Wednesday, September 21, 2011

If it's not one thing...'s my mother.

You'd think that, by the age of 35, I would be accustomed to my mother’s particular brand of crazy.

Mom isn’t nutty like a character in a movie. She’s not psychotic like Norman Bates. And she’s not eccentric like Dwight Schrute. She doesn’t view the world normally, but she can’t see that the way she thinks about things isn’t normal. Since she's functional, and since some of her ideas even seem logical (on the surface), it’s hard for outsiders to understand why she drives me so batshit crazy.

Let me give you some examples. After my dad left when I was five, my mom never cooked another meal. Never. Not once. Her logic was that the time it would take for her to cook for the two of us, including grocery shopping, preparing meals, and cleaning afterward, wasn’t really justified for only two people. It was cheaper, in her mind, to eat fast food for every meal. So that’s what we did. Here’s another one: your clothes don’t really get dirty if you don’t leave the house. I may use this idea to justify wearing the same pajamas for a couple of nights. Mom uses it to justify wearing the same shirt and pants around the house for days on end. Literally. J. and I went over there not long after we’d moved back to Dallas, and she had on a shirt that was so filthy it had a sheen and smelled awful! The worst part is, she doesn’t get that it's not normal, so she's not embarrassed. J. and I were already married, so he knew all about her, but I was still horrified for him to see her like that.

Over the course of my life, I’ve often wished that she could just be a normal person, even if she couldn't be a normal mom. But I've mostly adjusted to her craziness. I know it takes her forever to do anything, and I can plan for that. But her narcissistic behavior is appalling, and it still hurts. I called her last week to let her know that we would be moving, and the first thing she said was, “Oh, but I didn’t get to see the house you’re in now!” And if that weren’t enough, she sent me a text an hour later asking if I’d take some photos of our current home. She lives 20 minutes away, and has had a open invitation to visit (with notice) during the entire 16 months we’ve lived here! I didn’t reply to the text, but a week later, I’m still stewing over it.

I’m so exhausted by everything always being about her. I know it’s part of her illness, but sometimes I want the mommy I've never had. When J. told his mom the story about our crazy landlord and impending move, her first words were, “How can I help?” Not only were those not my mom’s first words, she hasn't said them at all. This isn’t the first time her narcissism has upset me. When I married the first time, it was all about her, which led to me not being able to have a traditional wedding. And when I got divorced, it was all about her, which led to me having to comfort her (since she was grieving her own divorce all over again) instead of her comforting me.

I really shouldn’t be surprised by her reactions anymore, but every time this happens, it hurts. And it brings up all the old hurts that I can't get over. I just don't know how to get past them. I would do anything to help mom if she sought treatment, but after all this time I've given up hoping for that. As she gets older, I'll always make sure she's cared for, but my feelings for her are such a tangled mess. The honest truth is that I strongly dislike the woman who gave birth to me. That feeling stirs up guilt, which stirs up anger (because I know I shouldn't really feel guilty, since I didn't make her the way she is), which makes me like her even less.

Sigh. Maybe *I* should go to therapy.


RoseAnn said...

{{{Hugs}}} for everything in this post and Yes! Yes! to your last line. Seriously, when I went to therapy to deal with my brother, it actually helped me immensely in my dealings with my mother, too.

I think all mothers are somewhere on the scale of crazy. Thank goodness we're staying CF and avoiding that particular curse. Oh, wait...

I'm convinced that my own mom is lacking an "empathy gene" but not to the degree you describe.

Carol said...

LOL on the "Oh, wait..." I have done therapy before, and it has always been helpful. And it might even help in dealing with mom, but I think I'm already doing most of what a therapist would suggest. I set clear boundaries, I speak to her frankly about how I intend to live my life, etc.

It's just hard to not have the cuddly mommy when I need that.