Ah, yes…the topic I have been avoiding. Not to say that I haven’t talked about my mother or that I haven’t written about her, I have. It’s just that I have never delved deep into the problematic influence she has had on my life or on the lives of my siblings and our collective families.
Oh, the anger and the blame and the guilt and the manipulation. An endless game of vicious name calling, (behind my back or in the form of a letter or email of course) snippy passive-aggressive comments and then the inevitable contrived song and dance that is gaslighting. “I never said that!” or, “That never happened!” or, complete and utterly frustrating disassociation. That lady lives in La La Land. She’s the mayor, governor and president.
As I have stated previously, I still find myself in a less than willing to share frame of mind of late. Maybe it’s because Covid continues to dominate all of our lives or maybe, it’s the tremendous distrust I developed while growing up with narcissistic and abusive parents. I’m hanging my hat on the latter because my unwillingness to tell people too much about myself has followed me around for well over 40 years. I can guarantee that if I were to play How Well Do You Know Me with anyone who has been allowed into my inner circle in the past 20 years every single one would fail. It’s not that I wouldn’t love to unburden myself but, it is the realization that a lot of people are either too uncomfortable with the information I’m holding inside or they literally don’t care because they have enough of their own baggage to lug around. I get it. That’s why I try to do it here, when I feel up to it that is.
Back to the problematic issue that is MOM. Recently I was informed that she needed surgery, had surgery, received a difficult diagnosis and now her future prognosis is up in the air. Seeing how I haven’t spoken to either of my parents since mid-2017 and did not reach out when my father died in 2020, the dilemma as to what to do now hangs like a rotten slab of beef in the hot summer sun. It smells. Bad. And, I run the risk of looking like the shitty daughter my mother probably tells everyone I am. Well, I assume she does but, then again, probably not since this was the same woman who lied in church about my older brother being away at “college” when he was actually in prison. Appearances are important after all! Anyway, who knows for sure but…it’s the kind human being in me that struggles with how to approach being kind to a toxic parent in need.
Damn it lady! Why can’t you just admit there were issues when we were all growing up and work towards mending those hurts now? Why? I know I won’t get an apology and, honestly, I don’t expect one. I just want a reason to care what happens to her because I look around at everything she CHOSE to miss. My daughter’s high school graduation and now, coming soon, her college graduation. She has missed seeing me in a healthy and happy relationship for the first time in my life and she is missing out on being included in all of our lives. Over what? Adherence to a misguided church and a cult-like religion that demands she place our abusive father over all of us, even in death? He’s gone. Cut the ties and learn to live for once in your life!
I can’t make her reject everything she has blindly followed for a huge chunk of her adult life nor can I force her to realize that her “children” are no longer young. During this time she has lost a grandson as well but it’s dear old abuser dad that she pines over. We won’t be around forever and neither will she, especially now so to “wait for another day” is foolish but, to think she will ever change, even when faced with her own mortality, and ours, is a pipe dream as well. If she wants to go be with the only person she truly cares about (even though the jury is still out on whether he reciprocated) then we cannot stand in her way and I will not feel upset over her choice, if this is what she wants.
We all have our own path to walk. Some choose an easy route and others weave in and out of the more insidious lane thinking its “sacrifices” will lead to some great reward. I like to think that even though my life has been filled with a lot of pain it has also been relatively easy to navigate, easy to figure out where I went wrong and easy to autocorrect. And, because of this I would never knowingly sacrifice my own child in favor of any man. Never. She knows this about me yet is still confused as to why this is something I refuse to compromise on. Innocent child over abusive spouse? Not a hard decision at all…for most rational people that is.
The saddest part in all of this is that I have a nagging suspicion that the Great Reward my mother thinks she wants will ultimately end up being hollow without the love and support of her children and their children. To purposely say and do things to alienate those you gave birth to because “God” told you to or the bible demands it will always leave a bad taste in my mouth but, given the proper amount of discussion, it’s also something I could move forward from. I could work to rebuild a new relationship with her, if she will ask and if not, that’s okay. It will have been her choice and I will respect that even though I’m sure it will feel dark, sad and disappointing because it will have been at the expense of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. So much lost.
These are footsteps I do not want to follow in and would never wish on anyone.
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