Client Journal: Mother Memories

My favorite memory of my mother is one sunny day when I was a child and out playing in the yard with my friends. It was spring and a perfect day. I remember that she baked cookies for us, which was unusual because my mother never baked. She also seemed happy that day which was also unusual. It is difficult to write about her. She had a kind side that others saw. Family members and friends would confide in her. I did not see that side of her. I learned to hide my sadness from her. I wanted a mother who I could talk to, who would comfort me and share her wisdom with me. My mom was not that person. She was not comfortable with my sorrow. She yelled at me when I was weak. Made fun of me when I did not act like she would have in a situation. Every day she would criticize my hair, makeup, clothes because I didn’t look like she did. Always telling me to wear more fitted clothing, tame my hair, be more conservative. Sometimes I did not know where I came from since I felt so different from my family…so right brained and creative and sensitive. My mother had been a cheerleader in high school and all the boys loved her. She had a great figure, short, curvy and very feminine. I was build like my dads family; skinny and built like a boy. The only time I remember my mother being nurturing towards me was when I was sick. When I was healthy, I was on my own. When I was sick and stayed home from school she would sit with me all day, bring me meals and take care of me. I was sick a lot as a child and now I can see why – that was when I got the mom I wanted.

My worst memory of my mother was when she drank and I was not in school, especially in the summer. She would start drinking about 3PM and always drank beer. When we were in school she would go up to the local bar to drink and then be home by the time we got home from school. We had no air conditioning and it was so hot in the house. She would start to drink and then start talking…after a while she would stop making sense or she would get mean. Sometimes she would fall asleep and we’d have to wake her up for dinner. I feel fear as I write this – the child’s fear of not knowing what would come next. Would she yell and abuse or sit quietly. I hated being in the house with her in the summer. The neglect seemed so much worse since I was with her all day. At least as school I wouldn’t have to deal with it. In the summer it was in my face. I remember we never could afford to do anything so we sat in the house. I would go and watch TV in her bedroom to get away from her or I would hide in my bedroom and read. I would read as much as possible to escape her. It felt so oppressive there in the summer time. My mother’s rage and unhappiness was huge and filled up the house. Everything I did felt like a disappointment to her. I’m not sure what she wanted in a daughter but it was not me. She wanted a popular cheerleader and I was a bookworm. She wanted the popular girl and she got an introvert. I could never understand why she hated me so much for being different. Why that was so wrong to her.

Marta: This unhealthy attachment to your mother’s pain must be very comforting to you in ways that the life you live does not give to you. As long as you keep living such a life, your mother will be larger than life to you, which keeps you young. There is much material here to work with, but you need to ask if you truly want to let go? This does not mean you lose her, or stop feeling, but you won’t feel her feelings and sacrifice your life for her thinking you can’t be happy unless you save her, which is an impossibility now. Only saving yourself is a choice. I am picking up a pattern here. I believe there are other factors that are keeping you there. There is a collusion between you and your husband, which is deep, to stay in the victim together. It is safe and feels loving; this is huge patterning.

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