Today is my mother’s birthday.

To my knowledge, she’s still alive. This is the first year I’m deliberately not calling her though.

I just can’t.

I know it’ll turn into another go-round on the emotional abuse-mobile, and I don’t have it in me to do that. The things she said and did after the election still scream so loudly to me. It made it quite clear that she’d never really accepted who I am, so, no, thanks. Not calling.

You see, it’s always about how much I’ve hurt HER. How much pain SHE’S in.

Fine, I’m actually an excellent listener, I’m more than willing to listen to someone else’s pain and problems. That’s what friends/family do, until they realize that all they are to the person is a toilet, a dumping ground for this other person’s negative emotions (with my mother, that’s a never ending supply.)

It’s always been that way too.

Even as a kid it was me cleaning up the mess (sometimes literally when she’d drunk so much she was puking).

It was me teaching my sister about menstruation, cause mom was gone.

I took my sister to planned parenthood the first time when I knew she was gonna have sex with her boyfriend. Mom wasn’t around.

I’ve forgiven my mother far, far more than anyone in their right mind ever should have. Because… she’s my mom. This last time, I thought… maybe, since she’s largely stopped drinking, maybe I can actually have a mom now?

Sucks to admit that.

It makes me tear up too, and I HATE that.

But is it so wrong to want a mother? Someone who puts their kids needs first (for the most part) like I do with my own kids?

When my former best friend tried to kill herself, I called my mom, in tears, just needing her to listen. I was losing my home at the time too, and I just needed her to listen. It took her three minutes to interrupt and start venting about her problems and how much it hurt her to hear me talk about suicide. Three minutes. I timed it.

I guess… since I’m alive there must have been a time when mom did put my needs first. But I was 8 or 9 when she started drinking heavily, and I honestly don’t remember that time.

I don’t have a lot of good memories of my mother. I envy people who do. I envy people who WANT to call their mom on her birthday and wish her a good one. I wonder what it must be like, to know deep in your bones that your mother both accepts and loves you more than she loves a book of made up lies written by misogynistic men (the bible, in case you’re wondering). Or more than she loves her booze. I don’t know what that feels like, and I don’t suppose I ever will.

I have a case of guilt, in regards to so many people who would give ANYTHING for another moment with their mom. Cause I don’t want one with mine. Not my real mom. Yeah, if she ever bothered to do the work needed to stop being a gas-lighting, emotional abuser… maybe I’d consider it. But she won’t. She hasn’t yet… why would she now?

The mom of my wishing imagination? Yeah, I’d like to take that one to lunch, talk over all sorts of things and get a warm, accepting hug from. But that person only exists in my imagination.

To my imaginary mom, happy birthday.


10 thoughts on “Sadness

  1. Holy shit, this resonates with me in ways only others who’ve had a ‘there-but-absent” mom can understand. My mom is a totally different person now. She’s found God, and it’s been good for her. She’s aging with grace and is repentant for where she failed us kids. And I totally forgive her.

    That being said, the damage to our relationship is done. We talk on occasion, get together now and then. I do get her something for her birthday. Our relationship is civil and okay, but there’s a barrier there between us. I find it hard to trust her, even though she’s done some great things for me and my family in the last 15 years or so. I can’t just forget the times we hated each other. I wish I could and I feel enormous guilt over not being able to close the gap between us, because it’s really me, not her, that keeps the gap there between us. When she dies, I’ll feel even worse, I know it. But it is what it is. My cross to bear. I can only try to overcome my reluctance. I do hope I can one day.

    1. I’m gonna feel like absolute shit when my mom dies. I can feel it. I tried so hard this last time, since we moved to a different country to finally have a relationship (distant, but a relationship) with my mom. I thought maybe we’d managed it, because we’d talk on the phone a couple of times a week, and I’d find something I thought she’d like for gifts. Then she said or did something that really hurt me, and I withdrew a little. Then instead of apologizing, she lambasted me with how *I* was wrong for feeling hurt. When I tried to repair it by letting her talk to her grandkids on her last birthday (last year) it went even further south, then election happened and now… I just don’t have anything left in me for her. I wanted to forgive her, to have, at the least… an adult relationship with the woman who birthed me, who must have raised me okay for the first 8 or so years of my life (I mean, I’m here, I’m alive, I don’t remember anything positive, but maybe it happened?)

      I don’t know how to find forgiveness and acceptance in me for her actions and words of the past year. I think I’ve finally hit *enough*.

      Where I can’t forgive her anything more. Not unless she actually does some work, and I think she’ll be in her grave before she bothers to do that.

      Just ‘not drinking’ turned out to be ‘not enough’. I feel like it should’ve been… but, it wasn’t.

      1. I have 6 kids. I already see where I’ve made my mistakes. Parenting can be a damn hard job, especially when as a parent you’re trying to raise kids while fighting a legion of your own demons. The only thing I can say, that brings me at least a little peace, is that every parent is doing pretty much what they can. Some are capable of doing a lot, and others can just barely manage it. That thought, the thought that my mom did what she was able to do, just as I do what I can, gives me a little solace. And this thought, too: you can choose your friends, not your parents. Or your kids. I have a couple I have a hard time clicking with–they’re just so different from me. But they’re all, I suppose, as they’re meant to be, and I have to accept that. If your relationship with your mom is absolutely poisonous, you don’t need it. But like me, it might lie a little with you, and then you have to accept that you, too, are doing the best you can. Peace, baby.

      2. I’ve got two kids, I know I’m making mistakes, but I’m trying damned hard to do the best I can. (Cause parenting is HARD!!!) I forgave my mom as an adult for my childhood based on that exact precept, I think she did the best she could with what she had at the time.

        It’s much harder to forgive her things that she’s done/continues to do to our adult relationship. If someone says OUCH, you stop and listen and try to do better, say you’re sorry. I’m pretty sure this is something we’re all supposed to learn in kindergarten. Mom never did.

        It’s likely partly me, scars go deep, you know? But I also don’t feel it’s too much to ask to be listened to, to want someone to accept you for who you are more than they preach a stupid book at you. If that’s the case, it’s poisonous and unwanted in my life.

  2. Telling my mother directly that “this isn’t about you” and “I can’t take care of your feelings, my own are enough,” has been hard. It’s been hard telling her to stop right there when she veers into criticism when I’m already struggling. I know and understand what she does when she’s uncomfortable, and I do some of the same things, too, sometimes.

    But it’s still hard, and I empathize with your struggle. Any relationship where there is no effort or energy returned is not sustainable.

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