4 thoughts on “Feel Guilty In Your Relationship With Your Parents? Use This Technique

  • January 5, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I wish I had read this before going home for Christmas! My mother had a minor operation the day before I came home and she asked me to look at the surgery site as she was worried about it. I am not a nurse or anything – I just have to always be the practical one because she is very squeamish and can’t handle blood/wounds etc. I felt terribly guilty because instead of feeling compassion towards her and her injury I just felt a massive amount of anger towards her. I resented having to help out, why couldn’t she just deal with it? I kept on thinking that I must be a complete monster to be that way with my own mother.

    Luckily, I have read your first book and have slowly come to the realisation that my childhood wasn’t as perfect as I had always thought that it was (but thinking that makes me feel pretty guilty too!). Thinking through that feeling of anger made me realise that I was feeling resentful at being so good at looking after wounds – I stated self harming at the age of 14 and had to teach myself to how to clean up after cutting myself.

    And I remembered the day when I had finally told my mother about it in the hopes that she would help me find some professional help (I wasn’t able to go to a doctor without a parent present). It was a horrible moment – this was before the internet and I didn’t know that ANYONE else on the planet did this sort of thing. I thought I was broken/insane/evil to be doing that to myself.

    And my mother’s response? Pretty much nothing. You could have replaced my confession with me telling her that we were out of milk and she’d have had a similar level of concern (actually, that’s a lie – she would have actually done something to rectify a lack of milk). She didn’t say anything to me – just looked at me blankly until I lost my nerve and ran off. It was never mentioned again.

    I now find myself justifying her (lack of) response; she was overwhelmed, had no knowledge of mental health issues (I am the only broken person in our family), didn’t believe me, I didn’t explain it correctly… and so on. I still feel guilty for my lack of compassion. But I did get over the anger, so that’s better. And she didn’t notice so I didn’t actually hurt her so there isn’t that extra layer of shame.

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    • January 5, 2019 at 7:03 pm

      Dear Olivia, I hope you have sought therapy to help you with your childhood and relationship with your mother. This does not sound like it’s healthy for you. Please do talk with a professional.

      Reply
  • January 5, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    Actually my mom screams at me and makes me feel paranoid and a horrible person for bringing up that she emotionally neglected me. She keeps telling me all those lies about how she did care for me. But emotionally not at all. I just had to pretend I didn’t exist. I tried everything to make her love me thé way she loves my brother but in every aspect that matters to her I lack in comparison with my brother. Even still I feel this huge empty void in my heart screaming for love. Yet I won’t get it from her, nor friends no one. Now that I’m an 19 year old I have to somehow do everything on my own. My mental health is so bad that I am screaming at myself dayly to not give up the will to live. I get this post but what does it help if I can’t love myself nor receive love from others like my mom or my brother. Having a few distant friends makes it completely unable to fill this horrible void. How do you fix that? Not needing love from anyone. I keep running empty even though I know guilt is useless, she makes me feel that way on purpose. She never listens, never understands me, never helps me, and she surely has never properly loved me. I’m never good enough for her. Even if she doesn’t “say it”, she shows it through her actions. How can you ever fill this stupid void? Tell me please, I’m almost quite literally dying inside.

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    • January 6, 2019 at 9:18 am

      Hey there, Arisa. The brief description of your mother sounds like it fits the “severe narcissist” bill, and although my CEN wasn’t driven by narcissism in my parents, I relate very strongly to the internal state you just described. I was also an emotionally invisible child, and one of the things I still struggle with is an acute inability to experience love from others. There are quite a few people in my life who I know for a fact care about me, but I essentially never feel loved, and on the rare occasions where that marvelous sensation shows up, it never takes very long before my memory of it starts to slip away and I forget not only what it felt like but often that it even happened. I am someone who has often had the experience of hanging out with friends, enjoying myself, and then by the time I’ve reached my car I’m already feeling desperately lonely again.

      I actually started making some clear and significant progress on this a few months back, and then ran into this brick wall in the form of a deeply enraged and utterly terrified little internal child who categorically refuses to participate in anything that might lead me toward freedom someday. I refuse to give up on myself, but I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t frustrating to find that the piece of transformation I’ve most wanted to experience for literally years is being denied to me by my own internal resistance.

      My first encounter with a severe narcissist didn’t happen until after I was around your age, and he was quite happy to take advantage of my mental and emotional state to manipulate me into relating to him almost like a substitute father. It took me a long time to accept that he had only ever seen me as an object to be used and manipulated for his own purposes and to let go of the idea of ever being loved by him, but it wasn’t until after I got him completely out of my life that I was able to start making progress in some of the many ways I needed to.

      I’m not sure what would be the best next step for you, but please know that you are less alone than you probably feel. I personally have benefited a great deal from therapy, and will continue to seek that out until such time as I no longer find it helpful. For years I was able to get help at a clinic that had both an income-based sliding scale and a scholarship fund that kept the help I needed affordable even when I was such a wreck that all I could hold down were fairly low-paying jobs. Perhaps there is something similar in your area.

      I wish you all the best, and very much hope that you don’t give up on yourself. The challenges ahead of you aren’t going to be easy, but change is possible. I might not yet have experienced the change I most want, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m already vastly different from who I once was, and I like the current me an awful lot more than the old me. Sooner or later, this current obstacle will also be overcome, and I look forward to finding out what life is like when it’s possible to actually feel it when people love me.

      Don’t give up on yourself, and if there’s a voice that says that you have to be able to do this on your own, don’t listen to it.

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