Mama Drama: The Final Chapter

October 12, 2012 at 8:30 am | Posted in Choosing Happiness., Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 7 Comments

Since the whole thing with my mother blew up last week, I’ve spent a fair amount of my quiet time navel-gazing. And I’ve come up with a few thoughts which make me realize I have a lot of work to do.

First of all, my anger was not proportional to the “crime.” Seriously, my mother is getting surgery on her thumb in the next month or so. Which will require a cast and physical therapy. And I KNOW that in the best of situations my mother does not like to travel.

Makes a lot of sense, rationally.

Not to mention: I honestly prefer for my mother NOT to be in Florida. My parents don’t really have the ability to drink alcohol in moderation anymore. In fact, I am fairly certain at this point in their lives they’re alcoholics. They drink every night. My siblings and I have a rule: we don’t call them after 6pm, because there have been whole phone conversations where they are so smashed they don’t remember the following day that we’ve talked.

So if she wants to stay in Texas and continue to pickle her liver, it shouldn’t matter to me.


It matters.

My parents did a fairly convincing job of teaching me that I was not lovable unless I followed the rules and SUCCEEDED. Their love was always conditional – they were happy and caring when I did well in school and at home.

They both withheld love from me AND berated me when I didn’t.

Being the oldest, with a brother and sister 4.5 and 5.5 years younger than me, I was expected to be Responsible. I babysat my brother and sister starting from the time I was 11.

They expected so much from me, yet told me I was a failure. I was selfish. I didn’t think of anyone but myself.

I say “they” – really it was my mother. My father, though, was a willing participant in the mind games. He tells me now that it wasn’t worth fighting my mother for.

Which means he didn’t care enough about me to fight her on my behalf, either.

The anger I feel at her, then, is partly protecting my sister, who is so hurt that her new son’s grandparents can’t be bothered to make his first Christmas in Florida. It’s also partly anger that my MOTHER is the selfish one – and will never acknowledge it.

To her, I was a tough kid who turned out okay. Because I’ve spent the past 17 years overachieving, beating myself up when I wasn’t better than everyone else. I’m a CPA, even though I was the writer and dreamer who hated math.

I’ve spent years trying to prove that I’m not what she thinks I am.

And last week just cemented for me the fact that she will never change.

When this all went down, I told my friend D that I expected she’d pretend the whole thing never happened. And so I wasn’t surprised that yesterday she texted me and my siblings yesterday, saying that she will have a surgery date shortly, and the surgery is really involved, and she now might have to have surgery on her wrist, too.

I am not surprised that I am still angry with her. I don’t give a shit about her surgery.

The thing is, though. I have managed to come to acceptance with our infertility, everything we’ve had to do to conceive, the reality that we may never have another child again. The situation with my mother isn’t much different than accepting our infertility.

It’s a situation I don’t like which I cannot change.

The best I can do with my mother is cultivate detachment. I am angry because I have expectations. Because I’ve worked my ass off for a long time trying to prove I’m good enough for her unconditional love.

Which is ridiculous, as I’m re-reading that sentence. Shouldn’t I live my life for ME? Instead of trying to prove SOMETHING to someone who is so self-focused she can’t even SEE the work I’m doing?

I am not sure how I can get to a place of peace as it relates to my relationship with my mother. But hell, if I can do it with infertility, there’s hope.

I think.


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  1. Amazing the emotional baggage that we get from our parents.

    You will work through this, you will find your peace with your relationship with your mother… whatever it becomes.

  2. First, I had to laugh because I have an old unpublished post called “Mama Drama”.

    Second, this is likely the beginning, rather than the end, of forming a new and different relationship with your mom. It is a long process because childhood behaviors are so ingrained. I have had the benefit of a long estrangement, the distance of which has made things abundantly easier, but eventually, I’ll need to try my new tricks out.

    Third, coming to terms with knowing she will never change and actually putting that into action will be hard, I know, so give yourself time to work through things in your head and heart before acting. My mom is the queen of sweeping all things under the rug, and it sounds like your mom is the same, so in order for things to be different FOR YOU, YOU have to be different.

    Thinking of you daily.

  3. I haven’t commented on these posts, because I actually have a pretty good relationship with my mom, so I’m not sure what to say. One thing really struck me in this last post, though. Read this sentence:

    “Because I’ve worked my ass off for a long time trying to prove I’m good enough for her unconditional love. ”

    You don’t HAVE to be “good enough” to get unconditional love. That’s what makes it unconditional! Your mom is not going to change, it sounds like. But you should at least realize that how good you are or aren’t has nothing to do with whether she loves you unconditionally. (and btw, the fact that you are able to be as great a mom as you are despite that horrid example is quite impressive, I think)

  4. I learned the hard way many times–you cannot change them. I accept them for what they are; guard my feelings and accept that they are never going to be the “rock” or “solace” or be dependable for me. It sucks, but it really helps to know where you stand. ;-/

    Sorry you have to deal with this.

  5. Mom/daughter relationships -well yours and mine-are so exhausting. One day it just clicked-so random. My mom (and SD)refused (!) to keep the girls for two nights the week E was born-because it was “inconvenient.” I’m 100% not exaggerating -my SD didn’t want to add “20 mins to (his) commute. *I wrote down every verbally abusive thing she said to me in the following fights-verbatim, So neither of us could rewrite history. They did a couple of other things-a few months later-this is how I instantly quit being the little girl who so badly wanted her mother to love her-

    My mom: hey, can we come over in a few minutes-I want to give the girls ________.

    Me: We have plans-but I don’t see why not-let me talk to K-(read:I want you to love me and my kids no matter how crappy you treat meet I’ll bend over if you might love me/us-I just need to rationalize your crap behavior to K.

    When I asked K- K said “NO! Hell no-why are WE rearranging our schedule for them? Why would you even do that? Its up to you-but I think you should decline.”

    I said no-we had plans. And I was okay. For the first time ever I declined a chance for my mom to show me love. I guess I saw that the world wouldn’t end That sounds so cheesy-and maybe that’s not it-I just now

    That was in January-so far so good. Sometimes I’m tempted to let her back in-but I read the horrible things she said to me (which were;t so horrible-just immature name calling.) I feel like the largest elephant was lifted off of my chest. I had stressed so much-like it seems like you might be-doing before that. I feel so powerful finally swallowing the harsh reality==my mom is just not that into me/being my mom/a grandmother (hell, a distant aunt).

    Sorry to write on and on-its cathartic-also nice to openly say I don’t like my mom.

  6. First, I want to say congratulations! I have been reading and keeping up with what has been going on, but haven’t commented. I’ve kind of been left not knowing what to say to you for some time now. When you and I were in the thick of things back before our boys were born I saw so many similarities in our Type-A personalities. Life took us each in different directions and my life became some what unhinged. When I struggled to get pregnant I thought there was no worse hand than the hand I was dealt, but oh boy was I in for a rude awakening! You know what I’ve gone through over the last few years and to say that it has been HELL would be an understatement. I have kept from replying to your posts because I never want to come across as judgy or self-righteous. I have seen an anger and a pain in you that has made me very sad and in a way scared for you. I know anger and I know resentment better than anyone. It was kililng me slowly. A year ago I never would have imagined that I could be truly happy and content with my life as it is. I took a huge leap last year and made the conscious decision to make changes to my life. I have made life changes that I have to work hard at everyday. I’m learning to truly accept my life for what it is. I have nothing spectacular going on. I am still in limbo over a lot of things and by many people’s standards my life might suck. I still have a loved one that if I let him can take me right back to being completely insane. If I let myself go to that angry place it will come back with a vengance. It is fucking hard, but I’ve started to see REAL serenity in my life and I like it a hell of a lot more than when I’m angry, resentful, controling, or worrying over what I can’t control (which happens to be everything, but myself). I just felt I needed to reach out to you because I’ve been watching you struggle with so many different things in your life lately and wish for nothing, but peace for you. I felt this was the right post to do this because you said somethings that I’ve been wondering about and that was about the drinking. If you ever need to talk or just want someone to listen I’m here for you. I was going to send you an e-mail with all this, but I’m at work and didn’t have your email address with me. I figured before I forgot I should send you a quick response to let you know that I’m thinking of you and you aren’t alone.

  7. I just have to say, your mom pisses me off and I don’t even know her. But just hearing you describe how hypocritical she is drives me crazy. I would not be able to handle that kind of thing at all. I hope you find a way to accept who she is and what she’s like. You’re right; that is the only way to handle the situation because she is obviously NOT going to change.

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