I’ve struggled with personal relationships for a long time… most of my life really. Don’t get me wrong, I managed to befriend and marry some great people, but opening up to them (all of them) have been a struggle. I can’t make the argument that my childhood was terrible or that I was abused, but my childhood was never “me” focused.
When I start telling any sort of story about my life, I’m almost immediately hit with “We all have family like that”. I’m sure that’s true. But in further talking, I find that others seem to have at least one family member that they can turn to. I did not. And I know there are others out there like me. I want to know your story. Here’s part of mine.
I can’t go into much detail because I know there are some family members that read this blog and I don’t blog under a pseudonym. Here’s what I’m comfortable saying:
Growing up, my mother and I were close. She told me a lot and I told her everything. When I had my son, I started to see the chinks in her armor, her imperfections, which is a normal part of growing up. I accepted and moved on. Yet as time moved along, I started seeing that she wanted her chinks to be my chinks and I didn’t want that.
I can clearly remember the two incidents that killed our close relationship.
The first was when I had about $100 in my bank account. I told her that I needed to go grocery shopping to get some food for my family (which she and others in my family often ate). Her response to me was that her phone bill needed to be paid and since that line was the business line, I should give her the money to pay the phone bill. So, never mind that everyone needed to eat, since she hadn’t made enough money to cover the phone bill, I should forgo food, especially for my son who was about 3 at the time. I remember clearly that this was the first time that I was startled by her request (even though she’s made many questionable requests over the years).
The second was when I decided to move out with my now-husband and son to our own place. In her opinion, she thought I should stay and pay her the same rent to live with her (with her rules) than to live on our own. When I moved out the last of my belongings from her home, she confronted me and started screaming about how much I messed up over my life and how she had been there for me at every turn… while listing all of my faults (and wrongdoings) in the process. She was screeching so loud that the police were called. At the time, my two younger sisters were in the house. Although I was not embarrassed by things I had done in my past, I didn’t feel it was right that she was so nonchalant about discussing it in front of my siblings nor that she decided to throw those things in my face because she was upset that I didn’t follow her plan.
Initially, I just needed a break. It was probably going to be a week or two. I mean, I spoke to her almost every day. Yet, her response to my request to give me room had so much vitriolic hatred that I couldn’t stomach picking up the phone (without anxiety and pain) to call her for over a year.
That’s not even CLOSE to the end of the story, but all that I’m comfortable with sharing.
We’re better now. I’ve realized that it’s just who she is… she’s looking out for Number 1, herself. But during the time of disconnect, many people refused to understand why we weren’t close… because she’s my mother.
I know she is, but when is a relationship toxic? When is a realtionship too much to bear? Should you have to bear that relationship for the sake of others?
Do you have a story to share? I’d love to hear it. You can be yourself or use a fake name. You can vent or give advice. It’s all welcome. Shoot me an email at spiritedlife @ gmail.com and I’ll schedule you in.