(Note: I don’t understand why the paragraph breaks aren’t showing up correctly… maybe I can fix it later, but I’m going to sleep right now.)
June 27, 2017
Happy 55th Birthday, Mom.
I remember 15 years ago, how stressful it was purchasing a gift for your 40th birthday, how important it was to me that I succeed in getting something you’d like. The fact that this is a milestone birthday number wasn’t lost on me.
How I, a 12 year old who’d only had my ears pierced for a little over a year at that point, shopped at a huge Jewelry Exchange place for the first time in my life and told my dad (your ex-husband) about your taste in always gold and not silver, how we (he) spent $100 on pretty earrings made of white gold with gold plating so it still didn’t look silver in color and… and then when that weekend spent with my dad was over, when I was back home… I waited with bated breath to see if it would make you angry because I’d failed at gift giving in some important way I’d overlooked.
You must not have liked your Mother’s Day gift 5 or so weeks prior because why else would I have been so determined to do this well this time? I’m not sure. Maybe I remembered a different gift thing you hated but it was probably Mother’s Day. I think I gave you little Hallmarks figurines of like a lighthouse and other things you’d see at the beach. Because despite how much i remembered you being unhappy at the beach the last time we ever went, when I was 8, you in the years since would comment that you liked the beach… you even wanted that “By The Sea” song played at your funeral
In the end, you smiled weakly in my bedroom when you opened your gift and said you liked it – without sounding like you meant it. And I thought that was the end of my feelings about giving you this gift. That the reaction happened, and it was over. It could’ve been worse, it could’ve been so much worse, this was a pretty good reaction, but I wanted to cry anyway, because I’d tried so hard but you still weren’t happy.
Literally nothing would make you happy, because you were in the midst of Persistent Depressive Disorder, but none of us knew that. Not my dad or me and my brother, not you.
I wrote a bunch of other stuff recounting the awful but I just hit “backspace” for a few paragraphs. I changed my mind. I want this to be… in a different tone.
I hadn’t seen you in 7 years. I haven’t even seen any new photos. My brother noticed your teeth looked decaying. He noticed your breath smelled like cigarettes. I didn’t notice these things. He even noticed you flip off the casket.
You came over to me, and my brother, and two of my younger cousins, including the 17-year-old one you later made burst into hysterical tears with some harsh whisper. Why did you do that to her? But sorry, I’m digressing. You came over to us and you called your mother abusive. You said she was an evil bitch. You asked the 4 of us to “Name one good thing about her. Just one!” and I felt so guilty that in that moment I couldn’t think of how to respond. I wanted to defend my grandmother. There were plenty of good things, I’d been mentioning them to people in the days before and after that moment, and other points that day when you weren’t there. I’d been hearing about them from others. But in that moment, when you asked me, my cousins were ignoring you on purpose and not taking your bait, being calm and reasonable about your scariness. I, on the other hand, was so hurt by everything about your presence, so outraged on behalf of my grandmother and on behalf of my cousins/aunts/uncles/the strangers who shouldn’t have to deal with you and everything else.
But you know who else I could say “one good thing” about, “just one”?
Continue reading “The kindest letter I can muster up for my abusive mom”
Samantha Field over at Defeating the Dragons has just posted a new blog post, “my abusive relationship was typical”.
Samantha has written quite a bit over on her blog about an abusive relationship she was in. I highly recommend her blog as a whole, which also addresses a variety of other topics.
I was reading this new post of hers, and I could not stop thinking about how my experience in an abusive relationship was remarkably similar, so yes, she was making her point wonderfully, as unfortunate as it is. This “typical” nature for abusive relationships clearly is not even limited to a woman being in a romantic relationship with an abusive man, because the thing I was relating to was my own relationship as a child in an abusive relationship with an abusive mother.
I decided to leave a comment on the post, and then another. I was participating in a discussion, kind of, and you can certainly feel free to read my comments by going to the original blog post to which I’m referring. I say some different stuff there than I do here, below. But my thoughts started running wild and I had too much to say, so this blog post was born. 😛 Continue reading “The Insidious Nature of Abuse”