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Just like my mother

I miss myself. I miss the person I was when I began this blog about 6-7 years ago. I honestly thought I would never find myself this lost again. I remember during that time I felt much differently about myself. Sure I was depressed, but seriously, when am I not depressed?

When became a mother I felt like I could no longer be myself. I had to be someone else. A person with no wants or needs. A person that was everything that my mother was not. The most important things I thought about were that I wanted my son to know without a doubt that he was loved. I felt that no matter what was going on with me that I must always show up for my son. I wanted more than anything else, to raise a son who was kind and compassionate towards others. These were my ideas.

I imagined a relationship with my son where I would be able to teach him and help him navigate the world. Most importantly I wanted him to be able to avoid many of the things that I had experienced. I wanted my son to love me and see me as his mother. I never imagined any of the things that have happened. I never imagined my son would turn on me. There are a lot of people who I never imagined would turn on me. But turn on me they did, over and over again.

In each instance it seemed that people found me or my behavior unacceptable. First I lost my Dad, who was the only person that ever made me feel like I was supposed to be on this earth. Then I lost my sister who I once believed loved me unconditionally. That loss created more disconnection and estrangement, with my two other siblings, with nieces and nephews. Then my mother died and any remaining ties were severed.

Then I lost my health, my job and my career. With that, I lost my self-esteem, or what was left of it. I lost my home and then I lost the person I was going to marry. After that I lost California, sunshine, and my church. I was more alone than I had ever been. Then I lost another friend. Through all of that, my love for my son and my desire for his happiness were the only things that tethered me to the earth. And now my son is gone also. He tells me I am a horrible mother, that I’ve never done anything for him and that I need to be held accountable for all of my wrongs.

He tells me I am just like my mother.

I imagine all of these people in my head as a collective group. They are always there taunting me and reminding me that I am worthless and that I don’t deserve love. If I say anything about the hardships I have encountered over the last few years, I am ridiculed. I’m just making excuses and playing the victim. My son tells me I have failed him by being sick and depressed all the time. My siblings tell me I am getting what I deserve. They tell me I’ve always been self obsessed, spoiled, and moody. I’m unreasonable and irrational. I have anger issues and I can’t be trusted around children. They criticize my parenting and tell me it’s no wonder my son is in a treatment center. Who wouldn’t end up with problems with a mother like me?

I don’t remember anymore what it feels like to be loved. I long for even just a whiff of that feeling. I want to bury my face in it and breathe as deeply as I can for as long as I can. I want to lose myself in it and consider the possibility that I am someone other than who they say I am. I want someone, anyone, to see me as useful or worthwhile or anything other than what they believe me to be.

I’ve tried fighting. I’ve tried fighting clean even when others are fighting dirty.  I’ve tried suiting up and showing up. I’ve tried being strong. I’ve tried sharing my feelings desperately hoping for acknowledgement or validation that never comes. I’ve tried doing everything that others tell me to do in service of my son. I’ve tried letting go and I’ve tried holding on. Nothing seems to have helped. Most things I’ve tried have caused me additional hurt.

I don’t want sympathy or pity. What I really want is to have people in my life who value my friendship and don’t make me question my worth. I want people who I have things in common with and who share similar belief systems. I want to put the nightmare of the last 7 years behind me. I want to believe that it’s not too late to rebuild myself again and rise from the ashes.

Mostly I want to be free.

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