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Day 16 My Mother's People Pleasing Hurts Me Every Day

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by levfin003, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    I grew up in an extremely abusive household in Asia. My father was psychotic and lacked basic survival skills. Every time there was a difficult situation he would lose his cool and beat us.

    He beat us if we missed a train and he had to buy a new ticket, if we broke a glass and he had to buy a new one, if my sister or I would get sick and he had to pay the doctor's fee. Once my sister developed a kidney infection and had to be hospitalized. He told the doctor to give her something that would kill her. He went as far as finding a list of foods to avoid during kidney infections, printed off the list, and ordered the doctor to feed that to my sister so she dies.

    We lived in a mixed-family household. My aunts and uncles lived with us along with their families. It was a difficult life. We saw our aunts and uncles show affection to their kids, but none was ever shown to us. All kids in the house received gifts on holidays except us. We never demanded or expected any gifts. My father onced beat me up for touching my cousin's holiday gift.

    Every time my father got abusive, my mother would lock us up in a room. We would sit on the inside while he threatened to break the door from the outside. The sound of him trying to break door still rings in my mind.

    One of our uncles figured out that my father is psychostic. The uncle started taking financial advantage of my father. He began advising him on investments and siphoning money. Eventually, my father started paying almost all his earnings to that uncle. He would ask my mother to feed us once a day, because he could not afford two meals. He would snatch plates from us if he found out we were having an "extra" meal.

    Our culture looks down on divorce as a tabboo. Despite having a horrible marriage, my mother kept the reality hidden from the "society", i.e. anyone outside of those who lived in our house. She believed that if people find out about our reality, it would hurt our standing in socierty and would eventually hurt the prospects for me and my sister in terms of career and marriage. No one in her family, even her siblings knew what happened behind close doors and we continue to suffer to date. To date, we do things to cover up to the society. Effectively, my mother lives a lie.

    I "escaped" home at 16, and moved to a different town to work and study. I took loans from strangers, waited tables, gave tuitions to save money for college. My hard work paid off. After graduating college, I got a phd fellowship in the US. Since my phd, I have worked in many places in the US and Europe. I consider myself sucessfull. Life has taken me places that most people dream of.

    But I am in so much pain. Sometime when my wife prepares a good meal for me, I cry. It reminds of the time when my father would snatch dinner from us because he could not afford it. If my daughter wakes up in the night, I rush to her side because I feel someone is going to beat her. Beneath the veneer of success there are (i) unresolved issues from the past, and (ii) fear of my mother's situation.

    It has been more than 14 years since I left that hell, but my mother still lives with him. I support them financially, but my mother lives like a slave. He controls the money I send, and continues to "invest" and does not improve my mother's lifestyle. He threatens me at time. The last time I visited, he went to the town centre and threatened to "defame" me publicly.

    I have begged my mother to leave him, but she does not. She is scared of what the society will think, or what will happen to my sister. I am unable to live a normal life because of the fear of what might be happening to her. I am always thinking of ways to "resolve" my mother's situation but it is simply not resolvable.

    I hate the fact that my mother lives in a place where you have to put a good face to society. Because of her, I have to do the same. Her people-pleasing hurts me every day. I am sick of my mother living a lie, just to keep face. I am also so angry at the "burden" of having to worry about my mother 24/7. At the same time I am fearful of what might happen if people find out. Will they really ostracize us? Will they really talk behind our backs? In the end, does all this really matter?
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  2. sam908

    sam908 Peer Supporter

    With respect to the issue of how to deal with your mother's people-pleasing, I would suggest that you read some of the Stoic philosophers, such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus. They offer effective techniques to employ in situations which are not in your control -- and, of course, your mother's thoughts and actions are not under your control.
  3. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    I will try, but it is really really hard. On a sad note, I just found out that I am at the risk of developing diabetes.
  4. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    Seeing other people suffer is really hard. But other than what you already do, I do not think there is anything that would resolve the situation. Other than if your Mother might visit you and see an alternative.
    I think you do have to accept that you have done what you can, in the same way that your Mother did what she could for you despite your Father's behaviour. Be sad about it, but also find some sort of acceptance, because you do have your family to think about now. They need you to be as healthy and positive as you can. To be a happy, kind and tolerant person - unlike your Dad... This is not to say to put pressure on yourself, but more to realise that you are doing what is possible and it is a waste of energy to worry further. Save your energy to have good, positive experiences with your wife and kids so that you break the cycle and create well-balanced people who are kind to themselves and others. To do that, you need to be kind to yourself...
    JanAtheCPA, Mala and levfin003 like this.
  5. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    Thank you for your kind words hecate105.

    The thing is that I have always been an overachiever. I try and find a solution for everything. Accepting does not come naturally to me. But if she refuses to leave him, I must learn to accept.
    JanAtheCPA and SunnyinFL like this.
  6. hecate105

    hecate105 Well known member

    So many of us with TMS are overachievers or control freaks and/or perfectionists. The trick is expressing the positive side of these traits whilst not allowing them to overtake us or the situation. So much harder to do than to say!!!
    JanAtheCPA and SunnyinFL like this.
  7. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    My mother lived under constant stress after my father died and she married his brother. Talk about a psychotic! Even his brothers and sisters warned her not to marry him, but Mom always needed a man in her life and he fooled her into being a caring person. He loved her but hated women because of two previous marriages that went bad. Long story short, she got so bad from his controlling ways that she couldn't even eat. Mercifully, after about eight years, he died. But he made life hell for her and my sister and me. Journaling helped me to put this to rest and it healed me of severe back pain.

    Steve Ozanich writes in his wonderful TMS healing book, THE GREAT PAIN DECEPTION, "The stage for your rage causing your pain is built in childhood from the fear and anger of rejection or abandonment. Your Mindbody is over-reacting to the pain. You have been conditioned to expect pain, and so it comes. You need to understand that the pain is often symbolic of the act you are repressing."

    Keep working in the SEP and it will help you to discover how to cope with your anger. Try not to please everyone. Please yourself instead. Be giving to those who appreciate it.
    levfin003 likes this.
  8. levfin003

    levfin003 Peer Supporter

    I need to please myself and my new family. Previously I worked to help my parents (including him), but that was never appreciated. I had lost the desire to move on.

    Now I work hard and live fully for my wife and my child!
  9. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Levfin. Living fully for your wife and child is wonderful. Along the way, it will make you happy and help you to be free of pain.
    Consider yourself blessed to have your loved ones.
  10. Mala

    Mala Well known member

    @levfin003. You haven't had an easy childhood but u r in control of your thoughts, your present & your relationships with your own family which should be your priority.

    I am Asian & had an alcoholic father who gave my mother a very hard time. My mother is well educated & worked all her life even when I was a baby. He would mentally & physically abuse her although he never raised a finger at me or my younger sister & loved us in his own warped way. The atmosphere at home was pretty bad at times. When I was 11 I went for my summer vacation to India where my maternal grandparents lived & I fell in love with them, the place & discovered a whole new extended family of aunts, uncles & cousins. It was heaven & right then I made the decision not to go back to my parents. I made the decision I needed to make for myself & I knew this even though I was only 11.

    Things continued the same way back home until my father passed away when I was 16. It was the best thing that happened because we were free especially my mom. Despite everything my mom still loved my father, was loyal to him & was devastated when he died. That is something I do not understand but that was her life which she lived based on her own beliefs, her fears, maybe her ignorance, her warped sense of loyalty, her Indian upbringing- whatever. All I know is that I would not have put up with it for a day. Yet she was prepared to put up with it for life!

    Many yrs later I asked her why she didn't leave him & she said it was because of me & my sister. No matter what she still thought we needed both parents. When I told her that she would have possibly protected us better by leaving him she said she didn't think it was the right thing to do.

    Whatever the circumstances or situations were I now look at the past with no anger or sadness towards my mom. I try to understand instead what she must have had to go thru as a young bride, a young person struggling to make all these decisions which affected her & her family & still living so unhappily because she was trapped. Whether it was right or wrong they were her decisions- the decisions a young, beautiful woman made maybe for some right reasons & maybe for some wrong ones too.

    So rather than anger or frustration I suggest you show yr mom sympathy & love & try to understand where she is coming from. You may never be able to resolve the situation. You may never agree with how she lives her life but it was & is the life she has chosen. Respect that as hard as its going to be, accept that & get on with creating your own beautiful life.


    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  11. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    What you just said is THE best way to honor and love your mother, because it is, of course, what every normal parent wants - for the next generations to be happy - often happier than they were. Which is what you want, too! The difference is that YOU have the resources as well as the ability to choose to make that come true for both yourself and your children.

    Sadly, your mother has made her choice. You could not have saved her, but you were able to save yourself. Can you accept that this is a good outcome?

    Your success has to make your mother happier than if you had stayed so that your father could grind you into the ground along with her. This is true even if she has no ability to understand that truth, because she is in no position to comprehend the alternative.

    Your new family will be happy if you can move on and forgive not just your mother, but yourself.
    Mala likes this.

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