Good evening, Dear Readers!
I’ve been thinking this afternoon & decided I’d share my thoughts with you. Seeing things in writing helps me clarify things in my mind anyway, & I’m hoping this post will help you as well.
As I mentioned, the last time I helped my parents out was a very difficult day. My narcissistic mother found a new way to degrade me that was so low, I don’t even want to discuss the details. She also knew I was in pain- while helping hubby use the log splitter the previous day, a good sized log landed on my left foot- yet she insisted I do at least 3 loads of laundry & make a couple of extra trips to & from their basement. Oh, & she also insisted on telling me all about the problems she has with her feet, interrupting me explaining what happened to my father.
Stupidly, I put up with it all too. Silently. I did set a boundary on the laundry as she wanted me to keep going, but for some reason, I tolerated the rest. I’ve been kicking myself since.
This is nothing but bullying behavior from my mother. It’s also nothing new to me. My mother has bullied me my entire life. A girl in junior high seemed to think it was her job to bully me from seventh through ninth grades. Another girl did the same briefly in seventh grade. Even my father in-law tried bullying me (like he has done to the rest of his family) occasionally during the first few years of my husband’s & my relationship. And, currently, someone who has been harassing me for the last year periodically uses bullying behavior as well.
Bullies don’t scare me at all, since I am so accustomed to them. I know they are nothing but immature cowards at heart who back down immediately once confronted. My mother is no exception. I’ve made her back down before when calling her out on her actions.
I also realized since that day at my parents’ home, I haven’t been myself at all. I’ve been withdrawn & depressed. My husband keeps asking what’s wrong, & I tell him I’m fine, refusing to show any emotions. I also tried to make him happy when he was in a foul mood yesterday rather than let him work it out on his own. Ridiculous! I know that my behavior is partly because I don’t want to hear his assessment of my situation, but there is more to it. I realized I have reverted back to my childish survival mechanisms.
Tolerating the bullying from my mother is what I knew to do as a child to avoid her anger, shaming me, disappointment, etc. It kept the peace. It’s also a reflex for me to do. I also know that showing any anger at her bullying will only feed her- the more hurt or anger I show my mother, the harder she tries to push every button I have, & the happier she is.
I also realized something else- I’ve been trying to make myself invisible (like I felt I was in childhood) by not bothering anyone with my feelings. WHY?! I asked God this because it makes no sense! Emotions are a part of everyone. God gave them to us, so how can they be bad? Immediately, He began to show me some things. I found it interesting because they reminded me of the dream I had recently where God showed me I need to move away from old ways of thinking. (see that post here: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2014/10/02/another-interesting-dream-to-share/ )
When I was in the eighth grade, there was an after school dance coming up. All of my friends were asking boys to the dance. I was uncomfortable with the thought of it, but since they were doing it, I figured I should too. At the end of a school day, I asked a boy who it turned out had been asked by several other girls. I was embarrassed, & later my mother saw me crying. She demanded to know what was wrong, & I didn’t want to tell her. Finally after her continued pushing, I did tell her. She told me no man would ever want me because I was so pushy & this was no big deal, stop crying. She acted like I was bothering her with petty problems by sharing this with her. I had always known it’s best to keep my emotions controlled, but this cemented that belief in my mind. I rarely showed any emotions to my mother again except when her abuse was exceptionally bad.
As an adult, there have been a few episodes with my husband where he too has shamed me for feeling certain things. For example, when we first got together, I learned he liked pancakes. I don’t, so I had no idea how to make them. I learned, but frankly, I stunk at it. I would get frustrated sometimes when trying & slam a kitchen cabinet door or something. He then would come into the room, say something like “tsk tsk.. soooo much anger,” then walk away, shaking his head. Also, when I got mad at his mother for her constant verbal abuse, snooping through my purse, criticizing my pets & family, he would tell me I had to understand her better or “be the bigger person” & ignore it. Basically, these behaviors of his showed me that something was wrong with me for having the feelings I did, & I shouldn’t bother him with those petty things. After years of this kind of behavior, it cemented in my mind that I need to keep my emotions from him as well.
Can you relate??
No one needs to tolerate bullying, but especially from their own mother! How ridiculous is that?! What kind of sick woman tries to hurt & intimidate her own child? A narcissist, that’s who. “Honor thy mother & father” does NOT mean tolerating abuse in any way, shape or form. There is nothing good or holy about that. How does anyone benefit from being mistreated or mistreating others? However, it is loving to put an end to such behaviors & making the abuser face uncomfortable consequences for her actions. God’s kind of love wants what is best for others, & that sometimes means confrontation or setting & enforcing boundaries.
And, if you too have been made to feel ashamed of your emotions or like you need to be invisible too, I am so sorry for what you are feeling! I know how miserable this is! You do not need to hide your emotions another moment. You have every right to feel them & process them however you need to. They are a part of you, a part of what makes you the unique person you are! Granted, it’s unwise to share your emotions with just anyone (such as narcissists or even plain old judgmental people), but there is nothing wrong with sharing your feelings with safe people.
As for me, I’m angry right now about this, & odd as it may sound, I think it’s a good thing. As the Bible says, be angry yet do not sin, so I won’t allow it to make me behave foolishly. I will, however, allow my anger to give me courage the next time I help my parents out. I will not allow my mother to bully me anymore, & I will set & enforce some strict boundaries. I also will not allow her to mock or invalidate me again either. If it comes down to it, I will walk out of her house. There is really nothing she can do to hurt me anymore.