Today’s therapy session included quite a bit of discussion about my mother. Fortunately, I was able to stay present through the entire session. Progress.
My therapist asked if I would have ever started this blog while I was still living with my family. I quickly answered no. The risk was too great for my mother finding out, and when she did find out, I would have had nowhere to hide. I knew there was spyware on my computer; that had been an ongoing practice for a long time. I learned to do most things on my phone so she wouldn’t be able to trace anything.
Then mentioning the phone led me to bring up the first time I tried to have my own phone. I was in my 20s, and didn’t want my mother knowing everything I had done and everyone I had contacted on my phone and going through interrogations about it, so I bought a cheap Tracfone and did the majority of my texting and calling on that phone. I thought I hid it well; I actually bought a phone small enough that I could hide it behind my other phone and have them both in one holster case. But then one day, I went with my brother to pick up food after work and he said “we know you have another phone; we found the empty package in your room.” My heart started racing, because I knew this meant trouble. My mother was not going to be happy. I was in for it. What is even more sad is that I became angry with myself for not hiding the package well enough. It was wrapped inside of plastic bags, then put inside of a book bag underneath some other things, which means my mother had to go through several obstacles just to find that empty phone package.
My therapist seemed surprised at first that my mother would go to such lengths. But this was a regular part of my existence. She would inspect my room and my things regularly. My brother participated right alongside her, as if he were her sidekick. I always knew when they were in my room because they could never put anything back right, and it annoyed me just as much as them going through my things. My desk, drawers, bags, and my nightstand. They would even go through the clothes in my dresser, and my laundry hamper; even my trash was inspected. I tried to hide things wherever I could. I’d cut sections out of books to hide cash in. I’d stuff things inside of pillows. I had to get creative. When I wanted to throw something away and needed to avoid interrogation, I’d hide it in my purse and bring it to work to throw away there. It was an exhausting way to live. It was, almost literally, a home prison.
After I disclosed some of my mother’s controlling ways, my therapist seemed to understand where my fears of my mother finding things out came from. My therapist told me that a few of my parts have this intense fear of mother finding out that they’ve talked or that they’ve done something, and now she sees exactly where that stems from. My mother has been that way for as long as I can remember. As an adult, obviously I knew how she found everything out because I knew more and was aware of her ways. As a child, I believed she had some magical power that caused her to know everything I said or did. It’s why I was so fearful. I’m guessing that’s why my parts are fearful, too.
My therapist asked if I see my mother’s seeming ability to know everything differently now than I did as a child. Obviously I don’t think she has magical powers anymore. Looking back, I have to wonder if she just got lucky those times she did find things out. There were so many times she falsely accused me of talking or of doing something that I never actually did. Did she just consistently make accusations and when they happened to be true, they stuck with me? I’ll probably never have a real answer to that question. I’m forever trying to rationalize the irrational.
3 thoughts on “She always knows”
My parents were quite similar. There was no such thing as privacy for me. My mother would pick up the other house phone and listen to my conversations in junior high and high school. She went through my room on a regular basis. She opened the mail I received. When I was 14, I had the courage to send a letter with a vague reference to my abuse. She “accidentally” spilled water on the envelope and had to lay the pages out to dry and she “happened to see” something about her and my father. They also stood behind me whenever I was on the computer and never allowed me to have private passwords for email or messengers. Plus there were no locks on any doors so there was no physical privacy either. I share this to let you know you are not alone. And it is truly truly like being a prisoner in your own home.
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That feeling of nothing ever being your own, not things, feelings, thoughts or anything, is so cloying and long lasting. It takes awhile to feel free of it even when you already are.
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Yeah, one doesn’t learn to erect and keep boundaries, protect what’s ‘mine’, but the opposite. So very hard to change, but doable over time and to a point.
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