Monday, May 13, 2013
I had a nice Mother's Day. My two children live far away but I got to speak to both of them. DH got me a new camera and then we went out for lunch at 9:00. Yes, 9 am! With Mother's Day, the restaurants are always busy, and one of our favorites opened early due to that, so we went when they opened and got right in. Salmon at 9 am isn't a bad thing, LOL! I really enjoyed the brunch.
Okay, I did not call my mom. My sister and I bought her a big basket of fruit and other goodies which was delivered Sat. She sent me a thank you email. At the end of yesterday (Mother's Day) I sent her an email saying I hope she'd had a good day.
I've had mixed emotions for years about her but I kept the peace as my children were growing up so they could develop a relationship with her. She has issues of some kind and will swear she is going to talk to her doctor about them but doesn't. So she self medicates instead. She was on hormone pills for 20 years until she got breast cancer at age 70 and had to stop taking them. See, according to her they kept her moods stable (no they didn't). And after the breast cancer treatment and cure she blamed tamoxifen for any problems with her moods.
Visiting her was extremely difficult as she'd get very angry at times, get very depressed at times, and you never knew what would set it off. Let me say: she was not abusive to us, although there were two incidents when my brother was young (under 5) where she beat him thoroughly. This was in the days when spanking was acceptable, but it was a bit more than just spanking.
Anyway there were incidents: the time I went for an evening walk and she refused to let my kids (elementary aged) in the house and locked them out in the dark because they had rolled on her grass and had grass clippings on them.
The time when my sister arrived and we decided to go out for lunch and she was furious because we needed to eat her ham biscuits that my son (a teenager) had requested. We had been eating them for 2 days already and needed a change. She screamed at my son and at my sister and later (after my trip was over and I was back home) emailed me threatening to sue me.
The time she got mad because at a family dinner at her house one of my kids opened a bag of potato chips. My son again! He wanted the BBQ flavor and only the bag of regular chips was open. I mean, it wasn't a big deal.
Not to mention how she talks meanly of everyone. She was saying all kinds of bad things about my brother and his wife, since they were a bit late arriving at her house, and the minute they walk in she's all smiles and happy. Made me wonder what she said about me when I wasn't around!
Luckily I live over 700 miles away and only go back once a year. And after the ham biscuit incident I always stay in a hotel so I am not feeling trapped in her house having to walk on eggshells after she has blown up.
So now that the kids are grown, I plan on cutting my visits down to a dinner, stay in the hotel and a breakfast the next morning before driving to my sister's house two hours away.
I still feel guilty sometimes, for keeping this distance, but I have to do it. She refuses to acknowledge her problems. And I've only had a few mild incidents, my sister has seen much worse and put her foot down about it years ago. She told mom she loved her but she wouldn't see her anymore unless mom sought help for her issues. My sister had a daughter who is bipolar, but has been on meds for it for over 10 years. She is also writing a book about it (bipolar) as she is a retired doctor.
So don't judge me. Growing up I never noticed or paid attention to mom's peculiarities. I did get annoyed at her attention seeking. And how she had to keep her routine the same. She always had dinner on the table at 6, even when my dad changed jobs and had to commute. And he started going to the YMCA from work to run, as he had health issues and needed to exercise. So she had dinner alone at 6 and put his in the oven instead of waiting for him to get home at 7. I never thought that was odd but as an adult I do. And lots of other little things. She definitely got worse as we left home. She was at my sister's once and had a tantrum on the floor and my sister had to call my dad to come get her. We honestly believe she's on the bipolar spectrum but won't be treated. And she has asked my sister and brother for help, so she goes to the doctor and he prescribes Ativan. Sigh. She probably goes there and doesn't tell him what she told my brother and sister (that she sometimes thinks she's going crazy, that she has threatened suicide, etc). If she would just seek help I could go a long way towards being there for her but as long as she refuses I have to keep my distance.
Okay, enough rambling and baring my soul. Mom was a good mom in many ways when we were young, but got more unstable, accusing, malicious, and negative as she got older. I swore I'd never be judgemental of my children as they became adults. No negative comments to them, no asking them why they are doing certain things. I have a much closer relationship with them so far than I ever had with my mom. They are adults, they have their own lives to live and create and I am here to lend an ear and encourage. I hope to never turn into the negative, emotional, and yes, narcissistic person my mom is!