I was thinking about why I want to get it off me—why I want to get that feeling of being particular, being special off me. Well, because it is bad.
Something that began to occur to me is that everything that felt good to me as a child—not just momentary pleasure, but those experiences of “flow” and connection and resonance—were all “bad.” I don’t know why they were all bad. I doubt it was something as simple as someone told me they were bad. It would have been a pattern I derived from my life. I do kind of remember that every activity that gave me a sense of flow, my mother interrupted and attempted to shift me away from doing. Kind of regardless, whether I was reading or painting or writing. And I am pretty sure her reasons for doing that had very little to do with me, and everything to do with what was going on inside of her. Like if I were achieving a sense of “flow,” then she probably felt rejected or abandoned: “She’s happy with her reading. She doesn’t need me or want me.” Because at that particular moment, my mother wanted connection, and I was busy occupying myself.
Something else I hadn’t realized is that it feels good to have your needs met. If I sought to get them met, it wasn’t just that I wanted some bad feeling gone, but I was searching for a good feeling. And my mother was not able to do that. She wasn’t able to give me that good feeling of being cared for.
Anyway, feeling special feels good. So that was bad too. The specialness that has to do with superiority, or with ability. That’s a different feeling. I don’t know how I respond to that. Maybe not any better, but I don’t think I crave that feeling. I crave something else.
Also, I was thinking very often I will do something that seems to create a lot of positive feeling—I mean, other people respond very positively to it, and it probably feels good to me, except I might not be able to feel it. Then afterwards, I have a sense that it can’t be me doing that.
C is sick, so I have been calling her every day, just to check on her. These are very short conversations. Less than 5 minutes, I would guess. I know she’s scared to talk to me, and also she feels very vulnerable, so the way I am speaking to her is very soft and tender. I get off the phone with her, and I feel, “That wasn’t me.” There are other things like that, a lot of them times when I am very adult and competent in a caring way. I have been thinking about why this happens. At a felt level, what is going on? What does “me” feel like and why does it feel “not me” when it seems like, at a less implicit level, it is me. I mean, I suspect responding to C’s feeling of vulnerability about being sick in a tender, soothing way probably feels good to me.
When I let that all kind of sit inside me, I feel a lot of anguish. There aren’t a lot of answers, but there is anguish.
Tonight, it clicked in that my mother had a distorted view of me that I had to conform to. Otherwise, there were consequences. She experienced reality which discomfirmed her own ideas about things as rejecting and she attacked in retribution for that. I feel pretty sure that’s right, or that I am close to right with that. If she felt I was selfish, and I behaved kindly…well, that would not work out well for me. And I think she believed I was cold, selfish, angry, forgetful, incompetent, lazy, socially unskilled, ugly and boring. So I really can’t afford to be warm, generous, stable, on top of things, competent, hard-working, able to get along with other people, attractive or interesting. Those things will lead to punishment. And the thing is that punishment leads to a feeling of shame. I can’t be those things, or I will have been someone very shameful.
I do think my mother hated me, and I think if I were not this kind of dreadful, unlikeable creature, she would not have a reason to hate me. I don’t know why she hated me. Something about me might have triggered her shame very intensely. Maybe she just couldn’t cope with having two children’s needs to meet. Maybe she felt connected to me in some way, and the connection made her feel ashamed the same way connection makes me feel ashamed. Maybe I reminded her of her narcissistic mother. But there was a box, and if I stepped outside that box, she got really mad at me. So I don’t. Even now, as an adult, I tell myself, “That wasn’t me stepping out of the box. That was somebody else….”