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Author Topic: 4.03 | Emotional or covert incest: discussing it and healing from it  (Read 9202 times)
Kwamina
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« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2015, 09:11:49 AM »

Hi purekalm

Thanks for answering my questions! These really are very difficult things to talk about but I am glad you have found it helpful. You telling your story can also help other people reading here so I really appreciate the courage and strength you've shown here

No, not really. Like I said before, I really don't want to. I know denial is not the answer but I'm going through enough right now to try and figure that out. Maybe some time down the road when I'm a little healthier?  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Take your time indeed. You should only take a next step when you know and feel that you are ready for it. Healing takes time and like you said in that other post, there is a time for everything: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

Interesting question, to be honest I haven't felt much fear on a continual basis, it was mainly anxiety. Until I met my ex (well soon to be anyway) and it was like a cloud/spirit of fear kind of came with him. Not of him, just with him. There have been a number of events but I highly doubt anyone would believe me because some were spiritual in nature.

... .

I just HAD to prove that I wasn't seeing things you know? But, I left empty handed and feeling like I was weird since I was the only one who saw them that day. What's your take Kwamina?

Well I'm a man of science!  A true man of science that is, and every true scientist knows that there are more questions than answers. Every time one question is answered, two more appear. You had some extraordinary experiences and I know there are also other people who've had extraordinary experiences that seem to fall beyond what the scientific community believes is possible based on our current understanding of the world. That however doesn't have to mean that these things aren't true or real, it's just that we don't yet have deciphered how these things work. There is more that we don't know than that we do know. So there could definitely be more to life than meets the eye. The evidence of things not seen.

Yeah, I really do look so much like my mom that from the back even my siblings have mistaken me for her sometimes. But, I can't excuse how often he's done it and made myself a lot more aware when he's around. I used to be alone with him a lot, at night on school nights and weekends driving around looking for stuff to scrap or sell in a yard sale. Usually two of us would go, but there are a lot of times it was just me. He would always look at me with this longing in his eyes because he wanted mom to have my intellect and although she is smart, she has this really ditzy side that I think he should love. But I digress, he would tell me all the time how he wished she was more like me and he can't have conversations with her like he can me, yada yada. But, since I started the teenage years and I realized how "icky" he made me feel I distanced myself and only got caught up in his stuff rarely since then.

I understand why this would make you feel 'icky', it would make me feel that way too. Regardless of what his motives or intentions really are, I'd say it's absolutely clear that he did (and does) not respect your boundaries. This lack of respect for boundaries is at the core of a lot that is discussed in this thread by everyone participating here. Whether it's labeled as emotional or covert incest, emotional enmeshment or parentification, the bottom-line is that boundaries are being trampled on.
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« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2015, 01:50:19 AM »

Hey Kwamina 

No problem. I am seeking to understand myself and decisions better and to do that I HAVE to look at the things I don't want to. And like you said, hopefully someone who has gone through something similar that may never open up but can identify with my issues can be helped in some way.

Yep, I believe that wholeheartedly. It may just not be time yet, but there will be the time that is just right. Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) (Goldilock's porridge.)

Ah, I agree. The scientists who try to say this is the way it is and everyone should believe it as fact irritate me. Because there are so many people who do so. =(  Exactly, "our current" ability. It doesn't mean we wouldn't be able to figure out the specifics at some point. I believe there is a realm/reality that is just as real as the one we live in and is connected to our spirit and because we deny that part of us it is harder to see with our natural eyes so to speak. How come so many people admit to seeing something out of the corner of their eyes and then rationalize that they didn't because our world system would label them crazy. And, that is a VERY lonely label... .I totally get that some people just make stuff up for attention and it draws away the validity of the ones who have ACTUALLY experienced something that shook them up, can't explain it and then are not looked at as sane anymore, definitely not understood. "The evidence of things not seen" indeed Kwamina. 

Yes, and you know what's so funny/sad? I didn't even know or understand the concept of boundaries until a few years ago. I had been listening to the radio and someone said something that didn't feel right about their family and the person suggested and said they would send them a book titled Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I was curious and got the book.

Now, I don't believe what everyone says no matter who they are, degrees etc. but they had some majorly valid points about boundaries and how to enforce them. Not something that you make "them" do, but something you decide. Like, ok, I will tolerate your bad mood, but I will not tolerate your devaluing of me because of it and I am going to walk away or stop talking if I cannot. You didn't tell them what to do, you said what behavior bothers you and as a result what you will or will not do with it. You are taking yourself away from the crazy situation because you admit that you help make it that way and you don't want to do it anymore. Yeah, they can follow, they can get angry or abusive, in which case you can make sure ahead of time when you want to say those things you have someone safe with you so nothing bad happens. But, you are effectively taking ownership of your issues and not focusing on them but yourself.

It still took me a while to get right and I'm still working on it. At first, it was like, well how can I do that? Laugh out loud (click to insert in post) My ex always flipped going to the store, it has always been a miserable time and the car ride home... .ugh... .I couldn't escape him, so how was I supposed to enforce  a boundary? First, I didn't yell back. That was hard, cause he knew just what buttons to push to make me angry. Then, I would sit and listen saying nothing and he'd rail on me the whole way home. And then, when I was able to stay focused I got to the point where I could say this "I don't appreciate your tone of voice and the things you are saying to me. I can't walk away and I can't tell you what to do. But, what I'm gonna do is not engage you anymore when you are in this state. When I feel respected I will attempt a conversation with you." Not perfect, needed work, but I told him how I felt and what I wouldn't do trying to make those I statements.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #32 on: October 22, 2015, 03:46:28 PM »

Hi,

I just read the past couple of posts. Daughterandmom, I'm sorry you were put through such misery in your youth. Your story interested me because I experienced the same sick kind of abuse by my own mother. She also wanted cuddling all the time, and she would clean my private parts until I was 10 or so (and she did some other gross things that I will not bother you with just now). If I may ask, why do you have trouble viewing this behaviour as sexual abuse? The things that happened to me did not seem like sexual abuse to me at first but every single person I have told about it tells me that it is, just like Turkish and Kwamina said above.

It can be hard to accept such a painful truth. Still, I understand your viewpoint that your mother does not know how the female organs work. Maybe she doesn't - but don't you think that most parents would hesitate to touch their kids in the private areas? Besides that, do you think your mother wanted to control your body by cleaning it? Was she a controlling person in other ways? I am asking these questions because I am still wondering about these things myself. Maybe we can find out some clues together 

Like you, I feel I am still at step 3 or 4 of the survivor's guide. I am still trying to accept what has happened, which is taking a while because those events are so strange and sick.

Wishing you the best 

Hi Polly 

I am so sorry for not replying to your post for so long. I was just discovering all these issues and being on the boards got to be too much. Kinda went through a really bad hyper anxiety/depression episode that I am just starting to come out of now. I'm sorry- I should have got right back to you. I will post, but since so much time has passed my post would not be consecutive and it might not make sense to anyone.

To answer your questions:

I guess I have trouble viewing it as sexual abuse because I cannot see it as an intentional attempt to cause harm. Now that I am an adult and I have raised daughters of my own, it seems absolutely ridiculous, but still I can't categorize it as sexual abuse because I suppose I would need to feel that she was either trying to harm me or was getting some sexual gratification out of it and I don't think either is the case. This makes me ill to say, but I will clarify what actually happened rather than just say it was cleaning. It was when I was just starting body changes, maybe 9 or 10? And I noticed discharge in my panties and asked my mother about it. She wanted to inspect and decided to clean the clitoris area with a bobby pin. Ugg I hate admitting this. I feel so gross. When my legs started to shake I asked her why and she said because it's a sensitive area. Then she wanted to check and clean every week or so for a while. My therapist is trying to get it through my head that this was abuse but I am having trouble with it. I feel so gross for letting it happen.

Yes she was controlling. To a ridiculous degree. She would suddenly decide no showers except Tuesday nights right when I was starting junior high and needed them. Wasn't allowed to shave my legs even though they were really hairy and we had to wear shorts for PE. Then when I was finally allowed the rule was only to the knee.

Constantly changing diets- for a while she has some deal with a produce guy and picked up the boxes of un sellable vegetables and fruits and that's all we ate. The school called her once when all I brought for lunch was moldy strawberries. For a while it was all juices. For a while she put us on 7 day fasts.

Then there was the parenting. Lots of going to bed without dinner. Lots of standing in the corner. I remember when I talked back once- my punishment was 2 hours in the corner, standing every night after dinner for two weeks. For some reason I never questioned the punishments. For a while she whipped us with a branch from the tree outside. Then abruptly she decided no punishment except for saying how very, very disappointed and hurt she was. That was by far the worst.

I read a lot since we had no friends and I spent all my time in my room, but I could only read books that she read first and went through with a marker blacking out things she didn't want me to read. But then of course there was no consistency because occasionally as a "special treat" she would let me stay up and watch a completely inappropriate R rated movie with her.

I really appreciate your reply, and I would be happy as you said to try to find some clues together. I would be really interested to see how much of your experience parallels mine- I still can't get over finding people on here that understand ANY of this! I learned long ago to just say my mom was crazy and dismiss the subject because if I gave any examples I just got weird looks and it was clear that people could not relate.

I hope you are doing well 

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Kwamina
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« Reply #33 on: February 28, 2016, 06:33:25 AM »

In our feature article about emotional incest, several steps are listed that can help people recover from emotional incest. Debra L. Kaplan, MA, LPC, an intensive out-patient counselor specializing in emotional incest recovery, says the process of recovery contains five elements:

•   Identify the family of origin and the particular family dynamics involved

•   Recognize any patterns of emotional incest between caregivers and the abused individual

•   Learn to set boundaries with that parent. In the case of a deceased caregiver work with a therapist who can help facilitate empty chair work or another experientially based modality for grief and loss

•   Acknowledge any feelings of abandonment as a result of the emotional incest

•   Work toward individuation and separation by learning to reparent the self (Inner child work)

An important part of this recovery process is learning to set boundaries. For that reason I think it's interesting to look at the types of boundaries we distinguish in our workshop about boundaries:

•   Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances.

•   Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions.

•   Emotional boundaries help us deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others.

Emotional or covert incest clearly violates emotional boundaries, but also mental ones. What sets it apart from overt incest is that then also physical boundaries are violated. The stories in this thread make clear that it isn't necessarily an either-or situation. There are examples here of parents and other adults who were not only covertly incestuous but also overtly.

These aren't easy things to talk about. I applaud the courageous members who have responded in this thread and shared their experiences with us. By sharing their stories they are also helping others and showing them that they are not alone and it's okay to talk about these things.
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khibomsis
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« Reply #34 on: February 28, 2016, 01:24:37 PM »

Hi Kwamina, just been discussing these things on another thread so pleased to have your take on things! My story: uNBPD mom would treat me as a parental child from an early age, and still today treats me like we are the same age.I can remember being six years old and being told to go wipe my 1 year old brother's bum when he was on the toilet. Stuff like that. Walked myself from preschool and sat in the library as I was told until she came from work to fetch me. I used to be so hungry I would eat the corners of book pages.  I did not know this was neglect. But it was not so much the concrete actions as the way she was not aware I had a identity separate from her. She never had any concept of boundaries. She is the world. When she went on a diet I went on a diet.I had body issue images for years because as I reached puberty my body became a topic of public discussion at the family table and every new kilo or curve would be viewed with apprehension and the warning that I would never get a boyfriend. Most fortunately as lesbian I have never had that problem but of course I did not know that then Smiling (click to insert in post)

Things got worse as I got older. My codependent father with whom at least I could have conversations with that weren't about him  became a serial philanderer. Now, looking back I can see how this in some weird way this enabled him to stay in the marriage but as a teen I had severe abandonment issues, worrying about family stability and simply had to grow up without a father. I first became aware of this at 15, but he carried on until I was in my forties. Long story but to the extent that I had ever had them at that point I stopped having parents. They became embroiled in the guilt, the lying, the raging, the hypocrisy and physically not being there as my dad would be with another woman and my mom would be stalking them. I left home at 16 and was NC or ELC for a couple of years. By 19 I upped contact with them but it was intolerable so I went NC again. In twenties tried again, by that time I was tired of seesawing so have since then tried consistent LC. I would go visit their town once a year, they would come visit me once a year and talk on the phone.    The emotional incest part was that the more my dad absented himself the more my mom started treating me as a surrogate spouse. I would have to have conversations way beyond my age and inappropriate at any time. Intimate things about what she thought my father was doing with these women which I really did not want to know. When she caught an STD from him we all knew. When she felt lonely or needed care and companionship she called me. It was a family drama.As a child I would dream of being a tennisball in a match my parents were playing and as a young adult it was like that. I hated contact because I would get sucked in to a marriage I had not chosen.  She would gradually shift her responsibilities on to me, when I was 21 my younger brother, then 16, and my orphaned cousin, 17, came to live with me because my mom felt she could not deal with them. They of course were only too happy to leave and it did not occur to me that I was too young to be caring for two teenage boys. Have never really stopped fostering since, although I sometimes have a few good years in between troubled teenage children coming out of BPD home. As my two brothers started making children I am now fostering the second generation, more like a grandmother I guess. Not doing too badly at least with my younger brother and his second family I get to be an aunt rather than a parent and this gives me endless pleasure. My uBPD older brother and my mom still get upset that I am not adopting his three as fully as they would like, and guilt trip me about it between rages.   A few years ago this started really irking me since I reasoned that heterosexual women get a break sometime in their fifties and that I too deserved an empty nest syndrome Smiling (click to insert in post) So I am trying to set boundaries and have a life. Two years I took a stand and said: what's my name? She calls all of us out of our names and use the name of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc until one of us gets it and responds. So I have trained her a little, now she calls me "girl". Progress! This last Xmas holiday she was raging about me running away from home at 16, 37 years later this is still something that she and my UBPD older brother cannot let go of. I said: but it was my life. I had a right to decide what to do with it. My life is not about you. She gasped at this and is still struggling to deal with it. I guess that will be my boundary for 2016.

How it has affected me, well, I went into therapy at 37 with suicidal depression and PTSD. Have been in therapy on and off ever since though out now for almost two years with the help of this board. Managed to break a pattern of co-dependent relationships in my 40's and am now happily married to somebody who is not an alcoholic, drug addict, mentally ill and/or unemployed. It cost me a fortune in therapy fees but sanity has no price. Am now in a crisis because the recent BPD diagnosis of my 15 year old niece has set up unbearable inner conflict. My inner child says that the one thing that pains her beyond belief is the fact that the abuse still happens to other children. It makes her happy when I caretake and get them out of there. My adult self says that I am finally exactly where I want to be in my work and private life. BPD teenager is not a part-time occupation and my spouse is firmly against it. To give  up my career and create conflict in my home because people continue to violate children feels like re-victimization to me. Plus my parents are now in their late 70's and need a lot of care. I feel trapped. Emotional incest feels like exactly the right term because I feel invaded and overwhelmed and that triggers lots of childhood stuff I don't want to revisit. Thanks for listening to my long story! Would appreciate any insights you have to offer.
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nowitmakessense

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« Reply #35 on: February 29, 2016, 12:08:25 AM »

 I experienced this from both parents. When I was 9, all of my siblings were placed into foster care and my mother was gone. I became "wife" to my father, I think this went on for a few months. He would talk to me at length about his problems, and I remember him asking me to take my clothes off. There was no rape, but lots of looking at and talking about my body.  I don't remember a lot about it, just flashes.

When my parents separated shortly after, I never saw my father again. My mother was left with 7 children to raise, and she has BPD. not a good combo.  I am the second eldest child, and eldest female. I became a little adult. I was expected to cook, care for siblings, and be responsible for them. This continued for a long time. Then, my mother started talking to me about all of her problems, big emotional talks with her barely able to function.  These would go on for hours. At 15 I got a job and helped out financially.

I always felt like I didn't have parents really. My needs were never a concern, I just kind of raised myself.  I turned out to be a giving, compassionate, caring, nice person, and that's good, but I think that a lot of people who are emotionally neglected weirdly turn out this way... .It has a lot to do with not really thinking about your own needs! I do resent my mother a lot, it was very unfair and hard to grow up so fast, and even today at age 71 she still wants me to rescue her, I hate it.


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Kwamina
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« Reply #36 on: February 29, 2016, 04:44:10 AM »

Hi khibomsis

I had body issue images for years because as I reached puberty my body became a topic of public discussion at the family table and every new kilo or curve would be viewed with apprehension and the warning that I would never get a boyfriend. Most fortunately as lesbian I have never had that problem but of course I did not know that then Smiling (click to insert in post)

The way you were treated was very unpleasant and definitely emotionally incestuous and abusive. I am glad you still have a sense of humor though

She would gradually shift her responsibilities on to me, when I was 21 my younger brother, then 16, and my orphaned cousin, 17, came to live with me because my mom felt she could not deal with them. They of course were only too happy to leave and it did not occur to me that I was too young to be caring for two teenage boys. Have never really stopped fostering since, although I sometimes have a few good years in between troubled teenage children coming out of BPD home. As my two brothers started making children I am now fostering the second generation, more like a grandmother I guess. Not doing too badly at least with my younger brother and his second family I get to be an aunt rather than a parent and this gives me endless pleasure.

It was indeed also very inappropriate that you were made responsible for your younger brother and cousin. You were still very young yourself and taking care of two teenagers is a huge responsibility. I do see though that you played a very important role in their lives and now also with the next generation. You brought some stability to their lives, unfortunately this came at a price because you didn't ever real got the chance to be a kid and 'carefree' young adult yourself. Great to hear though that being an aunt gives you so much pleasure Smiling (click to insert in post)

How is your relationship now with your younger brother and cousin? And what kind of relationship do they now have with your mother?

My uBPD older brother and my mom still get upset that I am not adopting his three as fully as they would like, and guilt trip me about it between rages.   A few years ago this started really irking me since I reasoned that heterosexual women get a break sometime in their fifties and that I too deserved an empty nest syndrome Smiling (click to insert in post) So I am trying to set boundaries and have a life. Two years I took a stand and said: what's my name? She calls all of us out of our names and use the name of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc until one of us gets it and responds. So I have trained her a little, now she calls me "girl". Progress! This last Xmas holiday she was raging about me running away from home at 16, 37 years later this is still something that she and my UBPD older brother cannot let go of. I said: but it was my life. I had a right to decide what to do with it. My life is not about you. She gasped at this and is still struggling to deal with it. I guess that will be my boundary for 2016.

It's very sad and frustrating that your mother and older brother are still behaving in a problematic manner. Boundaries are indeed very important and I think it's great that you were able to stand up to your mom the way you did this Xmas Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

How it has affected me, well, I went into therapy at 37 with suicidal depression and PTSD. Have been in therapy on and off ever since though out now for almost two years with the help of this board. Managed to break a pattern of co-dependent relationships in my 40's and am now happily married to somebody who is not an alcoholic, drug addict, mentally ill and/or unemployed. It cost me a fortune in therapy fees but sanity has no price. Am now in a crisis because the recent BPD diagnosis of my 15 year old niece has set up unbearable inner conflict. My inner child says that the one thing that pains her beyond belief is the fact that the abuse still happens to other children. It makes her happy when I caretake and get them out of there. My adult self says that I am finally exactly where I want to be in my work and private life. BPD teenager is not a part-time occupation and my spouse is firmly against it. To give  up my career and create conflict in my home because people continue to violate children feels like re-victimization to me. Plus my parents are now in their late 70's and need a lot of care. I feel trapped. Emotional incest feels like exactly the right term because I feel invaded and overwhelmed and that triggers lots of childhood stuff I don't want to revisit. Thanks for listening to my long story! Would appreciate any insights you have to offer.

I can understand that being treated the way you were by your mother, could seriously affect you. You've worked hard these years on healing yourself and have clearly made a lot of progress, also when it comes to asserting yourself as evidenced by what you said to your mother at Christmas.

Do you perhaps feel like caring for other children/teenagers in a way is like caring for yourself? That by saving them you in a way are also saving the younger version of you who unfortunately didn't have loving stable parents?

Do you feel like you have come or are starting to come to a place of acceptance of what happened in your past?
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« Reply #37 on: February 29, 2016, 04:59:44 AM »

Hi nowitmakessense

I am sorry you too experienced emotional incest.

I became "wife" to my father, I think this went on for a few months. He would talk to me at length about his problems, and I remember him asking me to take my clothes off. There was no rape, but lots of looking at and talking about my body.  I don't remember a lot about it, just flashes.

That your father asked you to do this is something I find quite disturbing. Even if he would 'only' stare at and talk about your body, I personally consider this behavior more overt than covert incest. You don't remember a lot about it and only have flashes, but looking back at this now, how does it make you feel that your father behaved this way?

I always felt like I didn't have parents really. My needs were never a concern, I just kind of raised myself.  I turned out to be a giving, compassionate, caring, nice person, and that's good, but I think that a lot of people who are emotionally neglected weirdly turn out this way... .It has a lot to do with not really thinking about your own needs! I do resent my mother a lot, it was very unfair and hard to grow up so fast, and even today at age 71 she still wants me to rescue her, I hate it.

I can understand why you feel like you never really had parents. khibomsis said something similar in her post. You not only had to raise yourself but also be the caretaker of your siblings. How is your relationship with your siblings now? How do your siblings view your mother and father?

That point you make about not really thinking about your own needs and as a result being a very caring person in your adult life, is something I find very interesting. I too think there could definitely be a correlation here. How does the thought of having needs of your own make you feel now? Do you feel like you have become more able to be mindful of your own needs and put them first?
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« Reply #38 on: February 29, 2016, 07:43:39 PM »

I feel numb about my father.  I don't feel mad, or sad, or upset, I just have no emotion attached to what happened. It just is. Even though intellectually I know that it was very wrong, feelingwise there is just nothing.  There were other things that happened with him too, and again, I only remember flashes , but I'm starting to think that this is an area that I'm going to have to work on.  I do know that any sexual relationships I have has as an adult have been weird... .I just kind of freeze up.

My relationship with my siblings is superficial, I don't talk to them much.  One of my sisters has been diagnosed bi-polar, but I think it might be BPD -- she is "queenly" and narcissistic, and makes weird choices, has obsessive compulsive issues and hyperactivity.  My other sister married a woman, has anger issues, and is nice when she gets what she wants and a monster when she doesn't.  one brother is a drug addict and alcoholic, another is a workaholic with substance abuse issues, another is estranged from the family for 20 years. One brother is an extreemly successful doctor who works himself into the ground.  It's a mess. However, we all manage to hold down jobs and "function." We all live apart and have our own lives, rarely get together.

As far as my own needs now, really it has only been in the last little while that I have started to take care of them.  I think that is why I'm having the PTSD symptoms, my mind is finally at a place that is safe enough to start exploring what happened to me.  I get extreme anxiety saying no to my mother, so I'm just not talking to her right now, I can't deal with her. I am just trying to love myself and be happy.  Even with other people, when i say no to something i feel like i have to have this big reason why, like it's not ok to just say no.  But im saying no anyway Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #39 on: March 02, 2016, 12:20:05 PM »

Well asked, Kwamina ! My cousin became a heroin addict and died years ago. We were NC in the end because though I didn't like him using I absolutely hated him dealing. Dealing death to other people's children was not something I wanted to condone. I hear he was clean for a while before his death. ... The Dots are the point at which I had to sit with my feelings. I understand that one never gets over the death of a child. I never did. I also hear that a fresh loss triggers all the old ones.  Had to spend some time there weeping afresh over the mom I never had. The childhood I never had was actually something I had not thought to grieve – thank you! A little girl and her mother in the supermarket the other day being happy together which made me realize how I miss  the little niece I used to play with who has now been replaced with a )*^! manipulative BPD 15. My older brother moved back in with my parents 20 years ago and I often think he would have been better had he not. He sent his children down to me for long holiday every year so I have loved her since babyhood.

In the quiet after the storm I must honestly say I don’t know what acceptance is. I understand that codependency allowed me to hide behind the helper role. I guess the past few months seesawing between wanting to  charge in and take power and control over my niece’s recent diagnosis was co-dependent, while wanting my life to continue as it is was without disturbance probably a form of denial. That’s BPD twilight zone, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

So, focussing relentlessly on the positive:

My younger brother quietly admitted himself to rehab and clean now for years, lovely wife and family. We used to be marked by that parental child thing but most fortunately when I was suicidally depressed I was forced to lean on him for a while. So that relationship much better now, and we take turns being the strong one.  He tolerates my mom better than I, but of course one of the things which keeps me from going totally NC is the burden it would leave for the others. He shoulders a lot more of it than I do nowadays.

In fact it being suicidal was an interesting time all round, my dad stopped sleeping around somewhere about that time, apologized to me for what he had done and supported me financially for a few months until I was able to work again. It gave me faith in forgiveness. Maybe I need to learn from that that strong is not always the best way.


I have so much to learn, like when the niece as she is says she cuts to ask her how’s the dysphoria. To learn to read her communications. I reckon as long as we can end a conversation with 'I love you' and she can hear that and respond then we are good. Better chance for her than mom ever had, especially if I get out of her business and trust in her ability to heal herself.

Since her diagnosis older brother is trying harder to be a dad than he ever has in his life. So  I did something I hadn’t done in 20 years. I phoned him and said, scapegoat to good child: How are you? I don’t want to hear about your daughter, I want to know how you are coping? I am not giving up my life to carry your burden but I can listen to you sometimes and sympathize. He dysregulated because I laughed so I said brother I have cried enough.  And for the first time in 20 years we agreed on something.

Could this be the breakthrough part? Maybe you think?

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« Reply #40 on: March 02, 2016, 12:24:29 PM »

nowitmakessense, I too FOG  every time I say no. As long as we keep saying no regardless. And sometimes yes to life?
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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2016, 11:01:36 AM »

Hi again nowitmakessense

I feel numb about my father.  I don't feel mad, or sad, or upset, I just have no emotion attached to what happened. It just is. Even though intellectually I know that it was very wrong, feelingwise there is just nothing.  There were other things that happened with him too, and again, I only remember flashes , but I'm starting to think that this is an area that I'm going to have to work on.  I do know that any sexual relationships I have has as an adult have been weird... .I just kind of freeze up.

It could very well be that the problems you are experiencing in your adult life are related to what you experienced in your childhood. These are difficult things to work through, yet very important for the healing process. If you are indeed able to set up online therapy sessions as you said in that other thread, perhaps you could explore these issues there too.

As far as my own needs now, really it has only been in the last little while that I have started to take care of them.  I think that is why I'm having the PTSD symptoms, my mind is finally at a place that is safe enough to start exploring what happened to me.  I get extreme anxiety saying no to my mother, so I'm just not talking to her right now, I can't deal with her. I am just trying to love myself and be happy.  Even with other people, when i say no to something i feel like i have to have this big reason why, like it's not ok to just say no.  But im saying no anyway Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Being able to say no is an important part of setting and enforcing boundaries. Do you perhaps feel guilty when saying no? If so, these words from Pete Walker who has written about complex PTSD and children who have suffered childhood abuse might be helpful to you:

"Feeling guilty does not mean I am guilty. I refuse to make my decisions and choices from guilt; sometimes I need to feel the guilt and do it anyway. In the inevitable instance when I inadvertently hurt someone, I will apologize, make amends, and let go of my guilt. I will not apologize over and over. I am no longer a victim. I will not accept unfair blame. Guilt is sometimes camouflaged fear. – “I am afraid, but I am not guilty or in danger”."

Do you perhaps feel that the notion of it not being ok to say no, could be fear camouflaged as guilt?
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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2016, 11:17:29 AM »

Hi again to you too khibomsis  

Well asked, Kwamina ! My cousin became a heroin addict and died years ago. We were NC in the end because though I didn't like him using I absolutely hated him dealing. Dealing death to other people's children was not something I wanted to condone. I hear he was clean for a while before his death. ... The Dots are the point at which I had to sit with my feelings. I understand that one never gets over the death of a child. I never did. I also hear that a fresh loss triggers all the old ones.  Had to spend some time there weeping afresh over the mom I never had. The childhood I never had was actually something I had not thought to grieve – thank you!

I am sorry your cousin's life turned out the way it did and ended so soon. Considering all that the two of you have been through, the bond you had and how you cared for him when he was a teenager, this really is a very significant loss.

Accepting and letting go of the parent we never had isn't easy so I understand your feelings. Letting go of the 'loving fantasy' parent and the childhood you never had, means accepting and mourning significant losses. This is tough and something I struggle with too. Are you familiar with our material about radical acceptance? You can read about it here: Practicing reality acceptance

I have so much to learn... .

We all do! Fortunately we can learn from each other here and help each other heal and move on

Since her diagnosis older brother is trying harder to be a dad than he ever has in his life. So  I did something I hadn’t done in 20 years. I phoned him and said, scapegoat to good child: How are you? I don’t want to hear about your daughter, I want to know how you are coping? I am not giving up my life to carry your burden but I can listen to you sometimes and sympathize. He dysregulated because I laughed so I said brother I have cried enough.  And for the first time in 20 years we agreed on something.

Could this be the breakthrough part? Maybe you think?

This sounds like an important turning point! A breakthrough in your relationship with your brother and in your healing process Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) What I see here is you asserting yourself, not walking on egg-shells and also not choosing to be in denial. I also see you starting to let go of certain things here and move on in a more constructive manner. You are facing reality head-on as it is Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Do you feel like your relationship with your brother has changed since you had this conversation with him?
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« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2016, 02:07:03 PM »

Thank you Kwamina! I am sorry to hear that you are also struggling with loss. I think some sorrows come and go, one would think one is over them and then something occurs to trigger and it feels like one is starting all over again. Intellectually I fully get it about radical acceptance - after all it is what it is and I am not going to change it by pretending it isn't- but don't know how to let myself feel it. I guess like many emotionally underdeveloped people I have managed to cope by intellectualizing everything. Whenever I am up against a situation where I actually have to feel my way through it is a challenge. Baby steps...

Nobody in FOO has dysregulated for almost a week! We are heading for some kind of world record here. I am using the break to practice what I am going to do. I think to ask very calmly what was the trigger? At least it may break the mould.
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« Reply #44 on: October 17, 2016, 01:47:37 PM »

In this thread we discuss the subject of emotional or covert incest. This is from the first post:

Excerpt
Emotional incest happens when the natural boundary between parental caregiver, nurturer, and protector is crossed and the child becomes the defacto caregiver, nurturer and protector of the parent. This typically occurs when a the marriage unravels or when there is a broken family dynamic (e.g., substance abuse, infidelity, mental illness and the dependency upon a child increases.  One or both parent may engage the child in talks about adult issues and adult feelings to a child as if they were a peer. The child may be called upon to satisfy adult needs such as intimacy, companionship, romantic stimulation, advice, problem solving, ego fulfillment, and/or emotional release. Sometimes both parents will dump on a child in a way that puts the child in the middle of disagreements between the parents - with each complaining about the other.

From the stories members have shared here, it becomes clear that some of you unfortunately have also experienced overt incest or sexual abuse. That can be a very difficult and triggering subject for people to talk about. Healing from over incest or sexual abuse requires certain resources outside of bpdfamily. What we can do however is help get the process started and direct you to appropriate resources. One of those resources was brought to our attention recently and I would like to share it with you:
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

This is from their website:
"RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and was named one of "America's 100 Best Charities" by Worth magazine. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE, online.rainn.org y rainn.org/es) in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims, and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice."

The site provide several resources/tools to help with recovering from sexual abuse/violence:
Recovering from Sexual Abuse/Violence

You can also find the stories of other survivors of sexual abuse/violence there:
Survivor Stories

Take care

The Board Parrot
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