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So, a few people have wondered about why I am so…  hostile (there’s a nice word) towards my mother.  It’s sometimes hard to really pin it down.  I cannot remember that many times where I really felt warm towards my mother.  That might be part of it.

I try to think about this every so often, but I can’t really say there is ONE THING that really set it all in stone.  I can use a story to illustrate what things were like when I was young.

I have to make some caveats here.  I do have some respect for my mother.  She’s damn tough and stubborn (I get that from both of my parents.  You should pity my husband.)  She managed to survive and eventually thrive after a horrible childhood.  She struggled to raise a daughter and keep a marriage together in very difficult situations.  She is no saint, however, but she deserves some acknowledgment of that.

In those moments when she wanted to talk, mostly between the time of my father’s death and her marriage to her new husband, my mother and I spent some time talking.  I learned things that seem disturbing now, but make sense.  I learned that my mother had a habit of buying jewelry instead of things for the family when I was very young.  That she was jealous of the attention my father got when he left the military and went to college.  That when I had therapy sessions after my father had his first breakdown (he had three), my mother heard things that probably broke her heart.

This is not to say that my mother was a cold hearted bitch.  She tried, I know she did, but forced to deal with a husband with issues and a daughter with issues made things crazy for her.  I know that she considered killing herself at least once (she was going to drive her car over a bridge) in the middle of the worst part of it.  My family was fucked up.  Being crazy will do that too you

I am not paragon of virtue either.  I had issues, especially as an adolescent and teen.  I had severe anger management issues.  My parents did not know what to do with me.  They consider sending me to reform school, but the school wasn’t sure they wanted me because of my tendency towards violent behavior.  I stole things.  I lit things on fire in the bird bath in our back yard or in my room.  I was depressed.  In 1990, during my second term at Stetson University, I started randomly crying for no reason.  By 1991, I became convinced that I was going to be as crazy as my father.

My boyfriend at the time was rightfully concerned for my sanity and safety.  At his insistence, when he was in Russia for six months, I moved back in with my parents.  That move might have doomed our relationship (though we still chat from time to time) but I think it saved my life.  Between his long rambling taped letters to me and my father, I managed to pull through hell and start rebuilding something.  My mother was there, but she was often frustrated by me.

All that build up just to tell this story.  Honestly, I cannot remember if this happened before or after I moved to Gainsville (I suspect before) with the goal of doing everything my parents didn’t want me to do, include having sex, but it is indicative of the way things are between me and my mother.

I was lost in depression.  I had some money.  I felt worthless.  I was going to buy a bus ticket to anywhere and just vanish.  No one needed me.  I was a drain on all those around me.  It is really hard to explain how real those feelings can be, how overwhelming it can be.  My mother was trying to talk me out of it.  She finally pulled over the van and told me to get out.  She couldn’t deal with it anymore.  She told me to just go.  Depression can be self-fulfilling, really.  My mom wanted to fix me, but she couldn’t.  So she gave it.

I started walking to the bus station.  Somehow, my dad caught up to me.  He walked with me.  He didn’t try and talk me out of my plan.  He just walked and told me that he loved me.  Eventually, he got me to come home.  He understood, after all, he felt that way himself.  He didn’t try and fix me.  He was just there.

That is really where the difference was and I think that may be part of the reason why I resent my mother so much.  She is always trying to fix me.  Maybe, I’m not the one broken.

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