Mother to Daughter

It’s not a secret that I have some mommy issues… Most days I think that it’s sort of pathetic and childish. But other days I remember why I put up that barrier between me and my mother.

I know we all have our family dysfunction and that affects our relationships but mine wasn’t always like that. My mom always wanted to be my friend but I just wanted her to be my mother. We had our fair share of fights – mostly involving my hair but we found a way around it. And there was this little thing that happened when I was 4 that pretty much meant I became the adult in our relationship but all of that was normal to me.

The trouble only really started when I was 20 and my mom kept something from me. I know that she had her reasons for it and I know that I chose to believe the lie rather than believe that she could lie to me but the fact that she told everyone else the truth – including my cousins’ flat mates, 5min after we met them – that hurt me most. It also destroyed my trust and 5years later I have not really recovered yet. But that’s not the thing that’s bothering me or the reason I break out in a cold sweat every time I even think about talking to her.

The day before my 21st birthday, my mother had a fight with her boyfriend and during that fight I experienced two very different but incredibly significant moments. The first was my proudest moment ever: to make a long story short, I told them both to stop acting like little kids and bestowed some wisdom on them. The second moment had somewhat less of a positive effect on my self-worth. In the middle of my mother’s silly but explosive fight with her new boyfriend – actually the first and only one she has had since my dad passed away – tempers were high and she tried to use me as leverage. Firstly this bugged me because this was the first time I’d met this man (9 months after they started seeing each other) and also because I do not like being used as anyone’s emotional pawn. My mother threatened her boyfriend that she would tell me some deep dark secret that happened when I was 2 years old.

Now that just blew my mind! How could my mother tell a ‘complete stranger’ about something that affected my life? Why would she bring it up in the middle of the night right before my Birthday? Why would he care about hurting my feelings when he doesn’t even know me? Why would my mother stoop to such low levels to win a fight at the cost of her only child’s sanity? And then the question that has plagued me ever since: what is the secret?

I remember something… something that happened when I was little and I remember being scared and hurt and angry but by the time I was 4, I had convinced myself that it was a figment of my imagination that I created to make my life seem more interesting. So basically my mind is a blank. I have no idea what my mother is hiding from me. I have no idea what her boyfriend knows about me that I do not remember. I have no idea what could be so bad that my mother has refused to tell me about. And that sucks…

Not a week goes by that I do not wonder what happened. What did my dad do that was so bad that my mom cannot talk to me about it? Why can’t I remember? Do I even want to remember? Will knowing help me or just haunt me more? I don’t have answers to these questions but I’m trying to not allow them to affect my life.

And yesterday I think I succeeded… well, for a little bit. I WhatsApped my mother for most of the day. We talked about sport and about the family and about politics and about future plans and about our work and the people in our lives. It was great. OK, I have to admit that as soon as we finished, I was over thinking it and really freaked out and emotional but at least I am trying and I take comfort in that. I guess practice makes perfect, so I need to practice talking to my mother like normal families do. Holding on to those little moments of joy before the emotional turmoil, is a starting point…

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