“The fact remains that we are siblings.”
That was one of the messages that I received. It pierced right to my heart and gut!
Condescending. Imposing. Guilt-tripping. Invalidating. Dismissive. Marginalizing.
You may as well replace the word ‘siblings’ with ‘family,’ and it would infuriate me just as much!
Others have told me that, too. And I sure did not appreciate being told that!
Two siblings may share the same biological mother, but that doesn’t automatically equate to them having the same relationship and dynamic with their mother.
Not at all.
Often, in fact, the dynamic is different.
My siblings — some or all of them — may have felt loved, cared for, nurtured, supported, and respected by our mother. Good for them. I am genuinely happy for them!
But that just wasn’t the case with me.
I do not share that same feeling. I did not have the same experience — it’s the opposite, in fact.
We may have the same birth mother, but unlike them, I just did not feel mothered.
Our mother may have been loving, supportive, compassionate, and respectful towards my siblings and loved them or showed her love for them in ways that were acceptable to them.
She may have cared for and nurtured them in ways that made them feel inspired and motivated to care for our mother during her ailing years and dying days.
I am not questioning any of that. I’m not even negating or invalidating their experiences and choices.
The reality is, it simply wasn’t the same experience that I had.
Over the years, I even wondered, might I have been switched at birth?
I ask that with all seriousness. We know it happens. How sure am I that it didn’t happen to me, eh?
A staff at the hospital where I had the breast procedure, a fellow wounded and unloved daughter — a rarity especially in my immediate geographic surrounding — recently shared with me her sentiments, which is an apt description of how I feel,
“Hindi ko lang talaga naramdaman ang tunay na pagkalinga at pag-aaruga ng isang ina. [I just did not feel the genuine care and nurturance of a mother.]”
Whoa! She and I are twinning!
I will add,
I just did not feel the genuine care and nurturance of a mother — as a child, and even when I got older. I just felt so unloved and unwanted!
And because my siblings’ relationship with our mother was different from mine, obviously, they interacted with her differently from how I did.
Even more so, those from outside the family.
So, I can see and understand, why, from others’ perspective, they could not — and will probably never — understand why I refused to see our mother or maintain a relationship with her.
I just couldn’t bring myself to be with someone who wasn’t loving to me. Sorry.
And sorry, I’m not sorry.
And no one is in any position to question the validity of my feelings and experiences — including my interpretation of those experiences, as well as the choices that I’ve made as a result.
No one has the right to invalidate me and my decisions and interpretations.
I cannot and will not allow that — not from anyone, family, or otherwise.
Narcissistic mothers are not consistent in their behavior and treatments towards their children — daughters, in particular. They favor one over another.
Narcissistic mothers display two styles of behaviors — what Karyl McBride, author of “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers,” refers to as “engulfing” and “ignoring” — which may be exhibited separately to two daughters, or both to one.
In my case, my mother exhibited the ignoring behavior towards me and engulfing towards my [favored] siblings.
Hence, the stark difference in our — my siblings’ and my — experiences and interactions with our mother and how we view her.
This, despite having the same biological mother and growing up in the same household.
And by the very description of how maternal narcissism manifests, it is no surprise how my siblings — the favored ones, at least — have a different view of our mother.
They have a different experience with her than me, which, quite naturally, resulted in how different we responded to her and her needs — especially when her health was failing.
[More about maternal narcissism in future posts.]
When our father’s health was weakening, and after he passed on in March 2009, I did not receive any messages with a similar [condescending and invalidating] tone and energies like those that others sent to me in connection with our mother.
Why the difference?
Because our — my siblings and my — relationship with our father was different from our relationship with our mother.
As I’ve mentioned, my relationship with our mother was different from my siblings’ relationship with her.
Likewise, my relationship with our father was different from my siblings’ relationship with him.
When our parents finally separated in 1992 — after being together for 34 miserable years — I sided with and stood by our father’s side instead of our mother, while my siblings took our mother’s side.
That was already quite telling of how different I am from the rest of my siblings — including my relationship with our parents.
When all my siblings chose to side with our mother, I did not question their decision.
I did not judge them.
I did not coerce them to do otherwise.
I did not brainwash and influence them out of their choice.
I simply honored and respected their choices and stance.
I honor and respect the stance that “the fact remains that we are siblings [family].”
I fully understand that and where and how that position came about.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t get offended when others hurl that to my direction!
I sure hope and pray that others broaden their minds and perspectives and also honor and respect my stance that just because we are siblings [family], it does not mean that we have the same experiences with and feelings towards our parents or each other.
Hence, our responses, attitudes, and stances towards our family situation are not — and can never be — the same.
Regardless, and even if, ‘the fact remains that we are siblings.’
That’s just genetics. Hey, even siblings’ DNAs are different!😉