Your Mother and Your Fibromyalgia
So yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I had twice the normal amount of sales for my book.
Wow, that gave me pause. I even posted on my facebook status that “Mother’s Day must not be good for Fibromyalgia.”
This morning, I got a really awesome email from a parenting advice group that I subscribe to that gave me some insight into why more people may have been perusing my website and really serious about getting better on Mother’s Day.
… Cultural Messages and expectations that just aren’t realistic …
Did you think I was going to say something about Mothers? What do you think? Do you think your Mother caused your fibromyalgia? Do you think your Mother screwed you up royally? lol. Well, let’s talk more about that after I talk about the email.
Basically, the parenting group sent out a message that quoted two people. The first was a woman who said she wanted mother’s day to be perfect – but her kids and her husband didn’t get it. Why couldn’t it be perfect for just one day?
The second email was from a woman who got really sad and upset after reading a bunch of facebook statuses about how people were appreciating their mothers for always supporting them – and one person who actually said
Thanks Mom for always saying I was the prettiest, the smartest, and the best, even when I wasn’t”
So, this woman who was quoted in the email reads this status and starts to cry. All she ever got from her mother was criticism.
Wow. I can identify with that to some degree. Can you?
Dr. Markham, the list owner, wrote back a really awesome “letter from your mother” that starts out like this
I know I wasn’t the perfect mother for you. Maybe there are no perfect mothers, but you deserved one. You were born perfect, and you deserved unconditional love and support. I apologize that I didn’t know how to give you that. I hadn’t gotten what I needed in childhood, you see, and I was so wounded. I know that’s no excuse. I wish I had had the support and courage to change for you. I so wish I could go back now and give you the childhood you deserved.
if you want to read the rest it is here
So let’s talk about this first …
Is your Mother to Blame for Your Fibromyalgia?
Do you blame your mother for your fibromyalgia? Or is this something you’ve never thought about before.
I believe that anyone who is on a true healing path from fibromyalgia has to have contemplated how the major relationships in their life may have contributed to them being who they are today.
For me, I could definitely blame my mother for my fibro in some ways, but you know what? My mother treated me a lot better than her two mothers (her foster mother and her bilogical mother) treated her.
And my mother had fibromyalgia a lot worse than I did.
and if we really get down to it … I know my mother did the best she could.
What’s interesting is that my father was murdered when I was two, and that could have had a lot to do with me developing fibromyalgia because 1) I was in the house when it happened and 2) it changed my resulting life in extremely profound ways.
However, I don’t blame the person who shot him. Thinking about it now, I think I don’t blame him because 1) I don’t know who he is and 2) he was never a part of my life.
I think we tend to blame people whom we see and think about every day. People we focus on in negative ways.
I definitely think the emotion of blame can cause fibromyalgia – if you spend many hours and days and years steeped in blame and resentment ( I have) the chemicals flowing through your body that whole time are not good-for-you chemicals.
They are nasty chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol that can destroy bodies over long periods.
If you are sitting and stewing over something someone did to you, you are definitely not out enjoying life. You may not even see life as something to enjoy anymore!
I know lots of people who think life sucks and the only reason they are still here is that they are afraid to die. I may have spent a few years feeling that.
Honestly, in the years that I felt like that, I never would have recognized my over all state of being as “life sucks and the only reason I’m here is because I am afraid of not being here.” I just wasn’t that aware of who I was and how I really felt and why I felt that way. I focused all my energy on blaming people and circumstances in my life for my crappy day/week/month/year/life.
So do I think your mother caused your fibromyalgia?
Actually, I do think that childhood trauma plays a large part in the development of fibro, but I think that what keeps us from easily regaining our full health is that we LEARNED the attitude and way of being that creates and perpetuates fibro from the people we lived with and now we can’t UNLEARN it!
So yea, my mom may have had a part in my body creating fibro – but if I blame her for it, I make my fibro worse and then I have no one to blame but myself. That’s part of the work that we all must do.
Now let’s talk about
Do Cultural Expectations Cause Fibro?
So now on to the woman who said she wanted mother’s day to be perfect – but her kids and her husband didn’t get it. Why couldn’t it be perfect for just one day?
This is actually a personal expectation this woman had, that has roots in what our culture portrays to us as how we should be living.
Meaning, everywhere you look (ads, movies, tv, your neighbor putting on a front) mothers are portrayed to always be kind and loving and children are portrayed to be appreciative and husbands are portrayed to be strong but understanding and perfect.
A perfect mother’s day might be a day where mom gets breakfast in bed from a cheerful and smiling family. Then the whole family does something fun together and no one fights or gets upset. The family eats together – still happy – someone other than mom happily does the dishes. The kids happily go off to bed and fall asleep easily, and mom gets a big, expensive present from dad.
Wow, that’s NOT what it looked like in my house. How about yours?
But do you know what I said to my husband before he went to bed? “best Mother’s Day ever!“. Honestly though, it was just a normal day.
We had some tears when a program my son was trying to use didn’t work. My son dropped my husband’s laptop and cracked it, and my husband still doesn’t know.
My husband grilled steak for dinner but my son didn’t eat it because steak is feeling to full in his throat – something we’ve been dealing with for a few months. (I ate it, it was yummy).
My plan for the day was all jumbled up because we were afraid that costco was going to close before I could get there if I did all the things I had wanted to do – so I switched everything around.
But do you know what made it a good day and a great mother’s day? I threw all those cultural expectations out the window a long time ago.
I didn’t expect anything from my husband, although he did clean the kitchen and the garage and grill steaks and clean a carpet in one room. He did all those things because HE WANTED TO.
He chose to do them and I chose to appreciate them.
That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when I would have expected him to do all of that and not given him a shred of thanks afterwards, because it ‘was his job’ or because ‘he should have done it anyway’.
AND, if he didn’t do it, I would have silently fumed about it all day until it was obvious that he wasn’t going to and then I would have picked a fight with him. Wow, those were painful days for me (physically and emotionally).
Sure, there’s a lot that needs to be done to run a family, but the cultural expectation that ‘everyone will pitch in and do their fair share regardless of whether they want to or not’ and ‘the house will always be clean’ cause a lot of pain.
Another status I saw on facebook yesterday was
“I’m so fed up with my daughter, all the lies and laziness – she can just find another place to live”.
Oh my GOSH. How horrible!! Can you imagine how crappy both this mother and daughter are feeling?!
And when you have fibromyalgia, feeling crappy means more muscle pain – either now or later.
Have you made that connection yet? That the worse you feel emotionally the worse you feel physically?
I recognized that in about year 3 of my healing – it didn’t matter how much stretching and yoga and trigger point massage I did or how much guai or motrin I took – if I got really upset at someone, my body (and my day) was shot until I got a chance to sleep.
now here’s a connection that was even harder for me to make.
That no matter what happened, no matter what my husband or son or mother did, no matter what the circumstance … I did not HAVE to get upset. and if I got upset I did not have to STAY upset.
So, although I’m pretty good at not getting upset at things these days, I’m not awesome at teaching it. I do have a lot of information in my book about things that I have done, but the books that I learned from may be even better if your focus is just your mental health right now.
Some of these may be in your library. Pick one and read it and see what happens. (meaning don’t get them all at once)
Waking the Tiger – great for healing trauma in your past and eliminating it from affecting your today
You Can Feel Good Again – great book, I’ve read it three times and I get something new from it each time. I cried when I found out the author had died. He really helped me a lot and I’m sad he won’t be writing more books.
Emotional Clearing – one of the first self-help books I ever read. It helped learn how to deal with my emotions in the moment. good book.
anything by byron katie amazing books, especially I need your love, is that true? really life-changing
We are all in Shock – learn the true art of self care.
Ask and it is Given you’ll never look at life the same
Highly Recommended: 30 Days to Feel Better From Fibromyalgia
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