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iaawal

Is she changing or am I being roped in again?

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So ever since the end of last year when I was confronted with the reality that it was emotional abuse and may even overt and covert sexual abuse (eww) from my mother I've been trying to distance myself. I already live 1800+ miles away from her but she calls me every day. So I'm colder on the phone calls to get her to hang up quicker or I tell her the truth when she asks me questions. I don't really tell her anything that's going on in my life. If she asks me what I did at work, I tell her I did work and that's it. If I tell her I went out to dinner and she asks how it was I say it was good and that's it. I don't let her keep going in the conversations. 

 

She's noticed and has said to me that our relationship is becoming more distant. I tell her the truths sometimes. Like my cousins' daughters are going to college and neither one of them wants them to go. So I told my mom "she just shouldn't do what you did, which was not give me an option to live on my own in college and move with me." To that she said I was the one who asked her to move in with me. The excuse I gave everyone regarding the fact that my mom moved to a new city with me was that I didn't want to live in the dorm. But really, my mom guilted me and I felt I had no choice. In fact, I originally wanted to move out of state for college but then she would do the whole "if I'm sick, you won't be able to see me, vice versa" thing and I felt guilted. I told her that was the truth and told her to cut the conversation. 

 

Lately she's been watching a religious channel and comes to me with realizations. Like it was saying how parents are distancing their own children and causing harm when they don't let them go. She asked me if she did that to me and then I said yes. And she denied it. She denied me ever lacking the ability to make my own decisions. I told her that no matter what I tell her that she's just going to deny it anyway. 

 

She's also been asking for forgiveness this way, "if I ever did anything wrong to you, then forgive me." I told her that's not how you ask for apologies. By doing that you're not even recognizing that you did anything wrong. I told her that she would have never accepted that apology from me. Then she said she would have that she never denied an apology from me (a million times she did). Then she told me that parents always forgive their children and children should always forgive their parents.

 

She has chronic pain and when she talks about how miserable her life is I feel like I should feel compassion. I know that I hurt her when I'm cold. I know that. She tells me that. 

 

She asked me how I'm doing mental health wise. I told her that even if I was doing bad I wouldn't tell her because she was the one who told me before I moved out of state that if I'm ever not doing well that I shouldn't tell her because she'll worry about me and that won't be good for her health. She then denied ever saying that and said she would never say such a horrible thing. Then said that if she ever said something so stupid, that it was just her being stupid and that I should forgive her because she'll be there for me always. She'll come live with me if I ever need her. 

 

So I've been feeling a lot more compassion towards her. She's changing, right? She's 66 years old. She's maintained that she's never going to change her personality. But what she's changing isn't her personality. Part of me says that's how abusers get people to stay. Then most of me says I was never abused and that I'm just being mean to someone who loves me very very much.

 

I don't know any more. Folks on the chat encourage me to cut off contact or change my name next time I move and not tell her. I know it's probably best but idk. I would feel guilty. 

Edited by iaawal

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I understand how you feel. My mother is very similar. She denies wrongdoing on her part and constantly plays the victim about everything.  She is almost a book definition of histrionic personality disorder, and it is VERY hard to deal with. Maybe your mother also shows those traits? I know how you feel, because there is no getting through to them. Everything is denied. I would be very careful in trusting any approaches from her. My mother has done this many times and ends up making the situation all about herself. 

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On 5/29/2017 at 2:06 PM, iaawal said:

Lately she's been watching a religious channel and comes to me with realizations. Like it was saying how parents are distancing their own children and causing harm when they don't let them go. She asked me if she did that to me and then I said yes. And she denied it. She denied me ever lacking the ability to make my own decisions. I told her that no matter what I tell her that she's just going to deny it anyway. 

She's gaslighting you, Iaa. She isn't changing. She's trying to find a new way past your growing defenses and self-awareness. 

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5 hours ago, Gearhead said:

She's gaslighting you, Iaa. She isn't changing. She's trying to find a new way past your growing defenses and self-awareness. 

Good point, Gear. Yesterday she went to the hospital for high blood pressure and told me there needs to be peace between us which means I need to tell her more. I'm sticking to my guns and I'm going to continue to emotionally distance myself. 

 

11 hours ago, Montague said:

I understand how you feel. My mother is very similar. She denies wrongdoing on her part and constantly plays the victim about everything.  She is almost a book definition of histrionic personality disorder, and it is VERY hard to deal with. Maybe your mother also shows those traits? I know how you feel, because there is no getting through to them. Everything is denied. I would be very careful in trusting any approaches from her. My mother has done this many times and ends up making the situation all about herself. 

I'm sorry Montague. My mom fits more with narcissistic personality disorder. Histrionic sounds tough to deal with. Yes, she's very good at making the situation all about herself.

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iaa, i think this says far more about you being a compassionate, understanding individual than it does about her 'changing'. Abusive people often change. But all that changes is how they abuse, not whether or not they are abusive. She could convert and become the Godliest person on Earth, and still find ways to manipulate you and make you feel bad. Her chronic pain, as horrible as it is, is not your problem. She does not deserve your good heart, because she takes advantage of it, and treats you as an object of attention and comfort. But you are not a walking talking machine that can give her what she wants as long as she dispenses guilt coins into it. You are your own person who deserves mutual respect and care, neither of which she seems capable of giving. I very much recommend no contact, but obviously it's your life and you need to do what's best for you. The prospect of no contact seemed impossible to me when my stalker had a sword of Damocles over me (basically, the ever implicit threat of saying whatever she wanted to smear me). But then I broke off all contact, and it felt shit, but it was so much better. 

TL;DR: all this talk of forgiveness/peace is just another way to ensure she is absolved of any accountability, and you are kept strung along on the very specific line she wants you to walk. Which is bullcrap, because you are great and deserve better.

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you don't ever have to forgive someone, even if they love you. you deserve to be safe, more than she deserves to not feel guilt over hurting you. I know that's not well-phrased, but I guess I'm trying to say that it isn't your fault if she feels guilty. it IS her fault if you feel unsafe. 

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I think that was so amazing you were able to tell her "apology" wasn't real. That is a real moment of clarity that is hard to get when enmeshed with an abusive person.  I am happy for you that you don't live near her. It is so much easier to have those times of clarity and see they are manipulative when you aren't around them all the time. I also don't think she is changing. She never did give you a real apology. You were abused and it wasn't your fault. I hope you continue to protect yourself.

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