May 30, 2018

i need to know how to break up with my mother

In a continuation of so many other things in my life seeming to slip away, the job thing is a bust.  Politics washed it all down the drain.  So much for looking forward to a change and a raise and a promotion.  It was yanked away.

Last year, it was our best friends in the whole world.  This year, the Universe has taken our precious dog and my some-words-other-than-precious mother, and yesterday it took my dignity because I picked up barbecue from our local restaurant and the furniture consignment store next door had put some nifty things out on display on the sidewalk, and I was walking and looking at a shabby chic bench we don't need and it had just rained a lot and I walked right into a huge hole in the parking lot that was full of water and it went "kersploosh" and five people saw me and I had to keep walking, and my sandals made a "click - squish - click - squish" sound all the way to my car.  But fuck them, because I had barbecue.  And onion rings for the kid.  And Wet Shoe, which is almost as bad as Wet Sock.

The lithium wasn't phoned in at the pharmacy.  My psy-doc forgot about me.

I'll also bet $0.62 that Thursday coffee with my preoccupation object will get canceled again this week.  That is how much loose change I have in my car right now.  It's mostly pennies.  I'd be sorry about the pennies, but you don't have to worry about it because I'll win anyway and then you'll owe me $0.62 and I'll have enough for a coffee refill at Sheetz after that.  I'll send you my Paypal account info.

I know I'm wallowing in self-pity at this point, because P.J. and the kid and Therapist Gumby have been there like god-damned solid rocks for me, and I for them, but I'm also in a lot of pain, so I'm trying to climb out of the self-pity by making plans about how to deal with the stupid shit like coffee dates and mothers and not being properly medicated.

I tell P.J. I feel like Charlie Brown wanting to kick the football.  She points out that no one behind any of the yanked-away things is of malicious intent the way Lucy was.

Fine.  She has a point.  But then I counter with Psychology 101 and the power of random reinforcement.  What if Charlie Brown had been allowed to kick the football every now and then, just often enough to make him always believe it would happen this time?  And does it really matter whether Lucy was mean and doing it on purpose?  What if Lucy really meant to let him kick it every single time, but something always happened?  A bird shat on her shoulder, or she fainted, or her armpit itched?  Things completely out of her control.  I'm sure Charlie Brown would have been understanding, always understanding.  But he still landed flat on his ass each time, didn't he?

I'm belaboring Peanuts.  I'll stop.

I just had to add the word "shat" to the dictionary in Blogger.

The meds will sort themselves out.  We'll get there.

Grief is grief.  Chester is not coming back.  We'll grieve.  We'll say he's at peace; we'll say he's not suffering; we'll remind ourselves that he had a good, long life; we'll cry whenever we see the places in the house he isn't.  For a really long time.  We'll get there.

Which brings us to mothers.  How do you break up with your mother?

We lost any chance of a meaningful relationship when I was twelve, even though that chance would have been slim and Slim was packing his rucksack.  Reading my diary wouldn't have been the biggest of deals if we weren't on rocky ground to begin with, and there was a lot of stuff in there about my Teacher and the innermost contents of my psyche, as opposed to which boy I might have had a crush on (I didn't) and hearts and kisses and inspirational quotes.

(Is that what other girls have in their diaries?  I have no idea.  I wouldn't go and read them.  I have a modicum of respect.  My son has one from a few years ago and I've never even been tempted.  For real.)

She read it and took from me what I would have never in a gazillion trillion epochs and eons given her willingly.  That sounds like something stupid I should have gotten over, but it wasn't stupid, or small.  It broke something that was already cracked and there isn't enough duct tape in the world.

I have spent my entire adult life communicating with her using a frequency just this side of sufficient to ward off guilt and trigger a Thing.  But we already had a Thing, for the five years follow my meeting P.J. and coming out in 2007, and my mother started it, and I have to tell you ... it was peaceful, not having to talk to her.  The niggle of socially-conditioned guilt was always there, but you know what?  That shit was totally manageable.  Then she got back in touch with "I think it's been long enough" and I fell for it.

Yes, she gave me life, and yes, she changed my diapers, and yes, she dropped me off at the skating rink and picked me up from school sometimes.

Maybe I'm not appreciating that "gave me life" part because I'm hanging on to even wanting to be alive by a thread, and some of that might be because of everything that didn't happen after being born.  Or maybe it's because I happen to know she got knocked up so my dad would marry her, because her modus operandi was always to have kids to make relationships stick.

I suck at being glue.  I'm like those generic glue sticks that result in bits of construction paper peeling off kids' projects and coming to rest in the middle of the school hallway.

I don't think she's aware that we're by-products.  I don't think she's aware that most things have always been about her.

I don't think she's aware that you can love somebody and still not be able to have a relationship with them.  What's that word the self-help books use?  Oh, yeah.  Toxic.

There are healthy relationships based on one person continuing to talk to someone only because they owe that person something.  These people are called tenant and landlord, respectively.

I want to ghost her.  I'd officially break up with her, but that would require writing something and then having a pit in my stomach because I'd be dreading her reply, and given my aversion to confrontation, I'm totally cool with being a selfish coward about this and going with ghosting.  Just disappear.  You don't call.  You don't write.  Return to sender.  Address unknown.

See all that stuff up there?  It won't take away the guilt, the eensie back-of-the-mind awareness that I'm out of compliance with societal expectations and possibly something with a moral basis and that it's my fault for being dramatic and over-reactive.  I know people whose mothers are far more toxic and they continue to put up with their shit.  That shouldn't have a bearing on my own choice, because that's their choice, but it makes me question the ghosting anyway.

And worse, there is knowing that nothing whatsoever, not even a battering ram to the head, will make her see that it's in any way due to anything about her.  Which is funny, since everything is about her, except personal responsibility.  For the rest of her days, she'll hold the opinion that I'm a terrible, wayward daughter and she's been victimized, and also that I'm a prodigal daughter who will repent and return and ask Jesus to forgive me for my sins, chief among which will be viciously carving out personal liberty from her, when I realize how very much I need her and how wrong I've been.  She will, in short, be wounded and disapprove of me.

Why does that bother me?

Oh.  Right.  I've spent the last forty-one years as an approval junkie.  It tends to become a habit.

It's not me.  It's you.

Therapist Gumby gives me permission to ghost her, and also points out that because nothing is black-and-white, always gray, it can be the right thing to do for myself and the bit that makes it gray, the lingering whisper of guilt and disapproval, will just have to be there, and I'll still be better off saddled with that instead of everything I do now to avoid it.  I think it's like physical pain.  It's never as bad as you're afraid it's going to be, once you're in the middle of it.  Like a flu shot.

Is that how I break up with my mother?  I just drive myself to the clinic anyway and know it's going to hurt, and come away ten minutes later realizing that the shot wasn't that bad and I just did something really good for myself?

1 comment:

  1. You have every right to break it off with your mother. The same way that you wouldn't want to have any other toxic person around you don't need to have her involved in your life. It won't be easy but giving yourself permission to do it is the first step. You have too many people who care about you (including me) and accept you the way you are. I don't know everything that you have been through with her & the rest of your family, other than what you have shared here, but you need to do what is best for you & PJ & the kid. You can ghost her, ignore her or flat out tell her that you don't want to deal with her BS anymore, but you have no reason to feel guilty for doing any of them. It's really easy for me to say but I've been through it with my dad. I finally realized that it's okay deep down inside to love someone but still doesn't mean that you have to like them or even have them in your life. You can't change the fact that she is your mother but you have your own family now in PJ & the kid so concentrate on healing yourself. If that means cutting ties with those that are not only unhealthy for you to interact with in any way but actually toxic then do it. Love you!