Maybe it’s through American pop culture, but I really wanted my mother to fight for me, for us–more than she has.
Our “ending” has been a little anti-climatic. I didn’t cry when I spoke to her this past week. I felt so in control, like a doctor giving a grave diagnosis and giving options to her patient.
As I summarized nearly 40 years of wanting and waiting, I had compassion for myself as I didn’t hear the responses I wanted: remorse; contrition; sadness.
I’m still wrestling with this a little bit, because this–waiting for her to show up emotionally–is at the heart of what has gone down between us for decades. What’s worse than hatred is apathy.
I can’t make her care about me in the way that I need. Her obstinacy to walking to the middle where reconciliation and restoration reside and flourish.
She only sees this as a right or wrong issue. The way she sees it is that she is emotionally available and she’s unwilling to change her behavior. It takes two, she said. Apparently, I’m still not doing enough. Enough of what? I don’t know.
You know that Rumi quote about meeting in that field beyond right and wrong? That’s where I am, but she decided not to meet me there.
My conversation with her last Thursday was really a coda to a swan song that started before I was born, where I was the scapegoat for the loss of her nursing career. By the way–if your mother or father blames you for ruining their lives, that’s a classic narcissist move.
What’s weird for me is how not-sad I feel. I feel whole and complete. I’m relieved. I don’t have to keep trying, like Capricorns are wont to do. We won’t give up until…is there an until, actually? Do we ever give up? That’s one of the dark sides of being stubborn sea goats. We need the discernment to know when to keep going and when to find a new path.
Any fires of sadness, grief, and anger were snuffed out by depriving it of the oxygen of my desire. Yet, I’m still sitting here, looking at the smoke rise to the heavens as she’s already left our campfire site.
So, that’s it.
One thing I’ve realized when relationships end, or at least drastically change course, is that I grieve the ending before it actually comes. So that conversation I had with my mother–she didn’t hear anything new except that I was done trying to make this work. We had been here before, many times.
I still love and care about her, as I told her twice on the phone.
I never heard those words back.
Right now, I feel unburdened. Clear. Clean. A gaping wound has finally sealed and healed. So, I’m grateful, because those kind of wounds tend to define a person until they are healed. Mother wounds may be some of the most stubborn to heal until you start to identify with you you are now.
When you learn how to be on your own side and be a good mother to yourself, the pain lessens and subsides. When you learn not to identify with the societal expectations of nuclear families and see yourself as someone who shouldn’t be ashamed but instead proud of having survived a loveless relationship, that’s the growth. That’s the “win” of being an adult child of a narcissistic parent.
Sadly, because we were never emotionally close, I don’t miss that much. I miss would might have been, what should have been.
That’s the only that may break me–knowing what I deserved vs. what I actually received. But what’s important is that I did deserve and will always deserve a mother who is openly proud of me, openly loves and supports me, is openly affectionate with me. I don’t have to beg for it. I don’t even need to ask for it.
Every child deserves to have parents who truly care about them without having to debase themselves to receive love. That is the tacit agreement parents and children make when children are brought into the world. Some of us are lucky to have that agreement to remain intact, while others of us have to recover from these agreements breaking.
And you can recover. Recovery–a new path to wholeness–is yours and waiting for you.
Now I can move on. I know the toxicity of this relationship has touched every relationship I have been in. Now I look forward to creating healthier relationships with people that are built on trust, reciprocity, respect, a genuine liking of each other, and, most of all, real love.
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