Let’s call this Part 2 of my question #062 post: How do you talk to someone in your family when you have nothing to say? Anyway…
I actually remembered Mother’s Day was around the corner for once, and I’m sure this has fueled my anxiety and my totally distracted choices the past few weeks.
I don’t have kids, so it doesn’t mean much to me, really, at least for myself. And then there’s my mom…whom I haven’t spoken to in months or texted.
I feel like a total heel, because I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this question. I hate myself because I don’t really want to talk to my mother. We don’t have anything in common that I can think of anymore, and with my depressive holes (which I’ve been slowly climbing out of), I haven’t wanted to get in a situation where I might go crazy and lash out like I did once before.
That was the most cosmic, mind-blown case of “bad timing” in my life, by the way, and my depression went total, spiraling out of control into suicidal thoughts and the closest to self-destruction I can remember encountering.
Mom used to not care about Mother’s Day herself (or at least she was good at acting like it). I’d make small gestures or give her flowers, clean the house while my stepdad took her on a date, etc. That was how it worked for a while.
But that’s when we were still speaking, and she treated every holiday like it was another day to get some work done, and lived under the same roof for the most part.
Now she’s in another state, and more than that, we just don’t have anything in common. We haven’t in a long time, and maybe it’s all the things I’ve been dredging up in my depression (trying to analyze it and put it behind me). Whatever it is, for the past few years, I’ve dreaded the idea of talking to my mother.
So, again: How do you do Mother’s Day when you can’t bring yourself to speak to your mother?
It started a few years ago, Mother’s Day, actually. I never remember the day because it’s one of those “floating Sunday” holidays (this is probably the first year that I have). Well, easy to assume I missed calling her and telling her “happy Mother’s Day.”
I got a pissed off e-mail the next day, written about 6:30 am, and she lashed out, saying in so many words that I didn’t care about her and her feelings, using everything short of “ungrateful bitch,” though the tone implied it.
I waffled about picking up the phone for weeks to ask her what was up or apologize. It was an honest mistake, and considering she’d never cared before about the holiday, I was shocked…and angry. I had people telling me to make amends because she’s not going to be around forever, but I didn’t know how to do that when it was a genuine bit of forgetfulness.
And I was getting pissed off that I was supposed to grovel apparently when she can never fess up to being wrong a day in her life.
I eventually said nothing. I couldn’t think of anything, and as time went on, thinking of anything got harder, even as my guilt grew.
When I called my stepdad (reminded a bunch of times by the guys around me at work) to say “happy Father’s Day,” I brought up Mother’s Day and wondered if something had happened or what was up that made her just go crazy. He seemed to be a little taken aback by her behavior too, but I found out that apparently that week he’d been out of state for his job and she was alone on Mother’s Day.
Considering they’re practically attached at the hip, and how she’d bawl how much she missed him when he had a weekend with the guys during their early days… yeah, I guess I could see it.
It explained a few things, but ever since then, I’ve had an aversion to calling her. I don’t know what will set her off, and frankly, I’m at the point I feel I don’t even like my own mother. More than that, I don’t think I know what love is, let alone whether or not I love my mother.
I feel like the world’s biggest asshole bringing it up, but I want to be honest as possible.
On a couple of occasions, I’ve gotten some things in the mail from her that I never asked for. If you haven’t read the previous blog post about family and talking on the phone, I recommend you do for context.
So, to clarify that post, I have a bad habit of not opening my e-mail very often (she asked me if I’d gotten stuff yet a few days before I found the packages) and I don’t tend to open my mail right away unless it’s a bill I need to pay.
But what got me there was BOTH texts in response, the kicker that made me REALLY not want to talk to her anymore. I couldn’t believe the wording was practically the same, but after chastising my obvious lack of enthusiasm for the stuff she mailed me, she said:
would you leave an inheritance to a person who is not grateful?
It’s a good thing average human beings can’t turn into The Incredible Hulk any time they want, because my world had narrowed to those lines of text and I was seething.
One, I can’t recall the last time I ever asked her for money. I did ask her to help dad split the cost on community college because she said she would (over 15 years ago, and she said she’d never agreed to such a thing). And there was a time when I had car trouble and my paycheck was late so she covered the $90 bill, but bitched and moaned til I wrote a check and gave the money back–with interest.
She then lectured me that family doesn’t give interest and that it wasn’t right. I just tried to be responsible (and gave the other $10 to my stepdad because I felt like it and I think he understood what I was doing).
Money brings up all kinds of problems in my family, that and politics. But when she wrote those words, I wanted to scream at her (or type back):
WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK I AM? I WOULD RATHER BURN MY HOUSE DOWN INSTEAD OF ASK FOR A DIME FROM YOU!!!
And admittedly, that’s what I’m worried will come out if I call her.
I just can’t get along with her.
I don’t know how anymore. I don’t even know if I should call. I’m worried I’ll say something or do something that can’t be taken back. I’m worried the “fun childhood” I supposedly had will unleash more anger.
I’m at the point where if she wanted to wash her hands of me, being I’m so ungrateful and all, then I’d say “go for it” and that would be that.
I don’t know how I got so numb about family and can’t feel for anyone, but I know part of it’s my depression and I’m trying to get over it. The rest is just time, I suppose, with a mix of some other things I can’t name.
So I ask, because everybody has trouble with family at some point, if you’ve got some way you learned to deal, I could use your help: How do you do Mother’s Day when you can’t bring yourself to speak to your mother?
Hoping there’s a happy Mother’s Day out there for everybody else.
9 thoughts on “#067–How do you do Mother’s Day when you can’t bring yourself to speak to your mother?”
I don’t have an answer for this question. There were times when I felt much the same way, but those conflicts either got resolved somehow, or faded from importance. Now, its no longer an issue because my mom is long passed away. I do think its probably best to delay contact when we are seriously afraid we will make matters worse.
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Hmm…that’s a way to look at it. I just worry it’ll be delayed to indefinitely, but perhaps that time will give some much needed calming. I’ve been fighting myself and fighting FOR myself so hard for so many months, trying to get myself together and find out what I’m capable of, that I just don’t have the energy to fight or defend myself against anyone else.
The best way I can put it is aside from anxiety and anger that pop up occasionally, I’m numb. I can only portray happiness in short bursts, like at work with customers, but I’m too tired to fake it for everybody else when I clock out. And I’m a lousy liar–I can’t fake enthusiasm to my mother, which would make it worse.
I’m going to clean all day and maybe send a blanket notice to all the moms I know on FB later, but that’s about it, and maybe a note saying sorry I’m out of touch, but things are a bit rough right now and I need to work on some things. May not suffice, but at least it’s vaguely honest enough.
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We can only do what we can do. Knowing our limits is vital in hard times.
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My mother and I were totally estranged for 15 years. Whenever I thought about contacting her by any means, all the pain of past encounters would rear up and prevent me from doing so. I finally sat down and wrote her a letter..totally incorrect politically and showing a complete lack of love I listed every single time she betrayed me, either by physically beating me or speaking such words of anger and disrespect that they damaged my soul.
I don’t know how she reacted to it as we never spoke of it, but I was helped emotionally by giving up all the hatred and pain.
I didn’t hear anything back for two years, then my dad contacted me and said she was dying. I moved both my parents back to my town, got them a house a few blocks away, set aside my work for a few months and cared for her daily. She never once acknowledged that I did anything to be grateful for, and never said thanks. She’s been gone 12 years now and I say with all honesty that I haven’t missed her a single day of it. Sometimes we just have toxic relationships with our parents. We all have to find some way of dealing with the “holidays” where we are “supposed” to surround ourselves with family. I don’t have a solution for you. I ignore mother’s day. I have two kids, and they ignore it too. It means more that they call or write on just “regular” days…and they know it.
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Hugs, darlin’. It’s just one of those weird things (I’ve been using that word a LOT lately). I mean, I can’t even quantify exactly what it is that just gets the anger surging. Maybe it’s all too much, or maybe it’s just a bunch of little emotions that are otherwise undefinable but hurt like hell when put together. If I’m not angry, I’m numb, and that makes me sad. I wrote her an angry letter when I was about 12 and she hadn’t tried to come pick me up for visitation. Granted, I’d moved 45 minutes further, but she said she wasn’t going. She explained to me–years later–that she read it once and ripped it up. Either she did a lot of analysis in that bit of time or she was just going to put it behind her and pretend I’d never said anything so hurtful. But I was hurt, and felt justified in my hurt–it’s not like I could’ve driven myself to meet her at that age! A letter now would probably do nothing, so I’m not going to bother.