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Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


I know my mother had a difficult upbringing and for that I feel sad and sorry that she had to experience that, and by how much it affected her, and her mother before her had a difficult upbringing too, which left my mother quite bitter about her own mother yet at the same time feeling obliged to care for her in her old age, which was the source of much resentment when I was young.

As the indirect victim of my grandmother's upbringing, I always felt compassion for her and wasn't able to hold her in the same negative light that my mother did, but then I did not spend my childhood at her mercy as my mother did, either.

I would like things to be better than they are with my mother, but then wanting that and keep chasing after that, is what fuelled my ED for so long. I would still like things to be better than they are, but at some point maybe you have to accept that they're not going to be, and start to protect yourself from that.

I don't really think my expectations are particularly high, all I would like is to be treated as another human being, for her to treat me how she expects to be treated herself. Simple acts of respect - an example that springs to mind is how livid my mother was when her neighbour told somebody else on her street that my mum had ordered a new carpet and sofa, and how she was angry for days, trying to decide whether she would ever speak to that person again, yet she herself went and told the same neighbours in the street about my husband's gender issues even though I'd specifically asked her not to, and met my disappointment at her letting me down with how I was wrong to ask her to keep it to herself in the first place. (And that wasn't about expecting her to "hold" my stuff, because I said she could tell her sister and my sister, which she did, along with the people in her street, and others). And if I raised that as an example to her, which I think I did once, I am met with how it was different for her, how I am unreasonable for expecting her to keep that to herself, how I am abnormal for not wanting people to know, how I am a weird because I don't sit gossiping, and don't speak enough and disclose enough because I need to keep secrets because I am not normal, I am a freak, I'm mentally ill and need help....gradually building into a rage and a torrent of abuse. And I end up leaving and feeling like I'm not even allowed to feel disappointed that she let me down, because even that she will turn around into why I don't have a right to feel let down, she is the one who's been let down because I put unreasonable, abnormal expectations upon her, because, (her favourite line) I am mentally ill and I need help.

And so where do you go - when you make that mark in the sand and say that you are determined not to let this cycle perpetuate itself through you down to your children, and you try to put in the work on yourself to ensure that things will be different, where does she fit? I hold her out at a safe distance that because she is unwilling to try to work on things and give me a little respect, and I do it to protect myself because that's what I need to do, but really I would like to be there more for her, and it really bothers me that I'm not there for her as much as I should be.

My therapist seemed to think that my cutting my contact would eventually make her look at herself and realise that she's not blameless and that she needs to work on treating me a bit better if she wants a relationship with me, but it's not really happening - occasionally if she's feeling low about something she will say she wants to try to make things a bit better between us, but it never gets very far, as she seems to get more out of taking the victim role, and the sympathy and attention she can command from others as a result of that.

And so I do feel like I'm left wishing things were better, wanting to be able to give her a bit more care and attention ...but it's just not happening



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