Breaking the cycle

I’m annoyed again, or still, by my mom.

She commented that in my Medium articles, I mention a lot how miserable I was there and how much more I enjoy it where I am now.

She’s not the only one who is rubbed the wrong way by my hatred of Michigan, though I usually play it down and even recommend the state as a whole to people when they’re looking for a place to move. There are a lot of beautiful places in the state, even if (in my opinion) the city I’m from isn’t one of them.

To be honest, I don’t know what to do about this. I fully acknowledge and understand that the people I know who love it there don’t think it sucks. I don’t begrudge them their happiness and am glad for them. Truly. If anything, I’m more likely to wonder why I couldn’t love it the same way.

And certainly, there are tons and tons of people who hate it where I am now, too. I understand their hatred of it, even if I don’t share it. One man’s trash pit is another person’s paradise and all. Few of us can afford to live someplace like Hawaii which everyone defines as paradise.

But I feel this pressure to like where I’m from more than I do. I feel like when I say how miserable I was there, some people (including my mom) take it as a personal attack, as though I’m calling into question how anyone could like it there. And that’s really not my intent at all.

It’s just really, really, really not a good place for me in so many ways.

On a similar note, I’m annoyed with my mom for so many other reasons, which is why I am not going to talk to her for a while. I am beyond upset that she has no interest in growing as a person, thinking that the way she is is just fine. That too is objective but if neither of her daughters wants to talk to her and she thinks she’ll be alone and friendless for the rest of her life, I just can’t understand why she doesn’t want to try to change.

Similarly, I know she thinks I look down on her for not graduating from college, but that’s not entirely accurate. I actually don’t look down on her for not graduating from college. She was able to get by just fine without doing so and it wasn’t something she was interested in.

What I do look down on her for, though, is the fact that she didn’t support me in going to college and did nothing to help. It’s still one of my life’s greatest accomplishments and I just wish she would recognize it as such. Instead, it seems to reflect an overall lack of respect for education.

I should have been college-bound all along. I should have been nurtured. A lot of the things I’ve been through are because of their lack of being tuned into me and what was important to me. And I can’t stop feeling mad about that. It seems like such a low bar for parents and mine couldn’t overcome it. Frankly, I’m too mad to acknowledge that they were doing the best they could, just because it was so inadequate.

I’ve fought so hard to achieve more than their expectations for me and it just seems like they’re permanently unimpressed, no matter what I do. And that sucks.

I’m very strong—especially now. I am dealing with things she has never had to and she doesn’t seem to realize that it’s only luck that keeps her from being in my shoes. Honestly, I think she’d fall apart if she had to be in my shoes.

But there’s not any acknowledgement of that or any of my other successes. I am not afraid to admit that I am hands down a much better parent than she was to me, because I choose to be aware and break the cycle.

Maybe she’s intimidated. Maybe she knows that she fucked up. After all, all of my kids are thinking about me and making sure I’m taken care of, in large part because I have done the same for them. Her kids have not made any promises to take care of her, for example.

Maybe she thinks I’m a great parent and just won’t tell me so.

Either way, I feel like I have to tiptoe around her feelings, trying to balance my own happiness with hers. I don’t want my kids to feel the same way, so I have shown a great deal of interest in and respect for who they are as individuals.

One of the reasons I like living so far away from them is that I don’t feel like I’m constantly in their observation. It serves me extraordinarily well.

I just don’t think this gap between us can ever be bridged.

6 Comments

  1. Even if it was her best in her eyes (common thing dysfunctional parents say), it’s clearly not what you needed and not what you deserved. And you have achieved a lot given obstacles against you and her lack of belief in you. Not just college but as a person with friends, and as a parent to your now grown kids.

    Whatever her problem is, she’s not willing to change, and so even if she feels “punished” by you and your sibling(s) not talking with her… that’s the natural consequences of her own unwillingness to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. ❤️ I do feel like I have accomplished a lot but it’s all in spite of her and how they raised me. It’s not just “luck” like she thinks it is.

      You’re absolutely right that her unwillingness to change is the consequence of her own actions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s definitely not “luck”, and it’s definitely in spite of how she isn’t a good mother. You worked incredibly hard to get where you are. Clearly J loves and adores you, as do your grown children. So her weirdness like you don’t deserve J… I’m guessing she has to hold you in this “unconditional negative regard” in her mind. Mentioning that because my parents do that about me, and my Dad has strong narcissistic traits though he’ll never present himself to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist long enough for them to catch on.

        Like

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