On the edge

At first, I didn’t know what to do about it, well, what do you do, when your mother who hasn’t spoken to you for three years, suddenly sends you a birthday card. Almost since the day I was born, my mother and I have had what I can only call, as a fractious relationship. The first time I realised that I wasn’t the same as the rest of the family was when I was still in primary school. I don’t know what it was that woke me up to it, but it was as clear as the nose on my face, I was treated differently. None of it made any sense, I couldn’t work it out at all, but I was told off all the time for things that the rest of the family got away with. I was the middle child, if, you can have a middle out of four children. My elder brother and sister were separated by only two years, five years later, there was me, and five years after that, my little brother. He was the apple of her eye, not at first, but when it was found out that he had received brain damage from the forceps when he was born, he became the special one. No, I wasn’t a jealous child, I wasn’t even aware of him being special until years later, at the time, he was just different.

My older sibling, they had freedom, everything new, and everything they asked for. Me, I was the hand me down child, and not just from my sister, from my two older cousins as well. I never felt as though I mattered, that anything I said was listened to. A lot of the time, I felt in the way, a nuisance who was always too young or too old, the inbetweener who never belonged. I didn’t find out why, until, Mum and I were having a huge row about nothing. We were in the garden and whatever she said really got to me, I screamed at her “I hated you”. Then it came out, I was totally unwanted. I was 10 years old and my mother told me she never wanted me, but her doctor wouldn’t giver her an abortion. A couple of years later, that argument was elaborated on, I had snuck into the world through a whole in a condom. In the early 60’s family planning wasn’t quite the science it is today, and abortions, well there had to be a real reason, and she didn’t have one. My little brother too was an accident, but his problems made him special, I was just an annoyance. The child that stopped her from having the career she wanted, and the life she wanted.

Knowing you were born unwanted, isn’t the best information a child needs, to make them obedient and compliant to their parents desires. Yes, I admit, I turned into a rebel, who wouldn’t under those circumstances. When my parents divorced, I was sent with my father. Mum yet again didn’t want me, and during the next 18 months, I discovered neither did my Father. I was in my early 30’s before I confronted her on that one. I lived through a year of abuse, that no child should have to and I thought she always knew. She says she didn’t, but there was something about the way she said it, that left me still not believing her. From the day my father took me out the back door of our house, into his care, to today, my relationship with my Mother has been totally off and on. She was delighted when I married my first husband. A Royal Navy officer, at last I was doing something she approved of, after all, even though I was 16, he was a very respectable match and meant I was at the other end of the country. Throughout the 10 years we were together, she was the model Mother, Mother-in-law and grandmother. Then I left him. She didn’t speak to me for a year and when she did eventually speak to me when I phoned, rather than her hanging up, it was as though nothing had happened. Which, was more than bizarre, but that’s my Mother.

Our relationship slowly did become one of equals. I proved that I was more than capable of supporting myself, even if she didn’t understand why I wanted to be a DJ, or my tattoos, black & bright red hair extensions and my individual style of clothes, but we actually got on, again. She even met each partner as they appeared, she disliked and liked all the wrong ones, but she put up with their existence, that was, until I met Adam. Even though my sisters husband is 17 years older than her, my marrying someone 17 years younger than me was once more totally unacceptable. She refused to come to our wedding and didn’t even want to meet him, until a year after. Almost every time we spoke, she told me it wouldn’t last, that he would leave me. When he didn’t, even after I got ill, she still had few good words to say about our relationship. Slowly, she accepted him, as she now had bigger fish to fry, telling me just how badly I was handling my health. How she knew people with MS and they weren’t anything like I was, and no matter how many times I explained it, she wouldn’t accept it as it was me who was telling her. Slowly, we spoke less and less, it dropped from every couple of weeks, down to maybe once a month. I had so little to say once I was housebound, and she didn’t like being upstaged, by someone who was iller than her. After all, I had listened to her telling me for 40 years, about how little time she had left. She has always been the family hypochondriac, convinced from her 50’s that she wouldn’t live long. She’s now nearly 90.

Just over 3 years ago, our calls had dwindled right off. I don’t think I had heard from her for about 4 maybe 5 months, so I decided that I was clearly the one, who was supposed to call. The phone wasn’t answered, not once, but for 3 or 4 weeks in a row. I hadn’t been calling daily, but I felt it was odd, even odder when I left messages and I still heard nothing. I had no choice, but to call my little brother, mummies boy, always mirrored whatever she thought or did, so never hearing from him, wasn’t a surprise. She was in the hospital, she had had a fall and broken her hip, six months before. The decision had been taken that there was no point in telling me, after all, I was housebound, what was the point. He kept me updated with a couple of calls over the for next couple of months, as she was shifted from one hospital to another. Calling him and actually having the phone answered, was rare, he worked shifts, and no one else in the family, ever answered the phone. Then the decision was made, she was to go into a home, as she was unable to go home again. The last time we spoke was when I was fed up of hearing nothing and my calls not being answered, so we tricked him. Adam called and left a message, asking him to call. I knew he would think that I was either dead or extremely ill, but it made him call. Mum was now in her second care home, she had only been there a week and they were waiting to see if she settled. He promised he would call, she was to have a phone in her room and he would give me her number. He never called, nor did she.

This Christmas, I sent her card to his address, just as I did the year before. No card came in response from her, but there was one from him. Still there was no phone number or even an address, but he did name the care home where she is and a note saying she was well, but that was it. Then out of the blue, a birthday card arrives, with a note inside, saying how happy she was and how she enjoyed her weekends surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Once again, no phone number, or even the address of where she was. Because I had the name of the care home, the internet has supplied me with what I think is the address. I guess, she want’s me to write to her now. Part of me feels it’s too late, that there is nothing to be gained from it. Part of me feels once more out of the duty of a child, that I have to respond. Why do parents have this horrid hold over us, even when they have failed as a parent? I have never felt anything from her that I would call close to love, just duty. Despite what I shouted as a child, I have never hated her, but I have never hated anyone. So what do I do now?

Please read my blog from 2 years ago today – Plasma itch 

Snore day number one…..otherwise know as Saturday, the first day of two snore days where Adams snoring from the settee is once more blocking out the TV! How does he do it? I honestly would have thought that not……

 

 

17 thoughts on “On the edge

  1. “Love takes Sacrifice, ALWAYS.” Be the bigger person. Sometimes we forget that our parents have issues be it, mental, substance abuse or long term issues/traumas from their childhood. I will tell you this, no matter what she does or doesn’t do “She is your Mother”, don’t second guess yourself about her not caring about. Obviously, you care and love your mom, or you would not be blogging about how disturbed you are about your realationship. Also, don’t give up on calling her or even doing a Skype call to see her again. Cause when one of you passes, you do not want to live with the guilt of not being the one who did not try to continue with your relationship. I have been living with that feeling since 1982 when my father passed from cirrouses of the liver from alcoholism. I seen him in the hospital on Friday and told him that I would come see him after my wrestling tournament Saturday. Well, when Sunday came up, I did not call him or go to see him. Early Monday morning we received a call, I answered it, it was my aunt My (fathers sister) she told me that my father had just passed away. My father was not the best father in the world. Actually I can not remember a day in my life that he was sober. I was embarrassed many times when he would show up at one of my football games or wrestling matches drunk, and my peers would make fun of him. What they did not know is that he served in Vietnam in 1966, and suffered from PTSD, which back then was not even a diagnoses or condition. He never came home, he was forever stuck in Vietnam. Over the years I came to understand his issues since I served and had been to combat in 1992. But the type of combat I was in was totally different from his and the current Combat Vets from Iraq and Afganistain. I have forgiven him, but it was hard to forgive myself for not taking that last visit with him. Today I know that no matter what he was my Father, be it good or bad, if it was not for him I would not be here today. This week on 18 February my family will celebrate his life, it ha been 34 years since he passed and I would do anything to have that day back in my life to see him one more time, to just spend ten minutes with him. It is never to late to make amends, because when Jesus calls us that is it. So as long as both of you have a breath to breath make that attempt to contact your mother, believe me you will appreciate it more then you know. Again thank you for your blog, and your sharing. None of us are perfect, we are all sinners and we all screw up and live dysfunctional lives at times. But when it comes down to it “LOVE TAKES SACRFICE, ALWAYS.”

    Craig Lee Hummel
    MAJ, USA (Ret)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, I know your right, but that doesn’t make it easy. I guess, I just don’t want to be hurt by her again. But your right, both of us are living with a ticking clock, her, her age, me, my health. Neither of us are in the position to just get up and get on a train.

      I have always loved her, if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be hurting at all. I’m sorry you didn’t have the opportunity to say that final good bye. At times, love can be the biggest bitch in our lives, but none of us, would be anything without it.

      Take care

      Pam (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for your encouragement, again I love your tweets and your Blog. You are amazing, you just put it out there, raw and unedited. I look forward to reading your blog now, it helps me get through my day and look at how I am blessed to have today. Look forward to read your blog and your Tweets. Thank you for being on the other end of this computer. It is refreshing having a good discussion about life on life’s terms.

        Craig

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I honestly don’t understand what it is society thinks we owe to “parents” who never were. I haven’t seen or spoken to the violently abusive hag that birthed me in years, and I don’t plan to. I don’t even know where it currently dwells, nor do I care to. If by chance we were to run into one another in public, chances are I’d call the police and have it arrested if it were to say anything to me or even lay so much as a finger on me. It should be in prison right now for having almost killed my invalid father through neglect and then forging his name in an act of life insurance fraud, but neither my father or my younger “brother” chose to press charges. They should have. Now my dad is dead since November ’14, the two of us having been robbed of each other’s presence in his final years, not able or willing to patch things up until his final year of life. I can’t forgive what that bitch or her youngest offspring did to drive us apart, or for what they did to me. I have a bottle of Hungarian sweet wine I won’t open until I either get my own place or read of the hag’s passing.

    Lest you think I’m turning this into an all-about-me session, I want you to read what I’ve just written and contemplate your relationship, such as it is, with your mother. She made it clear decades ago that she never really wanted you. She went to the effort of cutting you out of her life. She only ever seems to drift back in when she wants something from you or when she’s feeling down and needs someone to emotionally beat up on so she can feel better about herself. Why put yourself through all that again? She made her choice and has no right to expect anything from you. You’ve got enough of your own problems to deal with right now. Maybe, at her advanced age, she’s finally harboring regrets and wants to patch things up, but from what you’ve written it doesn’t appear as though she’s making much of an effort. Presumably she still has your phone number. Presumably your siblings do. Any of them can either get in touch directly or pass along messages. That they haven’t speaks volumes. Sending you a birthday card with a note saying how happy she is with her children, grandchildren, etc., as though you’re not her child? Nope, not seeing anything but malice in that. Maybe I’m just cynical and pessimistic after so many years of abuse and hatred from my own “family”. I’d love to be proven wrong. But I just can’t abide seeing someone put herself through more pain in order to play the “game” of filial obligation for the benefit of people who never understood or practiced the concept of family.

    Just my two cents, for what they’re worth. Ultimately it’s your decision, and I wish you all the best luck with this situation no matter what you choose to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When we forgive it is not for the person who has done us wrong. It is for us to drop the bagged that we are caring around so that we don’t go crazy and have hate in our lives. When we choose to not forgive, we have to look at the issue; Do I really want this person taking up so much space in my head. Plus most likely that person does really even care about what you are feeling or what there actions have done to you. Hate is a terrible emotion to carry around, it causes stress and depression. Dump the baggage and forgive those who trespass against. Believe me you will feel better about your self after you take your power back. This is just my take on how I try to live my life today. It feels better to have your life glass half full then half empty.

      Craig

      Like

      • I spend very little time actually thinking about those who have hurt me. I don’t focus on them to the point of letting it affect my daily life. But neither do I “forgive and forget”. Some things cannot be forgiven so easily. I’ve always felt that when we are called upon to forgive, invariably it means accepting what was done and allowing the people who hurt us to go on hurting us as well as others. Where’s the justice? One can move on with life without forgiving the unrepentant.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you too didn’t have a family to support you through life. It may make us stronger, but it’s s hard way to learn.

      This is a tough one, that’s why I’m finding it hard to decide the right course of action for all of us.

      I thought it was all over, that she had no more to say, that she had closed the door. In many ways, it is still closed and I do think it’s possible that she is playing some sort of warped game. Maybe, this is all she wanted to open the wounds and pick at the scabs. But, maybe, she wants to bury the sword and for once not in me. I still have much to think about.

      Take care (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Have you ever of Corrie ten Boom? She was a Holocaust survivor that forgave her Nazi jailer after the war. It wasn’t easy for her and only possible after he approached her and asked for forgiveness. That said, I think the best you can do is keep the door open for your mother to do likewise. Life is hard and we’re all struggling to get through it. I think it’s often and perhaps only in the act of forgiveness we find the ability to forgive ourselves. Take care and keep up the wonderful writing. It’s a treat and an inspiration.

    John

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have forgiven her, so many times. Even when I was cut out of her life the final time, I once more forgave and was living my life once more without her.

      I wouldn’t be surprised if she out lives me and I’m not sure, if I have the energy to go up against her once again. Answering her knocking, could go so many different ways.

      Take care (((Hugs)))

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t believe how someone can be so cruel. The first thought that popped in my mind is maybe the reason your Mum took everything out on you is because somewhere deep down she felt guilty and maybe she saw herself in you -warts and all and that terrified her. What you have gone through is shocking. These are the kind of posts I say’ Where is peoples humanity? At least you are not bitter. What is the saying? you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends/ x

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      • Great conversation, all that matters is HOW YOU FEEL. You are the one who has to walk in YOUR shoes. There really is not a right answer. It is how you want to deal with it. I am glad you shared these inner most feelings with everyone on this blog, you are very brave. You already know what your answer is to all of this. You have always known, sometimes it takes a while to figure it out. Thanks again for sharing your life, cause it has helped me deal with mine own issues. But I think that is why you have this blog. You are a person who loves to help others and your blog does exactly that 🙂

        Craig

        Liked by 2 people

  5. That’s tragic. All of it. I’ve been helping a woman who discovered that her mother had actually had an abortion, but the embryo that was to become my friend actually survived. So my friend has to somehow come to terms with the fact that her mother didn’t want her THAT MUCH.

    It must be so sad for you, being told you were unwanted and that your mother WOULD have not had you if she could. I can’t imagine.

    My own mother supposedly did want me, but probably only to compete with her sister, who already had two children. But in order to keep her girlish figure, my mother took amphetamines to avoid gaining weight. I was born drug addicted and stunted. My mother abused me until I ran away at age 16. When my father was dying I opened the topic, hoping to get some resolution, but they both screamed at me that I “robbed them of my childhood” –WHAT? OK, I don’t understand a lot of things.

    I do understand the unceasing judgment, the capriciousness, the longing to be loved and approved of. I share the unfortunate experience of having my mother refuse to come to my wedding because she didn’t approve of my marrying someone from a different social class.

    And now my own son has rejected me because I am ill and don’t work, and don’t fit in with his father’s side of the family, who are all very tidy, fit, and famous.

    Although it all hurts very deeply, I have to keep my focus on the fact that family of choice often love us much more than family of origin.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I can’t directly relate I can only relate from the relationship if that’s what its called with my gran. But I can give you the one quote that I live by : ‘ Forgive them even if they aren’t sorry ‘ . Forgive her not for her sake but yours , once you forgive her for all she’s done to you.
    I hope you have a good week ahead 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Do what works for you.

    Seriously. There’s no reason to live with regret, or to feel you have to be the bigger person. Someone who is a parent through the the reality of biology vs. nurturing can kill the soul. Don’t let her kill your spirit with your full cooperation.

    Not having had a relationship with my father for close to 40 years after my own parents ugly, bitter and violent divorce, I can tell you that I’m bloody minded enough to be happy to not have to relate to that bitter, 80 year old man. Even when the family issues arise from time to time. “Not my circus. Not my monkey.” is the best phrase I have for emphasizing how necessary it was for my own mental health to step away from the drama and have no regrets.

    We can divorce bad spouses, even if they live in a portion of our souls forever. Why can’t we be kind enough to ourselves to divorce a bad parent?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. DO NOTHING..MY GIRLS WERE CONCEIVED UNDER VERY VIOLENT CONDITIONS. I LOVE THEM ANYWAY.I NEVER UNDERSTOOD HOW A MOTHER COULD HATE HER CHILD.AS MY DAUGHTER SAYS” IF YOU’RE NOT AROUND FOR THE BAD TIMES; THEN YOU ARE NOT WELCOME FOR THE GOOD ONES.” SHE’S TALKING ABOUT HER UNGRATEFUL SIBLINGS AND THE WAY THEY TREAT ME AND NOW HER.YOU HAVE TERESA, ADAM AND THEY ARE THE ONES THAT MATTER NOW.TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. I WISH I COULD COMMENT EVERYDAY BUT LIFE HAS BEEN VERY HARD..THINK OF YOU EVERYDAY.

    Liked by 1 person

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