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Getting to Love the Way my Mom Hates Me
I failed in my mission of being born
My mother loves me, but doesn't like me much. She did love my father, more like obsessed with him. He loved her in return, yes, but he could not put up with her stalker/obsessive ways.
They both were too young to deal with true love anyhow. I know I'm rambling but such goes my mind trying to put together pieces of memories of stories that I never witnessed.
My mother was 15 years of age when she first met my dad. My daddy is quite a handsome man. Soft spoken, gentle, kind and intelligent. Ladies were a plenty for him.
Not that my mother wasn't a looker. She used to be a ballerina and studied in fine private schools. My grandmother was a seamstress, it took much effort from her to finance my mother's education. My mother was indeed a spoiled child, the last of my grandma's offspring. My grandmother always wanted to have a black daughter so, when my mother was born, she just spoiled her rotten.
My mother grew up getting whatever she wanted; and now she wanted my dad. He liked her but he cherished his personal space more... He ended up leaving her to marry some other woman.
When my mother heard the rumors that my dad was fading out, she managed to see him one last time. A couple of months later she was pregnant. She told him this hoping he would do "the right thing", but he kept on with his wedding plans. So I came to this world failing in my mission to have my daddy come back to his true love. A disappointment was born.
I write this not expecting pity, but to help me clarify some issues of my past and how they explain my current relationship with my mother.
Although I had a happy childhood, ah! how is one to know? My mother beat me often. Anything was a good discipline tool: sticks, wires, belts, phone hooks... she once had me kneel on the grater so long it stuck to my knees when I stood up. I was seven.
Back then we lived in an apartment located on the eleventh floor. I was alone in the apartment, as I usually have been alone since the age of four. When I was four we lived in New York, in the Bronx. She would leave mid morning and urged me not to open the door to anybody. I thought she was going to work. But last week, as I was talking to my stepdad about it, he told me that she never worked while in New York, that is the first time in all these years he learned my mother left me alone back then, and that of course he had no idea where she went on a daily basis.
At seven years of age I took my small blackboard and wrote a suicidal note. I wrote about how I was sorry to be a burden to her. I don't remember it all. I do remember then looking down to the parking lot. I was scared of that quick trip down, so I erased the note. To this day, my mother doesn't know I tried to kill myself at the age of seven.
I've always kept a diary. When I was fifteen I drew a cycle of my mom's behavior. It was the cycle of abuse. At age fifteen I realized that I was a victim of child abuse.
I know it sounds horrible. Would you believe if I tell you it wasn't all that bad? Well, if I had it coming she was going to spank me silly. But if I behaved everything was sweet. I had good holidays, better birthdays and there was always food on the table. My mother taught me to read at age three. I started going to kindergarten at age four. I started college at age sixteen.
She would always cut my hair very short though. I always went to school with a short afro. Now that I have my daughter (and she has this mane of hair) I wonder if my mother cut my hair so short so she didn't have to deal with it. The way she kept this certain emotional distance from me, made me look for internal resources. Those were reading and writing.
On the other hand, we always had long conversations, she would talk to me a lot. What went wrong?
Ah! yes... She started going to relatives and friends to spill the beans about me. This started when my first husband left me. My mother, even though he left me for another woman, sided with him. This was very awkward. She would spend evenings at his house and eat with them even though they lived across town. I lived closer to her, and she would go visit them. She went to their wedding, which she told me the other day. Why does she need to tell me?
When I remarried in 1999, she told my cousin that my new husband looked like a monkey. She doesn't know that I know this. Why does she have to talk like this? Toxic personality on top of abusive?
We would have these horrible arguments to the top of our lungs. Sad family scenes. Everybody be telling me that I need to concede because I am the daughter and one day I am going to repent when she dies with all this drama going on. I tell them I find is very unfair that I have to put up with this backstabbing.
You see, until recently, I never bothered to deny any of the things she would go around telling about me. I thought that, since none of them pay my mortgage, I could care less if they believe her or not.
But I'm human you know... it finally got to me. So I plain told her one day that it was not possible that she and I could have a relation because of her persistence in talking behind my back things that are not true.
She responded that she needs to let some steam out somewhere...
"Steam about what? What have I done to you?"
She will not give me a straight answer. I know the answer is because had she known my father wasn't going to come to her for her being pregnant, she wouldn't have had that baby...
I don't tell her this, what's the point? But I do let her know that I demand distance from her, although we'd remain in speaking terms. I love her, but I don't trust her.
How do you cope?
Well, here's the thing... We all have our skeletons in the closet, our demons if you will... our gruesome stories. I mean, if you don't, I'm grateful for you. But is all part of life.
Black and white has nothing to do with it. That is why I insist that knowing the truth is not of the essence, but living life to the fullest is.
I call her every so often and we'd be on the phone for almost an hour. She is a very intelligent woman, very energetic. She has many life projects. Like finishing her Master degree in Psychology and opening a new business. If she finishes her projects or not it doesn't really matter. What matters is that she's busy, and has new acquaintances, new friends.
If I feel that the call wasn't too amicable, I take a breather... and so on. She spends time with her grandchildren, and my older son calls her.
I think the mental health industry came up with the term dysfunctional to sell us on to something new. We are all dysfunctional, is called being human. We all have our lunatic pops and crazy joes, and that is ok. What I find pretty odd is to try and go through life ignoring these kind of issues. I'm not saying deal with them cold feet or take them lightly... I'm saying embrace them as part of you, the good, the bad and the ugly.