For those of you who read my blog post from yesterday you know I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my mother. I’ve come to the realization that she does not want me to succeed in life. It is the most logical explanation for her behavior that I can come up with, and I believe she’s jealous in some ways. People have always asked me if I’m sure I wasn’t adopted and how I came out of that family. I don’t want to sound like I hate my family, I don’t. I don’t hate anyone and I can’t say I have ever hated anyone. I take the word for what it means and I don’t throw it around loosely like so many people do nowadays.
You know we moved from Seattle when I was 11 years old and at that time life was great until it wasn’t anymore. My saving grace was the horse farm, I was able to spend a lot of time there and free riding lessons in return for mucking stalls and miscellaneous yard work. The couple who ran the place took me under their wings and treated me like family, they had no kids of their own together. I was so excited when my mom came and wanted to take a ride on the horse that was “mine”. First lap around the yard, and she did a tumble over the front onto the ground. I can’t even explain how a person could to fall off like that. It doesn’t matter, what matters is that it was “my fault”. Every time she has a pain or injury I get to hear, “It all started back in 1979 when I fell off that horse that Jane made me get on, and I broke my back and neck (her x-rays have never shown a broken neck). I knew I never should have listened to her begging me”. To this day, it’s what she says.
Fast forward a couple of years to when my grandpa passed away, if my dad wasn’t depressed before he was now. He moved us all to Eastern Washington to join a cult. I call it that because it was under the pretense of a “church” in someones house and a lot of people coming and going. I remember getting off the school bus one day to find my mother standing there, which was unusual. She couldn’t wait to tell me that my horse had been swept up in the flooding creek and was found dead. If that wasn’t bad enough she told me we could save his hide, and then she described how they would cut up each leg and down the belly, then would peel the skin off and make it into a blanket, so I would always have him. That might be the moment I realized my mother was sick.
Living up in Washington was short-lived, and we came back to our little farm in Oregon. My relationship with my mother was strained to say the least. She was pulling crazy stunts left and right to try to get attention. One in particular I remember vividly is when she said, “watch this” and shot her gun into the ground to scare the neighbor (my uncle’s wife). Of course the police were called and when they showed up, it was a scene from an action movie. Police cars, officers with guns drawn over hoods, megaphone message, “come out of the house with your hands up”! She came out with her hands up, but she was laughing hysterically. She lied through her teeth that she was shooting at a stray dog. There was never a stray dog that day, she did it to scare the neighbor and get attention. Period.
As I got older and time went on my mother encouraged me to leave school and work even though she knew I had dreams and a life of my own she made me feel guilt over not “helping out” as she put it. I did it because that’s what I was supposed to do, or at least that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. What’s funny to me is her always saying I could talk to her about anything. I tried several times, back then her response was always, “oh, you don’t feel that way” or, “you know that’s not true” so I stopped trying to confide in her. She needed help, and she knew it, yet she refused for reasons that solely made sense to her. I gave up a lot for her and for my family. I’m not trying to complain about it or get sympathy. I guess I’m trying to make sense of her, of my life because of her.
Moving ahead, into the present she’s still the same. I had a super great job that I loved and made me feel smart and like I had a real purpose. I needed that after our last baby left the nest I was feeling lonely and no longer needed. Dad got sick and was given an expiration date, as he calls it. Again, mom put on the guilt trip about how no one cared, and she had no help, and she couldn’t do everything, and she might as well kill herself now. What did I do? I quit my job to take care of them, which in hindsight was a terrible mistake. It didn’t take long for her to run me down and treat me like something that was lodged to the bottom of her shoe. I called her on it, and she did what she has always done, which is blame me.
She said she wanted a good mother-daughter relationship, and she wanted me to confide in her. I wanted that, every daughter does, I think. Over the years I made efforts to try, and every time it ended with whatever I told her being my fault. There was a time when our last child went off the college that my husband and I hit a rough patch and I confided in her, even though I knew better. What she said to me was that everything was my fault and I wasn’t trying hard enough. I should run him a bath at night and bring him a cold beer and have his dinner on the table when he got out. Is that what you tell your daughter? It’s not what I would say to mine.
After my most recent lack of judgment and leaving my job I tried again to talk to her about how I felt, and she did it again. She told me she hoped I had tough times and that she thought I was having them now. She laughed and said she thought it was funny and that I had better get my hormones in order. What happened to create the mess this time was caused by my brother. The one my mother abused physically and emotionally growing up. He was in a car accident that left him disabled and dependent on a care giver (my mom and dad). What he did, is for another story, but my conniving mother knew she could make me feel guilty enough to quit my job and then make me feel even worse because she didn’t appreciate me or my efforts. She has always been hurtful to me and I’ve always allowed it. She is my mother, right?
She is still telling me she wants a good mother-daughter relationship, and she wishes I would talk to her about everything. Hello…. I DID, and she turned it all around to be about her as usual. Out of the blue she said, “you paid the electric bill once and you never bought school clothes for the kids” I never mentioned or brought that up. I wonder if she’s in the beginning stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s sometimes. I’ve asked her to seek help, but she won’t. She’s afraid they will think she’s “crazy”. I’m sorry but I find that humorous because she is crazy. I have stories that would scare the crap out of a sane person, including a recording of her saying she, “wanted to slice a woman’s throat open and watch the blood spray everywhere”. …another time for that one.
I can not do it anymore. I refuse to be treated like a whipping post. I have come to realize that my life is mine. I get to chose who I let in and who I need distance from. Cutting out family is hard, even when it should be easy. To an outsider, it may even seem cruel but no one has lived my life in that situation. If one wants to judge me, that is not my business. I can not control what others think, feel or do. I can control how I react to the situation though. I’m sorry, I am not strong enough to keep trying to fight for the love and acceptance I need from my mother. It doesn’t exist, it never did, and it’s not going to magically show up now. I accept this fate as my own. I have taken what I have learned from her and done the opposite. My relationship with my daughters is my reward and that is all I need.