Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Twisted and manipulated

TW comments from time to time and often when I need a different perspective.  This is her comment on yesterdays post. http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2016/11/savior-complex.html

Yk Ruth, I wonder if what you're feeling is based more in Servant Complex than Savior Complex. There is a huge difference: A servant is one perceived as having lesser status, a savior is one who is perceived as having a greater, more knowledgeable status. I know I could be very wrong about this because it's just my perception, but you feeling "more than?" An "expert in..?" It's not that you place yourself above, but that you place yourself below. We can't be a doormat and an steeple concurrently.

It seems when you think of your mother in any situation she is somehow "above" or more powerful than subordinate you. In every situation. She whines, wheedles and otherwise emotionally blackmails to get what she wants. But what would she do if you weren't around? Believe me, she'd be fine. There are plenty of adults who are not able for a variety of reasons (not all nefarious!) to assist their aging parents.

You become in your own words that CHILD once again when she demands something. There are no ceremonies, no Rites of Passage in typical western society that indicate to others and introduce individuals to their communities as an adult. Traditional societies have rituals for major milestones and to some extent we do-except for one exceptionally important change in status: "You are now an adult." And as such we are EQUAL in status to every other adult. No DNA exceptions.

Your relationship to your adult children no doubt has changed over the years. There is an evolution from how we engage with our minor children and how we engage with our adult children. Our relationship becomes far more equal, far more one of peers. One of the most challenging and unexamined areas of my own life was recognizing I *was* an adult. (And I had been one for a decade plus before I finally caught on to that reality.) But it reframed how I viewed myself and the rest of the world radically: Equal status, equally powerful, equally deserving. Those were words, concepts for awhile before they became actions. Do you know, I was too embarrassed (and to some extent still am) to tell anyone that my "mother" was still physically abusing me as an adult? Push, shove, pull, grab etc. But that embarrassment I was wearing? That rightfully was HER dress out of HER closet that she stuck on me. I "felt" the shame because she didn't. Why was I hiding that? Why was SHE? I hope you understand how wearing "Servant" Glad Rags is not, nor was it ever the uniform of YOUR choice. You just never questioned it or shoved it back at it's rightful owner or better yet, cremate the thing!

Anyway, I so get the anxiety, the guilt, all the emotional battering we get into when we're just giving into them (because it'll never be enoug/ the right thing etc.) as short term bandaids and the equally excruciating NOT falling back into those old roles. And of course they unleash lightning bolts and thunder over the word or the behavior that says and does "NO." Please remember, that is SUCH AN ACT as you already know-remember her peeking through her fingers to assess the effect of her behavior? She isn't suffering-but you are. You anguish, she's delighted. Can you imagine getting off on hurting/manipulating your own kids? The inherent dishonesty, the moral bankruptcy...ugh.

I needed TW pointing out how my mother is manipulating me yet again.  I checked in with my sister and she reported the differences in how each visitor is treated.  For my Dad, she pours on the helplessness-you-have-to-help-me.  My brother gets all is great and going well.  For me, it is tears and you-are-the-best-thing-that-happened-to-me.  When I asked her about Dad visiting she totally dissed him by saying, "He comes everyday."  She expects his presents. Full stop.  No appreciation or a hint of gratitude.  WOW.  With TW's insight, I am looking at the situation far differently. 

TW pointed out, "We can't be a doormat and an steeple concurrently."  But what my mother does do is set me on a pedastal of "Only-you-can-read-my-mind-and-serve-me."  I feel special and she uses that to manipulate me to do her bidding.  Putting me in the position of steeple to use me as a doormat leaves me reeling and confused.  Now if I reexamine her praise in the form of complimenting to manipulate things are put in a very different perspective.  She creates the illusion that I am the only one that can 'save-her'.  But the reality is she does very well without me.

I also appreciate mulderfan's encouragement.  From her I learned so much about setting healthy boundaries with aging parents.  It is not an easy task at all.  A lot of wear and tear on my soul.  Hours spent soul searching to see if I can handle things differently.  However, one toe in the pot convinces me she will cook my goose if I get any closer.  Thanks mulderfan for teaching me that distance doesn't hurt them.  


mulderfan said...

Luv and hugs Ruth. The help and support goes both ways.

Ruth said...


Tundra Woman said...

Thanks, Ruth. I lost my comment somehow yesterday-you have given me so very much over these years, I deeply appreciate and respect you.
When we are children we want nothing more than our parents love and approval and will do anything to secure it. One of the Tools of CB Manipulation inculcated early in our lives leverages that reality by making us feel very, very Special. *This is very powerful stuff particularly to a child.* We bcome their "BFF," through their shared (inappropriate) adult confidences, off-loading adult tasks onto us and leave us feeling only WE can be "the solution" to allll their "problems." At other times, we are shamed, blamed or terrified by the parent who unpredictability bears down wraith-like on our little selves for doing something that in reality is absolutely appropriate for a child.
We have NO clue what unleashed this sobbing/scary/screaming/yelling/pulling on us etc. "mommy." If adults are shocked into silence by an over-reaction from another adult over something that clearly is off the wall, imagine how that effects a child: They have no idea what they did but what ever it was, it's not gonna happen again if we can help it. So, WE SOOTHE THEM. We don't want them upset. We don't want them to cry or yell or hit us. Now, how often and unpredictably does the parent have to pull a scene like this before just the possibility is so scary, the child immediately seeks to parent the parent, to anticipate their wants/needs/whims?!

The greatest residue effect for me growing up with a CB "mother" was the demand, "Now be my child" and "Now be my BFF, an adult" and having to jump back and forth between these two demands unpredictably. They turn the relationship on it's head by demanding WE pander/take care of THEM and their adult "problems" and ignore/suppress all the normal needs, fears, dreams, etc. growing up entails. Being treated as a grown up leaves us feeling very special...but it's kinda scary, a very heavy burden. The entire process of human growth and development is totally disrupted. I went from early/middle childhood straight to middle age. In doing so I had huge gaping holes in knowledge, life experience, all of the slowly unfolding maturity skills we need as we differentiate and develop our own Identities.

The experience of realizing so much of my "mother's" behavior was all a shameless ACT was shocking to me. I won't even try to convey it. The implications of that experience rocked my entire world. Things that never made sense, did. Some very painful realities including her ability to manipulate me masterfully *with my own unwitting collusion* had been inculcated probably when I was pre-verbal. Her behavior was Targeted, Premediated and Intentional. Sure, some was simply knee-jerk CB but the reality she did not want me to succeed, to eclipse her in any way and had absolutely NO CLUE who I was-and didn't care to know? I was simply a convenient Tool. These and other realities formed the bedrock of my moral and ethical framework for NC. When I NC'd the retribution was swift, brutal and relentless. It was not even close to the stated "reconciliation" and "not knowing why" the outside world was told was her alleged goal and perception. Unwittingly I surfaced the Rage that previously had remained primarily behind closed doors. She brought down a world of hurt and ensured I paid dearly for ever walking away-a young old lady.

Ruth said...

Nailed it. Deepest sympathy for the brutal attack in retaliation. I agree wrapping my mind around the fact that what my mother does is intentional rocked my world. I am learning to compare notes. Thanks TW for your continued support.