Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Source of My Anxiety a.k.a. I Love You Mom

I haven’t spoken to my mom in months because she’s overwhelming. Abusive. Intrusive. And I can’t stand the sound of her obnoxious voice. Up until the time I cut her off, an “ordinary”—if it could be called that—conversation with her would leave me crying for hours because I wasn’t a good sister, or daughter, or person, or student, or girlfriend. Because I didn’t make enough money, or live in the right town, or have big enough breasts, or take enough classes.

And, sure, I know she means well, (in a sick, twisted kind of way). I suppose she thinks she’s motivating me to pursue greatness. But she’s not! She’s a walking talking insult, (hence, her nickname, The Beast). Her mouth spews shit on everything within a fifty mile radius. And that’s exactly what I told her when she called on Friday.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have picked up the phone. I would’ve left her on the answering machine to leave her bitchy, customary five minute message about what I need to do and when I need to do it, but I’d been drinking heavily, (and I can’t pass up a good confrontation after a good beer buzz).

So, I picked up the phone with a sarcastic exclamation of how happy I was to hear from her. Then came the first blow. She was beside herself that I didn’t call her on Mother’s Day, or send her a gift. She was positive that Rey had at least called his mom, and what kind of daughter was I! If her mother, my grandmother, was still alive, she would be ashamed! And what kind of example was I setting for my brother! You know he does have cancer!

Then, I gave her a left hook to the body. You’re not gonna pull the “my son has cancer,” “my mom is dead” cards on me, lady! There’s a good reason I didn’t call you on Mother’s Day and it’s the same reason why I’m not gonna talk to you tonight.

I went on to explain that nothing is ever good enough for her. That I didn’t call her on Mother’s Day because it wouldn’t have been good enough, she’d have wanted to know why I didn’t send a card. I didn’t send a card because that wouldn’t have been good enough, she’d have wanted to know why I didn’t send a gift. And I didn’t send a gift because it wouldn’t have been enough, how dare I send such a such a trivial present.

I proceeded to tell her that I don’t need her guilt, or her insults, or her nasty messages. Bottom line is, I basically Cesar Milan-ed her ass. And I felt good after I did it. There was no crying after the conversation was over. No guilt. No hours of cleaning to make myself feel better. Just the pure, sweet scent of accomplishment.

But, then Saturday hit, and I woke up with neck pain, which turned into muscle dystrophy/spinal tumor/loss of bowel of control, which carried me into Tuesday. And today brought me a “rotten tooth.” It actually rotted overnight and is causing me such intense pain that I can only chew on one side of my mouth. I’m certain the “rot” is on the verge of invading my brain.

But, the only rot plaguing my brain is The Beast and her insults.

When I talk to her, my fear of rejection and need for approval is brought to the surface. Then, stomped on. I want approval. I need it. Especially from her. Especially, when the rejection from my absent father is always lurking. I shouldn’t be so weak-minded. I should know my worth. But, I don’t. I need approval and praise from my parent, her, The Beast.

Ironically, she’s shallow, and values possessions and appearances above all else. She encourages drugs as an avenue to loose weight; sleeping with men for their money; and selecting friends based on the cars they drive. In order to gain her approval I’d have to do everything I stand against. But even knowing that, doesn’t lessen the pain, or the desire for her approval.

So, I subconsciously use sickness as an escape.


Addie said...

Remember, you can only control YOU... her approval is not important (easier said than felt, I know), what's important is that you learn to approve of yourself. Again, as someone who is on the road to (but far away from)accomplishing this, I know how hard it is. My technique when dealing with a difficult person is to practice saying "So what?" It doesn't work for awhile, but if you keep at it, it helps immensly. You'll start to believe it and then start to justify it in your mind. ("So what if my mother doesn't approve of me, no matter what I do she hasn't approved in the past so I'll leave her to her misery and move on") Again, easier said than done, but hang in WILL get better. I don't know much but I know (and believe) that wholeheartedly.

Lacy said...

Oh Leila. *sigh.

I have struggles with my mom, but no comparisons. I hope some of what you said sank in.

Is there any hope, do you think, for reconciliation?

Sean said...

Leila! You're in a much better position than many of us out there. fortunately, you live apart from your mother, thereby giving you some worth in that you're independent! You da ma'am!

Trust me, you are!!

Leila V. said...

Thanks for the support! I’ll definitely try your technique. I know you’re right, but like you said, it’s undeniably easier said than done. Especially when there’s so much emotion involved in the relationship...

Reconciliation? Hmmm, maybe there will be some form of reconciliation once I accept the fact that she is who she is. But since I really don’t like the person who she is, I suppose we’ll never have that loving mother-daughter relationship.

Glad to know I've got your vote. One thing I can thank The Beast for is my independence. I’ve been working since I was fourteen, and her lack of approval has just pushed me towards perfection. I am the model employee, (if I do say so myself). ;)

Anonymous said...

My mother is not quite as harsh as yours. I feel for you... However, my mother is uneducated. She is very ignorant. No fault of her own. She was just born to a very poor family in the old country. Anyway, she thinks that cigarette smoking is harmless. Why else would the government allow the sale of them? She says... She always had this crazy idea that oil and fat is good for people. When I was little, she would pour Wesson oil in my noodles when I wasn't looking. I noticed it one time and I remember getting so frustrated. I guess I can't blame my mother for my problems but I don't think she armed me with the mental ability to deal with life's struggles. I had to figure that out on my own. Hang in there with your mom, Leila. A lot of people have problems with their parents. You're not alone.

Heather G said...

Gee, you're very self aware (and perceptive about her.) I mean you have worked her out better than she probably understands herself. Maybe what you said might make her think.

I cut my mother a lot more slack now I'm a mother. I worry that my son will remember the 0.001% of the time I was short-tempered or whatever and forget all the rest.

Once you get to a certain age you do need to try and let go, easier said than done esp. as she is still trying to lay guilt on you.
Sounds like you are trying to come to terms with how much contact you have, accepting her personality and how much it is not going to change, realising that if she was a friend you wouldn't be friends.
Good luck.

Leila V. said...

Thanks! Seems like parental issues are part of the human condition. I hate to laugh, but the oil/fat story is hilarious. I wish she was right!

I’m bitter because I too wasn’t armed with the tools for life’s struggles. But, I guess our parents can’t impart on us the knowledge that they don’t have.

I like the way you put that. If we were friends, or in a position to be, we wouldn’t be. If that makes any sense. I always worry I’ll look back and regret my disgust for her, but I guess it is what it is.

I can assure you that my mom wasn’t nasty only .001% or even 25% of the time. Your son is lucky to have such an thoughtful mom.