Yesterday I shared some of my ongoing saga with my mother. You can read the backstory here.
Today is proving to be a hectic day, so I don’t know if I’ll have time to write a proper post. I did leave you hanging with my last post so I’ll go ahead and post the email that got me so fired up. Here it is in all its glory:
Thank you for sending the cookie recipe. I can’t wait to try it.
I had a wonderful time visiting all of you! Thank you for having me. Hope you have had a good day.
Viv, I’m really concerned about what those fits of yours do to your boys and to Gil too. I know that you say you can’t help it, but I know that you can. It’s something you must work on and have a strategy when you feel one of those outbursts coming on. As we have discussed before, if you don’t nip it, it just snowballs, and you get louder and louder and the vitriol grows, intensifying by the second. Is the satisfaction that you get for that brief moment worth the scars you are leaving? And believe me, there are scars even if you don’t see them. I would never say these things if I did not love all of you so much. You are such a good mother and wife, but these outbursts are undermining so many of the wonderful things you do to create the environment that you want. I know I have rambled on, but no one cares about you any more than I do. Thanks for indulging this lengthy lecture. Remember that I love you to the moon and back!
UGH!!! Anyone with half a brain should understand that telling a mother who is doing the very best that she can do that she is scarring her children is pretty much the lowest blow there is.
Even as I type this I feel compelled to defend myself. Do I make mistakes? Absolutely! Do I scream and yell? More than I would like to admit — yes! Do I feel good about myself when I explode? Hell no.
My mother is always quick to point out what I’m doing wrong. Frankly, she complimented me more in this shitty email than she has in ages.
I think what bothers me the most about this whole thing is that I’ve spent YEARS in therapy overcoming so many of her fucked-up parenting strategies. I have finally reached a point where I do not need her approval and I recognize that I’m pretty amazing even though she’s spent my entire life telling me otherwise.
In spite of all my years of therapy, I’ve never asked her to pay for any of it and I’ve never told her that I blame her for my problems. I’ve never told her this 1) because she’s just part of the equation and 2) it would hurt her terribly.
For what it’s worth, I have reached a point where I see that everything that has happened in my life is part of the overall picture. I’ve had amazing things happen to me and I’ve had some pretty horrible things happen. Guess what? That is life.
I have also gone out of my way to help my mom deal with some of her own demons. There were so many years after my dad’s suicide where my mother was barely functioning. She would go to work where she had to be on and then retreat into her house. I would come to visit and not even recognize the person she had become. I begged her to go to therapy, but she comes from that school of twisted religion where she felt she was being punished and God would bring her back from the depths.
Mom hit her lowest point about two years ago. We had to bring her to our house, but Gil and I didn’t know what to do. She didn’t sleep for days, and after a particularly rough night, she showed up next to our bed with a suicide note begging us to take her to the hospital. We did and then she spent a couple of weeks in a nearby psychiatric hospital.
All of that is very vivid in my mind. It was a terrible, trying time in our life. Gil’s father had died recently, so his mom was a wreck and we were still doing our best to sort out his parents’ financial fiasco. Piers was three and Wallace was two. Gil’s job was insanely hectic, and he was battling his own grief and depression. My brother had recently been arrested, and according to MY MOM had been draining her bank account for years. She says this was the reason for her “breakdown.”
Even still, if her hospitalization is brought up today, she shakes her head and says she hardly remembers any of it and that she doesn’t know who she was during that time.
I really need to write about my feelings on all of this. My mom tells me she loves me, but truthfully I have never felt loved by her. I definitely need to set some boundaries with her, but I’m not sure how to do that. I end up feeling like a bad person when I tell her I need space from her. Just writing all of this is pretty draining, so I’m going to stop for now.