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Did you grow up in a sick household?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by linnyc87, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    I grew up in an extremely negative environment. Since I started working on retraining my beliefs, I came to realize my mom is the one who conditioned me to be sick. Not blaming her, just stating a fact.

    I can't remember a moment in time where my mom wasn't complaining about some type of pain/illness. Every since I can remember, my mother has always been unwell. Back pain, leg pain, gout, swollen feet/ankles, reproductive issues, headaches, grave's disease, rashes, high blood pressure, shingles, obesity...I can go on, but you all get the point. I grew up thinking that good health was only for rich people.

    Of course I suspect she has TMS. I can't tell her that though. She blames me for all of her health problems. In her own words, "I DIDN'T HAVE ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS UNTIL I HAD YOU!!!" *all caps because my mom is an aggressive shouter* I've heard this my entire life. All the therapy in the world has not helped me release this anger that I feel.

    It's funny when I think about it now because I've never been able to just hug my mom without her screaming, "OUCH! GET OFF OF ME!!!" and aggressively pushing me off of her. Meanwhile, her husband can touch her with no aggressive backlash nor does she scream in agony. I guess she's only in pain when I needed affection...

    I remember being a child and hearing her constantly tell me I was going to suffer my whole life with sinus issues, all because I was born during fall. She told me I had hay fever, as if hay fever is an permanent illness. So, of course I believed it and I've suffered from sinus and some respiratory problems throughout my life.

    As I got closer to graduating college, I found myself in and out of doctor's offices trying to figure out what was wrong with me. I was having panic attacks, but I thought I had a heart condition. After a year of various testing, I was diagnosed with GAD, GERD, clinical depression, and panic disorder. My doctor gave me an otherwise great health report, but she said, "other than your weight, you're very healthy. I'm not sure how much of your health complaints are psychological though, but maybe if you lost the weight, then you'd feel better." I was offended, but then I thought to myself, "well I AM overweight. My mom is overweight also and has many health issues. So maybe all my problems ARE caused by my weight."

    I graduated from college in 2009, moved back into my parent's house and started "fixing" myself. My weight was my primary focus. I figured if I lost weight, then my life would drastically improve. I started my health journey in 2013 and by 2017, I'd lost 100lbs...BUT I felt even worse than I did before. Basically, as I was losing weight, I developed chronic neck pain. Imagine my frustration. Lol I started beating myself about it. Because even though I paced my weight loss journey (it took 4+ years), I couldn't help but to think, "maybe it's because I lost too much weight. I just changed my diet by eating healthier, but maybe I should've been exercising as well. Maybe my muscles are weak. Maybe it's due to my desk job"---- all sorts of maybes. Oh! I was also in therapy during this time. Because I learned how anxiety disorder can cause many physical ailments. I did everything that I was encouraged to do to better my health. Nothing worked.

    The pain got so bad, I quit working, started walking/jogging everyday, and went to therapy more frequently. I'm the healthiest I've ever been in life (based on my weight, blood work, etc.), yet I feel like shit. I recently started thinking, "maybe I need to lift weights and really tone my muscles." Then a queation popped in mind: "how strong/muscular do I need to be I order to feel normal?"

    It's like my logical brain fully believes and accepts TMS, but my emotional brain is still in fight or flight mode and nothing soothes me or makes me feel safe long enough to fully relax. It's taken a long time to recondition my mind to not believe in poor health, especially while living with my 'always ailing' mother and her recently disabled husband. I feel like I live in a nursing home. I wish I could blame my environment, but even when I moved thousands of miles away, my health didn't improve.

    I'm mostly in bed all day everyday aince I don't work and don't have a car anymore. I move around frequently though, by walking to the park, jogging, stretching, sitting outside in the sun, gardening, doing household chores, cooking, etc. I truly try my best to keep my body moving, but it's only so much that I can do.

    I guess I'm just writing this to vent and ask for support. I'm doing the daily work and constantly telling myself, "I'm safe, it's not structural, it's just anxiety, muscle tension, mild oxygen. I'm not dying. I'm perfectly healthy." I guess it's just not clicking for me.

    Every time I read a success story, I noticed everyone that healed instantly are those that had pretty fulfilling lives prior to the onset of chronic pain. I can't relate to that. Hearing, "it's okay to get back to living your life" doesn't excite me. My only support system is my friends who live miles away, nad even that's not consistent. I've been single for 13 years and I'm only 33. It almost feels like I've never had companionship. I pray all day, express gratitude, think positive yet my future still seems dim. I've started several businesses that all failed because I wasn't able to fully devote myself.

    I never give up ans always striving forward...but idk.

    I used to want sooo much out of life, but now I just want to be happy and feel good and live on my own. I don't even feel like I'll find a significant other. I've been back at home almost 3 years now. I started talking about my desire to move back out a few months ago and my mother's health has been conveniently declining ever since, but I know malingering. She's told me many times how much she prefers me to be here so that I can basically take care of her. I hate it sooo much.

    I apologize for writing such a long post. I just don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I'll never be free.
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  2. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think there are very few people who don't grow up with a strong sense of dysfunction in our exterior dominated world. Perhaps it is a cyclical thing, but I know only a few families from my past that were actually healthy. They seem to be the minority. I do not think this is new in the human experience...crack open the book of Genesis and you'll see every kind of F'd up we've ever had as a species.

    This is actually great news because you have found it out at age 33...you have tons of life in front of you!

    One of the freedoms that came to me late in life was getting to let go of 'the story' except where it might be useful to another person to let them know they don't have to be at the mercy of the story. My older brother and sister are quite fond of the story and still define themselves by it as they approach 60. I feel bad for them. When they begin to tell it, it has no impact on me even though I was there for large parts of it.

    There is no shame in having a painful family history because generally it creeps on you like like a sundial moves....slow and barely perceptible. But once you have enough awareness, like you show here, you do get to decide where you would like to go....piece by piece, decision by decision. Doing the TMS work and looking at it face to face is one way to disconnect.

    You can and will be by staying this honest
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  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Well @linnyc87, you've just described exactly where I'm at right now, and I've been doing this work, fairly successfully, with ups and downs, since 2011 - a little more than 9 years.

    And then 2020 happened. A complete bitch of a year, and still with no end in sight. If there is anyone (knowing about TMS) not backsliding and experiencing TMS flares this year, I want to hear about it - because I don't believe it.

    You've clearly come a long way in this battle - and at only 33 too! As @Baseball65 says, that's something to celebrate! But not only are you contending with 2020, you're also contending with a background, and with a current situation, that are both horrifying.

    I was 60 when I started doing this work. However, like many people, I had a pretty "normal" and decent upbringing, with parents who were reasonably functional, and who did a good job giving their kids a loving and nurturing home. I still had TMS, but it was a decades-long build-up that started with childhood anxiety (which I definitely got from my parents) until it reached a crisis point as I was facing the realities of aging. And I think this story is pretty common amongst TMSers.

    But I have to tell you: extreme TMS in a young person is not typical, and when we see that, we can be pretty sure that we're also going to see some form of childhood dysfunction that goes beyond the norm.

    Did I just say that 2020 has been a a bitch? OMG - 2020 has nothing on your mother - she is a disaster! There is no way for me to begin to comprehend what your life has been like, suffering from 33 years of serious psychological abuse. Just reading your story fills me with rage!

    And while I can see your obvious progress in this battle, I'm really sorry to have to tell you that "pray all day, express gratitude, think positive" ain't gonna do it.

    Prayer and positivity are lovely, but they are only effective in this work when they are addendums to doing the hard and dirty work - for example, an hour of "get the shit out" writing, followed by one thing from the day for which you are grateful. Nothing wrong with that - it's very effective in fact.

    But the main focus has GOT to be getting the shit out. Every day. The results of 33 years of abuse can not be changed into something positive just by thinking positively. We here acknowledge that the so-called practice of "positive thinking" is actually just another form of distraction that does a great job of keeping the shit out of sight and out of mind. Repressed, in other words.

    To really do this work, you have to be willing to face the shit openly, and even more willing to call it by its real name. Which is shit.

    First: you have to learn to love yourself enough to KNOW that you deserve to heal. You also have to love yourself enough to acknowledge, deep down in your heart, your gut, and your soul, that you did not deserve to be born to this miserable excuse for a mother.

    Listen to me: every single child ever born in this world has the right to expect that they will be cherished and loved, unconditionally. You had that right, the same right as every other child, yet somehow you ended up with someone who failed utterly to provide this essential need.

    This is not your fault. You probably know this intellectually, but do you really know it? Or are you blaming yourself for it? Or blaming yourself for "not getting over it"? Either would be very normal - normal, but not healthy. Let's not even begin on the bullshit guilt this woman is currently piling on you - that's a whole other subject.

    What about just "getting over it"? After all, you can't change how your mother raised you, right? It is what it is... But you can definitely change your relationship to what it is. And that requires being honest about what it is. Yeah, you have to accept that it happened and that you can't change it, BUT >>> you do NOT have to agree that there was anything acceptable about it in any way, shape or form. Obviously your mother is mentally ill, and obviously she didn't know any other way of being, but that doesn't mean that her behavior was acceptable. Understandable? yeah, probably - but still not acceptable. Can she be forgiven? Sure, she actually can be, because she is mentally ill - but the result of her mental illness, which is the many forms of damage done to you, is never forgivable, because you did not deserve it. Forgive the person, not the behavior.

    Trying to wrap this up, I have to say that I doubt there's anyone here who would think that you should stay in that house for even a minute more, but I suspect that's a whole lot easier said than done. Do you have any options?

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  4. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    I don't have any other options right now. In fact, I almost got caught up in a job scam this week. Lol I can laugh now, but the other day I wasn't laughing at all. It just reminded me of how important it is to not make decisions out of desperation or while I'm in fight or flight mode. (=/)

    I've been rushing my recovery because I want to hurry up and get back out of this house, but I also have to be honest with myself about the fact that I have no idea what I want to do with my life, which gives me waaay more anxiety than my dysfunctional family members. I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to have everything all figured out.

    I know that many people reject the notion of "hidden benefits" from TMS, but I know for a fact that there are hidden benefits to me. I've been using this time to try figuring my life out, which hasn't really helped because again, trying to make life decisions while in fight or flight mode is counterproductive. Smh

    I'm really comfortable with expressing my true emotions. I started therapy in 2011, but I also have to keep in mind that TMS recovery isn't just about feeling my repressed emotions. It's largely about soothing myself by understanding I'm safe and there's nothing wrong with me (both physically and mentally), and that just so happens to be the part that I only recently (a few weeks ago) begin to incorporate into my recovery routine. I still have great fear about the physical sensations, which I now see that means I haven't 100% accepted TMS yet. *SIGH* So technically, I guess I've only been doing TMS work for a few weeks?? That's actually kind of comforting to admit out loud. I went from being super frustrated (while writing my initial comment) to now feeling like I just need to give myself more time and be patient.

    Idk, sometimes I feel like I'm doing sooo much and not getting anywhere. Then I have these clarifying moments where I feel like I've been missing a piece of the puzzle and start thinking I haven't been doing enough. Kind of like driving for hours in the wrong direction. Lol ay yi yi
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  5. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    I can't add anything to the insightful posts by Baseball65 & Jan, except to acknowledge the impact that a chronically sick parent can make on our lives. As far back as I can remember, my mother was always sick. Arthritis, headaches, insomnia, anxiety. She wasn't abusive, just sickly. As she got older, the complaining progressed to where our daily conversation started with a 30 minute recap of her health struggles. I loved my mom, but even before I knew about TMS, I knew that a lot of her issues were psychological. As a young woman, a chiropractor said her spine was shaped like an S and she would always have pain. She died the same way she lived, in excruciating pain. It was unbearable to watch.

    Piggybacking on what Jan said, this year has ramped up pain for me as well- and wouldn't you know it, my muscle spasms are in the same exact location where my mom would ask me to rub her back. I know this isn't a coincidence. I'm dealing with it the same way I dealt with other TMS issues. Lots of self-love, compassion, protecting myself from undue stress and toxic people, exercise, and reinforcing my belief in TMS through books and podcasts.

    I used to be a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, it was almost a religion for me. The more I practiced positive thinking, the worse I got physically and emotionally. One day, I threw all my books and CDs into the trash and never looked back. I saw it for the farce it is. Instead of focusing on emotions, I filled my thoughts and words with mantras and positive sayings that I couldn't attain and didn't really believe. Which made me feel like a hypocrite and failure for not getting it "right."

    Congratulations on your weight loss, I can't imagine how much willpower that took! Obviously, you have the fortitude and willpower to overcome your current situation. I suspect your focus on your weight prevented you from thinking about other things. Now that the weight is gone, your brain has replaced it with pain. If you can lose 100 lbs., you can do anything! Believe in yourself. I believe in you.
  6. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    Hattie, your comment made me tear up. I'm sorry that your mom died in pain. I feel like that's the path my mom is headed down and I can't save her as much as I want to. Truth is, I've wanted to save my mom during my entire life, which she rebels against every time. Even trying to get her to drink water ends up in an argument. She has mentally and emotionally drained me my entire life, yet I feel ashamed for not wanting to take care of her. Idk where the shame comes from. Maybe it's because we are always expected to take care of our parents. So I feel guilty about wanting to run as far away from her as I possibly can. When I went away to college and had my own apartment, that was the most peace I ever had. Even though I was dealing with grief from my brother's death, I still had sooo much peace--------Wow! Just writing this out is teaching me that I can still have peace in spite of pain. Interesting!

    Also my mom is her husband's caregiver. If she gets worse, I'd be expected to take care of them both and I hate that. Her husband and I have had an extremely volatile relationship for the past 20+ years. So you can imagine my frustration.

    No wonder so many people have chronic pain (and anxiety, depression, etc). We're all dealing with so much shit!

    I'm still trying to understand self love. I don't think I'm grasping the concept of it honestly. I do try to be more compassionate with myself though. I notice a large majority of success stories talk about how self love is what healed them most of all.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2020
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  7. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member


    Plum is the expert on this site about self-love and compassion. I suggest you go back through her posts and read all of them. Or better yet, print them so you can have reminders close by. Also, there are a lot of books and articles about how to have self-compassion (minus the positive thinking nonsense). I don't know if you've heard of Brene Brown. She is inspiring. Possibly start with her Ted Talks and go from there. We are here to support you. Don't hesitate to reach out.

    https://brenebrown.com/ (Brené Brown)
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  8. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    Thank you! I've heard of Brene Brown. Going to dive in to her work today. ☺
  9. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bless your sweet heart, not only for holding me in such high regard, but for saying such things in a day when I needed to hear them. I’ve had the kinda day that inspires multiple expressions of “Jesus wept” and “fucks sake”. In sum, it’s been a bitch. And I pop in to read mail and I have this wonderful, beautiful reminder of what rests at the heart of healing, which simply goes to show that this is ever a work in progress and an evolution.


    I had an epic meltdown last night and it pitched me deep into the wounded self. While I didn’t grow up in a sick household, I did grow up with a mum who was a carer for her mum and this serves as an echo throughout my life. My mum’s mum wasn’t ill but simply a fragile soul broken by the shocking death of her husband too young. My grieving mum had to shelve her own heartbreak to look after her mother. I was born a year after this and my brothers (twins) born a couple of years after. I can’t even begin to comprehend the maelstrom. But it’s there, lurking quietly in the shadows, and sometimes the dull hangover of resentment and overwhelm bursts through in me. However it wasn’t palpably negative because my parents (I cherish them for this) made a vow to not replicate their own histories. Despite this I did “inherit” codependent tendencies that would go on to play out in the drama of my husband’s dysfunctional family.

    His mother is a goddam f’ing narcissistic nightmare and medical dramas were a regular part of the deal. I went No Contact in June this year so she can play that small fiddle all day and all night and get no where with me. But it has been incredibly hard to break the (trauma) bond, and a true test of my mind and heart. It can be done though my dear. It can be done.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2020
  10. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member


    I'm so glad what I wrote made your day a tiny bit better. A small payback for all the times you've helped me. Whenever I find myself being too self critical, I think "what would Plum advise, what would she do in this situation?" Lately, I find that it's becoming more automatic/ instinctive that physical pain is a reminder I need to nourish my soul and pamper my body. I'm sorry your mother-in-law is such a nightmare. It saddens me because she could have been a substitute mother like my MIL was before she died. We can never have too many supportive women in our lives.

    Linny and Plum,
    I came across a YouTube channel (Green Renaissance) that is one of the most spirit nourishing channels I've ever seen. Visually exquisite as well. This particular video spoke to me. I hope you enjoy it too.
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  11. linnyc87

    linnyc87 Peer Supporter

    Hattie, I'm not sure if you believe in signs, but I do (although anxiety and pain tend to makes me question and second guess everything).

    That video brought me so much peace because I've been desiring the off-grid lifestyle for a while now. I quite often watch tiny house/off grid videos on YouTube and they mane me feel so comforted and a deep sense of home, which area two things that I've been longing for all of my life.

    I've been praying for signs, wondering if I should actually follow this desire to give up this modern/high tech lifestyle up and go off grid. Maybe your reply was that sign.

    Early today I did some inner child work and found out a major fear of mine is not having emotional support. I've been harboring pain from emotional abandonment and I didn't know. I kinda suspected it, but I didn't know it was THAT severe. I realized the reason why I'm holding on to this current lifestyle is fear. Because even though I'm not getting my needs 100% met, I am getting some crumbs at least and I guess those crumbs are keeping me here...and by 'here' I mean health wise, relationships, etc. I'm afraid to let go. Years of therapy and I've never had this much clarity. What have I been paying for! Lol
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2020
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  12. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hattie, one of the things I treasure most about this site are the generous and compassionate women, like you, who offer so much support and love. I agree completely with your thoughts on that.

    And I’m so touched by your words. You’ve helped me soften around the experience that was so upsetting. Essentially my husband and I were visiting the bank and a man in the queue became abusive towards my hubby, claiming that he was using his disability to advantage (!?) and other such nonsense. Because my hubby was sitting inside while I queued on his behalf outside I missed a lot of what happened but this bully waited until my husband was on his own to be so unpleasant, and he encouraged other people in the queue to join in. Such a horrible and unnecessary experience but one that sadly all disabled people go through every now and then. The situation with lockdown (we’re midway through a second national one) isn’t helping at all. Everybody is frayed, frustrated and emotionally exhausted. Even knowing and accepting all this, I have still been hard on myself for not protecting my boy enough. (He affectionately calls me his Shield Maiden, which I like because I probably do have some Viking blood).

    Your mother-in-law must have been a sweet soul. What a blessing for you. ❤️

    This video is beautiful, thank you so much for posting it. I spent some time on the channel and have subscribed. As you say, it’s wonderfully nourishing and full of gentle wisdom. I also forwarded it to my Dad. I know he’ll love it.

    Me too! I have a passion for log cabins and tree houses buried deep in the forest. Maybe one day...

    This same realisation was/has been a huge part of my healing. For me the emotional tendency went way beyond people-pleasing and I had to delve deeply into co-dependency and over-giving before I began to make real headway. This rests at the heart of why I urge people to embrace self-love and self-care. Many of us don’t even realise how much we neglect ourselves, and even when we do it can take years of battling with resentment and overwhelm before we break free. I still struggle with it now but as Hattie notes, TMS actually is trying to protect us and encourage us towards a more mindful and compassionate understanding of how we treat ourselves.

    @HattieNC and @linnyc87

    This is a YouTuber I love. My soul aches for the life she has crafted. Kudos to her for doing so and sharing her story so exquisitely.


    love to you both x
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  13. HattieNC

    HattieNC Well known member

    Yes Linny, I believe in signs.... from God, the universe, or mortal beings. You shouldn't have to settle for emotional crumbs. You are better than that. I see you as a strong woman who is doing the best she can in these circumstances- but when the time is right, will soar on her own.

    My father had Parkinsons for almost 20 years. I adored him and would have gone batshit crazy if someone had been openly mean to him in my presence. It was bad enough watching him being ignored because he lost the ability to speak, let alone abused in public. I believe you reap what you sow. Those horrible people in the bank won't get away with it. I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.

    I've watched some of Jonna Jinton's videos. She is amazing!
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  14. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank God your father had you my dear.
    And thank you for understanding. I believe you are right about karma. I don’t know how some people live with themselves.
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  15. Tms_joe

    Tms_joe Well known member

    That logical knowing of what is correct thinking and what’s not while the emotions seem to do whatever they want and drag you down is nuclear bomb of a notice that you are lacking self awareness. Take it from someone who said the same thing...4 years later.

    I bet you know that you are lacking perspective so everything in your life gets the correct importance. What you need to do is a get a look at this from a 3rd person perspective. Have to start observing it all without bias. That means when what you observe indicates something is your fault and requires serious effort to fix it, you see that. You do it. The emotions will use you like slave if you don’t become aware of what they are doing and why.
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  16. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Yess Jonna Jinton is amazing! Not personally a fan of the cold, but I wish we could all be better connected to nature instead of stuck in our busy, sedentary, tech-driven lifestyles. I'm halfway through a degree that has it's benefits but a lot of drawbacks like this as well.
    plum likes this.

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