Brief update to everyone who’s been following my blog. I wrote a post previously about nursing aversion, and another post about unbearable internal anger I was feeling regarding my toddler’s thumb sucking. I had to continued doing more work to try and resolve these issues and am pleased to say both battles have now largely gone for me. Hoorah! I will tell you here what has happened in the last few weeks which may have contributed to the release of these angry aversions I was having.
Summary of Previous Posts
I had suffered nursing aversion with my eldest daughter, and also similar emotional reactions towards her thumb sucking for some time. I’d worked through an emotional response to try and deal with my childhood traumas. It involved identifying the main cause of the strong emotions, identifying what else causes the same reactions, and working out what traumas from your childhood may have caused it. See more detail in my earlier posts on breastfeeding aversion and on my thumb sucking struggle. I thought I had found the answer and felt a bit better, but then I got triggered again the next month so sadly it was only part of the story to my healing. In the last few months I have gone through several further changes and seem much less triggered by my daughter’s thumb sucking, and even have less nursing aversion too.
I started magnesium supplements when my daughter’s thumb sucking started triggering me again. We had mostly stopped breastfeeding so nursing aversion was less of a reason for starting magnesium. However I was starting to get mild levels of nursing aversion towards both twins as they seemed to be wanting to breastfeed a lot (teething related).
I was a bit unsure about whether to get a supplement as I was already using a breastfeeding multivitamin. However I had discovered that women can be very low on magnesium for years after childbirth, so I thought it would be worth trying. A few days after going on them I started bruising a lot and I got worried about the effect of this supplement. I had been following the recommended dose (2 tablets) but as I was already on a supplement, I realised I was probably on too high a dose overall. I halved my dose of the magnesium, my bruising disappeared quickly and the very next menstrual period I had zero aversion towards my child’s thumb sucking. Zero.
Telling the Truth To My Narcissistic Mum
In the same month as starting magnesium, I also had received contact from my Mum via a family member. She had sounded devastated that I had been no contact for 18 months (see my previous post about this). I have had support from other women with narcissitic mothers who had strongly urged me not to tell her why I was going no contact. Their views were that she will never apologise and can just hurt you again and hold your communications against you. Just to mention, I had never told my Mum how much she’s hurt me before – I was trained to tell her she was perfect otherwise I wouldn’t be accepted into her life.
It never sat right in my stomach to just go no contact, but I followed the advice of those fellow daughter’s of narcissistic Mums. Part of me felt significant guilt in case I was wrong. What if my Mum was just doing her abusive parenting as she didn’t have the tools available to help her change? What if she did love me but just couldn’t find the words or physical expressions needed to help me feel loved? What if I was totally wrong about my Mum? Was she sad and I was being hurtful?
I decided to write a response. I wrote it in a few hours and stated a few examples where I felt unloved. I referred to the tools available to help me change, and acknowledged she did not have those when we were little. I referred her to attachment figures I’m following such as Gabor Mate and Gordon Neufeld. I even referred to Gabor Mate and Daniel Mate’s work which helps grown children in how to rebuild a relationship with their parents, and vice versa.
My Mum’s response made any doubt in my mind about whether she is a narcissist disappear. Even though I basically wrote the apologies for her, and asked her for an apology, she still could not do it. See another post of mine about the importance of being able to apologise effectively to our loved ones. She instead messaged my husband to say neither of us would hear from her again. It lifted a lot of guilty feelings from me about the situation.
Imagining More Stories from My Childhood
I continued working through what I did know from my childhood vs the subconscious memories formed when I was very little. If you’ve not read my previous posts, creating stories can allow trauma to be processed by the brain. See more about this in my previous blog post here. I came up with another story that sat right with me merging my Mum’s stories of me before I have conscious memories, her feelings towards my sister, her stories of events that once happened that my gut always told me didn’t add up. The story I created, sad as though it would have been if it caused the fallout it did over the many years to come, made perfect sense to me. I think it allowed my childhood trauma relating to my daughter’s appearance whilst sucking her thumb to be accepted through this story. I did consider asking my Mum if that is what happened, but glad I did not with how she negatively reacted to my comparably kinder message to her.
I Told My Daughter How I Felt
This part is not taken from the text book ideal gentle parenting techniques, and does not come recommended (!) However, it is worth mentioning as this is the only other thing that happened in the couple of months leading up to me accepting my daughter’s thumb sucking without the associated trauma. I did ask my daughter if she wanted to stop, as it could damage her teeth in the longer term. I felt wrong and terrible at the time of asking her, as it came from a ‘dark place’ of not being able to cope, rather than a kind and considered place. It was desperation talking rather than love. I since apologised but am aware of what kind of impact that could have had on my daughter. Perhaps the psychological guilt caused by telling her how I felt made me realise this was not her fault and that she needed love, not my issues to deal with.
Have I healed from whatever childhood trauma was impacting upon my parenting abilities now? I feel I have as much as possible. I’ve certainly come a long way. It could be due to one of the actions taken in the last few months, or perhaps a combination of all of them. Balancing out my hormones with magnesium supplements, creating stories to allow my subsconscious memories to rest in peace, writing to my Mum some of the abuse she did to me, or simply talking my feelings through with my daughter must all have helped in helping me deal better with my childhood traumas.