Monday, October 8, 2007

Am I ready yet???

I'm not sure.

I'm not sure if I'm ready to talk about the conversation with my mom. I've had to bury it and keep it buried for so long now, it seems like it isn't worth the effort.

But then, I think, "Jeanne, if you don't, it will bite you on the ass someday. You know it will. You have to close the circle to close the door on this event."

So, here we go...

My parents arrived on Friday night. I waited until Sunday to bring up the subject. My parents and I took my son to his elementary school's playground and as my dad and Jack were playing, my mom and I sat on a bench to watch.

I don't remember exactly what I said - I know it was similar to what I had rehearsed.

My mom was stunned.

She asked a few times when it happened, who was in the house, etc. Understandly, she felt guilt and worry that this bad thing happened to her daughter on her watch. I tried to reassure her that there wasn't anything she could have done, even if it did happen when she was downstairs.

I explained what I did remember. I explained that this is why I reacted the way I did when she brought up my brother and his family visiting around the fourth of July next summer. I explained that I am still angry and will be for a long time. That I don't want to hear about Tom, I could care friggin' less about what happens to him.

I told her that I needed her to know, but that I was leaving it up to her to decide how much (or if) dad could handle.

I felt relieved after telling her.

afterwards, my mom, the woman who rolled her eyes when I told her that I was dancing with a pole, let me show her a few of my spins and even teach her how to do the Fireman.


Later on, when my mom and I had run into the grocery store for something (I can't remember what now,) she told me that she decided not to tell my dad anything. "It happened so long ago, not to minimize what happened. And while you had to tell someone, I don't think he needs to know. And besides, he did apologize." (or something to that effect.)

I agreed, reluctantly. It's my mom that I talk to every week (or so.) It's my mom that would have brought up my brother to me. I don't talk to my dad very often and usually, when I do, it's about pictures or cooking or something. And I figured I could always tell Dad myself later, if I didn't feel better (meaning if my dreams continued to disturb my sleep, or if my ED got worse...)

I have to say that I was (and am) angry that my mom minimized what happened to me. (Anytime anyone says, "Not to minimize it," s/he IS minimizing it.) I think I understand why she did it - it's my mom's M.O. really. Minimize or ignore it and it will cease to exist. Brush the crumbs under the rug, shove the clutter into the closet, close the door on the pigsty. Her hiding imperfections has always annoyed me.

And I'm angry that she is accepting his (my brother's) apology. As if saying, "I'm sorry" somehow heals the wounds in an instant - the twenty years of pain that I've survived. The twenty years of self-loathing. The twenty long years of punishment I sentenced myself to, thinking I was the one who did wrong.

Forgive me, but "I'm sorry" doesn't slice the marmalade in my book.

So, where do I go from here?

At some point, I want to see John (my therapist.) If nothing else, to close the circle there.

After all this, I feel fat. And ugly. And not being able to workout, dance and walk as normal the past three weeks hasn't helped me feel lean and beautiful either. And neither has my "binges." (Definition of binge for me is eating whatever I want (usually sweets or nuts or breads) until full. I'm working on realizing that that isn't a binge, even if I "feel" disgusting aftewards.)

And I realize that all of that means that I'm depressed. And only part of it is due to repressing feelings around the conversation I had with my mom. And much of it has to do with why I had to repress my feelings. (Feel free to email me at diggingmeup at gmail dot com for details that I'm not able to share here.)

Well, that's all for now.

Thinking of everyone here on the culdy...


hayley said...

hi jeanne

glad to see you here.

you did the right thing telling her, and I am so sorry that she tried to minimize it, but you know the truth, and we know the truth, and I hope that you feel some relief from that, you deserve to.

much love h.x (snaily hayley at gmail dot com)

lauren said...

So many huge hugs to you today Jeanne, Im so proud of you for being so strong and facing this headon,,,you did the right thing, we can never be sure how others will react all we can control is how we handle that reaction. You are amazing!!!
So much love to you!

Faith said...

Dear Jeanne. I am so glad you told her. Oh but she is so searching for a way out of this. Everything in what she said to you in the market is her trying so hard to make it go away, even though she knows it is true. She doesn't want for her daughter to have been hurt and for her son to have done the hurting.

Oh Jeanne. I'm very proud of you and I understand the "feeling fat and ugly" after you've made such a huge important step in your recovery. Also, I get the binging = eating what you want until you're full - this is usually my binge definition as well.

I hope, if anything, she understands that talking about your brother is not ok and if it is, then it has to be on your terms.

Also, she doesn't get to accept his apology. Only you can do that (or not). If he wants to apologize to her for something, then that is between them but she doesn't get to decide that anything is ok because he apologized.

Otherwise, I hope you can talk to her more if/when you want to so you can clarify some things. I'm very proud of you Jeanne. You know that you are very strong for doing this.

Feel free to email me offline.


carrie said...


I'm so glad you're back and processing what happened.

It takes a lot of guts to understand that your mom may never understand or react the way you want her to. It's that way with me and the problems I have with my brother (not least not physical or sexual). I want her to write my brother off and never talk to him ever again because of the things he's done. But he's her kid, too, and sometimes it's not as simple as that. As much as it sometimes should be.

Keep talking about it. We're here.

æ said...

hi jeanne.

wow. this is hitting really close to home for me. I really regretted that I said to my mom that she couldn't have done anything...I didn't know how to *not* say that, and yet, I don't believe it. I believe parents always play a role.

And they know it, so they minimize.

That's so damn shitty. So shitty shitty shitty.

Your feelings are your feelings. They're real. You have lived with this--not her, not your dad, not Tom. And you know, you still get to be the gatekeeper on who knows. You can tell your dad if you want. My mom had this same kind of "well so-and-so doesn't really need to know" kind of reaction.

oh. ugh. so hard. so hurtful.

I'm so sorry.
I totally get suppressing it.
My guess is, something like the telling is actually something that will need more attention to truly close the circle.
It's really big.

I totally get the fall out too. Totally get it.

My heart is with you right now. Right here with you.

And finally, good job doing what you knew you wanted to do. It was time.


Eve said...

Dear Jeanne,

I am so proud of you for telling your mom. And I am so sorry that she tried to minimise it and made the choice for you about telling your father, rather than discussing that possibility with you.

Thank you for sharing this, and I am glad you are back!

Love, Eve

em said...

Thank you for sharing - I can understand why it is painful to revisit the conversation... I'm sorry that she is minimising what happened and that she has decided not to tell your father (what is it with families and withholding information?!) I'm so sorry you had to repress you feelings... and this has led to you feeling depressed and sad.

with love, emxx

disordered girl said...

Wow, that was so brave of you and I am angry for you that your mom minimized it that way. Still, I think you did an amazing job handling this--telling anyone is hard, much less your mom. She doesn't want to get how much it hurt you cause that would make it all the more real. You have every right to feel angry about that and I hope your therapist helps you with working that out some.

Take care, and know that you deserve love, recognition, and peace with this.

Phoenix said...

Hi Jeanne,
I've been hanging around the cul de sac for a while now, but we've never "met." Hope you don't mind if I jump in here with some thoughts.

I just wanted to say that I'm so sorry that your mother minimized this (it seems that this is often the pattern in these types of situations) and I would be very angry about it too.

I am also wondering if maybe YOU should get to decide to tell your dad. Do you think that might help, might make you feel better? It's your choice, it seems to me, not hers.

I'm so sorry. I can only imagine how much you must be hurting.

Jeanne said...

I do feel relieved to have told my mom. This is my truth and I’m so glad that you all know it, too.

Thank you for the hugs! I’ve really needed them these days.

Thank you for confirming my gut feeling – that my mom was (is) searching for a way to brush all of this “unpleasantness” aside.
Thank you for getting me, too.
So far (and it’s been over three weeks) she hasn’t once mentioned my brother. Perhaps she can be taught?
You’re right – my mom doesn’t get to accept his apology. And while I did accept his apology, that doesn’t mean that I have to forgive him. Or like him. Or be okay with him.
Sometimes, I wish I could confide in my mom more, but I’ve stopped wishing for the impossible. I’m just very thankful to have friends in whom I can confide (both here and in realtime.) In some ways, it is better than having a deeper relationship with my mom.

Verbal abuse is often the worst form of abuse – there are no scars, there are no bruises, but the wounds hurt as much or more. I’m so sorry that your brother hurt you. And you’re right, it isn’t always as simple as we’d like it to me. And that sucks.

You’re right – I am the gatekeeper. I do decide who knows and who doesn’t. Right now, for better or worse, I agree with my mom – I want to protect my dad. And I’m not sure why… I just know that for right now, I’m okay with him not knowing. But I always qualify that with I know that I can always tell him if I change my mind. And that is comforting – it reminds me that I am in control.
I’m sorry that I haven’t been around for you, ae – as you’ve dealt with many of the same issues with your parents as I have with mine. Please know that I was thinking of you often, even if I couldn’t get online to tell you.

Thank you. I hope I’m really back (that my family member continues to improve… fingers crossed!)

Revisiting sucks, but is often necessary unfortunately. I feel better for writing it down – especially now after reading your (and everyone’s) responses.
I wish I knew what was with families and information withholding…

disordered girl,
Thank you for validating my pride – I feel proud of myself, too. For bringing this subject up, for handling it with maturity, for realizing that my mom’s reaction was hers and that it didn’t have to poison my accomplishments.

Pleased to meet you! Welcome! 8-) (In other words, hop on in anytime – just bring a shovel. ;-)
You’re right – it is my decision (and mine alone) if I tell my dad or not. It does help to remind myself that it ultimately is my choice. The spin I put on it was that I asked my mom for her advice as to whether my dad could handle it – knowing that he is under a bit of stress lately (his father is a real piece of work…)

Thank you all so much! I feel so much more grounded for having opened up to such wonderful and understanding people! 8-)