Sunday, February 16, 2014

Do NOT ask questions you do not want answers to, Mother Dearest...

So my mother's gross obsession with sensationalized 'reality tv' and 'vigilantism' continues.

She was watching some sort of show on folks who were bullied as children or teens and who got the last laugh as adults through intentional machinations or rubbing their success in the face of their former bullies.  Again, I am someone who does not own a TV, and has not watched a TV show in 3 or 4 years.  I advised her that I was simply not interested in that type of stuff, and she launches into the story of a young woman who was bullied because of her skin, found a mentor and the right makeup and skin care regimen, and became a model.  She later snubbed all who made her feel bad as a teen.  Mother was positively CROWING with laughter and vindictive glee, focusing on a statement this woman made that if she was not good enough to be good to when she was younger, now that she is beau coup successful that she does not have time for them now.

My mistake?  Attempting to impart another perspective.  I advised her that I had folks contact me to friend me on Facebook that were bullies to me, and that some apologized and were very sorry for the way they treated me.  I do believe that hurt people, hurt people... and I also believe that people evolve from the children or adolescents they once were.  My hoarding mother cannot discern that people are not single natured...  But that is another blog for another day...

She was immediately in 400,568,231 question-interrogation-mode.  Why...this was the first she ever heard that I was bullied in elementary school and junior high!  She smugly stated, "I think it was because you were an only child... don't you?"  NO, MOTHER.  It was not.  "Well why then?"  Because I was different.  "Different?  HOW?  Why, we..."  I cut her off and ended the call rather abruptly.  I am NOT listening to any more revisionist history.  I hope for her sake that she DROPS THIS.  If she pushes it, she will hear 'why'.

I was bullied in elementary school and in the first two years of junior high because I was different.  I was different because:

  • I was vulnerable, and had a fragile vibe that predators lock in on.  
  • Her ridiculously scorched-earth behavior to neighbors, to teachers, to other parents.  I was never trusted to find my own solutions or to use processes that were in place.
  • The lack of otherization that many hoarding parents engage in.  During my entire 2nd grade year she dressed me like Shirley Temple.  It was 1977.  I would go to the bathroom and wet my hair and comb it straight, and try to do something with my clothes.  I failed miserably.
  • I could not have kids over to my place, go to their houses, or have any sort of interaction after school when I lived at home.  No parties, no sleepovers, and no phone calls that were not monitored directly, and I was never allowed to give out my phone number... I had to do all the calling.  It was like being in a gulag.  The Grey Family Gulag.  And I was in solitary... A lot.
  • I was awkward, geeky, and read voraciously.  In early elementary I was skipped ahead for many classes, and that was NOT ENDEARING.  
  • She was super intrusive and had no concept of the reciprocal nature of friendship, so it took me a while to figure out that friendship is not transactional.
  • I was forced to dress like I was in 1935 in the 70's, when kids are desperately trying to fit in.  I was not allowed to wear shorts ever, and certainly not to school.  She tried to ensure that I never used curling irons (brush rollers or foam rollers, and a bath once a week whether I needed it or not).  I smelled funny.  
  • I was constantly switching classes or schools because of her behavior, and I went out of district most of the time.
  • I walked on eggshells all the time due to the off the hook, sadistic, batshit crazy behavior I endured from her (and beatings).  I was never at ease, anywhere, with anyone.
  • I was not encouraged to be athletic, physical, or to participate in team sports.  In fact, she did everything humanly possible to ensure that I was not in gym class.  When I was, she made me wear her old gym suits from junior high and high school in the late 40s early 50s.  That went over well... in 1980...
I could go on and on, but I think you have a snippet.  And at nearly 45 years old, these things do not haunt me.  They are part of what makes me the person I am today, and it is what it is.  I am thankful for her rejection at age 10 that led me to being at my father's mother's home most of the time, and allowed me to have a more normal experience, friends, and showers once or twice a day... or as long and as many times as I wanted.  And I could ride a bicycle on the street!  <Oh>

But, for me, where it is an issue is I refuse to allow her to whitewash/invalidate/revise history to suit her purposes and to relieve her of any responsibility she might have in these situations.  If she is wise, she will not pick too much at this.  It is like the fact that I have little memory before age 7 or 8 or so, and whole 'the crazy ends with me' thing and not wanting children.  Due to her continuing narcissism, we have mapped three areas that are 'no-fly zones' with me.  And if she continues her efforts to traverse these areas, she will not like the enamored and offensive tactical response she will receive.  

Thank you for reading.  I hope to have more humorous material for you soon.

Hoarding... no one wins.  No one.


  1. I'm sorry that those things happened to you. I'm glad that you have been able to rise above and beyond those experiences to be who you are today. And I'm exceptionally grateful for your sharing.

  2. Malady,

    Thank you so much for reading, and I am always glad to hear from folks!


    Right back at you! ((Hugs))