Monday, June 3, 2013
Fighting an Old Battle
My life is great. I have a wonderful, supportive husband. I have the stability of a job that gets me by and a cute little apartment facing the woods. We sit out on the balcony, watching deer and other wildlife come right into our backyard. It's a peaceful, relaxing place to call home. My husband and I are best friends. We pretty much do everything together and we don't resent it. We have a lot of good times. I have cool co-workers and a lovely best friend that I have "girl" time with. Not the worst life you could have.
However, there is a dark side to my life that haunts me. I'm just going to come out and say it....I struggle with anxiety and depression. It started when I hit puberty. I had my first panic attack at 14. Before that, I was fearless. I was shy...but I was fearless. Always getting injured being a little daredevil and never really having a care in the world. It wasn't until I became a teenager, and life started falling apart that I developed anxiety and eventually depression. It runs in my family, so I guess it was inevitable. No adult in my life ever helped me address it. Apparently, they were too busy dealing with their own depression or whatever. I had to figure everything out on my own. I won't bore you with the details.
Life is pretty good now, but due to my constant worry and constant need to have perfect results that match my expectations, depression has been rearing it's ugly head. I feel like I have nothing to be miserable about, but there are a lot of things in my life that aren't working when I feel like they should. The main issue is my relationship with my Mother. We have always butted heads, but maintained a relationship with one another. I could write a book on the issues my mom and I have with one another, but underneath that there has been love and at times my mom has provided me with a lot of comfort. I mean...She's my MOM. I could never imagine not having her in my life. No matter how miserable she makes me at times.
I feel my self esteem is tied a lot into what my mom says and does. I respect her opinion of me and my mind has been trained to listen to her and take in what she says as the gospel. Because she is my mom and I've had to abide by her my whole life. I am 35 years old and I still don't know who I am because I've spent too much time "listening" to my mom's opinions of me. Don't get me wrong. I am a stubborn person and if I felt my mom was being harsh, out of line or down right cruel, I would tell her so. But, the damage had already been done and her words had already sunk into my soul like vampire's teeth. Being told at age 3 to go sit in a corner and die up until age 34 being told that she wouldn't participate in any more holidays with me until I have a kid. The pattern of verbal and emotional abuse has been what I've always known. How do you choose a different path if this dysfunction is all you've ever felt you've deserved?
My mom was always a master of saying horribly cruel things and then being "sorry" later. She would go out and buy me things or food in order to make up for it. She would turn on the charm and be the sweet loving mother that she could also be at times. It was just enough to make me want to stay around her. Each abuse session was countered with "mother of the year" emerging shortly thereafter. However, in these past couple of years, I have seen less and less of the sweet mom, and a lot more of the bitter, mean hateful mom that is painful to be around. I weep for a loving relationship with my mom. But, I had to make a decision that would point me in a direction where I could have a loving relationship with myself instead.
It is now June of 2013. I have not uttered a word to my mother since December of 2012. The final straw was her annual Christmas meltdown. Every year, my sister and I try to include her in our plans and every year my mom says she will be there. She gets all involved, offers to bring food and weaves herself into the fabric of the plans. We rely on her, we believe her and we trust her. But then, at the last minute, my mom decides she doesn't like a person who will be in attendance, or she feels she is expected to do too much or whatever other reason she can find to back out. We try to tell her she can just show up, she doesn't need to bring anything. We just want her there. But, nothing gets through to her and she bails on us. Her own children...at Christmas. When I tried to call her a few days before Christmas to come to my place and bake cookies with me and to do Pinterest projects, she told me she wasn't coming (after she said she would) and then proceeded to tell me she didn't think her family cared about her and then literally yelled in my ear and hung up on me when I told her I was worried about her.
To make things worse, my mom has bred some resentment within our family. At Thanksgiving she informed that she will no longer come to any holidays with me or my sister. She wanted to be around the part of her family who has kids and until I have a kid she won't be around. I mean....WHAT??? Who says that to her own daughter? Well....My mom does. A day or so after the phone incident, she publicly posted on my facebook page that she would not be coming to Christmas at all. I have not spoken to her since. I had to make a very difficult decision and choose me over my mom. I realize that she makes me incredibly unhappy with her abuse. We don't get along and she seems to enjoy that fact. So, I had to walk away and figure out who I am without her negativity in my ear all the time.
I have been struggling with this decision lately. The truth is, I miss my mom. She gave birth to me, she raised me...of course I want a relationship with her. But, she just doesn't seem to value or even like me as a person. It's very hard to face the fact that the person who created you wants nothing to do with you as a grown adult. I feel like I let her down, that I am a disappointment in some way because I can't meet her crazy expectations. If she can't control me, I am nothing to her. That's how it feels and it is esteem crushing.
Anyway...the things that have happened in my life lead me to where I am now. I have a lot of insight and common sense. But, I also carry with me the baggage of being raised in an unstable environment and having really messed up coping abilities. I carry pain with me and I am now trying to learn how to let some of it go. I had to start somewhere.