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Derek S. Is contact with parents detrimental?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Guest, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Guest

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    Question
    I grew up with an alcoholic mother who moved around through 8 different abusive marriages. My siblings and I would beg for her to stop, but she didn't listen and moved us around the country so we could watch her get beaten and abused, while I suffered. I have had a lifetime of TMS (ulcerative colitis, now severe back pain) and have the typical TMS personality traits. I have anger toward my mother and in fact use hate as the word that best describes my feeling toward her, even though I still try to be the good son. She has apologized, but I don't think I can ever forgive her.

    Now, as she grows old, she has reverted back to a needy child that cries for my attention and will guilt me to come and see her or call.

    My question is: Is it detrimental to my TMS recovery to be in contact with her, even though I can feel the anger and anxiety when I speak with her?
     
  2. Derek Sapico MFT

    Derek Sapico MFT TMS Therapist

    Answer
    Thanks for sharing your story. That is some powerful stuff.

    It sounds like your relationship with your mother has been consistently difficult, if not traumatic.

    Many people would tell you to work towards forgiving your mother. I appreciate the value in forgiveness but I think that the first thing that you need to work on is identifying and asserting healthy boundaries. This is something that you would ideally do on your own behalf for the sake of your health and wellness.

    It's clear that you have a lot of feelings to sort through regarding your mother. You admit that you still try to be "the good son" while simultaneously feeling consumed by anxiety and anger whenever you speak with her. This sounds extremely conflicted and it probably means that you have very high expectations of yourself.

    I would suggest that if you were to really work through your feelings, preferably with the assistance of a therapist, you would become more comfortable with your anger and this would give you the motivation and confidence to begin to assert healthy boundaries. This is a process that takes time and work but it is worth it.

    Regarding your symptoms, your mother is not the cause of your symptoms and she does not dictate your recovery from TMS. She triggers difficult emotions and anxiety in you which translates into physical symptoms. If you work on tending to your anxiety and being more accepting of your emotions, you will get better whether or not you have a relationship with your mother.

    It is so important that you consider your wellness a priority. Whether you are standing up to an internal bully or asserting healthy boundaries with a family member, you have to care that you are being treated poorly to have the confidence to advocate for yourself.

    Be patient with yourself and seek help if you feel that you need it. You're worth it.

    Derek


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    The general advice and information provided in this format is for informational purposes only and cannot serve as a way to screen for, identify, or diagnose depression, anxiety, or other psychological conditions. If you feel you may be suffering from any of these conditions please contact a licensed mental health practitioner for an in-person consultation.

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