Apr. 11th, 2005

goodgothgirl: (Default)
I asked for it.

I called home yesterday to say hello and update the folks on my job search. I talked to Dad on Easter, but Mom had just left to work a shift at her old hospital. (She claims that she does it to keep up her clinical nursing skills, but I can't help but notice that she schedules shifts on days when the family has plans. Typical passive-aggressive behavior.)

So it's been a lot of years since my Mom and I have had a fight. I don't know if it's because I rarely ask for her opinion, or because she keeps her mouth shut, or because she doesn't have a problem with my life.

Yesterday, we broke the streak.

I was telling my Mom all about how bad last week was at work and how I was totally at the end of my rope with everything at the T-D, but most especially with the "front-desk receptionist" thing. Her response: "You do this every time you get ready to leave someplace. You don't have to tear it down before you go."

Now, for some background: All my mother has ever done is complain about her job, no matter where she has worked. And she changes jobs every 18 months to two years, often quitting one without having another. Yet every time *I* get sick and tired of a job and want to share my frustration with her, she trots out this chestnut. Even though I hadn't heard it in at least a year, I decided that I'd finally had enough. My response:

"Yes, Mom, you say this every time I start looking for a new job, and I'm tired of it. You know why? Because you do the exact same thing. In fact, you've left a hell of a lot more jobs than I have. And you do it without even having another job to go to! You have that luxury, because you have a HUSBAND to support you! Guess what? If I don't work, I don't eat. If I don't work, I don't have a place to live or food for the cats. You have NO IDEA what it's like to be solely responsible, because you've always had someone to support you! In fact, I'm frustrated by this, because I'm TRAPPED in my job and I don't even have a morgage, husband and kids!"

Mom's response: She hung up on me. Which is not surprising, because that's the coping tactic that she's been using since I was 18 and went to college. (Have I ever mentioned how my family never, EVER calls me, either? They don't. But that's another story.)

I'm still pissed off as hell, mostly at Mom but partly at myself. I'm mad at myself because I know my Mom can't cope with reality, and I yelled a lot of reality at her. My mother is NOT a grown up, and I don't think she ever will be. I, however, have had no choice but to be a grownup since I was 9 and my brothers were born. My parents stopped thinking of me as a child then and started treating me like an adult. In high school, my parents came to ME when they had marital problems -- separately, of course. I spent a lot of years telling them to talk to each other. And then there's my Mom who would come to me at 2 a.m. when I was a teenager and cry about what a horrible mother she was. I, apparently, was supposed to be there to take care of her instead of the other way around. When I was 12, she told me that she was jealous of me because she wanted to be like me. These are NOT things that you say to your child. EVER.

Obviously, I'll always be angry with my mother on some level for not being an adult. I might accept that she is the way she is, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't piss me off. My father has become a grownup over the last decade or so, witnessed by the letter he sent me in December where he apologized for my lack of a childhood. But my mother has never understood that even if she didn't love herself enough to get help, perhaps she should think of the people around her and help herself for their sake if she loves them as much as she claims. My Mother the Martyr.

Here's what I wish I could say to her:
"Mom, grow up. You have been clinically depressed my whole life, but since you decided to stop taking your medicine, you have actively chosen to be unhappy. You refuse to do talk therapy. Why are you afraid to deal with your problems and perhaps learn to forgive your mother as the root of all evil before she dies? You need to learn to be an ADULT. Take responsibility for your actions, your feelings, your behavior, your SELF. Things are only done to you if you LET them. And whining about them after the fact instead of speaking up at the time and perhaps learning to become part of the solution just ensures that you will stay in the rut you have carved for yourself for the last 55 years. As your daughter who loves you, I wish you would choose to be happy. Find the strength to become a person in your own right. Find the things you enjoy and DO THEM -- don't just watch TV, play solitare and smoke incessantly. How much longer will you let your husband do absolutely everything for you? Grow up and live in the real world, Mom."

Yeah, that conversation is never going to happen.

I thought I really had let it go that my Mom isn't ever going to take responsibilty for herself, but apparently I haven't. And I suspect that I never will.

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March 2007

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