Positive Recollections – (a book tag…)

I’m it!  Here’s a fun little “tag” from Kate at “One More Thing“…

The game goes like this:
“Find the nearest book, turn to page 123, start at the fifth sentence and type out the next three sentences.”

Sounds easy enough….

I’m at my desk… in my little home office.. directly to my right, is a book shelf… full of old and new books of mine… ranging from “Calvin and Hobbes” to “Mark Twain collection” to gawd only knows what.  Nearest  at hand, though, is a book I read not too long ago…

bSurviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem, by Kimberlee Roth, Freda B. Friedman, Randi Kreger”

Page 123…
fifth sentence begins:

“This is not to say that your negative feelings aren’t justified; rather it’s to remind you that little in life is 100 percent good or 100 percent bad (know anyone who thinks that it is?!).  In thinking about her childhood experience with her mother, who would alternate between being very loving and then raging uncontrollably, Donna, forty-two, says, “It helped me to keep in mind that my mother didn’t ask to be borderline. Whether it was caused by heredity or the environment, she didn’t choose it, and she never set out to make my life miserable.”

That’s 3 sentences…. but, here’s the rest of Donna’s quote:

“In her own way, she tried her best. One of the gifts she gave me was to always encourage my painting. That was one thing she always praised. I’m not surprised I grew up to be a painter”

I don’t know if my mom is “borderline” or “sz” for sure, but, reading books like these made me realize it wasn’t like she was doing it “on purpose” and see things from her side a bit.  The parts that didn’t apply to me, I figured helped me better understand my mother and how she felt growing up the way she did wither HER mother being severely schizophrenic.

Page 123 goes on to suggest a little exercise:

STOP AND THINK: Positive Recollections

  • Sit quietly and think of a positive memory – however fleeting – that you had with a parent,even one who was mostly invalidating and/or abusive. Do you remember a song, a story, a particular walk, or a gift – a snapshot of a moment when you felt happy, glad, loved, joyful even, with your parent?
  • Note what senses get aroused when you think of that moment.  Is it smell, touch, sight, sound? Are these sensations that now arouse positive feelings for you?
  • Write about how it feels to be able to focus on a positive memory, a positive moment with your parent.

When I read this, I knew immediately what one of my favorite “good memories” of my mom was/is from when I was a child.  It’s something she and I still bring up when we get together, because it’s something we can both actually smile about and not argue about…

I remember my mother telling me stories at nap time.  It was a favorite time for me. She was a good story teller.  She would ask me what I wanted in the story.  I’d look around my room, see the Bambi decor, and inevitable say, “a rabbit…. a deer…. a butterfly”… whatever I saw on my walls.  Sometimes, I’d throw in a squirrel or something.  And, my mom would tell a story… using whatever characters I wanted…. and always with “a little girl with long blonde hair, and big blue eyes, and freckles from the angel kisses” as the main character.

I ate that right up like candy.

Sure I remember the not so positives…  I often felt alone….  I remember doing a lot of nothing when I was really young.  I missed my brother when he went off to school full days.  Before that, he always entertained me.  But for a few years, before I went into first grade, I did a lot of entertaining myself.   Trying to keep quiet and out of mom’s way.  Off by myself often coloring… painting… listening… waiting…

But, nap time…  That was different.  I had her full attention then…

She could be quite charming and entertaining… So animated.  Definitely interesting.  And, she always made me feel so special through those stories…  I remember snuggling up with her, and never wanting nap time to end.  I actually don’t remember how the stories ended.  She would just ramble, making it up as she went along, until I dozed off.  I’d try my best to stay awake… to make her keep going… but, eventually my eyelids wouldn’t cooperate and I’d doze off.

It definitely feels good to have these memories.  Reminds me that she really did love me…  like she really did make efforts to do her best for me… and makes me feel lucky that I have memories like these to prove it.  It also makes it easier to let go of the not-so-good memories…

~smj

Advertisements

12 Responses to “Positive Recollections – (a book tag…)”

  1. cipher Says:

    Hi Samantha,

    I paid a visit to John Shore’s “Suddenly Christian” blog the other day, via the link on your site. I had a set of unpleasant experiences. I thought, as you link to him, that you might be under the impression that he is, like yourself, a liberal Christian. That is not the impression with which I have come away. You want to hear about it?

  2. Kate Says:

    Well, didn’t you just take my mindless meme and turn it into something meaningful? Thanks for playing, and for making some important points.

    I work with a lot of people with borderline personality disorder, or at least features thereof, and professionally I find them pretty straightforward and no more or less pleasant than any other person with a diagnosis. Personally, I’m lucky that my immediate family doesn’t have a tendency toward it, but my mother-in-law does. It took a long time and still takes a lot of effort to keep appropriate distances and maintain healthy boundaries. I’m still working on the good-memories part with her.

  3. samanthamj Says:

    Hi cipher –
    I am sorry that you had a hard time over at John Shore’s blog. I should probably say that first of all, I am not a “liberal Christian”. I’m actually not a Christian at all. I’m not sure what I am. LOL If I only linked to people who shared my exact beliefs, I’m afraid I wouldn’t have anyone blog-lined. LOL

    I know John Shore is Christian, and I don’t pretend to agree with him or share his beliefs. I do think he’s funny… and I appreciate his sense of humor and willingness to discuss issues that some Christians just don’t like to address. I thought his blog was refreshing because it was not the pushy, annoying, Christian BS I typically encounter. But, I don’t go there expecting to have too too much in common or to get much support on my own beliefs. I know most of his readers are Christian. You might notice he has my site in his blog-roll too… and, I can assure you many of his readers would not agree with, or like my blog. I’m sort of surprised he hasn’t removed me yet. LOL It’s this willingness to be “open” to others opions that I appreciate about his blog. Any interactions I’ve personally had with him were on a positive note. I am sorry you had a different experience. I’ve never seen him be really rude.. Was he? Oh, I supose I’ll just go nose around over there when I get a chance… Thanks for your concern and heads up, though.

    Kate –
    Thanks much. This was a fun exercise and led into some cool memories. I think my mother might be more sz the borderline, but it’s hard to say since she won’t go to a doc. The fact that she has hallucinated a few things makes me think sz… but maybe a milder form of it because she’s nothing like HER mother was. Sorry about your MIL. Dealing with one’s own family is hard enough… Inlaws are a whole nother issues. I’m forunate and have great inlaws. My poor husband got the raw end of the in-law deal in our marriage. 😉

    ~smj

  4. cipher Says:

    He wasn’t rude. I found him disingenuous. He sends a lot of mixed messages; leads one to believe that he’s really more “pluralistic” or “inclusive” than he actually is.

    I was content to walk away, but, the next day, I received an email from him, announcing a new post. Apparently, he tags some people who leave comments he finds interesting, and places their email addresses on a mailing list. I’ve never encountered anything like this before. I emailed him and asked to be removed from his list. A couple of days later, I received another email. I have a lot of personal issues with conservative Christianity, and I’ve become increasingly agitated over the rise of the Christian Right, and I probably overreacted. I wrote him an angry email, made a number of remarks about him and about evangelical Christianity in general, and demanded that he remove my name from his list. He did get back back to me right away, and told me that he had mistakenly removed the wrong name. He then sent me a second response, in which he “responded” to my accusations and complaints. His “responses” were terse and flippant – one liners, basically. I told him what I think I’ve said here before (I probably have, as I say it all the time) – that I see no way in which beings who are content to abandon billions of their human siblings for all of eternity can solve their problems, and that it is they, far more than the terrorists and serial killers, who have convinced me that humanity is a terminal species, and that we probably haven’t got much time left. His response? “Bummer!” Pompous ass.

    I consider him to be one of those Christians who tout “civility” and “mutual respect”, and seem to feel that it makes them “insightful”. The attitude is, “Why, yes, you’re going to hell… but I wouldn’t dream of invading your privacy!” He likes to talk about the problems with which the message is delivered, but he cannot see that the message itself is the problem. You can put an evening gown on a sow; it’s still a sow.

  5. cipher Says:

    By the way – re: Borderline Personality Disorder. I was saying this to Heather just the other day – I think that most of them suffer from it, or from something similar. Seems to be part of the personality profile that’s attracted to that belief system.

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through what you did. I believe that both of my parents may have BPD. At least you have a few happy memories; I literally haven’t got one happy memory form childhood. Frankly, I don’t have many from adulthood, either. Life is little more than a burden, imposed upon us, supposedly by their “benevolent” sky god. And, according to them, I have nothing to look forward to but an eternity of indescribably pain. Miserable, selfish bastards. I wish the freaking Rapture would happen already, so they’d get the hell out of here and leave the rest of us alone.

  6. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    {{smj}} We can only give as good as we have, so keep in mind your Mother could only give you the same quality that she gave to her self.

    I don’t give much credit to most psychologists or psychiatrists for having much in depth knowing of our human condition. And I’ll gladly go head to head with any one who imagines they do. For I haven’t met one yet that is Sovereign. And by that I mean claiming responsibility and accountability for the ideas, the pattern of those ideas and the resultant peptide production that pattern of ideas created for them to experience.

    Your experience of abuse is as result of your Mom blaming her feelings and emotions, her neurosis, on others. Because of her religious beliefs, she did not know how to be self nurturing in her attitudes and ideas. Now I ask you, how is doing the same thing as your Mother, by blaming your Mother for your own feelings, going to assist in your own empowerment and healing?

  7. Sue Ann Edwards Says:

    {{smj}} We can only give as good as we have, so keep in mind your Mother could only give you the same quality that she gave to her self.

    I don’t give much credit to most psychologists or psychiatrists for having much in depth knowing of our human condition. And I’ll gladly go head to head with any one who imagines they do. For I haven’t met one yet that is Sovereign. And by that I mean claiming responsibility and accountability for the ideas, the pattern of those ideas and the resultant peptide production that pattern of ideas created for them to experience.

    Your experience of abuse is as result of your Mom blaming her feelings and emotions, her neurosis, on others. Because of her religious beliefs, she did not know how to be self nurturing in her attitudes and ideas. Now I ask you, how is doing the same thing as your Mother, by blaming your Mother for your own feelings, going to assist in your own empowerment and healing?

    Your Mom was a person before she was ever your Mom. However you think of her is also how you think of yourself, so I ask you to please be loving, for your own sake, for whatever you see in her, is also in you. Maybe as her daughter, you can heal the issue, not only for yourself but for her, too?

    What kind of Mother are you to you, in the confines of your own heart and mind? My bet is, there is a pattern, that your Mom was taught by her Mom and her Mom by hers. And it is this pattern, that both you and your Mom, and all women world wide for that matter, that is the REAL issue.

  8. Michelle Says:

    I’m glad I linked over from de-Con. Your meme was insightful, I might need to buy that book. I have issues from the way I was parented and am fearful of my own children’s memories.

    Recently someone told me, if 25% is 100% of all you can do, then it’s enough. I suppose that’s another way of saying, give yourself some grace – I’m hoping for lots of grace.

  9. cafedog Says:

    um SMJ i can’t figure out where your RSS feedburner is without that little “META” widget. How can i read by igoogle with your post missing?

  10. tobeme Says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great memory of your Mom and her ability to tell stories to you at nap time! Did you become a great story teller as well?

  11. samanthamj Says:

    cipher –
    How sad – that you said: “I literally haven’t got one happy memory form childhood. Frankly, I don’t have many from adulthood, either.” This is really a shame. I’m sorry. I hope you find a way to not care what the others think or say… and find some hapiness. We don’t need them to go up in the rapture, or leave us alone, but just need to not believe them or let them control what we believe or do.

    SueAnn –
    Thanks for the insight and comments. I don’t “blame my mother” anymore. It’s hard not to sometimes, and I definitely did blame her for a lof of things for years. However, I also never even knew she was sick or understood what that meant for years. All I knew was what I lived. I also blamed myself for a lot of things, including her behavior, for years.

    Now, as a grown woman, I can understand so much is out of her control…. and not her fault…. as well as out of my control and not my fault. I am more sympathetic, empathetic, and appreciative towards her than ever. My mother’s mother was institutionalized in state care most of her life. My mother grew up mostly with an aunt of hers… and so much of her issues are more related to the effects and side effects of mental illness (her mother’s and her own) – than the typical mother-daughter issues. Although, I’m sure that comes into play as well. The biggest help form me, has been to realize this and learn more about mental illness in general. This blog, and researching the subjects over the last couple years have been very instrumental with my processing things.


    Michelle –
    Thanks for the visit and the comment. I would reccommend the book, and some of the others on my list at: https://savemenot.wordpress.com/related-books/. I guess, we all can only do the best we can. Thanks again.

    dawg –
    ?? Ummm…?? I have no idea about the feed. I’d have to look into that… sorry!

    tobeme –
    Thanks =). And, yes, I am a pretty good story teller also (if I don’t say so myself ;). My father was also very good with telling stories, jokes, and just making good conversation. So, I probably got it from both sides.

    The big difference with my mom’s stories are when she telling recollections or “factual” stories – because she tends to throw things in that she believes are true, but really aren’t. So, you have to take things with a grain of salt. I hope I don’t do that part!

    My father (and myself), on the other hand, can just be “full of it”, and like to “kid/joke around”. But, we at least know the difference… where as my mother will say things and swear they are true (that can’t be). Not because she’s lyiing – but, because she believes it. Still, when I was a kid… and for make-believe stories at nap time… this was not a bad thing at all… and I do cherish those never-endind make-believe stories she told.

    =)
    smj

  12. arlywn Says:

    I’m glad you have such good memories of your mother. Memories help the mind and soul, and will help with raising your own children. Some how I keep managing to find my way onto your blog.

    Cipher- I’m sorry to hear about John Shore’s bad expreience with you. I dont know you at all, but I read him a lot and its not all christian mumbo jumbo. A lot of his readers (to me) dont appear to be christian, or arent christian.

    I hope maybe one day you will forgive this experience and check out his blog again. But, I wont hold my breath. lol


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: