Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mea Culpa

I can't, I mustn't blame my mother for anything, because it's my fault, it's all my fault. If I'd been gentler and warmer and more loving as a child, instead of agreeing to be appropriated by my narcissistic father and pushing her away, she would have shown me how warm and loving she could have been. But didn't dare. Or something.

He pulled me away from her and her away from me. I pushed her away. She just obeyed. It's my fault for allowing it. And now she's dead.

My aunt, her step-sister, is warm and loving and normal. So, she'd have been like that too, if we'd been a better family to her, right? They did have different mothers, though. And lived apart. In very different homes. 

I'm the cold bitch here.

There were a few hugs that were real. Unlike his, which were also rare, but fake, in addition.

But I have to admit.

She criticized me and pigeon-holed me and defined me in negative terms too. She embarrassed me in front of others by revealing private things about me and laughed cheerfully and innocently about it. She expected me to perform in front of others and make her proud - parade my "knowledge" and "talents".
She once showed much more concern about what a doctor will think than what I felt before a surgery I had. This was very painful for me at the time. I thought it was utterly unfair.

I might be starting to remember things about my mother.

And they're not too pretty.

They formed a duo of performers when we were out together. Both jovial, jocular, vivacious. At home, though, he was a dark tyrant, and she was a vegetable on the couch. But they had these roles well rehearsed, both of them, together.

She pretended away his insane behaviors and made light of them and excused them in front of me. She was his sidekick. They functioned together.

They shouldn't have had me. Maybe if she hadn't had me, she wouldn't have got breast cancer. Maybe they'd be happy now, in a fake world, together. The abuser and the willing abused, who look so good in front of others. With no one to ask questions.

I shouldn't have been born. I mean, God probably didn't mean for the two of them to even have a kid, right? But they created me and I should be grateful, right? Because they'd have been happier without me.

They should have had a spaniel. Or a plant.


  1. A plant. A dog would be the object of control and treated nicely only in public. One of the hardest things for me to accept that both my parents were in it together. Both participated in making me feel worthless. One was the more active participant but the other allowed for what happened. And BOTH made sure I knew this was all my fault because if I had been a good girl then everything would have been fine. If I had just shown my mother the love I should then everything would be fine. If I would just... fill in the blank of what I should have done to make their world perfect. My counselor finally taught me that it was not about me at all. I was the sacrificial goat that my behavior or even existance had nothing to do with the equation. My parents had messed up childhoods and I was just the one to blame. In my opinion there was nothing you could have done to make things right. You weren't the problem.

  2. Everything you wrote also applies to my mother, though her personality is slightly more complicated, as she became schizophrenic ten years ago. She laughed alongside my father several times when he asked me, as a child, to do silly and (looking back at it) embarrassing things for them, and she read my diary together with him when I was fifteen. Since I gained financial independence two years ago, I have come home to try to rescue her twice, and was rebuffed by her each time. It's been a year since my last attempt and I am still trying to recover emotionally. I haven't read your whole blog, but I don't think it's your fault that your own mother suffered.

    I really want to thank you for writing this story, as it's the only one I have come across so far that describes an abuse-enabling wife in what I feel is an appropriate light.

  3. It is interesting that "Women who have had no children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk. Having many pregnancies and becoming pregnant at a young age reduce breast cancer risk."

    Having the first child after age 30 just means they have about the same risk as not having children.

    I, too, felt somehow guilty about not playing my part in the relationship with my mother, not confiding in her before I was ten (because I didn't trust her), not trusting her (because I had reason not to, and still I felt guilty for not trusting her), not wanting to join "the rest of the family" in front of the tv, like she wanted me to, because I had reason to not want to be in the same room (or house, or neighborhood) as my father, and she called me anti-social, and I felt guilty for being "anti-social".

    After all, my feelings or reasons or preferences or situation of needing to protect myself didn't matter, didn't count, wasn't important, obviously. --quartz

  4. If your own child felt and wrote this one day, whose fault would you say it was?

  5. Thank you, guys. Rationally, I know never being close to my mother - or my father - is not my fault. But this is how I feel, so I had to get it out. I feel guilty. I also feel sorry for her, unlike my "Strong, silent, dark, cruel" type father.

    I have virtually no Internet access these days. We're enjoying ourselves in the wilderness, but I want to thank everyone for their comments. I'm sorry I don't have the time to reply to all of them. I had an hour of Internet access today, and then probably nothing in the next 10 days or so...

  6. Naming your feelings is the first step to accepting that is how you feel. Theory and logic are the first steps to choosing different behaviors. Both parts come into play as you choose more consciouly how you want to live. All the logic in the world doesn't change how I feel but I can use it as the basis of changing how I behave. Getting it out there does help. I also understand how nice it is to have comments that reassure and support that you don't deserve it. Hope your time in the wilderness is awesome. :)

  7. It's good to hear back from you on this one- that you do "know" that none of how you were raised is your fault or could ever be the fault of a child. The feelings that remain, however, are the "cold bitch" here. I wish I could dump my own for some new ones. SO many N echoes to live with...

    Ruth, you NAILED this one for me in your last comment, by the way, it's what's always going on inside of me, too. Thanks for spelling it out like that. It's always been head vs. heart for me.

    Enjoy the great outdoors, Pronoia!

    "Stay clear of toadstool rings and willow trees, and old oaks."
    -Nell, from the movie LEGEND


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