Monday, 28 September 2009

Keeping Mum

It was my mother's birthday at the weekend and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to write about her.

I have wanted to do that for a while now as I strongly believe that my relationship with her forms the basis of a lot of the pent-up discontent and dissatisfaction I have felt about life in general over the last couple of years. However, I have been sitting here for the last ten minutes just looking at a blank screen not really knowing where to start. The thing is, there is so much I want to say that I'm worried if I really start to let it out, I may never stop.

We don't have a volatile relationship punctuated by constant rows and disagreements. In fact, if you asked her what sort of relationship she had with her daughter she would say "excellent" because she has no idea how much she hurts and irritates me. Although actually, I think deep down she has a very good idea because I feel recently, she has been making an effort to be a half-decent person. As such, I don't feel inclined to unleash all my negative thoughts about her that harbour such misery.

So, in a bid to find inspiration on what to write, I looked back at what I wrote about her when I started this blog. As just a few minutes of trying to analyse my relationship with her has exhausted me, I'm just going to re-publish what I wrote back then. I know it's lazy but it covers what I need to say for the moment and I'll expand next time she has really upset me again.....if I can !!

So here it is, from last year:

Mimi - The Mother
Where do I start on the subject of my mother?

I tolerate her but deep down she drives me mad. Really mad. I'm sure my life would be better if she wasn't in it but a part of me worries that if she wasn't around, I wouldn't be able to function. How unhealthy is that? She has possessed me from the moment I was born.

Such a difficult woman - I don't know how my father lived with her for all those years but I know he loved her passionately and he never let me stay angry with her when she upset me. I know he loved me more but for all her temper, he never fell out of love with her.

He was ten years older than her and he met her when she was just seventeen and fell in love with her at once. He often told me about that party and how his heart started racing when she walked in with her friends. He said she looked older than her years in her white high-heeled boots and her little shift dress and her beehive hair and heavily-kohled eyes. He was completely smitten and she was flattered by the attention of this older and in her eyes, sophisticated man.

They married two years later and throughout their life together she behaved like a spoilt child who he indulged. Everything had to go her way and in their arguments, she wouldn't relent until he gave way. Oh, how I wished he would stand his ground with her but he never did....because he loved her and didn't want her to be unhappy. And she knew that and took full advantage of it.

When I came along, she was just twenty but she was obsessed with me. She didn't sleep or eat but just watched me constantly at the cost of her own health. She went down to just six stone in weight and then the doctor told my dad that she needed to put me in a nursery and get a job otherwise she would go mad. So she found a childminder and started working as a secretary at the local driving school. It was ridiculous because most of the pittance she earned went on childcare and the rest of it was her pocket money that she spent mainly on beautiful little dresses for me. I was like her doll.

One day when I was seven, she came to collect me after work and I cried because I wasn't ready to go home. She shouted at me all the way back to the house for that and when we got in through the door, she hit me. I still remember the physical and emotional pain of that strike and I never forgave her for it. She got another job soon after that and arranged for a neighbour to look after me for an hour after school finished, instead of the childminder.

I had to live up to her expectations - high grades, good behaviour, clean appearance. I learnt that if I did what she wanted, life was OK. If I didn't, I always felt she would withdraw her love. Even now, I still have that fear although part of me wishes she would, so that we could live apart from each other.

She came to live with us after my father died. She talks of him with great affection, about the wonderful times she had with him, about how much she misses his love. One of these days, I will lose it and scream at her that she made his life hell and that she didn't deserve him.....or maybe I won't, as I haven't all these years.

As the years go by, she is becoming almost impossible to live with as everything has to be done her way. She thinks she has the right to say what she wants, when she wants, to who she wants. It's as if she prizes that devil in her. It amuses her to let it slowly take over as she gets older. She thinks she has the right to goad and manipulate those around her and now at this stage in my life, I am finding it quite draining.

I blame her for the way I am. I know it's because of her that I cannot feel, though I can't explain how. I just know that it is because of her that I don't have any deep connection to anything, in a real way. I think I just go through life pretending to emotions that don't exist.

What on earth does that make me and would it suddenly change if she wasn't around?


  1. The most damaging thing in life for anyone is a toxic parent. You can never be good enough for them. Never do enough. Never live up to the standards they have set you (always lower than the ones they set for themselves). It's a void that cannot be filled so don't even try. Even if you should lose it one day and tell her how you really feel she won't take it on board - she will always be right in her own mind. I know how you feel, I really do - thankfully not through my own mum but through my mother-in-law and the effect she has on my wife. Sending a hug.

  2. What he said. You just have to let it go. Ultimately, there's nothing I could have said that could have changed anything in the way my parents behaved previously and even less that could have given them a glimmer of the impact they'd had on me.

    Also, there's very little to be gained in blaming her for the way you are (I'm aware I'm equally addressing myself here!) Sometimes, you have to just take ownership of the damn mess.

  3. What they said. There's a drink on the go at mine...

  4. Oh, there's nothing I can really add to what the above have already said. Although saying that, it does seem as though, at the moment, your mum is maybe realising your true feelings toward her? Much love xxx

  5. Hehe...sorry..just thought I'd let you know the word veri was 'ropy-bot'...Apt, maybe? it made me smile!

  6. After all its ur mother.....

  7. Funny, just saw the movie by that same title... for some reason had missed it until recently... maybe there are some ideas to be found there ? I'll just go put the kettle on for tea...