Babyloss, Friends, Life

Why you didn’t see a heartfelt post from me this Mother’s Day | Surviving Narcissistic Abuse

I wrote this 8 months ago – on the 11th of May to precise – and never had the guts to publish it. But I finally thought I’d share my story of surviving narcissistic abuse. This was written before I had a name for what my mother is, but it begins to describe how she’s affected me over the years. 

On Mother’s Day I experienced an explosion of posts on my Facebook newsfeed. Lovely, heartfelt posts from daughters to their mothers; “happy Mother’s Day to the best mum ever”, “I couldn’t have done it without you”, “thanks for everything you’ve done for me”.

I didn’t join in. I simply can’t say things like that with a clean conscience, because I don’t mean them. Don’t get me wrong, my mother can be a really lovely person. Even extremely generous. Unfortunately those moments are few and far between – at least for me.

My childhood was filled with emotional abuse, made worse by the fact that I didn’t realise that’s what it was. I genuinely thought I was just a disappointment of a daughter, a bitch, selfish, because that’s all my mother ever really told me. She also tried to divide the family in a way – she’d tell me my dad wanted to disinherit me, my brother didn’t want me at his wedding, etc etc. Almost all of what she said was a lie. The most concerning part is that she genuinely seems to believe her lies. She could tell you the sky is green and scream at you for being a horrible, deceitful person by saying it’s actually blue.

She’s always been this way, although it could be said that she’s gotten progressively worse in recent years. As I got older it dawned on me that her behaviour wasn’t normal. Eventually, when I was just shy of 17 years old, it all got too much and I moved out. This was followed by a whole heap of extra abuse from my mum, ranging from begging me to stay , “you’re tearing this family apart”, to “go be a slut and live with your boyfriend then”. She would leave voicemail after voicemail, especially when she’d been drinking, basically just telling me how awful I was and how I owed her everything and should treat her accordingly.

Then my sons died. You’d think maybe that might’ve made my mum lay off me a bit, but you’d be dead wrong. There was so much drama from her after we lost our sons, I’d be here for a week if I tried to write it all down, so I’ll just tell you some snippets.

Mum caused a whole lot of problems with the funeral “guest list” – she told several people it was a public funeral, when in fact it was a very private one, while also telling some of my closest friends they weren’t invited and that I didn’t want to see them. It was stressful dealing with upset friends, and also having to tell upset acquaintances that they actually weren’t invited.

Mum also took it upon herself to tell the funeral director “our” plans – plans that we had definitely not discussed with her and that contradicted what we actually wanted to do. It was confusing trying to resurrect our sons’ funeral from the mess my mother made of it.

After the funeral, my mum left us voicemail after voicemail just yelling at us about crap.

Some of it included how she had more rights as a grandparent because she was the maternal grandmother, so we shouldn’t show Matt’s mother any photos of our sons. She berated us for not thanking her for planning the funeral for us. She yelled at us because Matt’s grandparents were at the funeral and mine weren’t, despite the fact that 3/4 of my grandparents weren’t even living, and the remaining one was in no state to travel 5 hours down for the funeral of two great-grandsons that she didn’t even remember she had. She called us selfish for not letting her invite friends of hers – some of whom we’d barely met – to our very private, family and closest-friends only, funeral. She bought a new outfit for the funeral apparently, so we owed her money for said outfit…

She just wouldn’t stop calling.

Her most memorable voicemail lines were “my grandsons have just died, give me some sympathy” and “I’m a mother, and that’s the most important job of all”, the latter said rather scathingly, like she knew that statement would hurt and intended it that way.

Matt had to physically take my phone off me. I was ending up in tears every time she called, yet I kept answering the phone because she was my mum – I felt like she deserved the benefit of doubt. By March though, I’d decided I couldn’t keep putting myself through that. I blocked her number and stopped talking to her completely for at least 12 months. Charlie being born changed that all a little – but that’s a story for another day.

The thing about my mum is that she can seem extremely loving looking from the outside in. It’s very hard to explain just what she’s like. There is definitely something very wrong there though, I’m not sure she even remembers when she abuses you, because she then goes on to act like it never happened and swears that it didn’t. I also know my sweet little sister doesn’t see the negative side of our mother as much – not like my brother and I have. I try not to discuss my mother with her, because she can form her own opinions based own her own experiences, it’s just so strange that her experiences are so different from mine. I know this post will probably be read by her, and I’m sorry little sister for darkening your view of our mum.

I guess there’s also the possibility that my mother could read this. Maybe there’s a tiny chance that she might finally see herself as the rest of us see her – someone who needs help. The abuse has got to stop. But more likely, she will blame the rest of us as she always has, and deny everything.

I’m sorry, mum, but you’re just too stressful to have in my life. You can be in Charlie’s – as long as you don’t ever treat her the way you’ve treated me – but I don’t want to play happy families and be your friend, because the abuse isn’t worth it. I choose to believe I am more than the names you call me. I choose happiness. 

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Baby Number 3, Babyloss, Life, parenting

Recap: April

I haven’t felt the urge to write much lately. I usually use writing as a bit of an outlet during bad times, so basically life has been treating me well recently. I’ve been feeling really good. Not a lot of down days – although even on a good day I still believe life is unfair – and lots to keep me busy.

Here’s a quick recap of my last 2 weeks:

  • My cuddle cot fundraiser has been featured in the newspaper, on the radio and on TV – The local news really jumped on it, and the response has been fantastic. Charlie, my boys & I featured front page on our local newspaper Tuesday morning and as a result we received a message from ABC Radio wanting an interview, our local Prime7 News followed not long after. I was pretty nervous about being interviewed, but I think I did okay. Check out the article here: ‘Gift offers time with lost babies’, or watch my nerve-wracking TV appearance: ‘Mum on a mission’.
  • My fundraiser is now at over $1,100 – As a result of the recent media coverage, we’ve now raised enough for 1/6th of a cuddle cot in only a month of fundraising. Which also translates to 22 Bears of Hope packages in honour of my boys (if enough money for a cuddle cot isn’t raised).
  • I got chickens – probably not an important point but I find it exciting. Six 6-week-old Isa Browns. Seriously looking forward to not having to buy eggs in the near future. Charlie also absolutely adores them, which is a nice little bonus. We spend probably half an hour with them every morning playing outside and it definitely makes the day seem shorter having so much fun.
  • I spent some time with my beautiful sister, and my brother also visited from Melbourne – Family is important. Mine may not be very functional at the best of times, but I love them all the same and Charlie spending time with my family is also very important to me. My sister’s visit meant non-stop giggles from Charlie, we’ve missed her while she’s been away at university.
  • We got out personalised child loss book in the mail yesterday – From the author of Sam and Finn, these books are ‘a story of hope created especially for you’. It’s going to be beautiful reading it to Charlie as she gets older – a special little story about her big brothers. We already have Someone Came Before You, and it’s lovely, but this book actually has Andrew & Eric’s name in it! You can buy your own here: Personalised Child Loss Book.

That’s pretty much it. Condensed into a list, none of that seems as big of a deal as it actually was – I feel like there’s been so much excitement here lately!

My laptop is officially up and running again by the way, so look forward to more frequent blog posts. Unfortunately there’s been a hiccup with our new internet installation, but hopefully that’ll be working soon too.

How have you all been while I’ve been gone?

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Babyloss, Life

How your short lives had an impact.

To commemorate my boys’ birthday the other week, I asked my friends and family to write something about how my boys had impacted upon their lives. The results were interesting. I had some truly lovely messages, but then some people who I thought cared the most didn’t even bother. I suppose they didn’t know what to say, I don’t begrudge them for that, but it was a little saddening. (status from my personal Facebook; 29/1/2016) 

This was one of my favourites, from a fellow babyloss mumma who I’m quite close to:

Your boys have made a huge impact on my life that’s for sure. 

When I look at their pictures, all I see is pure beauty. The most beautiful boys. 

They have such a special part in my heart. I thank them for bringing me and you together. And I forever have a friend who no matter what understands what I feel. I love to think Andrew and Eric found my little Beau and together they get up to naughty things like 2 year Olds should. 

Your boys are so very lucky to have been born into a family full of love. Parents who will always make their memory live on and still talk about them like they were here. Because they are here, they will never leave you. 

My other two favourites came from surprising sources, people whom I don’t often speak to. Here’s one:

…I’ll say that despite never meeting your boys in the physical world, I feel as though I’ve made contact with them through what you’ve shared. Your eloquent expressions have painted them into the lives of others, teaching lessons of compassion and kindness, and of love and gentle heartedness, all through the beautiful woman who is their mother – the heart they touch the most.
So, I’d like to say that, even though I’ve never had the privilege of shaking their hands or ruffling their hair, I met your sons through your love for them, and I’d like to wish them, and the rest of your family, every happiness.

And the other:

I take a big deep breath as I write this to you. I remember where I was, I remember how hard I’d prayed, I remember I felt like a failure, like I hadn’t prayed hard enough when I found out your sons were heaven bound. I cried and wailed, not because I knew you well, because I didn’t, but because my mothers heart went out to you. The birth and death of your sons ignited something in my heart. I didn’t want you to feel alone so I rang, I just wanted you to know that I cared. I cared you had lost so deeply. I still cry today over it and that’s not something I always do. Something about the loss of your boys helped me to dig deeper within myself to treasure every moment. To be grateful for everything. I was so excited when I saw you with Charlotte, knowing full well it wouldn’t fix anything but that you had a precious baby to mother and love. I’m sorry you didn’t get that opportunity with your boys. You are a beautiful mum.

To know that my sons have had even the tiniest impact on other peoples’ lives, especially the lives of those whom I don’t even know particularly well, is such a comfort. 

Their lives were short, but they meant something, and not just to me. 

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Life

What to say to someone who’s grieving.

Since suffering my own profound loss, I keep thinking I should know the perfect words to say to others who losed their loved ones. However, when faced with the situation – which is sadly happening far too often recently – it hits me all over again that there are no perfect words.

Nothing will ever take away the heartbreak of loss. No words can lessen the ache, deep within their chest, that comes from missing someone so dear to them.

There are no words is what I say now. It sounds completely unoriginal, but actually a lot of thought goes into that sentence. I thought long and hard about what to say, about what I would have liked to have heard when I lost my sons, and came to the conclusion that there literally are no words. And, if I’m truly honest, saying nothing (or saying an overused phrase like “there are no words”) is better than saying the wrong thing.

Now, this blog post wasn’t completely random. There’s been a little tragedy in my home town. It’s a little too close to me, someone was driving from our house and never made it home. I actually didn’t know them particularly well; they were my partner’s guests, not mine (and they were fairly recent acquaintances of my partner at that). But most people in town did. The whole town is grieving. I think if I saw this man’s family down the street, instead of saying a word to them, I will give them a hug. Because sometimes words just aren’t enough.

Rest in peace, Ben.❤️ I may not have known you well, but I knew just how much personality you had. My heart breaks for your family.

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