My relationship with my mother is a book in itself. This is not a post about her or me but rather about the deep waters we get ourselves into in a desperate search for love. All of us–my two sister, me, and my mother–desperate for love. We fail to remember we can receive it from each other, well at least me and my mother. You can read my poem about my mother HERE (Mama It Was Too Late) and another, HERE (70s Soundtrack). OK, one more HERE (A Trauma Theory). It was like so many moments, so many years, built up this moment here that happened a few weeks ago–asking my mother to validate me for her abandoning me when I was abused as a five-year-old but more-so when I was sixteen. How she chose his side, chose to believe him over me. I found myself pounding my fist on the table and screaming through tears “My life is fucked!! It’s FUCKED because of what you and “” did!” After the screaming match and her denying everything, me storming out after her sarcastic apology, my sister stopped me and told us we had to once and for all, deal with this burden and talk it out. (I was quite proud of her by the way). My mother fell apart. “I did the best I could! If that’s not enough for you I’m sorry but I did what I had to” (i’m summarizing). I was so still and controlled suddenly. “No,” I said, “It wasn’t enough. Not for me.” She said I hope I know what this feels like some day as a mother and I said that I wouldn’t because I would never abandon my Emma and side with her abuser. Not a chance in hell. She kept saying how she did her best or what she thought was best and that she was having trouble with her mental illnesses then (screaming at me like I should cut her slack for manic depression) and calmly, coolly, I said something I’d been waiting to say for years: “I don’t feel sorry for you.” It bit at her, but she yelled “I don’t want your pity,” spitting words at me like I’m the problem, as if I’d always been the problem. I think I’ll always be the problem. I told her I wasn’t doing this to assign blame and hurt but that, as a part of my healing from C-PTSD and everything else, I needed validation for what I’d been through and how I’d reacted and for what I didn’t receive. I wanted her to be there for me through this NOW and help me and try to understand what I’m going through instead of making it all about her. “Everything is not about you, Amy!” and calmly again I said “Mom, for once, this is ALL ABOUT ME. I’m the victim in this, not you.” And she broke some more saying “I know, I know.” I saw for the second time how fragile and weak she is. I thought back to her decisions, her generation of marriage and children and abuse, her view on life, her 1970’s please-the-husband-children-come-last. At least that’s my take. This is the woman who, I think out of desperation, married my alcoholic biological father out of fear of being alone and unloved, always feeling like the ugly duckling, not believing in her beauty. He was slow and a drinker. What drew her to him? Yet she was smart enough to leave him. And foolish enough to marry the man that was after me from the beginning. She was desperate. For love. Absolutely desperate, she was willing to sacrifice my well-being in order to maybe have more financial support and someone to “make her feel pretty” as she told me a few months ago. Yeah, I wanted to say, he made me feel pretty too. Ugh. I feel like she’s never known who she is, like she felt she wasn’t worth it. Why? Why is/was her self-esteem so low? So non-existent? (pause: my theme song is playing right now as I type: “Loser” by Beck, hehe). I can’t help but feel like her spite for me is because I’m stronger. I’ve always been stronger. She knew I rebelled and hated me back then because I stood up for myself when “—” was sexually abusing me. I wouldn’t have it. Yet I was under her finger enough to promise I’d never tell anyone as she asked because I wanted her to love me. I’ve always tried pleasing her and walked on egg shells and “made everything shine” for her and comforted her telling her what she wanted to hear because I wanted her to love me and have an ounce of respect for me. “You wish I were dead don’t you? Look at you! Look at you!” she screamed as I stood there ever so calmly. Her fears she tried transplanting on me. She wanted them to be mine, like she wished it were true. Why? I said she was wrong, and that I loved her, and that all I ever wanted was to be worth it enough for her, worth saving, and I never was, and why not? She couldn’t answer, it was too late for that answer. She showed, didn’t tell. I wasn’t worth it enough to save, to protect. I was just a kid, an offspring. I wasn’t supposed to have emotions that mattered, I wasn’t supposed to argue her values. And if I did, shame on me. She’s such a tough, mean, bitter shell on the outside and weak and scared inside, like a child. And I’m trying to learn to not be so concerned about that child anymore. She’s a big girl. She needs to face up to what she did and own it. I’m not going to own her shit anymore. And after this falling out or in, it became so much easier. I was watching a woman so desperate for love all her life she was now angry and bitter, believing she has no choices to better her life, and she’s right back where she started as a young, weak breaking woman because she didn’t have the balls to grow up, to experience the other love in her life she was offered. Love only meant men, as if they were the only creatures that mattered. I don’t pity her anymore. And she knows it. And goddammit that feels fucking good. A weight was definately lifted between the two of us, but there’s still so much ice in the air waiting and I don’t know why. Maybe because I know I’ll never get what I need from her, and I’m not even sure what that is. Love. Worth. Unconditional love. She doesn’t have that for me. Her love has conditions. For me anyways. I doubt she’ll ever read my essays and poetry about what I’m going through (as my sister told her to do if she wanted to have the courage enough to read it all to understand me–she said “would you read it if it were about you? and Jodie said Yeah it’s gonna hurt but she should read it if she wants to be there for me). Yeah, she’d read it if I was worth it. She’s so afraid of looking into the mirror, afraid enough to not put me first for once because that means facing the truth. And living in lies is living a dead life. I once told her when I write (she was upset because a post was somewhat about her) I told her I’m not gonna hide the truth, the truth in what happened is the reason I write, and I was in no mood for protecting her good name so it wouldn’t hurt her. Believe me I’ve already censored myself plenty in order to protect her….from her. My sisters and I have worked over-time protecting her from her. She does good for a few years, and always falls apart, and we’re the ones picking up the pieces and raising her, trying to get her to believe in herself, to believe she has choices, and she hates us for it, shuns us, gets back on her feet, and is bitter. We can’t really win. We’re always waiting for the next shoe to drop. Only we’re getting older. We’re looking at our lives, and deciding for once that we matter too. What do we have? Fathers that left us, abused us, abandoned us, and a mother that toys with our heads and hearts but at least she never left us. So what to do? All we have is each other. We have to make this work. I have to find in myself my own mother (again) and accept who she is and what I get from her. She’ll always think my intentions are evil for some reason, when all I ever wanted from her was to be loved unconditionally and be worthy. I have to find my worth in myself, and that’s hard, a battle every day.
Talking with my mother now is not about me being in control of that situation. It’s about being as honest as I can without totally losing compassion. Back when I was being abused and she turned on me, she used to say “Amy you reap what you sow.” Now I’m saying it to her in my head. She’s reaping what she sowed.
- I Need Encouragment (ptsdcreativewriting.wordpress.com)