Today’s post comes from a blogger who is choosing to remain anonymous. Their story will doubtless resonate with many, and your comments and thoughts are really appreciated, as always.
If you’ve got a story you’d like to share, and nowhere else to tell it, please feel free to get in touch with any one of the blognonymous team for how we could maybe help.
“You don’t know where your mother ends and you begin” was how one unusually insightful counsellor once summed me up.
“You are so busy trying to make your mother happy, that you do not know where your own happiness lies. The depth of responsibility you feel for her is inseparable from your desire to live your own life.
My mother has a complicated past.
Hated by her mother for being younger and more beautiful, she married young, just to get away. The marriage was doomed of course. She became ill. So ill that her family made decisions for her. Sent her away without her baby daughter, to a country thousands of miles away. Her health deteriorated over years until at barely 7 stone she was unable even to walk down the street.
She survived of course, and went on to marry my father. But the marriage was brief. The bouts of depression which she had suffered since those first dark times continued. She never remarried.
So, inevitably, my childhood was punctuated by her unhappiness. Her loneliness. The self doubt she was unable to share. So she came to rely on my sister and me for her inspiration. Her happiness.
A dangerous thing. To be so closely entwined.
In her quiet, broody moments I learnt to wonder “Is it me? Have I done something?” And I tiptoed around. Afraid of doing the wrong thing. Making a mistake. I remember spending weeks paralysed with worry about what my mother would say when i accidentally lost my house keys. Can recollect a moment in time where I had been sent to the airing cupboard to get a towel but stood frozen for ten minutes, so afraid of choosing the wrong one. “Why would you choose that old thing.” or “Don’t be so silly, that isn’t nearly big enough”. Such small criticisms, seemingly insignificant, that so smart in youth.
Even now I struggle with decisions. Procrastinate endlessly over the smallest details. Still scared of letting her down.
And of course, my desire to make her happy was, and is still, ultimately insatiable because I strive for something that even she doesn’t know how to achieve.
I have spent a long time angry at her. Angry for making me feel responsible. For the guilt.
I have kept my true self hidden. Never divulged too much. Avoided criticism. Being the cause of her bad moods. Her disappointments in life. And we have emotionally drifted apart.
But when I lost my father all I could think was “Despite the pain I can cope, but what will happen to me when my mother is gone?”
When the thought would enter my head I would struggle for breath. I felt as if all the sinews and muscles inside my chest were tearing. Just from the thought of it.
Despite the pressure I feel. The sadness. The anger. I love her without boundaries.
So I started on this blogging journey. To open myself up. Help build a relationship based on honesty and feelings, rather than worry and regret. Before it was too late.
And she reads every post that I write. We are talking more, and i am finally starting to believe that she is proud.