It has recently come to my attention that my mother has been slandering my name and defaming my character behind my back for decades. As a kid I suspected this based on reactions from relatives and friends of the family. I wish I had the guidance and confidence as a kid to stand up for myself. She made a career out of targeting my grandmother and others in my extended family and slandering their names. I always suspected that she was doing the same thing to me behind my back. Turns out I was right, and I have just scratched the surface of the bad image she has given people of me over the years.
My mother also has much more contact with old friends of the family and extended family than I do, so I am spinning my head thinking of the vile crap she has told others just to get attention at my expense.
I started to bring the subject up but she blatantly lied about things that she knows that she did - these things are not questionable or a matter of opinion. And my father supports her no matter what she does.
Makes me want to write a letter to her and send copies to everyone, to set the record straight. Problem is I am in my thirties and doing this could actually make me look like the bastard my mother claimed me to be, and could ironically give her the ultimate victim role to get a lot more attention and drama that she craves. Plus she would have to go into super-slander mode to cover up her blatant lies. I wouldn't doubt that she would tell everyone I am paranoid or crazy. She did call me paranoid and a loser when I caught her in her own lies and she panicked.
What should I do? Be a good little kid and do nothing and let her continue to get away with these vile acts, or stand up for myself like I should have done decades ago and try to reclaim some self-respect?
Make sure that you don t replicate what she is doing with your family and friends. In other words be aware if you find yourself behaving the way she is.
I found myself being put down for years by my parents, so much so that no matter what anyone said to the contrary, I thought I was the problem and believed myself to be at fault. I then recreated the situation finding a wife that I could deride. Unpickling my friendships over my life I realize that I was puuting everyone down just like my parents did to me. (It transpired that both my parents were put down and criticised by their parents)
It is difficult to change others, a better route is to be aware of what is happening (as you are) and in the right company retrace your emotional encounrters with your family. When a parent behaves badly towards their child if the other doesn t correct that behaviour then they too are party to bad behaviour.
My thoughts, work on your emotional past and future will look after itself.
In recent years I have tried to become extremely honest with myself and my own accountability for failed relationships. You mentioned putting down others - I recently noticed a similar trend in my own past, not outright insults but the way I viewed much of the world was through cynicism and negativity, for example I had a sarcastic sense of humor. This was a very powerful realization for me and as obvious as it might seem to identify it wasn't clear because it was such an automatic thought process.
Did you feel the need to confront others in order to fix your emotional past?
Confrontation implies anger. When people behave badly, including being sarcastic, form of put down, they do it unconsciously, because this is an automatic learned experience cultivated through years of conditioning. They are in effect unconscious. As you become emotionally aware you realize that everything is right. Your discovery of self wouldn t have happened unless everything is as it is. So at one level you can be thankful.
The path to emotional honesty inolves being and releasing anger, many sleepless nights were spent scribing my hates and then destroying the paper. If I felt angry then the process would continue focusing on another relationship or family member. (A bit like peeling an onion, I wouuld see each relationship in a differing dynamic). I didn t realize it but I do now that I was a highly trained family destroyer, led on by my father s derision, I successfully tormented my younger brother, driving him senseless. I spent the vast majority of early life inventing ways of getting him into trouble.
Despite huge misgivings as to how I was treated as a child and as a person by my mother and father I have cleared the issues without confrontation breaking the "family curse".
In order to forgive and move on you have to release the anger, otherwise you will be drawn back into a drama cycle which preoccupies most of us. Maybe this is a course you are drawn to.
Personally although I ve lost a chunk of my life through the repetition of emotional patterns I m thankful to everything that has led to my discovery without any blame or remorse. If people are unconsious then they are not responsible for their thoughts or actions. This doesn t excuse bad behaviour, but the awakening process leads to a greater understanding and awareness, and ultimately forgiveness.
Whatever course you take is right, because ultimately everything is right.
I am angry, and I can identify the drama cycle that would continue if I acted on my anger by confronting my parents again.
I also realize that confronting them would in a way be trying to convince them that I am right, which in a way would be seeking their approval, which would give them power and credibility over the situation.
I am all for "getting over it", but the term forgiveness to me involves saying that what they did was ok, plus it encourages more bad behavior. Perhaps my definition of forgiveness is different than yours.
When a dog attacks is it better to play dead and submit, hoping it will just go away, time and time again? Or perhaps it is better to strike back and yell out so it learns that there will be consequences for attacking the person and it will learn not to repeat the behavior.
The feeling of disempowerment is one of the worst and unhealthiest things I have experienced, and I don't hold much sympathy for those who cause it in others. They deserve what they get in return. That sounds negative, and may be my cynical side showing through (which I am trying to change), but chosing to be a doormat is definitely not the answer.
Everything you do is right - their actions for instance are allowing you to examine your relationship with them, that is to cease to be angry and understand that what they have done is actually propelling you towards an understanding.
It sounds very much that you are in the angry stage. If a dog is attacking you then you take what action you think is appropriate in order to survive. Trying to convince others that you are right is being drawn back into the drama. Try if you can to step away from what is happening think of it as an illusion. Recognize your anger and write. You will thank them for providing you means for release.
The forgiveness stage is down the line in order to move fully away from your parents you will ultimately have to forgive otherwisee you will be drawn back to their drama.
What you have discovered gives you the opportunity to move away from what is happening. The most effective way of changing, if you wish is to, is to change from within by noticing patterns of emotions and wanting to shift. Start by writing these down once you start you wont be able to stop and believe me you maybe on the brink of something big (which is why at one level you should be thankful to your mother for providing you with the necessary input to effect change)
Once you start by unravelling these patterns and relationships and your feelings you will have the opportunity for complete transformation internally by in effect reprogramming your thoughts and beliefs. You will then realize that what your parents have done is not their fault because they are acting as they themselves have been taught by their parents and you have the opportunity to end the cycle, which is really fantastic, what you will be giving yourself is is a chance to start again. Without understanding and forgiveness you will be stuck in the emotional rinse.
Pain provokes emotional reaction sadness or anger, then understanding and then forgiveness.
You have such a major opportunity to change this is very exciting
My thoughts - channel that anger to paper, over and over, be upet cry for self, release emotions, you deserved better, at one level there is no excuse, their behaviour is awful then take it all one stage further
Hi! I am experiencing something similar (but not as extensive as you have) from a woman at my job who everyone respects and another manager - a friend of hers.
The two are so vile, they even have nicknames for alot of us they look down upon. My nickname is "Velmo" --- supposedly a dorky verson of Velma from the old Scooby Doo cartoon. Mind you, these two "adults" are in their 40's and 50's but behave like 8 year olds.
What I do is just ignore them, and dont give them the reaction they are looking for.
In your situation, if someone in your family refers to your mother you can use that opportunity to praise your mother in some way behind her back. While she is defaming you, you can prove her a liar to others by actually doing the opposite (but dont go overboard!)
Then when your Mom gossips again, they will be able to think for themselves and realize she may not be playing with a 'full deck"
"What I do is just ignore them, and dont give them the reaction they are looking for."
Right on! This is key, but it is also my predicament. Doing nothing sometimes encourages the behavior to continue because they recieve no consequences and I end up being abused for years.
Funny how you said "everyone respects" your vile co-worker. The same with my mother - I hear "she's always sooooo nice!" and she gets "respect" when they get to see only see one of her two faces lol... meanwhile she stabs them in the back too when they aren't there to hear her.
I think it's the overly-nice people that you have to watch out for because they are compensating for some sort of negativity.
I didn't establish relationships with any of my extended family as I grew up, so everything they heard was through my mother.
The problem is that my role in the family was to be the black sheep and the quiet one - I wasn't allowed to speak out and my father never gave me the guidance that I could have used to stand up to people like my mother. Now I feel I can stand up for myself but am unsure of how to approach it and if it is even a good idea.
I like your idea of talking to others. I don't want to pull innocent people into my mother's drama playground and negativity though, especially when I haven't established relationships with these people over the years. I am trying to break off from my toxic parents, yet at the same time I feel this immense feeling of being wronged in the past and want to set the record straight.
hi! you're so right about the overly nice ones you have to watch out for. Too often, people are very easily gullible and dont have a clue when they're dealing with snake-like behavior.
The best bet I still feel is to go on with your life- as you seem to have grown from this nonsense, while your hypocrite mother still has deep-seated emotional issues she needs to deal with yet.
When there is any opportunity to show compassion or love to anyone in your extended family-- prove your mother wrong and do it. Like if someone has a baby, send a card and a little gift, if a funeral, then go to it and show your respects-- dont say a word, but just give a warm hug and show you care. People can tell when you have true compassion versus "compassion just for show"
If someone in your extended family has a graduation or wedding, be quick to send a card and acknowledgement. and when any opportunity, show them what 'ya got inside--that you are actually not a monster like your mother said.
You have to be patient-but the opportunities to prove your mom wrong to your family will be coming one by one- and eventually they will see that your mother-- nice as they think she still is, allowed herself to get carried away.
If they can't see through her after all that- then they all have the same type of personality gene your mom has and arnt worth your time anyway.
It sounds like your a cool person to me- and I think you should hold your head up high and go about your life living it as you are destined to-- to learn that the meaning of life is all about loving others, and not about making people THINK you love others - but then backstab them later. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, then your mom may be stuck coming back several more lifetimes--lol!
"If someone in your extended family has a graduation or wedding, be quick to send a card and acknowledgement. and when any opportunity, show them what 'ya got inside--that you are actually not a monster like your mother said."
Wow this conversation is hitting home. How bout this little gem - lately my parents chose not to inform me that a lifelong friend of the family passed away. So I missed the funeral and looked like an uncaring jerk to the widow and their family. I finally found out... months after the funeral... and sent a card and called the family and the widow to send my condolences. Of course my parents had to have said something about me not being at the funeral (of course my parents didn't admit to not telling me - that would make them look bad!) so they let everyone think that I *did* know but just didn't give a damn or care enought to show up to the funeral or even respond with condolences.
That sort of manipulation has been going on my whole life, in little insidious ways that only now do I recognize.
Thanks for the tips on responding to people to show my real side - I am torn between establishing relationships with my extended family and starting over anew. The problem with mixing new relationships with my old familky is that my old family will try to enforce my old role in the family as black sheep and monster, and try to convince the newcomers that I am a jerk. My mother is such an expert at her manipulation that I had to try and deprogram an ex that I really wasn't a jerk. Meanwhile you guessed it - my mother was backstabbing my ex all the time. And my ex didn't believe me because she thought my mother was "soooo nice!".
I'm sure to generate a plethora of "loving advice" from this, but...
My mother did the same. I had a weird lunch w/her a while back where she introduced me to two friends as "my daughter, who is still having a hard time". During the course of this meeting, I was told that I "did not have to settle for minimum wage" and that "a nice man would 'overlook' my flaws".
Somebody get the net.
On the way home, I pulled my business card and that of my secretary and flashed a truck driver just to double-check (kidding...).
It's disorienting to confront such an inaccurate point of view.
My standard response now when relatives, friends of family, etc. sympathize w/my "plight" is to say, "but I'd like to keep her out of the home as long as possible...despite what the doctors say...".
I've also had a very difficult relation with my mother. As my father was always abroad for work, when little I only had her and I loved and trusted her completely. Only later did I find out how much she had betrayed my trust, and then I had to begin the long journey of going back to myself from where she had taken me to, which was a place of great pain. It is the same place where she lives herself, of course, but feeling tender for her for this only slowed down considerably my process. Since age 18 I've lived in another town, which helped. Now I even live at the opposite side of Europe. Lately, I've entered in great crisis after the birth of my son, because I resonated more deeply with the sufferance of my child-self.
I suggest you to put physical distance with your mother, of course your ghosts will come wherever you are, but at least you'll be able to face them from a point of better serenity. Forgiveness will come in time, but the phase of anger is very important. In my experience, things go in cycles, where some anger will be absorbed by forgiveness, allowing me to go deeper and uncover new anger again that will eventually take me to deeper forgiveness, and so on.
My mother is a bit like yours, apparently sweet and full of attention, in reality full of resentment and highly manipulative. Her double face has fooled me more than one time. I found myself again and again doubting of everything and feeling awfully guilty for ever thinking bad of her. How many times I wished I had a less cunning adversary! sometimes she would really drive me mad, also because there was just my truth against hers, and no witnesses (my father divorced at a certain point).
Her family (which might be also mine if it was not hers) thinks very bad of me. They all live in a different town, and had always the filter of her words about everything that ever regarded me. At some point, she even dared calling my dearest friends, with excuses, playing the victim and insinuating I was being bad with her because in reality I was angry with myself and so on. And my friends calling me and saying poor her, don't be so hard she's your mother after all...she did the same with my husband, she sent him a letter saying all these same usual things, that she's never done anything wrong to me and that I'm having problems all in my head. Whenever she saw me and him together, she just always tried to separate us, insinuating he was too good for me. (he IS good in fact, and never was fooled by her millantery)
Well, maybe your mother is not so extreme as mine, I hope. Anyway the pattern is that one: slander and manipulation, as you called it.
What I did, at a certain point while doing psychoanalysis, I began to fight her, and since then, I've always been fighting her. I also began at the same time my spiritual path, to which I'm very committed, I've used meditation, shamanic sessions, many various techniques of dissolving negative emotions, you name it I tried it. I've forgiven her at some levels, but she is still there, my babau. She's become more and more bitter at me as I fought her, of course, and any relation with her has rivealed impossible. I understand also based on my experience that to fight directly is not a good way to keep the relationship clean, but if I went back I would do the same, only more radically. Then, if there is a relation to be saved, it will survive, if not, let it be. There is no writing or visualizing that counts as to look inside the eyes of your mother and say: you don't do this to me. The people I know who didn't do this firmly enough, are not living fully their lives. It's as simple as that. I might have lost a mother, but I saved myself and I'm living a very prosperous life now.
Somehow these difficult mothers are mirroring your relation with yourself, where you contain both the roles of the mother and the child. They seem to have created them, but I believe that they are partially pre-existent, and you chose this mother for this incarnation to dissolve the issue by putting it clear and loud in front of your eyes. There is probably no limit to how you can grow as the mother to yourself, having a child for me now is a great teaching, because I can deal with the same issue inside and outside, but it is also sometimes very painful. Very often points of pain come out, that I cannot motivate, it is just all this sadness stored inside me, that comes out without a reason. Yesterday we went to the circus and at a certain point I just couldn't refrain from crying, for no apparent reason. My child is a brave and deep soul, he's risking something having me as a mother! but he seems to know very well what he's doing...
Recently, I have discovered a real pearl. It's a book by Vimala Rodgers: Your Handwriting Can Change Your Life. When I bought it I thought it was a silly book, but took it anyway because when little I was very fond of my handwriting. In reality this is the most amazing book I've found in years. It is simply magical. The thesis is that if you handwrite a certain way, every letter resonates with an area of yourself and produces deep effortless changes. I knew some alphabets, like rune, have magical properties, but that also roman alphabet can be magical, well, that was new. I began to exercise 3 days ago and I'm amazed by the changes.
The letter "c", the letter of divine trust, is also the one that regards the relation with your mother (isn't it surprising? divine trust is associated with the mother, how far this can be from my experience...). You should write the "c" without hooks, just simply the 2/3 of a circle. To avoid the hook seems simple but for me it isn't easy at all. Write pages of them every day and you'll see the difference. Of course, you might desire to write also other letters, which can help you develop the qualities that need to support your issue. The book is small and quite inexpensive, have a look: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0684865416/sr=8-1/qid=1152270335/ref=pd_bbs_...
That book is interesting. I've never heard of the concept before - definitely a different approach that I will look into. I haven't hand written much of anything in years, unfortunately technology such as typing is leaving many of the basic skills behind for me.
You mentioned distance helps. I recently moved thousands of miles from the state I grew up and where my parents still are. In one way it is freeing but I also feel that I need to confront my parents again in some way because I didn't do it earlier in life. I feel like someone slapped me (over and over) and got away with it, and I do hold anger for it. So distance is easier and harder at the same time.
Thanks for sharing about your experience. We have some things in common and it's good to hear that someone has gone through the same thing. Not that I wish it on anyone you understand. My parents also manipulated my friends and family by insinuating that I was bad, and they also stepped in between me and others to try to control my relationships with others.
"There is no writing or visualizing that counts as to look inside the eyes of your mother and say: you don't do this to me. The people I know who didn't do this firmly enough, are not living fully their lives. It's as simple as that. I might have lost a mother, but I saved myself and I'm living a very prosperous life now."-sofia
You really, really hit the nail on the head here. While I did confront my mother I feel it wasn't enough. And honestly there is a bit of me that can't move on with life until I do set the past straight. She will always deny everything, but that doesn't mean that my voice is irrelevant. Irrelevant to her perhaps but necessary for me perhaps. She did not hear me firmly enough, not as a child and not as an adult.
She sabotaged my life with others and played sick games, and her excuse was:
"that's what mothers do"
"that's what females do"
Well, that's just not true. That's what she does. That's what some people do, male or female.
Since she knows so much about the human condition, I suppose she could have told me *what children do* in response to *what mothers/females do*. What should I have done? Again my parents conveniently never gave me any guidance in life to overcome the things they hit me with. Why would they? Why would they teach me to stand up to them? Some things become very clear as we get older. I had a sense growing up that something was wrong, that my frustrations came from somewhere that I could not completely identify because my life was all I knew, my parents controlled and filtered it, and I would be outcast at any sign of moving outside of the role my parents gave me. Accept my role and stay in my place, or be rejected by the family. Apparently kids will do or accept anything to be a part of the group/family.
Your child is lucky to have you as someone who identifies with all of these issues. Sounds like he's got a good start on life!
Did you write letters to your mother or do you think that a confrontation must be in person? I don't know how a letter would go over. Is the book you mentioned just for your personal writting or do you combine the hand writting with letters as an exercise in confrontation and healing, and as a tool for others to see?
Every family has its specific dynamics, and every person its ways to deal with them. These are probably among the deepest issues one has to face and really, at such a visceral level, one has to follow the guts and not others' advice. But I'll tell you what I think anyway.
I wrote a lot and talked a lot, and if I went back now I would waste less energy in this because it didn't change much. So, I could have stopped at the first scene with my mother where I told her my feelings and she freaked out, and then disappear. Parents accuse a lot the going away and disappear, at least mine. Because you know, the problem is that your parents NEVER, NEVER listen to you. And when you talk of something very important it is really frustrating to see this.
So for me the bones of the dealing with them are:
- say mom you don't do this to me any more, because I won't allow it, for this and that reason
- leaving (it can be not for ever, but they shouldn't know)
The explaining again and again is instead totally useless, frustrating and it divours an amazing quantity of energy.
And there is another point:
- try to live your life, no matter what
This dealing with my past has held me back a lot, my energies were directed backwards (thing that was present in my handwriting also, with many strokes going backwards because I'm left-handed). But when you take actions that express love for yourself the universe sends you many helps, and I didn't miss anything important after all, luckily.
After dealing with them, it is with yourself you've got to deal with, with the distortions their behaviour created in you, and that is probably the job of a lifetime, going from the gross to the more subtle.
(I haven't tried yet to see what effect the magic handwriting may have on others. It cannot harm anyway!)
Thank you so much for your responses sofia. And for the directness.
I value directness very much now as an adult and recognize the lack of it in my upbringing. I remember being offended by two people in my past (a relative and a friend of the family) at times because they were very direct with me and I took offense to them at that age. Now it is so refreshing to talk to people who are very direct and tell it like it is and wear their hearts on their sleeves and speak their mind, instead of the manipulative walking-on-eggshells environment I grew up in.
I do have a lot of my energies directed at the past.
Can I ask you how you dealt with other people in your life, with regard to your mother? Did you discuss the topic of your mother with them? Did you contact them to set the record straight? I don't want to pull others into my mother's drama or into my problems, but I would like them to see the light and redeem myself somewhat if that is possible. Not sure how to approach that part of it.
Well, I tried to talk of my mother with people of the family that I felt close, but it didn't work well at all, because, even if conflicts with parents are the most common event on earth, there's a sort of tabu around it that compells others to always speak not too sincere for the sake of reconciliation. They all get damn worried when you talk bad of your mother! so the general feeling is that they also don't listen to you after all, they just get too nervous, they don't want to enter some family telenovela with conflicts and declarations and taking parts of this and that. Unless your parents abuse you physically, and even then, they will want to avoid the boiling potato the most possible. At the end you find yourself in the unconfortable role of the only freak around. So what I think is forget it.
Someone told you in a post to be considerate and go to funerals and remember birthdays, and that's a way that works. Another way that is more my style is become personal with the ones in the family that you like. A cousin of mine invited me once to the seaside with her and her two sons, it was just a week-end, but we were me and her and we've been talking together about everything in those few days, it was so beautiful, she told me her secrets while I was combing her hair, I told her mine while watching the kids playing in the ocean.
Then I met Erik and it was such a tornado, I left everything for him, my house, my country, my friends, my things, and that friendship with Cristina didn't have the chance to grow further, and my family is very far in my thoughts now. But that could have been a start, if my destiny had not carried me here.