Aaron’s word of inspiration this week is (obviously) mother.
First of all, I just want to congratulate Aaron on getting to week 52 with his prompts! A whole year has gone by and every week he gives us something to write about on Sundays. And honestly, without his weekly reminder that I actually have a blog and should be posting, I probably would not be here. I may have only participated in 40 of the weeks (41 after this post) but it’s been a great way to keep my blog posting at least once a week. So thank you Aaron for keeping my blog going! Even if it was just a rushed post before church started it’s live stream Sunday mornings. Which now has changed from 9:15 to 11 so I really have no excuse not to write anything….
Now onto the topic.
When Aaron first posted this topic, I was all “oooo this will be a post FOR SURE”. Even commented on his blog something to the same effect. But as the days came after Wednesday, I was also feeling that maybe I should just skip this one out all together. I don’t really like what I’m going to post, and I feel like it will come across harsh (it will) and that some people won’t be able to relate. But I also know that some people might be able to and are maybe having the same feelings of guilt/shame over their own reality and I want them to know that I see you, I get you. It will probably be a long post, I have two hours now before church and a lot to say/process, and as always I won’t be editing or cutting it down.
Starting yesterday, I have been seeing all my friends on social media posting a happy Mother’s Day wish to their mothers. Some of which I don’t get, does your mom have facebook? Really? Is she going to see it? If not, why are you posting? Mother’s Day over the last 10ish years has only been a source of dread and anxiety for me.
I’m not close with my mother. I doubt I ever will be in the future.
When I was younger, I LOOOOVVVVVEEEEEDDDDDD my mom. She was a great mom. I have lots of amazing memories of growing up and having tea parties and outings with her and reading contests in the summer. As a child, she was a great mother. Even into my early teens, I enjoyed her. We would go shopping together, out to eat together, watch movies together, driving together, I’d go and visit her at work all the time just for a 15 minute lunch break with her. All those things that most pre-teen/teenage girls hate to do with their mother. But I loved it.
I can’t pin-point exactly when it started to change, but I’m thinking around the age of 16-18 for me. As I matured, my mother did not. She seemed to be stuck in this pre-teen/young teen mindset that she never snapped out of. I remember this one time, I brought home our class pictures from school. I think grade 10 or 11. I was looking for validation I guess and I said that I thought the picture was ugly and that I didn’t like how I looked in it. Her reply was that the picture only captures what is there. Oh…Ok…
When I was in my second year of university, we had a friend of mine living with us. My mom would do her makeup with my friend, set my friend up with guys from her work, hang out with my friend, talk and gossip with my friend. Like a teenager. Or maybe it was just that I wanted her to do those things with ME instead.
Once, when I was around 21, I was making myself a grilled cheese for lunch. I said “hey mom I’m going to make a grilled cheese for lunch, ok?” She said to ask my dad if he wanted one. See, she is lactose intolerant, so why would I ask her? So I go and ask my dad if he wants one, and he did so I made two. We eat and about 30 minutes later she’s in the kitchen slamming pans onto the stove and sobbing because no one loves her in the house enough to even ask if SHE wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch.
When I was going to Korea for the first time, I was living in my parents’ house again for about 2 months before I left. The whole time she would be hostile and ask when I was getting my papers to go. When was I leaving? And as soon as I had them, she spend the last three days before I left (that’s really all the notice I had) slamming doors and crying DEMANDING that I cancel my trip and not go. For my first three months there, every time she emailed she accused me of hating her and running away from HER and what did she ever do to make me do that? All she’s ever done is love me and why am I being so mean to her? I eventually told her I was not going to reply to her emails anymore if she couldn’t find anything else to talk about.
Now as an adult, we have just reached a point where the relationship is basically deteriorated into a place where it’s beyond repair. I am (sometimes) kind and polite but other times I just lose my temper with her. She starts wars (her word not mine) with almost everyone around her and wonders why people don’t want to talk to her anymore. She lashes out at my brother and I, using guilt and emotional bullying to get her way. I will reply to her texts in a non-committal way now. She asks what my plans are for the day? I say errands and regular things. I don’t give details, just basics.
When I was in Korea the second time, November 2015-October 2016, I finally had had enough. She once again was into an email theme of emotional guilt. So I emailed my brother and dad and told them I was going to take a hit for the team. I emailed her and told her this was out of hand and she needed to see a professional to get her emotions handled. And it took about a month or two but she did. She started to see someone. And for a little bit she got better. She went to therapy and she got better.
In November of 2016 she was out walking with our dogs and she tripped on the sidewalk and hit her face. She called my dad to go get her and they had to go to the hospital. She had some tests done and she didn’t have a concussion or anything but they discovered she had had a stroke sometime in the last 6 months – two years! They couldn’t pin it down. It affected the emotions part of her brain so now that tissue is dead. Or some of it. So now everything is blamed on the stroke. All her emotions and bad behaviour are blamed on the stroke.
She has left three churches over the last 11 years because of fights and wars with people. Always feeling like she is the outcast and no one will let her participate in things. She is excluded. And ya know, she kind of is. She joins praise teams and wants to take over so they ask her to join a different praise team line. If she offers a suggestion and it’s not taken she starts a war with them. Now, I’m not saying everything is her fault. I know the particulars about some of the things and the other people are just as much to blame. But she takes absolutely none of the responsibility. And there is never a resolution. Instead of the people all being adults and working it out, they just let it be a war and let it get to a place where it can’t be repaired.
I used to text my parents about something happening in my life, something I’m disappointed about, and my dad will offer some advice or a kind word. My mom goes “oh well life sucks sometimes”. I get super excited over a new nail design so I send it to her and she goes “not your best, I liked this other one better”.
There is no support there at all. And quite frankly, if she was ANYONE else I would refuse to have her in my life. But she’s my mother. And she lives with my dad. So I can’t cut that stress out.
I can text my dad about silly little things. Anything I want. But if I text him too much, I get a text from her “why don’t you text me? You always share with your dad, but you never share with me. You make me so sad.”
And I tell her it because of how she responds and criticizes EVERYTHING and uses guilt to get her own way. I’m just on the line of telling her it’s emotional abuse – which it really is. She will ask what’s new and I tell her nothing (we are in a pandemic, nothing is ever new) and she goes “go out! Do something! Go visit the shops!!!” And I’m sure from anyone else I would see if as harmless, but from her, it’s just another way she is criticizing and I didn’t ask for her suggestions or commentary. And even more annoying because I live in Toronto and we don’t get the luxury to just go and shop as she has living in her small rural community which is hardly ever in a full lockdown.
She refuses to get a vaccine for Covid saying that she will get a blood clot and die or become a vegetable. And my brother and I tell her it’s safe and she says we are forcing her to kill herself by getting it or “will you take care of me when I’m a vegetable?”. That we are saying she doesn’t love her family because she won’t get it. But bottom line is that I’m not going home until everyone is vaccinated. Not while being a teacher. It’s not safe. So the longer she goes without, the longer I can’t see my dad or my dog who is already 14 years old and slowly getting to the point where he’ll need to put down in a year or two. She says we are calling her selfish (true) and irrational (true) and that she gives up everything for us (not true, we go home for holidays and she sits in her chair watching cartoons) and that we are saying she doesn’t love her family or want to see them (untrue). And she is waiting for an apology. A week goes by and she emails us again saying I FORGIVE YOU AND I LOVE YOU.
It’s the same emotional abuse.
I told her she needs to be seeing her therapist again, or more, or find a new one. Which she took great offence over.
Honestly, I’m just done. She has missed out on so much of my life because I refuse to share things with her. She can’t keep anything to herself even when I do share. And the sad thing about it is that I can’t even share things with my dad because then I have to deal with her being upset that I didn’t share with her.
And being more honest, part of me didn’t want to have children because I don’t want to end up having the same relationship with my children as I have with her. Until I was about 30 I didn’t want to have my own biological children. Adopt maybe. Marry a man who already has children? Sure no problem. But my own? Nope. Now that has changed and I hope I do have my own one day.
Mother’s Day is not a happy time for me. It hasn’t been in a long time. I sent a gif over text this morning but that’s it. After this year I didn’t even want to do that. And I HATE that I feel that way. I hate that it’s the relationship that I have with my mom. And sitting here typing it all out, and crying over it doesn’t make it better. But until she chooses to get help again, it can’t improve.
So to anyone who also experiences this day with anxiety and dread, I get it.