There is a certain feeling I carry with me. I guess it would be safe to say it’s been there the majority of my life. I don’t share it with others because I’ve always felt that it’s something I need to hide. Maybe a part of me didn’t want to believe it was true. Maybe a part of me wanted to believe it was one of those things where I could just say ‘don’t be so daft, it’s all in your head’. Maybe the soul-crushing shame of it made it impossible to share with anyone.
Last Wednesday, at my session just before the Easter break, T suggested that I should think about writing a letter to my mother explaining how her current behaviours and comments make me feel. He said I could either read it to her, or just leave it for her to read whenever she wanted–the way to tell her would be up to me. I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I wasn’t sure it was something I would be able to do. I didn’t want her to feel bad. I didn’t want her to feel like I was blaming her for the problems in my life. I didn’t want her to be mad at me.
I thought about it some more and in the end I decided I would try to talk to her but I would go about it in a less direct way. Instead of telling her that the things she says and does makes things harder and makes me feel bad, I would just tell her how I was feeling in general. I thought it would be better if I left it all about me. I thought that maybe she would be understanding, or at least try to be, if she knew how I was feeling.
So, last Thursday I sat her down and told her that I was feeling really overwhelmed with life lately. I told her that some days, it’s really hard to just keep moving forward and I explained that there are times I wish I was no longer here. She sat there, listened and then responded:
Well, if you decide to go and have a breakdown don’t think I’m sticking around for it. I’m not taking care of things. I’ll be outta here.
Then she walked away.
It felt like a giant lead ball was swinging over my head threatening to crash down on me and if I were to walk out of the house at that very moment and kill myself, it would just be a giant inconvenience for her.
Her response only confirmed the feeling that I never talk about–that I have always been, and will always be, too much for my mother. I am too much for her and the minute things get hard she will leave me to deal with it on my own.
It’s an awful feeling when the one person who should be there for you unconditionally isn’t. What I’ve learned from my mother is that it is not okay to have needs. When my own neediness gets in the way, I fall back into old patterns, wanting to please her and end up hurt all over again. My own hopefulness gets in the way. I get all hopeful that my mother will suddenly change and treat me well and, even though I know that’s nothing more than wishful thinking, I get sucked in anyway. I end up feeling as devastated at 42 as I did when I was a small child.
The weekend was hard. I felt very alone. I messaged T about what she said and he said it was hard to comprehend. I asked him if he was going to leave too and he responded ‘I suppose you think everyone will leave’.
‘Of course I think everyone will leave’, I wanted to scream at him. The tiny voice in my head constantly whispers, ‘be careful, because what happens once can happen again’. If my own mother, the person who’s supposed to love me, doesn’t, why should anyone else? If she won’t stick around when things gets hard, what reason would anyone else have to stay either?
The conversation with my mother only confirmed that what I’ve been carrying around for so many years is true.
When it matters most, she won’t be there.