It’s been 29 years Ma, get over it.

Last night, after I went to visit my grandmother, I let my mother know we are going to see my biological father and step-mother. I haven’t seen my father’s and step-mother’s faces in 29 years except in pictures.  He’s never seen his grandaughters’ faces except in pictures and video.

The train tickets are bought, the hotel room is reserved.  I’m ecstatic and so is my dad and step-mom.  I’m glad I get to take the girls on another “grand adventure”.  The last one was when we drove to Pennsylvania for my brother’s wedding a few years back.   We are all excited about the train ride we’ll be taking to Colorado this year.

I casually told my mother last night, figuring I’d get a chance to talk some about my childhood and my father some.  I thought after 29 years, she’d soften in her views of him.  Nope.

At first, she said she didn’t care that I was going.   Then she started in on the grilling and bad-mouthing.

Mother: ” Why do you want to go?”

Me: “Because he’s my father and he’s never seen the girls”.

Mother: “Why would you want to do that?  He’s just an asshole”

Me: “Well, I don’t think he’s an asshole.  I know he had a severe problem with alcohol….”

Mother (interrupting): “Ya THINK?”

Me (ignoring the interruption): “…but he’s been sober many years now”.

Mother: “He doesn’t love you”

Me: “Really? We’ve had a pretty decent relationship for the past 10 years over the phone”

Mother: “I hope you don’t talk about me or about what’s going on in the family.”

Me: “I just talk about the girls and J and what goes on in MY life” (and some of it happens to include you)

Mother: “What do you think you are going to get out of seeing him?”

Me: “Oh, I don’t know…the chance to talk to him in person and know him and just show him the girls”

Mother: “All he was was a sperm donor”

Me (ouch): “Uh, yeah, okay.  That’s what you think.  Whatever happened between you and him doesn’t have much to do with me”.

Mother: “Oh, really, you were so young, you have no idea what happened.  What he did to (oldest sister) and (second oldest sister)…”

Me: “Okay, so why don’t you tell me.  What did he do?  Did he abuse me physically?”

Mother: “I’m not going to tell you.”

Me: “Did he abuse me sexually?”

Mother: “I’m not going to tell you.”

Me: “Don’t you think I have a right to know if I’m so fucked up because of something he might have done to me as a child?”

Mother: “I’m not saying a word.  You want a relationship with him, you’ll have to deal with him”.

Me (feeling a confidence I NEVER had in my life when I came up against my mother’s bullshit):  “Okay, if you won’t tell me, I suppose I’ll get going on home.  I’ll see you later.”

Mother: “Bye”

Me: “I love you” (but I don’t like you very much).

Mother: (silence).

************************

Hmm…yeah…okay.  I know I’m different…stronger now.  Once upon a time, an exchange like the above would have left me hurt, bewildered, angry and very reactionary.  I’m really none of those things and I was extremely calm.  I’m just aware that my mother is basically still the same old person she ever was. No I do NOT believe my dad ever hurt me.  I have only fond memories of my time with him and my step-mother on visitation (he took us bowling and to the drive-in movies and took us to Shafer Lake one year and to Cripple Creek and to my paternal grandmother’s house in the country).   He’s dealt with his demons, but he’s a different man now with that.  And he’s still gentle, loving, caring towards me.

When I had a miscarriage 10 years ago, he called me up every day for about 3-4 days just to make sure I was okay. If he really didn’t love me, he would have never done that.

I think my dad and step-mother have more than adequately shown me I was worth their time and attention and love. They never played the withdrawal of love/manipulation/brainwashing game.

And this is what I’m talking about. When you are fed a bunch of lies as a child/teenager/young adult, how the hell do you sort out the truth? I’m telling you, this is part of the reason this journey has been so difficult. Even though I have been out of my home for 16 years, I’m still dealing with the attempts of psychological brainwashing. Only I think I’ve done a fair job of finally recognizing the truth.

But damn it took a long time.

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11 Responses to It’s been 29 years Ma, get over it.

  1. Rick says:

    Yeah, you’re messing with her world-view. It doesn’t matter that what you’re doing is healthy.

    I had a similar (but less dramatic) problem, when I invited my ex-step-dad to my wedding. I’m not the one who divorced him; I liked him just fine.

    I think the real issue is, if your dad has matured, and your mom hasn’t, that would make her the problem/the weak one… and that’s not the TV show she’s watchin’. 😉

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Yes, my dad is a pretty amazing guy now. Well, he was pretty amazing before too, but I’m so proud of him now.

      But yeah, my mom…very disturbed person. She “mellowed” over the years in some things, but apparently will go to her grave hating my dad.

  2. mom gail says:

    Hi Honey,
    Dad & I read the blog, and we don’t know what she’s talking about. If there was any abuse on you or your sisters, I wouldn’t put up with that.(sexual) With my history, there is no way in hell, that I would ever let that happen to any child in my care. Have you asked your sisters what she’s talking about? I would really like to know. Your dad has never been anything but caring and loving. I know that we shouldn’t let what she says bother us, but this is too much. Your dad is pretty upset about this. He doesn’t care that she thinks he’s an asshole, or just a sperm donor. But the fact that he was basically the only one taking care of all three of you while she was out until all hours of the morning with who knows, the only one that that walked the floor with you girls when you were sick, I don’t believe constitutes abuse. Your father loves you all with all of his heart. If anyone abused you, we know who it is.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Mom Gail.

      Please know that I know Dad didn’t do anything wrong. Please tell dad that. I was trying to find out if she would sit there and LIE to me.

      But the fact that she would even not tell me no tells me she is still the narcissistic jerk she ever was and I can’t trust her for a moment.

      Please tell dad not to be upset. I’ll call you later…after I reply.

      I know in my heart dad loves me and would have never hurt me…please make sure he reads this…

      I have NEVER had any ANXIETY about being around Dad. Not for ONE second.

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Oh, yeah…by the way,

        On the way home from grandma’s, I called oldest sister on her cell phone to ask if SHE remembered anything. She said, “No, not at all. The only thing is that he stopped contacting us”.

        I know she wouldn’t lie to me, because she’s the one who gave me Dad’s phone number in the first place to get in touch with him again. Of all three of us girls, she was the one who felt the strongest anger towards him.

        I am fairly certain that if there was any truth to what Mother said, that she would be the last person to give me his phone number at all.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      But the fact that he was basically the only one taking care of all three of you while she was out until all hours of the morning with who knows, the only one that that walked the floor with you girls when you were sick…

      I just re-read this part…

      I’m not wondering if my mother just despised having us kids at all.

      Maybe that’s why I had trouble in the early days with my girls…maybe my mother neglected my needs from infancy on. I wonder how she responded to my cries (or didn’t).

      I felt it was hard to tolerate my daughters’ cries. I always got a visceral reaction every time they cried.

      With M, she cried all the time as an infant. We did a lot of pacing the floors with her…but that was before I knew about co-sleeping. I co-slept with K and E, and nursed them through the night. I got a lot better sleep that way (well for a while anyway).

  3. mom gail says:

    Oh by the way, I think she’s just blowing smoke out of her ass. If there really was anything, she would have been more than happy to tell you

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yes…that’s what I think too.

  5. Papa T says:

    Ah, the perils of approaching (confronting?) parents. [I’m not going to ask any stupid questions like: What did you expect? Forgive me for even thinking it.] I know how tough these kinds of situations can be–at least in my own life. I’m not sure what it is about my mother but, when it comes to “dedication” to a cause, twenty-nine years means NOTHING to her. When she’s grudging…it’s on!

    Wow . . . who can guess what’s going through a woman’s mind who can ask her own daughter WHY she would even WANT to see her own father…or why she’d want him to meet his grandchildren. Looks like mom is convinced that once-an-asshole-drunk-always-an-asshole-drunk. And the “I’m not going to tell you” lines…oh, well.

    Just keep on recognizing your truth, Casey…no matter how long it takes. You can’t do her “work”…she can’t do yours.

    All the best!

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Papa T…

    1. What did I expect? Pretty much what I got. I was just testing the waters…seeing if she could be rational.

    2. Yes, I pretty much figured my mom hasn’t earned the world’s record for grudge-holding. I just saw her change in some ways; but I guess not on this one.

    3. I think I was more surprised at the venom. I thought by now it would have tempered some. I thought she would have done the “I don’t want to talk about it at all” routine.

    4. Now I know she hasn’t changed her stripes. I had hope, but eh…what are you going to do.

    5. I am very proud with how I handled myself and how I was really not angry, not reactionary, not scared. For once I didn’t get that sick to my stomach feeling when talking with her about stuff like this. I must be learning something for all my efforts.

  7. Krissy says:

    Sounds like you done good kid. Moms are… complicated. I’m not really talking to my mother these days because I’m not willing to accept her version of reality and that means no contact. I hope you are getting enough good to make the bad worthwhile.

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