She Was a GhostEven from a very early age, I knew there was something "not right" with my mother. She was so distant and removed from life, as if she was just a ghost, walking aimlessly on this earth.
She has always been somewhat of a workaholic and pragmatic to the extreme. She would work long hours at the office and, when she came home, she always put on the same "uniform" (a full-length, flannel robe that covered her arms, her chest and all the way down to her feet). Once home and in this uniform, she would make dinner but never once did she sit down and eat with us. She never sat with us and watched any type of show or movie on the television. She never asked about my homework. She never helped me with any school work. She never encouraged me to do anything or be anything or go anywhere. She never took me to practice (track / basketball) and she never attended a meet or a single game. She was always keeping herself busy, with odd jobs and chores around the house. When she wasn't cleaning, she was on the phone. I am talking hours upon hours upon hours on the phone, every day and every night. And, if we were in the car (this is the days, obviously, before cell phones) she would talk to herself. I would be right there, next to her, but she didn't address me ~ she would just mutter to herself.
What I didn't know, at that point, was the abuse she was suffering from my father. I learned much later in life that he abused her mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually. He was also cheating on her, with at least two different women that I knew of. Who knows how many more there were. My mother was also brought up with a lot of abuse ~ from her mother, who was mentally ill and who shipped her off to boarding schools.
My mother had three boys, adopted me when she decided she wanted a little girl (but had a lot of complications in subsequent pregnancies) and...voila, got pregnant four years after adopting me...with a little girl. My grandmother told me that once my sister was born, my mother just ignored me. Now, I knew this. Who couldn't notice the lack of love, attention and relationship with one's own mother? But, hearing it from someone else...well, it really hit home. For me, she had very little time and always seemed bothered by my mere presence. I was not the little girl she really wanted. I was a tom-boy from the start and hated wearing dressed and having long hair and doing any of those girly things.
My sister, on the other hand, was the daughter my mother always wanted ~ she loved all things pink and pretty and frilly and girly. She wore little red shoes (resembling tap shoes or mary jane's) for YEARS. She slept in my mother's bed (after the divorce) until she was almost 8. She had long blonde with big blue eyes and was so beautiful and feminine ~ you couldn't help but lover her.
But my brothers received my mother's attention, too. Well, most of them anyways. My oldest brother did his own thing and seemed to be quite content to do so. My second oldest brother was alot like my father and, after the divorce, was given his own apartment (bills paid by my dad ~ he was still a teenager!) and dropped out of school, did a lot of drugs and began a life of petty-crime and addiction. As an adult, he now gets all sorts of attention from my mother, to the point of co-dependency and her enabling him of his addictions. (I think she's always felt guilty about him). My youngest brother is the other favorite of my mother's. He can do no wrong and never has, in her eyes. He's the one that used to beat me to the point of putting my head through walls and choking me until I almost passed out. He's the one I called my mother on, to tell her how badly he was beating me...to which her response was no more than "deal with it yourself" as she hung up on me. He's also the one that hit me square in the face, at the dinner table in front of my mother, causing my chair to fall backwards...to which her reaction to me was, "You started it."
Over the years, I have struggled with my resentment, jealousy and anger. They are struggles I continue to deal with every day.
As an adult, the relationship I have with my mother is surface-level. Yes, we talk on the phone and yes, we visit her when we are back in town, but I no longer pine for her affections and I no longer hope for her acceptance. I no longer need it and I no longer want it. I realize now what a strong and beautiful person I am, having grown up with her, like that...and yet still have love in my heart for her. But, even further to that, I realize that she really did the best that she could, with the "tools" that she was given in life. It is a vicious cycle...but, as I've said in other entries, that cycle stops here, with me. I continue to heal and to grow every day, so that I can be happy with the person that I am ~ but also so I can be the best person I can possibly be, for my sons.