Mum is stuck due to past trauma and now I am staying with her

lil_fighter

Confident
My birthday is coming up soon and my mother started to tell me the story about when I was born, what it was like when her waters broke, when my dad took her to the hospital etc and how my grandma was the first person to hold me etc. It's a story I have heard before but this time she went into more detail and then started to talk about what it was like bringing me home. She then continued with the story and what life was like after that and how she left my dad due to domestic violence. Again, I know that she left him because of that and I know we fled and went into a women's refuge far away. The story took a bit of a dark turn from just being about my birth to all of the struggles and her moving away. It was obviously upsetting but I know it is the truth and so I can't expect her to just make out it was a fairy tale. I have heard all about it many times. This happened 32 years ago and she never got counselling and hasn't been in a relationship since, she has isolated herself over the years and developed a drink problem (which she manages to hide well). I have lived my life very cautiously with regards to relationships but I am in a long term relationship and have my career. I understand it is my mum's life and is her choices and there is nothing I can do but I'm just wondering if women who experience domestic violence and never have relationships again are less likely to move on and talk about the violence and re-live it regularly?? My mum talks about it often and has no other relationships to refer to. We could be sitting in a restaurant and she would start talking about how my dad would cook that particular dish. My dad is a very evil man and there is nothing to be nostalgic about when it comes to him. She actually mentions him everyday. I know that the fact that she wasn't offered therapy back then in the refuge plays a big part and also not being in therapy since so there has been no closure.

I have always been determined not to make the choices my mum made and so I was super cautious in my 20s when it came to dating. I'd see a red flag and run for the hills and my interactions with my father (met him when I was 17) blurred my sense of what was normal and what wasn't. He was very emotionally abusive. In my early 20s was sexually assaulted on a date. I met my partner in my late 20s and he was not abusive at all but we suspect he has Asperger's (undiagnosed) and this created communication issues, a delay in his empathy and lockdown was crazy with his anxiety. We were arguing regularly and he stopped working (out of choice), it became very pressured and I was rescuing him in many ways and it got unhealthy.
My partner comes from a very stable loving family and I was part of that too and loved the stability that came with it but I recently ended the relationship and moved out as it had become too strained. We're still friends and may try again at the relationship in the future. When my partner was on the scene (the past 4 years) my dad completely changed how he spoke to me and was no longer making hurtful comments or bullying me - because there was another man around. I have had no male role model growing up. It has always been me and my mum.

I am staying with my mum temporarily until I find my own place and seeing her living the same way she always has and isolating herself is making me feel uncomfortable. I am so very grateful to have a loving mother and I don't want to 'rescue' her. She is 60 and it's like watching someone waste away gradually. When I used to live with her before, she was stuck and I used to help her with so much and constantly try to motivate her. She is living in the house she is in now (which is in the original area we fled from 32 years ago and she always wanted to move back to and would talk about for years) because I helped her do it, she acknowledges this and says she is "stuck". I have applied for jobs on her behalf in the past just to give her a push. I am determined not to fall back into rescuer mode again now that I am staying with her but also being around someone with PTSD who isn't helping herself is hard to watch and is making me feel really low. Lots to process with the end of my relationship, moving out of my home and staying with my mother. Saving up to move out very soon but just feeling low today. Would like to have my own children, stable home and not be like my mum and I don't mean that disrespectfully.
 

Invisible Fire

MyPTSD Pro
Sounds like you have a lot going on. I know it is difficult to watch someone you love make poor choices or even no choices.
isolating herself is making me feel uncomfortable.
I can relate to this. Even the people we love the most can be draining and we have to focus on our own self care. Sometimes I have to ask myself "what do I need".
I am determined not to fall back into rescuer mode again now that I am staying with her but also being around someone with PTSD who isn't helping herself is hard to watch and is making me feel really low.
Have you considered therapy for yourself? Have you been diagnosed with PTSD? Just curious. For me understanding my own PTSD has made managing my symptoms around other family members more possible. Boundaries. Hard to learn but essential for my mental health.
Sorry you are going through this.
 

lil_fighter

Confident
Thank you @Invisible Fire I am in therapy. I was with a therapist for two and a half years and worked on assertiveness and putting boundaries in place with my dad, it also helped with my relationship too. I have just started with this new therapist about a month ago and it feels realistic for me to bring this issue at the moment - being conscious of my age (31) and feeling a sense of fear at being stuck like my mum, even though I have worked so hard not to be that way. Moving in with her seems to be making me feel a sense of stuck-ness and I need to process that in therapy. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2013 and had CBT back then. Also have a psychology background so have a good understanding of it but when it comes to managing boundaries I am still learning and working on that.
 

Friday

Moderator
Cha. Having PTSD/Trauma & loving someone else who has PTSD or trauma? Toooooootally different ballgame, with wildly different challenges.

The Supporters Section of the forum is a fantastic place to help with that. The links pinned to the top of the discussion forum are also pretty dang invaluable.
 

lil_fighter

Confident
Same here. Boundaries are very difficult for me. I’ve had to set a lot with certain relatives. For one of them it took months to see the benefits. But, thankful now.

no need to answer but curious are you afraid of being stuck living with your mum or of being like your mum? Or maybe both?

I am determined to find my own place, so not afraid of getting stuck living with her but I think it's more a fear of being like her and as she has been single for 31 years and I am recently single even though it is irrational and I know our situations are completely different I feel a sense of fear of being single forever and ending up like her. It's the loneliness and how she can latch on to me and being with her now often makes me feel more aware of the loneliness and reminds me of that feeling when I was growing up. Her fear of the outside world and how I don't want to get sucked into that and never have. When I met my partner she said she felt like someone had died when I moved out of the home and lived with him. She resented him for "taking me away from her". I think part of me feels that me being single now is good for her, even though yes she wants to see me happy. In all the years when I was dating in my 20s she was so cynical and mistrustful of the men I met. I wonder if she would be the same with any man given that she has never had a man in the house apart from when her brother would visit our home once or twice a year when I was growing up.
 

woodsy1

Confident
My birthday is coming up soon and my mother started to tell me the story about when I was born, what it was like when her waters broke, when my dad took her to the hospital etc and how my grandma was the first person to hold me etc. It's a story I have heard before but this time she went into more detail and then started to talk about what it was like bringing me home. She then continued with the story and what life was like after that and how she left my dad due to domestic violence. Again, I know that she left him because of that and I know we fled and went into a women's refuge far away. The story took a bit of a dark turn from just being about my birth to all of the struggles and her moving away. It was obviously upsetting but I know it is the truth and so I can't expect her to just make out it was a fairy tale. I have heard all about it many times. This happened 32 years ago and she never got counselling and hasn't been in a relationship since, she has isolated herself over the years and developed a drink problem (which she manages to hide well). I have lived my life very cautiously with regards to relationships but I am in a long term relationship and have my career. I understand it is my mum's life and is her choices and there is nothing I can do but I'm just wondering if women who experience domestic violence and never have relationships again are less likely to move on and talk about the violence and re-live it regularly?? My mum talks about it often and has no other relationships to refer to. We could be sitting in a restaurant and she would start talking about how my dad would cook that particular dish. My dad is a very evil man and there is nothing to be nostalgic about when it comes to him. She actually mentions him everyday. I know that the fact that she wasn't offered therapy back then in the refuge plays a big part and also not being in therapy since so there has been no closure.

I have always been determined not to make the choices my mum made and so I was super cautious in my 20s when it came to dating. I'd see a red flag and run for the hills and my interactions with my father (met him when I was 17) blurred my sense of what was normal and what wasn't. He was very emotionally abusive. In my early 20s was sexually assaulted on a date. I met my partner in my late 20s and he was not abusive at all but we suspect he has Asperger's (undiagnosed) and this created communication issues, a delay in his empathy and lockdown was crazy with his anxiety. We were arguing regularly and he stopped working (out of choice), it became very pressured and I was rescuing him in many ways and it got unhealthy.
My partner comes from a very stable loving family and I was part of that too and loved the stability that came with it but I recently ended the relationship and moved out as it had become too strained. We're still friends and may try again at the relationship in the future. When my partner was on the scene (the past 4 years) my dad completely changed how he spoke to me and was no longer making hurtful comments or bullying me - because there was another man around. I have had no male role model growing up. It has always been me and my mum.

I am staying with my mum temporarily until I find my own place and seeing her living the same way she always has and isolating herself is making me feel uncomfortable. I am so very grateful to have a loving mother and I don't want to 'rescue' her. She is 60 and it's like watching someone waste away gradually. When I used to live with her before, she was stuck and I used to help her with so much and constantly try to motivate her. She is living in the house she is in now (which is in the original area we fled from 32 years ago and she always wanted to move back to and would talk about for years) because I helped her do it, she acknowledges this and says she is "stuck". I have applied for jobs on her behalf in the past just to give her a push. I am determined not to fall back into rescuer mode again now that I am staying with her but also being around someone with PTSD who isn't helping herself is hard to watch and is making me feel really low. Lots to process with the end of my relationship, moving out of my home and staying with my mother. Saving up to move out very soon but just feeling low today. Would like to have my own children, stable home and not be like my mum and I don't mean that disrespectfully.
Wow, @lil_fighter, you are in a tough situation. Moving back in with parents is hardly ever easy or ideal. PTSD can only make it more challenging. I feel for you.

You said, "I'm just wondering if women who experience domestic violence and never have relationships again are less likely to move on and talk about the violence and re-live it regularly??" I think you are on to something there. Only in my experience it's the other way around: People who experience trauma and don't talk about it, never have meaningful relationship again.

Relational abuse trauma strikes at the very core of who we are. The resulting PTSD puts us in a permanent protective mode of "fight or flight" response. Our emotions and central nervous system literally overwhelm at any sign of vulnerability (which of course is crucial to forming new meaningful relationships).

My mom did the very best thing anyone has done for me since I was severely traumatized and disabled by resulting Complex PTSD. She did not rescue me, but just listened to me again and again. She offered little advice. She just listened and let me know she cared. That got me through my darkest times.

After 6 years of total disability and self isolation in my home, I am just now coming out of the darkness. Perhaps your loving, listening presence will help pull your mom out of her darkness. Like my mom did for me, maybe you can befriend your mom without being a rescuer for her?

It's a thought anyhow.

We're always here to chat with any time you need a listening ear.

Let us know how things go.
Woodsy
 
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