Friday, July 11, 2008

My Mother

This is me. And my little girl on her 1st Birthday. And my Mom.

Mothers. Mothers. Mothers. Enola's post got me thinking about Moms. In particular, her statement of "There are times when not having a true mother is more difficult than others. ...... But it's also during those times when I despise her the most - for the fact that she's around, but not capable or willing to be the mother I need."

There are times I'm just not sure what to make of my mother. I have so many intense emotions about her that I don't know how to put it all into perspective. If she were not my mother, and I didn't have the history with her that I do, she is probably the kind of woman I'd wish were my Mom. She exudes motherliness. Is that a word? She's incredibly care-taking, soft-spoken, unselfish to a fault. She's a nurse....no surprise. Wanting to take care of others. She bakes for everyone. She wants to DO for everyone. She never hesitates to move around her schedule for me if I need something. She gives me money "just because". Anytime I mention something I want, it magically appears. She brings us dinner every Weds night, intentionally buying way too much so that we'll have leftovers for the next night. She drives 45 minutes in each direction to babysit for an hour. She brings me coffee every time. She even makes an extra stop at Starbucks for me, after she goes to Dunkin Donuts for herself and to get a munchkin for my DD. She lives and breathes for her granddaughter. She is the proudest gramma that ever has been. My DD loves her, for sure. Though she's already well aware that gramma is a total pushover and commands no respect.

So, what Enola said before, about her mom not being capable or willing to be the mother she needs....I thought it was a really strong statement. And then I thought to myself....my mother is bending over backwards trying to be the mother I need or want. But there is so much history there. So much disappointment. So much pain. There is nothing that can be done about that now. I have talked to her about the past. She's apologized for her role in what happened to me. She still doesn't really get it.....she lives in the denial bubble. She has her two children completely compartmentalized. She doesn't doubt me when I tell her what my brother did to me. Yet she also refuses to acknowledge it in any tangible way. She still has a relationship with him. She's every bit as much a Mom to him as she is to me. Also bends over backwards to help him. Gives him money. Helps at his restaurant. Drives an hour in each direction to have a cup of coffee with him. She and I exchanged a heavy string of emails about my childhood abuse about 2 years ago. In her response, she wrote all about my father. Never once mentioned my brother. I think she is incapable of letting that information sink in because then she would have to make a choice between her kids, or just would have to believe something bad about my brother. She can't do it.

I don't know what this means. I don't know what it should mean. I believe I've accepted that she is who she is and there will be no big changes from her. I believe I've accepted it yet I still can feel disappointed when she does something that's utterly predictable.

Every time my mother leaves my house, she says "I love you." Every time, I don't respond. I look at my darling baby girl and think how it would rip my heart out if she did that to me. I feel guilty. I don't know if I love my mother. There are times I do. But I still don't say it. I don't want to set a precedent of having to say it. I don't want to encourage her to say it more. I think, actually, that I don't want to love her. I think I am afraid to love her. Because my love for her robbed me of so much. My love for her was exploited and taken advantage of. My love for her made me vulnerable. It caused me to cover my own pain and try to protect her. I want no part of that. I know in my grown up mind that there is nothing she can do to me anymore. But I think the little girl part of me has had more than her fill of grief.

I truly believe to the depths of my soul that my mother is harmless. She doesn't have an evil intentioned bone in her body. The emotional pain that was inflicted on me, from her, was born from her own distorted, abusive, traumatic past. But if I excuse her actions because of what was done to her, then in turn, I'd have to do the same to my father and to my brother. They were both victims of abuse and I don't see myself giving them the slack that I do to my mother. Maybe it's because her abuse never crossed the line into anything physical. Maybe it's because we are mother/daughter. Maybe it's just that this issue is shrouded in my anger and I'd have to actually tap into that to work it through. Or because she is the only member of my family I have in my life and I don't want to lose that last shred. Maybe it's me being a coward and afraid to upset the status quo. Maybe I just identify with her pain. But I did that to my own detriment for so long. Maybe I don't know how to separate how to empathize with her yet still take care of myself. Perhaps it's because I need to cling to the belief that just ONE member of my family maybe actually loved me and didn't want to hurt me.

5 comments:

Greg said...

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Carrie said...

Hi Perfect! I have a question? Did I do something to offend u or did u find something in my blog that u didn't like? I added u as a link to my blog. I like ur writings and can relate. U have never acknowledged me.

Angel said...

Your post is so touching. It resonates with me.

As a distant observer, I can accept that your mother truly loved you and didn't want to hurt you. However, it is a limitation of her own that she can't stand up for you with your brother, which is what I think you might want. Rightfully so, too. Why shouldn't she defend her own baby girl against her abuser, if she really loved you? That is such a rub, and I really can't quite understand her inability to do that. For her she can't connect the dots--and actually feel the betrayal you felt--because to do so would be to open some door that she either can't or won't open, for whatever reason.

So you are trying to empathize with her, but she isn't able to empathize with you. Maybe she can sympathize with you because of her own past, but she can't take herself to the point where she actually feels your pain.

When she says "I love you" when she leaves, you think of how crushed you would feel if your dd didn't respond to you like you don't respond to your mother; you said it would rip your heart out. But it would also rip your heart out if your baby girl had the abuse happen to her like it did to you.

And that is where the chain breaks. If your mother felt for you like you feel for your own daughter, how would she be able to have a relationship with your abuser, her son? Is it that she is so incapable of feeling her own anger or pain that she can't get in touch with any anger or pain?

Rising Rainbow said...

There are a lot of unresolved feelings in this post. I can sure understand you feeling the way you do. It's normal, that's for sure, and so very difficult at the same time. I hope this resolves for you.

Perfect said...

Carrie,
No of course not!!! No offense at all. I'm so glad that you can relate to some things I've written. It was my hope in starting this blog that I'd connect with others. While I read them all, I don't usually come back to comment on comments and, unfortunately, I've been so busy, I've not had much spare time to read other blogs lately. Sorry if I seemed stand-offish. I appreciate your comments!! :o) Keep visiting!