It's November 25, 2022 and I went looking through my old mail for something completely unrelated to what I found. What I found was a 13-year old memory that haunts me to this day. It is what I refer to as the Apex of the example of what I had to deal with when dealing with my Mom.
I have decided to put it here mostly for me and my memory but also for anyone else who has to deal with insanity on a daily basis. The pain lasts. I have done so much work to move past, to heal, including following instructions from a therapist who got her idea out of a book, to write down all the hurtful words the other person used on you and BURN THEM in a cleansing ceremony. I did that, and guess what - THE PAPER WOULD NOT BURN! Not a bit of it. THAT'S how strong hurtful, evil venomous words are. They refuse to be destroyed. But, I still try - every day. Even 13-years later.
"A Walk In The Park --- with Mom."
[This was written just after the Very Bad Day in October 2009]
BLOG: I wish it were legal to hit your Mother, and I understand why Daddy wanted to Kill Her!
I'm mid-way into my 4th decade with her and honestly I can only remember the first decade being a happy one. When I was 10 and under she loved me, she was nice to me, we were a "we". Then she married Ralph and that turmoil began. It ended in 2001 when he died, and I naively thought she would be kind to me again. But, in fact, she is just as vicious as she has been since I turned 11.
Take yesterday, for example. The day started out innocently enough. I called her around 10:00 am and we had a nice, good-morning chat. Neither of us had decided what we were going to do with our beautiful Fall Sunday, so she ended our conversation with "If I do something I'll let you know.".
Then about an hour later I had decided that with such a beautiful day I would like to get out in it and go for a hike, so I took a chance and called Mom. Typically, she refuses my invitations to do much of anything except see a movie, or, on occasion, meet for lunch or dinner. We don't have much in common, and usually she finds a way to ruin any event - like a golf outing, etc. So, I called her and told her I was going to "take a chance" and ask her to do something with me. By all miracles we were able to find a compromise and she agreed to come over and we would walk through the UK Arboretum - it's not a country drive, which she hates and I love; it's paved so she won't get her feet dirty; there aren't any big hills to maneuver; and I get to see some trees and beautiful nature (which heals my soul like nothing else can). Ironically, (there's that word again) I called Eric to tell (his voice machine) the good news: that although it took an act from the UN General Assembly, after a 90-minute session, I finally negotiated an outing with my Mom for the day!!!
The getting her over here (a 20-minute drive she seems to find difficult) went smoothly enough. She arrived on time and I took her upstairs to show her my newest skin care line that I was very excited about. She thought the packaging looked good and she didn't have anything negative to say. PS, I had to drag her away from her cigarettes first. That was the first thing she did after she got out of her car. I had to ask her, "Please let me show you this first before you start smoking."
Then we took off for the Arboretum. I was driving her Lexus, and she always makes me feel tense, but she can't see, nor does she know her way around, so we have gotten to the point where I take over once she gets to Lexington. She still tries to break from the passenger side, and looks for cars when I am passing, etc. It's very annoying considering I've driven cross-country twice, but I've learned to ignore it. I try to laugh about her insanity - her fear of losing control, etc.
We arrived at the Arboretum and she is still trying to control the way I drive by telling me of a parking space I missed in lieu of the one I chose (a BETTER parking space, you know, the one SHE saw first). I got out of the car and said a silent prayer, "PLEASE don't let me REGRET this." Famous last words.
As we walked on the paved path, I noticed other "couples" (friends, etc.) walking next to each other and talking, and a few lovers holding hands, then there was me and Mom - several steps apart, in absolute silence. It continued on this way for about 1/4th of a mile, then I decided to try and interject a conversation starter: "What do you and Aunt Jo talk about when you take walks together?" All I got back was a cold, short, "Nothing." And then we manage a bit of small talk about how they take a lot of breaks to sit down, etc. Then it goes basically silent again, so I begin to talk to the birds - a large Peregrine Falcon to be exact - who was being run off by a smaller bird and they both were squeaking it up. Amazing, though.
We get to the top of a "hill" (that most people jogged up). I looked at her pained face and asked if she wanted to sit down. She grumbled that there was no place to sit, and I corrected her and showed her the upcoming bench. (To this point she has made a few negative grumbles already, that I chose to ignore). We both sat down and I stretched out my back a little while the other nice people chatted and walked past us. Then, she began to speak ... "I'll tell you what Aunt Jo and I talk about ... we talk about how you [uh-oh, here we go again] ... how you don't want to be with "the family" - that you never want it to be the three of us, you want it to be just me and you." [UGH - and on such a pretty day, too.] So I said, do you want me to answer this? I'll tell you why I don't want to be around you and Aunt Jo together - you two get together and it's as though I don't exist. You completely ignore me and go on chatting about the people you know, that I don't, and no one ever tries to bring me into the conversation. Why would I want to be around people who obviously don't want me there? I'm too old for this." And on and on it went.
We got up and began walking again. Then I found a caterpillar walking on the path who was sure to get squished, so I picked up a leaf and moved it on to the grass to give it a fighting chance. I hear Mom's voice a few steps ahead of me: "You're weird." That just sent me over the edge. You know, I didn't ask you here to insult me - to take beautiful moments and use them to tell me, yet again, how much you hate me; how I'm not good enough; whatever. This was, "supposed to be" (she LOVES using "supposed to" phrases all the time) ... this was supposed to be a nice Fall outing with my Mom - not your chance to berate me yet again. And the fight began. I was so upset - here we were surrounded by all these nice people, enjoying a peaceful Sunday together, and I am practically yelling at my mother for being such a vicious bitch. I had no alternative than to walk away.
I walked away purposefully going through the grass knowing she wouldn't because she would be afraid of getting dog poo on her shoes, and with freezing cold chills running through every cell in my body, tried to restore my day by looking at the beautiful flowers.
She finally came up there and when I got her attention I said, "I'm ready to go." and began walking to the car. She had the key so I had to wait for her. She got in the car and asked, "Do you want to get something to eat?"; as light and happy as if nothing had occurred.
I said, "No." and we got into the car.
Then part two of the fight came.
"I wish you were normal." she said to me! She repeats the same shit she always does when we fight. To prove some point of how I "have fits", she recalls an episode, gosh, maybe ten years ago, when I was swimming in my cousin's pool and the young kids were playing and splashing. Well, one of them started splashing me (an adult) and I asked him not to - that I was wearing contacts and the chlorine hurt my eyes. He kept on and on. I couldn't get him to stop, so I yelled for his parents or someone to stop this mean kid. But Mom's version is that "everybody saw you having a fit when the kids were only playing in the pool". and then she begins to argue with me when I remind her that this kid was hurting me and no one would jump in to help me. "You should have gotten out of the pool." was her defense this time.
She continued to come at me with verbal attacks like someone with a machine gun - a machine gun of venom. Round after round. I couldn't take any more. I found myself making a FIST. I was gearing up TO HIT MY MOTHER IN THE MOUTH TO SHUT HER UP! - To STOP her LIES. "STOP SLANDERING ME WITH YOUR LIES, MOTHER!".
When I woke up today the ONLY thing I wanted to do was share a beautiful day with the most important person in my life: MY MOMMIE. It ended with my hand in a fist ready to hit her. NO ONE ELSE at the park that day (or ANY day) was having this kind of experience. Every single person was doing what all normal people do - they were enjoying taking a walk in the park on a beautiful day.
The next day I go into healing mode. I try to process what the hell just happened? I realized that she must be such a miserable person. My friend says she is selfish. I think she's fucking insane. I remember something she told me once a few years ago, that Daddy didn't want to have children "with her". I so wish he was alive so I could find out who was more to blame in their relationship. According to her, he was the crazy one. But I've lived with her for 44 years and I know how mean she can be. It's like she enjoys pushing the people she "loves" over the edge. She lives for this. And I told her that during our walk yesterday, "You live for this stuff - you can't have a peaceful hour!"
It's like this all the time, when she's not drunk, she finds a way to start a fight and loads on me with such viciousness that I seriously want to hit her. Or when she is drunk and we have to have someone help us pull her out of a fancy restaurant - you know, like my last birthday.
It's not one incident that causes a problem - it's the buildup over the years, brick by brick until you just can't take the pressure anymore.
The good news is that I did pull myself out of her spider's web and recovered my beautiful Fall day. After a call to my Aunt's voice machine to clarify what actually happened - knowing what a spin Mom would put on it when she told her ... I can hear it now, "Nancy doesn't want to be with us because she's not the center of attention.". And then she'd go on about what "a fit" I threw at the park, etc. She was very good at getting them on her side, never taking responsibility for her own words. It was NEVER her.
She enjoys driving a wedge between people. She's done it with me and the other members of my family, and even with her second deceased husband, my step-father, who I could get along with just fine when she wasn't there, but get them together and it was pick on me day.
I finally came to realize that "I would rather be alone, than be with you."
So sad. She is my mother, after all. One would hope and want there to be some warmth. Why she is insistent on keeping me in the black sheep category, I will never know. It was "supposed" to be a nice, gentle day spent together, not another attempt to berate me. Why can't she just live in peace with her daughter? It hurts my heart to no end, this reaching out to her, getting bitten, and then the cold, hard, retreat back to solitude. I wasn't asking for much, just a few hours on a pretty day without being chastised.
I couldn't let her ruin my day. So I drove back to the Arboretum and took my camera so I could take pictures of the beautiful flowers, and as I was beginning my walk, a nice lady and I started up a conversation. She offered to walk with me and tell me all about the flowers we were seeing. That one moment changed my day. We strolled and chatted (well she chatted, I mostly listened) for the next thirty minutes. There was such an ease. An ease I wish I had with my mother. An ease I had with my grandmother, who I miss terribly. We even got onto the subject of men. "Marry a friend.", she said. It was nice. Then I asked her a question: "If you saw a caterpillar on a path would you move it so it wouldn't get squished? Is that weird?" Her answer: "Yes, I would. It's not weird at all."
Originally written October 4, 2009
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