February 19th, 2008
I’ve been avoiding this.
There’s way more to work through than I originally thought. Because I started with my mom. And that’s the hardest person to forgive. Why couldn’t I have gone slow? Maybe picked Cookie Magazine? They really got my goat by sending me that subscription I didn’t order.
But I would have worked through it.
No. I begin this exercise with my mom.
There is no “uhhh” or “um” word to convey the pause I’m feeling now. I’ve got major blocks here.
So, let me tell you what I have accomplished.
I sat down and really thought about the things my mom did that hurt me so. There was the not loving me thing. And the hating me deal. And the wishing I were my sister instead stuff.
OK, there I go again. See, I really really believed my mom thought I was a bad person. She happened to be very judgmental and I was the judgee. Many times, I deserved it. Other times, not so much. But still, still, I’m holding onto the thought that you just don’t let a child believe that you’re going to take your love away because she didn’t act the way you wanted.
My mom thought I was spoiled and selfish and bratty and all kinds of things under that umbrella. So she’d normally react to me with silence or a disproving look or complete and total emotional unavailability.
Holy crap, I feel like crying right now. How can that be? I must be forever stuck in that time.
I will forge on.
So I thought about those hurtful things and I put myself in her shoes.
She mothered 4 children, often alone, as my dad travelled several weeks each month. As I cannot handle 2 children most days, this is a definite check in her “pro” column. That must have been exhausting for her.
And, I was a handful. I over-emoted, over-dramatized and all that jazz in bids for her constant attention. In short, I was a real pain in the ass. I’m sure I was. And as I got older, I grew self-absorbed and all that teenage gunk.
I painfully remember at the age of 16, demanding that my parents buy me a high school class ring, because all my friends were getting one. We were sitting at the kitchen table as my mom told me we just didn’t have the money. And I was petulant, see-sawing my foot back and forth, back and forth, in my trademark fidgety, I’ve been wronged move.
I’m doing it now.
So I begged and I cried and I yelled and I pouted, and my dad gave me what I wanted. And my mom was pissed. And she took it out on me by not talking to me for a long time.
My dad usually gave in to me, because he was just like me, and understood me and felt sorry for me and wanted to give his little girl what she wanted.
And that must have sucked for my mom. I know I’d be angry at my husband if he didn’t support my decisions or back me up and gave the kids whatever they wanted when they wanted it.
Fifteen years later, after my mom had passed away, my dad told me that when they bought me the class ring, they’d only had $32 in their bank account.
My mom must’ve felt powerless and disrespected. And she probably wished I would try to understand instead of just wanting what I wanted.
She most likely felt tired all the time. She worried about my dad a lot, too, when he was on the road, (with good reason), so that probably took a lot of mental energy.
As a mother myself, I know that I react less than positively to my children’s demands on my time and energy when I’m in a negative space.
This is getting easier.
I’d also like to say on my mom’s behalf that she never really learned to love.
My dad tells the story of my mom bursting into tears on the flight to their honeymoon when he asked her if her mom loved her.
I remember my grandparents and they were stern Germans, not prone to affection or lovingness.
I also remember my aunt telling me that she never talks to her brothers and sisters about anything personal, because they just weren’t raised that way.
So, I’m understanding my mom a bit more.
Maybe my mom didn’t NOT love me. Maybe she didn’t know how.
And was too tired to try sometimes.
I’ll come back to this.
Because my next step is to DECIDE to forgive. And that’s gonna be a doozy.