Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Years with my Mother (1990 - 1995)

As my relationship with my Dad came to a screeching halt after finding out that I was dangerously and illegally driving around with no car insurance, my relationship with my mother progressively grew. She was involved in my life, she seemed sincerely interested in what I was doing, and reciprocated in the relationship-- aspects I didn't feel I had in the past.

I was carefree at this point in my life, having loads of fun working, going out with friends, and being myself. She seemed to vicariously live through my experiences, making comments when I had something fun planned that I am lucky or that she wished she could have done these things when she was younger. "The borderline mother lives vicariously through the child and seeks validation through the child's accomplishments" p 162 Lawson. I graduated from college Summa Cum Laude and started paying on the $20K school loans. I would get aggravated through the years when she told people about me graduating from college, as if she was the one responsible for my achievement.

I often met my mother for dinner on Monday nights, and we had a good time shopping. Although we seemingly had a close relationship, we never talked about my Dad. That was a hot button that wasn't pushed, and she seemed to be completely irrational and irritated when his name was brought up. I was awaiting the next occurrence when the bottom was going to fall out of our relationship again. I didn't trust the fabric of the relationship and knew that it could blow at any time. "Things weren't the way they were supposed to be when I was a child. Now, I am suspicious whenever things are going well" p 157 Lawson.

Although I was sad about not having a relationship with my Dad, it was nice to not have to worry about juggling parents at holidays as I had been doing. As a note, my whole life has been either having neither one of them in my life -or- having one or the other. Having BOTH in my life has always been virtually impossible as both demand your attention, don't understand a commitment with the other, and toss a massive heaping of guilt.

In regard to the verbal and emotional abuse I endured as a child and teenager, I somewhat deep-sixed it and charged forward in life full force. My main goal in life was to make wonderful memories. I used to tell people that all the time-- and that's why I took so many pictures. This point (making memories) is significant since I have never able to talk to about my memories from my past with my mother or Dad. My mother either doesn't remember, doesn't remember that way, or doesn't want to talk about it, and my Dad doesn't want to remember because he 'doesn't want to'. Both ways, emotional experiences aren't validated, and the past isn't dealt with so that I could come to peace with it. "Rather than arguing about the accuracy of each other's memories, adult children need to trust their own experience. Children of all ages find it extremely disturbing when their mother does not validate their emotional experiences" p 207 Lawson.

1990 and 1991 were spent graduating from college and working long hours. 1992 - 1993 were characterized by moving up the corporate ladder of management. By 1994, I changed jobs and my Dad made an appearance in my life. He randomly and unannounced showed up at my place of work in order to tell me information about my step-sister and her drinking problem. I found this visit very strange as I hadn't been in contact with her for some time, and I hadn't been in contact with my Dad for some time. The visit seemed very disconnected and meaningless. We didn't see each other again for a couple of years.

1995 was focused on my career, having a wonderful time with friends, and Monday visits with my mother. Those Monday visits had become a routine at this point, and if I ever tried to cancel, my mother would get VERY upset. She felt she owned Monday nights with me, and her feelings were hurt if I had something else to do. Separation on the phone was a tough one too. She wanted to talk often and for long periods of times. She had begun to be confrontational about issues such as my career, her health, and more.

I alluded to this in an earlier post, but I will add to it here: my mother has always been socially inappropriate. “The borderline can be inappropriately open, enticing others by too much self-disclosure, and then walking away with an air of indifference" p 58 Lawson. I mentioned in an earlier post, that in high school, she would flirt with my boy friends, talk about inappropriate topics with my friends, and even talk about lewd & crude things with me (things mothers and daughters shouldn't talk about). She always managed to talk about inappropriate things at the dinner table or in mixed company. She would gross out friends with medical talk, she embarrassed me terribly at a very fine dining restaurant by talking about her hysterectomy to a large group of people who were obviously taken back, and she would step in and say things when & where she shouldn't. I think she meant well, but I don't think she has a very effective or efficient filter. She always felt she HAD to entertain when in a social setting, which many times her loud and rambling chatter made the situation so uncomfortable. I think she tried too hard to be "cool", and she wanted to be funny but she often had people cringing at what she said.

She had opened a business in the retail industry. Being in business on her own caused her to brag about what she owned and how well her business was doing. "Attempting to evoke envy in others, the borderline speaks openly about expensive vacations and the price of possessions" p 109 Lawson. Well, once her illness progressed, she claimed she was too sick to operate it. She had a leasing agreement that stated she had to open specific hours on specific days. So, my step-father, working his typical Monday - Friday 8a - 5:30pm job, added on taking care of her business as well. She continued to push him, not giving him a break, and criticizing how he did this or that. She never went back to working after this. "The borderline is driven to excel and may be outstanding in her field but is sadly incapable of enjoying her success. If given the choice, however, she may not work at all" p 80 Lawson.

In regard to her health, she was always a weak person-- tired and not physically active (not including the massive housework she imposed on herself every day-- such as folding laundry impeccable and painstakingly perfect like at a department store). She had strange ailments pop up through the years (2nd degree burn at the beach in 1976, toe nails falling off in the 1980's), and starting at the end of the 1980's, she started to gain weight and hurt when moving. By the early 1990's she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Then she started to have uncontrollable and endless female bleeding along with bladder and urethra challenges. By 1995, the decision was a hysterectomy, rectocele, and cystocele which ended up being a huge mistake. Shortly after this surgery, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The autoimmune disease was the reason for these odd symptoms, and having the surgery only made matters worse because she couldn't have the estrogen replacement as its lethal to this type of autoimmune disease sufferers.

While she was in the hospital, she had fits of hysteria. Her behavior was completely erratic, wild, and, well, crazy. She would say one thing, scream another, cry & plead, and was out of control. "Borderlines are prone to hysterical reactions. She is intolerant of discomfort, inconvenience, and pain. She may moan and groan, scream and cry primarily out of fear, not pain. When frightened, she becomes hostile. Her exaggerated responses confuse those who care for her" p 93 Lawson. I definitely didn't know what to do. I was confused and looked to my step-father for guidance.

When she first came out of surgery, she asked for and looked to her friend for comfort. She rejected my affection (holding her hand, caressing her, sitting next to her). I was puzzled as to what I had done to deserve this treatment. And then when it came to the evening, she asked her friend to stay the night in the room, although I was supposed to stay. I gathered my things and began to leave with my step-father. That's when the hysteria peaked. We left after she calmed down, but I was still completely baffled as to why she was pushing me away but upset that I was leaving. "Overreaction to pain or illness is a consequence of the inability to sooth or comfort herself. When she feels vulnerable, she is incapable of containing anxiety" p 93 Lawson.

I was very frustrated with my mother during the years of finding a diagnosis, as well as after the diagnosis. She wasn't doing anything to help her cause. She became sedentary. She ate terribly. Although she had claimed to have stopped smoking, she was sneaking cigarettes whenever she could. She was very negative and not finding the positive in life. I would try to motivate her to exercise-- walk, stretch, get out-- but my ideas were always greeted with excuses.

She became angry and took it out on her husband. He started to confide in me, and I truly understood how he felt as I had been there many times myself-- the whipping post. I reassured him that I was there for him, so if he wanted to confront her or talk to her about her rude and hurtful behavior I would be there as support. The situation got so heightened that he actually left her for a period of time.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Little One, sigh. I just wish you didn't have to experience all.this.mess...
    Your "mother" and I unfortunately do share an autoimmune illness (I've been dxd. with 2, actually) and my toe nails fell off as well (among all kinds of other physical weirdness) but I never went to the MD or paid much attention to it: Too busy living, working, my late DH and I were in the process of building our home when he died leaving me a widow at 38 and so, I kept working-which I loved. This was my second career-she destroyed my first one which I mentioned in a previous comment. I learned long before to tolerate pain, "discomfort" and shut up about it. I didn't have time to mess with this medical stuff so I kept going. Had my first stroke in my early 40's and went back to work.
    My point is there's no medical excuse for your "mother's" behavior. It seems their medical stuff is endless-and endlessly exhausting.
    They do love the drama, they do enjoy the "Come closer so I can slap you" maneuvers and they do run through groups of friends-more like, leave a trail of disgusted, hurt people in their wake.
    Nonetheless, they are the most self-preserving bunch I've ever encountered. Most Predators/Parasites are, unfortunately! ;)
    I truly wondered at times if my "mother" was gonna out-live me which was a terrifying prospect, considering how she could have mined *that* "loss" despite my having been NC for decades!
    And of course, their financial resources often insulate them from the natural consequences of their behavior.