Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I should NOT be surprised... but I am amazed...

So I called my hoarding mother as I traveled to an appointment after work.

It seldom is a 'good' conversation, and this one had me shaking my head as I got out of my car, and when I entered the place of my appointment a friend who was there asked if I was okay... she stated I had a 'WTF!' expression.

Now, I do not expect her to be a mother.  She was simply incapable of that when I was young.  I simply only exist as an extension of her, from what it seems.  

After a short period of silence she asked "Didn't you have a stomach tumor?"

Um...WHAT?  When?  No!  

"A couple of years ago when you had something taken out..."

Do you mean two years ago when I had an almost 11 pound Fallopian Tube tumor removed?  No.  It was not stomach...

"Well- whatever it was... Was your belly swollen or sore?"

No.  It was only sore if actively pushed on.  

"Did you gain weight?"  

No.  I was actually losing weight at a scary pace since the tumor was 'eating' so heavily.

"That is weird.  I find that hard to believe...  That is so strange you had that, but I did have an ovarian tumor and have had many cysts removed..."

Whatever.  She has not seen me since 2 months before the discovery of a thankfully benign tumor that nearly took my life two years ago.  I had to have a second surgery last summer, and recovery has been a long hard road, and I have physical reverberations I will deal with the rest of my life.  However, no complaints- if this is the price I pay for the tumor not being malignant, for it not rupturing, and for me not needing additional life altering and disfiguring treatments and surgeries, I take it gladly.  And now, her revisionist history tactic has been employed to minimize this.  She had the opportunity to see me last April, which would have been her first and only chance to see me since that happened, and she declined for insignificant reasons. I have to not get stuck in the "what kind of mother does this?" type of contemplation.  I know what kind.  A seriously mentally ill, narcissistic person.  

She then begins discussing her crusty feet, her dry lips, and creams, etc. she is now using.  YUCK.  She also starts complaining about the paving on her street, about her neighbors, and how they must be mad at her since they did not bring a plate over on Thanksgiving like they have for years, and are not speaking.  She further states that "it was okay" since she had "decided [she] was not taking anything from them anyway and would throw it away if they left it in the mailbox."  I did not say anything.  She refused to pay to help with the project, then wants to armchair quarterback now that it is done, and has verbally escalated on the neighbors on the phone and in person.  Being able to imagine the bat-sh*t level of scorched earth she most likely went on them... No WONDER they DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH HER.  I had to get off the phone.

I am simply exhausted.  Work has been really busy since my return from vacation, and in a span of a week I have given over 13 media interviews and spoke at a protest rally.  I am in grant season, dealing with multiple projects and crises, and also continuing to work a long term consulting project, and because I am a total glutton for punishment, I may be teaching a class at a local college for the spring semester since I do not have anything else to do!  <Heavy sarcasm>

I do not expect a pity party or a medal.  She seldom asks about my life in appropriate ways, like "how is work going?  Any new projects?" Or my personal life... Perhaps "what is is new and different?  Meet any new friends or experience anything new?"  I am dating a bit, no one that is exclusive, but just having a bit of fun (or I keep telling myself...hah!) and making new friends.  She never asks.  My new 14 year old rescue kitty, she seldom asks about her or my kitty that will soon be 12.  She asked little to nothing about my vacation, like activities, food, places, none of that.  She never asks if I have any races scheduled or about my fitness/running goals.  I see the relationships some of my friends have with parents, and I am so happy for them and their relationships.  It is bittersweet, because it is something I have never had, and never will.  She is not capable of it, and even if she was, she is unwilling.  I think that is what cuts the deepest... Yet despite having a serious W.T.F. reaction, I am just numb to it and I am not surprised deep down- although sometimes it annoys me temporarily.  

I guess I have done my grieving years ago, and this blog helps in putting things in perspective without (to use a gross analogy) figuratively ripping any scabs open... and I am so lucky that I have very little to complain or be unhappy about.  I have a successful career that challenges me and gives me a lot of satisfaction.  I have my health.  I am happy at my home.  I have my furry family, and friends that ARE family of choice.  I have much to be grateful for, to enjoy, and experience.  I am surrounded by a warm, affirming, functional and minimalist home that I am comfortable having anyone over at any time.

Sometimes the best strategy (to use a mixed analogy) is to live life at full volume. And that is what I do.  Each and every day... It just makes me sad for her that her life is what it is, but she is the only one that can change.  I still hope that she will, but she turns 79 years of age this month.  I suspect it is too late due to her refusal to try.

Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.  Thank you for reading.


  1. Boy do I hear you. My mom is 81 now and I just saw her for Thanksgiving. She can't stop talking, talking, talking, talking. Even when she asks a question, then she continues on with whatever verbal loop she's on. "I'm not stupid, I just need people to explain things. I can learn things. I didn't grow up with computers . . ." While I'm trying to explain something she asked about. And totally hear you about not being anything but an extension. No real inquiry about my life or work. No real interest except the very few things she wants to deal with in her increasingly narrow life. I'm sad because it's based on fear of everything, and she's pulled my dad into it.

    It's sad that your mother can't share in the wonderful life that you have created and all your accomplishments. Please know that there are people who are happy for you. Wishing you all the best of the season---V

  2. Thank you so much Valerie! It is always great to be supported and to have experiences validated, I am just sorry there are other beings that experience this.

    Thank you, and ((Hugs)). Happy Holidays.

  3. I have similar experiences every single time my mother and I talk. I often get off the phone after half an hour or more and realize she hasn't asked a single substantial question about anything my life. She really doesn't seem to care, unless something I'm doing relates to her fixation of the moment. She had a health scare this summer and for a brief moment I think it occurred to her that her life had become extremely small, and she seemed to have some remorse for the lack of relationships (by her choice and actions) with family, her children and now her grandchildren. I can relate so much when you talk about wonderful strangers and your Mom, or about various instances of "scorched earth" occurring. My mom has systematically cut people out of her life for years for various uninmportant but unforgiveable reasons. It hurts me to think about her life being the way it is. She's older but she's not on the verge of death either...I can't imagine spending another 15+ years potentially alone and so bitter about so many people and things. Anyway, no one wins here. You're showing me ways to cope and the importance of being good to myself. Happy holidays to you.

  4. Happy holidays, AEG. I am glad my journey is helpful, I am just sorry that there are so many of us.

    Hang in there!