Friday, 27 December 2013

Pregnant with a Side of Rage

I'm back for the second time today and it feels great :). As mentioned, my husband and I are expecting again and we're very excited, while our 17 month old son remains (expectedly), oblivious. Having a toddler running around being a nutcase while pregnant is quite the feat, I knew it would be a challenge but I'm not sure I fully anticipated the lack of energy I would have! Regardless of my fatigue we're all making due and I love my little scientist-explorer and the ball of energy in my belly.

Over the last several months I have had some above average levels of stress, I had even dropped 9lbs by my fourth month of pregnancy! The main source of my frustrations came from a workplace injury and subsequent harrassment about said injury from a few nosey co-workers. The work business has been all taken care of but I am still feeling the effects of 6+ weeks of pure hell. I have had a short fuse as a result of the negativity and I seem to go from calm to hulk in a blink. I find myself yelling far too often and although I'm by no means a violent person, I would be fibbing if I denied a few moments of recycling bag fury in the recent weeks. Though I sometimes find it funny after the fact, I mostly feel awful for losing control.

My Dad was, and still is, a yeller. I do not want to be the mom who yells over everything, and I do not want to be the yelling wife either. As much as my work environment was the pits, I have also been dealing with my Uncle's death suicide at a distance, as well as my Mother causing my Brother some major disapointment over an interview she may or may not have bailed on. Throw in Christmas and now a family wedding and I feel like I am suffocating.

Every time I start losing my temper I am instantly reminded of how my Mother would yell at us, spank us, and then disappear into her room or sleep on the couch for hours... it makes me *cringe*. When I yell it makes me think of when my dad would explode with rage over what was often spilled milk. Recently, I was pointed into the direction of The Orange Rhino and have found that to be a cute and helpful tool, though I have found talking and writing about my anger to be quite therapeutic as well.

Does anyone know of any good books that deal with anger? Particularly anything related to suppressing emotions and then erupting into non-violent rage? Furthermore, if you have had the experience of losing control(what human being hasn't), how do you deal with it, and what, if any, preventative measure do you try to take for the next outburst?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts, I will be back very soon!
Bye for now,
Leslie Michael

Well, Then.

After a 7 month hiatus I'm ready to continue this blog. There's a great deal of inner turmoil that surfaces once you start writing things down and it's amazing how quickly you can overwhelm yourself with buried emotions.

The last 7 months have been interesting to say the least. I went back to work from maternity leave while already(just barely), pregnant, the month before my uncle commited suicide, we had some major structural renovations done to our home, and not once but twice this year my Mom has talked about "definitely maybe" moving back to my city. Also, The sister I've reffered to and mentioned as being transgendered will from here on out be written in as my brother, I never call him she so why would I call him my sister still. 

I think that although I want to be able to write about my relationship with my Mother, I dont want this to feel like some kind of mobius circle of pain and suffering. I am, generally, pretty happy, so I feel like for this to work for me I need to have a better balance of light hearted posts, I can't do all doom and gloom as it brings me down!

Well that's my mini update, I'll be following with a post about some anger issues I've been having as well as writing about my pregnancy thus far. 

Bye for now!

Leslie Michael

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Having a very mobile and energetic 9mth+ old has definitely made posting here near the bottom of my priority list these days(the very bottom of the list includes but is not limited to, folding the finished laundry, scooping the dog doody in the backyard, and lets not forget, actually bringing the recycling to the curb) Motherhood is a busy but rewarding job for me, it's something I've always wanted to do. It's pretty blatant that my mother's dreams had little to do with mothering. I'm still not sure what her dreams are, I don't think she even knows, though I suspect that deep down what she really wants in life is freedom.

Parenthood on the whole is a crazy adventure. New parents turn to their own parents for advice and tips on child-rearing, they don't always agree with the advice, but often take it with a grain of salt. I know there are many of us out there who don't turn to good ol' ma' and pop' for parenting tips, there's not a lot to be learned from those who abused or neglected us. My mother was not a good parent, she wasn't even really a parent, but my dad on the other hand was pretty amazing considering what he had to deal with.

What kind of parenting skills did I learn from my dad? The important one's. First, I learned that spanking isn't necessary, I received two spankings from him that were very well deserved, but that was it(My mother on the other hand, practically beat me on a daily basis before she left). I also learned that children are not stupid and should not be treated as such. My dad hated the word stupid, so he never used it and he never once talked down to me or my siblings. I always felt special because my dad not only talked to me like another adult, but also because he'd debate with me about social and political issues, even though I was only 11. In contrast, whenever I voiced my opinions about similar issues with my mother she would tell me I was too young to understand what I was talking about. My dad never grounded us, he thought it only encouraged rebellion, and he was right as far as I'm concerned. My dad only ever told us to do something once, we were never allowed to debate his decisions, he stood firm at all times. My dad let us question authority, I was always encouraged to be outspoken, especially when it came to ethics. My dad was supportive as a father, but there are some things I learned he didn't intend to teach me. My dad swore too much and yelled too much, I do remember being scared of him for a time, especially after my mother left us. My dad wasn't home enough; between working long hours or working out of town for months, we sometimes only saw our dad half the year, but he didn't really have a choice. My dad went out too much and put too much responsibility on me at too young of an age.
My dad is amazing and I love him, but he always went to the bar to "sign in" after work, and on weekends he would leave the house by 2pm to go "run errands" and then not come home until 11pm or later, my siblings and I missed more then one activity as a result of our dad's drinking habits. I learned that you really have to pay attention to your children and what they're doing. I was very depressed for close to two years as a child, I would fake sick on a daily basis, I would stay home after my dad left for work, I even did self-harm and had thoughts of suicide. I managed to figure things out for myself, but my dad didn't understand what was going on, he wasn't around enough to see that I was depressed and suffering from extreme social anxiety.
Everyone has their challenges in life to deal with, I'm thankful for my experiences, good and bad, because I know that I will be able to help my children the way my mother, and my dad, couldn't help me growing up. Thankfully I have the ability to empathize to the nth degree, I don't really have any questions as a parent to ask my parents, but I do wish that I could talk to my mother about challenging situations and know she was telling me the truth. Instead I get to listen to her "helpful" advice about what I "need" to do, along with what she tells me she believes she did with myself and my siblings. I guess the only truth I can really count on is my own.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

My brother was over the other day and we were chatting about our Mother, something he's only really just started feeling comfortable with. I was describing the last post I wrote, and how this blog has really been helping me sort through my feelings. My brother told me he still can't process what happened last summer, because he was still mad and hurt that our mother didn't come back "home" last spring like she had promised. It's funny, but I have spent so much time being frustrated with my mother over the fight with my sister and her husband that I completely forgot about the spring incident.

Last spring my mother told myself and my siblings that she would, most definitely, be moving back "home". For about 3 years she's been lamenting to me about how she feels so distanced from us all(because once a week, 4 hour visits for 10 years made us so close), how she misses us, and how she just wants to get back to normal, whatever she thinks that is. 3 years ago my mother ended the relationship she had with the man whom she left my dad for, the longest relationship she ever had. The man she left was a total prick, there's nothing good to say about him. She left him, lived on her own for maybe 2-3 months, then moved in with a new man. Prior to her planned move, I expressed my and my siblings feelings about her boyfriend, and those feelings changed all of her plans. Her boyfriend happens to be an alcoholic criminal, with an extensive record, so, understandably, not one of us, wanted him around. I brought up to my mother a few incidents with this boyfriend of hers last march and she was mortified(Her boyfriend had called both my sister and I while extremely inebriated and crying(on several occasions) about nothing audible while my mother was not even home). She was going to break up with him and move home by herself but apparently her boyfriend really was a good guy and was going to change, so she would be staying where she was; sounds like the earmark of a co-dependent person I do believe.

How did I manage to forget my Mother was supposed to move home last year? I didn't so much forget as I just gave up caring, and of course her lack of help and support through the most important milestone I've had yet-to-date really over-shadowed her last minute change-of-heart. When my brother brought up how my mother backed out of moving home, I remembered how mad I really was. The difference between my brother and I is that I wasn't mad at my mother, I was mad at myself for believing her, after 20 years I should really know better. *sigh*

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I think it's safe to state that most mother's know their children's likes, wants, and needs, and often times, better then their own. I have personally encountered this dynamic through the various friendships I've held over the years, and through extended family. I do not have this relationship with my mother, and neither do any of my siblings. In fact, my mother knows so very little about us, that we are no longer shocked by her absurd generalizations of our personalities, though I can't say that I have always been indifferent to my mothers strange perceptions.

My mother is the type of person who gets very distressed if you do not absolutely love something she has given you. On my tenth birthday my mother bought me a pair of tapered jeans with charms on the pocket. The charms were neat, but tapered(which went on to evolve into "stretch skinnies", for the younger crowd who may be reading) jeans were not in fashion. If I went to school wearing tapered pants I would be guaranteed to be made fun of, and I had enough things to deal with already(or so I believed). I told her the jeans were nice but I didn't like the cut and asked if I could exchange them. My mother went on for half an hour about how nice the jeans really were and how silly I was for worrying about other's opinions. She made me feel stupid and selfish for wanting something different, especially after she put so much thought and love into this gift of all gifts. Even my mother's jerk boyfriend explained that they just weren't the "style", but it didn't stop her from ranting. The next visit I was presented with the exact same pair of jeans one size up, because apparently one size up made the jeans completely different and lovable.

My mother thought I loved tapered jeans just as much as my tom-boy sister loved elegant jewelry. For some reason my mother generally bought things my brother actually liked, though as he got older she started buying him more "sensitive" or "new age" items including a dream-catcher with purple glass accents(I love it, it's in my porch), and the odd "collect-able" knock off like the "one ring" from lord of the rings. My mother's gifts to us are a pretty good representation of what she believes our personalities to be. I'm not kidding when I say that she gave my tom-boy sister(who's actually transgendered) dainty jewels . My mother viewed my sister as a delicate flower, just waiting to "blossom" one day. In my mother's mind, my sister would stop wearing mostly men's clothing and accessories and finally accept that little woman inside her. Actually, I always loved the jewelry my sister was given and often ended up wearing it. My sister would get mad at me, not because she liked the jewelry, but because I was wearing something she received from my mother(she always equated my mother's gifts as my mother's love).

My mother had a habit of buying me things she thought were trendy, which, like the tapered jeans, usually came 3 years too late. She always thought of me as a bit of an airhead, and told me last year that Jackie from "That 70's show" always reminded her of me. I was none to thrilled to hear that comparison. For one, I was never a cheer leader. I had boyfriends in highschool, but I wasn't boy "crazy", I often was broken up with because I wasn't a slut. That comparison brought back the memory of an equally inaccurate and anger inducing statement made by my mother during a visit I stayed home from. My sister told me that one night my mother, brother and her were watching tv. A commercial for "Girls gone wild" came on and there was a girl who flashed the camera, laughing and drunk. My mother laughed and exclaimed "There's Leslie in ten years". My sister was mortified and promptly defended me saying I was nothing like that girl, to the apparent surprise of my mother.

These are just a few examples of how little my mother knows about any of us, or maybe they're examples of the lives she's mentally manufactured each of us to live. I wish the life she envisioned me to have involved more then some bimbo persona, it's disheartening knowing that someone you love thinks you're literally "too pretty" to think reasonably. I shouldn't let it get to me, but sometimes I get so exhausted trying to rationalize my mother's thoughts that I just let go and allow them to infiltrate my mind. At least I have the ability to shake my head out and remember I'm not the one with the problem, thank god(or whomever you choose) for that!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Forever Questions

Sitting down and feeding my baby is an amazing feeling; when I breastfeed I think about how incredible it is that this now 6 month old child grew from a few gamates, into a zygote and blastula which turned into this amazing little human being. I look at him and think "you're so perfect". I look at him and stroke his cheek and kiss him on the forehead, and I wonder, did my mother ever feel the way about me that I feel about him?

I'm the only child my mother communicates with on a regular basis. Whether by text message, email, phone call, or skype, my mother speaks to me. I feel guilty about this as my siblings who crave my mothers attention and love never seem to get what they want, and it's always been this way. I have spent out of all my siblings, the most time with my mother. Between growing up, the random outings, and now the communication, I know far more about my mother and her reasoning then my other 3 siblings combined. Sometimes, I wish I didn't.

My mother confides in me. She has told me things that both help and hinder our relationship, but she withholds the same information from my siblings, and I really don't know why. I often wonder if she places value on me because I have a solid grasp on reality where she doesn't. I'm strong, I really am, and  as I've said, I can empathize with almost anyone. When my mother is having problems, she talks to me about them, and I help the best I can. Normally I think this would be fine, but this is not a reciprocal relationship, at this stage it never will be.

I sit, and I look at my son, and I pledge that I will never ever rely on him for my emotional well being. I'm never going to call him looking for answers to problems I've created for myself. In life, things happen that are beyond our control, but at some point we have to re-assess the things that seem to recur  and decide whether or not we are perpetuating them.

When I was born I'm sure that my mother loved me, but I'm also sure that she didn't believe that she'd be looking to me for advice. Sometimes I think that she resents my knowledge, especially when she gets an answer she was hoping to avoid. When I was born my mother loved me, but I was just a child to her, not a person with an opinion. Even now, when I give her my input, she finds a way to belittle my thoughts, the difference being that now I realize she's just trying to cope with the reality that she hasn't grown up yet. Still, she ask's what I think about this idea, or that circumstance, and I feel obliged, but also feel an innate duty, to answer her honestly.

I feed my baby and wonder, what did my mother think her life would be like?

Monday, 7 January 2013

I can try and understand

When I was growing up people would always comment on how it must be hard without my mother around. When I was 19, I met an old family friend who admitted when she heard what my mom did to us she wanted to "knock her out". I have never met a person who said "she must have had her reasons for leaving" and I find myself mostly blaming her selfishness and co-dependency problems on her clouded decisions. I would be lying if I said I didn't understand to an extent about why my mother is who she is, I've been gifted with the ability to empathize(not sympathize) with almost anyone, so here are some thoughts.

My mother lived a very traumatic life as a child. Her father beat her mother to death in in a drunken rage while both my mother and her brother were home. She lived in foster care, where my own dad suspects there was abuse based on things my mother has said, and when she was 11 her father was released from prison. My grandfather married a woman with 5 children so he was granted custody of his children after release, a very big mistake. My mother and her brother were physically and sexually abused, their father would beat them, and one of their step siblings molested them. My grandfather died of a cardiac arrest as he was strangling and beating my mother when she was 13 or 14. I'm not sure if she continued to live with her fathers second wife, or went awol, but all I know is that by 18 she was pregnant.

Not everyone who's victimized ends up like my mother, but unfortunately with no stable household, my mother was never able to learn how to deal with trauma. My mother is a runner, she runs from anything that is stable and thrives off of chaos. It is frustrating to deal with, but I do understand it to an extent. My mother is unable to empathize with anyone else's shortcoming's, and is socially inept, she has no friends, and she has had to move jobs due to conflicts with women she works with. My mother is incapable of accepting the blame when she does something wrong, she always blames others for her actions. Oddly, if her spouse is angry at her, she "knows" she did the "provoking", spoken like a true victim.

When I was 11 my mother told me that no matter what, your spouse will always be there for you, your family grows up and moves on, that simple idea reveals some of her fears. My mother has a fear of abandonment, she is always the first to move on in a relationship, and she only moves on once there's a sure thing lined up. She left us for "greener" pastures, but has only been in abusive controlling relationships since. I sometimes wonder if my mother's choice in men helps her numb the pain of leaving her children. I wonder if she left us because she worried we would become victims. I also wonder if she was able to make false memories of us because of all the drama she has had to endure with her partners. Maybe those inaccurate memories helped her cope with the reality of an abusive boyfriend. Only she knows, but I have a feeling there is truth to my speculations.