My mom. I love her. But I don’t trust her. And I totally don’t understand her. We are not alike. My mom did not hold my hand and guide me to adulthood.
My mom’s only dreams were to be a mom, a housewife. She never wanted to work outside the home and still laments that she has had to do so since the divorce over 20 years ago. Sometimes I think she would prefer to still be with that monster than to have to work each day. She claims to have all kinds of terrible diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, stenosis, heel spurs, bursitis, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea, etc. The list goes on and on. She is obese, and does have high blood pressure and arthritis. The rest, I never know for sure. She refuses pain meds, stating she is allergic to them all. She has an excuse for everything that could make her feel better. All she talks about is her current pain level, and if she might stay awake to watch TV tonight.
My mom has never been to therapy. She was married to a psychopath for 26 years, she needs some serious therapy to heal from that. More excuses there, no time/money – she is fine. She is totally not fine. She has so many cognitive distortions, I just check them off while she speaks.
Now I am proud of my mom, for working daily at a crappy minimum wage retail job, and caring for my adult brother with schizophrenia that lives with her. I guess it is all too much for her to have goals and dreams for herself.
But when I share good news with my mom, I am always prepared for her downer response. She is always trying to hold me back, asking why I want to work so hard? Each time I get an offer for a new position or artistic endeavor, she just thinks I should be content to manage the house and shouldn’t take on extra duties “making my life more difficult”. I prefer difficult and exciting to easy and dull.
I love my kids, but if my only duties were to serve them, clean the house, cook the meals, and chauffeur them around – I would quickly sink into despair. My brain needs challenge and novelty to keep me going. I have 3 jobs right now, my main job, and then occasional teaching and performing gigs I take as they arise. I also am a board member (volunteer) for a local non-profit group. These things keep me very busy, on top of my kids ever- growing, busy schedule. And these things make me feel a part of our community, a part of the world. I do my part by bringing and sharing joy.
So I love my mom. I am happy with our current relationship, as I never thought there could be any relationship at all. My dad told me she hated me when I was little, so natural trust was ever there. Then all those years of abuse, my mom never protected me, so the mistrust runs deeply. She is my current cheerleader, even when she cautions me to slow down and rest. She tells me I am amazing and talented, but doing too much. When I feel low and like staying home, she will encourage me to do so. So I listen carefully, but often do not take my mom’s advice. I also feel a bit of jealousy, repeatedly surfacing in those comments. Part of her regrets her life choices, but not a big enough part for her to make any changes.
I love my mom, but I don’t ever want to be like her. I am going to steer my own ship into unchartered waters and then explore unknown worlds. I will not remain safely on the shore or pass up the chance to be the captain. Fear will not hold me back. I don’t know where I am going exactly, but I know my final destination is not my sofa.