Still no break in my mother’s silence. I guess if we’ve learned anything, it’s that she didn’t need to talk with me every night as she claimed, after all. I’m feeling a bit down. I lost my father. And now I’ve lost my mother. Even if she does decide to speak to me, I’ve pulled back the curtain and see she’s just a mean selfish controlling bully.

I wonder why I never looked closely at my mother. I spent all my time in therapy talking about my father. Because of the drinking.

When I was growing up, you always did what my mother told you to do. Always. She never gave you the option to decline. If I told her I didn’t want to do something, she’d say, “Too bad.” And that would be that. Regardless of my preferences. Regardless of whether I had a good or compelling reason. My mother controlled all things. And if you pissed her off, she’d tell my father when he returned from a business trip how bad we were (usually the boys), and he’d proceed to smack the crap out of them, and at times, me. My mother knew he would do this. And still, she told him every time.

We all attempted to gain control or escape in our own ways. My brothers learned to escape with drugs and alcohol. My sister would hide her food in her napkin and flush it down the toilet. Or say she was going outside and would finish whatever she was eating out there. Instead, she threw her food on the roof. Looking back, I’d guess she was anorexic. She was very thin and from time to time was anemic. I, in contrast, ate too much and would throw it up. Truth be told, I’d throw up even if I didn’t eat too much. And then there was the  cutting. I didn’t know cutting was a thing. I just knew I sometimes did it. I’d forgotten all about it until I read a heart-wrenching post last night.

She’s still that way, my mother. To this day. It has never occurred to her that her children, now adult children, are permitted to tell her no. My brothers, even in their 50s, did what she told them to do. She treated them like children. And they capitulated. My late brother blamed my mother for his fiancé’s death. He said it was her fault because she “made” him go to our niece’s wedding. His fiancé fell at the wedding and hit her head. She went into a coma and died months later. I don’t agree with my brother’s laying the blame at my mother’s feet. The story is merely an illustration of how my mother took away their power. She treated grown men like children, and they behaved like children. They felt powerless. And powerless over alcohol.

I hope my brother, who is in the early days of his sobriety, has a plan for dealing with our mother. I hope he finds the strength to stand up to her. To tell her no and to not back down. I have this massive fear that she will derail him. If he didn’t have to work with her every day, it would be much more manageable.

I sent him a text message on Monday, his first day back at work after finishing the intensive outpatient portion of the rehab.

“Do you have a plan for dealing with Mom?”

“Yes, stay away from her.”

I texted him again today.

“How’s it going?”

“Good. Thanks.”

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

It seems, like my late brother, I too blame my mother. I blame her for so many things. Things I’m afraid to say out loud. Or write. But I will at some point. I need to let them out. I’m hoping if I do, they’ll float away like feathers on the wind. And I might find some peace.


  • Did you read LaurenJade’s account of it? I felt sick reading it and had to look between doing other things! It sounds like she is on the route to recovery now though. Sounds like you have difficult family history. Other people’s actions are only part of why we behave as we do. Our personality also dictates this. Best wishes to you and your brother on your journeys of self awareness.


    • I did read it. It was a difficult read. I did it only a handful of times, but her post reminded me of it. I was glad to read she’s doing better. And the butterfly project post was lovely. Did you see it? Our personalities are part of it? No, it’s all my mother’s fault! 🙂


      • Takes two…Are fault or blame involved, or is it a clash due to misunderstandings and different personalities perhaps? what can you do to make it better? My grandma says blood is thicker than water. None of us are perfect, although some appear more flawed than others!

        I also loved the butterfly project, a lovely idea. I hope it helps some people with their recovery.


    • Yes, a clash. She wants to do what she’s always done. Al-Anon? No way. Counseling? Nope, don’t need it. The problem is with everyone else. Not with her. I could make it better for her by doing what she wants. But that’s not best for me. So I drew a line. Set a boundary. She didn’t like it. I’m taking care of me. Sometimes blood needs to be kept at a distance. Taking care off yourself, your own needs, is healthy.


  • Wow. I’m sorry. Wish I could say something lovely to you to make it easier, but I’ve got nothing. 😦 Instead, I’m sending happy thoughts your way. Happy thoughts with cute cuddly cats.


  • Please take this comment with the care and intent with which I mean.. Blame is a waste of time & energy..It will nag at you, make you feel bad and in general not get a damn thing accomplished. Don’t blame her for things from years ago. I know many will disagree. I say that because my Mother was very controlling as well. her history was one of abuse and neglect so she felt like she had to control things to be happy. it did not always work. One thing I know, she loved me till the day the passed. I know your Mother loves you as well. Absolutely keep emotional distance from her but at her age maybe you should call her simply to say hello and if she derails the chat, simply cut it short and hang up.. You can break this cycle of pain, blame and loss..


    • You’re right, Lynne. I know you are. I was allowing myself a little rant last night. Mommy withdraws her love as punishment, and I throw a little writing tantrum. I hesitated to even hit Post. I called her earlier in the week. She did not pick up her mobile. I left a nice message, but she didn’t return my call. It’s been eating at me. Can you tell? I’d been doing so well with all of this for years. My father’s death has me off balance. It will pass.


  • Sometimes getting those feelings out of your head and onto paper (or print) can help so much in dealing with them. I can relate to focusing on how an alcoholic father has affected your childhood, totally neglecting or not realizing how your mom also had a hand in it…Hang in there, and remember there are people out here who understand!


    • She always made him out to be the problem. It never occurred to me to question that. And then my brothers were the problem. And my sister. And now me. Finally, I’m getting some attention. Yay!

      Thank you. I had no idea there’d be so many people who understand. I always thought my family was uniquely bonkers.


  • It’s been a crazy, stressful week – I think we both deserve a bubble bath! I love that blogs give us an outlet to express our emotions. I sometimes write without really thinking that others will read it, and I’m pleasantly surprised for the encouragement I do get. Enjoy your weekend and do something nice for yourself.


    • I made a conscious decision to write whatever the heck I needed to write. Even if it’s a little much. It’s cleansing. Tomorrow I shall do pilates and then go for a long walk/jog at the river. Can’t wait! I hope you have some pampering, too.


  • rants are a good release! recognizing your own and another’s ‘true’ nature is always a good thing, there is no need to assign blame, occasionally ‘touch base’ with her, keep it simple and short, and move on.
    so sorry to hear about your ‘hurts’ we all do have them, don’t we?
    stay centered and balanced


  • Never apologize for expressing how you feel. Feelings are neither good nor bad they just are. Having said that now I will admit that I judge my posts when I complain and whine because it makes me feel weak. Even in cyber world I don’t want you all to think less of me. I have a image to maintain. 🙂 NOT!

    You are really growing by freely expressing yourself and then accepting the support of others. Writing about your mother, your brothers, your brother’s fiancé and your father is cathartic for you. It’s unfortunate that our families of origin have such a huge impact on us. Even though you were never the target you suffered from the crossfire. Being a witness is as bad as being involved and I’m sorry for all of your pain. Good for you for expressing yourself. It is a good thing to rant and then press post. I love this post of yours because you are letting your thoughts go and then they will not over power you.

    Fern, rambling on way too much!



  • Sounds to me like your mother is manipulative and you have to deteremine how to avoid letting here get to you. I had a manipulative family member. I went to see a counselor before visiting the family member. I just asked for the counselor to teach me how to avoid the family member’s attempts to manipulate me. It helped short term enough to last for that 2 week visit. Later I got help again when we lived in the same town. I never went with the family member to see the counselor. I went by myself to build an arsenal of tactics to use against bring manipulated.

    In the end it worked for me. The family member still has mental health issues but I have learned how to prevent those issues from becoming MY issues. Similar counseling may help you and would not require that yur mother participate at all — or even that she know you are being trained to avoid her manipulating behaviors. Good luck to you.


    • You are exactly right! It’s about doing what I can do about me. I have a therapist and we’re working on it. Learning how to keep your mother’s button pushing from getting your goat is a tall order. But I’m making slow and steady progress. Even if my posts don’t show it. 🙂


  • The fact that you can voice this is tantamount to your healing. Just a small tiny reminder that along with this, what is most important, in my humble opinion, is forgiveness. You do not need to have your mother back in your life or be bff’s, but you need to forgive her… or to start to forgive… for it sounds as if it will be a long road for you. Forgiveness is seldom for them. It is for us. “The person who is hardest to forgive is the one who can teach you the greatest lessons.”


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