I am not my mother. My mother is not me.
We are similar. But not the same.
We both struggle to understand this world.
We struggle to understand, give and feel love.
I’ve been so angry at her for being complacent in her inadequacies – for not trying harder.
I’ve put so much effort into fighting against my demons.
I’ve torn myself apart and worked so hard to try to rebuild myself.
I’m doing this for my kids – so I don’t hurt them.
I will help them. I will save them.
They will not know this pain.
(Is this a futile goal that all parents have… will it backfire?)
I’m so hurt that she could not have taken this bullet for me.
But maybe she really did do the best she could.
Maybe she really couldn’t get to where I am.
Maybe a personality disorder is terribly different than a mood disorder.
Maybe she tried to take the bullet for me.
But maybe she wasn’t really sure what the bullet looked like – or where it was.
I know that she always thought very carefully about her parenting decisions.
She fed me healthy food – but only sometimes, so I was hungry.
She read with me – but it had to be books that she felt were worthy.
She was active with me – but only if she got to choose the activities.
She tried to inspire me with her love of reading – but I felt ignored while she read all day.
She tried to show me that I was worthy by doting on herself – and I felt second class.
She tried to be a firm but flexible mother. She just didn’t know how.
At least she tried…?
She tried to make us feel loved and cared for.
She just didn’t know how.
She had never felt loved or cared for.
The only emotions she really knew were painful ones.
So, she tried very hard to make us look loved and cared for,
to make us look like a loving family.
She thought that if you pretended something hard enough,
it would make it real.
She was sort of right – we looked happy.
But she was sort of very very wrong.
She taught me how to belittle and manipulate people to get your way.
She taught me how to feel justified demanding anything from anyone.
She taught me to watch people carefully, analyzing every detail and judging each action as good or bad, to learn how to be.
(should red hats be worn? only if you have blue eyes. should children be hit? never- unless your sister is really asking for it. should people smile while they walk? only at me because I am beautiful.)
She taught me that nothing was ever her fault…
She taught me how she had survived in this confusing world all these years.
My father also taught what he believed would help me survive.
But he had given up hope that it was possible to do anything but just survive,
so he taught me mostly what would make things easier for him.
He taught me to drink lots of water so I won’t feel hungry,
He let me live in a freezing cold house so that I would be prepared to go without comfort.
He taught me to ignore my body’s cues so that I would be good at not getting in the way.
He was not really a conscious parent for me.
He just sulked by, mumbling, trying to avoid conflict.
At least my mother kept hoping that life would be wonderful.
At least my mother thought about what she did,
Even if her thinking didn’t make any sense.
As least she tried something…
she couldn’t have given me real emotional closeness.
she didn’t know it existed.
she still doesn’t.
she never will.
but that’s okay.
at least she tried.
i can still be her friend.
she is more sick than me.