"Some times I feel like a motherless child"
I had never heard of this song until today. Turns out its an old "negro spiritual" as wikipedia so puts it. I felt an instant feeling when I heard it. It was a gentle pointing and a "that's it!, That's how I feel". A eureka moment.
I've struggled to explain my relationship (or lack thereof) with my mother, both to others and in my own head. I've long tried to find a simple statement to sum up my experience, that neither exaggerates or downplays it. Because the truth is, no one wants to sit through a bunch of stories with me coming off as trying to make my case as the heroine and she the villain. I'm not trying to do that.
The hardest part is, for me at least. Is my sister seems to both have had a very different experience than I did, and the parts we share, she doesn't seem as sensitive to. I've had her say "so?" when I describe something my mother did that stabbed me to the core. I truly believe she perceives things differently, and I do not fault her or feel she is insensitive. Perhaps I'm over sensitive and that's the root of the whole damn issue. At the same time I wish for once she could understand why I'm so traumatized.
Very few people witnessed the things that occurred (or didn't to be more exact). My sister, whos perceptions don't match mine. My Father, who, when he did catch glimpses of the crap that was going on, reacted quite strongly to the situation. And lastly, my Best friend growing up, Andrea and to a lesser extent, her mother. Whom, while mostly dealt with the situation second hand, made it very clear to me that she understood something abnormal was going on.
Andrea was great for witnessing my experiences and confirming their deviance from norm. I think part of my issue as an adult is not having her anymore to validate what happened. Its basically my word against my mothers.
For a long time I actually made peace with what had happened. I understood she was a product of a messed up upbringing and she was mentally ill. Its not her fault. But something still nagged at me. The fact of the matter is that she would hide her real behavior from every person who was around. This is the main reason I am so upset, even as an adult. To me, you only do this sort of thing if you know that you are doing something you shouldn't be.
Whether that's just another manifestation of her mental illness, or just crappy judgement, or demons from the past, or shitty upbringing, or trauma I don't know. No matter what its from, its sad on so many levels. I think though, what makes me sad about it, is the inability she has to own it. Which also can be a delusion caused by mental illness.
According to her, she was a stellar parent, anything I remember is fabricated.
Anyone who has read this blog for any length of time knows I hate hate hate liars. I'm certainly not one of them. I am honest to a fault, the blunt kind of honest that makes people hate you in droves. Its part of the aspergers. Honesty takes on a clinical diagnosic feel for me. It's defining. As I type this I can't help but wonder if my mother is the reason why I am so deeply affected when I meet a new liar. It could be baggage from childhood I suppose....
Her delusions, nonsensical "logic", and lack of patterns pretty much make her function like an unintentional liar. She was random and unpredictable, and I as an aspy thrive on routine and logic. No matter how much I tried to placate her, nothing seemed to work. She'd change the rules constantly and be mad when you didn't read her mind. It felt like I was being fucked with. If you want privilage A you have to do chore B. Then next week that no longer applied and when you asked for an explanation none was given. I was punished constantly for things that didn't make any sense. It wasn't the punishment, but the delusional reasoning behind things. I would be told I couldn't go somewhere because a car was going to veer off the road and kill me. Then an hour later she told me I could go anyway (wtf???). You were told you couldn't do this or that because god or a spirit had told her something bad was going to happen if you did. I remember being confused by this logic as I didn't feel she loved me. Thus why do you care if something bad happens to me? It felt more like a way to control and micromanage me, and in all honesty, It might have been.
Nothing was ever without a criticism and encouragement was non existent. When she wasn't being negative, nonsensical, or critical she ignored me as much as possible. I remember asking her on several distinct occasions, as a young child why she had children if she didn't want them. Take a second and let that sink in. A young child voicing that they feel unwanted and the following reaction...
Her reply would always be "I did want kids" matter of factly. As if she was answering a math question. She'd answer without breaking eye contact with the Tv. At which point she'd wave me away and continue watching television. When I would be even more direct, asking why she didn't want to talk to us or play with us, her reply would be "I do that all the time" with another tv induced wave away. The answer always baffled me because It would take weeks or months of being ignored to get up the courage to ask the question to begin with. As an adult I don't see how the child asking that to begin with wasn't heartbreaking and a ginormous red flag that something was wrong. Let alone something that could be blown off so you don't miss Oprah.
The disinterest began about 7 years old and was pretty sudden. I was like a discarded toy that had lost its novelty. It only grew as time went on. As did the paranoia and negativity. I have zero memories of being comforted when I was upset, and was either ignored or told to knock off the crying. I cried alot as a child, I had so many things to be upset about and no anchor to ground me. The emotional absence left everything cold.
I'll only indulge in one story, but I think Its worth sharing. We were at my Aunts house and my mother was telling my aunt about something her sister had done or not done to/for her. I forget what it was exactly but I remember thinking she was being awful nasty about it considering what the transgression was. At some point my mother burst into tears (something I had never seen before) and began sobbing something along the lines of "I just want my sister to love me". My aunt, also probably shocked at seeing whats normally a stone cold statue cry, just sat there. I felt compelled to do something to make her feel better, even though I couldn't really empathize with what she was experiencing. I went over and stood next to her. She ignored me. I put my hand on her arm. She ignored me. I tried to hug her (which I must have learned on tv) and I realized a few seconds in that It was indeed, like hugging a statue. There was no reciprocation. Then suddenly... She then threw me off her roughly and loudly screamed "get off me!". I stood there for a moment, watching her continue to sob, doing the child version of shaking my head in disbelief, and then I went back to my toys in the living room. The look on my aunts face was total shock.
That story pretty much sums up my relationship with my mother. Negative and easily pissed off over trivial things and rejecting anything resembling closeness or love from their child. All peppered with lots and lots of ignoring and disinterest. The only thing that makes that story different than the norm was she showed her behavior in front of another adult. Which rarely occurred. Part of me is angry that these adults didn't do anything, but at the same time, as an outsider I probably wouldn't have felt one incident was intervention worthy either
I suppose it teaches us all to pay better attention, and to question things when we see them.
Its late, and thats all I can transcribe for now. Goodnight.