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Watched Split and it's freaking me out about my mother


Trammel

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So, my mother was emotionally, psychologically and physically abusive and I broke off all contact with her 20 years ago. She died last year and since then all I've felt is relief.

Saturday I watched the movie Split with my boyfriend. It had a character with multiple personalities and flashbacks to the abuse by his mother. The actress playing his mother even looked like mine! So I'm still thinking about it and could use some suggestions to stop the bad memories that this brought up.

I've had a lot of therapy and I manage my anxiety with medication, so I am doing good generally. I just didn't expect this movie to trigger me like that.

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So, my mother was emotionally, psychologically and physically abusive and I broke off all contact with her 20 years ago. She died last year and since then all I've felt is relief.

Saturday I watched the movie Split with my boyfriend. It had a character with multiple personalities and flashbacks to the abuse by his mother. The actress playing his mother even looked like mine! So I'm still thinking about it and could use some suggestions to stop the bad memories that this brought up.

I've had a lot of therapy and I manage my anxiety with medication, so I am doing good generally. I just didn't expect this movie to trigger me like that.

 

I had a similar reaction to Mommy Dearest, although my mom is still alive and I have a relationship with her. My mom was abusive in all of those ways (although she mostly stopped trying to hit me after I knocked her on her ass when I was 17. There was one time after that when I was 25, where I just caught her hands and held them there). Sometimes things trigger acute anger and outrage in me, and it's not always predictable. Just last night (or early this morning?) I was lying in my bed in a rage about my family. And a few days prior, when my dog died, instead of feeling grief I felt rage towards my mom for failing and lying and failing and lying and the fact that she will never, ever admit to how wrong she was. And my sister, who should know better, just validates her. I mean, get a life! AARRGGH!

 

I don't have a lot of advice other than talk to a therapist. Talking about it gets old, though. At a certain point, I wonder if it's just making things worse. Sometimes it's better to isolate yourself and let those feelings wash over you. They do disappear after a while. I do wish that I could be free of them forever.

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Mommy Dearest did that for me too. Amazing the things that can trigger us. Of course, when I watched it, I was watching to see how much I could relate to, so I knew that going in. But still.

 

Jibralta, interesting about your sister, because my sister has a completely different relationship with our mother from me. My brother's wife coined our sister the favorite many decades ago, as she saw it from the outside.

 

Here's the fun thing: so now, fast forward many years, and my mother is in her 80’s. In ill health, needs help just getting to the bathroom. Still as miserable as ever, and would never admit to being wrong. Guess who she calls in all her misery? Yep, her favorite, my sister, who complains endlessly about this. I'm like, you enjoy that! You got all the good stuff, now you get the bad!

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Just remember trammel that your anxiety can only peak so much and then it will drop ....and as each day passes the feelings will subside untill you are completely back down again .

 

Maybe it would help to have a mantra right now , just to give yourself and your thoughts a distraction ...anything you like ..for example as soon as a memory comes in you say * I am a strong confident woman and most of all I am a survivor * and keep saying it over and over to not let the thoughts consume you . You have had a reminder of the past , but you made it , you are here now with us ...It is over .

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I'm sorry you've been triggered, Trammel. As troubling as this may be, you might find it helpful to consider whether you'll want to use this as a productive period rather than a damaging one. That doesn't make it 'feel' any less lousy, but I always try to find the pearls and see what I can 'get' out of incredibly emotional times.

 

For instance, note ALL of the emotions this taps, and go through those with your therapist considering each as important. Strip back of anger to reach any of the more sentimental stuff of bittersweet or regret--those are rich but painful, and they're what most people use the anger to block.

 

I've also found it helpful to recognize that we each get to choose our beliefs. I have decided that the sickest, most troubling aspects of a personality get stripped away after death, and so whatever a person could not 'see' during their lifetime is the stuff they will get clear about after death. This helps me to reconcile unhealed places in my own relationships with people who have died.

 

Write more if it helps.

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Thank you everyone who answered me. I am feeling better today. I actually haven't been to therapy for a few years now, but I wanted to start going again. I do have a thing that my last therapist taught me, to imagine a "safe place" and when I'm freaked out, think about going there. That tends to help.

I have kind of a mantra, I printed out that quote from Labyrinth - "You have no power over me."

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