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Dec 03, 2011
Elaine:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Allow me to share some personal experience here. I learned a long time ago that one can only manipulate me when I allow it to go on. I cannot BE manipulated, rather, I permit it by allowing the conversation to take the direction it takes. If it had been me, the moment my mother would have said anything that remotely sounded derogatory or disparaging about someone possibly being gay (or something else), I would have called her on it, outright. "You're a homophobic, Mother. And I won't allow you to speak to me about your prejudice. The next time we speak, I would appreciate if you'd keep your homophobia to yourself. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Good bye, Mum." Period. End of story. End of conversation, because I would have hung up the phone. Elaine, she can only get to you if you your Self don't feel confident about where you are, or if you're still looking for her approval. Recognize that her approval is not important...only YOUR approval is. So give it to your Self. Make a pact with your Self. Decide here and now where the line in the sand is, and then stick to it. If it means there is no conversation because your mother always moves it into something inappropriate, then so be it. Teach her the consequences of her behaviour of imposing those consequences (cutting off the discussion or conversation--face to face, just walk away). YOU'RE the one who must be strong. Just always be civil with her. Don't get angry, because she isn't worth the energy it takes from you...no one is. You need that energy (turned positive, of course) for your Self. You can do this. I know you can.

All the best with your surgery. Love, light and positive energy to you, Elaine. Thank you for sharing this family dynamic with my visitors and me.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

Dec 03, 2011
Reply to Darlene
by: Elaine Ellis

Darlene, thanks very much for your advice. I can see that it makes so much sense. It's really interesting to see how my particular family dynamic actually feeds off my inability to spot what's going on until it's too late.
You are quite right to suggest that, somewhere in the back of my mind, I am well aware of the fact that every time I have a conversation with mum, she attempts to manipulate it. However, whenever this actually happens in practice, I do not seem to realise what is going on quickly enough. By that time, mum has generally managed to get her own way.
You are also partially correct, in that you believe my inability to spot what mum is up to, and put her right, stems from a need for her approval. It's more accurately a case of, even though I don't want her approval, I DEFINITELY DO NOT want her punishment. So I suppose, out of fear, I attempt to give her the benefit of the doubt. Trouble with this is, as you so accurately point out, I end up getting manipulated into a situation where she has her own way.
I've tried in the past to cut her dead, or to provide responses like that you suggest. In the past, there have been times when I would have hung up on her. All this achieves is a screaming rant off her, or simmering resentment, and she then explodes at me next time I see her, or next time she 'phones. The trouble with my mum is that she "saves things up". So, if she does not get what she wants on the first attempt, she festers away, until she can get you next time. I'll come clean, and say I really DO NOT know how to deal with this. Mum refuses to end things - if I dared hang up on her, I'd pay for it over and over again in the future.
Anyone got any ideas as to how to deal with that?

Dec 04, 2011
Reply to An Insight
by: Anonymous

Elaine, you accurately demonstrated the dynamics of an abuser. Everything is manipulated to make the abuser feel good about themselves; all is manipulated to make the abusers feel validated-- serially at the expense of others. An abusive parent will pick a child to reflect back to them that they are a wonderful parent...as is the case with your favoritized brother. They need to devalue chosen others just as much as they need to overvalue some...all to elevate their view of THEMSELVES. By cutting down someone, they elevate themselves, or their opinion, or whatever they're seeking to justify in the moment. This kind of value/devalueing is very manipulative and ever present on every level of interaction with an abuser, be it a big issue, or a trivial conversation. They have to be "right" or "better" at all times. It gets dangerous when this ruthless need is elevated to abuse. Of course they don't think they are doing anything wrong, and have to discredit you and justify themselves even after the most horrific abuse. Just like always.
Darelene is right about this whole exchange being a non-issue if you only stopped seeking her approval. I used to fall into the same trap of engaging with my abusive mother. Mostly because these are our parents, and there is a primal unspoken love and hope that exists in us that tells us "They're our parents! Of course they love us! If only we reasoned with them..or hung in there..didn't give up...Surely they have our best interests at heart deep down!" We give excuses, we hang in there, always with the hope that "this time" they will be different. Also, its hard for a child to come to grips and accept that a parent indeed does NOT care about anything but their own interests. That they actually, DO NOT CARE about us. Its really difficult for a child to accept that. Being as how they're our parents and all. But once we accept it, we can stop seeking approval. An abusive parent was never really a parent at all. Once we realize the reality of that, we no longer need to engage with them. We no longer get pulled into their manipulation. Its hard for anyone to disengage from an abuser, but especially so when the abuser is your parent. Abusers are so pathologically selfish and always have to feel they are right and good that they do not invite reality or other people's feelings into the equation. They don't even see other people as people. We are just tools, pawns, to be manipulated for their own selfish needs. There is no guilt or shame on their part, only rage, blame, projection, justification of their atrocious behavior. That is because they have to be right at all times, and are selfish to a degree most people just can't wrap their heads around. These are people who are so selfish, so self-involved, that it becomes dangerous and damaging for other people.

Dec 04, 2011
Elaine:
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

While I can't possibly offer advice regularly as a result of more than 100 stories in queue each and every day, I'll make an exception today. What I will say to you is that if someone treats me like this, I treat them the way I would a child having a tantrum. And I do not let up. Your mother continues to have control over you because she knows that when she screams and rants and raves and has her escalated tantrums, that over time, you'll succumb. But the fact is, you have to be prepared to cut ties with her for a while. If you're not ready for that, then your mother will get her way because she's a master manipulator. If you're firm no matter what she says and how often she says it, if you're distancing your Self as a result of her inappropriate treatment of you she will get the message that you mean business, but only if she wants to truly have a relationship with you. But as I said, you have to be ready to go the distance. The fear you feel is residual from childhood...but you're not a child any longer. Take back the power that she has held over you and others, Elaine. If you don't, she'll never stop because it works for her. When it stops working for her, then she'll have to make a decision about what's more important: to have you in her life, or to be ranting and raving to what amounts to empty space when you outright refuse to take any more of her guff. It really is that simple, Elaine. But you have to make the choice, and only you CAN make the choice. Dealing with tantrums with a 2-year-old is challenging...dealing with a parent who chooses this method of getting what they want requires intestinal fortitude like you've never had to find before. And don't fall into the trap of her "guilting" you. That's age-old...timeless, really. If you don't set boundaries in your relationship with your mother now that you're an adult, you can look forward to a lifetime of the same. Your decision. And lean on preferably non-family support as you go through this. Don't need this turning into a "who side are you on" situation. Best of luck, Elaine. I know you can do this. Love, light and positive energy being sent your way.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
Webmaster: www.child-abuse-effects.com
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir



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