Mother's Day... I know what our media and our culture expects, but for me, and many other folks... This day is a tough one.
I have many wonderful memories of my paternal grandmother, who did her absolute best to step into the hole left by mother, raising me when I was in essence turned out after 4th grade.
My father, although enabling my mother in many ways, also worked double time to do the best he could, and tried to be both mother and father to me.
Lost both of them over 24 years ago.
There were others, friends' parents, teachers... Who tried to give me the extra attention, mentoring, and support I needed.
To all, I am forever thankful. I survived, and I escaped. I left the hoard/hell house and have never looked back- returning is simply not an option. That house was not home.
I remember when the book 'Mommie Dearest' (William Morrow and Co.) was published in later 1978. I got the book at the library, and kept it hidden from my mother's evangelical and Pentecostal aunt who was staying at the house while my parents were away during one of my mother's 'vascular surgery' hospitalizations that lasted months. At 9 I was in junior high english classes, and read voraciously.
Folks have often asked when I realized it was not me- that the problem was my family. Seeing the meme today, thinking about its relevance to my experience just awakened a memory... THIS. This is when it happened. Reading Christina Crawford's words under my blanket at night with a tiny flashlight, reading her book all in one night. Realizing that someone else had lived with the rages, the punishments, the focus on appearances...
Not knowing that there was a concept of 'Gas-lighting', or narcissism, or hoarding... but realizing for the first time the warped reality my mother forced me to live under. And I got so angry. And the resilient, stubborn and persistent person that I became was born then.
I knew at that instant it was not me. I also knew that I was going to have to fight for myself. And I started standing up, pushing back. And being rejected shortly thereafter was my salvation.
Many times, folks have asked me 'when I knew'. So many ACOHs turn this internally, and accept it all. I have struggled with trust and intimacy... But I knew what she was dishing out was wrong. And I did not deserve it. Until now that memory was hidden from me. Like so many others, I do not remember a lot (if any) of my early childhood.
I remember that. I also now remember my mother checking that book out of the library and seeing my name at the top of the card in the pocket. And I remember the craziness that resulted.
Some things do not have to have see the light of day, or 'have the scab pulled off' so to speak.
I will call her in a bit, when I run into town to wish her a happy Mother's Day. I do wish her well. I wish she would address the mental health and childhood demons that she chooses to allow to make her life what it is.
I also realize you cannot want something more than that person wants it for themselves.
-Hoarding... It is not about the stuff... That is merely a symptom of a life threatening mental illness.