After having another EDMR session today to deal with the trauma of the ‘critical parent’ and ‘abusive’ parent, in this case my mother, I decided to share the email I used, to bring up the painful emotions of being shamed, gaslighted, the double bind and the awful criticisms. There is even a threat towards the end..
This email is in respone to me telling my mother that ‘I am fed up of her constantly dismissing my feelings and that I feel she hasn’t been a good mother’. That is all I said and this was before I discovered she was narcissistic/borderline/histrionic.These emails were written in December 2014 and now felt like a good time to share them.
In her respone to me, you can see how distraught she is that I would ‘dare’ say such things to her after all these years..I tried in the past to tell her that she didn’t listen but gave up as she would always turn it around and make it my fault..If only therapists back then had told me she is narcissistic.
The text in BOLD is when she gets nasty, patronising and clearly narcissistic..
My comments are in Italic and with stars at the beginning and end..
Hi, obviously I can’t speak to you anymore without getting upset and you feel that you need to cleanse yourself for some reason.
I have done the best that I can over the years for you and have never consciously let you down.
Whatever we have been through together is in the past and I thought we had dealt with it all and moved on.
I have in your eyes got things very, very wrong and you now have decided that I should hear all the things that you want to blame me for.
I am so sorry that you, as a mature women, still need to blame me and that all the help that you have sought over the years has not helped you take responsibility for your own processing.
**she is saying that my therapy hasn’t helped me and that is why I am blaming her. My therapy is firstly none of her business and secondly I wish I had never told her about going**
I had not needed to become involved recently to sort things out and since October I was leaving you to get on with you new married life knowing that you could lean on your husband for any support that you needed.
Mothers are human beings who do the best that they can do for their kids. The kids grow up with memories of some experiences and then depend on their parents for guidance. I would have hoped that some of my help, support and guidance might have served you well over the years. You may have ended up with terrible memories of your teenage years but let me make it clear, I stood up for you every step of the way. I endlessly worked behind the scenes persuading your father that you deserved the best English speaking schooling. I fought for you to be allowed to study abroad even when I sat at other peoples’ parties and listened to your Dad say that he wanted you to stay in Greece and study like he did. I fought your corner when your Dad was chasing you around town after you and we cuddled up under your duvet many times for chat and reiki.
There are so many things that happen that a child can’t remember. There are only their own memories and that becomes the story that they hold in their head.
**Here she is trying to tell me that my memories are not valid, as she doesn’t remember things to be so bad**
There is no point in me telling you all this now— it is in the past and you have grown up, gone through therapy and came out the other end a stronger adult who had struggled through so many difficulties. Most of the time I have tried to be there for you but your memories and analysis is always going to be unique to you and I will hold other memories unique to me.
Adults who love and respect each other take complete responsibility for themselves and do not hold grudges and blame. Oh yes I have made lots of mistakes, yes I have been ill and fought many battles but I take responsibility for who I am today. I blame no one and look at life from a place of what I have learnt. Even when I have been angry and feeling let down by my parents, I have never spoken to them as you have spoken to me. I do not deserve at my age to be used as your punch bag . Whether you like me and my actions or not you have abused too many boundaries that no mature person crosses with their Mother. The only fault on my part is that I was never tough enough. Tough Love was something I tried not to do. However that I now regret, as now I see that you are behaving like a pathetic, little spoilt child, ready to blame me as you can’t take it.
** She says she blames no one, however she has always put blame on everyone else but herself..Also note how she has capitalised the word Mother, as if she is some sort of queen.She also made herself the victim by saying ”at my age” (She is 61). Then you can clearly see the criticisms of me as ”a pathetic, little spoilt child” which is ridiculous but is something she has loved calling me all my life. Wanting the love of your mother isn’t something I would call ”spoilt”!
You now have a support network, your husband and your best friend.
I was so looking forward to us all sharing your love, happiness and building many happy years together this Christmas.
I am destroyed by what you have already said. I am disgusted that you think that you can turn around now and say the vile things. I also will be unable to give you the presents that I had bought and I am sad that I can no longer welcome you to my house.
** She labels the feelings I expressed as ”vile”and clearly states that I am not welcome in her home. I will let you draw your own conclusions on these.**
Like any other MUM, I am allowed my own life, my own home and my own future. I have opened my heart and my house to you many, many times. I realise now that everything has been misconstrued by you and it is a terrible shock to discover this.
I still believe in some very traditional family values which my Mum has taught all her daughters. We are all different, we all bicker and complain about each other but let me tell you, each of my sisters have loving hearts and have always been there for me in one way or another. I am alone and turning to them, to the family respect for our Mother and the good solid stability that they can offer me. I regret that I did not offer you the same Tough Love that is needed sometimes.
You have choices to make and you have to search deep inside your own heart and your goodness to find your way forward.
Please do not put any of the family in the place of mediator nor ask you cousins to take sides. Please think very carefully about the words that you so desperately want to say and the impact on whoever they are addressed to.
I understand that you must be in a place of deep despair to be acting the way you are acting and hurting and shocking those who have most loved you in your life.
Ask yourself “ What am I prepared to lose?” before you do or say anything else.
**”What am I prepared to lose” -Nice little threat here **
All the family love you and are upset by what has happened between us You have health, wealth and happiness so please appreciate that and get on with your life.
Below is my response, which took a week for me to send. I didn’t expect anything spectacular to be said in response to this..but just thought you might like to read it..
I would like to express my feelings to you in response to your email and in response to everything that has happened recently.
From my point of a view, when a child steps out of line, a parent should never be ‘critical’ in the way that I feel you have over the years. To discipline a child is of course ok, but ‘never’ should any parent use ‘critical words’ to describe a child. I am not a parent myself, and I don’t claim to know how difficult a job it is, however it is still ok for me to say that from a daughter’s point of view.
The words ‘blame’ and ‘control’ keep popping up in your emails towards me. You seem to ‘internalize’ the truth of my feelings and feel everything as ‘blame’ and it saddens me now to think that you consider my actions to be a way of ‘me trying to control you or our relationship’. You obviously aren’t comfortable when the ball isn’t in your court, but I will still continue to protect myself if I feel threatened in any way. I feel that you only ‘approve’ of my responses and feelings if it is ‘only’ what you are comfortable hearing.
I asked you if I could stay with you for 3 months so I could work to save for my Masters (whilst also paying you some money every month). You knew how important this was for me! Instead you came up with a million excuses as to why you thought it wasn’t a good idea. You are my mother and I came to you as every daughter or son does when they need support. I haven’t asked you for much! You made me feel unwanted and once again you put your own ‘selfish needs’ ahead of my own. Most mothers would be delighted to have their grown up children stay with them.
A mother is first and foremost ‘supposed’ to support their child, not make it feel worse! Yes you can disagree with how I expressed my pain, but that comes after you have comforted me, without criticism! It is ok to express my sadness and disappointment in you, after many years of not being able to express my feelings.
My feelings are that you cannot validate my ‘truth’ and every daughter or son is ‘allowed’ to speak their truth, without being ‘shamed’ for doing so. You talk about not ‘shaming and blaming’ however you have used this sort of behaviour as far back as I remember, with both my brother and I. This is why you couldn’t cope when I expressed my disappointment in your mothering towards me. Your translation of this was immediately felt as ‘abuse’ and ‘blame’ and ‘vile’ and like a ‘punch-bag’, which in my and others eyes are all extreme reactions to me simply telling you that you haven’t been a good mother. Yes the truth hurts but in no way should you act in the way you acted. You obviously still have a lot of ‘hurt’ of your own, which I feel you project onto me when you don’t like what you hear or when something about me shows vulnerability or weakness.
Whenever I have tried to be ‘true’ to my vulnerable feelings and expressed these to you, you have rejected them because they didn’t make you feel good about yourself. No child is supposed to make the ‘parent’ feel good or validated. That is a parent’s job towards their child.
You claim that we have had a ‘healthy mother-daughter relationship’ with unconditional love. Your angry outburst on skype and now repeated in your email, where you ‘denied me’ entry to your home ever again, proves that your love is only ‘conditional’ and it has been this way many times before. The threat in your email ‘what am I willing to lose’ also proves my point. Both of these statements are unforgivable to me, especially when you haven’t even been able to say ‘Sorry’.
I know there are also exceptions where I have also felt close to you over the years and I will cherish those moments. These were especially when I was younger, when you taught me how to bake, made my birthday parties special, during my first heartbreak, during my wedding and whenever we have been in the presence of family and friends. You have also taught me to be responsible, clean and tidy and polite. There are always good qualities to value and memories to remember.
As you know, I luckily do have a lot of supportive people in my life and have seen many therapists over the years, which have have given me a lot of insight into my life. It takes a lot of grieving to come to terms with ‘why’ I have felt so empty and sad most of my life, and this grieving takes time and goes through stages. I am still going through these stages.
In order to be able to continue a relationship with you, I will no longer come to you for support in a moment of weakness or ask you to help me in any way. Like you said in your email, I can continue to do that with m husband and friends, as they are better equipped to be supportive.
At the moment, I think its best we continue communicating via email. This way neither of us can get too ’emotional’.
You are my mum and I will always love you, because deep down I know you have a lot of pain of your own and have had a lot to deal with. I just wish that you had dealt with it properly in the past because your pain continues to hurt me. I will not allow you to continue to hurt me.
To sum up, I would like to say that this is my truth and if you want to reply in a way that will hurt me please refrain from doing so.
If there is anything that you would like to say that might be helpful, then I am happy to read it.