I haven't written in a long time. I know that. Truth is, I've been busy, and happy, and living. To a certain extent. There's so much to talk about but I am going to focus on one thing. The thing that is really eating at me.
Unless your relationship with a parent is as strained as mine, you don't get the right to judge me. Or to offer advice. You can simply read this, or not. I am sick of having people tell me "You will regret it." Or, that it's normal. It's not. You don't know what I go through, you don't know my Mom the way I do. Because the truth is, she treats her family different than she does the rest of the world.
I have gone through my life feeling fat, being criticised for my own weight fluctuations, and in turn when I mention it bothers me, being told that "I didn't mean it that way." That's the crux of the entire problem. What do you do when the entire dialogue of a relationship "isn't meant that way?" I am sick and tired of having to pick up a decoder ring to know what the hell my Mom really means by something she says. I stopped keeping track of all the hurtful things. I claim a terrible memory, but it is truthfully that I just don't hold on to it. Why? Because what good does it do me?
I've reached a pivotal moment in my relationship with my Mother. The point where I can no longer justify a continued feeling of bristled feathers. It's more than just what she says. Since I was born, she decided to be a stay at home mom. Her limited social interactions, mixed with her less than perfect childhood have left her without the basic understanding of what is socially appropriate. It rears it's ugly head more times than it doesn't. Sometimes it's funny. Sometimes I make it funny. Sometimes it's just plain devastating.
At what point in the laundry list of things do I have the right to give up? She isn't willing to see/or change how she talks to me. She thinks that if her intentions are pure, her words mean nothing. It truly is as if your Mom handed you the keys to a car and said, "You are a worthless human being, I will make sure to let you know that on a regular basis, but I love you and want you to have this. So, if you take this, I will expect things in return, and I will never forget that I gave you this." That's the thing. She buys us things to let us know she cares, but she can't back those "things" with words of caring.
On paper it doesn't seem so bad. However, in reality it's earth shattering. I have spent my life thinking that love has conditions. If I didn't do well in school I wouldn't be loved. If I got bad grades in college I wasn't good enough, and wasn't worthy of my Mom's love. My own personal goals and dreams were silly, and I needed to do things her way or I wouldn't succeed...So you think why didn't you just break away? She was excellent at instilling the most amazing sense of fear. Seriously. I have so much fear in me of failure, or messing up and being shunned, of not being the right kind of Mom, of getting in trouble for throwing a Calzone at a car because the driver was a complete dickbag driver. I've been crippled by a fear of not knowing if I can function without my Mom.
That's not healthy. Those of you with a good relationship with your Moms, I envy you. I wish that I had what you have. Not all moms are the same. Yet, I feel like those that have lost their Mom, or have good relationships with theirs judge me for the struggle with mine. So, until now, I've held on. I've tried my best to function. To hum along as she blows the wind from my sails. To think that this time it will be different. That the story in my head of how she will act this time will be different that how she really is. That she won't be "tired" and "overwhelmed" and worried about what everyone thinks. The truth is, no matter how much I want that to go away it won't.
This weekend she came to visit. I baked, I cleaned, I got excited. She brought along an old friend, and the first evening here started badly. You see, my Mom is the child of an Alcoholic. Instead of realizing that sucked, moving on, and pushing through, she's held on to it. Along with every other trauma in her life. She never lets go. Of a thing. It's all piled away in her subcortext, waiting to be accessed when I've made some sort of mistake in her mind. Or, when I tell her that she's hurt my feelings, it will always be because of something that happened to her 40 years ago. I am not saying all this just to be a shitty daughter. I am saying this because I've hoped for SO LONG that things would get better. That with enough gentle encouragement, I could help her to get help. To pierce through her need to hold on to all that pain, and break through. To live life without thinking about all the what ifs, to just close your eyes and jump sometimes just because the idea of doing that can be exciting.
So here we are. The weekend fell apart. It shattered, and by the end of it I was so angry, and sad, and hurt. As a few days passed I realized that this is the story of my life, if I let it be. I'm not going to let it be. I told her how I felt. That I was hurt by the things she said, and her immediate reaction was to tell me it was because of her childhood, and a recent event that left her needing time to "recoup." Bullshit. She also told me that she's had to accept me for who I am and I should do the same with her. I have a child. I know lots of mothers. None of them have had to adjust their expectations of what they think their children should be in order to accept or love them. She then apologized, for hurting my feelings. Not for actually saying what she did, or acting the way she acted. She took no responsibility. So, until she stops buying things, and starts owning things, I'm done. Go ahead and think I'm horrible. I don't. If this were a boyfriend or husband, you would be the first one to say to leave him.
Mothers are such a complicated thing. I have struggled for so long with this. I've tried counseling. I've tried to make the interactions funny. I've tried to discuss it. I've tried to explain it. I've tried to change it. I've tried to ignore it. I've tried to not let it get to me. I've tried to understand it. I just can't.
Right now, I am in mourning. I am sad that I can't have the normal relationship that so many of you have had with your Moms. Yes, there are good parts to my relationship, but as with abusive relationships, they aren't always horrible. It's that I can't keep letting my guard down to be completely devastated. To feel my self-esteem slip away. To start picking at myself as a result, getting obsessed with the little parts of me that are flawed.
So, no more Mom posts. No more hating myself.
I am sad, and liberated all at once.
I've had to let go.