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Counseling/Relationship with my mother

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Question
I have wrote here about my and my children's relationship with my mother and then read some of your advises.  I think I understand my mother's position now.  She has been verbally abused by her mother.  I have read the definition of abuse that you referred to in one of your responses and I think what my mom experienced as a child was abuse.  Her mother called her names and would say mean things to her until she started crying.  One example is my mom could not see well and needed glasses; so, her mother would call her blind in a mean crafty way just to hurt her.  Also, everyone in the family loved and was proud of her younger brother and I think my mom felt unloved.  All her childhood and later as an adult she felt unloved by her mother.  

I think what has happened is that this horrible relationship with her mother made her unable to be loved by other people.  I remember that I did not like her as a child, I loved my father and was very open about how did not like my mother.  I don't know what she did to deserve this but that's how I felt as a child.  I know that both my children love my father and resent her.  I think her problem is that since she was little she wanted to be loved and since she lost an ability to be loved she tried to get this love from people who had no choice but be with her, like her children and later grandchildren.  About 20 years ago I realized that she started making herself unhealthy (she did not try to find a job, never exercised, did not try to live healthy by any means) in order to eventually become old and incapable to care for herself.  The subconscious goal was to make me have to take care of her when she is completely destroyed.  I have realized that she was doing this because 20 years ago, when she was 45 and healthy she tried to demand things of me that she herself could do and was clearly using those requests as an excuse to get me to be around.  I never thought that I was her only hope for being loved.  

So, the way I see it now is that all her life she has been looking for love and was never satisfied with whatever she received.  I always felt like a horrible cold person who did not love her mom.  Now I realize that the problem was that she was looking to be loved and did not know how to make it come naturally; so, she was probably rushing things or demanding too much (since she has not really experienced love when she was a child) and because of that children don't love her; maybe they do, just not the way she feels they should and whatever love they have at first is not satisfactory for her; so, she destroys it by pushing their feelings in some direction where she feels they should be... or something like that.  

The point is, I think I have figured out the problem.  This woman has been abused and unloved since she was little, she then grew up looking for love and could not get the sort of love she was looking for and she is still trying to get this love from the people who have no choice but to be around her.  So, now that I know that, I think I should do something to help her being happy without trying to get something she can't.  I don't think I can talk to her about this...

Answer
Hi AT - your story suggests that y0ur Mom and her Mom are "Grown Wounded Children" [GWCs]:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/means.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/1_traits.htm

http://sfhelp.org/cycle.htm

If I'm right. you may have inherited psychological wounds, and may heve unintentionally passed them on to your kids.

GWCs can inherit up to six "wounds," It sounds like your mother has all six - including this one:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/wounds/bonding.htm

The best way to help her is to extend compassion to her while you assert and enforce your boundaries with her. She may or may not be able to read and the articles above and begin to accept what happened to her [and her mother]. Either way, I encourage you and any siblings to study and discuss this free online "lesson" about recovery from inherited wounds:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm

See if this article offers any useful ideas about how to relate to your Mom and other GWCs:

http://sfhelp.org/relate/gwc.htm

If you have any questions about these ideas, please ask! - Pete

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Peter Gerlach, MSW

Expertise

I can answer questions about mood disorders, depression, suicide, relationships, communication skills, problem solving, clear thinking, bonding disorders, trauma recovery, addiction management, grieving, shame, guilt, fear, reality distortion, and trust disorders; courtship, family functioning, "problem kids," mediation, (re)marriage, divorce, stepfamilies, stepparenting, boundaries, self-neglect, abuse, parental neglect, personality subselves, ("parts work"). I cannot answer legal or medical questions.

Experience

I maintained a private therapy practice near Chicago for 27 years, and have worked with over 1,000 men, women, couples, and families on a wide range of personal and family problems. I have been in personal recovery from growing up in an alcoholic family since 1986, and have worked with five therapists to heal my own psychological wounds. I maintained a "warm (phone) line" for callers on the topics above for 20 years, and have taught over 200 seminars and classes in midwestern universities, churches, support groups, and schools since 1981. I have practiced internal-family therapy ("parts work") with trauma-recoverers since 1991.

Organizations
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC) Experts Council; SelfGrowth.com Compassion and Choices, and Final Exit Network

Publications
# Several hundred articles in my non-profit "Break the Cycle!" Web site at http://sfhelp.org These articles are augmented by over 150 educational YouTube videos .

# six books on childhood-trauma recovery, effective communication, and stepfamily courtship, coparenting, and management.

Education/Credentials
A bachelors degree in mechanical engineering (BSME, 1959) from Stanford University, a Masters degree in clinical Social Work, (MSW, 1981), and over 500 hours of post-grad training in the topics above - including clinical hypnosis, spirituality, codependence, addicrtion-management, and guided imagery. My post-grad traning includes two 9-month internships on doing internal-family therapy at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and comments from students and clients all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1,000 average Midwestern-US women, men, couples, and families. A physical disability limits me to doing telephone and Skype counseling now.

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