Lately I have been aware of a deep, abiding sadness that I was not able to identify. It really came to the surface since Forbes, my Mom's husband, died. I have cried a lot and it has felt like greiving, but not for him. I have no particular feeling about his death for myself, but I have been very sad for my Mom. She once expressed to me that she could not imagine waking up without that precious face on the pillow beside her. Now she must live it, and I am sad for her for that. But this sadness is so much more than the compassion I feel for my mom. I have been figuring out that it is something to do with how my family handles things like this. It is never certain if I will even get a call, so I made sure I expressed how grateful and glad I am that I was notified. (I did not get any notice when other various relatives died. I believe my Mom withholds on things like that to punish, and it did hurt. I think she would be satisfied to know that) I dread the fallout from not being able to make it to his funeral. I am certain it will be fodder for the viscous gossip mill my younger siblings (and sister-in-law) seem to gain their sense of power from. I understand how it works and the sick reason for it, and I hate it. I hate it deeply and vehemently, and I hate the sense of vulnerability I feel just having been born into this lion's den. All my life I have felt there wasn't room for me in this family. I would like to go away and be forgotten. But they won't forget, They will always tear down and rip apart. I started wishing I'd never been born at about the age of 4 or 5. I have one particular memory at about that age, and I knew I was revisiting a thought/feeling that I'd had before.
Maybe I always wished I'd never been born. I was sickly at birth, nearly died, and was diagnosed as a "failure to thrive" baby. My mom's crazy myth about me is that I rejected her from the day I was born. She told me that several times throughout my life. The last time I remember it was at a family campout in the presence of my sister Amy. I wonder if Amy remembers it. I doubt it, but I wish she would, because it would be nice to have someone corroborate it. Depending on which day you ask her, my Mom may also corroborate it. Then again, it would be just like her to claim she never said such a thing. I have come to learn, over the years, that our mother has told me lots of things that she never told the others. For example, she told me many times, in an exasperated tone, " One of the best things I ever did was moving away". I wish I'd had the courage to ask why she was saying that to me, but she is hypervigilently defensive, and I was afraid she would punish me for asking. The couple times I ever did try to express (even very carefully, gently) a different point of view or wish for something to be different, she responded in a way that is best described as vicious, not just threatening to retaliate, but even a full year later carrying out the threat, and then throwing it in my face that she had, looking and sounding very self-satisfied.
Jeeze, she is a toxic person. Like other abusers (i.e. control freaks) I have lived with, she acts one way in sight of others, and another way behind their backs, then she can deny and make it seem like I'm the crazy one. And since my experience of her is so unlike the others', they think (and say) that the fault lies with me. I know they really believe it, too, because they are just as caught up in the addictive paradigm as she is.
Fortunately, I have come to understand what that is all about too, and why the need for the collaboration. I have spent my life in pursuit of the truth, understanding, and healing, and have learned about these particular dynamics in several good books on the subject.
I was fortunate to be born to another fate, and I have yet to figure out its purpose, but I suspect that somehow I am supposed to bring truth and healing to this family. I just have not yet found the courage, or the means, or the time. I leave it the hands of God, until I learn otherwise. What I have not yet figured out, is how to stop hurting about it, how to stop being vulnerable. So I avoid them as much as possible, and put on my "best face" when dealing with them is necessary. As for my sadness, I think it is about letting go of the hope that my relationship with my mother will ever be different, and that I will ever get anything I need with her, even the most basic sense of safety. What an aweful thing it is, to never have known what it feels like to be safe in the presence of my own mother. Now I don't just feel sad; I feel sickened.