Wednesday, May 09, 2007

So Not the Look of Love

Although the medication had started to work it's wonders and calm things down, a profound sadness and seriousness took over. Yeh, the anxiety was gone, but what replaced it was an overwhelming and daunting task of this type of healing I had taken on. As I voiced this to TGD, her rely was simply, "Yes, it is a daunting process."

Thanks. Thanks so much for candy coating it. Throw me a bone here will you Doc and not just a bill? Give me a fucking answer every now and then. I know you know the answers to some of this bullshit.

Anger had set in . Anger at everyone and everything.

"I'm having a hard time comprehending the term "motherless" to describe my life," I said while glancing at her shoes. The sobbing would have started immediately if I looked into those eyes of hers. It was a strange experience having someone's eyes riveted on me and listening to every word, every inflection, every passing thought, and watching my reactions even when I wasn't aware I was having them. The intensity was profound, leaving me drained after every session, but not drained enough to have me not carry these sessions around all week, like a migraine you know is coming on. You just keep waiting to hurt more. And before you know it, it's time for the next weekly session and you do. The pain returns.

"What do you think of when you hear the term motherless,?" TGD asked. "I guess I thought that being motheless meant that the mother was dead", I responded once again.

"is it possible that even though your mother was alive, her actions and words were so harmful that she actually wasn't being a mother to you at all? Just because you lived with her does not necessarily mean that she mothered you. It was quite the opposite, wasn't it? She did not keep you safe. She did not nuture or take care of you."

That was putting it mildly. I still couldn't figure out after 58 years why she was the way she was. What happened to her to make her so bitter, so angry, so mean? She wasn't like that with my brother. She liked him. She loved him. She lived for him. She was so consistent in her anger and hatred I think at one point I stopped expecting her to be happy and just would wait for that next reign of terror to hit.

What I remember most are the looks she gave, if she looked at me at all. They were glares, looks of disdain. One of her favorite mantras for me when she was yelling was that she was "fed up with me." Strange, because I really never did anything bad. But those looks....it was as if she really hated me. And I suppose she did.

No, she never loved me. Never hugged me, never kissed or held me. There was always this distance I saw between us, even as a little kid. I can remember watching her in the White Tower. I would sit on a stool, spinning around like any other 5 or 6 year old and she wouldn't even look at me. It was like I wasn't even there. If I spent the day in downtown New Haven in the summer, and she happened to be working days, she would go into the backroom of the restaurant where her pocketbook was, come back out, and just put change in front of me. Without even looking at me, she would say off into space somewhere, "here's money for food. Go eat at the Carousel Restaurant or the Waldorf Cafeteria." She didn't want the management or her co-workers to think she was favoring me. No chance there. I think her co-workers were somewhat embarassed by her behavior. I know I always felt ashamed but never really understood why. I always saw pity in their eyes when they looked at me. Any attempt by them to talk to me was always met with my mother referring to me as "her" or "she." She never used my name. "I just gave "her" money for lunch." "She'll be back by the time I get off work." "No, "she" doesn't want a soda."

"Your mother's behavior was never about you," said TGD. "She was incapable of giving, of mothering, of nuturing. It was her lack of compassion and love. Do you understand how it has nothing to do with you"?

Maybe next week I will.

Or not.

14 Comments:

Blogger Deb said...

I'm left without words, Suzy. Your mother's cruelty and the wounds she inflicted come through so strongly here. I'm wanting to protect you from her. To stand behind TGD and shout, she's right - it's NOT YOU!!!!

I am wondering what happened to your mom-who-wasn't to make her so cruel to you but not your brother. What volcanic force created such a monster?

I'm so grateful that you came through with your powerful spirit intact, and that you have the courage to share this amazing story with us.

Love you.

11:03 PM  
Blogger Eileen said...

Suzy, I know you know this, but anger or allowing yourself to feel the anger is such a HUGE step in the healing process. The healing process definately sucks at times because it hurts so much, but I admire your courage to stick with it and allow yourself to feel it, especially at this point in your life. That is huge. Your therapist is so right, it had your mother's inability to be a mother to you was not your fault and had nothing to do with you. I know you were a very lovable child who grew up to be a very lovable and caring and amazing adult. It is all about the healing. I am hoping to practice more of what I am preaching her. LOVE YOU!

12:44 AM  
Blogger s@bd said...

TGD was SO right.
*nothing* to do with you.

hugs
s

8:44 AM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

Wow. I, too, wonder what happened to your mother. Why she could show love to your brother and not to you. I'm sure you've wondered your whole life.

What I find harder to believe is how you've been able to be so kind, so caring and so present when you were so obviously motherless. I hope you give yourself the credit you deserve to have pulled the strength and fortitude from inside your heart to break the chain of bitterness she wrought.

11:07 AM  
Blogger kario said...

Suzy, it's not too late to give yourself the "mothering" you didn't get. Take the love and kindness, concern and nurturing from this circle of women who accept you as you are. We adore your humor, revere your skills, honor your courage, and seek out the pleasure of your company. I am so sad that the little girl in you wasn't allowed to get those gifts you deserved, and I know that will never be 'fixed', but now, today, we will offer you all of that and more. Just because you are.

Love.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Michelle O'Neil said...

She was so sick Suzy. She hated herself so much.


I am so sorry. TGD is right though. It was never about "you."


* Give that little girl a big hug and a million kisses from me.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

If her actions towards you had any correlation to who you truly are, she would have been sweet as pie to you--blueberry pie with ice cream on top.

The idea of sending a 5 or 6 year old off on her own with some money for lunch is completely beyond my ability to imagine, and I've got a heck of an imagination.

Thank God for the strength of your spirit, the courage of your soul.

Big love to you.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

It is nearly unimaginable, that someone can be so heartless and so cruel to such a sweet and innocent little girl. I wish so much that I could grab that little girl in my arms and hold her tight. When I read your posts, I just keep reminding myself what an incredible woman you are, and how far you've come.

I agree with Michelle--that woman hated herself so deeply. And of course TGD is right that it was never, never about you. But I can imagine what a long journey it must be to let that really sink in, esp. when you had to watch her treat your brother so differently.

Suzy, you have such tremendous courage and grace to break this chain, and to treat the people in your life with so much love and kindness. You live with more light and love in each single moment than she did in her entire life.

12:16 PM  
Blogger jennifer said...

TGD is right and the work is breaking that identification with the mother...so that you can find the other mother...your true mother. Brave soul! Keep going!

All love, always.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto everyone, Suzster. I really believe how she treated you was DIRECTLY reflective of how she felt about herself. None-the-less, cruel beyond words. I know the love others have for you will never make up for the lack of Mary's love, but I hope it helps.

love.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

Suzy, no one on earth deserves to be treated the way your mother treated you. No one. There's nothing that any child could ever do to deserve that. I am so profoundly sorry you were treated that way. I can't take it away but I wish I could. I would give anything to give you back all those years. But what I can do is tell you that from here on out, you are loved. I love you. And I see you. And I think you're smart and funny as hell and beautiful and worth every mother's love in the whole world. And it's not your fault you got stuck with your mom. Who can explain these things? It's not fair. But it is OVER. It's over, Suzy. I love you.

2:39 AM  
Blogger Ziji Wangmo said...

Suzy, the work you are doing is intense. You have to believe TGD when she says that your mother's behavior was not about "you". You are an amazing human being -just look at the courage you are showing just to explore your past!
Many many blessings and love to that little girl.

4:06 PM  
Blogger grammer said...

Suzy, your strength to do this searching work AND write about it so heartfully simply astonishes me. I am deeply sorry for the neglect, the "fed up" comments, the discrepancy between how Mary treated you and your brother. I am deeply grateful to be here reading your story, it gives me great hope and joy to know that children can survive even the direst emotional and physical circumstances... you, my friend, are a wonder. Finally, I am deeply grateful to YOU for sharing all of this, for allowing us to tag along while you continue these explorations of your innermost heart and history. xoxo t

5:37 PM  
Blogger Casdok said...

You poor thing, i to am without words.

2:11 PM  

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