While I was making my MLK day twitter hall of fame, I waded through a lot of Dr. King quotes. One in particular “I have decided to stick to love. Hate is too big a burden to bear” spoke to me in light of my recent issues regarding my mother’s all clear diagnosis. Over the last year or so of therapy, and writing, and whatever else I’ve been doing to finally process all the issues I have regarding her, I’ve realized one thing very clearly, and that is the less I love her, the less I love anything. Ben and the pets, being the closest living things to me on a daily basis experience the brunt of this. When I am thinking negative thoughts about my mom, or dwelling on the shitty things she did to me, I become irritable, impatient and closed off. I fantasize about shutting everyone out of my life, going to live by myself in a cabin in the woods and never talking to another human being again ever. Even though she didn’t raise me, and even though she has been my mother in name only for most of my life, I find that the way I think about her has a direct correlation to the way I think about all of my relationships. It seems strange to me that a woman who had no hand in raising me would have this effect on me, but I suppose that it does make a certain kind of sense.
She’s the person who taught me how to be part of a family. Before I met her, I was basically a sociopath, doing things people thought I should do, or the things I thought would get me what I wanted without a thought to the consequences on others. And that may just be how children are, but our family had no loyalty to each other, just a sick web of codependency and resentment. It’s my mother who taught me how to work together as a household, how to trust another person, how to depend on and be dependable for others. Yeah maybe after that she used everything she had taught me to manipulate me into taking care of her after her relapse. but I can safely say that the first things I ever learned about being in relationships with other people I learned from her. Before that, I was just trying to get fed and not hit. It’s no wonder that my feelings about my own family run so closely to my feelings about her.
As much as I want to blame everything on her, turn my back on anything she ever meant to me and retreat into a version of my life where she never existed, that’s not the reality. And as much as I want to focus on the fact that she was the one who betrayed my trust, she was the one that started to abuse me, and she was the one who was supposed to take care of me, not the other way around, I’m the only person who can affect change in my life. Which, in addition to her abusive behavior, is one of the reasons I stopped talking to her in the first place. I decide how I want to treat people, and I just didn’t see clear to a way I could have a positive interaction with someone I had such a tumultuous and confusing history with.
But we all know what not talking her did to my brain after awhile. So now I have to find a different option. I think that the first thing is realizing that her problems are not my problems. They’re her business and her struggle. What happens with her health and her life, weather or not she’s done anything to curtail her addictions, or her rage fits is none of my concern. For both of our sakes, it’s time to stop acting like the things that happen to her have any bearing on me because they don’t.
Maybe if I get some objectivity I can find out how to have a mother without being swallowed by the concept.