Buried Alive

Conversation with my mother by pisaquaririse
August 18, 2008, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just had an almost 2 hour conversation with my mother about, for lack of a better word, life.  Life of the present, future kind.  What’s going on, what will be going on, fears, worries.  Financial stress.  Family.  Dad. Me.  My future.  Love.

And it wouldn’t be such a big deal except that I don’t share much with my mother (or vice versa) who has presented herself as unemotional for most of my life.  Not that I don’t try but attempts are often met with laughter or exclamations that I “lighten up!”  I have many ideas for why this is but must bar feminism from any sort of announced reasoning as my mother finds feminism trivial.  (have I mentioned she and I are quite different?)

So 2 hours is quite a long time for us to share any sort of personal opinion because it happens too little.  Getting out our feelings together is startled by bursts of sadness as we discover how much has truly  gone unsaid.  Even telling each other we want the best for each other is hard because we are so unpracticed in meaningful conversations.  Built up emotion comes booming out at the most seemingly innocuous times because it has no where to go but out.

I say all this because it’s important I remind myself what’s going on–plus, I know I’m not the only one with these sorts of tangled family relationships.

We ended with a 5 minute hug and I decided, with difficulty, to make it known why it was hard for me to come to her as I did not want the moment to pass me by.  I let her know that the mockery of emotional sharing as well as the physical and verbal abuse I endured for a good bit of my time at home has always made it seem we can’t have a close relationship.  There is resentment and still a desire to be close.  Tear-ily, she told me she’d made bad parenting moves and that it keeps her up some nights now.  She said she was sorry.

I’ve never told her those things.   I’ve really wanted to for a really long time. If I had to choose 3 of the most important things I’ve wanted to happen in my life thus far this exchange would have been one of them.  And it just happened, maybe 20 minutes ago.

And I wanted to share.

12 Comments so far
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I’m happy for you. I have a good relationship with my mum, but my SO barely knows his mother and I wish everyone could really talk to their parents.

Comment by Anji

Thank you Anji.
The communication aspect is difficult to navigate for most people I know. Especially as everyone grows and changes. I learned my parents were imperfect, flawed humans much later than I should have. When you are young you think problems must be your own fault as parents are never wrong.
We have to learn to change this thinking.

Comment by pisaquaririse

Thanks for this post.
I wish I could have even a small piece of emotional closeness with my mother – but because she is so emotionally cold it is very hard. Although I do love my mother, she is not a person that I can trust, especially whilst she is living with the man that abused me.

I have had to build relationship with the rest of my family, after many years of alienation from them.
I have built a relationship with my Dad and stepmum. It has been very hard, bt I can see them as flawed humans, and people who I can love and respect a lot.
Me and my Dad talk quite a lot now, though I find very hard to say anything too personal. But, I am so glad that we are so close.
A few years ago I had a holiday with my Dad, where we did an modern art and architecture tour of Holland. In the evenings, we spoke more tan we had our whole lives. Since then, I have known my Dad does have unconditional love for me and me for him.
This has given me strength to face my past.

Because my mother has often used mental abuse on me, and is capable of being very cruel, I don’t think I will ever get that trust with her. I can have a phone relationship, where we speak of cats, the arts, weather and other safe subjects. But we don’t speak of emotions or of the past, coz it hurts far too much.

I so pleased that you had a conversation with your mother. It is wonderful. Love, Rebecca.

Comment by rmott62

I too am happy for you pisaquari.

A good relationship with my mother did not start until I was an adult. Now we are like fairly close friends, although she does pretend to be my mother sometimes! (She knows I can look after myself most of the time)

Comment by stormy

pisaquari, that is amazing; it’s one of the most important conversations you are likely to have in your life. It’s huge. I would say most people never get to where you and your mother are at this point.

“Built up emotion comes booming out at the most seemingly innocuous times because it has no where to go but out.” My former clinical psychologist called this “emotional leakage.” I’ve found that phrase useful in understanding uncharacteristic speech from a lot of people (including myself, when I was going through menopause, which disabled my tact filters).

Rebecca, and all others here, my best wishes and love go to you. My family is also difficult and hurtful beyond belief.

Comment by Level Best

You want a life? What will young people be wanting next? (nb, joke) I’m glad you had the conversation but, I think perhaps one of the most valuable things we can all learn is that nobody’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes. And I presume that your mother can’t have done too bad a job of it anyway. Everyone has things they’d go back and change, but as time goes by, we often realise they weren’t such a big deal as we thought….

My advice to anyone who’s got issues with someone they love, is imagine how you’d feel if they weren’t here tomorrow. It can help to put it all into perspective…..

Comment by Polly Styrene

Thanks for sharing, Pisaquari. I’m very glad for you that you’ve been able to have this communication with your mother. 🙂

It’s a very emotional post you wrote here. You sure seem to be glad this exchange has happened.

I barely speak to my mother, mostly over the phone. She lives far away.

my mother finds feminism trivial.

Mine too, unfortunately. 😦

Comment by Maggie Hays

HI P. Sorry for the thread hijack, but I’ve got an important announcement. If anyone is sent an invite to “MOOCOWBLOG” ignore it. It’s not from me.

Comment by polly styrene

Everyone: Thank you 🙂

Your words of support give the sweet moments a little bit of continuity. Thanks for the extra savor.

Rebecca: I am so glad to hear that you and your father are finding some peace and love. I can understand the 2-dimensional relationship with your mother. Family is supposed to get a special pass but that’s ridiculous. Blood relationships do not heal wounds faster and they certainly don’t necessarily mean better treatment.
I think letting go of that expectation (and not that you have that–just a general note) is half the problem. At least.

Stormy: Yes. The adult years seem to be bringing a different mother to me. My mother has always gotten along very well with babies and adults. The in between years were really weird for her. Of course, most of childhood happens in between sooooo :/

Level Best: “Emotional leakage” is perfect, really. I’m sorry to hear about your hurtful family. For your own sanity and feminist spine I *urge* you to keep the tact filters off as much as possible. Keeping tact filters always on, for me, has lead to *rage leakage*. Sux.

Polly: Yes, the imperfections of parents coming out late (or realizing them late) can have some screwy ramifications. It is a necessary learning process. It is a difficult one.
Perspective is important. The more of it I gain, interestingly enough, the more I love.
Also wanted to add–I have yet to get an invite from Moo Cowblog but I did find a wordpress blog called that and I couldn’t understand how the author would be confused with you (?)

Maggie: Your mother too huh?
Oddly enough I would consider my mother a feminist in a lot of ways as she has always been fiercely independent and self-sufficient. However, she has also always fancied herself the kind of provocative person men like. That, clearly, means feminism is out.
Eh–there’s always the internet.

Comment by pisaquaririse

That’s great news Pisaquari. I have a pretty good relationship with my mother now. But it hasn’t always been. We’ve been through a lot of shit together… I don’t think I’ve ever hated her, but I’ve come close to it. But now she is one of the most important women in my life. But yeah, perspective and adulthood bring understanding. My mother is a feminist. And she is as supportive of my lesbian feminism as she can be, given that she isa Christian who disapproves of homosexuality. We have fantastic long conversations about the state of the world and men. Although my mum hates other women for some strange reason. I’ve been working on that one for a while.

Anyway, I hope now that dialogue has opened between your mother and yourself it will lead to a deeper relationship, maybe you’ll even turn her into a feminist. Stranger things have happened. 🙂

Comment by allecto

Can I just add from the perspective of my – hard won – wisdom.

The most important thing is this:

Stop being your parent’s child. You remove their control when you do this, and the dynamic changes hugely. You’re free to see them as the (fallible) human beings they are.

The thing that imprisons you is the expectation that you should have had perfect parents – and that for some reason if you didn’t it was somehow your fault. Well, some people had much worse treatment than others, no question there. But you have to just accept it happened, and it happened for no reason. It wasn’t something you did, it was just shit, and shit happens.

Comment by Polly Styrene

Sounds like this conversation really made a difference, go you!

Comment by m Andrea

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