This last year has been really tough for me. I experienced a breakup as well as the splintering of my main friend group. Since then, I've been busy re-shaping my life into something more positive... I'm trying to distance myself from toxic people and uncover the causes of my poor self-image (which has led to a lot dissatisfaction in relationships etc). In essence I'm trying to forge reciprocal, mutually respectful bonds with others while actively taking responsibility for my own position in life.
Over the last 8 months or so, I've begun to focus on the dynamics of my own family. That seems to be an area where little progress can be made. I am coming to realize that my mother is often an emotional bully. Most disagreements escalate into screaming matches where my feelings/perceptions get invalidated. I usually end up questioning myself and apologizing to her, but I get the sense that the responsibility-taking is one-sided. After these fights are over, I feel convinced that I'm selfish, unhelpful, disrespectful, and a bunch of other things. I know that these things are true to an extent, but I also know that it's unfair for my mother to turn an entire argument around to focus on my faults (especially when the issue originally at hand was not personal). Basically, I feel like I'm in limbo; I don't know whether to trust my assessments of what's happening in our family. My father suffers from very low self esteem and says he hates to see me "submit" to my mom when she's twisted an argument around.
I do believe my mother wants what's best for me but I also think she's got some issues with control. She's a good person and I can't believe I'm classifying her this way... But she isn't generally respectful to me during arguments. She often mocks me or baits me into being some mean person that I'm normally not. And in response, I feel myself fulfilling her prophecy so to speak; I sometimes act passive aggressively and ignore her wishes on purpose. She often makes comments like "you're a smart girl so why don't you get___" or "you have no idea about this." Basically nullifying my knowledge of the world and using it against me. I know I need to be helpful around the house...but not everything boils down to that. It can't possibly. I dunno, but I need help figuring out where my responsibility for the relationship ends and hers begins. This link describes some of the dynamics my dad and I experience in the house: http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/10-signs-your-girlfriend-or-wife-is-an-emotional-bully/ This one too: http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/is-your-girlfriend-or-wife-a-professional-victim/Posts: 120 | From: Florida | Registered: Aug 2008
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Hi she_who_questions. I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are having in your family. It does sound like your mother is emotionally abusive. That can be really hard, and can be a huge hit to your self-esteem when someone whose judgment we trust tells us things that are negative. Often times when people say things like what your mother is, it's a form of projection, meaning that is how she feels about herself and she is projecting that onto others.
I would recommend getting some help from a therapist. They can teach you methods to deal with the dynamics in your family and reduce the amount of time you are spending in the arguments. If you are in school you can start with a school counselor.
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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper Posts: 876 | From: Seattle | Registered: Apr 2009
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