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Thread: Self-Healing & Coping w/ Past Trauma

  1. #11
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    Originally Posted by Cherylyn
    My childhood was a train wreck. My broken home was a catastrophic nightmare. My alcoholic wife beater father (who punched my mother's teeth out) mercifully died when he wasn't middle aged yet. I worked full time night shift (40 hours per week) while enrolled full time in college by day. I helped my mother financially and paid for my own schooling. I ascended in my career. My single parent mother worked 3 jobs 7 days a week and raised 3 children all by herself. She paid off my late father's entire astronomical debts ($400K in today's money), never filed for BK (bankruptcy), never foreclosed her house and she's now finally riding off into the sunset enjoying her long overdue and much deserved retirement. I'm very proud of my dear mother. She is a 'Steel Magnolia.'

    My real, true happy life didn't begin until I met my husband. We had a whirlwind courtship, dated for 3 months, discussed marriage, our engagement was less than a year and we married the following year. My local best friend from childhood and maid-of-honor knows my background and she often tells me that I'm living proof of a "Cinderella" story. I believe her and she is correct.

    We lived in an apartment, condominium, saved for our first house and have since moved up several times thereafter to our current house in a coveted suburb complete with roses and the white picket fence. It's the life I had always dreamed of. We have two amazing sons.

    My husband gave me a fuller, happier life. He completely changed my life. His family is amazing. He hails from an incredible family, his father treats his mother like a queen, they're normal, stable, solid, loving, nurturing, respectful and everything I've always yearned and longed for. Like father, like son. My husband gave me a very comfortable life. I count my many blessings daily. I'm extremely grateful for my good fortune.

    When I attended my high school reunion, I was shocked to observe so many divorced classmates, single parents and they struggled financially. I was envious of them when I was in high school and before that in elementary school and junior high school. Back in the day, they all wore nice clothes, their parents drove nice cars, their homes were pretty and I felt so deprived compared to them. My house was in embarrassing shambles, I wore clothes from second hand thrift stores, my shoes had holes in them and I was a disheveled hot mess as I was sent off to school often times without lunch because there wasn't any money. Everyone else was well groomed on picture day even back in elementary school while I looked as if no one cared. My abusive, neglectful grandmother often locked me out of the house because she wasn't home day and night. I didn't have any dinner. I don't look at those old school photos because it dredges up a lot of painful memories of that young girl. Fast forward. When I attended my high school reunion, this time the roles were reversed. I waltzed in driving my nice car, I wear nice clothes and I love my designer handbags, I've been happily married for a long time, have two great sons and life is a stark contrast to my classmates whom I once envied long ago. I prefer to have rough beginnings and a happily ever after as opposed to a wonderful beginning and a life which went awry during adulthood.

    Regarding other people. I've sure learned a lot. I was once very naive. I've experienced a lot of harshness, cruelty and dealt with people with incurable mental disorders. There were unempathetic types, gaslighters, sociopaths, liars, deceivers, betrayers, the whole lot. I've seen and heard it all. I don't easily trust as trust is not a gift; it is earned. I am permanently wary and jaded and for good reason. My radar is always up.

    I'm my mother's daughter. We scratched and clawed our way to the top. We eked out a living, lived from hand to mouth and triumphed later. I've inherited her strength and her toughness is in my blood. Wimps could never achieve what we did.

    I don't take too much stock in people. If something is "off" with them to the point of suspicion, unstable, abnormal, weird, strange or disturbing, I'm out. If something doesn't add up about them, my intuition and gut are always right. I no longer deal, wish to make it work and I've certainly lost patience years ago. If you have to work hard at relationships (or friendships), it's not working or so I've since learned the hard way. I've learned that you don't learn unless you've experienced pain or mental anguish because pain makes you wiser and shrewd. I never make the same mistake twice. Live and learn.

    What helps me is NOT having time to reflect. I've done enough of that in the past. I've already lived and breathed it. Been there, done that. I don't need to relive it and ruminate some more. I enjoy keeping busy and having healthy distractions. I'm very busy with my job, family life, enjoy various outings with my husband (we even enjoy errands together), exercise, hobbies, read (real newspapers, paper books), sometimes watch great movies time permitting, cooking, surround myself with very moral friends and family. I feel enriched this way.

    Thanks for asking, sweetdesire!
    Dear Cher,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your amazing story, you truly are an inspiration. From the bottom of my heart, I am so happy for you & your family and everything you were able to triumph in life and I took so much from your statements.

    You're definitely spot on about a lot of observations and I took more by the last statement about not giving it much thought and just moving on. It can be mentally draining especially if there's no solution to the problem. It's like beating a dead horse with a stick & sometimes we just have to move on and continue focusing on what really matters.

    Thank you!!

  2. #12
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    Originally Posted by melancholy123
    I get up feeling unloved by my mother, and that never changed at any point in my life. She is why I left home at 18. I am a stubborn person and wasn't about to let her treatment of me affect or ruin my life. I vowed I'd live in a cardboard box on the street before I'd go back to her house. No box, and I never went back.

    I had to realize that I was and am still a good person, I'm smart, funny, intelligent, resourceful and a bunch of other positive things. She wasn't going to get the best of me, and she didn't.

    She felt that females had no value in life, where males were supreme. So my brother was the Golden Child. He inherited 95% of her wealth when she died despite him being a millionaire. My kids and I got the other 5%. But that's ok. I rose above my upbringing and that's more important. Living well is the best revenge.
    This is exactly what I've dealt with my whole life :( Only girl of 3 boy siblings of a traditional 1st generation family. It's ironic because I'm the one who graduated first from college, didn't have kids, never got married tried to do everything right and I'm still seen in the light that I am, it is heart breaking.

    I continue to work on a relationship with my Mother however at times I feel like giving up since it's hard for me to have hope after all these years.

    That's great of you to have that mindset and believe in yourself the way you do. It's trauma like this that tend to break people/women :(

  3. #13
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LaHermes
    Good for you Melancholy! I applaud you.

    "She wasn't going to get the best of me, and she didn't.

    She felt that females had no value in life, where males were supreme. So my brother was the Golden Child. He inherited 95% of her wealth when she died despite him being a millionaire. My kids and I got the other 5%. But that's ok. I rose above my upbringing and that's more important. Living well is the best revenge."


    The situation you describe is, sadly, all too common. And equally sadly, all too many (unlike you M) don't recover in life from the toxicity of that type of mother.
    It took a long time before I realized that women of her generation had no value. Men were the head of the family, the breadwinners, protectors etc. Women "just" stayed home, kept the house clean, cooked, had babies and not much else. Such was her mentality. She thought I should quit school at age 16 and get a McJob. My dad said no way, she's smart, she will finish school and become a teacher. Well, I didn't become a teacher but I did finish school.

    I raised my daughter to know she could aspire to anything she wanted to be. She is now a registered massage therapist with her own clinic and several others working for her! I never wanted her to feel inferior to anyone. I have run two successful online businesses with my husband, so I think I came out alright in the end :-)

    Oh yes my mother was toxic, for sure!

  4. #14
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    Happiness is a choice.

    Sounds surreal, especially when going through trials, facing tough times or having to deal with terrible people. Neither can I control disasters, nor can I control people's actions. However, I choose how to respond. It's my decision to walk away when someone disrespects me as opposed to retaliate. It's my decision to be nice to others just because. It's my decision to acknowledge my past without having it define me. It's my decision to learn from past mistakes. It's my decision to be at peace with myself as opposed to keeping up with the Joneses.

    It's my life, therefore my story. I'd like it to be one filled with hope and positivity. Plant positivity, harvest positivity. Same for generosity, kindness and so on.

    It's your life, therefore your story. Not his, nor hers, nor theirs and nor ours. So, live your life the way you see fit.

    At the end of the day, life isn't perfect and neither are we. We're all a work in progress. And, quite honestly, that's okay.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member LaHermes's Avatar
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    The toxic will always be among us, cross-generational, I fear.

    I just wish to add that not every woman of that generation or before that were considered to have no value. My mother had a career, before and after she married. So did my aunts (her sisters). Her mother, my grandmother (and that was some time back) also had a career. It wasn't that unusual. There were acquaintances of my mother and indeed of our family, women, who ran businesses.

    Toxic and destructive people will always try to beat down and devalue others. We can see it nowadays, and it is the toxic ones, not the particular generation.

    Greendots is right. Walk away (dismiss) rather than retaliate.

  7. #16
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    Originally Posted by melancholy123
    It took a long time before I realized that women of her generation had no value. Men were the head of the family, the breadwinners, protectors etc. Women "just" stayed home, kept the house clean, cooked, had babies and not much else. Such was her mentality. She thought I should quit school at age 16 and get a McJob. My dad said no way, she's smart, she will finish school and become a teacher. Well, I didn't become a teacher but I did finish school.

    I raised my daughter to know she could aspire to anything she wanted to be. She is now a registered massage therapist with her own clinic and several others working for her! I never wanted her to feel inferior to anyone. I have run two successful online businesses with my husband, so I think I came out alright in the end :-)

    Oh yes my mother was toxic, for sure!
    My mom is awesome and was a full time mom for about 11 years till I was around 6 then worked part time for about 25 years and had a college degree. There wasn't the "no value" issue at all -her work with us (sis and I) was highly valued by all of us. She stopped working because she got a really good severance package and was in her 60s. My sister and I were always encouraged to follow our dreams/goals - educationally, for motherhood, professionally - when I taught elementary school for a couple of years in my 20s my profession was greatly devalued many times by many people. Didn't bother me (my parents were so proud). Point is the "value" point is all about context, perspective and why the particular woman chooses that goal and why the particular mother encourages her daughter to pursue a particularly goal.

    I don't agree with a daughter being encouraged to "just stay home" (can't relate to "just" -huh??) - or being encouraged not to pursue a certain career or job because it's male dominated. I felt so comfortable choosing to be a full time mom for 7 years after 15 years in a male dominated career -and my parents whole heartedly supported both -because they valued me and wanted to support me in my dreams and goals. My mom certainly had value in the 1950s when she married after graduating college, and beyond. With this caveat - her father, born early 20th century -didn't think women should go to college. But, she did!

    i just don't want the OP to paint this with a broad brush and perhaps miss any positive nuances or messages in her family background, if there are.

  8. #17
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    I spent my 20's not dealing with the trauma of getting a restraining order against someone, and instead just dated men who I could avoid a commitment with. I had also hated my mother from the age of 8 to my very late 20's. I took the landmark forum, and pretty much worked out why I hated her, and why I was dating not the right people. I now have an incredible open and loving relationship with my mom. And I'm married with kids. How I got there? What also brought me to this forum. I spent a year grieving a bad break-up. Then I spent year a year doing whatever I wanted, and learning new things, traveling, everything under the sun. Then a year focused on giving back and started a non-profit which has evolved and doing great for kids. All of what really got me back myself was finding a bigger problem.

    I felt very fulfilled, very happy. I said to myself that if I never marry, that I would be okay. I think I was about 31 ish at the time. Which of course, bam, meet up again with my now hubs. But I made myself ready, by knowing what I want in life, and not willing to sacrifice my fundamental needs and wants.

  9. #18
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sweetdesire
    Dear Cher,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your amazing story, you truly are an inspiration. From the bottom of my heart, I am so happy for you & your family and everything you were able to triumph in life and I took so much from your statements.

    You're definitely spot on about a lot of observations and I took more by the last statement about not giving it much thought and just moving on. It can be mentally draining especially if there's no solution to the problem. It's like beating a dead horse with a stick & sometimes we just have to move on and continue focusing on what really matters.

    Thank you!!
    Dear sweetdesire,

    Thank you for your kind words. I appreciated them.

    I agree, if there's no solution to the problem especially with relationships (or friendships), it's best to walk away. It is like beating a dead horse indeed. It will get you nowhere and it's an effort in futility. Either people are compatible due to very similar personalities and characteristics or it does not exist nor will it ever. Either people possess "emotional intelligence" (EQ) and empathy or the relationship or friendship is doomed for failure. Google "emotional intelligence" as it makes or breaks all relationships or friendships.

    Also, beware of sociopaths and narcissists. The bad news is that I have a lot of experience dealing with a lot of bad people in my life including the past. The good news is, they gave me a wealth of information and harsh lessons in life regarding people and how their behaviors can make life miserable. I don't deal anymore. I'm out. It's so much easier and less work not to engage anymore.

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