Struggling with the truth

I’m still in October with my reading, so I suppose it is no big surprise that I’m behind on my composing as well.  Now I’ve got an infection in one of the fingers of my right (good) hand, so today I’m typing with three fingers (more accurately, with two fingers and a thumb).  At the rate I’m going I’ll have mastered typing with any number of fingers or hands.  🙂

I’ve been working on a poem in my head, but it’s not finished enough to try sharing it here.  At least in the middle of all this my brain is still working.

I’m dealing as well with fallout from my childhood.  Nothing unusual in that, but it still amazes me that the woman has so much effect on me after so many years.  After all these years, I still don’t know if she means well.  If I have any contact with her, even today, she says the most awful things – but I can tell she is trying.  So what am I to do with that?  I avoid contact because I have to for the sake of my mental health; not because I blame her or even though sometimes I hate her.  I get over it. Even though I couldn’t help but pass on some of the awful to my kids, I do not blame her for not being better than she is.  I am sorry for her.  It is so sad.

There is some part of her that is still trying to destroy me.  So the ‘trying’ doesn’t add up to much.  I mean, she can get through two or three sentences that are unexceptionable, and then the vileness comes out.  I was visiting someone who – like my mother – says the most awful things.  She doesn’t mean to be awful, she just doesn’t for one second think of the effect of her words on others.  This time the awful wasn’t directed at me or my kids, so I could sit on the sidelines and watch as someone was really hurt and offended by her, but really couldn’t say anything back.  I’m sure she didn’t mean to be so offensive.  I’m equally sure that avoiding her is my best choice of action going forward if I don’t want to be the target at some other time.  Meaning well with no positive action to change the offending behaviour doesn’t do any good.

The thing is I see positive action in my mother.  She makes attempts all the time but always ends up reverting to the hurtful behaviour.  I do love her – I was enmeshed with her for years – and didn’t have to stop loving her, even if I did and do hate her sometimes as well.  She has no boundaries, you see.  None.

So here I sit, fifty + years old (how did that happen?) still caught up to some extent in my mother’s illness.  So it goes, I guess.  At least none of my kids has to avoid contact with me because I’m trying to destroy them – even if one or another might for other reasons.  Recovery from abuse seems to be a multi-generational effort.  The scary thought is that my mother was a better parent than her own were.  Really scary.  Hmm.

She tried.  She is trying.  That matters, even if meaning well is no excuse.

That’s all my three fingers can manage today.  Thanks for reading.

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16 thoughts on “Struggling with the truth

  1. Having no boundaries is fine when it comes to sex. Anything else, though, you end up either going to confession over or a therapist. Maybe prison. Sorry to hear you’re still struggling with this, really. I hope you find succor someday, before you’re too old for it to matter. And I hope your claw hand gets better soon! Ouch!!

  2. My mother also said hurtful things, not meaning them to cause hurt ever, but because they made her feel clever. She would make critical comments about my looks, or about my weight, or my intelligence specifically because they were untrue and could be dismissed as an attempt at humour. Unfortunately, I was still very insecure about these things and they hurt like the blazes. Or, if I had gotten dolled up for an evening and put on makeup, she’d say something like, “You look like you have two black eyes.” Very rarely did I ever hear from her that I was smart or beautiful or looked very nice tonight. I must forgive her because she is gone now and can no longer hurt me. But I did try to point out to her that her remarks were mean and hurt me a lot deeper than intended. She did try to walk on eggshells for a bit, but then forgot and reverted to her usual behaviour. We are supposed to think only well of the dead (or at least, that’s what some people say), but it’s hard to forget this kind of stuff. If you cannot tell your mother that she is hurting you with her remarks, then it is a good thing that you stay away from her and restrict your interactions to birthday and holiday greetings. I’m sorry. Our mothers are supposed to protect us and keep the evils of the world at bay, not make matters worse. (((hugs)))

  3. It helps when they try. I have a sister who frequently says vile things. Because she is trying, I always call her on it. A few days ago she sent me a text to tell me she was going to send me a check but realized that she’d already given it to me so, “sorry!!!”

    I replied, “Why do you think I would cash a check you wrote by mistake?

    That was when she pulled out the almost stereotypical Narc reply: ” I was joking, you have no sense of humor.”

    To which I replied: “I have a good sense of humor. You frequently make cutting comments and then claim that you’re joking when people call you on it. Please stop.”

    And that was the end of it.

    I think on some level my sister cares about me and for that reason she tries. I would not let a narc who doesn’t try into my life. Not even my own Mother.

  4. I am sorry you have a mother who says hurtful things to you. My mother is the same. Only, I am quite certain that my mother does mean to hurt me. There is nothing accidental about it.

    There are so many countless examples I could use, but I will use just one. When I was a teenager more than forty years ago, I came home from a date one night and excitedly told my mother that my boyfriend had asked me to marry him. She said “He only thinks that he loves you, because he doesn’t really know you. After he has lived with you for awhile and has gotten to know what you are really like, he won’t love you.”

    Like you, I pity my mother more than I hate her. I believe she is badly broken. Broken people do broken things.

    • Actually, my mother tries diligently and sometimes quite successfully to hurt me. The fact that I see her trying to be not hurtful is hugely significant in part because of this history of hurting me. My mother said to my (then fiancée) husband ‘are you sure you want to marry her?’ Sometimes I could swear they all went to the same school.

      • Yes, I have thought this, too, that they all went to the same school.

        I am currently reading a book that is helping me to understand how and why my crazy childhood made me so ill, both mentally and physically. The book is The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I also highly recommend the books Will I Ever Be Good Enough? by Karyl McBride, and Complex PTSD by Pete Walker. All three of these books are very enlightening and helpful.

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