The Ties That Bind

My family dynamics are complicated. I’m sure everyone feels this way in some capacity, but I feel it to the extreme.

I haven’t spoken to my mother in nearly 3 years. Today she called me to tell me that my uncle who I have very little contact with is dying of lung cancer. It was the strangest conversation of my life, when it ended I felt a strange sense of emptiness. Not emptiness in the sense of loss, but emptiness in the sense of being totally devoid of emotion. My mother and I have never been particularly close. I acknowledge that I probably wasn’t an easy child to raise. I was very closed up, unable to express my emotions. But my mother is ill-suited to be a parent. She can be maternal, but there are issues mentally that I feel make her unable to make the selfless sacrifices needed to raise a child, especially a daughter. Continue reading

I Guess I Take After My Mother…

Lonely nights are the worst.  Lonely nights are made even worse by listening to Dallas Green. I’ve always been the type of person to have really emotional reactions to songs. I can recall nights where I haven’t slept because I listen to the same song over and over again.

tumblr_m7a1hod8Eg1rqrbrao1_400This song, I could listen to it all night. I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents lately. For a lot of reasons I suppose. Part of it is examining my own dysfunction, why I’m the way I am. Another part is worrying about carrying on a fucked up maternal legacy. All my life I have fought against being like my parents in one way or anther. When I was younger my impression of my Dad was this stern, immigrant authoritarian. There was a time in my life that I thought I hated him. Part of it was my youthful rebellion I’m sure, and part of it was that we just didn’t understand each other. As I’ve grown up and now that he sees me as an adult rather than a petulant child we’re cool. I can talk to him about nearly anything and I know he’s always willing to help in out of a bind. Our relationship is uncomplicated now. Nothing but love, and no matter how many times I fuck up I know I’ll always have his support.

Then there is my Mom. It’s been nearly 3 years since we’ve spoken to each other. You could say I have mommy issues. The way she has raised me has me so fearful that I would make a terrible mother. Her mom was awful, and she is awful, and I feel like I may be doomed to repeat their failures. There is this notion that mothers have this unconditional love for their children, that somehow the birth of a child changes their being. That didn’t happen with my Mom. She had me simply as a way to trap a man who was cheating on her, and clearly no longer in love with her, and admittedly had my sister for the same reason. My mom was never the kind of person to give her affection freely, it was only doled out when it suited her. I don’t know if her maternal shortcomings are all her fault, part of me knows that there is some sort of chemical imbalance going on. This is a woman who could work 7 day stretches as an RN but lay in bed all evening, not concerned that her children hadn’t eaten. I remember being so broke in University, and pretty much begging her to buy a textbook for me and her telling me no, but having no problem bragging to her friends about my academic accomplishments as though she had some hand in it.

And I wonder, was it because she didn’t have a good mother? How much of this is hereditary? Is she incapable of putting another person before herself because my Grandmother couldn’t do that for her? It scares me. Having kids is the only thing in life I’ve ever been 100% certain about. But I worry that I’m going to be a shitty mom, that I won’t be able to be selfless. Can someone who didn’t have enough mothering be a good mother? I mean, it’s not like I didn’t have loving women in my life, I had my Grandma Juliana, my aunts on my Dad’s side who have all doted on me my entire life. Is their influence enough to erase 26 years of dysfunction that my Mom has caused?

My main reason for wanting to have the surgery is because I wanted to become as healthy as possible before having kids. I didn’t want to be obese, developing gestational diabetes and giving birth to some 10 pound baby. But now I worry more about being a shitty mom, and in that case should I even have children? And as much as I try to deny it, I there are characteristic of my Mom that I sometimes see in myself. Usually it’ll be in phrases I say or words I use. I catch it and it scares me. I feel like maybe there is more of her in me that I’d like to admit, and if there are those latent characteristics, maybe more will emerge when I have kids. So many of my insecurities stem from her. I’ll never think that I’m good enough and I will always second guess myself. I hate that about myself. I hate that I have to seek approval from other people because I never felt it from her.

I think about reaching out to her from time to time. But she refuses to ever accept any responsibility for anything… ever. She is the consummate victim. I try not to think about her, to put her out of my mind as often as possible. Especially after this summer when she accused me of vandalism (apparently I picked up a boulder and put it in her driveway, 7 days post-op no less). Lately though these thoughts have become more and more prevalent.