2 Feb

So I kind of don’t know where to begin on this one.

I was at my psychologist’s today and told her about my breakthrough this week with my dad. And how, funny enough it was actually making things a bit more difficult for me. It’s as if I can see the light at the end of the tunnel toward contentment, and I can’t let myself get there, because I’m scared to.

Then I felt like a complete “on the couch” stereotype. Having dealt with at least some of my daddy issues – it’s time to deal with mom. I think it’s on some level that I can’t be truly happy because I feel like I don’t deserve it. Because of her.

I barely write about her here – which is amazing on some level, since she and I are so close. But I think it’s mostly because I am mega-protective of her.

My mom was the child of two holocaust survivors. My grandmother, Judit, passed when I was about 5 years old. Judit was part of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, an actress and an opera singer. Then she jumped off a train on the way to Treblinka – saving her own life, but losing an arm.

She married my mom’s father (I don’t call him grandpa). I like calling him “the abusive asshole”.  He passed when I was 12. Nobody cared. I know it sounds harsh but the man was a monster.

He beat my grandmother. He brought her down. He made her a fragment of what she was. When my mom was three they abandoned her at an orphanage. Her aunt and uncle (who I always saw as grandma and grandpa), took her away from there, and she eventually went back to live with her parents, but she never really got over that abandonment, and she spent her childhood witnessing the continued abuse of her mother, and being neglected. I never blamed my grandmother for it, and neither did my mom. She was weakened. I just mourn her for what she was and what she could have been. All my life I’ve been told how like her I am. (before she became a battered woman).

My mom decided at one point that she will be the complete opposite of everything her parents stood for. She would be the perfect mom.

Our fridge was always (too) full. Our door was always open. We were always the house where all of the friends came to. My mom was a second mother to about half of my friends. Some of them are still in touch with her – independently of me. When they had nowhere to go, they went to my house. It’s just the way it was.

At the same time – I grew up around emotional abuse. My father never clears his dishes from the dinner table, calls my mother “stupid”, under estimates her, and never ever allowed her to grow as a person.

I don’t know why she accepted it. I remember as a kid hearing her say that by being with him she was being punished for something she did in a past life.  (I’ve only lately come to realize that she was re-living a cycle of abuse without being aware of how wrong it was).

I remember by the age of 14 wishing that she would divorce him. It’s not that I don’t love my father, but I hate the way he treats her. I’m sure he’s cheated on her more than once – and I’m sure she knows at least about some of it. And she gave up her life basically to take care of him and us.

I feel like I owe her everything.

My dad never changed one diaper. He never picked us up from school. He never cooked a meal. It was all my mom.

The thing is – the woman is an amazingly talented interior designer, and her career never happened, because he didn’t let it – and because she let him keep her away from her dreams.

In the last couple of years my mom has been seeing a therapist. I’m the one who pushed her to it.

Slowly she’s started to realize how much she’s given up and she is angry. She’s angry all the time, sometimes at my dad, but mostly at herself for letting this happen.

I am so sad for her – though I do feel that at the end of the day, she did fulfill her true dream – to be a mother. She is a mother to everyone and every thing. Even strangers – it’s rather mind-blowing.

The problem is I feel guilty. I know how much she’s given up to raise my brother and I. I know how much she lives vicariously through me.

I want to be a mother as much for her as I do for me, because I know how happy more grandchildren would make her.  I want to be successful as much for her as I do for me – because I know how proud she would be.

and I feel responsible. I want to make her happy. I want her to let go of her anger and confront my dad. I wish I could do it for her – but it’s her battle and I know she has to fight it.

But I’m left with guilt and a sense of responsibility.

It’s easy to solve daddy issues for me because they’re so straightforward – it’s just about allowing myself to be heard.

But with my mom…. Well, my therapist says I need to let go of my sense of responsibility for her. Keep on loving her but no longer feel responsible for her happiness/unhappiness, and as a result – guilty about my own.

That’s a far more complicated knot to untangle.

One Response to “Mom”

  1. Elphaba February 3, 2011 at 01:04 #

    Great post… relationships with mothers are fraught with so many things they are rarely simple. I’m really discovering that lately.

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