I feel awful. I am trying to think why. I’ve tried sitting with it – that does help, but it all comes back again.
It seems to relate to what we talked about in therapy. The last two sessions, we were talking more about my family (FOO). For all the therapy I’ve had, I haven’t often talked about them. The SA was from an uncle, after all. Then my life tended to be crap, so I’d talk about that. So though you’d think I’d have discussed the old family a lot by this point, that’s not the case.
I’d been reading a book called The Narcissistic Family. According to this book, a family is narcissistic not so much when the parents are narcissists, but when the family exists to take care of the needs of the parents, not the needs of the children. Families can look very good on the outside, with activities for the kids, home cooked meals, no addictions or overt abuse, vacations….all this can be happening, yet it is narcissistic, and the children from such homes don’t do well in later life.
My family was like that, and I felt quite bad complaining about them, because they obviously tried hard. I realize a lot of work went into it.
When I was reading the book, I realized that I wasn’t that aware that the family should be there for the needs of the children. That is a bit of a new concept for me. I mean, I guess I realized intellectually that yes, children are most needy. But in my family, certainly, I felt it was up to me to be good and to please my parents in all ways. If I felt sad, or angry, I was taught to keep that to myself from a very early age, because my parents would be upset if I expressed that.
Ron pointed out that actually, the children have needs, but mostly the parents have wants. My parents for instance didn’t actually ‘need’ me to be perfect in school – they wanted that, as it reflected well on them. They didn’t need for me not to cry ever – that was simply more convenient and more comfortable for them.
The problem for the child is when they must suppress their feelings and wants and perceptions, the child loses touch with who they really are. And other bad things happen to them.
For me, in therapy, I don’t seem to stay with this type of discussion. What happens is I turn into that child again, who is desperately sad, and wants to tell Ron about it.
We also talked a bit about my mother. I’ve always felt detached from my mother. She’s a very reserved person. I was not a favorite with her as a child – we are perhaps too different, and she would have found my emotionality threatening. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to try to talk with her about any problems I had – at least, not once I was over the age of maybe eight.
We’ve never exactly fought either. We didn’t have enough closeness to fight I think. Anyway, she came by the other day to drop off a birthday card. It was fine talking to her. I have rarely experienced sitting down with my mother to chat – when I visit her house, she is too busy, and she rarely visits me.
Ron wants to know what the feeling was between us, when she gave me the card. I think, and don’t know what he means really. I didn’t feel anything. Did we hug? Yes, when she left. A formal kind of a hug.
I found discussing my mother disturbing. Not a fun time at all.