Holy mother issues Batman!
Before I go any further, I’d like to say that I love my mother. I think she did the best job she knew how. The reality is that we live in a broken world and there is no “perfect”.
Let me start off with the clinical stuff. There are three things that the mother imparts (to her new born)- Attunement (“she gets me”), Identity (“I don’t know who I am without her”), and Well Being (“I’m going to be okay”). There are a couple things that can cause a breach- Separation and Mom’s Emotional State.
There were some major areas that were lacking. Looking back, my mom NEVER got me. As a matter of fact, she still doesn’t. There was something in me that she didn’t approve of. There was something that she saw that said I’m not the daughter she expected. I wanted to play with trucks and watch GI Joe. She wanted me to play with toys and read Little House on the Prairie. I wanted to be a mechanic, she suggested “mommy” or nurse. I wanted to play the guitar, she had me play the clarinet. If I got in trouble, she’d take away my flannels and converse (it was the 90’s… who am I kidding, I still wear that stuff) and make me wear terrible old lady clothing (hers) to school. I was fine with just a backpack, she kept making me take a purse. I wanted to play with friends, she wanted to talk to me about sex (way too early). There were things about my body and appearance she didn’t approve of. I developed peach fuzz on my lip in 5th grade and she freaked and had me start waxing. She’d make comments about my weight (but never provided fresh, healthy food or let me go run). If I had a long weekend from school she’d say “let’s work on your complexion this weekend” (I was NOT the kid with acne problems by the way). She made me feel shame about the things that I liked and who I was. In her defense, she probably thought that she was helping me turn into a balanced young lady – but instead it created this inner feeling that I’m not right. That I’m wrong. That I’m not a real girl. I found out a month or so ago that when I was born I had extra fur (which from what I’ve been told is a normal baby thing). My mom was all concerned about that. I think what happened at birth was she had a detachment from me – that I wasn’t going to be her pretty little girl. I’m beginning to see just how much that has messed with me. I yearn for approval from women (especially if they’re in a position of authority). I want that touch that nod of “I get you”.
She mentioned to me that she suffered post partem depression (which later became just general depression if you ask me). She said it lifted when she saw me smiling in my sleep as a baby. Being told that should have been a really sweet moment… but honestly it put pressure on me. I felt as though I was the one responsible for my mom’s emotional well being. That I could make it or break it. I started faking happiness and I don’t know if I’ve ever stopped. Even my junior year in high school that I spent in varying degrees of drunkenness, I distinctly remember feeling that I needed to take care of my mom and pretend everything was fine. I took the weight of the world upon my own shoulders while feigning joy and contentment.
She always said she loved me. I don’t know if I ever really believed her. Her words were not congruent with her actions. I interpreted it as “I love you when you fit into the mold I have for you”. Even now, when she says she loves me, I think “but you don’t like who I am”. That’s not without backup though. She’d often say “I’ll always love you, but may not like you”. Love is just something that you do with family. Like – that’s additional. That’s special. I didn’t get much of that.
There were awesome things with my mom too. I’m not trying to paint the picture of a villain or “Mommy Dearest” here. I just am finally willing to get to the root of all my crap.