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On the Bright Side, She’s Not Joan Crawford July 15, 2009

Posted by Kimmothy in Baby-Making, Fam Damily, Life, Moods, Nail Biter, Vacation, Whatever.

Okay, I’m going to go ahead and write about this at the risk of making myself look like a total asshole. I know – what’s new, right?

So I’m sure I’ve written before about the very strained relationship I have with my mother. The fact that she’s a career alcoholic. That she was never a very happy person to begin with but after my dad died, she finally got justification for her misery and became just dismal.  How it’s very hard for me to spend any amount of time with without wanting to put a bullet into my head. You get the idea. I’m going to go ahead and put a disclaimer out there, that my sister knows exactly how I feel and why and shares these feelings as well. I don’t think that’s a justification for anything, just that there is actually another person on this earth who knows exactly where I’m coming from on this.

I’m in the middle of a big internal debate right now about whether or not I’m going to visit her when I’m in Florida.

God, just writing that out loud was hard. I know how it sounds. You should’ve seen the look on Brian’s face when I finally got up the balls last night and asked him, How disappointed in me would you be if I didn’t see my mom when I’m down there? He looked at me like I’d just said I was going to take a lap around the block naked. All he really managed to say was, Well it’s your decision, but babe….Yeah. I know. Sister had a very different reaction, more like, She’s a miserable person and no matter how hard we try to be good daughters, she’s never going to be a good mother. I wouldn’t blame you a bit if you didn’t want to see her.

Guess which answer is my favorite?

On the one hand, it doesn’t matter what kind of person she is; she’s my mother. I do love her. (Right? Right.) And whenever I picture what my dad would say when I’m having these evil feelings, I feel truly ashamed of myself. Whenever either me or Sister would have some beef with her when he was still alive, he’d always say But she’s your mother. And that got the point across. As in, you may not like it and she may be acting ridiculous, but suck it up and deal with it; she’s the only mother you’ll ever have.

On the other hand, I haven’t had an easy time of it the past few months. I spent six solid months undergoing a ton of emotional strain with no resolution regarding the baby thing. My mother’s way of comforting me during that was to tell me it’s all her fault I can’t get pregnant because she had such a hard time conceiving me. And that right there folks, that, is the type of logic you get from a twisted, alcohol-addled brain. Like Sister says, she’s so immersed in her own pathetic little world, she can’t hear anyone else’s story but her own. Doesn’t really make for healthy mother/daughter dialogue and it’s a challenge when I’m HAPPY, let alone when I’m going through a bunch of shit.

I’ve been working really hard to pull myself up out of a really deep funk and I think I’ve done a fairly decent job of it over the past month or so. Eating better, exercising and not pumping raging hormones into your body will do wonders that way. But still, and this isn’t an exaggeration – why should I subject myself to someone who only makes me feel uncontrollable rage every time I see her? I go to great lengths to avoid negative people and things, so the fact that she wins the prize for most miserable isn’t very convenient that way.

But I guess family isn’t always meant to be shits and giggles. That’s what I have friends for. 

I don’t know. Right now I’m tentatively planning to possibly stop in at the golf course one afternoon and surprise her at work. This has two benefits: 1. She’ll be sober, (or as much as can be expected when more vodka runs through your veins than blood) and 2. The visit will have a definite time limit, and that limit is an hour. Yes, she’ll be surprised in a bad way that I just showed up out of the blue from two states away without telling her first. And that will force me to tell a white lie (why it always gotta be white?) and say I decided at the last minute to drive down for my uncle’s surgery. Which has a bit of truth to it. Shit, I don’t know. I have the feeling it’s going to be something I don’t actually decide until I’m there. And I have a whole week left to torture myself over it – my favorite!

So yeah, if you ever wondered if I’m a bad person – mystery solved.

I don’t want to end on a downer note, so I’ll pose a question. Are married couples who communicate to each other through Facebook as douchey as they seem? Mrs. So-and-so’s status: “I LOVE YOU, HUNNY!” Mr. So-and-so’s status: “I LOVE YOU MORE, SWEETUMS!” Sometimes I wish Brian was more into computer stuff until I see things like that. Somebody pass the barf bag; I feel a vom comin’ on.

Okay then; whew!

Bunny Farts and Lollipops Forever,

Little Miss Sunshine



1. Taoist Biker - July 15, 2009

I’ll have to break with an apparently developing tradition and disagree with Brian. Ancestry is accidental. If they make you miserable, you’re within your rights to cut ’em off. Period. Particularly if, as you say, you’re in an unusually vulnerable state.

Kim - July 16, 2009

Brian gets it (for the most part) – I’ve told him before, he’s very lucky not to have an alcoholic parent. It’s a whole different set of issues than the normal parental angst.

2. Whiskeymarie - July 15, 2009

I plan visits with my Dad very carefully- never just “hanging out” at his house where the pain can go on for hours, and no surprise visits, as I learned that those piss him off royally. We meet for lunch, dinner or coffee, and I try to keep the conversation light. And there are LOTS of times I go up north without even letting him know I’ll be in town. I have a limit of how many times I want to see him in a year- simple as that.
Don’t feel guilty whatever you decide. It’s your life, you owe your mother nothing at this point. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

As to the FB thing- my theory is that the couples that have to communicate via FB are fooling no one but themselves (and I say this from experience- a few of my “friends” do this and it totally grosses me out). They are usually the kind of people that believe that, if you say something enough then it must be true. “See how happy we are???” “Can’t you see we’re in LOVE??”

Kim - July 16, 2009

Yes! I’ve found if I carefully plan out the visit and include food and a time limit, trying to keep the conversation light (it’s hard with her), it goes a lot better than if I end up staying the night with her…*shudder*.
That’s exactly what I was trying to say about the FB couples. Who are you trying to convince there, psycho’s?

3. Laura - July 15, 2009

Okay, first? You’re not an asshole. Yes, you have to weigh whatever regret you might be haunted with if you DON’T visit your mom, but hey. If she’s that negative of an influence, there’s no law that says you HAVE TO see her just because she’s your mom. If she were any other, unrelated person, you wouldn’t think twice about skipping it.

So. Yeah. What TB said.

Kim - July 16, 2009

That’s something to consider – how guilty I’ll feel if I DON’T see her. That’s what Brian always points out, damn him.

4. LL Cool Joe - July 15, 2009

Just to bug you, I think you should go and visit your Mom even if she is a pain in the arse. I have to visit mine, so I want you to suffer too! No joking. I dunno, what if something happened to her? At least if you meet up for an hour you can feel guilt free afterwards that you did your bit?

As for Facebook, I don’t do it but I know what you mean because there are some couples that do that on each others blogs. Pukesville. And while they are making a song and dance about their relationship I just get on with mine,and hey we are still together, without sending each other sugary comments for the rest of the world to read.

Kim - July 16, 2009

I know, I know – an hour is not that much time! In the real world. In Mother-time, it’s an eternity!

5. iamheatherjo - July 15, 2009

Ugh…I wish I had wonderful words of wisdom, but you know how screwed up my family life was (having an alcoholic parent as well). I’ve been able to cut out all the toxic family from my life, but I’m not sure how I would have handled it if one of them had been my parent. Dad kinda removed the option for me by running away, you know?

How about this? You decide what you’re going to do and I’ll be sitting here behind you, okay?

I know, I’m a HUGE help. 😀

Kim - July 16, 2009

You are a huge help! And I know you’ll be there to patiently listen if I have to write you a novel to blow off some steam. Thank God!

6. Dyskinesia - July 15, 2009

A) You’re not a horrible person.

B) What my husband said. Therapy is GOOD. I haven’t mastered anything there, but I do feel like I make a lot more choices now about how things are going to be if/when I see my parents, which takes a lot of the pain out of it for me – even if I am making the choice to still see them.

C – which stands for caveat – If I were you, I would feel the exact same way, on both sides of it, with the raging potential for guilt, even without the Jewish-is-guilty thing. If you haven’t seen her in more than a year, I think I’d have to go with WhiskeyMarie here and say that if you can do it, call her, tell her you’re coming and want to bring lunch to her at the golf course. You avoid the pissy surprisedness thing, you limit it, you get the soberesque-ness (that’s a medical term), and you’re stuffing food in your mouth for half the time. Then get out of there and don’t look back. If you can manage this early in the vacation to have it over with, the more the better.

If you saw her less than a year ago, screw it. No harm, no foul. Annually is plenty, even for your dad — who would also want your adult self to be happy and as without mental anguish as Jewish girl can be. 🙂

Kim - July 16, 2009

You just gave me a BRILLIANT idea. I have an appointment with my therapist the day before I’m leaving to go down there. I’m sure if I talk to her about it, I’ll feel better about whatever decision I make. Thank you!

7. morethananelectrician - July 16, 2009

I had this same debate about going up to Michigan for my reunion and visiting my mom and dad…

I could have snuck up there for the weekend and back down, but the risk of them knowing I was there was going to be too great and they would be…well…might be a bit angry if I went up there and didn’t stop and see them.

In the end, I have decided to spend the entire week up there and get it over with…in the end I think I will regret the whole trip.

Not knowing all of the details, I think for your sanity, skipping a year isn’t too bad of a thing…it had been about 14 years for me…completely different situation.

Kim - July 16, 2009

It’s actually been about a year since I’ve seen her. I know everything is relative (pun), but that’s probably too long. It’s amazing how many of us have parent issues. I’m just glad I have my friends to bring me back from Surreal World.

8. crisitunity - July 16, 2009

I agree with TB, and also with Whiskeymarie – she may be your mother, but at this point you’re a grownup and whatever you owed her has long since been paid. Also, FTR, I’ve always thought that the “just because she’s your mother” thing is pretty poor logic. Not to disrespect your dad, of course.

But there are subtleties to any family relationship that we can’t see from out here. If you’re stuck, you’re stuck, and I feel for you.

Taoist Biker - July 16, 2009

Crisitunity hit it on the head; we all have our family things that come with back stories that couldn’t be fully explained even if we had the time. We understand that it’s complicated and fucked up, and as Heather said, we’ll back ya regardless.

Taoist Biker - July 16, 2009

Heheheh, I should have said, “We’ll drop you in a 10-foot dinghy with no motor in the middle of the iced-up Bering Sea. But we’ll do it out of love, and say nice things to you like ‘hope somebody finds you.'” 😀

Kimmothy - July 16, 2009

Thanks for making me laugh – because sometimes it’s felt like being with her is EXACTLY like being in a ten foot boat on the Bering Sea. With no rescue in sight.

9. Jean - July 16, 2009

There’s only one question you have to ask yourself – will you regret NOT having seen her? If not, and I were you, I’d skip it. You know with almost certainty what the interaction will be like. Therefore, all you can control is you and your reactions.

She gave birth to you – mothering is a whole ‘nother thing. Good luck with this! Been there with dysfunctional family and the only thing that gave me peace was to put those people into compartments that can be closed (or opened) at MY DISCRETION.

Kimmothy - July 16, 2009

It’s a sad day when you realize certain things about your own parents. But I think everyone goes through it to a certain extent.

10. iamheatherjo - July 24, 2009

I just thought of you and your comments about Facebook couples. Why? Because married friends of mine or bickering on theirs right now. Hahahaha!!!

A LOT more fun (for me) than the mooooooshy love stuff!

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