I have a very strained relationship with my mother, though she seems to be blissfully unaware of that fact. I was going to just gloss it over and spare you all the details, but fuck it, it's my blog.
My mother had an affair while married to my father when I was 11-12 years old. They were going to get a divorce and she was even taking my sister and I to look at apartments with her. She told us that she had come home from work one morning and my dad had told her to leave. I was so angry with my father that I wouldn't speak to him for days. He asked her why his daughters were so mad at him and she explained. He told her that she needed to tell us the truth, and so after stewing about my dad for so long, my mom explained that the reason my father asked her to leave was because she had told him she didn't love him anymore. She had lied to us because she didn't want us to be angry with her.
A few weeks after that, my sister and I were shipped off to visit an aunt for two weeks. We came back, and suddenly were told that everything was fine. We were young - we believed them, because logic still defied us back then. Call it suspension of disbelief.
Within a matter of months, we had moved to a new house in a new neighborhood, and my mom was pregnant. She miscarried, and we were told by my father to be very nice to her and to be a couple of good girls because even though the pregnancy had been an accident my mom was very upset. So we tried to be good.
That same year, my mom gets pregnant again. I remember my angry 12yr old self practically spitting at her in the car, "If it's such an accident, why don't you get fixed??" Somehow, even then I knew that my parents were trying to use a baby to fix their marriage, and I knew it wouldn't work. But when I was 13, my baby brother was born. The first-born son to a man who had 3 daughters, the first of whom was from a previous marriage. He was ecstatic.
Now to put this in perspective, you have to understand the household I was living in. My father did household chores, they both worked full-time doing the same job at the same workplace in two different departments. They took turns cooking dinner, were physically affectionate with one another, never fought in front of us, and took care of us equally. It was a gender-neutral household before gender-neutral households became popular and purposeful. My father seemed to be romantic with my mom, buying her gifts and doing things for her. I grew up for awhile believing that this is how things were supposed to be - an equal partnership based in love. There was a HUGE age difference between my parents - 18 years to be exact, but I never believed that would matter.
Fast forward a little over 2 years. I am now 15, just finishing my sophomore year of high school. My parents have now been married for almost 17 years. My mother sits my sister and I down and tells us that she's moving out, moving 20 something miles away. Asks if we would like to come with her. (I know I'm not maintaining proper tense here, but bear with me.) I tell her I need to think about it, my sister says "Yeah, absolutely." She is 11 years old now.
Of course, I don't believe that she's actually gonna leave. Shit, we've been through this before and nothing happened. Maybe all she needs is for my sister and I to go away for a little while again.
A week later, my parents are at the neighbors house, drinking and socializing and having a grand old time, or so it seems. Around 2am, I wake up to yelling and a loud bang. I get really pissed, but I ignore it, because if I go up there I'm going to do something I will probably get punished for. Like call the cops or punch someone in the face. It stops pretty suddenly, so I go back to sleep.
I wake up the next morning, and my dad is at work. My mom is home. I ask her in no uncertain terms, "What the fuck happened last night?" I didn't actually swear. To this day I don't swear in front of my parents, even though my mom herself is a potty mouth. She shows me a couple of bruises on her wrist that look like fingerprints and says, "Your father did this to me." When my dad gets home, I threaten to kill him, and I'm serious. He asks me if I will listen to him for a minute. I try to calm down and listen to him. He says, "Your mother has those bruises on her wrist because I was holding her arms. She was trying to punch me and pushed me into a wall. I didn't do anything except hold her back." I get pissed off at both of them, because I don't know who to believe anymore. To this day, I have no idea what happened that night. I shoulda just gone upstairs and punched someone.
So my mom ends up leaving, taking my sister and brother with her. I stayed with my dad, partially because I didn't want to move or change schools, but mostly because he was devastated and didn't want him to be alone. They shared custody with my little brother, so he was with us for a half a week at a time until he started school.
My mom pretty much dropped off the face of the earth for me. She rarely called, I only saw her on holidays. She always had something better to do than come and pick me up to visit, and I couldn't drive yet. I'm not going to get into all the drama that ensued in the following months, including me having a nervous breakdown and developing an irrational fear of my father, spurred on by my mom who told me I was justified without evidence. Either way, she would say anything to get me to be on her side. For staying with my dad, I became his favorite child and he ignored my sister and still does. He has no shame, and tells everyone in my family that I'm his favorite - including my sister. My half-sister is irrelevant. She's the bottom of his list. He once told me that the reason my mother left was because she didn't love "us" anymore - "us" referring to me and him. If it was in the pages of "How Not To Be A Good Parent" - my father did it.
But I digress. My father is a condescending, self-absorbed ass, but he's always been that way and I've always known it. My mother is much more complicated. She thinks she's a great mom. I think I would have been better off without her.
My mom married the guy that she left my father for the time that she actually LEFT. I suspected something was going on beforehand, but I let it go. I had enough to worry about at the time. For a long time, I hated his ass. I hated him so much that there was nothing I wouldn't do or say to make him know just how much I hated him. I hated my mom too, but she was my mother, and I tried to make amends with her. I spent years trying to rebuild a relationship with her, from college on. For awhile, I thought I had succeeded.
This past June, I separated from my husband of two years, whom I had been with for almost 8. There was a lot of drama behind it, most of which no one knew about except for those closest to me. My mother was excluded from that list.
Still, she was the first person I told that I had decided to move out. Her response? Her very first response? "You know, I'm still paying off your wedding." I knew that was what she was going to say. But I had been hoping she would say something else instead. Something supportive, maybe.
My mom's birthday was in August. I saw her two days beforehand, while she was on vacation and I came up to spend the day. I told her happy birthday, told her to enjoy it, put up with her fucked up comments about the guy I was dating at the time. I intended to bring her a birthday card, but in the commotion of preparing for the nearly 3hr drive down there, I forgot. Figured it wasn't important. She knew she wouldn't be getting a gift, seeing as I was paying extravagant rent on my own for the first time in my adult life, and she had gotten a diamond necklace from me the year before. I figured she would understand.
A few weeks later I received an email from my stepfather (whom I now love very much), CC'd to my sister berating us for not sending my mother a card or buying her a gift. I responded politely, explaining that I had forgotten and that I would send one. I continued to forget, and it never happened.
Just yesterday I got another email from my stepfather, (again CCd to my sister), saying that we should be ashamed of the people we have become and the priorities we have if we can't spare 10 minutes a week to speak to our parents or "forget" their birthdays. Mind you, they haven't seen my apartment though they've been invited several times, or that my mom generally doesn't call me unless I call her first, and leaves snide messages on my voicemail if I don't pick up: "I don't know WHY you're not answering your phone, but....."
I responded and explained that while I did not think it was his intention, he made me feel like an asshole. I then explained that because of issues I have with my mother, I don't think she has any right to be pissed over the lack of a birthday card, and that if she's hurt or upset by it, that I should hear it from her, and not him. I also mention the comment she made when I told her I was getting separated.
He responded by reminding me how much money and "effort" people had put into my wedding, and that I "should have put the same or more effort into" making my marriage work. Basically, that I owed it to everyone who spent some cash on my kick-ass wedding to suck it up and deal. Though I wanted to say "Fuck you," I didn't. I continued to explain my position. No response from him yet.
My mother is the most selfish human being on the planet. I am trying so hard not to be like her, and I feel like in order to accomplish that goal, I need to distance myself from her. I have given up trying to have a "real" relationship with her, because she lies to me and always has. I have so many issues because of the experiences I have had with her, and I so strongly resent the implication that I am selfish because I chose to separate from my husband despite the fact that other people helped pay for the wedding, or because I neglected to send a birthday card.
Wow, this was a really long, pretty-detailed way of saying I'm fuckin' pissed right now.