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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I am struggling with a month long severe depression over an angry verbal outburst I unleashed at my mother where I said words I deeply regret and can’t forgive myself for. She forgave me and I went to confession, but I can’t forgive myself.
     My depression began with me trying to cope and be loving and prayerful, helpful whenever I came to nurse my dying father, in the face of a dysfunctional family.
     My mother, whom I love, but who has been a huge part of my depression over the years—and has brought me to me knees in despair through rejection, abandonment, throwing me under the bus for my brothers, competing with me like I was one of her many sisters, showing me no empathy—and hot/cold in her love for me. It was always me under her, her never apologizing.
     I was constantly having to run from my brothers’ mistreatment. My mother would stand back and watch it and my father would call out, “Please! I want peace! I’m dying”, but I couldn’t stop the abuse I was copping from my brothers. Only my mother could, but she remained silent and even supported my brothers.
     My father had often been a target for my mother’s aggression, anger, controlling behaviour, perfectionism, narcissistic personality disorder. But we love mother immensely and would only try to make her happy at all costs, her wrath was that great.
     But we had good times over the years. She’s religious and loved prayer meeting, and I’d go with her as a little girl. She was also very sociable. She had lots of friends, but I didn’t growing up. I was bullied at school, and she never knew it. A lot happened to me that was horrible but she never knew it as I would have felt ashamed to tell her. But I really loved her still.
     Anyway my mother is a very tough stoic woman and I tried hard to help her with dad. I was very close to my father and I would defend him, but again we all loved my mother and would only want to please her at all costs. She ruled the roost.
     Anyway, my father died, and my mother completely rejected me. So I felt I didn’t matter at all. My mother didn’t even want to be with me on the time we had off to grieve, not even one day together. So I was ashamed when people asked me how she was. I was only allowed to “text” her, she said. I would sob and feel so excruciatingly hurt by her.
     So upon my return to work I felt like it wasn’t just the grief I was going through regarding my father, and my heart was broken with him gone as now it meant I would not have him to help me and balance my mother out when she was being horrible to me. So I was urged to just call her as she had ignored my efforts and texts. I was desperate. I couldn’t get her on the phone so I called her friends for them to call her to call me. And she did.
     But in that 30 min I was plunged into a very dark depression, where I didn’t want to live anymore. I even screamed as I didn’t know how to express what I wanted to say to her. I was at my end. It was like, “My father died and you kicked me to the curb...,.. how could you??” I was just sobbing and crying.
     And she was worried but not apologetic for having ignored me etc. And I told her when she came over to see me that she needed to get help for her narcissistic personality that treats me as a scapegoat and throws me under the bus for her boys, and competes with me, but I have nothing but love for her.
     Still no apology - she just wanted to get me help or medication.
     I then let her have my anger. I said she was “to blame for dad’s illness as his body said “No” to all the emotional abuse he copped, and that she should never have had a daughter, and that she doesn’t have a daughter anymore, and that “it would be lucky if I went to your funeral. Get out!” And she left the house.
     A relief of 2 seconds lasted, then immediate remorse and shame.
     I called her up and apologized, crying saying I loved her and didn’t mean it. She forgave me and said it wasn’t like me etc. She never apologized to me.
     I went to confession. God forgave me.
     Why can’t I forgive myself?
     And what can I do to be released of this self hatred and ruminating over my words about not going to her funeral..... disgraceful. The regret and guilt and shame I feel over that is too much.
     A month since then and I have lost all joy. I can’t function, can’t face the day when I open my eyes. Can’t have any peace. I read millions of articles to try to find answers and watch videos to help but I still can’t forgive myself. I tell myself to do so, as God has forgiven me. But the words I said to my mother are too bad.... no one should ever say that to their mother.
     When I see my mother I feel worse as she’s so beautiful and how could I speak to her like that?
     What is wrong with me? Do I need meds? I tried Zoloft was it almost had me in hospital as it made me feel like I was going crazy - massive anxiety and depression. I sleep a lot and have no energy. I try to function for work and then collapse.

Outline of the Answer
• Believing Lies About Forgiveness
• A Narcissistic Mother
• The Real Battle
• Your Symptom
• Real Forgiveness
• Forgiving Yourself
• Fear of Forgiving
• The Matter of Reconciliation
• Impediments to Healing

 
Gour experiences are quite similar to thousands of other women around the world. You are tormented by a narcissistic mother, you cannot forgive yourself for your confused mistakes, and you’re desperate to hide the truth that you hate your mother. It’s all because you have been deceived by liberal theology into believing lies about the nature of forgiveness. Let’s work through the matter to help you understand it.

 
A Narcissistic Mother

You, like many other women I have seen, have a mother with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Women such as your mother give the appearance of being pure and noble—and holy, if they have any religion; and, if they have any religion, they make themselves into the pillars of their parishes, and priests love them for holding the parish together. But in their hearts they are religious frauds and cruel monsters, especially to their daughters.

They were humiliated in childhood by their parents, and they fear the pain so much that they lack empathy for themselves—and so they lack empathy for others. They hate themselves for being weak, and so they are arrogant and haughty to others to make themselves feel bigger. They envy anyone who might get what they did not get in childhood. They exploit others to get what they believe they deserve. They do it all with an air of nobility—sometimes even religious nobility—that perniciously hides the poison in their hearts.

Thus your mother beats you down to prevent you from receiving the admiration she did not receive when she was a child.

 
The Real Battle

You really are in a battle with masked evil. But liberal, watered-down Catholicism cannot recognize evil. Instead it propagates a “meek and mild” sentimental misperception of forgiveness. “Be nice.” “Everyone means well.” “If there is any tension, it’s your fault.” This is not forgiveness; it’s political correctness that is as far from “correct” as hell is from heaven. And it leaves you helpless, confused, and unable to think clearly about the world around you.

 
Your Symptom

Whenever you feel distressed you believe that your peace of mind requires that you must make others do what you want them to do. This need to make others do what you want them to do is your symptom. For example, if you make a mistake, you will want to make others do something to undo your mistake. To do this, first you will reason with them; then, if reason fails, you will get angry and yell at them; and then, as an act of ultimate desperation, you will send yourself to hell in order to prove to them how much they have hurt you. In regard to your mother, your symptom manifests as wanting to make her apologize to you (reflecting a deeper need to make her prove she loves you). When she refused to apologize, that sent you into a desperate emotional frenzy as an unconscious way to bribe her to apologize to you, as if to say to her, “I’m falling apart, and my destruction will be your fault if you don’t do what I want you to do!”

Although you didn’t speak about it in your message, it’s likely that you have also used bribery to manipulate others to step in and support you in your grievance against someone. In this circumstance what might seem to be an act of compassion for you is really a folie à deux enmeshment with your symptom.

 
Real Forgiveness

Real forgiveness is not meek and mild; it requires a clear, tough-as-nails resolute conviction of God’s justice. In real forgiveness we approach God and say, “God, I have been hurt. What was done to me is wrong. In my anger I want the justice of making the one who hurt me to admit the wrong. But I leave the justice to You. I trust that sooner or later the one who hurt me will stand before You in judgment and will have to account for any wrong done. If that person is innocent or repentant, then You will show mercy; if innocence or repentance is lacking, then Your justice will flare. But none of this is any of my business. I relinquish my anger; now guide me in what I can do from here.”

 
Forgiving Yourself

Contrary to what you falsely believe, there was no sin in telling your mother the truth about her cruel behavior, telling her that she is a fraud, and telling her that you want nothing to do with her as she is. Your sin was only in the way you told her these things; that is, you told her with anger, and that means that you told her these things with the intent of hurting her rather than calmly stating the facts about how her behavior hurt you.

Your other sin was (and continues to be) in using depression (which is anger at yourself) as bribery to influence your mother. That is, you are angry at your mother because she doesn’t love you, but, because you have not succeeded in making her love you, you’re angry at yourself for failing to make her love you. That anger leads to mental confusion, the failure to follow directions, and many mistakes made because of that confusion—and bribery manifests as desperate attempts to make others undo the consequences of your mistakes. Therefore, in your depression you fail to take personal responsibility for your own confused behavior. That’s why you insist on saying you love your mother, because it’s all a way to hide the truth that you hate her. And in that hiding of the truth, and trying to undo it with bribery, you commit a sin.

Therefore, it will be necessary for you to confess both the angry manner in which you spoke to your mother as well as your acts of bribery and evading responsibility for your behavior. Making that confession, you can trust in God’s mercy on you. That act of trust in God’s mercy is what it means to forgive yourself.

 
Fear of Forgiving

You cannot forgive yourself because you fear admitting that your mother is a cruel narcissist and a fraud as a Catholic. You fear admitting this because you unconsciously want to protect your mother from facing judgment for the truth that she is an abusive parent. And behind this you fear admitting that your father failed you for failing to protect you from your mother’s abuse.

Yes, your hate is wrong because it is anger. But, rather than hiding the hate in shame, it is important for you to admit that hate, first to yourself and then to God. It must be confessed and relinquished. Nevertheless, your mother and your father will have to face the truth—eventually—before God. You cannot protect them from God’s justice.

 
The Matter of Reconciliation

Note carefully that your mother’s failing to apologize to you for her cruel behavior is not any impediment to the process of your being able to forgive her. Yes, her refusal to apologize to you will incite your anger at her, and if you don’t recognize that then you will fail in forgiveness and fall into depression. But your forgiving her does not depend on her apologizing to you. Her failure to apologize does, however, affect the matter of reconciliation.

Reconciliation refers to the process of repairing broken trust in a relationship. To repair that trust, both parties in the relationship must apologize for any wrong that was done. Thus, without her apology, you will not be able to trust your mother, even though you can forgive her (i.e., relinquish your hate for her by trusting in God’s justice).

 
Impediments to Healing

The liberal Catholic Church will not aid your healing because, it, along with the secular culture in which you live, holds out the false belief that being nice and accepting anything will bring utopia to earth. But no, that is all just an open door to demons who bring hell to earth.

To find the peace you seek, you don’t need medication, you need truth. So begin with the truth. You hate your mother because she is a spiritual fraud. Admit it. She is a fraud. Then bring that pain to God. Admit that your hatred too is an evil. Relinquish it. Then leave the justice to God. Then, secure in His justice, set about living a holy life yourself to protect yourself from the evil, fraud, and lies attacking you.

 

Related pages:

Estranged from a narcissistic mother

Anger at a parent

Sending yourself to hell in order to prove to others how much they have hurt you.

Wanting to undo past sins

 

 


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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.