torture – familial torture

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I wish I could feel the love. Maybe come closer to Sunday, the obligatory celebration date, I will be able to wrap my mind around the never ending flow of false love and adoration. Not unlike the heat of molten lava, I can feel the burn of blame statements and lack of gratitude for all I have tried to do to make peace with a relationship that has never worked.

As I watch my 88 year old mother shuffle through the grocery store, my heart aches. It’s this tiny woman whose mind is angry and complex. All I ever wanted from her was support for my achievements, praise for good deeds done and unconditional love. The dance I performed to achieve these accolades was exhausting. Have you ever heard, “there is no there there?” Well my whole life relationship with her is pretty much summed up in that statement. God, I just want to love her. I just want to be loved for who I am. But it isn’t going to change. It is never going to happen. Back to the grocery store shuffle. Am I sad because I know I can’t bridge this gap of discontentment with her before she passes away? Am I hurting because I never received what I truly needed as a child? Am I just confused because I can’t shut the emotions off that ruminate in my heart? I am not sure which one it is but I do know that I feel absolutely powerless to stop it. It is almost like the love left years ago with all of her rage and anger statements directed towards me.

One thing about me. I listen very carefully. I also choose my words carefully. When someone I care for is hurt by my words, I am disheartened because I try to explain things very clearly to avoid any conflict or harm. To me, words carry a lot of power and when used incorrectly, can be very painful. Because I have experienced someone who was supposed to love me deeply use words to break my spirit, it makes me extra vigilant to ensure that I be careful.

I am not proud of last week. I took my mother to the physician. She lied to the physician. I apologized to the physician. My mother had a hidden agenda of other activities for me to accomplish for her that were unplanned. It was 5 PM. Her prescription that she needed RIGHT NOW would not be ready for an hour. I became irritated and it showed in me being somewhat impatient. She also wanted to get groceries, which she does every Sunday. But this was Tuesday. I used every coping skill I was taught to avoid conflict. I finally allowed her to break me. As I felt the tears gently fall from my eyes down my cheeks, I thought about my age. The language and words she uses with me now differ not from what she would say to me as a child. How did I cope then? Those words created a very unsafe environment for me. I began to have panic attacks and anxiety when I was 11. She used to tell me that I was weak so I would have to live with her all of my life. On some level, I believed this because I was always sick. But there was a little fighter in me that pushed back. I pushed hard enough to escape her mental prison to find my own way. But the scars were very deep indeed. And even though I have had the best therapy from an amazing psychologist, the triggers remain and the damage to my self esteem and my feelings of worthiness will be life long.

I don’t burden my husband with this. In fact, I don’t burden anyone with this. I carry it on my own shoulders. That horrible day, with my mother berating me and swearing at me in the car, was no different that the hundreds of upon hundreds of days she worked diligently to destroy my sense of self. I put in my headphones as she pelted me with her dissatisfaction that I didn’t know where her personal grocery store was. I tuned her out.

Get her a token of love for mother’s day? I likely will because I have to. Really, I do this for my father. However, the day only means what it does because of my daughter. My second chance at motherhood came with her and for that I am grateful.

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