Acceptance and Commitment – A new therapy group
It has been a rough couple of weeks, emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have experienced varying forms of pain and discomfort. My sleep has been affected.
The lack of sleep has affected my interactions, on and off, with my relationship. We had an early morning call and a chat that ended well. Then this morning, after I woke up, I broke down how I was feeling. I should have waited until I finished my morning routine but the thoughts were there as soon as I woke up. He has told me before to not be afraid to tell him how I was feeling. I had not slept well or very long, falling asleep at 5:30 this morning and then waking up by 11 am. I forgot to take a step back and reassess the thoughts, emotions, and feelings that I was having. Instead, it turned into the word vomit that I hate, that part of me that can be very blunt and harsh.
Afterward, I got up, took a shower, and did my morning routine. I felt much better with clearer thoughts and wrote back to him, apologizing for my words, yet again. I feel like one day, he will just have enough of my insecure moments of self-doubt. Yet, he keeps reassuring me that we are okay and he worries about me. I texted him what my true thoughts were about my love, care, and affection for him. I also texted him about why I have been in such a mood lately.
I realized, while I was crying in the shower this morning, it was not about him or this relationship. It was about my mother.
She is the reason for the doubts, insecurity, and negative thoughts the last few weeks since that incident with her. I did not fully acknowledge it until this morning. Those thoughts have been ruminating since my therapy group session yesterday.
I have been placed into an ACT group, every week, for the next four and a half months. Yesterday was the third session.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – “an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy that stems from traditional behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions and, instead, accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives. With this understanding, clients begin to accept their hardships and commit to making necessary changes in their behavior, regardless of what is going on in their lives and how they feel about it.”-Psychology Today, website.
This approach is supposed to help us accept that the feelings we have are valid and that we can change the thoughts or actions resulting from those feelings. Then we have to commit to changing our behavior responses. I finally decided back in February, it was time to fully commit to accepting who I am. That my depression and anxiety are a part of me, but that I am in control of how I respond. I am in control of my future happiness.
Then I had this incident with my mother and it threw me off. I did not react the way I had before, by shutting out my feelings and emotions by just blocking them out. Instead, I let myself sit with these thoughts, the questions, the doubts, the whys, and all the other crap that is rolled into the relationship with her. I wrote previously that I would address those and today is the day.
I hate my mother.
That is the harshest thing a person can do, hate a person. It is not in our nature to hate, we learn it. We learn through others by either how they raise us or treat us, sometimes both.
My mother did not want me and would tell me so. It was always when she was drunk when she would pull me out of bed, make me sit down with her while she continued drinking, and then proceed to tell me how much she hated me, as she blew cigarette smoke into my face, then laughed.
She would tell me how I ruined her life after he left her. I assume she meant my biological father. I never met him and did not find out his name until I was in my mid 30’s. She had been a fling because he was married when he met her. At least that is what his obituary dates confirmed when I found out nine years ago that he had passed away.
She would tell me the story about the woman she met, who wanted to buy me after I was born, while she was visiting her brother, my Uncle Francis, in California. In these drunken tirades, she said she should have, because then she would have had money instead of me.
I remember the summer when I hit puberty and I was staying with my grandparents. Thankfully, I was surrounded by my visiting aunts and my girl cousins. They helped me through it because I did not know what was happening to me. I was so scared and thought I was dying. I remember when my Aunt Lou called my mother to let her know and she handed me the phone to talk to her.
My mother laughed at me and said, “I thought you already knew all that stuff”. She would not let me attend the special health class for the boys and girls in the 5th grade before that summer when they talked about that. She showed no concern, no worry, and did not even ask me if I was okay, just laughter. I was only 11 years old. In contrast, when her daughter, my middle half-sister hit puberty, she cried and kept going on and on about how she wasn’t her baby girl anymore. She kept my sister home and took care of her.
My mother was harsh, cruel, and manipulative. She would purposely do things to embarrass me. During the school year, at any event that I was supposed to attend, she would dress me in her clothes. Short skirts, heels, and tops that were too tight and were very inappropriate clothes for a girl my age. It was like she was putting me on display to be ridiculed, to be made fun of, and it worked. I was bullied from 5th grade until my Senior year in high school. Even for something as simple as a baseball uniform, she made sure it did not fit well or was too tight.
My clothes were always ill-fitting and too big, long, short, or tight. The clothes were always dated, had weird colors or slogans, and were used. The clothes were from thrift stores, garage sales, or flea markets. She purposely treated me differently than my half-sisters, they always had new clothes every school year. This went on until I turned 18 and started making my own money. The damage was done though, I had no self-esteem, was socially awkward, and was painfully shy until I left home.
I endured physical, emotional, verbal, and sexual abuse at the hands of her husband until I fought back when I was 16. I told my mother several times and she turned her back on me, ignoring it. Then would become verbally and emotionally abusive toward me when she was drinking.
All of this abuse began occurring after she picked me up that one summer night and made me come live with her at the age of 9. I did not want to go but my grandparents had no say in it. I was only allowed to see them again during holidays or summer breaks. That is when the true abuse began, before that, I was just ignored by her and was bounced around between grandparents and relatives.
When I turned 18, I received a trust fund from my tribal nation. It was not that much but back then it was significant to me. It was going to be my savings until I left home. I was still living with them, waiting for my basic military training to start. I was bullied, coerced, and threatened with being thrown out into the street by her or her husband if I did not give them money. I had nothing left by the time I went into the military. I just wanted to survive until I could leave. By that point, my grandfather had passed away, the cousins were all off and married, and my grandmother was traveling and visiting her children. I had no place to go.
After I left to join the military and moved away, I thought that she would change how she felt about me. I believed that it would “magically” turn her into the mother I needed. Instead, the effects of being under her control for all those years carried on, even though I was thousands of miles away. She would call or write and make me feel guilty. It was always about money. She said I owed it to her for taking care of me.
I remember an incident in basic training when I called her because I was going to be pushed back 3 weeks due to a foot injury sustained during a morning run. I was letting her know that my basic training graduation date was going to be later. She said, “Oh, we weren’t going to that anyway.” Then she asked, “Did you get my letter about needing two hundred dollars?” I got so upset that I just hung up on her and started crying. The airman that had walked me to the phone told me I could call someone else. I called my grandmother. She said a prayer for me on the phone, telling me it would be okay, and that she missed and loved me.
Looking back at it now, it was manipulation and gaslighting. I just wanted my mother to love me even though “love” from her came at a price. She would pretend to care about me until she got what she wanted then ignore me again. This was our relationship with one another my whole adult life until I got married. Then her abuse took another form.
The manipulation and gaslighting continued but by the time I was in my mid-twenties, I was a young married mom trying to raise kids. She would pit me and my younger half-sisters against each other. Telling them one thing and telling me something else which caused chaos or discord between us. She just kept making that division grow bigger. They don’t talk to me now unless it has something to do with their parents or if they need something from me.
This has been my life with my mother.
The same woman I confronted with all of this at the end of last summer, after she embarrassed me at her brother’s funeral, my Uncle John, and I decided to walk away. Then I had to ask her for help because there was no one else. I was short on money and had no credit line options this past December. I was about to lose my vehicle. I knew there was a risk in asking for help from her. She kept telling me that she missed me, and I thought once again, that she meant it.
Then her behavior two weeks ago made it evident that she does not care about me or my well-being. I am just there when she needs something and then when I told her no, she behaved in such an egregious manner. She thought she could still control me but I am not that person anymore. I have not been for a very long time.
For my own sake, I should cut her and her family permanently out of my life.
I cannot keep holding onto this idea that she will treat me with respect because it is blatantly obvious that will never happen. I have been holding on to this idea for too long. All it has done is hold me back from being happy with myself. Her toxic behavior has infected my ability to fully trust others and believe that they care about me.
During last night’s late-night chat with my online relationship, he said “You are this special person. I see this and others before knew it. You still haven’t realized it yet”. At that moment, I knew the reason why I failed to acknowledge the good parts of myself and why I kept doubting myself, it was because I had been waiting for such a long time to hear it from my mother. Waiting for some kind of acknowledgment that I matter to her.
This morning, after the self-sabotaging thoughts that I wrote to my online relationship, and after the crying in the shower stopped, I recognized that I was in control. I have been in control of how I have let her treatment affect me for the last almost 52 years.
I am letting it go.
If I want a chance at happiness with this person, I am in a relationship with, then I have to let her go.
She will not change and I do not want it anymore.
I am tired of trying, it is not worth it to me and I can no longer place any value on her being in my life.
My peace of mind is more important.
My children are more important.
My relationship with this person is more important.
The future I want for myself and what I have been working toward is more important.
I have finally accepted that my feelings about her are valid. That these feelings have no true bearing on what I can and cannot do with my own life.
I am committed to making the changes and progress needed to fulfill my life goals.
I am committed to being a mother to my children.
I am committed to working on the issues and becoming this online person’s partner in life.
I am committed to my well-being.
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and view my blog.
Have a wonderful week ahead!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!
1 thought on “Acceptance and Commitment – A new therapy group”
I can’t imagine going through the things you’ve been through. I’m glad to see that you’re moving forward and not letting it stop you!