Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where do I go from here?

I'm hurt and confused and conflicted and angry.  On the trip to Spokane, when my stepdad and I would fight, my mom wouldn't stick up for me, wouldn't defend me, and would blame me for starting things. (That last part was true about half the time, I'll be honest).
   Her love language is gifts; she was always spending money on my sister and I.  Buying us nice clothes, toys, etc when we were little.  She worked a lot and wasn't often around (I was a 1st grade latchkey kid), so she tried to make up for it with money.  When we got older, she never said no to things.  Even going into extreme credit card debt because she would spend more on us than she made.  To this day, I have a hard time managing money because I was never taught anything but instant gratification.  I'm 27, and she still pays my student loan, buys us groceries, and goes crazy overboard at Christmas.
   Since we got back on Friday, I haven't talked to her because my feelings were hurt.  She's tried to call and email a few times, but I was sorting through my feelings.  On the drive back Friday, I went back and forth with just being done with her.  Because I need more than just money, if that makes sense.  I want to be treated like an adult. I want her to respect me and take me seriously. I want her to spend time with me doing fun things, like she did with my sister.  I want...to matter to her, and to know it.
   So today, she texted me and said she loved me and was thinking about me.  I responded with: "if you love me, then please try showing it in a way that doesn't involve you throwing money at me and thinking your job as a parent is done. perhaps by sticking up for me with [stepdad].  or not treating me like an inconvenience. especially as i gave up a week of my time, and my van to support you through the stephanie mess."
   She replied with "I thank you for your assist, and time."
I don't know where to go from here. I wanted so much more than what she gave. I wanted an apology, an explanation, a...something. I don't know. In so many other places in my life, I've said "If they are bringing me down, then F them."  I have no long term relationships because I drop people like hot potatoes.  And this is something I've considered time and again with my mom.  But now I am really leaning towards being done with her, as horrible as that sounds.
   I can't have a conversation with her that is anything more than slightly superficial.  I can't talk about my feelings, I can't talk about the hurts I have and the pain I'm going through.  I couldn't talk to her when I was a kid; I suffered through an abusive teacher for years before she wondered my grades in those classes were so low. I can't talk to her about my bipolar, or recovering from abuse.  I can't talk to her about how I felt cheated out of a childhood.  I can talk about how irritated I am about the foster kid situation.  If I need money, she'll give it, or buy us groceries or something.  But I think I deserve more.
   On the other hand, part of me feels like I should go easy on her because she won't change.  I know that she's still trying to recover from an extremely abusive childhood, an abusive first marriage, and a difficult marriage with my stepdad.  I logically understand she can't give me what I need, but emotionally, I can't stop myself from resenting her for it.
   I just don't know what to do.

6 comments:

  1. Hugs. I'm so sorry for everything you're experiencing. I hope that your husband and friends are there to support and help you. I'm not sure if you're already seeing a therapist for your depression but if so it might help to sort some of these things out there.

    As far as things go with your mom, even if she was an emotionally healthy and whole person (which it sounds as though she never has been) she's still crippled with grief and guilt over your sister's death. I know you're hurting but if there ever was a time to lay off your mom I think it would be now. You know she's not going to give what you're looking for. Perhaps at some point when the grief is not so fresh you can persuade her to attend counseling with you and you can try work through your relationship (if you haven't already tried this) but that will have to wait.

    For now I think the best you can do is simply decide whether having your mom in your life as is hurts more than it helps. If you need to distance yourself from her for awhile then do it. If she pushes you give more than you're able then it's OK to tell her that you're grieving and need some space to process. Refuse to allow her to guilt or intimidate you into changing your mind and focus on meeting your own needs.

    Anyway, I hope you're not offended that I offered up my outsider's opinion. If it doesn't feel right to you then please disregard it. Mostly I just hope that will be able to find the love and support you're looking for, even if it doesn't come from your mom. Good luck.

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    1. Yeah. Counseling is definitely in the cards. Good advice all the way around, though. I appreciate you!

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  2. I agree with Angela 100% and appreciate her being here with you.

    Hugs and virtual support.

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  3. I see so much of my own relationship and difficulties with my mom in what you express with yours. I sincerely resent how she was never there for me as a child, and how much she did then, and still continues, to allow her own hurts and pains crowd out her ability (and perhaps even willingness) to have a happy and healthy relationship with me. She owes me some massive apologies that I will never get, and she owes it to me to attempt to f**king understand the only child of hers that hasn't made a life-long habit of substance abuse to cope with the pain, sorrow and anguish suffered while growing up under my parents' roof.

    Once upon a time, she pushed me out of my entire family's life because of a disagreement about how she was treating my wife (poorly).

    And yet, I have not reciprocated. There are many reasons, but foremost is that I know that shoving my mother out of my own life does not make my own demons disappear. It doesn't change me or make me a better person. In some ways, the more I confront the wrongs I see in my mother, the more I see how they have effected me and made me who I am, for better or worse. And, quite frankly, the more I am able to be gracious in confronting the wrong behavior I'm faced with, the more validating it feels to me, that I am an adult, a person of consequence, an intentionally cognitive being.

    I don't know your situation. I haven't lived with your mom or step-dad (and he does sound like a capital asshat). I'm not on your journey. I'm not you. But, five years on from losing your sister, you might be a different person. You might be a person who sincerely regrets cutting off and distancing yourself from your mom right after your sister died.

    I'm 32. And, with my mom, I've learned in the last five years that less is more. I resent the cripplingly dysfunctional religious ideology under which I was brought up. I want, for all the world, that my daughter would be protected from ever affirming any part of that damaging worldview. But, that's all my poor, ignorant mother has to hold onto. And, as much as I would love to see her be a more enlightened being (not to mention getting to quit being the adult in my relationship with her), she probably never will. I would love nothing more than a sincere apology for all of this. However, I'm not going to try to make her pay by causing her the pain I have felt inside. I came into her life so late (she was 22 when she had me), I have not the perspective to act as judge and jury of her. I sure wish I did. It would make me feel an awful lot better.

    The truth is, the solution and peace to your suffering lie within you. They do not lie without, in your relationship with your mother or anyone else. If you are to find that which calms and nourishes your soul, you must look within. Find what or who helps you to do that, and dive head-long into it.

    In the end, you have to make your own decisions, and what strangers on the Internet say shouldn't sway that one way or the other. Good luck. You'll be in my thoughts.

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    1. You make excellent points. I guess I am trying to punish my mom for being who she is. I understand, logically, that she clings to Mormonism because it makes her feel safe. I think I'll take your advice and look inward for a bit. And perhaps cutting her off all together is too much too soon.
      I hope things with your mother are better, and that you are able to protect your daughter.
      Thank you, as always. :)

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