Something that I have been discussing with my psychiatrist a lot is my mother, or #DemonMom as she is known on my Twitter feed. It is an unfair title that I have dealt her, rather childish in fact. My mother is a strong woman, with a spine of steel, a skin of stone and a will of solid iron, and I admire her, almost as much as I am mad at her. That is the theme that keeps returning every conversation: I am angry with my mother.
She will say that she has never done anything to warrant my anger, and whether or not this is true is ambiguous. I have been raised in a rather strict manner. I could go on about how I never got anything trendy as a little kid and how I was “forced” to read real books instead of easy-read chicklits for little girls… but that has done me nothing bad, unless having your own style and a sincere love of reading is in any way bad. No, on that part she raised me strictly but well, and I am grateful for it.
My anger lies with her “punishments”. A rather ominous name for what it is, but let’s go with it. It begins in my early childhood. I was not an intelligent child, at all. Most of the things that posed a problem back then aren’t one any more, so I’d say I was simply slow to develop. My behavior was socially unacceptable, I didn’t understand social interaction and thus had no friends, I was awkward with both adults and other children, I never had a clue of what was going on and I showed some very bizarre quirks, obsessively brushing my hair whenever we had to go somewhere being the least of them. It would take too long to explain in how many ways my intelligence and behavior were lacking, but they were numerous. I was a nuisance and a burden on the family, always needing more attention than my siblings and often obstructing when things had to go quickly and smoothly (by example to arrive somewhere in time.)
I know my mother is -or at least was, when she was younger- a kindhearted person, and I am certain that she tried to change my behavior in a motivating and considerate way at first. But as I mentioned, I was not very intelligent, and those methods proved ineffective, possibly because I simply didn’t understand what she was trying to do. And what does a person do then? They try and try, until they find something that works. And what worked, turned out to be humiliating me and breaking me down. I’m not saying that my mother did those things TO humiliate me or break me down, and I am quite certain she was never really aware of how hurt I felt. I think she only noted that I stopped showing the undesirable behavior when the action she did was repeated often enough. What she did may have been completely normal to anyone else, but it made me feel bad. That says nothing about her and everything about me. Low intelligent as I was, I learned to connect “this behavior” with “that bad feeling” and stopped showing it, often without understanding why it was wrong.
She was always honest with me, blatantly honest. No euphemisms. And while that may be a good thing, when there is so much wrong with you as there was/is with me, it is also a serious blow to your ego. On one hand I am grateful for the way she raised me, because it is thanks to her that I am studying at the university and not folding boxes in a home for the mentally handicapped and socially unadapted. She forced whatever potential I had to unfold by never allowing me to fool myself, and thanks to her I have learned to understand all those things I didn’t understand as a child. On the other hand… her methods have taught me to hate honesty and reality, because there was never anything good or nice in it. I sincerely believe that she is part of the reason why I have such a propensity for lying, and why I get so easily ensnared by and addicted to alternative reality things like fanfiction and games. And that is just part of the problem.
One of the things that haunts me most is “Doom”. I call it Doom, but in fact it is a chemical reaction that completely destabilizes me, making me paranoid and panicky, and causing hallucinations in the worst case. It is the physical feeling that something bad is going to happen, something horrible. My psychology-studying life partner Experiment No.7 has explained to me that according to him it has to do with my mother’s “Punishments”. They were never immediately after the transgression, although I soon learned to see the signs and anticipate what would be coming for me… and exactly that is Doom. The anticipation of punishment. I’m not sure if this is a plausible explanation, but my feeling of Doom may just be an enlarged, continuously present anticipation of punishment for some (often unknown) transgression. I am always waiting for the next blow of solid honesty.
I fight with the anger I feel for my mother. I am grateful to her, I admire her, I respect her and I even love her I think… but I am also incredibly angry with her, unjustifiably so given all that she has done for me and all that she has been through. In my mind she is the embodiment of the honesty about the miserable entity that I am, and that I hate her for. So I wonder: who do I hate, her or myself? Am I angry at her person, or only at the archetype that she has become for me, the demon of Doom that follows in my footsteps every second of the day? Am I angry because of what she does, or only because of what her actions tell me about myself?
And then there is the fact that ever since I got sick and tried to kill myself, she is angry with me. Truly angry. And where her honesty wasn’t meant to be mean of humiliating at first, I almost know for certain that when she now does what she does, she means to hurt. And hurting me she does, she knows me very well.
I don’t know if all this philosophizing will solve anything, ever. I don’t know.