The fragile detente between my mom and I has been shattered again. It’s a case of chronic déjà vu for us, the original odd couple.
These things grow worse and better with time. They grow better in that I am self sufficient and independent and so I can separate when I need to do so for my sanity. They grow worse in that my self sufficiency and independence make me much less tolerant of her ways. I’m old enough and have enough of my own dire responsibilities that I finally realize I don’t need to take the crap anymore, or at least I don’t need to take it like a beaten mule unaware that I have options.
When I finally found my voice mom was shocked. She’s a little bit textbook bully with those closest to her. It’s very much a product of her upbringing and I will say with pride my mom is a take no poop, woman in a man’s world, force to be reckoned. With people you have to take the good along with the bad. We all know there is no perfect person. And honestly if there was, and you found them, what would you do with them? Me? I’d probably end up punching them with their saccharine perfectness. I embrace the mess of life and all the missteps.
That said I’ve learned to protect against my mom. Walls or stiff arms however you want to look at that. She has mastered the art of needling right under the skin and implanting worms of self doubt, self loathing, self criticism. She is especially good at it with me, and I was (and still can be) an apt and enthusiast participant in her efforts.
There will always be a bit of dysfunction in me that keeps me coming back for more of what she dishes out. She is mom and can be utterly wonderful which creates the discord. Having kids changed my permissive ways. I needed to teach them what was acceptable, how to determine how much to take from a person. It’s an important measurement to be in control of, family or not. Even more important is knowing how to handle this kind of theatre without burning down the entire city.
It’s still a roller coaster. Mom and I have reached a place of understanding. This understanding feels almost like a divorce, two people who know each other too well and can no longer coexist under the rules that originally defined them for their own good. It’s a sign of evolution, at least on my part.
The only thing certain is that growing pains are never easy.