After writing the other night, and also starting another post hashing through my “issues” it occurred to me that I should insert a little bit of reassurance. My life is okay. I’m not angry or depressed over these “issues.” Not right now, anyway. They are what they are and I deal with them as they occur (as my self-induced counseling throughout the years indicates).
While I didn’t have the proper parenting examples or relationships growing up, ultimately, I made good adult choices that have ensured that I have a stable marriage and provide a loving and consistent example/relationship for my children. I may even write sometime about the Grace of God evident in the lives of my siblings and me based on how life has evolved for all of us.
It is strange to write about parents who behave badly. People who do not have parents who behave badly often do not believe what is said about parents who do behave badly. I can’t tell you how many times I have softened a message about my relationship with my mother when I say it aloud because I don’t want to hear someone say, “Michelle! That’s your mother. She’s the only mother you have!” Or something to that effect. So I often say something like, “I don’t have a close relationship with my mother.” when what I really want to say is, “I don’t like my mother much.”
Throughout my life, I was told that my mother “did the best that she could.” And I don’t doubt that. The hard part is that for us kids, the “best she could” was nowhere near good enough. I’m sorry to have to say that, but it’s true. My own mother will talk over and over again (and over and over again) about how much she sacrificed for us kids. Over the years, I’ve learned to agree with her and just move on because there’s no way she’ll see it differently. And yes, she did sacrifice, but the thing about true sacrifice is that, when it’s a true sacrifice, you don’t continue to remind everyone about your sacrifice to serve your own self-interest.
As I explore this new term I have learned recently (narcissistic abuse) in my writing, I want to be able to share without apology.
I want you to know that yes, I love my mom. There are many times I don’t like her very much and there are scars that run deep. But I love my mom the way Christ loves us all, I want the best for her and I have compassion for the fact that there is hurt inside of her that causes her to be the way she is.
I want you to know that I can only take my mom in small doses. I don’t talk with her all that often. Eventually I guilt myself into calling her to check on her. Honestly, it’s easier if I just call when I think of it because she never calls me at a time that I want to talk with her. So, to keep it more on “my terms” I call her sometimes.
I want you to know that Mother’s Day is the most horrible-confusing-wonderful (because of my own kids)-torturous-sucky-notfun day for me.
I want you to know that even as I am able to write a bit about my relationship with my mom now, that I am still working through it every day of my life. I don’t get to have a mom like most other people have one. I have recently started to think of myself as an orphan of sorts. The things my daughters come running to me to talk about and work through are things I had to do all on my own and there’s still some anxiety and anguish about that.
I also want you to know that even though words I may write could sound whiney or ungrateful — the fact that I even write that is a symptom of my own abuse survival — I am still glad that my mom was able to do “the best that she could” and that I was able to emerge from the firestorm that was my teenage adolescence into a life that honors God, my parents (however unworthy they may be), my siblings, my husband, my children and myself.