Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Space Where My Picture Used to Be- healing and accepting parental rejection

This morning my husband mentioned something to me that set off one of my triggers. It's the trigger that is linked to a sad, desperate, despairing deep in my the pit of stomach. It doesn't matter what it was, because that's not really important. What is important is that something so seemingly mundane should not release in me such extreme emotions that I sit on the edge swinging my feet, and tossing pebbles curiously into the pit of despair for the rest of the day. I make no fuss. No one around me would likely guess that I feel this way. I have matured enough to know that my reaction to something so small is out of proportion to the situation. It's a quiet sadness that longs for reassurance.

I know where this pain comes from, and while it's understandable, there is no logic in getting upset over something I can't control.

A few weeks ago my grandfather, and his new wife came to take my two oldest to stay with them for a few days. I jumped at this opportunity, because neither my parents, or my husband's parents (except his father) do anything with my kids. They literally don't ever have the grandparent experience.  While they were there they visited my parents.

My daughter said that there was no evidence in their home that I even ever existed. All pictures of me have been removed
, and while I am mentioned it is only to blame me for various things that I haven't even been around them to do.  My mother took my very impressionable aspie child, and told him that it is all my fault she can't see them anymore, which isn't true. She has told so many people lies about me to get sympathy from others that I am literally disowned from my whole family. Not that they ever were terribly concerned about anyone but themselves to begin with, but nonetheless. I know that my mother has some sort of personality disorder. She picks a new person to hate about every decade, or so. That person becomes her target, and the reason why nothing is right in her life. My father goes with it, because arguing with her will make him that target, and he doesn't want that.

I honestly think there is no way to heal fully from this kind of pain. It's not the same as being adopted, or your parents dying. It's full on rejection. I am rejected from the people that are supposed to love me unconditionally, and the most. They don't care if I am alive, or dead. They deal with my children if they come to them, but otherwise not even a birthday card will come my kid's way. It really makes me stop, and second guess what kind of person that I am. Am I really that awful? What did I do to deserve this? I ask these questions, and the logical answers are no, and nothing, but my heart doesn't hear that, because it doesn't make sense to my inner child. My emotions don't operate off of the logic. I feel unworthy, and so when something comes along that pokes at that feeling I tend to react with painful emotions.

I know that this feeling will dissipate. I will feel better, but I really don't think I will ever feel whole. I don't think there is a way to get over that kind of grief. I often wonder what it would be like to have had that foundation of love, and care? I guess I will ever know.


  1. This is very powerful stuff. Painful too for me to read and know that you did and do deserve much better from your family.

  2. Now I understand even more what you mean from your comment that you left on my post. I could feel the tears well up and my heart break as I read your post. I know these feelings all too well. I have asked myself those same questions so many times while logically I know that I do not deserve to be treated in these ways, just as you do not deserve any of this either, it is hard.

    It is hard and painful. I think the only way that we may truly have any comprehension of that foundation of love is knowing that we are establishing it into our children. We are breaking the cycle and we can know what it is like because we see them grow, thrive, and they know that they are loved. It does not help my grief or pain within my inner child, but at least I know that they will never know this pain.

    1. Yes, you're right. We are breaking that cycle with our kids, so they will never know that kind of pain.

  3. It was hard to take, but I am glad your daughter was open with you about what happened. I would guess she didn't believe her grandmother. Instead of harboring it, she brought it out into the open so she could deal with it. She must have noticed that Grandmother makes no effort to contact her.

    A therapist, Dorothy, told me I had to learn not to expect support from those who are unable to give it. That sounds like what you are dealing with. I get hurt because my family gives support to each other but not to me. Julie said it's because I am dealing with issues they don't feel strong enough to cope with. They don't know what to do, so they do nothing. Sometimes I feel very alone, and my mother, who was incredibly generous and supportive, died 11 years ago. I have adopted my husband's mother as my own and she is incredible. Sometimes we just have to look for strength elsewhere.

    1. Yes, my daughter is pretty open with it. I think she harbors some pretty big resentment for my mother. She can't believe the way my mother treats me, and talks about me.

      I am attempting to find strength elsewhere, as well. Fortunately, my husband has a similar role in his family as I do, so it won't be his mother, or his family that fills that gap.

    2. I, too, am so sad to hear about the pain you felt and feel. Renee, below, says it so well about feeling empowered as you connect with others who have gone through similar relationships. I pray that your inner child may find some healing over time as you enter into the loving acceptance of your husband and child, and others, like us :)

  4. This is timely. After over a year of complete estrangement from my mother I did a search on google "how to cope with family estrangement"... It was eerie. I found a hundred books speaking to parents about how to deal with their difficult adult children. Can you believe it?!? I was shocked.

    It's empowering and also painful to live this way. I am choosing boundaries. Choosing to do better for my children. Choosing peace. Yet, as you said... the inner child longs for things it can't have.. and there is a perpetual moaning sadness, I don't think it can ever go away.

    Sorry, not uplifting, just commiserating. Feeling the exact same way. ((((hugs))))

    1. I am comforted by seeing others that I think are good people tell their similar stories. Not because I like to see other people suffer. It's because I can see that I see you as a decent, sane, good, kind, compassionate, successful person. I know that there isn't any reason why a logical mother would disown you, so that makes me think that maybe I am all those positive things, too, and my mother is in the wrong here. I know that I know she is, but sometimes, it's hard to really believe it. Thanks for commenting! ((hugs))

    2. I was fortunate to have help from my sons therapist when the you-know-what hit the fan. She was able to help me see that I was not the horrible things my mother claimed. That it may not be about me at all. That my mom may suffer a personality disorder. After that I just let go. I realized I had less stress, fewer meltdowns and just more peace in general with space from her.

      It dawns on me now that I have the sadness (of being treated badly by her) whether we have contact or not. I choose not to continue being treated badly.

      I still find my self sad for her. She is so deep in her head and may never get treatment or help to have functional relationships. I still want to defend her when my husband calls her "crazy". I still feel the guilt she raised me to feel.

      I think the Aspergers gives me clarity of the situation, and I am grateful for that. Grateful that my children are young and I can give them the kind of family that I never had. My therapist said it "how could you be all those things (she said about me) and have such a good relationship with your husband and be such a good mother??

      Sorry for the ramble. This is not something I get to "talk" about openly. I wish I could. keeping it in my head may be the worst part. I am also comforted knowing others are out there and we can support each other. :)

    3. Don't feel bad for rambling. As yous said, where can we talk about this subject? It seems that it's taboo to talk about. No one understands it, and growing up it seemed that everything was always a secret. At least that's how it was with me. I was never allowed to talk about our family life to anyone, even though there wasn't anything all that 'bad' about it, like violence, ect... It was just so odd. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to why I would get in trouble on Tuesday, because Saturday the same thing was fine. It seems that it's hard enough for us to know the rules of social interaction, but when we're raised in such an inconsistent environment it is bound to leave some pretty big scars.

      I'm here to chat anytime you need to!

  5. I can relate to you with your parent's rejection. My mom & dad never said "I love you", we had no close moments in our family. I had 2 brothers and 2 sisters and my mom had a family photo session without me...ugh the pain when I saw that family photo on the wall without me in it. I can't think of anything I did to deserve to be treated that way. My mom didn't like one of our aunts and she told me (many times) that I looked like and reminded her of my aunt so I assume that's why she didn't like me.

    When my sister passed away, my mom made a statement about getting rid of me and making a friend of mine as her daughter...I know she was in pain because her daughter passed away, but that statement really hurt me. I always made comments of love and comfort back to her even though I didn't ever receive comfort from either parent. I moved a few states away from them and it helped immensely because I didn't have to deal with the daily rejection.

    When my mom passed away a few years later, I cried, not because I would miss her, but for the loss of a mother/daughter relationship that I never had nor would I ever have with her. When I see other people have loving relationships with their parents, my heart aches. I know my mom had a lot of mental problems, even though she wasn't diagnosed. Before my dad passed away a couple of years ago, I noticed that there was no pic of me in his room, even though other family members pics were there.

    Through the years, I've focused on living my life for Jesus, it has helped me very much. I also have raised my 2 children (now grown) with as much love and comfort as possible (exact opposite of how I was raised). They know they are loved. I met my husband when I was 14 years old...I latched onto him for love (of any kind). We have had our ups & downs (he has ADHD), but we are still together and love each other. I find joy in the smallest things, the softness of a petal of a flower, watching kids play on the beach, the simple things in life make me very happy.

    I am reminded of the sadness of my childhood once in a while, but I don't dwell on it too long. I try to distract myself and watch a funny movie, take a walk and soak in life's small pleasures. Life is good. I can't imagine the pain that my mom had to live with every day. It had to be much more painful for her to live with the mental sickness than the emotional pain that she inflicted on others. When I start to feel bitter or depressed, I remember how she was and I do the exact opposite. I guess it is a type of negative motivation for me to never be like her.

    There are a few books written by Stormie O'Martian that you might be interested in reading. Stormie's mom was very mentally unstable and abused her as a child. Her books have been very helpful to me. You can read about her at http://www.stormieomartian.com/biography.html.

    I love life and am truly happy with who I am. I believe that you will find that inner peace someday. You've already started changing course through loving your children. It has taken me many years to get to this point (I'm 56 years old). I am praying for you. Focus on God, things will be alright. Stay positive and enjoy your life as much as possible....don't let the mental sickness of your parents ruin your life. Be determined that you WILL have a good life. Much love and blessings to you and your family. Love, Jan

    1. Your story is heartbreaking! I am sorry you went through that, but glad you have found peace. I started changing course in my late 20's, and I am approaching my mid 30's soon, so I think I am getting there. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and the link. I will go check it out. (Also, sorry for taking to long to reply. I have had so many chaotic family situations these last few wks that I have been preoccupied.)

  6. Here is the link to Stormie's story about her mother's abuse...http://www.stormieomartian.com/stormiesstory.html

  7. Why is it so many of us have close relatives with personality disorders? It's already hard enough to win in the world as it is. My mother doesn't, but my oldest sister this year chose to lash out on facebook and alienate me (she put me on blast and called me a "retarded waste of space") and attempt to cut me out of her life. Her kids are caught in the middle of this. Her kids are sweethearts and they don't deserve having to put up with this. Reading up on various personality disorders, Borderline seems to fit my sister the best. My two best friends (also aspies) both have sisters who are similar (one's sister kept stealing his stuff and lied to his aunt who was paying for his college to rip the rug from beneath him because she was lying about his class attendance when he was actually attending classes), the other won't have anything to do with her brother.

    The stupid thing I hate is when my sister tries to use her kids like a pawn. Trying to tell me that I can't attend their concerts and events and such because SHE is the one I have problems with, not THEM.

    1. It is especially sad when people use their children as pawns. It's deplorable behavior. I hope you can have a relationship with your nieces/nephews when they get a little older.

  8. Sorry to hear that things have been so chaotic for you lately. I remember when I was your age and had 2 young children, it seemed as if I was in a turbulent tornado most of the time since my husband didn't help out (he drank a lot at the time).

    Stay focused on the good and happy moments with your children. Those precious moments with my kids are what kept me going at the time. It seems as if I was in survival mode most of the time with no real support from anyone. It did help that I was working full-time..it helped me forget my family life for awhile each day. Even though I hit rock bottom emotionally many times, God helped me get through it all. I probably would have ended up being a druggy or a wino in the ditch if it wasn't for God. He filled those empty placed in my heart.

    I know things are very difficult for you right now. Search out for the beauty that God has provided in nature. God is good and He wants your life to be full of happiness. He has blessed your life with your beautiful children. They grow up so fast! Take a lot of pictures and videos so you can relive those precious moments.

    When they kids are older, you will have more time to yourself and will be able to focus on your needs. Your needs are very, very important. Sit down and think about what your needs are. People are not always going to be able to meet your needs, but they should not be trampling on your feelings when you know you have done nothing wrong.

    Set boundaries on behaviors that you will put up with from people, and then get away from them as much as possible if they are hurting you. There is a book called "Setting Boundaries with Difficult People." The link will be at the end of this post.

    People used to upset me so much and I felt devastated. I now realize that those people had control over me and I was reacting to them. I don't let that happen as much anymore. They don't have that kind of power over me anymore. They can be toxic and drain the life out of you. I have the power to let it go and am determined to keep my life filled with people that I enjoy spending time with.

    Hang in there. You will make it with God at your side. Blessings to you and your family.

    Love, Jan

    Here is the link:

  9. Thank you for your comments. I am sorry that it took, me so long to reply. I do read all comments right away, and appreciate them all.

    Thank you for sharing your time, support, and thoughts. <3

  10. I can really relate to what you're writing. Like with your mother, mine never really cared about me either. But I blame her. I went to a psychologist who told me about something called visualization (don't know if that's the english word, in danish it's visualisering). It's about closing your eyes and imagining yourself a scenario where things would be alright. I imagined my mom said sorry. That she could see it wasn't right. By doing that I could forgive her. I have "seen" her say that she's sorry. Kind of makes me cry right know, but it really worked.

    I don't hope you blame yourself for your mothers absence or lack of care. I'm an inner aspie myself so perhaps I know how you feel. Perhaps I don't. But I don't see my mother anymore because I'm afraid she will make me feel the way she made me feel back then. I also cannot forgive her in the real world. I can forgive her in my thoughts where she can be whoever I want her to be. Perhaps you should consider cutting ties with your mom as well if she only makes you sad?

    1. Oh, I haven't spoken to my mother in like 5 or 6 yrs. I think you are right. I have forgiven my mother (somewhat) in my mind, but not in real life. If I were to speak to her she would still be just as nasty (if not more so!) as she ever was, so I can't forgive her. I can't forgive her when she's not sorry. I just choose to not let it affect me anymore.

      Thanks for commenting, and sharing your story. I appreciate it!


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