First off, I want to thank Boulimique
for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. I have to get the following BS out of my head today, but a bit later today or tomorrow I’ll put up a post about it, too. I’m surprised and honored!
Now to my post.
One of my closest friends is a recovered anorexic. She’s been my biggest support in all of this, because she understands how hard it is, but she also speaks truth to me.
She told me a big step in her recovery was figuring out who precisely she wanted to notice her weight loss and struggle. At the time, I couldn’t think of who I wanted to notice. A big issue for me right now is my mom, but I doubted I want her to notice because her response would be to smother, or at least generally she makes me feel smothered. If I’m stressed and she actually tries to help, as opposed to just ignoring, she usually makes me feel worse.
But I have been doing a lot of thinking today about what is behind all this, and part of me now wonders about that. My mother and I have a rocky history. She was the stronger personality of my parents, the one always pushing me to do better. My dad was gone for work part of most weeks and on those nights it was just my mother and I, all the time. Intensity arose, all the time. I now know she was stressed and probably depressed, and that was part of what led her to criticism, but at the time I just felt like nothing would ever be good enough and I didn’t measure up. Yelling or angry words happened a lot, and it was all made worse by my tendency to withdraw when people got upset, which she interpreted as passive-aggressive. I do believe the high pressure of growing up is the source of some of the issues I struggle with.
I used to play soccer. I quit when I was younger, because it was no longer fun. I played on premier teams, and my mother put a decent amount of money and time into me playing. I got criticized for not playing well enough or hard enough. To my recollection, it was in the context of ‘we’re putting in all this effort and you aren’t”. I quit soccer in high school, ostensibly to focus on schoolwork. But I do remember in my head it was a bit of a ‘fuck you’ to my mother, because I knew she took great pride in me playing (my therapist says it was about her showing off how good her kid was) and I knew it would hurt her for me to quit.
So now I am beginning to wonder if all this, this slow march towards suicide, this slow march of self destruction, IS about wanting her to notice. Not so she’ll help. But so I can finally say to her ‘look at what you did to me. You hurt me, tormented me, and I am angry, and now I will kill myself and look at what your actions got you’. I have a lot of anger towards her, at times enough that I don’t want to see her ever again. Suicide would be the ultimate ‘fuck you’.
The hard thing is how she acts now like nothing happened. Like she is proud of me. Like she loves me. Like she has always acted this way. Which makes me more angry because that isn’t true, and now it feels like too little too late. It isn’t like she’s acknowledging how hard things were, apologizing, and trying to change. It’s like it never happened. She’ll deny any little details that I happen to toss out. But it DID happen, Mom, and I have been fucked up for years paying the price while you get off scot free and play the loving and proud mother. So look, now, see what you’ve done. And don’t ask for forgiveness, because it’s a long time coming. Don’t’ ask for mercy, for me to protect your feelings as I have for years. I won’t. Feel the full weight, bear the full weight. I think some of me wants her to see this so I have a reason to make her hurt, make her guilty, make her face it.
I’m beginning now to think I need to confront her. Not now. I’m not strong enough now, I need to be ready for her angry, lash out back defensiveness no matter how calmly I present my points. I need to be ready for nothing to come of it but her anger and my tears and guilt for making her sad. But someday. To say it in a way that isn’t a slow killing all of the things that matter not just to her, or not at all to her, but to me.
Mother issues. How cliche. But true.