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FOO (family of origin) FOG

Old 03-13-2018, 10:30 AM
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FOO (family of origin) FOG

This is a serious post but I have to stop & giggle at the term FOO FOG... I mean, c'mon.....

Long vent ahead... I've posted about this before but included a lot of the same info here so no one has to read back through my old posts.


I've been pretty LC (limited contact) with my small FOO (1 sister & our mother) for the last couple of years and while they don't really "get it", it's been a lifesaver for me in terms of keeping our relationships from dissolving further. They are both highly toxic in their codependency but neither is receptive to change- or, more accurately, both insist that they're just "fine" & that they HAVE fixed their damages, Thank You Very Much.

I've learned that disengaging is a lot easier than feeling this on a regular basis --->

It also allows me to spend my energy & time on DD & her needs. Especially since I've essentially been a single parent for most of her life, even when my husband is in the picture. He's her friend, but he does not parent.

Quick History - Mom has significant sexual abuse in her childhood & she has tolerated far too much in every possible way in almost every relationship in her life. When I began my recovery 7 yrs ago, she was the one that pushed back more than anyone else in my world & all but demanded that I go back to my old ways to fit her needs. (I'm completely serious - she summoned me & Sis to her house to read me the riot act about my "behavior" and informed me that it was "Time to come to Jesus" with her red-faced, angry demands that I agree to play solidly by her rules & her rules alone.)

My sister was all for my changes UNTIL she understood them to be permanent & took them personally & informed me that one day maybe I'll "stop being so angry about it all " & things can return to "normal". A few months ago, DD & I spent a couple of days with Sis & her family & Holy Crow - is her Codie Flag waving HIGH. Even DD recognized it & asked to be removed from the situation; it made her extremely uncomfortable.

Mom did not come out about her abuse until about 3 yrs ago, so that was brand new information that explained A LOT of my childhood.... a lot of what I was lumping into the category of ACoA damage due to my addict father really belonged more on her side of things. I didn't just find the missing piece, when I slid it into place the world went from B&W to full color. I had to go back through my childhood ~again~ to sift & sort & clarify, but it made a LOT more sense when I did.

In the meantime, like I said, no growth for mom or sis & that's ok - they walk their path, I walk mine. I accept them for who they are & know that LC is healthy for me regardless of their opinions. The reality is that they do not accept ME - they keep acting as though I'm going through something temporary, they make zero effort to know Me -who I am at the core of my Self. They make no effort to be involved with DD's life - all her successes with her scholarship & her High School auditions have gone completely unnoticed.... which is an unfortunate, yet undeniable, way of measuring their investment & interest in our lives. None of this has anything to do with my husband either - my mom adores & accepts him just fine. She understands & accepts his brokenness, but not my strength.

Mom has now spent nearly 6 decades internalizing her damages & it has manifested in a slew of physical ailments that are seemingly unrelated - from her vision to her neurology, from her blood to her bones - there is something major wrong in every one of her physical systems & she is now labelled as Disabled. She has turned deaf over the years to my suggestions that she develop a long-term plan which is important for NO other reason than that she is so young yet. (early 60's) Neither she nor my sister found this valuable but over this last year Sis has gotten a Real Understanding of what I've been trying to say & yet, like clockwork, with every real solution she provides, mom continues to slide into negative space & nothing ever gets any better.

As expected, when my mom called me last week she informed me that she is bad-getting-worse despite the recent changes to her healthcare routine & that she'll be "needing help" soon.

I talk to Sis (who works in the medical office treating mom as of a few months ago ) & she informs me that no, it is working, she is getting better, it's just a slow process.

I'm SO triggered because what's happening is that she is manifesting real problems in order to passive-aggressively force negative contact vs. LC/NC. This has been an ongoing, increasingly obvious dynamic since my father passed away nearly 25 years ago. Mom WAS my biggest bully until then - suddenly the roles reversed, she became needy & incapable & at 19 I was semi-forced into the loose role as head of the family. Since then she has never stopped needing attention on her terms 100%. She uses Fear, Obligation & Guilt interchangeably to represent Love & always has over the course of my life, often morphing the habits with life events but keeping the same underlying manipulations.

I cannot be a support person for her in this. Not only am I NOT a nurturing person by nature (DD is different & that relationship literally exhausts this part of me), I am in no way capable (at this point) of putting myself & my triggers aside to deal with her. I also can't help out financially since I'm still digging out of my own mess. The most basic conversations we've had in the last year simply dissolve into bad behavior on all sides. We have zero in common & can't carry conversations about anything important to me.... at the same time she has no hobbies, we have no shared interests including the basics like TV shows. She can't handle any stress so I can never discuss anything actually happening in my world of recovery or any of the things I struggle with. It's a very shallow relationship between 2 people that have never bonded. She was not even a little affectionate or relatable to us as children. Pretty sure the phrase, "who do you think you are - do you think you're special somehow?" is representative of my entire relationship with her followed by, "I just don't know what to DO with you." When I was 13 & we butted heads daily because I was a tween girl being forced into an adult role with my addict father away in jail & she gave me a card that told me, "I love you even though I don't always like you".

Even worse than her trying to force action out of me is her playing the Victim, Poor Me card. Don't I CARE that she is suffering???


I understand fully that her damage is so deep & she's so invested in it as an identity that changing at this point in her life is not happening. I understand how her damage affected her ability to parent - but it doesn't stop MY needs from being important too. It doesn't obligate me to her in any way.

I don't expect any big solutions to pop up - it's just too far out of my control & I can't stop her from inviting the negative in over the positive. I can't control how either of them manage this or be responsible for their unrealistic expectations of me.... but it is REALLY irritating me this week.

Thanks for reading if you made it through this entire novel!!
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:42 AM
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Big hug to you Firesprite. This sounds painful and confusing. Keep coming here to vent.

I have a sister with whom I am LC or NC. The situation developed later in our live in our 40s. It has been an eye opener to me on how some relationships just can't be fixed and all we can do is a certain amount of damage control.
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Old 03-13-2018, 10:44 AM
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"I love you even though I don't always like you".
I'm so sorry about THIS. My mother said the same thing to me, and it's mean-spirited.

Have you read, "Children of the Lie," by M. Scott Peck?

I really can't engage too much more on this because it is too triggering for me - but I probably could have written (most of) your post. I just choose to not talk about it that much because it makes me feel HORRIBLE.

Ugh.

LC/NC worked for me. Stand your ground, would be my thoughts.

I'm just glad my mother passed away before she started going down physically. There are plenty of social programs in the US. She'll find one if/when she has to.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:24 AM
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FireSprite I am very sorry for the FOO FOG you face. I think the person in the family who breaks out of that circle of dysfunction will always be the one they attempt to pull back in. Untreated codependency can be very much like untreated alcoholism then add untreated traumatic issues and probably PTSD and you are up against something that may limited your only tool to being LC. Not making excuses for your mom or her hurtful behaviors towards you but it’s certainly a lot of mental health issues going on.

Your mother acknowledging her abuse reminds me of the alcoholic acknowledging they have a drinking problem yet fail to actually do anything positive to change the negative consequences that drinking brings about for them. That selfishness where they can’t see beyond themselves or their own problems in order to have a meaningful relationship with others. I am glad your DD can see the big picture and recognize it for what it is and most importantly that you and her have a healthier and loving relationship.

Maybe try and rehearse some responses to her codependent quacks, next time she mentions how she will need help due to her failing health tell her to look into assisted living facilities. Explain that they often have waiting lists and maybe she needs to get her name on one.

It’s not easy and I do think LC is your best tool.

((hugs))
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
Have you read, "Children of the Lie," by M. Scott Peck?
No - thank you. I've tried & failed to find a much reading that strikes a nerve with my situation. This article was helpful:
https://www.counseling.org/docs/disa...rsn=49adb3ed_2

Thanks for the support guys - this is, in a lot of ways, much more difficult to deal than anything related to my marriage on almost any given day.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:31 AM
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Hm. I guess it's called "People of the Lie." M Scott Peck. I read it twenty years ago and it really stuck with me. Except, apparently, the title.

There are a lot of case studies/stories in it. I like him, he wrote, "The Road Less Traveled," too.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by atalose View Post
Not making excuses for your mom or her hurtful behaviors towards you but it’s certainly a lot of mental health issues going on.
I have read enough about research done on adults now that were heavily abused in the same way as her & I believe whole heartedly that is HAS created the phenomena of mental illness. (There isn't a lot that I've found - this is the 1st generation of folks really being studied for this.)
https://link.springer.com/article/10...:1009576223866

But again - that's just me being insulting when I mention such a thing. Ugh.

She is completely resistant to the idea of assisted living at her age - and Sis agrees with her somewhat. So - I guess they'll be happy living together soon enough? Sigh.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:36 AM
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FireSprite....I understand how it hurts more than anything else....Of course, it does. The relationships from the bonding of our early developing years go deeper into our make-up than any others. They were our foundation, upon which, everything else is built. Many aspects of our adult relationships are an outflow from our early formation....and the relationships with our early caregivers.
A marriage is a voluntary relationship....our FOO relationships are not..... No comparison (in my opinion)....

I have heard the saying that "We don't really grow up until we have gotten past the damage that our parents did to us".....
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:38 AM
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"Time to come to Jesus" with her red-faced, angry demands that I agree to play solidly by her rules & her rules alone.)..."

"Funny, Mom, you don't LOOK like Jesus..."

I am adding POO to the FOO FOG nomenclature. Please pardon the added levity...
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Eauchiche View Post
Please pardon the added levity...
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
FireSprite....I understand how it hurts more than anything else....Of course, it does. The relationships from the bonding of our early developing years go deeper into our make-up than any others. They were our foundation, upon which, everything else is built. Many aspects of our adult relationships are an outflow from our early formation....and the relationships with our early caregivers.
A marriage is a voluntary relationship....our FOO relationships are not..... No comparison (in my opinion)....

I have heard the saying that "We don't really grow up until we have gotten past the damage that our parents did to us".....
Exactly dandy - 100%. It does hurt FAR more to not be liked or truly loved by my mother & it makes me SO sad because I have the exact opposite relationship with my own daughter. You can't walk away from & replace FOO relationships - you just get left with scars covering the emptiness left behind.

HOWEVER - if it has to be this way for me to break the cycle for DD, then I'll bear the brunt of this pain every day. That's my silver lining, that's what I focus on.
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Old 03-13-2018, 11:54 AM
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FireSprite....have you considered the possibility that you may be entering the grieving process over your losses within your family of origin?
I don't know if that is true for you...but, it sort of sounds like it....and, I know that one has to grieve their FOO, so that the healing can be completed.....and, that, like all grieving, takes it's own time....
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:00 PM
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Hadn't even occurred to me dandy - or that I COULD do such a thing while my mother was still alive....... I'm going to play around with this idea later when I have some down time to focus on it... it sounds reasonable to me......
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Old 03-13-2018, 12:21 PM
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Oh gosh friend, what a mess.

She sounds like a toxic person, and that is long term. Unfortunately, very few people that age, in that position, change.

I think at this point the only plan you can have in place is what happens when her treatments really are not working. A long term plan for you to be able to not have this foisted onto you and your family.

Ugh. I can only tell you I am sorry and I send you HUGE hugs!
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Old 03-13-2018, 01:15 PM
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Really sorry for this situation which has been foisted upon you firesprite.

Your post really resonates with me as I am also struggling with similar toxic relationships within my own FOO.

It flares up periodically but just now is particularly bad. When I receive negative comms from them I have physical symptoms including racing heart and shortness of breath etc - have accepted the reality of our relationship (took years) but really need to learn how not to allow it to affect me so much - if anyone figures that out or has tips - I’d welcome them!

I have come to accept that my relationship with my mother and one sister has been so badly damaged over the years that I no longer trust them to behave healthily for any length of time - always negative, abrasive, want me to be more involved etc - refuse to understand that I don’t want or need so much family involvement - probably see me as weird and stand off-ish!!
Like you I have a great and healthy relationship with my own daughter so at least the cycle ends here
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Old 03-13-2018, 03:25 PM
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Firesprite - thanks for this thread and your courage in trying to break the cycle by creating a different relationship with your daughter. So difficult, but so worth it. My FOO is also agitating right now as ABabyBro has now left rehab (again) and is back on the sauce and not answering his phone and so the general alarm goes up - I am like, "How is this news to freak out about? This man has chosen to drink. No new news, nothing to see here! Same old, same old..."

Hummer,
It flares up periodically but just now is particularly bad. When I receive negative comms from them I have physical symptoms including racing heart and shortness of breath etc - have accepted the reality of our relationship (took years) but really need to learn how not to allow it to affect me so much - if anyone figures that out or has tips - I’d welcome them!

Literally yesterday when my phone blew up with toxic messages from my AMiddleBro about ABabyBro and my Mother started emailing and leaving VMs of freaked out messages, I was totally hyperaroused and stressed but I resisted the urge to respond at all and I remembered at the Community College near me they have a Massage Therapy program and the senior students run a massage clinic for $30!!! I zipped over there and got a 1 hour shiatsu massage - deep tissue and very good for stress relief. It was awesome and just clicked me right into a better place. I felt both relaxed and powerful, still do today. It just shut the stress response in my body right off.

Can't change the crazy people, can only feed my own strength and freedom.

Peace,
B.
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Old 03-14-2018, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by FireSprite View Post
"I love you even though I don't always like you".
I've had said to me: "I really don't like you, but I love you." So I know the feeling. If I'm having a good day, I just tell myself that the relative who said that to me has issues.
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Old 03-14-2018, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by OpheliaKatz View Post
I've had said to me: "I really don't like you, but I love you." So I know the feeling. If I'm having a good day, I just tell myself that the relative who said that to me has issues.
I know I'm not the only one to experience this (thank you all for validating it anyway), but I do think it's pretty significant when it's coming from your mother at such an impressionable age/time of life. It's something I only just recently (in the last few years) even realized WAS affecting me on such a deep, deep level.... that it had such a profound impact on my self esteem now. That is was still true now! But again, there's never an easy way/time to hear this kind of hurtful statement.

I'm really glad that I started this conversation because I felt SO much better just getting it all typed up/thought out. This is where "journaling" helps me slow down & process in a way that conversation/therapy doesn't.

Originally Posted by Hummer
if anyone figures that out or has tips - Id welcome them!
Interactions with my mother used to end the way you describe - even just phone calls were tremendously upsetting. (Especially once I started setting boundaries & no longer allowed her to call me just to rant about my sister for hours, about things she'd never say to her face... I was a key player in her ongoing triangulation.)

I cannot agree with Bernadette more about things like massage, acupuncture/pressure, reiki, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises. And crying it out - at the end of those conversations I would just WEEP from the exhaustion of the interaction & the new feeling of independence that felt a lot like isolation at first. All those feelings & thoughts I couldn't express directly to her (my side of the street + she wasn't receptive) still rose up & I still needed to let them go. I've used mantras, mudras, colored mandalas, distracted myself with exercise or junk tv, reached out to a good friend to talk it through - whatever it takes.

Basically, it gets easier the more you keep factoring YOURSELF back into things following those interactions. At first all I could manage was reminding myself over & over - out loud - "I am in control of Me, I can choose my reaction to this" - in some way. I talk out loud to myself because I slow down to talk vs. think & I "hear" it differently that way a lot of the time. Sometimes I hear myself say something I didn't realize I was thinking!
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Old 03-15-2018, 11:18 AM
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Don't know what to say, so I'll just send ((((HUGS))))

COD
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Old 04-04-2018, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
FireSprite....have you considered the possibility that you may be entering the grieving process over your losses within your family of origin?
I don't know if that is true for you...but, it sort of sounds like it....and, I know that one has to grieve their FOO, so that the healing can be completed.....and, that, like all grieving, takes it's own time....
I wanted to circle back & thank you for this insight Dandylion.

I've kept this in the back of my mind & after last night, I'm pretty sure that this IS what is needed on my side of things.

My spidey senses were right-on that something was stirring under the surface of my FOO issues, so that's a positive part in all of this.

The details are unimportant but in a nutshell, my sister approached my BFF under the guise of being worried about me & being "supportive" but in reality, she was digging into stuff that is none of her business in a semi-gossipy & hugely judgmental way. And she put my best friend right in the middle of it, making her extremely uncomfortable.

We had a perfectly A-OK family dinner on Easter Sunday & by Monday they were apparently digging for dirt to drag into the streets because something "must be wrong with me" and they are suddenly concerned.

But no one has spoken to me OR to my husband, who is the easy target for their finger pointing. It's like the pot calling the kettle black & watching your bullies fight over who has more right to harass you. Except the sad part is that at least my husband is trying & failing where they arrogantly refuse to see the need to recover in any way for themselves. They are SO toxic at this point.

I've played everything back in my mind & the only thing that's happened is that I've stuck to my boundaries & more time has passed. The 3 of us in our little family were SO happy to have navigated that dinner like Recovery Rock Stars & talked about it before & after... how we avoided land mines, sidestepped drama & stayed on our own sides of everything.

They are tired of waiting for me to change back into that old version of myself & dive right back into codependent interactions with them. (not happening) Mom NEEDS this because it's the only relationship we have & Sis WANTS it so I can remove the pressure from her shoulders. For whatever reason they interpret all of my actions as me being Angry About Everything.

I've had AHA awarenesses pop up for me since Sunday too - about the ways I still allow my FOO issues to hold me back from success now, etc..... so whatever is triggering this stuff is happening on all sides of this equation.

It occurred to me as I was breaking down last night that this is likely IT for me - they are NEVER going to be healthy enough for us to have a quality relationship.

I need to grieve my FOO & give up the notion that maybe, just maybe, one day we can interact in a healthy way. The truth is that my mother would rather die than change.

It's the strangest, most untethered feeling to be grieving people & relationships that are still alive, but I think that's where I am. After I got past my initial blow up about this last night & came back to *these* realizations, tears just started free flowing without a bunch of sobbing & weeping - they just rose up inside & ran rivers down my cheeks, unprompted.

I had visits from my spirit animals - woodpecker & hawk - almost immediately afterward & it fed my soul a bit to have signs from my HP that staying true to MY path is serving me & that no one needs to understand that for it to be true & right for me. Pileated Woodpecker drummed a shamanic tune for me for about half an hour & that was soul soothing to say the least.

Something very big, very deep inside of me was finally released & Let Go.... today I feel like a half-dead carcass on the side of the road trying to fight off the vultures still picking away..... my logical side knows this will pass, my emo side is still all over the place.... and I'm waiting for that phone call/in person Intervention/whatever they are planning....... ugh.
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