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Contentious

This is a story that has been a while in coming.  There are many things about me, about my past...deep, dark things that I have not even let out here.  Things I have trouble dealing with.  Nothing as bad as some I have seen here, but for me in my realm of experience they are bad for me, if that makes any sense.

As I write this, I have only spoken to my mother three times in the past two months.  Each time we have spoken we have yelled at each other.  All because I finally told her exactly what I felt and exactly what I thought.  How much I hated the way she has always treated me and how much I absolutely hate myself when I see myself treat my darling daughter the way she treated me.  All of the things I have held onto for years...all of the things I have bottled up and not said.  it all came out, and in a way that is very typical for me when I finally blow my top it was not very pretty when it finally spewed. 

I hardly know where to start with trying to explain it all...one of the reasons I have not written anything yet.  I like to tell coherent, linear stories and not knowing a good starting point makes that hard.  I guess I can start with a brief history of me.  My parents divorced when I was about two or three...  my mother remarried a rather abusive man when I was five.  He was emotionally and mentally abusive--he only struck me a couple of times.  She now claims that he struck her quite a bit but if you knew my mother and her penchant for blowing things out of proportion in general you might doubt that too.  When I was in 6th grade she divorced him.  After that, it was just her and me until I was 15, at which time I moved in with my father and stepmother and remained with them until I was 18.

All my young life, for as long as I can remember, my mother was depressed.  She was always sick with something, and she was always depressed.  I do not ever remember her being happy.  And when she was depressed she would cling to me... she would lean on me like I was the crutch that was supposed to hold her up.  Or she would be angry with me for no reason.  But she usually just leaned on me as her emotional support system.  I was a KID!!!  What did I know about lending emotional support to an adult?? 

It never mattered what I did, it was never pleasing to her.  No matter what happened or how I did something it was the wrong way to do it.  She was and is still highly critical and she has the guilt-trip manipulation techniques down to a fine science.  Always has... still does.  Even now, as an adult, if I do something the first thing out of her mouth is a critical comment.

example: Before we were married, my husband replaced my van.  Bought it outright for the kids and I because the van I had (which had been my mothers' before she gave it to me) was starting to have some serious mechanical problems.  I showed up at her retirement home to show her the new van and the very first thing out of her mouth was "what if you do not marry this man?!??"....  WHAT??  I am engaged to be married and she is saying this?  The next thing out of her mouth was "there was nothing wrong with my old van!!!!"...  ummmm, yeah there was.  Which was why we chose to replace the van while we had the cash in hand and had an amazing deal (we got the new on for half the bluebook value)  No "wow that's nice" or any nice question of "why?"...  just a judgement on how bad my choice was.

another example:  My daughter's girl scout troop was going rapelling a couple years ago.  I had never tried it and I wanted to do it.  So I did and I had a blast!!!  I loved it!!!  (My daughter was not so fond of it--lol)   I tell my mother, and what came out of her mouth??  "what would you want to do that for??"....  you have GOT to be kidding me!!! 

I tell her I am going to go camping with the boys... or I am working on training... or I want to take a class to learn a new skill...  her response is always a highly critical "why" followed by all the negative reasons why I shouldn't do anything but sit on my a$$ for the rest of my life and wait for death to take me, just like she does.

She will not ever be happy until I am as miserable as she is.  And I refuse to become her.

Anyway, back to me not talking to her.  Since she has moved to the city I live in we have been members of two churches.  One of her favorite things to do for attention is tell her Sunday School friends what a horrible daughter I am...  how I neglect her so, how I am a questionable mother, how I am irresponsible and forgetful and cannot be relied upon.  In this area of the country that has far-reaching consequences.  If my own mother is bad-mouthing me this way then there is no way I could be any different, right?  I couldn't be a strong, reliable, responsible adult of my own accord... not possibly.  Not here anyway.  She maligns me to them which affects how they see me and how the treat me...that in turn effects how they regard me in the volunteer work I do with the church...and I end up paying a price personally because my mother has found yet another way to punish me for not being what she wants me to be; for not doting on her hand and foot as she expects me to.  This last go-round I was even pounced on by the pastor himself--in public!...  This last conversation with her I tried to tell her how angry I was with her for causing that and she just kept saying that she never told him to climb me in public like that.  It doesn't matter--she told her friends, who she knew would go to him. She's really not that stupid that she couldn't figure out that little daisy chain...

I just can't take dealing with her anymore.  I can't take being constantly criticized and put down by her...  no matter what I say or do she has something negative or mean to say to me about it, to the point my husband has put her in her place multiple times for me so I wouldn't have to deal with it.  I do not meet her expectations, and her expectations are too high of a grown woman with an active family... she expects to be our matriarch and expects us all to fawn at her feet.  She expects me to force my kids to do so, and my husband as well...  in her mind we are here to serve her.  I refuse to put my family through that.

I know this story is rambling, and part of it is the fact that I am trying to express a lifetime's worth of anguish in as small a space as I can fit it... I also know there are some of you out there who are very angry with me right now, as you would just about kill to have your own mothers back and I want you to know my heart goes out to you.  I would love to have a mother that was loving and supportive myself, but I have never had that... and now I am struggling to be that for my own kids myself.  Most days failing miserably.

This song keeps catching in my head:

"Because Of You"

I will not make the same mistakes that you did
I will not let myself
Cause my heart so much misery
I will not break the way you did,
You fell so hard
I've learned the hard way
To never let it get that far

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I lose my way
And it's not too long before you point it out
I cannot cry
Because I know that's weakness in your eyes
I'm forced to fake
A smile, a laugh everyday of my life
My heart can't possibly break
When it wasn't even whole to start with

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me
Because of you
I am afraid

I watched you die
I heard you cry every night in your sleep
I was so young
You should have known better than to lean on me
You never thought of anyone else
You just saw your pain
And now I cry in the middle of the night
For the same damn thing

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything
Because of you
I don't know how to let anyone else in
Because of you
I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty
Because of you
I am afraid

Because of you
Because of you
 

 

dyin2live dyin2live 31-35, F 22 Responses May 19, 2008

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my mother does that to me too - bad mouthing. i know how you feel.i have no friends in the area where i live cos everyone thinks i am a b*** who treat her poor mum so badly. question is i am bad to her now cos she was bad to me when i needed her tthe most when i was young and helpless. but what was her reason to be so bad with me when i was only a child? she is an enemy living in our midst. i just deal with all her crap day in and day out thinnking she is a punishment for all my bad karmas in past lives. torture me and settle the account now. i hope to never ever see you again. i hateeeeeeeeeeeeeeee her. i gre up like an orphan. no body believes me when i tell them my mother is a selfish, cold, greedy monster.

I have a mother like yours she did all the same things to me I stopped talking to her now she sends crazy cards and letters trying to make me feel bad and guilty.

My family, My mother-<br />
I should not go to college because she did not and did not see why I should. I did not want to date but was forced to date my brothers friend to make my depressed brother happy. I obtained a drivers license at 18 even bought a car (which I hid) but could not drive it until I was 20 and after MUCH fighting. Ultimately found friendship with brother's friend in frustration confusion and desperation moved out ending up married to him (somewhat reluctantly) but things were much better Until I become pregnant and than intermittently encountered abuse for about 10 years every 6 mos or so. She seems supportive and likes to blame him of course but ultimately end the "counseling" with We tried to tell you not to marry him. WE told you so ....I was so tried of being told having my leash jerked and wish I would have had the strength not to go through with the marriage which i attempted to turn from weeks before I married but I was well programmed to feel guilt and this time He and His mother were providing the trip. But to have my family lead me down this path against my will and than at the last minute - Not ask what I wanted but again telling me to do it their way only interfered with my understanding what I needed to do ..lest I believe in and think for myself. I just wish she would acknowledge this but she can't own it. I understand we all have shortcoming and are weak at times. but don't blame the abused for stumbling when you've tripped them . Try to be unselfish enough to put yourself in my head and heart at that time.... and just say Sorry.... but the fact that you will blame me to save yourself from accountability just proves nothing has changed. Your mentality to treat me like a pet still exists and given the same circumstances you would disfunction the same way. After everything that has happened , I guess that's what hurts the most .

I don't get along with my mother. And after many years, I'm fed up of her and am now able to say that I can stay away from her. <br />
But I have problems with other people when I do this. People like my brother and a couple of relatives know (and have experienced my mother's behavior)and they are not empathetic to me. They choose her over me every time.<br />
Friends and family that don't know think my family is fine.If only I could tell them what I've been through all my life. But I know it would backfire-they would think I am nuts because most of them manage to get along with their parents. <br />
My mother and I know common people. I cannot get close to these people because of the relationship I have with my mother. I have "friends" but not anyone who really wants to know me. If I criticize my mother, people will be turned off by me and judge me- I wish I could be honest and yet not be ostracized. No one but my husband sees how my mother really is with me.She puts on a big act in front of people- not for me, always for herself.<br />
This is really affecting my life. What do I do?

Our stories about our mothers are very similar. I sympathize with you so much on this subject. My mother leaned on me as a child expecting me to react like a grown-up. I'm not sure that our whole story is the same, as I have another issue with my mother I'm not sure if you ever dealt with. I've listed it below. <br />
<br />
I was always leaned on by my mom when I was a child -- that is -- if she didn't have a man in her life. Everytime a new man came into her life, I was suddenly swept under the carpet and no longer needed. Then, when her relationship didn't work out and was between husbands/boyfriends, she wanted me around again. <br />
<br />
Example: I was in the hospital once at 27 with a severe lung infection. My husband stayed with me, because the doctors thought there was a possibility I could die. My mom stopped by the hospital for about a half hour and said she had to leave because her boyfriend was expecting her. <br />
<br />
Worse example: She was a single mom for the most part. We had a one bedroom apartment so we shared a room. When I was 10, she wanted her boyfriend to spend the night and asked if I would sleep on the couch. I said, no. She went on for a couple of hours about how she wished she never had me, how she hated me, etc., all because she wanted to have sex with her boy friend and I didn't want to go to the couch. <br />
<br />
I am now in my late 30's and she's doing the same thing to me. The only time she has time for me is when the man in her life has something else planned. <br />
<br />
The man in her life is an a**, just as most all the men in her life have been. Neither my husband nor I have any desire to spend any time with him. She keeps trying to push him on me.<br />
<br />
And my mother, like yours, is perfect at giving guilt trips.<br />
<br />
I feel for you. I see it's been a year since your original post. I hope you are feeling better. <br />
<br />
Perhaps I should write my own story on this subject. <br />
<br />
Thank you for writing this. It came at a time I needed to hear that I'm not the only one experiencing this sort of thing.

Thank you LespaulmarK. :D I truly appreciate that.

i think your a very strong person its hard to talk about these .

Your line here: "Yes, there is some tension, and I know she is really watching what she does or says to me, but honestly I would rather have the low-grade tension over the constant guilt-trips and second-guessing every single thing I did or said."<br />
<br />
That is better than anything I have come up with in my research. Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration. You are so correct in your assertiveness- if it takes getting loud... then that is what it takes, but we have to take care of ourselves number 1!!<br />
My mother has survived a horrible childhood and now is such a needy widow. I know for a fact that she will never be healed until she meets God in Heaven, but that does not give her the right to take out her pain on me just because I am her daughter!!!<br />
You did the right thing and it sure worked for you! I am so happy to hear that you are working so hard to protect yourself and not allow the pattern to keep repeating!<br />
Rock on!!!!

It was actually all summer last summer. I just stopped talking to her. When I would lose my temper with her she would act like I was going to beat her or something, and the last time I talked to her I told her exactly how she had made me feel and for how many years and that I was sick of it... Of course, I was yelling at her by that point so it wasn't the most constructive way to deal with the issue, but it did the trick--she stopped calling and so did I. Since we attended the same church people would ask me how she was and I would just tell them I hadn't heard from her (she's wheelchair-dependent and can't drive so she wasn't attending services if nobodybrought her) If she did manage to make it to church I would allow the kids to go say hi and sometimes she managed to corner me and I would simply say hello to her, but nothing else. No other contact whatsoever. She ended up contacting me first by the end of the summer, and all through the fall things were still quiet. They are actually quiet to this day. <br />
<br />
Yes, there is some tension, and I know she is really watching what she does or says to me, but honestly I would rather have the low-grade tension over the constant guilt-trips and second-guessing every single thing I did or said. Our relationship has changed a lot but I think that is because, for the first time in my life, she is treating me like an adult rather than a kid that needed to have her hand held everywhere she went. I proved I would not be a doormat to her and she found out I was serious because I just stopped taking it.<br />
<br />
Again, I am not saying that I handled this in the most constructive manner at all....but it ended up being the only manner that worked with my mother with the way she is.

How did you get back into a relationship with your mom after that long silence? Did you initiate or did she? My mom actually called yesterday, and I still haven't called back. Just don't know how to begin. Don't know how to "relate" to her anymore. <br />
Do you feel your relationship has changed a lot since and is there a lot of tension? <br />
I want to try but I no longer want to cry - ya know???<br />
I want to find a way to deal with her carefully so as not to let her walk all over me- I will go back in ready to walk away as soon as I feel attacked. Maybe that is the answer. Just keep walking away every time she treats me badly......<br />
It worked for you... I will give it a try!

You know, I finally had to stop talking to my mother for several months. She didn't see her grandkids, she didn't see me, no contact--nothing. It was not exactly the most constructive thing to do but once I did finally start talking to her again she started to behave herself and she hasn't treated me that way since... I'm not necessarily advocating that as a solution, just letting you know what has finally worked for me.

Remember- you are not alone! I don't understand why some of us have had to endure such abuse from our own mothers... I just went to the library yesterday to try and find a book to help me survive this. I struggle with how to stand up for myself. I told her last week that I am angry about what she said to me and she actually said I am too sensitive and again, "we just don't get along" My husband keeps telling me IF and when I speak to her next [haven't talked to her since that day] that I should demand an apology. He doesn't understand that she isn't normal- she is TOXIC. She doesn't understand the word aplogy!!! She would have to admit her cruelty and hell will freeze over before she faces that reality!!!<br />
I am still searching for the answer of how to survive this emotionaly abusive relationship!!! If this was with any other human being- I would not think twice about walking away and never looking back.. this whole mother thing... I don't understand the strong feeling of guilt at that thought...

Thank you so much for that comment, Chiak. Even though I wrote this story a long time ago, I have had events in my life in the past couple weeks occur that I have ended up needing to be reminded that I am not a doormat... Your words helped me! :D

I completely am with you in your life story. I cannot stand the way my mother tortures me with the guilt. The power these women have! My mother never wants to really hear what I am doing in my life either if it isn't what she would want - she is emeshed with me. Shuts me down too- your mom butts in with why??/ my mother, I don't know just somehow always takes an opposite stand on what I do or say and tries to make me feel like crapp and pretty much always succeeds!! No one would ever be mad at you or hate you for feeling how you do. Any good human being knowing your story would feel complete and utter empathy for you - what you endure. Do not feel guilty for blowing up with anger at your mother. She drove you to it. Remember the most peaceful person ever on earth, Jesus Christ, had to use anger in the temple to get things to change. God gave us the emotion anger to help us protect ourselves. You cannot let anyone, even your own mother, walk all over you. <br />
Stay Strong!

Honestly, I tried that once. My family chose to change churches a couple of years ago. One thing I left out of the story is that she is wheelchair-dependent and relied on me to get her to and from church. I suggested that she stay at our old church several times, and even made a very convincing argument that she should not leave her friends....but she would not hear of it. She just assumed I would take her to the new church and expected me to pick her up as usual. Then spent the next several months putting me through a guilt-trip for "making" her change churches. If I went to another church, she'd just follow me there too. She honestly does not believe that 1. I am a capable adult, and 2. that I should have a life of my own. <br />
<br />
And I have friends at this church--friends I do not want to leave, and that I feel like I should not have to give up just because of her.

Don't we talk every night sweetie? LOL ;) <br />
I know what you mean...

you and i should talk

Thank you XW.... but I am not totally innocent here either. The way I finally stood up to her was not done in the most constructive manner. For that I do feel badly, but with the way she is there is no way I can go back and apologize for the way it came out without her totally dismissing the validity of my feelings as well. So I will just have to let it stand the way it came out, and learn to live with that.

I think that there may be many people who have had similar difficulties and experiences, but not many who have the courage and wisdom to recognize these issues and stand up to them as you have done!<br />
<br />
Bravo to you!

thank you...both of you...

I agree with Emerald. Let this be a healing process.

This had to be hard and emotional for you to write! Kudos to yur bravery! And Kudos to standing up to Mom! It might NOT change her ways toward YOU... but I have a feeling it might be the start to YOUR OWN personal healing and growth in life! :)