rather believe NM than myself and hey, that's her business.

I may be the black sheep of the family, but some of the white sheep are not as white as they try to appear.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2021, 08:46:43 PM »
Quote
...but that he took the kids (us)  to the beach nearly every year and that was because NF liked vacations! 

 :yeahthat:

In my IL’s case it was because they liked vacations too. Now when they have adult children, it’s the child who lives abroad in exciting places and provides the cool photo-ops whom they make the time to visit. Not the family man in White Bread America. It’s really disproportionate, or was before we had to go NC. The actual relationships are low on the priority list, if they even registered at all in my opinion.

To return to the OP, it was very common between me and my siblings to have VASTLY different views of the same event or interaction. We even disagreed on our interpretations of events soon after they happened. We agreed we were both with so-and-so, but one of us said she seemed down and didn’t want to talk and the other said she was absolutely fine. Stuff like that. Some was more abusive, like, “I really enjoyed talking to so-and-so, she seemed interested in this thing I like too!” “She was clearly bored and just being polite.” So when I went NC, I was not at all surprised, although hurt, at receiving gaslighting from the siblings after a short time of so-called support.

I think this dynamic was enjoyed and egged on by my more covert uNM. She even called us “polar opposites.”

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Hepatica

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2021, 10:03:39 AM »
My parents, and sister, i think, very much believe that the family vacations we took once a year for a week are THE reason our family was a good family.

And I have to admit, i loved hanging out on the beach for a week of sun. But i was just as neglected and abused on those trips as I was at home, if not worse. I had to endure three days of being in a car where my parents chained smoked and my mother wouldn't crack a window bc she was afraid of bees flying in the car. I was then completely ignored when we got to the beach and I have two very distinct memories of nearly drowning and neither parent (or my sister - who was a lot older than me) had any idea that I nearly drowned. Once on the beach, where a wave crashed me down twice so hard I was stuck on the bottom and once in the pool, where a kid held me down. No parents anywhere supervising me and I had to be less than ten years old.

In other words, the holiday was for them to drink around the pool or at the bar. I was left alone and always made a friend with a kid on the beach to keep me company and in the evenings, my parents would go out, leave me in the hotel room with some fast food and the television.

My parents are lucky they didn't end up with a drowned, dead child. I don't know if they will ever realize how much they neglected me emotionally and physically.

And yet, my sister will endlessly say how great it was that our parents took us on holidays every year. That we were lucky to have that because most of the neighbours did not ever go on holiday.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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Ilove....

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2021, 11:16:29 AM »
I grew up with some hardships in the family home.

My parents took on traditional roles. My father went out, worked, earned a wage and brought it home to the family. My mother was a stay at home mom looking after the home and the children.

Somewhere along the way it all went wrong.   My father was an abusive alcoholic.  I remember a lot of instances when I was small where my father came home drunk and angry.   He was never usually angry at the me and my siblings but the drunk state was hard to witness.   He was always angry at our mother.  He forgot what his role was. Eventually the wage he earned that was supposed to be for the family was for himself and his love for alcohol and his mistress and his other women.   The family was forced into poverty because of him. 

Along the way, my mother had some issues too.  Not as much as him.  She got angry easily and that anger was directed at us as children.   

Me and my sister are polar opposites on all of this. 

My sister has a lot of resentment on her youth against our mother.  She doesn't have a bad word on our father who was usually absent a lot when we were small.  He caused so much damage with his alcoholism and cheating.  My sisters resentment and anger is at our mother, the parent who stayed. 

When me and my sister were on speaking terms together, we used to chat.  My sister believes my mother had a grand master plan to hold us back in life and implement obstacles so that we couldnt develop to our full potential - like with everything - socially and educationally.  Some of my sisters issues are not being allowed to go to dances and swim lessons in school.

I view things in a different way.   I think it was the result of many different factors.
1) my mother grew up in a country where the Catholic Church dominated and at a time where women were despised from the church and also on a societial level.
2) my parents were not suited together.  I view a lot as a result of the poverty we grew up in. Money being tight. Me and my sister started our periods when we were very young too.   It would have been a case where we would have missed out on a lot of swim lessons.  I think our mother made the right decision not allowing us to swim lessons. Another aspect is our father never touched our mother in an abusive way when the children were at home.  It could have been a case where our mother wanted some or all of the children home for safety.
3) my mother used to smack us but I don't carry that around with me.  I see it as a thing that was done at the time. It was allowed by society back then.  My mother wasn't the worst when it came smacking us.   I knew a family growing up who used broom handles on their children.

As teenagers there was a lot of stress in the family and fights and anger from our mother. Now that I am older I look back and I think I probably contributed but didn't know it at the time.   I don't have babies or children of my own but I do some babysitting for some families.   A trend I see from older siblings and teenagers in families is that they have a 'know it all' attitude on everything and they are overly critical and sarcastic and it's on everything.   From looking after their younger siblings to helping with chores.  It's all done from the comfort of their assets while they play their machines - computer/tablets/phones. 
Looking back on my youth, I think I had a similar attitude where I was overlt critical and sarcastic on many different topics.  It's a poor attitude.  It drives me up the walls where I think - 'come and do better yourself please'.
So I probably contributed to a lot of rows in my teenage years.

I think our mother tried to do her best under the circumstances.  It wasn't great but it wasn't bad either.  I refuse to carry stuff that is over 25/30/35 years old around with me especially stuff that I consider so trivial. We had the very same upbringing but we have two very different attitudes and outlooks on life. She could have turned a different way and choose to bury or stresses and problems under alcohol but she never did. Me and my sister we had the very same upbringing but we view it all differently. We have a different outlook and attitude to life.
 

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Ilove....

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Re: Polar Opposites
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2021, 01:03:21 PM »
I can think of another reason we are polar opposites on this.

There was a banking collapse in 2008 which resulted in recessions in many different countries from the USA to Europe.  That resulted in many hardships for people. I think many employers abused this situation with an attitude of 'you should feel lucky to have job' and many people were forced into overtime and unpaid overtime.

Today's generation of people are working harder and longer for less benefits of their parents and grandparents generation.   That was something I read about in an article online too.

I can remember so many incidents where I was genuinely overworked and underpaid.   I nearly have to wait for a day off just to sit down in front of a meal and even then there's usually someone to drag me away.  There were so many times when work was far too intense.

I'm not going to feel sorry for myself about the way I was raised by my parents decades ago when there's bigger stuff in this world to worry about.