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Letters from Mother to Ex-Husband
I found thes email letters by chance one day when I was searching this term "hold them while they cry." I am posting them as an example of an emotionally abusive or emotionally needy mother. You could also say it is an example of the dark side of emotional intelligence.
I am not sure how I would classify this mother. I suppose she is emotionally needy with her children and abusive to her ex-husband. But she obviously has the potential to be abusive to her children too. And if they don't turn out how she wants them to, I am afraid she will be.
The letter also shows how hurtful people are taught to be in the USA, among other countries. In spite of all their "education," many Americans, like the British, and Australians, and Kiwis, are have not learned how to use English to communicate their feelings in a less toxic way. I actually started to cry when I read the emails that these two people are sending each other back and forth. I think of what they are doing, quite unintentionally I am sure, to their daughters they both say they love and care about so much.
Here are some excerpts
Mar 2012 - These words still affect me. It is like watching someone get raped or tortured. This mother is in a lot of pain but simply does not know how to express it in a healthy, constructive way. She is a very bad role model for her children. She claims she doesn't say anything negative about her ex, but there is no way they won't absorb some of the venom she obviously has inside her.
This reminds me of my writing on pain management, since many people would say she is very angry, but I would say she is in a lot of pain.
Other EQI.org Topics:
I can't really write about this now. It's just too much. But I'm thinking along these lines...
- This kind of communication is legal. And quite common and accepted in the USA. But if these two people were to physically hit each other, then a) they could be charged with a crime and b) people would jump into stop it.
- Maybe one day we will educate children about communicating feelings.
- Maybe one day the majority of people will quickly see how destructive this is and try to stop it and teach new ways.
- Maybe one day parents will see that they are poisoning their children with these kinds of feelings, thoughts, beliefs and words.
- Maybe one day the university researchers who write about emotional intelligence will see how someone can use their emotional intelligence to hurt others and themselves
- Maybe one day the university researchers will see that when someone grows up in a toxic home they don't learn healthy emotional management skills, and this does not mean they have low emotional intelligence
- Maybe one day university researchers will design a more helpful and more accurate test of emotional intelligence
- The mother doesn't realize that anger is a secondary emotion. She doesn't realize she is feeling resentful, or which unmet emotional needs she has. She also doesn't realize she is feeling hurtful, and hurting her ex-husband won't improve her daughters' lives.
- Look at the comments. No one helped this woman see what she is doing. Instead, they supported her as if she is doing the "right" thing. I wonder if the first person really thinks there is any chance the ex-husband will "make changes accordingly". I'd say the wife had plenty of time to try to change the ex-husband when they were married. If it didn't work then, why would it work now?
- Maybe the saddest is that this mother is so emotionally needy that it is nearly a sure bet she will use her daughters emotionally. Notice how she says "we talk about it until Im totally sick of talking about it and then we talk about it some more." This suggest to me she is trying very hard to be a "good mother" but is being emotionally fake at times. In other words forcing herself to keep talking, and I emphasize 'talking' vs listening, when she is tired of it. I suspect her daughters pick up on her true emotions. It is a rare child who doesn't eventually soak up the true feelings in a home. There is a lot of resentment in this woman's home. It will get transferred to her daughters no matter how hard the mother tries to be a good mother.
- I'd guess this woman never had someone hold her when she cried when she was young. I give her credit for realizing it is important, but I am afraid she will continue to use her daughters to try to fill her own unmet needs to be loved, obeyed, in control, respected, important, cared about, appreciated, etc.
- I'd also guess this mother tries too hard with her daughters, like the over-apologetic coach. If she were more at peace with herself she could just hold her daughters while they cried and she wouldn't feel as much need to talk about it till she was sick of talking about it. I've learned it's really not that hard to just hold someone and listen while they cry. See the story called Silent Hugs for example. What is hard is trying to "fix" things. Just holding someone and silently listening and staying with them does a lot to show you care.
It is hard for needy people to just silently listen though. We feel the need to make things better, to do something. But I am learning constantly how much we can do by just holding someone when they cry.
What this does to a person's inner feeling of security is immeasurable. A pencil and paper test of emotional intelligence such as the ones the university professors have designed won't tell us how emotionally secure a person feels, though.
- I feel encouraged though that she said she felt sad after reflecting on what she wrote and sent. I'd encourage her to apologize. I hope she is teaching her daughters the importance of apologizing and forgiving.
Brooke - Brooke first told me the woman "rocks". She admires the woman for "standing up" for her kids. This scares me. It is the kind of thinking that gives power to people like George Bush. Later Brooke added
The comment that "sometimes things do need to be said" scares me. This sounds like something an adult would say. An adult who is disconnected from their feelings. Who can kill people and justify it by saying "Sometimes things do have to be done." I am worried about Brooke. She is living in one of the most emotionally toxic countries in the world. I won't be surprised if one day Brooke becomes an air force pilot or something. I will feel sad, but not surprised. I hope I can continue to make a small difference in her life. She probably doesn't know many people who think like I do. I am afraid she will feel hurt and defensive by me writing this here, and I am pretty sure she wouldn't be able to tell me she feels hurt and defensive, which saddens me also, but I haven't given up on trying to get her to talk about her feelings. And I would hold her while she cried if she would let me, but I'm guessing she doesn't cry much. And I am guessing she wouldn't want someone to hold her or even see her crying if she did cry, but I will have to ask her!
She read what I wrote and we had this chat...
Brooke has an eating disorder, by the way, and the adults around her are pressuring her to talk to them, but she doesn't want to. And I admire her for this. She knows who she can trust with her inner world and who she can't. Few people respect this about teenagers though. Most adults want to control teens, just as the wife in the story here wants to control her ex-husband. As I have said before, teens, and really all of us need to feel cared about, not controlled.
In the story above the ex-husband surely doesn't feel cared about. And the wife says she used to love him and she says a part of her will always love him, but look at the effect she is having on them and their relationship.
Anyhow, I just asked Brooke if she feels more cared about than controlled. So Brooke will probably not feel as suicidal as some of the teens I talk to. She said the balance between feeling cared about and controlled is about 80/20.
Maybe I will get more teen comments later..