The healing process kicks into gear with with the words This is what you did to me. That statement is not gentle or polite; it's absolutely direct. In fact, I know that seeing it might feel like a punch in the stomach. I deliberately removed the distancing veil of objectivity from the words This is what you did by adding 'to me'.
...many daughters may never have given themselves permission to even 'consider' changing the relationship with their mothers, because they didn't think they had the right to do it.
Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate. Over-controlled by anxious, fearful parents, these children often become anxious and fearful themselves. This makes it difficult for them to mature. Many never outgrow the need for ongoing parental guidance and control. As a result, their parents continue to invade, manipulate, and frequently dominate their lives.
Just as verbally and physically abused children internalize blame, so do incest victims. However, in incest, the blame is compounded by the shame. The belief that ‘it’s all my fault’ is never more intense than with the incest victim. This belief fosters strong feelings of self-loathing and shame. In addition to having somehow to cope with the actual incest, the victim must now guard against being caught and exposed as a ‘dirty, disgusting’ person
Love is a verb, not a noun. It is active. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance. It is behavior. If a man lies to you, he is behaving badly and unlovingly toward you. He is disrespecting you and your relationship. The words “I love you” are not enough to make up for that. Don’t kid yourself that they are.
MAKING THE LIE MAKE SENSE:When denial (his or ours) can no longer hold and we finally have to admit to ourselves that we’ve been lied to, we search frantically for ways to keep it from disrupting our lives. So we rationalize. We find “good reasons” to justify his lying, just as he almost always accompanies his confessions with “good reasons” for his lies. He tells us he only lied because…. We tell ourselves he only lied because…. We make excuses for him: The lying wasn’t significant/Everybody lies/He’s only human/I have no right to judge him.Allowing the lies to register in our consciousness means having to make room for any number of frightening possibilities:• He’s not the man I thought he was.• The relationship has spun out of control and I don’t know what to do• The relationship may be over. Most women will do almost anything to avoid having to face these truths. Even if we yell and scream at him when we discover that he’s lied to us, once the dust settles, most of us will opt for the comforting territory of rationalization. In fact, many of us are willing to rewire our senses, short-circuit our instincts and intelligence, and accept the seductive comfort of self-delusion.
Reality CheckHis lying is not contigent on who you are or what you do. His lying is not your fault. Lying is his choice and his problem, and if he makes that choice with you, he will make it with any other woman he’s with. That doesn’t mean you’re an angel and he’s the devil. It does mean that if he doesn’t like certain things about you, he has many ways to address them besides lying. If there are sexual problems between you, there are many resources available to help you. Nothing can change until you hold him responsible and accountable for lying and stop blaming yourself. The lies we tell ourselves to keep from seeing the truth about our lovers don’t feel like lies. They feel comfortable, familiar, and true. We repeat them like a mantra and cling to them like security blankets, hoping to calm ourselves and regain our sense that the world works the way we believe it ought to. Self-lies are false friends we look to for comfort and protection—and for a short time they may make us feel better. But we can only keep the truth at bay for so long. Our self-lies can’t erase his lies, and as we’ll see, the longer we try to pretend they can, the more we deepen the hurt.
I also believe that forgiveness is appropriate only when parents do something to earn it. Toxic parents, especially the more abusive ones, need to acknowledge what happened, take responsibility, and show a willingness to make amends. If you unilaterally absolve parents who continue to treat you badly, who deny much of your reality and feelings, and who continue to project blame onto you, you may seriously impede the emotional work you need to do.
Unhealthy families discourage individual expression. Everyone must conform to the thoughts and actions of the toxic parents. They promote fusion, a blurring of personal boundaries, a welding together of family members. On an unconscious level, it is hard for family members to know where one ends and another begins. In their efforts to be close, they often suffocate one another’s individuality.
Denial is the lid on our emotional pressure cooker: the longer we leave it on, the more pressure we build up. Sooner or later, that pressure is bound to pop the lid, and we have an emotional crisis.
Perfectionist parents seem to operate under the illusion that if they can just get their children to be perfect, they will be a perfect family. They put the burden of stability on the child to avoid facing the fact that they, as parents, cannot provide it. The child fails and becomes the scapegoat for family problems. Once again, the child is saddled with the blame.