Toxic Family and Pregnancy

Where do I even begin?

How would you feel if your own mother didn’t respect you during pregnancy and was constantly jealous of your life? How would you feel if she made you feel guilty about ‘a better life’ ( according to her) because your brother is currently incarcerated for his own mistakes? How would you remain peaceful if she made you feel bad of the fact that other people were going to be involved more in looking after your baby daughter?

What if your therapist has opened your eyes by showing you that in fact you don’t have to entangle yourself in hours of meaningless, toxic and emotional conversation with your mother. They told you that she is an adult and it only depends on you if you allow her to mentally disturb you. If you contemplate on it you’ll assume that they are absolutely right. But there is one problem…

She is your mother. You have always felt a sense if responsibility for her. On the top of that you are aware that she acts in a certain way without even realising it. You always justify her behaviour by stating that it doesn’t fall into category of malicious intentions. At the same time, you feel mentally distorted and drained after staying in touch with her. It leaves you feeling shaky and it’s only because you defend your point of view. When you question her about what she’s said to you she always has an explanation for it trying very hard to prove you wrong and then endlessly telling you that she loves you so much. In fact, she didn’t love you that much nor let you know about it when your brother was around and you were used as ‘ a mental punching bag’ for her anxieties, frustration and fears.

How many times did she ask you if you were normal?

How many times did she tell you that if she died on a heart attack because of pain in her chest ( due to a panic attack and anxiety) it would be solely your fault? She even proceeded to telling you that you would live with the guilt. You were 13 years old.

How many times was she there for you when you started skipping school and self harming due to bullying at school?

How many times did she start an argument with you because she was in the mood for it and she knew you wouldn’t hold it back and then she acted offended for days?

How many times did she use you as a listener when she was upset with your father or her own family?

How many times did she treat your brother better to the point of other people around you ( your grandmother, your father, your uncle, your friend and even your neigbours) openly talking about it stating that it wasn’t right? When you confronted her about it she obviously didn’t see any problem in it. She told you that she treated you and your brother equally and that your brother agreed with her all the time and that’s the difference between you and him.

How many times has your mother tried to perseude you to act like nothing has ever happened? How many times has she tried to act as a perfect family? How many times has she tried to force money and gifts on you as a sign of love?

The list could go on and on and I’m not claiming that you were an angel but you were a child and then a young person who needed a mother not a mentally unstable person who put their problems and pressure on you. Your tendency to speak up out loud for yourself was a blessing in disguise because even though it had caused lots of tears and fractions it had also helped you to stay sane.

You just can’t break the cycle between you and your mother. You’ve have attempted to cut her out of your life at least three times, she apologised and things were better for a short period of time. Before your brother got himself into trouble and was sentenced to few years in prison conversations between you and your mother revolved around him of how great he was doing. I would say 70% of interaction consisted of an update regarding your brother. You were sick of it but ignored it as much as you could.

Things had been ‘normal’ for some time because you’d keep distance from your mother but you are pregnant now. You are more vulnerable, your mother has sensed it and has been preying on your emotional weakness by doing everything to make you feel guilty of not involving her more.

How can you involve her more!? You have been talking to her, updating her about the baby’s development and you have invited her to meet the newborn. She has sent gifts for the baby. She doesn’t have the financial means but you have allowed it because you thought that it would make her feel better. Then she had an idea, an idea of being your birth partner. You tried to delicately explain her that it’s a very intimate moment and your fiancé is your birth partner. You explained to her that it’s a very special time for you both as first time parents and that you would like her to respect it.

This moment has triggered an avelanche of negative behaviour from her side. First, she made you listened of how ignorant and uncaring your father was towards her. Next, how her own mother didn’t support her. When you wanted to share an experience regarding antenatal class with her she started acting jealous towards your partner stating that she never had what you have and that she had been through hell with your father and that she should have left him. The final straw was drawn when she asked you about a job. You told her your current situations and added that your partner’s mother was going to look after your child for two days a week when you return to work. She just couldn’t help herself but made few sneaky comments to awake that guilty feeling insude you that derives from the fact that she is not the one who is going to do it. Your parents live far away.

After all this, you broke in half and snapped. You had tried to be nice, calm and composed but your snapped in the end. You told her that she had no rights to act as a perfect mother or to have any demands towards you. You stated that the anxiety and panic attacks are caused by your distorted childhood and you are tired of constant battles with her. You were opened about the fact that conversations with her leave you drained and sad.

Last night you’ve given her an ultimatum that unless she starts acting neutral and calm towards you without pressuring you to do things she wants, she will be cut out of your life again because you can’t carry on like this anymore. You haven’t received any response from her.

This post may help others who have a distorted relationship with their loved ones. It’s very easy to give an advice such as: don’t be a victim, don’t let them mentally upset you, draw the boundaries or keep your distance. When it comes to family it’s difficult because feelings and emotions are involved. The dynamics are different in a family environment. They are complex and unfortunately those who are manipulative prey on feelings of their victims. Those who are affected need to do everything in their power to protect themselves and their own family from a bad influence of toxic people who are present in their life. I wish I had a golden advice but I don’t. I struggle very hard and I try to put my head around all of this.

Fear of Motherhood

Congratulations if you are pregnant.

If you are trying to conceive- Good Luck.

If you are thinking to conceive but are flooded with fear and doubts my advice to you is: go for it, there is never a perfect time or an opportunity to have a child. Life is full of hurdles so if you really want fo bring a new life into this twisted but wonderful world just do it.

Life without a child as a couple is very convenient. You are solely responsible for yourselves, indulging in existence is joyful and planning expenses is much easier because you don’t bear the burden of making sure that a tiny human being who is not capable of sustaining their basic needs entirely relies on your physical, mental and financial support. I’m going to be brutally honest with you, as a mum to be, I’m terrified of that whole new sense of a responsibility. My partner feels the same. We are both excited about our new arrival, we can’t wait to meet our baby girl but at the same time we are both petrified. Hence we take everyday as it goes without assuming things or rushing into despair or fortune telling which is not an easy thing to do. For instance, I’m on maternity leave and have begun to sort my my baby’s room, I know people who thrill while doing it but I could compare the whole experience to walking barefoot on the shattered glass which has been maliciously scattered on the floor just for me haha. I know, I sound very dramatic but going into my daughter’s room is a reminder of the unknown and I associate this unknown with struggle, pain and fear. Let me explain why.

I have dealt with anxiety atleast 80% of my life and I’m already 30 years old woman. My mind is like a library. Every situation and every thought is carefully categorised and placed on the shelf. The biggest collection of ‘books’ reside on the shelf which is labelled ‘fear’. I could almost compare that shelf to Purgatory ( which is a place where Roman Catholics believe the spirits of dead people are sent to suffer for their sins) where new occurances in my life are initially placed before being adequately categorised. Sometimes I despise myself for it because if I’m being rational the fear doesn’t occur to me as much. I use the fear as a coping mechanism which suppose to protect me from unpleasant experiences. It’s obvious that this self- invented self- security system fails most of the time making my mind overwork itself. So after years of sending new experiences to Purgatory I decided to change it. Don’t take me wrong, I haven’t gotten rid of mighty selection of ‘Anna’s fears’ because it works like a filter for me. It’s a bit like OCD, I analyse my thoughts preparing for ‘the plan a and b’ but then I simply face my fears. If I didn’t face them I wouldn’t go in my baby’s room and I wouldn’t start sorting it out. I would stay the heck away from it hoping for the best ( solely relying on my partner’s help). I take one step at the time while dealing with it. For example, yesterday, I washed baby’s clothes and today I will take care of the nursery equipment and accessories. That’s my plan of action. Again, I would love to say that doing it is a pleasant experience but it’s not. The only positive idea which I’m able to think of is a sense of pride and achievement after I finish working on tasks which I have set myself to complete. I know that I will feel the same after finishing my baby girl’s room or her arrival. Afterwards, I will move the book of I’m terrified of becoming a mother’ to a shelf labelled ‘life’.

Pregnant Mental Chaos

When you are trying for a baby and you are first time parent you read a lot, you anticipate and imagine what’s going to be like to carry a child under your heart and give birth to them. You go through different scenarious, you even dare to think that you are strong enough to be in control of your body & mind throughout the whole pregnancy and others who can’t cope are weak attention seekers.

You do a pregnancy test and you find out that you are in fact pregnant. You are overwhelmed and overjoyed with this wonderful news. You can’t believe your own eyes so you take one, two, three, four tests to just make sure that you are REALLY pregnant. You find a group of women on the internet who advise you that it’s best to control the raising level of pregnancy hormone by purchasing three digital pregnancy tests. You do it without any hesitation and do a pregnancy test every week in hope to see ‘3+’ on its display. When you finally see it new symptoms and worries kick in. You fight with tiredness, fatigue, dizinness, nausea and anxiety.

You ask yourself-

What have I put myself into?

Is my child developing well?

What if there is something wrong with the baby and I will find out about it during my 12 week scan.

How am I going to cope at work?

You pull through all this and finally have a 12 week scan, you are filled with questions, excitement, joy and fear. You see your baby on the screen, hear the sonographer saying- ‘Everything looks ok’ and you think- ‘Well, now it must be going to be fine.’ Weeks fly by, you deal with horrendous backache combined with on and off spotting. You become a frequent visitor of A&E and later antenatal department at your local hospital. The fact that you are rhesus negative doesn’t help because you require anti d injections to prevent a serological conflict everytime you bleed.

You are 16 weeks pregnant and discover that you are carrying a baby girl. You are surprised but happy about it. The symptoms subside and you begin to enjoy the pregnancy. You have more energy and the fact that you’ve just started feeling little kicks makes you the happiest person in the world. The 20 week scan comes, again, you deal with a great ammount of fear mixed with joy and anticipation. The scan takes around 40 minutes to complete and you are relieved to hear that the baby is doing absolutely fine.

At around 24 weeks pregnancy your sister from another mother abandones you and you make a sober decision that it’s best to cut her out of your life because she’s a very self- centered person who only looks after herself and expects others to do it so. On the top of that you begin to experience unpleasant symptoms which left you when you were 14 weeks pregnant. Nausea, fatigue, dizziness and pain welcome back to my twisted world. The only thing which makes you happy is feeling your little girl boxing you from inside.

Your fiánce has been supporting you since the beginning. He is very loving and understanding. You feel like the biggest miserable cow but he still makes you feel attractive and good about yourself. You are are immensely gratful for his ongoing support which prompts you to be very excited about growing your family with him because you love him so much. He is your partner for life and you are looking forward to growing old with him and being one of those cool old couples which melt your heart.

When you are 32 weeks pregnant it finally hits you that you are going to become a parent to a little girl who loves punching you and stretching inside your belly very, very soon. You love her so much already….

Depression has a face

Depression has a face

A face you cannot see

You are cloaked from the world

Cuddled by darkness

Sleeping with your thoughts

Past and present

Intoxicate

Attractive thinking?

A way out

Tempting

People who should be there

Hide with someone else

Depression has a face

It is behind the smile

Do you not see?

Religious Trap

I have been through a lot, I have seen a lot and I have learnt a lot. What I have learnt about life is that it’s made of choices. We are decision makers not the Mighty God in heaven. Being brought up as a Roman Catholic I was always forced to believe that nothing is in my power, my destiny has been decided for me and I can’t do anything about it. I remember ( as a child) attending the mass at our local church and listening to a priest talking about sins, purgatory, hell and heaven. There was a set of rules to avoid further suffering after life ( the life is meant to be a nasty long trial which leads to heaven or hell) : confession, money donation, frequent church attendance, prayer, prayer, prayer and overwhelming fear of everything which might be considered evil ( because that surely would bring you misfortune) may grand you a ticket to the garden of Eden. When a bad luck knocks at your door you must still pray as this is the God testing your strength and faith in him. I remember that everything was based and built on fear:

– fear of misfortune

– fear of hell

– fear of suffering

– fear of death

– fear of loosing everyone you love and literally burning in hell

People were brainwashed to think that they would be thrown into eternal condemnation and torment if they didn’t follow the rules which were imposed on them. That manipulation caused some of the vulnerable people like my mother to develop depression which derived from her well established anxiety. Her anxiety was created upon feeling rejected and misunderstood by her own parents which prompted her to moving out, meeting my father ( who battled his own demon of being an alcoholic) and marrying him. She did it after three months of ignoring all the possible signs which kindly whispered to her that her husband to be needed to help himself first before entering another marriage ( his first marriage fell apart because his former wife didn’t put up with his alcohol abuse). My mother’s parents were against her new relationship warning her that she is making a big mistake. After the wedding, my mother had tried to hide the lack of consistent income, alcohol abuse of my father and general personal torment of ‘it wasn’t suppose be like that’ from her parents who refused to attend her own marital celebrations ( due to their disapproval). Eventually, she had succumbed into realms of anxiety completely and asked my grandmother for help ( after I was born). My grandparents had helped my mother financially a lot, without them we wouldn’t have money to buy simple necessities like bread and milk many times to come. In the meantime, my brother was born and my father continued drinking while working in out of Germany. My mother had developed a self- destructive coping technique of being completely devoted to her faith. She had spent hours praying on her knees, listening to Roman Catholic radio, dragging us to church and hoping that one day our destiny would kindly change. In her own point of view we were condemned.

As a young girl, when my friend borrowed a cassette with songs which I previously recorded from the radio my mother was furious because it turned out that she took that cassette and recorded a podcast from her favourite religious radio station over my songs. The whole cassette wasn’t graciously smitten by Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath anymore but was a 80 minute long lecture of how to avoid being sent to Purgatory after death. I found it hilarious but she was furious not because she had lost it but she was afraid that my friend’s parents would think bad of her devotion to God. She knew it was very intense.

My mother was stricken by depression and anxiety but she knew how to hide it well from others. She suffered within four walls, us- her children were listeners, she had said ‘goodbye’ to us so many times because she was convinced that she was dying on a heart attack ( in reality she had suffered from reoccurring and frequent panic attacks). She had constantly prayed and that had made her even more paranoid to the point of viewing others as our enemies. We had moved at least five times before my 8th birthday due to my father’s unstable employment. She had begun to isolate herself more and more. None of children’s friends which I had made were good enough for her because according to her they were taking advantage of me. She continued deepening her faith and stating that if she could she would become a nun and that one day she would be one. I had always felt responsible for her and my younger brother. As a child, I despised being forced to pray or going to church because I saw that it didn’t help my mother but made her mental well-being worse and worse. When I was 6 years old I was trying to count how many years I had left before I became 18 years old adult because I knew that I could legally take care of my brother at this age ( if anything really happened to my mother as she had stated she was dying).

When I was 11 years old and my achievements at school were getting worse I opened my mouth and tried to talk to my teacher about problems at home. My teacher talked to my mother who obviously denied everything and stated that I had a well developed imagination. My grandfather died soon after. My mother took it very hard and went through another episode of severe depression which made her almost hospitalised due to lack of appetite and severe anemia. The whole experience prompted her to become independent. She had stopped relying on my father, found a job, went back to Uni and finished her degree. My father realised that he could loose her and stopped drinking. He stopped drinking when I was 15 years old because my mother threatened him to end their marriage for good. He didn’t want to end up loosing everything plus he loved my mother who had pulled him out of the gutter on and on.

She continued her trips to church and says to this day that God helped her during those difficult times. I don’t deny God, in fact, I believe in God as they call it- I view it as good helpful energy which can help you in your life if you make sensible and right choices. What I don’t believe in is religion itself. Religion has been created to control the society and prey on vulnerable people like my mother. She credits her religion for all the achievements in her life but I credit her OWN CHOICES. We have a choice to be good or bad. Being sensible has its perks but being bad has its consequences.

My mother still continues her daily trips to church, donates money to it and prays intensely for my brother in hopes for being released from prison. He is in prison because he committed a crime out of his own stupidity. He faces consequences of his poor behavior and choice. My mother sees it as a trial which has been sent down on our family from God- bullshit.

I have separated myself from it because I tried to change her point of view for so long. I had tried to help her mentally which had left me depressed and emotionally drained. I aim to lead normal life away from fanaticism and excessive religious devotion but at the same time I respect my mother’s choices because I love her. It breaks my heart seeing her being used by her own faith and her mental health suffers because of it. She believes the more she prays, the bigger the chance for her poor destiny to reverse itself. She refuses to live a life. She is an adult and she has made her choice of being stuck in one spot walking in circles…

Hypocrite due to Difficulties

I often talk about the benefits and healing properties of active meditation. I’m known of giving tips and advice how to succesful free your mind from tge realms of ovewhelming stress.

I’d always thought that I had it perfectly mastered. Oh, how I was wrong. Today, I needed to go outside to relax and collect my thoughts due to being under stress. I decided that it was a perfect opportunity to activately meditate. I tried it and I failed. My mind was so occupied with anxiety and negative predictions that it felt like it was being devoured by an alligator.

I had stopped it and insted focused on a picture on the fence. I stared at it and breathed for good 2-3 minutes letting my thoughts flow with its own pace. Afterwards, I didn’t feel completely resurrected but partially alive which was enough for me to funcion.

Blurry Morning

Woke up with a porridgy and blurry mind? Do you feel like you can’t face the day?

It’s just your tired mind sending you signals that you must do something to unload the cargo consisting of worries and problems. You need to make some space for new arrivals.

Have you tried active meditation?

It’s simple, if you are in bed, focus on the surroundings, the softeness of the bedding and the way you are positioned in bed. Next, get up, walk towards the window and look through it. What can you see? Open it, don’t forget about breathing.

Enhale

Exale

and

Look. Focus on every single details. What colour are the walls of the house next to yours? Are there any birds sitting on the roof? Crows, pigeons or Sparrows?

Do you feel any better?

You can do it.

Control

Being in control…

anya786

Who doesn’t love to be in control? Most of the human population does. People like to feel in power & charge of their own destiny. When the reality begins to crumble the anxiety creeps in leaving them simply sad and lost. It’s very easy to talk about it but the challenge comes in the real life occurrences. Life is full surprises & obstacles. It’s impossible to change it but staying determined, motivated and sensible will help to approach the issue , alter & influence it in a way that it will be somehow beneficial for those who are affected.

Don’t allow yourself to give up, don’t stay idle but always strive to achieve your best.

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