Jump to content

Can't Believe I Missed This

Guest GoneAway

Recommended Posts

Guest ephymeris

So I recently went home (10 hours away) to visit my family for a few days and completed another agonizingly tense visit with my mom. I seem to make her cry everytime we talk these days. It wasn't always this bad. I had several years of a decently adult "friend" relationship with my mother despite my awful childhood. Over the past 2 years, things have been falling apart between us. Now when we talk, it's fakely friendly, unbelievably tense, full of passive aggressive barbs on her part, and her refusal to tell me what is wrong, why she's hurt, what did I do... I couldn't figure out what changed, until it finally came together for me this weekend. I think my mom had a religious epiphany when my brother had his very close brush with death after horrible drug abuse coinciding with a motor vehicle collision (he was dead on the scene, resuscitated 3 times, 9 day coma, traumatic brain injury).


I didn't pick up on her change at the time, we were all going through so much. Over the past two years my mother, who raised me to strive to be educated, independent, and smart, has started vocalizing religious fundy thoughts (6000 year old earth, jesus is the only way, and a newfound homophobia) and told me she raised me to be "conservative and christian." Things are so forced between us now, I know the likelihood of having an adult relationship with my mom is remote, at least for the time being.


Anyway, thinking back on the days following my brother's accident, I remember my mom telling me that she just knew god had saved Chris because Chris would have obviuosly gone to hell because he wasn't living right (even though my mom usually subscribes to the once saved, always saved camp)and that god had given HER a second chance because she was a good christian and he knew she wouldn't be able to cope with Chris's death. I just listened to this at the time and offered comfort because I realized it was the grief talking. Now I think this belief has changed her permanently. My mom's love has always been conditional but I've been able to meet her conditions since I became an adult...I'm torn about how to feel and how to make this better. I know it isn't all my responsibility but I don't believe she is emotionally mature enough or capable of participating in an adult conflict. She's much better at hiding in passive aggressive anger.


I know some people would wonder why even try, why even put up with this? She's my mom and as long as I have hope of continuing our relationship (for both our sakes) I will try as long as it doesn't require me to compromise myself...I just wanted to vent. My husband is very supportive of me, too supportive! He says "your mom's a bitch, forget her." I'm not really ready for that at this point.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Note: All Regularly Contributing Patrons enjoy Ex-Christian.net advertisement free.

Hey, family is important, and I never gave up on the rocky relationship I had for years with my dad, although that was mainly for the sake of my mother's feelings.


My father would engage in a lot of this "passive-aggressive" behaviour when I would come to visit. No matter what I was involved in, or however good my circumstances, he would find the "storm cloud" in the silver lining, as it were.


After a while, I had to be a little inventive with my father, but I eventually got him to talk more about his feelings about things. I started making a habit of shaking his hand or even giving him a bit of a hug when I would leave after visiting; just little things that over time seemed to help our relationship. It's always hard when there has been some family tragedy involved in this equation; but hang in there. Your mom may be carrying a lot of guilt that she's having trouble with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm torn about how to feel and how to make this better.

As to how to make this better, I have nothing to offer. I wish I did. But on how to feel, I say, feel anything that's there to be felt. When I was in my obnoxious teens a wise adult pointed out to me that conflicting emotions, particularly toward family, can be held at the same time without either invalidating the other.


I can both love and hate someone, with both being absolutely real and valid, along with each having excellent reasons to support it.


I can be grateful and resentful simultaneously. And so on.


There is a strong sub current of unexamined assumption in our culture that emotions are actions we decide on. This puts emotions into the category of things which we can feel virtuous or guilty over. Particularly, in the Christian subculture, we're fed a steady diet of overt and covert training that teaches us that there is actually such a thing as a sinful emotion.


However, what I've found to be much more true is that emotions are more like physical sensations; They're a means for us of keeping track of what's going on with us.


If I burn myself, is the painful burning sensation something I should feel guilt over? Should I be proud of myself for feeling that burn?


What I've realized over the years is that it's a bit delusional to attach moral values to sensory input. What actions we take as a result of them is another matter. That's where morality comes in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Family can be awfully complicated. I get along OK with my mom, but I keep a lot of my adult self hidden to make it work.


Anyhow, I can see where you're coming from. Maybe your mom will get her head a little straighter as time goes on, as people do continue to mature throughout their lifetimes. Also, maybe she's having some problems with depression because of your brother's problems, and building a wall is her way of coping.


Good luck, and be thankful she doesn't live close by!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.