Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Are You My Mother?



Was it when I became more like a little person and less like a cuddly baby that my mother couldn't love me anymore? Was it because I started to like different things than she did, or wanted to venture from her side? Was it because she reached her capacity for unconditional love and then found it too hard to love me back? Was it because it was just easier to retreat, to hold back the love owed to a child than to risk the hurt of throwing her heart open wide?

My mom, to this day, gets a little upset if I don't like the things she likes. We have reached a peace about it. Ish. She wants me to be so much like her to make her feel OK in the world- validating her. She would never admit to this. My mom hates other people. She does not want to make a new friend, or have any human connection. She sees no comfort in God, or faith. She doesn't like leaving the house, and watches a lot of TV. I still feel uncomfortable going places after four- we never ever left the house after school.

My mom can talk to anyone. She blossoms in a crowd. She has a smart sense of humor, and is unconsciously tender at times. She has the uncanny ability to scout out the coolest things- objects and otherwise. I rant and rail at her in my head, "Just give yourself a chance to be happy!" but she doesn't hear and so I don't try. That's not my job anyway.

We are working on mother stuff in my group. Yesterday we talked to an empty chair and pretended that mom was sitting there. Holy shit. Holy shit.

I didn't realize how much of my own unloving came from how I felt as a child. I didn't know out loud that I felt most like a nuisance and a bother. That I craved tenderness. Arms folded around me. Safety. Mothering.

Drinking gave me that. No fucking wonder I loved to drink. No wonder I always wanted more more more. Booze never pushed me away, it only pulled me in closer closer closer. Welcome to the cocoon.

You never know, as a mother, what you can do to and for your children. You don't realize in the day-to-day while you're busy feeling rushed or frustrated or finished that you are showing your children how to be people. You are showing them what they are worth to themselves and to you. I am certain my mother never set out to make me feel like a second thought. She never wanted me to realize that I was lost as a child because she was too busy with her own shit to show me how to be a person, a girl, a woman. She loves me deeply and in her way today. Just as I love myself.

You never know, as a grown up, that there are mothers everywhere. That once you wean yourself from the bottle they appear to care for and comfort you. They are pen pals, and other Amy's. They are fellow bloggers, and long distance heart friends. They are people you will soon meet along the way.

I lost a lot of years searching for my comfort. Because that's what drinking is, really, isn't it? A soft place to fall. I looked for my mother in the bottom of a bottle only to come up empty every single time.

I'm learning to be a comfort to myself. To be the mother I wish I'd had, the one I long to be. To care for myself not by hurting myself, but by seeing and healing my wounds. By opening my arms and my heart to myself when I ask "are you my mother?" instead of opening another bottle of wine.

Being sober brings many gifts- too many to count some days. For me this may be the best gift of all: the gift of me and mother.




18 comments:

  1. Okay - I'm at work and you're making me cry. I didn't even know this was lacking in my life until I got sober. It was only then that I realized that my mother, the narcissist with no capacity to really love, screwed me up WAY worse than my alcoholic father did.

    And then I forgave her. But it took a lot of work and a lot of time and it was hard.

    Once again...you're way ahead of me. You go girlfriend.

    Sherry

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  2. My wonderful therapist, who hugged me and held my head while I cried, says the narcissistic mothers are hard, hard, hard.

    I forgave her long ago, but I have a lot of healing to do.

    xoxoxo

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  3. Beautifully said, Amy. I also cried reading this. I had to leave it for a few hours, and when I came back, I cried again. You mentioned to me (in a comment the other day) that we seem to have a lot in common. Now we can add mother issues to the list. But I didn't make the connection between wanting (needing?) to be mothered and drinking until I read this. Ouch ouch ouch. It's hard hitting, and so true for me, too. Like you, I forgave my mother ages ago, but I guess I didn't quite work out where that left me. Thanks very much for this post. You're onto some great stuff here! xo

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    1. I cried when I wrote it.

      But, now that I know the reason for my yearning to be loved I feel more loved already. And when I think of her childhood, well..... no wonder she's the way she is. All I can do is love her for being her and not expect parades when it rains.

      Inside of all of us is a mother. We just have to let her out. Accept the caring. Ask for help. And heal. xoxoxoxo

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  4. wow- yes- and wanted and did make my mother daughter relationships better than what I had. My mom's dad ran away when she was 4 and it affected her for her whole life- she never go the loving she needed and never really was able to give it. I do wish I had known my grandpa as well-

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    1. It's so hard to give up the past and move on. For real move on. That's why we have to break that cycle and love out loud with big vulnerable hearts.

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  5. Congrats on your 8 month mark! Belle sent me this way... as a mother of 2 girls (12 and 17) I hope to be sober to work through these very difficult teen years with them.

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    1. Thank you! Welcome. I hope you are sober for the teen years too. :)

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  6. Congrats on 8 months. And really your post couldn't have been better for me to read. I've been struggling with dealing with my mom and had never really thought about her unloving/narcissistic behavior as part of the reason I drank. Maybe it was, maybe not. It seems likely. It's just good to read that others go through this too and that forgiveness/acceptance is possible. Thanks Amy!

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    1. Thank you. And you're welcome.

      I know for me, I drank looking for love. Looking for approval. It was my backwards way of letting myself be free, which was really the way I kept myself in chains for years. And I drank to drown out the voice that told me I wasn't lovable at all.

      Acceptance and forgiveness are possible. You just have to be willing!

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  7. I sniffled a little for you too when I read this last night on my iPad and also smiled widely when I saw the link about long distance heart friends <3

    CONGRATULATIONS on 8 months my wise, wonderful sober friend. You are so rocking the fuck out of this!

    I was run off my feet again yesterday but will email you later today re finding a new Skype time.

    You are fabulous.

    Lilly xxxx

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    1. Thanks Lilly.

      You are fabulous, too. Good thing we can hold the planet together with all this awesomeness. ;)

      xoxoxo

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  8. Oh just wow. So very touching and thought provoking, what a great post, you are doing amazing soul growth and helping others to look inside at things they never even considered. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you. That means a lot.

      This soul needs some growing! And it can sure use the love and care.

      It makes me so glad to know that what I write helps.

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  9. Lovely stuff, Amy. Poignant and wonderful to read. There is a lot of tenderness, forgiveness and acceptance in your post, and it shines through. You can't change your mother, and it's not your job to mold her to what you think she should be or act. Same as others weren't able to do that when we were drinking. The thirst for God, faith, love, mother's attention...all these kind of things manifest in a thirst for the bottle. Keep on this path, Amy. It looks great on you. I have seen such change in you here. It's a beautiful thing to watch and see you inspire others.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Love and light,
    Paul

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  10. Beautiful stuff, Amy, simply beautiful. You're such a talented writer. ((runs off to get a kleenex))

    xoxo, Christy

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    1. Thank you Christy. :) I cried when I read it for my group yesterday. Ugly cried. It felt great.

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