Just More Free Therapy…

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.

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.

~ Jane

Just letting it go…

I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me.

I’m a 12-year old kid but I’m wise beyond my years and more responsible than most of the adults in my life. They say that comes from being the oldest of 4 kids, I say it’s because my mother was crazy. She had everyone fooled including our dad but us kids knew she was on the edge of sanity most of the time. I was the one the younger kids came to when mom was so out of it she didn’t know which end was up and which was down. When she wasn’t telling us how she was going to kill herself she was fighting with someone, a neighbor, another family member, dad, our oldest brother. I don’t know why she seemed to hate him for some reason for which I never figured out. Karma got her on that one though, and that one is a sad, unfortunate story.

We moved from Seattle, Washington in 1979 and that’s when things went wrong for the whole family. Our uncle’s new wife’s son molested my younger sister, she was 3 years old, and he was 7. He and his sister had been severely abused by their bio dad and possibly even their own mother as it later came out. Based on family history, my mom was a little on the kookier side to start with but this sent her over the edge, way over the edge. There was nothing she could do about what happened, and they lived right next door to us on the property that was purchased jointly. She felt trapped and isolated from everyone and everything she was used to.

My dad, who owned his own contracting business and did better than well with it, in Seattle was now unemployed and looking back I can see he was depressed almost to the point of not caring about much. With mom constantly telling him everything was his fault and that he brought us to this “hell-hole” and pretty much that he was worthless, who could blame him? Mom got a job, briefly a couple of months tops, but to this day she makes it sound like she worked her tail off while dad sat on his ass all day. In reality, dad did work at odd jobs farming hay and building cabinets or a deck for someone here and there, but not a real steady 40 hours a week to support your family job.

We were on welfare. I remember sitting in the welfare office for what seemed like hours on many occasions. She figured it looked better if she dragged her kids with her, I guess. I also remember standing in line for government cheese. People make jokes about that nowadays but government cheese did exist, trust me. I remember our mom sending us kids into the store to buy a .20 pack of gum with a food stamp dollar to get enough change to buy herself a pack of cigarettes. She didn’t care that I was humiliated almost to death. I got all the babysitting jobs as I could to buy some of my school clothes and a horse. I put down 1.79 on my first horse and made payments until she was paid off in the amount of $200. I was pretty proud of that.

The morning of my youngest brothers 7th birthday my dad woke me up to help him with something. I thought he wanted me to make him coffee or pack him a lunch because he was going on a haying job. What he wanted was for me to watch my mom and make sure she didn’t vomit and aspirate on it, while he went to find a phone at the neighbors to call 911. Strewn all over the floor were empty prescription bottles. I think that’s when I became the parent, and we started tiptoeing around her like she would drop dead at the slightest thing gone wrong. There was another time we got off the school bus and mom was nowhere to be found. My brother begged me to go check behind the haystack because our mother had threatened to go behind the haystack and blow her brains out so many times. That broke my heart and scared me all at the same time.

The day I turned 16 I got a job at the grocery store. I think they felt sorry for me for all the times I was forced to come in with a food stamp dollar. I worked hard and got a lot of compliments for it. I took extra shifts when I could and worked until close most nights after school. My family had the electricity cut off for non-payment and since they had ruined both mom and dads credit, I had it put into my name and I paid the bill. I didn’t need to start my life with bad credit and I certainly couldn’t stand by and let my siblings do without hot water, heat and cooked meals. Not when I could do something about it.

I remember buying my sister school clothes and my youngest brother toys, our oldest brother, a year younger than me, had a job of his own and bought his own things he wanted or needed. I didn’t mind providing what I could for my family, that’s what families do, right? Eventually, it got to the point where I needed to work more and more and I quit going to traditional school and switched over to the alternative, which was not to my liking, so I went in and took the GED test. I passed those tests with high enough scores to get into almost any college or state university I wanted to attend. I had dreams of making something of myself someday, a large animal veterinarian, or a child psychologist.

It got weird at work when my mom started showing up on paydays looking for me with her hand out. My boss took it upon herself to notice this and tell her I wasn’t there, that when I got off work I left with friends. Then a miracle happened and I met my husband, he saved me, I truly believe that with all my heart. I was able to leave that job and move away. By that time, my sister was 13 and presumably old enough to take care of herself. After all I took care of all 4 of us at 13, right? She wasn’t nearly as mature as I was, and she was a real handful. Mom would never let go what happened to her and reminded her of it every chance she got so of course she was pretty messed up too. To this day, my sister is messed up and I don’t necessarily blame what happened to her at age 3, I blame our mother for making her relive it over and over again.

I never finished college, my dreams changed. I wanted a family of my own to raise in a way that was opposite the way I was. I got married, and we had three beautiful babies who grew up happy and healthy, in every way. I feel like I broke the cycle that my mother lived through and her children lived through. I know that all three of our kids love us and believe they had a normal healthy childhood. They see how their grandma is, and they know that my growing up was rough. When they come to me and tell me how much they appreciate their dad and me for raising them “normal” and that we did a great job, my heart swells. I devoted everything to them and I made sure they had everything I didn’t. Most importantly a mother who loves them unconditionally and is present anytime they need anything. We’ve been blessed with one granddaughter so far, and she will know she can count us for anything too. Family is the most important asset we have, we need to treat them as such.

I sat down to write today with the intention of freeing myself from my mothers latest fight, which she chose to engage me in. Out of the blue as always, random displays of hatred and nonsensical ideas. I found it’s best to let her say what she’s going to say even though, it’s always untrue and hurtful, and let it go. It’s hard on me sometimes, when I need a real mother in my life and don’t have one. I am so thankful for my husband and my children, I don’t know what I would do without them.

Much love to all,

~ Jane