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Morrigan

10 Commandments of dysfunctional families

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The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.
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Those are great!! Here are some of my favorites:

 

Thou shalt reinterpret reality to preserve the perfect fantasy.

 

Sample Situation: This commandment is designed to hide family secrets. If you saw dad stagger and fall down the basement steps because he was drunk, you can't tell the truth. instead, reality must be interpreted into an acceptable fantasy. "Daddy wasn't drunk; he simply lost his balance and tripped. Poor Daddy."

 

Application: Even if you see it, it's not real. You must have made a mistake. Therefore, reinterpret what you saw to make it nice and respectable. If you don't, people will think you're and we're all crazy. We wouldn't want them to think that now, would we?

 

Thou shalt allow your boundaries to be violated, especially by those who "love" you.

 

Sample Situation: A child trying to accomplish a task continues to persist and work on it, hoping to gain a sense of accomplishment and approval. "Don't be so stubborn!" mommy says. "Just give up. There' s more important things than that to be done! Now put that stuff away and clean the house so that mommy knows you love her."

 

Lesson Learned: Anything you want is not worth protecting. Only those you love can tell you what is important and what's not. Quit thinking for yourself and just do what makes everyone else happy..

 

Thou shalt be perfect

 

Sample Situation: "Just because you got all 'A's on your report card doesn't mean that you couldn't have done better. You're lazy. Now get to work and let's see you get some more 'A+'s'!"

 

Lesson Learned: If it's not perfect, people won't love you. No matter how good it is, it's never good enough...but keep trying!

 

And finally, there's this:

 

"Since you're worthless and nobody loves you anyway (including yourself), don't try to change yourself. You're not worth the effort and you couldn't do it if you tried anyway. God won't help you either. So get back where you belong. There's nothing wrong anyway so what's your problem! See, I told you that you were stupid."
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[quote name='Anna' timestamp='1523818806']The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.[/quote] I’ve been giving some thought to this idea that I was somehow a bad influence on you. I’m 2.5 years older than you. What I recall is that, during your senior year of high school/first year of college, you had the same questions about our upbringing that I did 3-4 years earlier. Our creative side opened us to so many people and cultures. No one in our own culture circle understood us. You just needed someone to listen and tell you that you’re normal and not a ‘’bad girl’’ - that catch-all phrase our moms loved to use for anything that wasn’t 100% obedience. It was so hard to grow up in America with old country parents. There’s really no way to incorporate ALL the old country things here and ignore the good parts of living in such a cosmopolitan area like our moms wanted. To do so would have been limiting ourselves from so much, and would most certainly turned us into incredibly narrow minded people. Edited by Rebel77

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[quote name='Anna' timestamp='1523818806']The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.[/quote] My mother was also wrongly blaming you here. She blamed you for my rebellion, but my mother also never bothered to pay attention to anything I was doing until I was 15, when my sister went away for college. I rejected her intrusion, especially since it was insult-laden and filled with nonsense on the evils of an outside world that I was already happily exploring. The only thing that you did was allow me the chance to grow, and provided shelter whenever my mother locked me out -- which was always since my curfew was 3pm. Your mother and Mrs. Kaina never let me down and always let me in the door. You also accepted me as a different entity from my sister. That was what I desperately needed, and what my mother resented the most.

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[quote name='Anna' timestamp='1523818806']The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.[/quote] @Rebel77 far from being a "bad influence" it sounded like you and your family ameliorated some of the pernicious effects of Anna's mother! I wish I had had such a friend in my life.

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[quote name='Anna' timestamp='1523818806']The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.[/quote] @Morrigan - thank you for the kind words! And, to be fair, it wasn’t just @Anna ‘s mom. My mom told me more than once that both she and Anna’s mom didn’t like the friendship because of my ‘’bad influence.’’ I just shook my head and walked away. I was 19 by then and didn’t listen to that crap anymore. With my mom, it was always ALL about how she & I were perceived to others, so any bad thought about me was (in her mind) a reflection of our standing among the entire San Francisco Japanese American community. Quite the standard I was required to uphold.

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[quote name='Anna' timestamp='1523818806']The first few apply for my family. Outward appearances were everything, while the inside was a wreck. The others don't seem to apply, at least to me, as I was never let into the family built by my mother, father and sister. My mother did keep many secrets from me as she told them to family members in Japan. In turn, those family members told me. Gotta love them. Once my sister went off to college, my mother tried to press rule #7 on me. By that time, I was not inclined to listen to her as she neglected me for a very long time. I think that #7 was meant to separate me from @Rebel77 and what my mother perceived to be "rebel" influences. #9 on perfection was never pushed on me because she was too busy pushing the other "you're useless" narrative. The 10th commandment is sooooooo Catholic. When I was small, I used to think that the Catholics stressed this so they wouldn't be put out of business. As I get older, I realize how important child rearing and parenting are for people. I would have screwed up mothering big time.[/quote] That's so whack. The JA community standards of acceptance was ever-shifting, designed to elevate one's child at the expense of another. Hence, I think Mrs. Y was the reason why your mother felt this way. As Mrs. Y worked with my mother, and my mother lived to trash me, you became the fall guy. Hence, I don't think you should really take it too much to heart.

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@Rebel wrote,

And, to be fair, it wasn’t just Anna ‘s mom. My mom told me more than once that both she and Anna’s mom didn’t like the friendship because of my ‘’bad influence.’’

 

I think it is standard MO for parents in dysfunctional families to declare the friends of their psychologically abused offspring a bad influence, most especially if said friend is encouraging their son or daughter to be who they are and to become who they want to be. Such parents don't want to give up their control over the dialogue that you are basically nothing without them guiding you into the direction they want you to take.

 

My best friend, Ricki, and I were both from extremely dysfunctional families. My stepfather was an emotional and physical abuser. Ricki's mom was looney tunes. She threw things at us from the piano she was often playing and once chased us down the street with a butcher knife. Ricki's dad was never at home. Rather than commit his wife to an institution. he gave Ricki a car when she was 16, so she, too, could escape from the house. We had some wonderful adventures, became the Thelma and Louise of our high school. Best of all our parents never had the ability to hurt us again. We knew, without a doubt, that they were a bad influence on us.

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