Ambivalence, thy name is mother

I am feeling… ambivalent. It is my mom’s birthday tomorrow, her 78th. We have been estranged for over a year since my birthday last March. Long story, which I have told elsewhere, but she was given information from an aunt that went a long way to confirming I had been sexually abused by my dad. I waited for her to contact me and she never did. Then, come to find out, she got angry about me not wanting a relationship with her. I know, I know, I got abused and she’s the hurt one eyeroll but I think she’s trying to protect herself. Unfortunately, it’s once again at my expense. But I also get how very difficult it would be to face that the sexual abuse actually happened to me.

I called her and left three phone messages asking if we could talk, but she ignored them. In the last message, I told her that I would not call her again, but if she was ever ready to talk, I would be willing. The only contact since then has been my sending her a birthday card last year and I mailed another one last week. At this point, I am utterly certain she already received the card, which simply said that I wished her a Happy Birthday and I wanted her to know I loved her and was still willing to talk if she was ever ready.

I have gotten no response. Nada, zilch, zip. And it’s sinking in that mom is pretty serious about this and I am grappling with the fact that she may take this to the grave, that I will not see or hear from her again. I am at times very relieved by this. My life is easier, less complicated and less painful for not having to interact with her. Holidays are WONDERFUL, because I no longer spend them dreading the fact that I should call her. And not picking out a mother’s day card? Sheer bliss. I actually felt anxious sending the card, because I am not sure I really want to be in touch with her.

But, and you knew there was a but, this is my mother. And no matter what else I feel about her, it hurts to know that she would turn her back on me so completely. This is rejection on a very deep level. I understand her hurt and pain and that she probably sees this as justifiable based on my behavior (our relationship had been rocky and intermittent for several years leading up to this), but at the same time, I know that nothing, NOTHING, would cause me to turn my back on my kids this way. Oh and to add insult to injury, she is also ignoring my kids.

As I have mentioned before, I am dealing with a lot of shame in therapy. Even though in a cognitive sense I can see that this is my mother’s choice and says a lot more about her than it does about me, on a primitive, inner child level, it is being experienced as a very deep confirmation of my belief that I am not worthy of love. I mean, doesn’t something have to be wrong with you to have your own mother turn her back on you? I know it’s not the truth. I know that my sense of shame is wrong (BN has certainly told me that enough times to sink even into my skull) but its the feeling that is so hard to shake. It’s corrosive and eats away at me and I am struggling to keep a balanced view of myself. In one direction, I slip into being overwhelmed by the shame and believing I am utterly worthless and repulsive, how could any decent person care for me? And in the other direction, there is the drive towards a perfectionism that would deny any of my faults and stop me from owning my own stuff (which would be to walk in my mom’s footsteps, not a direction I want to walk in).

Struggling with this is also exacerbating the angst I feel about BN. The shame keeps whispering to me that he’s had enough, he’s fed up, he wants me gone (all evidence to the contrary; he’s been steady as a rock, gentle and compassionate and incredibly patient. If he’s fed up, he’s hiding it really well). Which is bad enough. But my mom abandoning me leaves me with the stark realization that BN is the closest thing I may ever have to a loving parent who is interested in a relationship with me. But he will never be my parent, he will always be my therapist. I am so grateful for what he is to me; but so grieved that it is the best I will have. So I am simultaneously feeling like I want to cling to him right now because he’s all I have (ok, in terms of a parent, I have other loving relationships) but terrified that I need to back away to not wear him out.

The worst part is that the shame keeps telling me to hide when I most need connection. So I’m fighting back against the shame to write this. And am very glad I did because I didn’t realize half of this before I started typing. Thank you for giving me a space to say this in.*

*And yes, I plan on talking to BN about this, I see him Friday afternoon. Nothing like a little humiliation with which to end your week. 🙂

  1. Mrs. Sharkey
    April 23, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    I hear you AG. This stuff is just so hard. *HUGS*

    “The worst part is that the shame keeps telling me to hide when I most need connection.”

    This. So much this. This in spades. I’ll be dealing with shame and humiliation of my own in tomorrow’s therapy session – such fun! Can’t wait!


    • April 24, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      (((Mrs. Sharkey))) Thanks for understanding. I hope the therapy session goes well! xx AG


  2. April 23, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    Wow, the mother issues are so very hard.

    I’m sure that my own mother thinks that I’m hardly in communication because I’m selfish or I don’t care, when the truth is that I love her dearly, I just don’t know how to both protect her from telling her that my dad abused me and be true to myself. I have often thought that it would be so much simpler if could just blame my mom for not protecting me and see her as a self centered, awful person, then I could walk away and that would be bad enough. But it just isn’t that simple, is it? We only get one mother who raised us, even if she has horrible flaws. There always is that child side that wishes that she could have her Mommy come and hold her, because really that is what should happen, no matter what age the child is. If the world was right, the mother would come and comfort and care for her child. No matter the obstacles, no matter the age. At least that is what my heart keeps on telling me and I hope that it is what I can give to my daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      They really are difficult Cat. There is a lot that my mother did for me, and for which I am grateful, but I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that you cannot protect her at the same time that you are true to yourself. I cannot continue to act as if this didn’t really happen. The sad part? I am more than willing to forgive my mother (there are good reasons, human reasons, for why she didn’t protect me based on her own history). But she is so busy protecting herself from the realization that she also is blocking the forgiveness and restoration of the relationship. It’s sad. Both of my parents created much worse punishments for themselves than I could ever have come up with. And I am certain you are providing that for your daughter.


  3. Elsewhere
    April 24, 2014 at 3:50 am

    ‘But my mom abandoning me leaves me with the stark realization that BN is the closest thing I may ever have to a loving parent who is interested in a relationship with me.’

    So sad, and so true to my situation. It helped me to look at it from a slightly different angle: this isn’t new. It’s only rising it’s ugly face now your mom openly abandons you. The hidden abandonment has been there all along… and was one of the causes you needed to find BN. Your were raised by parents that weren’t able to give you what you needed (and I suspect your father did a lot more than that), but for the most part it was hidden.
    And now you’ve done the bravest thing – confronting your mother, refusing to play part in this hiding game – and in very sweet and compassionate terms at that – she probably won’t change. But you did. And that’s the most important thing. You’re not hiding anymore.
    Feel loved AG,


  4. Elsewhere
    April 24, 2014 at 4:12 am

    PS. In fact, you might want to celebrate with BN on Friday, in stead of talking about shame. Bring a cake, say F@#ck ‘m all. Here I am, I’m not invisible, I’m not hiding and I’ve got BN to care for me! And then send me a piece of this cake too, please 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Thank you, I really appreciated your perspective on it. Cup half full as it were, instead of half empty. 🙂 I’ll think about the cake thing… LOL xx AG


  5. muff
    April 24, 2014 at 4:21 am

    Did someone say CAKE?

    Give her heaps AG 🙂


    • Elsewhere
      April 24, 2014 at 7:43 am



    • April 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Ah Muff good to know you’ll come for cake! And a cuppa of course. 🙂


  6. liz
    April 24, 2014 at 5:08 am

    When I read the title I thought you didn’t know whether to call your mom for her birthday or not, and I was thinking “Well, of course she should try and talk to her!”, but then the post took a different turn (and, to be completely honest, I read it twice and I still don’t get what the real point is).
    So, at the risk of sounding pretentious and/or horrible, I will say that I think (or at least this is the impression I got while reading your post) this situation still bothers you a lot and your brain is trying to shift the whole thing on your therapeutic relationship, which is safe, and on BN, who’s not going anywhere (and your brain probably knows that too), instead of trying to make a decision about what you really want to do with your mother. Even if what you really want to do is (very legitimally) end your relationship once and for all.

    (And now, before really coming off as a horrible person, I will also say that I had similar – not exactly the same, though: I recognize your situation must really be tough to be in – problems with my mother, and I felt abandoned and I blamed her for a bunch of stuff and I moved three times in a span of two years, even to another country at some point, to try and put a distance between us, and it didn’t feel better at all until I actually, and reluctantly, came back and confronted her and explained why exactly I wanted distance; it took a lot of crying and feeling angry and many many therapy sessions during which I was forced to try and put myself in her shoes, and I am not sure it worked, ’cause I am actually still struggling with this and falling back into old patterns on a regular basis. But still, there are healthier ways to part. Especially because, and this comes from my direct experience, parents die, at some point, and huge unresolved issues keep lingering around for years sucking up energy and turning life into a wonderful never-ending guilt trip, and it’s not worth it, I think :-D)

    I may have just said some inappropriate stuff, in which case I apologize and you’re free to erase my comment.
    (But still, I don’t think you put up this blog, or started seeing BN, to get back-patting sympathy all of the time, and I probably woke up feeling argumentative today :-D)


    • April 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      to be completely honest, I read it twice and I still don’t get what the real point is

      So much for my vaunted skills as a communicator. LOL. And it wasn’t inappropriate Liz, you’re quite correct that I do not want back-patting sympathy all the time (which is good, since no one is offering that all that time :D). As I have told BN on occasion, I would rather be honestly hurt than lied to.

      All that said, I don’t agree with your take on the situation. 🙂 I find myself in the weird position of having finally decided what to do with my mother, which was to wade in and have a real relationship. I realized I had been dithering on the fence. When she missed my birthday last year, I discussed it with my sister and she said to me that we were both really angry and had our heels dug in. So I really had to sit down and decide what I wanted. And what I decided was that if at all possible, I wanted a relationship with my mother, because whether or not I am happy about the fact, it is a very important relationship, I do own her thanks and honor for things that she has done for me and frankly, she doesn’t have all that much time left on the planet. But when I reached out, determined to face this head on, is exactly when she cut me off. I was looking for something healthier, but am left with the reality of what is. So I wasn’t writing this to make any particular point or to aid in a decision. I was just recognizing that some difficult feelings were coming up around her ignoring the birthday card. Writing this actually helped to understand how I was feeling and I felt much better after posting it. In your defense, there are factors operating here about which I did not speak which may have been why it seemed unclear to you.

      And I’m sorry you get this from the inside. Our relationship with our parents is complicated under the best of circumstances; throw abuse or neglect into the mix and its mind bending.


      • liz
        April 27, 2014 at 6:03 am

        Hi AG,

        I was probably mislead when I read “ambivalence” and automatically connected it with mother issues (wow, now that I wrote it down I realized this would make a perfect topic for my next session, actually :-D), while you were referring to the coming closer/running away thing with BN. My bad 🙂

        I was probably also influenced by the other comments I read, some of which (it seemed to me, at least) were kind of mixing therapeutic relationship and parenting in a way that made me a bit irritated – but again, this is my own stuff. I remember that on my first year of therapy, when addressing parents issues, my therapist kept saying he was not there to take care of me but he was just an instrument, and that pissed me off like crazy. It still does, as you can see 😀 Turned out he was right, though.
        Anyway, it’s always incredibly helpful to analyze my reaction to your posts, there’s always a lot of stuff coming up unexpectedly, so thank you!

        As for your mother, I hope she will change her mind and find the courage to get in touch with you. In any case, you should be proud of yourself for trying to save the relationship. It must be tough to try and respect her decision without forcing her to do anything, it takes a lot of strength and compassion, which you have in great doses.
        I send you a big (peace) hug,


  7. Willow..
    April 24, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Hey, AG, tough stuff, for sure….just wondering…have you ever watched Brene Brown’s ted talk…one on shame and one on vulnerability? Both really good….as always, thanks for sharing….


    • April 24, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I have Willow and have read one of her books. I really like her take on it. BN and I keep going over and over the fact that the only way through shame is to be vulnerable and expose that shame. That’s what makes shame so difficult to deal with, the solution is terrifying. 🙂 But funny enough, I felt a lot better after I posted this… go figure. 🙂


  8. gracey520
    April 24, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Oh my gosh, I just want you to know that you are so worthy of a parent’s love. If I were your mom, I would be so proud of you for all the hard work you have done and for having the courage to let me know that Dad did such horrible things. If you never take a step further, you are ENOUGH right now, right where you are — you are worthy of all kinds of good things in life. You are a daughter to be proud of, a woman to be reckoned with, and I’m sure BN is thankful to be your therapist and proud of how far you have come and your willingness to keep pressing on.
    I’m sure you know enough about how the brain works and how thoughts are formed like pathways and eventually become a rut. So you know you have a well worn path that goes automatically to “unworthy, hard case, never gonna make it,” and so of course it is hard to really deep down believe that your mom’s abandonment comes from her own crap and does not define you in any way. So you also know that if you continue to push your mind to ponder and accept the new (to you), true facts, you will eventually form a new healthy path that will be will a well-worn road to a place of peace. So keep pondering that you are enough, you are not wearing out BN, you are pouring tons of good things into the lives of those of us who read your blog, and you are just so damn worthy of love, admiration, and acceptance, right now, right in the middle of this current shit.
    I have no idea who you are outside of cyberspace, but I wish I could pull you into my lap right now and tell you all these things as many times as it takes until they are REAL to you. You are awesome and amazing and one of my heroes.


    • April 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you Gracey, for your incredibly kind words. It is truly good to know that someone sees me that way. And I totally agree about the pathways in my brain. I have two neuronal networks duking it out, but one is older and more well worn. But the up and comer is fighting hard. I’m fighting to go down the healthier path where I recognize my humanity and my worth. I’m better than I used to be and not as good as I will be. Thank you for such clear encouragement.


    • Matt Bruder
      April 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      I love this responce!


  9. michelle
    April 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I agree with previous comment (gracey)
    Comforting to know that there are others with these mother daughter relationships/histories. I am somewhat new and had to go back to read much history. Does BN use any ‘somatic experiencing’ in his therapy. I have started that this year. It is new trauma work and I have had some success. I think there is a point where we have exhausted what cognitive behavioral and talk therapy will do for us when childhood relational trauma is our challenge. Apparently for me, the PTSD has resulted in a very hard time self regulating during the day and has a huge impact on generalized anxiety etc. I work full time as a school psychologist and likely used school as an escape for many years. I now have a 3 year old daughter and really feel the need for support so I don’t repeat long history. But, I do believe my mom is stuck developmentally, as AG’s mom, at maybe age 7, and I too feel strongly that if she were not my mom I might like her, and would probably want to nurture her – but it is hard to be the mom of your mom forever. The only surrogate mothers I have are men, and I think that might always be the case. My history is nurturing protective safe men, for the most part. Even after five step dads and lots of step father figures in between. I was wondering how you recovered memories of abuse? I don’t remember lots of things, as there was much chaos. I hope and I am pretty sure no abuse happened – but am curious how one recovers those kinds of memories. Thanks so much. Michelle


    • April 24, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      Hi Michelle,
      While BN does not use touch in therapy, we do pay a lot of attention to somatic issues. He is very mindful of what is going on in my body and will often reflect if he notices I am agitated or my voice is cracking, etc. He will also often ask me to move down into my body and describe what I am physically feeling so he can help me identify the emotions. We are both aware that there is point past which there are no words, where what I am experiencing are the emotional memories from a time before my frontal cortex came on line. In those cases, we try to keep one of my feet in the present and one in the past, so I can struggle to articulate what it was I thought I was feeling. It’s difficult work, because the feelings are so strong, it can be difficult to hang on to the reality that I now have more resources. But it seems to be working for me.

      As for recovering the abuse memories, I really need to write a post on that. 🙂 I did a lot of my recovery work a long time ago. I had gone back to therapy when my oldest daughter was four, which was the age, as far as I can piece it together, when I started to be abused by my dad. It was a pretty chaotic process during which I seriously doubted my sanity, and feared I was making it up. I can still worry this is just all in my head as most of my memories are only of feelings and *knowing* what happened, without actually sights or memories of events. It was mainly about being honest about what I was feeling and trying to piece things together. I often would get bits and pieces in dreams, or by noticing what triggered me. I am very grateful that my therapist at the time (not BN) did not use any unusual procedures nor did she tell me that she suspected it was sexual abuse until I had the breakthrough and was able to accept that is what happened. There is much less chance of any false memories being created. I just had to trust myself that the feelings and thoughts and bits of memory were real and talk about whatever popped up even when it was hard to make sense of it. Its good that you are dealing with this now when you’re daughter is so young.

      There is an article I think you might find helpful: What are Traumatic Memories?


  10. Ann
    April 24, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Oh AG, I am very sad for you. I have just begun to face the fact that my mother’s denial about my dad’s negligence is a lost cause. Part of me thinks that our parent’s generation were never given either the permission or the tools to deal with their own pain or the pain they inflict (directly or indirectly) on their children. Denial has been their only defense. My father was a very negligent parent and put me in situations where my brothers and I were unprotected from preditors. At one place I was hurt when I was 8, but “knew” not to tell and interrupt my parent’s image of a perfect world.
    Recently I mentioned to my mom that I had been “touched” by a stranger as a child. Her reaction was to ask me when and where. Then she said, “Can’t you just get over it?”
    I was shocked at her total lack of interest or empathy. A few months later, the subject came up and she acted as if I had never told her. A few weeks ago, we were visiting and for the third time I said something about dad being negligent when we were young, and she asked, “But no one ever touched you have they??” Ahhhh! I wanted to scream, but just said yes I was. My mother has never expressed any concern or sadness about her 8 year old daughter being touched by a stranger. AG, I guess my story shows how for some people, “self-preservation” and the need to preserve their fantasy about their spouse and marriage, like our mothers, are so entrenched in their psyche that they lose the ability to empathize and support their hurting children. People like us can not fathom not comforting and helping our children through hard things, no matter the cost to us. My mother will never accept that our father often put us in unsafe situations, because we were an inconvenience. My mom was so overwhelmed, she closed her eyes to it. I have learned through therapy that I am neither crazy or unlovable. I have learned that I missed out on some key parenting, which horribly distorts my view of self and the world. Most of all, I sadly realize my parents do not “get it” and never will. I try to focus on what I do get from both my husband and my therapist. I realize some people never even get that much. I also have to disagree on one point with Liz. I have been told by many that it gets much easier after a parent’s death. AG, you have written a lot about boundaries and that has helped me. I am not responsible for how my parents see me. I am not responsible for their happiness. The only thing I can do is try and be a better parent than they were. And it is not too late to start. This way you bring honor to your parent’s memory by breaking the pattern. I would image your mother’s denial is not about you. She probably wants to maintain a certain fantasy about the family and your pain threatens that, just as my pain threatens my mother’s world. She also doesn’t want to have her image as a “good mother” questioned. In her world, your pain is a threat to her self-image as a protective mother. As always, I encourage you to open yourself to both your therapist and husband for support. They clearly see what a jewel you are and will reflect it back to you! Meanwhile, I wish only good things for you as you deal with this u fathomable creature called “mother-daughter”relationships! Remember,we love you!!! Ann


    • April 25, 2014 at 11:06 am

      ((Ann)) I am sure that there are people who would not believe you if you described your mother not remembering you had told her about being abused, but I truly get it. I admire your self-restraint in not screaming! I think you are very right that our parents generation just had no other way to cope besides denial; it makes me very grateful that I have had access to excellent therapist’s to work through my pain. While I am aware that there has been some wounding of my children due to the effects of my trauma on me, my healing has also allowed me to stay and face what I have done and not abandon my children the same way. It’s a lot to be thankful for. I really do understand and know that its the truth that this is NOT about me. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life, including the wonderful people here, who do love me and provide a reflection of a valuable, worthwhile, loveable person (Ok a bit idealized at times 🙂 ), its just those pesky feelings. But thank you for saying this one more time, because hearing it again only helps. I’m really sorry for your mom’s behavior and your father’s lack of protection. It’s an odd sensation isn’t it? On the one hand, there’s a sense of “well, that’s just the way it was” but then there’s the shock of “who does that?” It’s a painful, but good and necessary thing that we can recognize how wrong the behavior was. Thank you, Ann. xx AG


  11. Bourbon
    April 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Ouch. It hurts me that my mother has decided to ignore me and it is no where near as painful a situation as you describe… you’ve actually asked your mother for contact so many times… I am just happy for both of us to ignore each other… but it still hurts. I can’t imagine your pain 😦 (((hugs))) xx


    • April 25, 2014 at 11:08 am

      (((Bourbon))) Thank you. I appreciate your understanding. But from what I have read, you endured much worst treatment from your mother and being ignored is being ignored. I do not like that other people have experienced this, but it’s good to not be alone in knowing how this feels. xx AG


  12. Blackbird
    April 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

    “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. 16″Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.…Isaiah 49

    My dear Aglet, this is ouchy, ouchy stuff. Its unthinkable that your own mother should treat you this way. She is undoubedly protecting herself from the deep pain of metanoia, but- unfortunately she will be miserable until she can go through that type of repentance. And its not stuff that you can grieve and move on at some point from…because your mum is still alive, and as long as she is alive the hope that she will repent and reconcile with you will remain, and closure can’t happen. Its like an open wound that won’t heal. But I will offer this, for you to take or leave- its a good hope. Its a good pain. Your suffering is not in vain, keeping your heart open to the hope of reconciliation in pain like this will bear much good fruit! Its good you have the BN to help. and you do not need to be humiliated for needing another person to help you through the kind of pain and sorrow you are dealing with. Why wouldn’t? That’s not the kind of thing that its good to carry alone.

    Much love,



    • April 25, 2014 at 11:12 am

      (((Beebs))) How do you do that? You go to the heart of the matter and provide me an understanding that is such a gift. That’s exactly it, no matter how much I school myself, the hope is not going to go away while my mother draws breath. But I made the decision to send her a birthday card each year (that’s my only contact) because of who I wish to be, to try to be the person I believe I am called to be. Thank you for reminding me of the growth and beauty that can grow out of being willing to suffer and accept that some things will be painful, but still should be done. I also appreciate the reminder that needing help is not a bad thing. You have no idea how much your insight helped me Thank you, dear one. love, your Aglet 🙂


      • Blackbird
        April 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

        The growth and beauty is in your heart, my dear. Sowing seeds of love and hope in yourself when it hurts, and never giving up on another soul that has deeply wronged you- that requires great strength of spirit- and its not something a person should attempt alone. Big hugs, my lovely, keep sending those beautiful yearly birthday cards, if you find you can. You may never know the effect they are having- this side of heaven.



      • Robin
        April 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        Just a word of caution though based on my own experience…whole other issues can come up after the last breath is drawn. Death doesn’t necessary correlate with closure. Because with physical death may also come the death of a dream of ever having that ‘mother’ that was sought after for so long. (Even if that dream seems unrealistic, it still may exist.) It can complicate things for sure.

        Life sure can be confusing sometimes…


        • April 26, 2014 at 9:45 pm

          Hi Robin,
          Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting, I think you make a good point. When my father died the world became a safer place for me, but there was grief over the realization that there was never going to be any repair this side of heaven. I think when you lose a parent, you grieve, Either you grieve what you lost or in the case of people like us, you grieve for what you never had. I have continued to work on issues with my father well after his death. But I will also say that there was a freedom in looking at some things because I finally felt safe enough. It’s just not a simple process, ~ AG


  13. Ann
    April 25, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Blackbird, you indeed speak with much wisdom. The Bible says to honor your parents. It does not command us to love them. This helps me when I get all twisted with guilt about the emotional distance I keep with my parents. I help them in practical ways (doctor appointments etc). I see AG doing this by sending birthday cards to her unresponsive mother. AG, you are opening the door, I am sad for what your mother loses by not walking through. I believe she will regret it. I love the gift you gave your children by admitting you are not perfect, are willing to be flexible and open with them and teaching them the value of love and forgiveness. Some parents can not tolerate imperfection in themselves or their children. These kids never feel good enough and aren’t allowed to express pain and frustration. Hope your session went well with BN! How can he not love you? 🙂 Hope you do something for yourself this weekend! Xoxo Ann/ Also there is nothing wrong with being idealized. That just puts you up here with Brad Pitt!


    • Blackbird
      April 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you, Ann. I have thought long and deeply about this issue, I think keeping emotional distance is never wrong when it is an act of self-respect, self-preservation but if one practices it in a spirit of revenge or bitterness, can harm you more inside yourself as it becomes a psychological defense and the heart shuts down to protect from the pain of unreciprocated love for our parents… We learnt to love ourselves by doing what we could to keep our hearts open and tender, in spite of them, or maybe because of them. But its an ouchy business all the way around it, is it not? Awful stuff. you and Ag- brave people. Keep on chugging!


    • April 26, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Thank you Ann, I have to agree that BN loves me. We had a really good session on Friday and he really helped me work through the shame, His compassion and care were very evident and he let me know that he does not see me through the filter of my shame, If I couldn’t have “good enough” parents, the next best thing is to have BN in my life. And if I get to be with someone can I go with Robert Downey Jr instead of Brad Pitt? LOL Thank you for the kind words Ann you truly are an encouragement for me. xx AG


  14. Ann
    April 25, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    And Blackbird, I hope you never fly away from us! 🙂 Ann


  15. Little Blond Girl
    April 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    (AG) This hit home for me, as I’ve been dealing with some stuff in my own life that leave me with the thought that the only parent that I have left that cares about me is my T and you’re quite right, I am also faced with the fact that he’s not my parent but my therapist, no matter what I might hope for (and I also marvel at the patience my T has in putting up with me). And hope, yes hope, keeps us going but can also hurt so much. Hope that we will have the parent we so wanted, hope that they’ll change, and it hurts when they don’t. I think you’re amazing for continuing to reach out, to continue to remind her the door is open, even if it’s a card once a year, it’s a door. And in the end, while it’ll suck, you’ll at least know you tried. You are worthy. Very much so. And when you want connection the least is likely when you need it the most, so good for you for posting! I hope you had a good session with BN.


    • April 26, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      ((LBG)) That’s exactly it, I keep returning to the pain of the boundaries only to realize that really its my pain about my parents, What I have with BN is what allows me to know my loss, I am so very grateful for what he gives me, sometimes stunned beyond my ability to express, and then it can turn to grief because this, what he gives me, is what I should have had from the get go. But never has the saying “better late than never” been more apt. 🙂 I am glad that we can heal, that we can learn to have healthier relationships going forward, and learn to manage the effects of the neglect and abuse, BN was very encouraging that he sees me more aware of my shame and moving through it more quickly, so something must be sinking in. I’m sorry you know this loss also, but thank you for sharing this, xx AG


      • Elsewhere
        April 28, 2014 at 5:49 am

        No cake then…? 😉


        • April 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

          Sorry Els, no cake. LOL. But there was a deep recognition on my part that BN has never felt uncomfortable about our relationship and that I have been carrying an unwarranted sense of shame around it since the beginning. I am stepping deeper into realizing that its a good thing and ok to settle into and enjoy. Not as tasty as frosting, I’ll give you, but more sustaining. 🙂


        • Elsewhere
          April 29, 2014 at 12:44 am

          Much MUCH better than cake! Very happy for you.


  16. Ann
    April 28, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    AG, if you don’t mind sharing, what exactly helped you recognize that BN was totally comfortable with your relationship with him? It sounds like you are in a new place in therapy and I am so happy for you! Xo


    • April 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Ann,
      I was considering writing a post on my last session and this may have tipped me over the edge. 🙂 Let me see if there’s enough there for a post, if not I’ll come back here. 🙂 xx


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