Her. My mother. Now much has been said about how tumultuous the mother ~ daughter relationship can be. Mothers and daughters fighting with each other for connection and autonomy. There has also been as much said about abusive mothers and the trail of pain they leave behind. My mother is somewhere in between. I type this with my stomach in a knot, worrying about saying too much, yet desperately needing to share my truth. When I had my son, my only child, my mother said, “You HAVE to have a 2nd child! You need a daughter! You need to experience the mother daughter dynamic!” I replied, with a glare, “I’ve already had enough with you and I don’t need anymore.”
I’m not ready to share the nitty gritty of it all. There is way too much. I will say she did nice “motherly” things, and still does, but in a self-serving way. The children never came first. Her wants and desires always took precedence. And if we were caught in the crossfire, well to quote her, “Tough!” I’ve learned recently that my mother is a narcissist. I’m an empath. A narcissist and an empath are a horrible combination, as the empath gets destroyed.
So I had a baby and decided that this sweet child would always come first. No matter what. All decisions were made with the overarching thought “I will give him a better life. He will know without any question that he’s loved and accepted. And I will not be selfish.” He bit me while nursing during teething episodes and I took it instead of putting him down and saying, “No.”. I wanted him to be first. I spent every waking hour of every week end with him, leaving no time for myself, as I felt so guilty that I had to work. I praised his every move. I did anything and everything I thought a “good parent” should do. And though there have been bumps along the way, I have an amazing young man now.
Yet he’s pulling away. He’s doing what a normal healthy 17 year old boy should do and establishing himself as an adult. After all these years of giving him everything, and seeing I’m no longer number one, it hurts but I accept it.
I find thoughts creeping in, that I haven’t had for nearly 30 years, of running away. Thoughts of packing a suitcase, jumping on a plane and flying away with no plan at all. (I’ve done this multiple times.) Running away would be something she would do. Or rather, divorce, marry a few more times, get in a mess and expect me, her child, to bail her out. I will not be her.
I’ve been spending money on myself lately. Spending wildly with the core thought “I’m about to die anyway!” This mantra came on since the death of my father. Life feels very short and I feel like I’ve missed out. Missed out by being safe, saving and surviving. I want to buy something ridiculous as a big “fuck you” to all those telling me I can’t. But this would be her, selfishly thinking only of her wants. I will not be her.
It’s terrifying when you see the behaviors you despised, those that hurt so deeply, being acted out by you. It is difficult not to worry that because these are the genes you come from that this is what you are destined to become. A lifetime of working to be different only to hear her voice in your own, see her actions become yours and to feel that selfishness creeping in.
I’m at a crossroads. How can I live the life I want and still be a good mother? And most importantly; how can I not be her? My only answers are awareness, doing the next right thing, being cognizant of my actions. Because above all ~ I will not be her.