I spent my entire childhood on eggshells around her. Her anger controlled our household -- even my dad. My sisters and I spent a great deal of our childhood in what I now refer to as "anger limbo." What would set her off? Would she yell horrible things at us? Hit us? Ironically, the worst was when she'd completely ignore us and bide her time, allowing anxiety and fear to build until she exploded. The anticipation of her angry words, cursing and name-calling led to such anxiety that I would often feel physically sick or get headaches.
It pains me to remember my childhood this way. I didn't have a mother to confide things in or share life experiences with. As I sit here now, I try to think of a single time the words, "I love you" came out of her mouth and were directed toward me. I cannot think of one single instance. I felt as nothing more than a disappointment and an inconvenience. I tried my absolute best to be everything I thought she wanted -- everything that would make her happy. I subscribed to her beliefs, thinking that her way of doing things was the gospel truth. When I would break down to the few friends I had in school, they were dismayed at the stories I would tell them, as if I had made them up. I finally got to the point where I just stopped talking about it. No one believed me anyway.
My separation from my mother was my own decision and it happened when I was in my 20s and about to be engaged. My then-fiance nearly bent over backwards to get to know her, but she would literally hide in her bedroom when he came in and tried to speak with my father, who even held back to try and appear to be on my mother's side and keep peace in our house. I had graduated college and was living at home and working at a doctor's office and saving for a car. My fiance had moved to Chicago and wanted me to come visit with him for a weekend. My mother threw a fit and made it very clear that if I went to see him, she was done with me and he "wouldn't be welcomed in our home" (as if he was in any case!). I finally had enough of her controlling and absurd ways and moved out the next morning when she was away at work.
Looking back, it seems absurd that I was afraid of her and manipulated by her for so long, even up until my adult years. There are still members of my family (even two of my sisters) who are angry with me for causing so much "hurt and pain" for my mother since I refuse to speak with her or see her. I still see how she affects them both and how she was worked her way into their minds and made things so difficult.
I am now a mother to a beautiful young daughter. The one thing I take away from my past is how NOT to mother my child. It's hard to admit that the one person who was supposed to love, nurture and protect me made me feel so horrible. I see the effects of my upbringing in my life even now and continuously work on improving myself. I owe it to my own daughter to let her know that she is loved and cared for, no matter her choices. I am thankful to my husband for supporting me and being understanding while I battled my demons during the early years of our time together. He has helped me grow and has shown nothing but love for me and his family.