Happy Birthday, M.
My mother’s birthday is October 27.
Every now and again, and sometimes frequently, my eyes catch a clock at 10:27. And every now and again I make friends with a Scorpio woman and treasure our bond, although I never completely trust it. My trust issues are entirely thanks to my Scorpio mother. My mother is an intelligent, hard working, manipulative and brutally abusive woman. I used to believe that despite her inherent evil she loved me in her own way. Maybe that’s true; maybe she once did, maybe she still does. But I don’t believe it.
When you spend as much time alone with your thoughts as I’ve become accustomed to doing, you begin identifying patterns of behavior in your relationships. My relationships with others all exist, on my end, in a limited capacity – either in time, trust, or connection. I’ve accepted I may never fully trust anyone’s positive admiration, that I will always suspect others’ motives toward me as schemes to achieve alternative ends. I’ve accepted that I may never feel completely adequate at pleasing others or deserving of their affection.
I may or may not ever overcome these negative core beliefs but at least I acknowledge and recognize them. And being gentle with myself through my healing process is the most important step I feel I can take.
I’ve spent roughly half my life thoroughly, undeniably hating my mother.
I was wounded. I was scarred. I was jealous of everyone I knew with a good family, a whole family, a non abusive family, a mother who was a friend. I spent a long time angry that I couldn’t develop lasting relationships, or experience unconditional love because I didn’t have a basis for it, because I’d never known or learned it. I blamed her for denying me a vital part of the human experience.
It’s true: the world can be full of selfish people who aren’t concerned with the welfare of others. This sucks but generally there’s not much we can do about it except manage our expectations of people.
However when “people” is your mother expectations are naturally higher and the damage done by her lack of concern for your welfare is deeper and longer lasting. My mother used my life, my very existence, as strategy in her never ending love affair/war/obsession with my father. Coming to this realization with clarity and honesty, accepting that I was never more than ammunition to her, has taken the majority of my life. Fortunately in my early thirties, I’m still young enough not to have lost my entire future to the same bitterness and pain which defined my mother’s life.
My mother’s almost 60 and I don’t hate her anymore.
Although the abuse and trauma she inflicted made me depressed on and off for years, I’ve never been completely sorry for myself. I’ve always had an internal, guiding faith that despite my wariness to trust, love, and build honest, lasting connection with others I could still create and find my own happiness in life. Thanks to the emotional and familial challenges I was born with (read: Karma) it would seem I’ve got my work cut out for me.
I feel terrible for my mother; she’ll never be allowed back into my life. Her inability or unwillingness to examine herself, her cruelty, her own demons and pain have needlessly resulted in the loss of a daughter who is still alive. I truly believe that in a lifetime of abuse and violence losing me was the worst thing to happen to both my mother and myself. It saddens me that she’ll never be completely aware of that.
It’s unlikely I’ll ever forget my mother’s birthday. But instead of celebrating her life I’ll give the day to reflecting on the lessons in compassion and humanity her psychosis has taught me. I’ll always hold onto my mother as a reminder for me to be a better woman.