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Tag Archives: negative messages

Mother’s Day Survival Guide–How To Cope If You Have a Narcissistic Mother

Hi everyone.  May is approaching. It’s a big month for many.  If you have a difficult relationship with your mother, you may find yourself here, reading this, because you need support on how to cope….

If you are a mom then it may help to stay focused on the fact that this is a special day for you as a mother–my two children and my husband like to make it special which is wonderful and I look forward to spending the day with them and being the focus of their attention. My daughter’s birthday is always around Mother’s Day and our anniversary is in May so there is always alot going on.

If you are not a parent then allow yourself to be busy with all the positive things that are Spring related–even spring cleaning and decluttering to bring renewed positive energy into your home. (Distracting yourself may only be helpful if you are also working through any painful feelings that arise by writing in a journal for your eyes only or purging your pain verbally with a safe person in your life who can be an enlightened witness for you.) I allow myself to be distracted because I know in my heart now (after all of my inner grief work) that it is okay for me to detach from any relationship that does not feel like I have the freedom to be ME!  I no longer feel guilty for putting LOVE and self-compassion first in my life.  It is for your higher good to have healthy boundaries in your life–detach from people who you do not feel safe around to be YOURSELF! After you fully heal and feel safe to be YOU without being triggered and stressed then you can reassess your desire to have a closer relationship with any people in question.  It is okay whatever you decide to do–just do what is the least stressful for your healing soul.

So, focusing on being positive and on the other positive events going on for you in May and making them special for your loved ones will help to supercede any negative feelings that may arise.  And isn’t that what we all need to do all the time anyway?  Build ourselves up with positive messages–affirmations if you will–the opposite of what we (highly sensitive children) may have received growing up.  For example, tell yourself  “I can do it!”  instead of  “you can’t do that–who do you think you are!”  And “I love and approve of myself” instead of “what were you thinking–why did you do it that way!”  And say, “I am safe” for the dreaded “how dare you talk to me that way–you are so ungrateful!”    Perhaps now you can see how ridiculous the accusations and blaming are, because you know the truth about you is the opposite and these were said out of inner fear, inner shame and ignorance and not necessarily to hurt you.  But at the time, these accusations were excruciatingly painful to you.  As highly sensitive children we trusted our caretakers more than we trusted ourselves.

There are so many more examples  you may be thinking of, but the point here is not to believe these negative messages in our heads, given to us by someone with conditional love as a parenting method that was passed down for many generations without guilt.  Conditional love is not love.  The opposite of these messages is probably more the real truth.  When you find yourself thinking something negative like “I am never going to get this done” or “I am not good at this”–turn it around and be the ideal mother to yourself that you never had.  Say “I am doing a good job”  and “I am great at this” and “look how much I got done already”.  You deserve these positive messages now and you deserved them as a child.

I can feel the stress of Mother’s Day approaching from all of you out there and so I want to give you some additional extra support to help you stay strong and be true to yourself and honor your feelings.  As highly sensitive people, we want so badly to do the right thing, the kindest thing, the most compassionate response at all times and so we feel guilt for not wanting to honor thy mother on this day that is meant to honor those mothers who are honorable.  And so I am going to write out some quotes from a book that helped me in my darkest hours when I needed them most at the age of 25.  The name of the book is “Cutting Loose–An Adult’s Guide To Coming To Terms With Your Parents”.  This book by Howard M. Halpern, Ph.D.  is full of wonderful emotionally healthy ways to deal with every kind of difficult parent you can imagine.  There is the martyred parent, the despotic parent, the seductive parent, the moralistic parent, and of course the parent with a narcissistic disturbance but who is remorseful about their actions if you confront them.  The book talks about all kinds of ways you can learn to communicate with these kinds of parents and for some of you there may actually be some light at the end of the tunnel if your parent is genuinely remorseful!  A very helpful part of the book is the very last chapter that talks about dealing with the narcissistic parent that takes an adversary stance.  Here is some of it:

“The narcissistic parent in a adversary posture is an enraged peacock.  When you stop trying to win his (her) nurturant caring by being a compliant extension of him, when you no longer exalt him, when you stop following his pre-scribed script, he will react with the indignant certainty, “If you are not a part of me, you’re against me.”  And, if you require reciprocity in your relationship with him, if you insist on a flow of give and take, he will feel that you are trying to take everything from him and always have your own way.  He (she) may be willing to write you off rather than submit to such an obviously unfair demand on your part, and unfortunately you may have to let him do just that.”

“The form a parent’s rigidity may take when it hardens into an adversary position will differ with the type of inner child he has, but what they all have in common is enormous rage and outrage if you fail to act as they expect.  And theirs is not a transient outburst at unexpected frustration or disappointment–their fury may calcify into a chronic suspiciousness or hatred in which you can sense the willingness to destroy the relationship with you and even to wreck your happiness and theirs rather than accept a new way of relating.”

“Depending on you, the experience of your parent perceiving you as an enemy will either so traumatize you that you will choose to regress back to the old song and dance, or will so clarify how impossible it is to have a viable, constructive relationship with him that it will make it easier for you to terminate the tie.  You know what going back means; you’ve been there.  Under the circumstances, if you’ve come so far that you’ve been able to change the song and dance and this has done nothing but propel them into an adversary stance, it is clearly better to make the painful decision to let it go.”  

Hoping this is helpful for you to read!  As I have said before, it takes a lot of inner strength and outside supports to take the action of setting boundaries with a parent. If you are one of the people who is in this position and struggling with guilt on this Mother’s Day week, please know that you are not alone.  I am here to say, everything is going to be okay, if you will be especially kind to yourself and your wounded inner child this week.  Think back to some things you loved as a child and do that for yourself on Mother’s Day.  Ride your bike, play with your dog or cat, skip through a field of flowers, read a favorite comic book, watch your favorite show, take a bubble bath, draw a silly picture, or finger paint. If this just seems too silly to you, wasn’t it fun just imagining yourself doing those things?   That is the power of visualizations and affirmations to change your mood–it really works!  The strong part of you can mother, nurture, comfort and love the wounded inner child part of you on Mother’s Day–imagine the adult you comforting the child you.

This powerful exercise will help you in your healing if you do it whenever you are feeling a lot of self-doubt, guilt, or emotional pain. Also do something special for yourself.   Maybe you could buy yourself a small gift you’ve been wanting or wanted as a child as a reward for being strong.  You survived!  And as a highly sensitive person (HSP), you are stronger and have more to give to others because of the compassion you recognize that you deserved but never received from your mother.  Be the mother you never had to yourself and you can begin to heal your childhood wounds and find your true voice and become the person that you are meant to be. God Bless You All.

Today I have decided to release the lyrics for my song, “Finally I See, Now I’m Free”.  This song was written  at a time when I realized the futility of a relationship in my life and was grieving for what would never be–but also discovered an inner strength and a new found sense of freedom.  I hope it brings you some comfort and strength during this difficult week.

With love,

Roxanne

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Helpful Tips About Healing Childhood Pain–From Self-doubt To Finding Your True Purpose

Hi everyone.  I hope you are able to enjoy the beauty in the spring flowering trees and all of the splashes of purple and pink that are so breathtaking–at least they are here where I am located.  Wherever you are, I am grateful for the technology of the internet that helps me to feel as if I am connected to you–all of you who are highly sensitive and have endured a less than healthy environment during your formative years.  I understand your struggle to make sense of the self-doubt and negative messages in your heads and of the occasional upheaval of childhood wounds that are sometimes too painful to bear.  I used to feel that way–I have come such a long way from self-doubt to finding my voice as a person and knowing my true purpose in life.  I can still remember the pain and confusion and sometimes I still have wounds that come up and surprise me.  The difference is, now, I am no longer blocked and afraid of feeling my feelings and I am able to release them and comfort my inner child through them much faster and with positive results.  This took many years but I am hoping I can help you to feel supported and encouraged by my sharing what I learned to get me from there to here.

One of the first things I remember vividly about my painful journey was reading Alice Miller’s book, The Drama of the Gifted Child.  I was 28 when I first heard about this book and started reading it with the feeling that finally someone understands what I can not seem to put into words yet.  The parts of this book that were most helpful to me was when she, the author, talked about her own struggles, her own denial about her abuse as a child, and her own ultimate acknowledgement of her childhood pain that she had suppressed until the age of 48.  That is when she started doing spontaneous painting and began painting out her pain.  Mind you, she had Ph.D’s in Psychology, Philosophy, and Sociology and was a practicing Psychoanalyst when she said that  it was her own patients and her own innate compassion for what they were going through that made her look at her own life and begin to question her psychoanalytic training. She then started writing about inner child healing and about her discoveries about her own and her patients’ emotional childhood wounds–she wrote about how speaking their truth to an empathetic listener (enlightened witness) helped them to free themselves from their inner prison of self-doubt and loneliness.  I used to have to read parts of this book over and over because the concepts were just outside of my comprehension. But each time I would read it I would grasp a new concept and then feel much comfort and relief.

TIP #1:  One of the things I learned that really helped me a lot was when she said that “loneliness is a symptom of the traumatic separation from the true self in early childhood”.  There are people who are alone who do not feel lonely at all; in fact they feel whole and complete and have much love to give because they have access to their true selves, their feelings, their voice as a person.  This gave me so much hope–that this loneliness I felt was not my fault but the result of something that happened to me–something that was taken away from me as a result of a survival mechanism that I had before but I just cannot recall ever having it–this true self.  When I think back 20 years ago and realize that I have now been able to recall and acknowledge that traumatic separation and access my true self and have compassion for the self that I lost as a child, it is just amazing to me and I want so much to help others to regain their vitality as I did.

That brings me to another helpful quote from her book that I will never forget:

TIP #2:  It is that the opposite of depression is not happiness.  The opposite of depression is “vitality and the ability to spontaneously express all the feelings of your true self” as they come up and release them.   For me this concept was monumental in that happiness was no longer a goal of mine and I could relax and just work on releasing my feelings whatever they were so they would become unblocked and I would feel relief.  This just reinforced me to continue journaling out my feelings even further which I had been encouraged to do by my wonderful first counselor at the age of 23.  I couldn’t find an enlightened witness to talk to about my childhood pain but I would write out my truth and become my own enlightened witness.  Whenever I felt blocked (depressed) I would write out my pain and find relief in my own compassionate heart.  Alice Miller’s words helped me discover my own compassion because she paved the way with her own compassionate heart for others and then for herself.  She was truly a pioneer in her time of validating one’s truth and finding our true self through compassion for the painful childhoods we endured that caused our feelings to become repressed–our truth was hidden from even ourselves because it was too painful to bear as children.

Many other famous psychologists have used her concepts and quotes in their books including John Bradshaw and his book on internalized shame and Charles Whitfield’s book called Healing the Child Within.  Both of these books are included in my Recommended Books section under PAGES.

Alice Miller became famous because of her books and decided to take a public stand against child abuse of all kinds including corporal punishment (spanking) in schools and in homes too of course.  She has a website which just this month she posted her last comment in the readers’ mail section that said, due to her ill health, she will no longer be able to maintain her website.  She is 87 years old and I feel so sad about this. I am hoping you will visit her website at www.alice-miller.com.  She is leaving it up and available so it will continue to help others.  All of her books are wonderful and I highly recommend them for anyone with childhood pain issues and even if you do not recall any childhood abuse but still suffer from self-doubt and depression–it could be that your lack of memory (repression) is protecting you from the truth and her books will inspire in you a compassion for yourself that will make a difference in your life.  That is certainly what happened for me.  Compassion for what happened to us as highly sensitive children is just the beginning of the end to our suffering from deep loneliness. And it is the beginning of a life filled with vitality and love for ourselves.  And when we finally can love ourselves as we truly deserve, then we have the energy to share our hopes and desires and gifts with others and that, my friends, is our true purpose in life!

Quite a few of you find my website by searching the terms “I have never been loved” and “hsps and emotional pain.”  I hope that you feel much comfort and support when you read of my own struggle and journey and read the lyrics to my songs of hope and healing.  The Number One most clicked on song lyrics by far are for the song “I Have Never Been Loved Before” so I am sharing this link with you today.  I hope it brings you the hope and healing you deserve on your journey to finding your true purpose and your voice as a person.   As a highly sensitive, highly gifted, and compassionate soul, your voice is so needed on this planet!  I am grateful for your beautiful soul!

With love, Roxanne

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