Confront Mom for the First Time: Response Shocked Me

Relationships and families - wonderful when they're working, distressing when they're not.

Postby Drillquip » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:28 am

My mom and I had a spat that escalated into a fight a few nights ago, and some really really ugly things came up to the surface. Those things are eating at me in a nasty way and I'm having trouble sorting through my feelings. So I was kind of hoping maybe someone else could shed some light on this for me, because I'm really lost here...

I have always had anxiety, attention issues, social issues, and stomach discomfort since the day I was born. I didn't speak till I was 4 years old, jumped at loud noises and every little thing, etc. I've had tests done throughout my life on and off to figure out what was wrong and what to do about it, but eventually all that stopped. This was fine up until I was 14.

When I was 14 I felt really sick one night like I had a severe case of the stomach flu, and the sick feeling continued for 2 weeks. When I got up the courage to ask my mom to set up a doctors appointment, it took her 4 months to set up an appointment for the following month. The doctor got a blood test done to appease me, but recommended I see a psychologist. My mom took the name of the psychologist, we went home, and that was that. The blood test was negative. I developed severe Agoraphobia and Emetophobia. We never spoke of my anxiety openly but everyone knew about it. Every once in a while they'd talk about it like it was silly and stupid. I basically lived feeling nauseous and panicked all the time and wrapped my life around that for the past 8 years.

Things are better now, but I still retain some of the old anxiety and habits. I resent my mom mostly because she was with me that day at the doctors when the doctor told me to go to a therapist. What would things be like today had we gone to therapy? Had I learned how to cope with the phobias in a good way? I feel like almost a decade of my life has been wasted on never leaving home and living a very strict lifestyle ruled by anxiety. I'm kinda pissed about it.

When I had a fight with my mom the other day it brought up the subject. She asked me why I was mad at her. I told her she gave up on me when I needed her back then, and she told me:

-I didnt know what it was like to be a mother with 2 kids and go to college. (dad was there being a stay at home dad.)
-I didnt know what it was like being a mom getting told vastly different diagnosis from several different doctors about your child and not knowing what to do about it.
-She gave up on trying to 'cure' me. (and thus dropped everything. because she didn't think therapy or any form of treatment would do anything for me.)
-She told my brother to put my feelings and needs before his.
-None of my siblings got as much attention and support as I did.
-How wonderful it must be for someone like me to judge her having no experience like hers.
-Im a terrible sister for not giving more attention to my siblings and being more supportive (my brother is a drug addict/alcoholic whom I distance myself from, and Im just not interested in social contact period. Ive just always been like this. My sister has nothing to do with it.)

So. Im just apathetic now. I think my mom was wrong for not seeking out help, to find ways to help me cope with my life long condition even if it couldn't be cured. But then my feelings are cancled out with this weird sense of ingratitude- like Im being a stupid kid for expecting more from my parents. Maybe I am. I dont know. Forgiving feels like Im betraying myself, like I dont have the right to be angry about what happened. Letting go feels like Im saying what happened was okay or that I dont deserve an apology. My mom even chastises and scorns attempts I make to get help now. Im just apathetic. I dont know what to do with my feelings.
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Postby notears » Sat Jan 21, 2012 2:09 am

i'm not a professional but this seems like a case of denial on your family's part. perhaps especially your parents, maybe in particular your mum's but then where was your father's roles & responsibilities in all this? perhaps they didn't want to acknowledge another problem in the family on top of your brother's drug addictions? perhaps there's some generational sentiment that psychological symptoms without externally physically tangible evidence are not genuine?

perhaps she may be right that parenting is alot more difficult, scary & challenging than we might understand until we face it ourselves. is there is more to this scenario regarding your dad who was a stay-at-home dad what was his input in all of this?

in any case if she has 2 (3?) kids i'm sure she struggled, and perhaps at times it might be difficult to separate childhood imaginations from real issues, however as you grow older & these problems continue i feel it is negligent if not cruel to make a joke of your suffering.

if after all these years she still won't acknowledge it then perhaps having her do so needs not be your goal, who knows how deep her denial runs or what sub-surface forms it has latched itself onto in her psyche. don't worry about her, or your father for that matter (i'm still wondering where his role in all of this was). my feeling is not to worry about them, concern yourself with yourself.

you don't need their support now to find some guidance, it sounds like if you mention it then she'll just deflate you, so keep it to yourself. counselling is great, but i've never met a counsellor who could solve everything, they can only help unsurface issues imho the resolving is done by you.

so hunt around there are some free & subsidised counselling services you can find if cash is a problem, beware though sometimes you get what you pay for, but even if you had the best of the best my number 1 advice would be to trust yourself, what does your heart tell you, what does you gut tell you?

i've been down a similar though thankfully not as crippling path before in terms of conditions, i had every test under the sun on my stomach (I had a very thorough doctor & i took myself to him without telling the family) and in the end he ruled it was psychological. perhaps the best thing i took from conselling after that was get outside the house & do something NEW once every WEEK. start small & then become more daring, soon you should find excitement in the little new things you're doing, and pride & strength that you have done them without anyone's help. you might think you are alone but you are far from it!

good luck & remember, **trust yourself**: time has proven you were right all along, you can fix this.
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Postby jessicapuppy » Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:19 am

I do wonder if your Mom was worried what a psychologist might discover, if they were to get to the bottom of your symptoms. I wonder if something has happened that you can't remember...something to cause your symptoms?
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Postby bert_ernie » Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:49 am

hi,

there's not really any point on working out "who's at fault". who's the good person, who's the bad person. everyone is flawed and remember your mom had her own non-perfect environment & upbringing that helped shape her into the non-perfect person she is today.

things could have turned out differently with different parents/environment but then you wouldn't be you and you would have a whole set of other strengths/weaknesses for better or worse.

anyhow you can't do anything about the past now. i recommend forgiving and moving on. be strong and continue to work on improving yourself. although it would have been nice/easier if your parents were better parents when you were younger (i know what it's like, ive had somewhat similar emotions/experiences) now you're in control and can drive your life in the direction you want.
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Postby Drillquip » Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:21 pm

Thankyou NoTears. Your reply was very insightful, and I feel that you are right. I guess I didn't mention my dad much because this particular fight was with my mom. My dad is someone who has extreme self esteem issues and pretty much manipulated and used his kids to validate himself, though I dont think he was aware of it.

For example he said to me the other day, since he hasnt changed a bit over the years: "I want you guys to know I'm here to help you..." I turned and looked at him suspiciously. "Because...I don't want you to think I'm stupid or can't help." I nodded and said nothing. I sometimes believe he just does whatever he can for us...if it makes him feel better. He was for the most part totally unaware of my issues, or refused to acknowledge them. I spoke to him once when the blood tests came back negative and I was crying. He asked me what was wrong, and I said that if this issue I have is psychological it'll be harder to deal with. He didn't know what to say and that was the end of that conversation. We never spoke of it since.

But the bottom line is my destiny is in my hands now, and there's no point in trying to reconcile with someone who is determined to keep things the way they are and refuse to change or acknowledge mistakes or anything.


Bert_Ernie:
I think it's true that my parents had their issues long before they had kids. I don't feel they did the best they could have. I think they did what they were most comfortable doing, and were not willing to step outside of that. We were not worth it. And I think that's what I resent the most.

I've had my mourning process with dad already, and now more or less we exist around each other with no real relationship that goes beneath surface pleasantries (which I hardly put much effort into). I guess I just need to go through that with my mom. It's not forgiveness in my opinion, but I think you're right in saying I should just let it go and move on. It's just dropping the fantasy and expectations of having anything better with them. If they want my forgiveness, it comes at the cost of accepting what they did was wrong and wanting to change their behavior so that things are better between us. If they did that I'd meet them part way and we could work together for a better relationship. As it is right now, I am ready to leave the family and have nothing more to do with them until I have taken care of myself.

JessicaPuppy:
I have no idea. I've never really considered that. Maybe? I blacked out once in preschool and woke up shaking some kid and screaming at him in the middle of a circle reading. As soon as I woke I stopped and looked around in shock. Only once after that did I have any similar incident. I was listening to music one night and I'm totally relaxed and when my dad came into the room I screamed at him. I wasn't doing it my body was. I just watched what was happening. So...eh...yeah there might be something going on, but I have no idea what that would be. Besides pent up anger?
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Postby jessicapuppy » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:31 pm

I'd recommend you ask for a referral to a psychologist, as until you get to the bottom of what's caused your symptoms, I doubt they will go away.
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Postby Drillquip » Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:20 am

I think that would be best. I'm not terribly worried about the out bursts since they havent happened in many years, but talking to someone about what's been going on can't be a bad idea either way. Still have to take care of the phobias if nothing else.
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Postby Jaxie40 » Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:43 pm

Hey Drillquip. I've just joined this site, and started trawling through the pages. Reading you post, I can relate to your situation with your parents, as I have the same with mine.

Although bert_ernie is right about no parent being perfect, the hardest thing to deal with is the non-recognition of what they've done that has upset you the most. Do you feel emotionally unsupported by them?
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Postby Drillquip » Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:12 am

Hi Jaxie40.
Sorry to hear you've had to deal with a similar situation. The more I think about it and look at the way my parents are the more I feel like maybe they aren't capable of giving genuine support since they're dealing with their own inner problems. Hopefully I'm wrong about that but it seems true. They're oversensitive and in denial, and I simply can't approach them and talk to them about anything right now.

I think they honestly believe they've supported me. In many ways they have, but when it comes to my anxiety issues they avoid it or dont acknowledge it.

Hope you've been able to cope with your situation better.
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Postby Jaxie40 » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:46 am

Hey Drill. Unfortunately I've had to face the fact that my parents will never change, however much 'd like them too. Fortunately, I have a wonderfully supportive husband amd mother-in-law, so I don't feel totally alone any more. I believe that parents are the ones you should always be there to support their children, whatever has happened in their own lives. The good thing to come out of my situation is that I am so determined that my own children won't have parents who behave in the same way as mine have with me. If you ever want to vent or just chat, feel free to PM me anytime :)
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