Sunday, November 4, 2012

"It must be"... but it isn't, and that's my biggest problem

One thing I don't quite know what to do with in my communication here is receiving normal, empathetic reactions from normal, empathetic people out there. Very often, when I share something my parents did or said or just a fact concerning my FOO, like that they have never loved me, people say things like "It must be hard" or "That must be so painful" and I freeze, because, frankly, yes, I know, it must be, but it's really not. And that's a problem.

I don't really feel these insights and memories concerning my parents. I'm intellectually aware of them - much like I had to be intellectually aware of the fact that my parents were perfect and absolutely above reproach, but all I felt was just the need to be far, far away from them.

In a way, I feel fake not replying to every decent person offering empathy that no, actually, I don't really have those feelings of sadness, grief, whatever, concerning my parents. It's not painful to know they never loved me - it's liberating. It's not hard for me to know I can never have an authentic relationship with my father - it's a relief to know it's not my fault I've not wanted one since I was tiny.

I do have some emotions towards some people in my life - notably, my FOC - but the emotional part of me that had anything to do with my parents is dead, lost, blocked - search me, I don't know what happened to it. My main reason for going into therapy is trying to discover it - or at least its corpse or ghost. I can't seem to do this on my own.


  1. I think I know what you mean. I drank to numb what I felt, and since getting sober, finding & understanding what emotions I have left is like an archeology dig.

    1. That's interesting. I've always drunk - a lot when I was a teen, and moderately now (almost never more than 2 beers, not every day). I wonder if I need to stop completely in order to start this dig. I'll do just that. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Well, I always think that if YOU (not you in particular, but any person) thinks something is a problem, then it's worth exploring. And it may be your emotions are way stuck down there and need dragged out.

    BUT, it could just be that those are your emotions. Not that you don't have any, but that you've let it go and are OK with moving on. Maybe you're emotions just don't match up with what you think you should have. I think it might be a good thing that you've accepted that it just ain't gonna happen with your dad, and that it's not your fault, and that your kind of "unreactive" about it.

    Regardless, I'm glad you are exploring it with a therapist. Hopefully, you'll find the answers your looking for.

    1. Hey PA,

      I was going to say something really similar to what Jessie said. There are probably two possibilities:

      1. You've already processed it all and are way ahead of the game!


      2. You've dissociated from your emotions because they were only causing you problems. Which is probably better than letting them caustically eat away at you, which is the path I took (I don't recommend it).

      Either way, it's REALLY BRAVE of you to go searching. You might find some scary things. I'm going to put up my post now that's a little, errr, personal.... it's not all that profound but it's kind of neat. In the shadows of the psyche, there are answers. Pain, too, but answers. It's somewhere only the brave dare to tread. You sincerely have my admiration. :-) Go forth and conquer! We'll be cheering you on!

    2. I wish I could say I believe I've just "let it go" or "processed it," but I don't remember feeling anything for my parents - apart from fear, occasionally - since I was very little. It's just not believable that I became healthily detached at the ripe old age of, say, between 4 and 10.

      Option 2 is probably spot on. The dream I had where I discovered I'd killed a 4-year-old me probably has to do with this early disassociation. I don't want to keep living half-dead. Somehow, I hope that if I can dig deep and find those lost emotions, others will also show up - real, good, vital emotions. And that will make me a better mother, wife, and friend.

  3. In my case, I don't have those feelings of grief about being NC. I am sad that these are the parents that I got, and wish that things were different, but they are not.

    I was/am relieved that this negativity is out of my life. Please don't let yourself think that you "should" feel any particular emotion. Your feelings (or absence thereof) are authentic and genuine, no matter what they are.

  4. I did step 2 of QG's list. I went looking for my lost emotions and found Lake Rage. I was pissed and kept stuffing it down because I had no way to process how I felt. Somewhere between 5 and 9 I totally disconnected emotionally. Anger was the emotion most easily recognized and hides other emotions like hurt, fear and frustration. After years of counseling, I still don't feel much about my mother. I do feel a lot more about everything else. Like you, I feel relief to know that it really wasn't me. I always thought I was just a weird little kid, now I know I was a little kid raised in a weird world. Hoping you find the answer you need to feel at peace with yourself.

  5. I see movies wherein the daughter and mother have complicated and push-me/pull-you relationships, and I just have no idea what in the hell is going on. I feel NOTHING toward my mother - not hate, not love, not dread, just, empty space. I never call her. Not because I am trying to send a message, but because I just never even remember her. I'm making more of an effort to be involved for my SISTERS' sakes, because the burden of caring for an elderly parent should be shared. So I guess I feel a sense of DUTY, but toward my siblings, not toward my parent. I cannot imagine a day of say, shopping and lunch with my mother. Uncomfortable at best. We are cordial strangers.

    I detatched as a small child too. And it IS with a feeling of freedom that I think of the holidays and all that crap. I have no guilt. I am free.

  6. How can there be deep feelings without a bond? And if the bond was impossible to achieve-for what ever "reason?" Then what?
    There are Sudden vs. Anticipated Deaths in everyday life. Both present their own conundrums-or lack thereof. IMO, that doesn't mean we're somehow "lacking" but "apart from." With NPs, some of us have been "apart" in every way for years.
    It seems to me if you were truly numb to yourself or others, you wouldn't feel what you feel towards your FOC. That's REAL. What I'm hearing is, "Well, I SHOULD FEEL (whatever) and since I don't there's something wrong with ME." (Just like they've always told ya, huh?) That's the rabbit trail I'd be following because that's a whole bunch of what constitutes Fear (not necessarily of them, but of ourselves in terms of lacking somehow) Obligation and Guilt, aka FOG. Where'd that come from?
    I could be way off track here. And no, you don't have to reply to every comment, including this one. Just food for thought, yk? I'm pleased to hear the theme of "Freedom." You bet it's liberating. The load is off you and frees you up to use your full range of emotions, energy and creativity to make a difference in your life and the lives of those whom you love and love you in return.
    Just the way you are.

  7. Interesting points, TW. Sometimes I do think that way. I do feel more for my MIL than I ever did for my mother, but sometimes I seem to easily go numb and bury all feelings altogether and just wade through life like a zombie. And it's not that I want to FEEL something for them NOW, just somehow remember what I must have felt as a young child, before I detached - there must have been a point at which lack of love from one's parents was bound to cause an emotional reaction. Maybe not. I really have to think about this. Thank you.


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