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?”
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.