Since 2006 my daughter has had a blog called my-family-sucks. I have not been reading her blog because I know that she uses it to denigrate me and others who have loved her.
In 2005 and 2006 we communicated through emails. Her emails were much like what she has on her blog. You might ask "How do I know what the blog is like if I don't read her blog?" I know what the blog is like because in 2006 I clicked on a link that I found on the sitemeter that gives me information about visitors to my blog. The link represented a visit to my blog by a visitor who had been on a blog called my-family-sucks. I suspected that the blog belonged to my daughter so I did not click the link when I saw it there on several occasions but in the spring of 2006 I did click the link and found myself on my daughter's blog reading more of the same of what I had seen in the emails that I had told her not to send.
I had told her that I would not read her emails if she continued to denigrate me and that I did not want to hear from her again until she wanted to have a relationship with me. I saw the blog as her way of trying to get around that so that she could continue to denigrate me. I am certain that she thought I would read every word she wrote and that she would have what she wanted: a means to continue to denigrate me (and others) where she thought that I would read it. I do not have to read it and I did not visit it again except by the rare accident when one of her posts turned up in a search on the subject of estrangements and I clicked a link too quickly before I realized where it went or someone sent me an email with a link and I clicked it without realizing where I would be. As soon as I found myself there, I would always leave instantly, seeing as little as possible.
However, I haven't been entirely ignorant of the things that she has written since 2006. I have friends who read her blog regularly. They are friends who have an interest in estrangement as they are experiencing estrangements too and are trying to understand them. So they visit many places on the internet including my daughter's blog. Sometimes they have told me what they found there. So much so that I asked them not to tell me the negative things. And then I asked them not to tell me the positive things either. It hurt too much to know. I asked them to let me know only if there was an emergency. Otherwise I have not wanted to know.
But sometimes in my research on estrangements on the internet posts from her blog turn up in my search results and it is hard not to see the words visible in the synopsis of the post that appears on Google. Also I can see in my sitemeter statistics the visits of those who arrive at my blog by clicking on some post that has a title that includes words like "maniac mother" or "mama drama." So there is an url there in my sitemeter statistics that would go straight to her blog if I clicked it. I don't click these links.
Also I can see in my sitemeter statistics that my daughter herself clicks on the links in her own blog so that she goes straight to my blog from her blog. It is as though she is saying, "Ha ha, Here I am. Click the link. I wrote something about you. I want you to read it. Click the link." I have not clicked.
When we are members of family, we really learn how to push each other's buttons. I have a very hot temper. I do not enjoy being denigrated. I grew up with parents who were out of control and I was manipulated by them for many years. I have attended many twelve step group meetings for Adult Children of Alcohollics. I know about "letting go and letting God." I know that it is best to walk away when someone, for no good reason, wants to pick a fight. I know that nothing would ever be accomplished by my initiating any communication with my daughter in her current way of being. That if she ever wanted a relationship with me, that she could let me know via a phone call and I would be willing to talk with her. I will not fight with her on the internet. I will not have a relationship with her where I would let her have fun hurting me. That is sick behavior. As long as she does it or wants to do it, I think that is not a good sign about her mental health.
I haven't seen her for over fourteen years. She doesn't want a relationship but there she is in my site statistics. It seems like a form of communication although a strange one.
Being denigrated is something that I have experienced from my parents too. It is something that I do not tolerate any more. However, when someone that I love does it and that person has a condition that perhaps makes them believe that they are doing something that makes sense to them, it is hard to know what to do other than cutting them off. Just walking away makes a great deal of sense to me. However, I am her mother. I do care about her. I would like it if I were able not to let her words affect me as much as they have in the past. I would like to react less. If there is ever a time when we do communicate again, it would be good if I could contain my temper and not react to the words.
Those who work in the mental health profession must deal with this sort of thing all the time: the words of those who believe that they are saying something perfectly sensible when what is coming out of their mouths makes no sense to anyone else. There must be some sense there. Something behind the words that makes sense to her if not to me.
As I am a person who does not react well to being called names and being treated badly, I would advise most people to walk away and not look back if they are walking in the same kind of shoes that I am wearing. In this case, there she is, week after week, year after year, writing about how badly her family sucks, how much she doesn't want to have anything to do with them, how awful they are. And there she is in my sitemeter statistics, continuing to visit my blog.
Others have said to me that we are communicating in a strange indirect way on the internet. Most of the time that is not my goal. There have been times when I intended to communicate with my daughter on my blog but 99% of the time my communications are meant for others who have been estranged rather than for my daughter. But I can see how people might think that I have written something for her.
This particular post that I am writing now is written for everyone, including her. She is subscribed to my blog so she will see that I have updated my blog with a post and she will read it shortly after my posting it.
I have been asking myself and my friends for some time if it would make sense for me to visit her blog and read it, to desensitize myself to her insults, to try to figure out what it is that she is trying to communicate in back of the insults. It can't be that she wants to drive me away because I am not there. I have not been reading it.
I have felt so very sad that she suffers from bipolar disorder. This is something that I certainly didn't see coming. Perhaps she even feels that somehow, due to genes, I am somehow at fault for her having this disorder? My grandmother had a mental illness but it wasn't bipolar disorder. My mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and has been hospitalized on many occasions. She has been going to psychiatrists for over fifty years. People with that disorder often have bipolar disorder too. I don't know whether or not my mother also has bipolar disorder. I don't know whether or not my daughter has Borderline Personality Disorder. I have at least one cousin who has bipolar disorder. I don't know if my daughter inherited whatever is wrong through my genes. It is a reasonable conclusion to make. It is something that I have been horrified to learn has happened.
I hate it that my daughter has had to suffer any mental illness and wish that there was something that I could have done to prevent it from occurring. As I said, this is something that I never saw coming.
Mental illness is something that I learned years ago, because of my experience with my mother, that I could not fix for another person. There are treatments but the person has to be willing to be treated. The person has to become aware that they are ill. My mother was not fully aware. The treatments involve more than just talk and more than just medication. But not everyone is willing to accept treatment or even accept the extent of the illness. Many people struggle with it and resent having it and continue to try to live life without any interruptions or concessions, without getting all of the treatment that they need. Mental illness results in so much tragedy.
I know that my daughter, when she reads this, will resent my even talking about mental illness and that she will believe that I am somehow avoiding "blame" or "responsibility" for not being good enough or enough enough of something that she wanted and that she believes I did not provide. Her anger at me and her father is boundless.
She is now forty-one, soon to be forty-two and she wishes to believe that she is a victim and has been mistreated and unloved and unwanted and that it is poor poor her and everyone else is awful. What I want her to know is that I love her. I don't love her in the same way that I once did love her. That had to change. I am not so strong that I can continue to adore someone who talks about me the way that she has. But I do love her and care about her and what happens to her. If I did not love her, I would never have set up a website or a blog. If I did not love her, I would not be talking about her now.
I do hope that she gets better help for her illness and that she triumphs. I do wish good things for her. I can't speak for her father. I don't know what he thinks or feels. But for myself I can say that I do miss having her in my life, I do wish her well, and for now I will continue not to read her blog as it seems to be the wisest avenue to take. But I might change my mind on that. I wanted to let her know that I was thinking about it and why I was thinking of reading it. My goal would be to develop a thicker skin. My question for myself is, "Do I really need to develop a thicker skin?" Perhaps my skin is fine the thickness that it is and I would be best to continue not to read it and to continue to take the approach that if she wants to talk to me, she can call me on the phone and ask to talk.
The woman who asked me about tips for getting through Mother's Day asked about how to move on. I plan on answering that in the next post. I can assure my daughter that I do not give her any credit for "helping me move on" which I have been told is something that she thinks she deserves credit for and is the kind of thinking that makes me have the reaction that causes me to wish for a thicker skin.