The Intrinsic Uniqueness of Every Individual

Slowly but surely, I’ve been working through the issues that I have with my mom and how she acts when a conflict comes up or something bad happens between the people living in the house. For her, she tends to close everything inside of herself and retreat until she can come out and face the other people head on. For me, I hate conflict and tension in the atmosphere, so I tend to want to fix the situation right away and talk it out to get everything out in the open and to clear the air. This has been a huge factor in the dynamic between my mom and me and how a conflict between us unfolds usually. I have often found myself driven mad by the fact that my mom needs days (sometimes even weeks) to work through it all and be able to face me again.

What I am starting to understand for the first time in my life, is that the bad things that might come out after a conflict has already transpired between us and my mom is triggered again by something, have nothing to do with me in any shape or form. They are merely issues that she is still working through and if she calls me a mean name or says I am bad in any kind of capacity, it’s just her dealing with her own inner pain in order to find peace. In the past, I have always believed that what my mom said to me, even when she wasn’t fully aware or in control of the logical and rational part of herself, was indeed fact and I internalized those negative and mean things about myself to be true, believed it with every inch of my being. Thankfully, I am working on not doing that anymore and it’s getting easier and easier.

I just had a session with my psychologist so I just got a lot of very useful and amazing insight into myself, my mom and my fiancé (Mike). It’s truly amazing how different we all are and how the different ways that we were brought up and the different experiences that we’ve all had have shaped us all completely different from one another, into completely unique and different kinds of people. Of course, I do believe that we are born with some qualities already instilled in us but as to how extreme or to what capacity those qualities are revealed later on in life, has a lot to do with our lives and the obstacles we have overcome/ how we dealt with them.

I have found that, as if it’s not already hard enough being the middle person between Mike and my mom, that I am rather malleable and can see many different sides of a situation and how it could make sense either way and this only contributes to my crisis in dealing with both and trying to not get in conflict with either of them. Most of the time I feel as if I am being pulled in both directions, by the two most important people in my life and I honestly hate this feeling. So why haven’t I just told them that “enough is enough”, and made them deal with each other on their own? It all goes back to my hatred of conflict and my inability to move on with my life when I am stuck in the thick of one conflict with someone that I really care about.

And then, it’s all completely connected. Because of my fear of conflict and growing up with a mother who has bipolar, it’s really made me very in tune with energies and people’s auras. I had to navigate my mom’s mood my whole entire life and for this reason I have developed a “survival skill”, in which I test the atmosphere and the flow of energy in the room before deciding how to approach my mom in this particular instance and situation. The funny thing is, that even though growing up with my mom has made me rather skilled at reading other people’s energy and aura, it has not made me that skilled at reading my own mother’s. It might have to do with the fact that she is unpredictable and her behavior varies so much but it’s frustrating because that would have saved me so many tears and emotions.

I did like that Lisa made it a bit more understandable to me, she said, “unpredictable behavior is still a pattern of behavior” and this really stood out to me. So maybe the reason I haven’t been good at deciphering my mom’s moods day to day and her particular energy is because what she does doesn’t have a pattern. Delving this deeply into my own mind and psyche has really just helped me open my eyes even more and see things I have never seen before about myself. We really are such complicated and intrinsic individuals and it’s truly extraordinary just how deep our thoughts and minds can go.

Insecurities and Accusations

Wow, what a productive session we just had, especially the last 30 minutes of it. For the first time since this whole incident with the car I feel hope that we can eventually all move foreward from this and have even a closer/stronger bond with each other. I was not feeling like this at the beginning of the session but I definitely feel like this now.

My mom is still downtown, staying at her condo, so we had a three way Skype session which didn’t start off too great. I found out earlier that my mom was still stuck in the whole, “throwing things that she’s done for us in our face when we’re going through some sort of conflict” thing. Basically, the accusations that Mike made against my mom, weren’t really based on fact and conspired mostly because Mike got upset and had a lot of negative feelings to communicate towards my mom on behalf of himself and me as well. Let me point out that my mom and Mike have never had a direct conversation with each other in that way.

So, she can’t move on from this whole incident because she feels that we are using how much Mike is worried about me and my relationship with my mom as a bandaid to not discuss and talk through specifically the accusations that were made against her by Mike. What she is finding difficult to understand is that Mike didn’t mean all the accusations he made against her because she doesn’t want anything like this to happen in the future. I don’t know what it will take for her to understand that Mike actually didn’t mean what he said on account of her and what he accused her off. It seems my mom is not believing many things that we are saying and trying to communicate in terms of this whole fight, which is actually not very new for her because she doesn’t believe most of the stuff I say anyways.

Halfway through the session, she got really upset about me bringing up her saying little “remarks” in a passive aggressive way and how much they hurt and bother me. She actually got so upset about them that she outright left the session and I was just one-on-one with Lisa at that point. That last half with Lisa was really helpful though and I was able to understand where my mom is coming from, at least partially. I can understand her getting upset by me bringing up her little remarks because she’s been working hard to improve this and not do it as much. I have seen an improvement in her doing it less definitely, it’s just something that was inevitably brought up during the huge blow out argument because things tend to come to the surface when emotions are running high.

Lisa also brought up a very good point, that what usually triggers us and makes us more emotional or upset in some way, usually happens because it addresses something in ourselves that we are either insecure or feel negatively about in some way. For example, my mom’s remarks about me being a bad mom really hurts me more then anything else that she says does because I am insecure in my own success or failure as a parent. Being a mom has by far been the hardest thing I have ever had to go through or do in my life and for this reason it’s still very new and I am trying to figure things out as I go along. I question myself all the time, “Am I doing enough social things with the kids?”, “Do other moms struggle as much as I do?”, “Are my kids hindered in some way because of how many temper tantrums they throw daily?”…..the list goes on and on. My mom actually wanted back into the conversation but Lisa called her at the end instead to share what I shared with her about how I feel about being a mom.

All in all, it was a very good step in the right direction and I hope that we just keep making progress towards improving everyone’s interaction and relationships with each other. Also, we came to the conclusion that Mike needs to be part of these sessions as well because he is a big part of this family and can benefit from this as well.

Kill Them With Kindness

I have another joint session with my mother and our psychologist tomorrow and I am dreading it, mostly because I have no idea what is going to happen and if any old wounds will be reopened that will upset my mom even more and for an even longer period of time. I can barely stand her being so cold and distant right now, I don’t know how much longer I will be able to handle it before I will be forced to numb all my feelings completely.

The assignment was to write down what we feel the other person is still resentful of towards us. I am not sure how long this list will be but I am going to do a bullet pointed list, with brief explanations if need be.

Okay, so here goes…….

It is my understandable belief that my mother resents me for:

  1. Not establishing myself in my career after I graduated from such an expensive University as Loyola, that she paid for.
  2. Getting pregnant before I was well established with a career and able to be 100% independent.
  3. Settling and having children with someone like Mike, who is obviously a bit rough around the edges.
  4. Not being as fearless and open to new experiences and obstacles in life when they present themselves.
  5. Not being smarter, more of a go getter…..etc. Basically not being someone more like her.
  6. Being my father’s daughter and not Yuri’s, since Yuri is more successful and his daughter is better off in life right now then I am. It just seems like his daughter has personality traits that I completely lack.
  7. Holding her back from being able to “live” her life as she wants to live it.
  8. Not taking what she says as law 100% of the time and questioning her ways of thinking versus mine.

I know that I will probably be able to think of more as time goes on but those are the ones that stand out to me in my mind right now. My whole life I grew up not feeling good enough, mostly because my mother is in a class of human being that is almost all her own. She came here with me from another country and established herself while raising and supporting me without much help whatsoever. I often look at her in awe because I am certain I wouldn’t have been able to do that if I was in her place. She just has these qualities of a go-getter and of someone who needs to keep going, needs to keep moving forward and doesn’t need to take many breaks at all or maybe she just refuses to take any. And as amazing as that is, it sounds exhausting to me just thinking about it.

On the other hand, I have always judged myself for lacking in qualities where she so obviously excels. I often wish I would have been Yuri’s daughter or at least would have taken more traits from her and less from my father. It seems that the only trait I have taken from her is her sensitivity and heightened emotional state. In the past I have seen myself in a completely negative light and thought that something was wrong with me because I saw myself with these qualities: moodiness, pessimism, laziness, stupidity, unattractiveness….the list goes on and on. I knew I could never live up to her expectations because I was so different from her and I wished so badly to be more like her.

It’s taken me time but I don’t see myself all bad anymore. Sure, I might not be like my mother in many ways but that’s okay because I am my own person and I have many amazing qualities regardless. Weather or not she resents me for all of the things I have listed above, I don’t know but what I do know is that just because I am not more like my mom doesn’t mean I am a bad person and it doesn’t mean that I am a bad mother, daughter, fiancé…..etc. And after this long I have finally realized that my mom isn’t perfect either and she has many qualities that are negative as well. I just wish she didn’t put me in the same box that to her equals perfect or better even. I think it’s another example of how rigid her worldview is and how she shouldn’t compare apples to oranges.

I definitely resent her for some things as well but I am ready to let go of those negative feelings so that they stop holding me down and preventing me from living my life to the fullest, whatever that word means to me. I am curious what her answer to this homework assignment will be though because we have not budged since the initial fight. She has left and hasn’t been home for over a day now and is being very immature in her text message replies. It’s okay though because I am being the bigger person and am replying with nothing but kindness and love. What is that saying? “Kill them with kindness”, definitely very relevant in this specific situation and I know that eventually it will start to rub off. That and maybe she’ll realize that there’s a bigger picture here, instead of focusing narrowly on this particular situation, seeing how much more is at stake here and what really matters and what doesn’t. There are grandchildren involved now for Christ’s sake! Nothing much can compare to that in terms of level of importance. Perhaps she needs some time to understand that.

Shades of Grey

Just had a rather unproductive session with my mom and our psychologist. I’m really not sure how we got to such a bad place that even one session can’t solve much at all. And to me, even having a joint session with a third party present to help see the situation from an unbiased view is kind of a lose-lose situation. Mostly because my mother has said in the past that I am an expert liar and that I even found a way to manipulate Lisa. Honestly, to my mom everything is a conspiracy against her. But that’s okay because I know myself enough now to know that the only thing that’s different is that I am actually comfortable in my own skin and I have confidence in myself. Things that my mother used to say to me don’t hurt or touch me much anymore. The only thing that sometimes gets to me is when she tells me that I am a bad mother which is ridiculous because I am not a “bad” mother, I am just an overwhelmed mother most of the time and need to catch up on some sleep.

Part of our problem is that she sees the world in black and white and I see many shades of gray. I mean, after seeing how far we have come as human beings and what kind of things now exist in the world, how can you say that there’s only one way to look and see something? My whole entire life she ridiculed me for looking at things differently and whenever I have tried to communicate my stance on something, she would start rolling her eyes and calling me stubborn, stupid or just a little kid who wants to argue facts. For this reason she never listened to me and once when we had a joint session with Lisa in the past, I was literally choking on my own words because I was not used to being listened to or to even have a chance to communicate what I was feeling/thinking…etc. How messed up is that? I’m pretty sure something like that is enough to mess someone up pretty bad for the rest of their life.

In this instance, we were still nowhere in agreement as to what exactly happened to the car and “why” it broke so badly in the first place. It was a lot of “she said”, “he said” and pointing the finger. And here is a perfect instance of seeing a lot of shades of gray. Why? Because we all have different perspections of the same event. We weren’t all there when she was driving it, so who knows, she could have not been paying attention herself, could have been preoccupied with something else…..etc. And who’s to say then who is right and who is wrong? It’s all perception and I’m just glad that our psychologist understood me finally. I can finally think more logically and remove the emotional part of myself in certain situations I could never do that in before. And that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.

It’s also astounding because we just came back from taking Izzy to gymnastics class and this is the first time the car has been driven since it was supposedly fixed, and guess what? The engine light is back on which brings up the question- were the mechanics even component to begin with or did they just not care? I don’t know, my mom said that she went in and made sure to tell them to fix everything so that her grandchildren can be safe in this “run down” car, so then why is the engine light back on? She was also so smug during the session when she told Lisa that the mechanics where she took the car said that the car breaking down had nothing to do with 4-wheel drive and that a certain part of it snapped because it hit a bump and could have happened when anybody was driving it. Hmmmm, that’s odd since that very part only exists to help run the 4-wheel drive. Man, I don’t want to bring it up and cause even more conflict but I might bring it up in our next session with Lisa if I get the chance.

Also during our session Lisa made it a point to tell us not to point fingers and make accusations at each other. And as much as I totally agree with that, she used the example of when I tell my mom that she needs help because she’s mentally unstable. Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t say that directly to her face and I only ever do it very rarely when she’s already driven me to the point of no return but it’s true. And you know what I hate more? I hate the fact that she can’t admit that her bipolar is actually worse than she says it really is. On more than one occasion she told me that this is how normal parents act and that it’s nothing so out there that I am so messed up and broken because of it and that she needs as much help as I tell her she does. This makes me scratch my head because parents don’t talk like she does to their children, no matter what their children say or do, at least not the unabusive ones.

In the past she used to go off on me and say crazy things and then she would apologize but that’s gotten less and less. Sure, there are moments when she still does that but they are very few. And from all of that, how can someone say that something is either black or it’s white, that there’s no in between? You can’t possibly go through all this in life and be so emotional and not think that there’s more then just one way or one answer to anything in this life. Maybe she’ll realize it one day. We shall see.