In my last post, I talked about not being able to come to a decision regarding what I want to do with my mother. If you haven’t read my past posts, I recommend starting here. If you have, welcome back!
I still don’t know what I want to do about her, if I should try to let her back into my life, or if I should shut her out forever. As I wrote the last sentence, I had another realization. Just because I shut her out now, doesn’t mean that I cannot open that door later. Of course, being anxiety’s mistress, I realize that she could die tomorrow and I will miss that opportunity. Or, I could die tomorrow. Anyway, back on track! After my last post, I received a really compelling comment from elizabetcetera (who is a long time follower of my blog- thank you so much). She says, “Baby steps baby steps baby steps! Follow your heart, listen to your mind but above all believe your gut! The best predictor of future actions is past behavior. Someone may SAY they have changed but actions always speak louder than words. Unless your mom has done some serious therapy on her own she may still be too toxic and unhealed to put into your life on any regular or significant basis. Having your mom be part of your life because you feel guilty or are worried abot future regret aren’t very solid reasons for putting someone so deletrious back into your life — those are both negative and fear based reasons. You’ll have to ask yourself what the positives are about including her in your very precious life. You must consider the potential if reopening “healed” wounds. Everytime you put attention on someone it’s less attention for you, your life and other loved ones and friends. You may want to examine why you feel guilt if you do not include her. I wish you the best on all that you decide. There is no rush in this matter. ❤”
First off, wow! That is really solid advice. Second, I never realized that worrying about future regret was negative and fear based. I thought it was something I was doing based on trying to plan and prepare myself as best as possible for the future. Also, what ARE the positives of having her in my life? I cannot think of any right now.
I have always wanted to live my life without regret. I see how much my partner struggles with the loss of her father, who she only knew for a short time. It scares me to no end that I would pick up the phone one day to my aunt telling me that something happened and my mother is dead. That is something we can’t take back, and it scares me a lot. In reality, she is the one who has lost out. She’s missed so much of my life, graduations, my wedding, purchasing my first house. What have I missed? Growing up she was so toxic. Sure, I have good memories of when she taught me how to throw and catch a baseball. When we would play hide and seek in the neighborhood after dark. When she taught me how to tie a slip knot. Honestly, though, I can only think of a handful of good memories over those 15 years that I spent with her. In trying to think of good memories, the truly horrific ones keep creeping into my consciousness like mold on week-old bread. My chest feels tight, my breathing restricted. My eyes blur with pain filled tears, threatening to open a dam of emotion at any minute. Why do I want to bring her back into my life? Do I want to bring up all of those old memories of pain and heartbreak? Do I want to have to face her, to see her name pop up in my email and panic for a second that it will be something devastating to my already fragile ecosystem? There are so many ways she has hurt me and so many ways she can hurt me again. I still have not recovered from the first go around with her, and I may never recover fully. I have worked SO HARD to continue growing, learning, and fighting to make it in this life with the hand I was dealt. Wouldn’t I be throwing that all away?
As I write this, a tiny little glimmer remains in my thoughts. The smallest of voices in my head is saying, “yeah, but you’ve always wanted this”. Every reason for not doing it is faced with that voice. Every single reason, thought, concern… EVERY SHRED OF PAIN THAT I THROW AT IT… is met with, “yeah, but you’ve always wanted this”. It is that glimmer that makes me unsure. That glimmer doesn’t allow the anger, pain, devastation that I’ve felt in my life shut this down. I hate that glimmer. I hate that this isn’t easy. I hate that she had the audacity to send me that letter, to open this door again. I hate it so much that I still have hope, after all these years and all this pain. I hate that I am so fucking optimistic for some reason that I would dare hope that my mother could be good. I hate that I could even entertain the thought that my mother, breaker of souls, could be the mother I have always yearned for. The mother that cares and loves. The mother that hugs you when you are feeling down or had a bad day. The mother that doesn’t hit you and tell you-you’re a piece of shit. The mother that doesn’t tear you down to nothing and then spit on you. Why can’t I just accept that she can’t be that mother? Why do I still hope in my heart of hearts that she could be good? Why would I ever even fathom talking to her?
Even worse than that glimmer of hope that I have is the empathy that I feel for her. The empathy and compassion that I have knowing that she is a damaged person that fucked up. The reality that I cannot come to terms with that she is just as damaged as me and was doing the best she could at the moment. After all, she has done, all she has said, and all she has taken from me, I still feel compassion. My anger and betrayal tell me that she doesn’t deserve my compassion and forgiveness. My empathy and compassion tell me that she is damaged (through no fault of her own) and wasn’t strong enough not to damage me. She says she was molested by my grandfather as a child. I don’t know if that is true, but I feel like that is not a claim that anyone should doubt. She didn’t ask to be molested like I didn’t ask to be beaten and verbally abused. In that aspect, we are one in the same. I had the advantage of getting out and getting help. I’ve had the strength to keep getting help.
My mother says she got the help she needs. I don’t know if that is true, but right now I feel conflicted on how to move forward. My therapist has talked before about the child that is still inside me. I think that younger version of myself is the one who is scared when my mother emails. I think for right now I need to protect that version of myself. I need to be the strong, protective adult that she should have had her first 15 years. I need to nurture and comfort her like she deserves. Maybe I don’t need a mother for that. In some ways, I feel like I can give myself all of the things that I should have gotten as a child. And what I can’t give myself, I can certainly ask for from those in my life who love me. Maybe I don’t need her at all. Maybe it is too big of a risk to take for things that I can give to myself.
I will keep thinking and be writing on this.
If no one has told you today, you are beautiful, amazing, and perfect.