So yesterday I was messing around on my blog, writing a post that I decided not to publish, as is often the case lately, and the phone rings – it’s my mom. Ugh, I hate talking to my mom. I feel bad about this but I still hate it. We have the most dull conversations about the weather and the news and what I ate last night and I’m usually just dying to get off of the phone. I try to sound engaged. She usually talks a lot and I agree occasionally and hope she’ll get bored or find something more important to do. Then she starts gently nagging me about how I should garden and cook more and be a much better domestic wifey – like she was. AAAGGHHH. And I hold back my deep desire to hang up or say unkind things. I feel a little bit of my soul dying.
And everyone loves my mom. She’s such a hardworking lady and helps a lot of people out and yadda yadda yadda – which makes my negative feelings about her make me feel that much worse about myself and my unkind disposition.
Our conversations are my pretend self interacting with her pretend self in the let’s pretend everything is hunky dory universe and I don’t know. My patience is wearing thin for it. Luckily my husband came out and started getting involved in the conversation which turned into a speaker phone event while I made breakfast and cleaned out the cat box.
She’s coming to visit in a few weeks and I guess thinking about that got me into a bad emotional place and yep, you guessed it – bring on the waterworks.
And I guess what bothers me most about my mom is that she seems to see herself as the standard by which everyone else should measure themselves. Hard work is the end all be all and any who do not happily conform to this standard are somewhat less than worthy of dare I say – love? And although her busy – ness is somewhat admirable, it also is not always directed at important things. She doesn’t really take control of the important things in her life and instead worries about gardening and cooking all the time. She is also a doormat, which is a trait that I could be accused of myself. Dysfunctional family patterns are awesome.
And it’s not just me, my bipolar aunt who she cares for is extremely resentful of her. My 12 year old nephew who lives with her has very little patience with her. My sister and I have discussed what it is about my mom that is so annoying and what we came up with is that being around her is draining and yes, that she expects us to want to be like her.
I get the sense that she feels very underappreciated for all that she does and wonders why people don’t love her the way she deserves to be loved. She doesn’t realize that she doles out conditional love based upon conforming to her standards and it just creates resentment. If she could get out of her own way is this regard she would be much happier I think. But she struggles along and squabbles with my nephew and my aunt a lot and…
Where will it all end?
So I spent the morning being upset and emotionally overwhelmed and hating myself a little bit and you know – the usual drill – and finally got over it – sort of.
This morning I came across some videos about toxic shame and how it runs in families. So my next task I believe is to deeply explore toxic shame. I see it in my mom in the form of only being valued for how much physical work she did. She grew up on a farm with a mother (my grandmother) who seemed less than super kind is how I will describe her. I’m sure my mom probably felt like she didn’t really matter. And guess who else feels that way?
Ugh – time to get over this shite already.
Thanks for reading. 🙂