My Mother


I hate to hit y’all with a downer, but you know what?  I figure maybe someone else out there (who also happens to read this blog, so it’s a pretty small cross-section) is going through the same shit and needs to hear this:


Abusers have radar. Right about the time you’re thinking, “I’ma get a theme song and some backup singers, because I am killing it,” they pop out of the shadows like the worst jack-in-the-box ever, which is to say any jack-in-the-box because they’re all horrible and nightmare-inducing.  This is nothing to do with you and everything to do with them, so just plan on it and keep on with the keeping on.


Because you are awesome, and may I say that your butt looks amazing?  Because it totally does.  I can tell you’ve been working out.


I’ve been feeling pretty good about everything, generally, but like fucking clockwork I got another message from my mother.  Passive-aggressive, check.  Claims that I don’t love her or care, check.  Threats of dire health emergency, check.  Sigh. 


scary jack in the box

©Gregbo Watson (Seriously, why do we give these to kids? Is it to warn them about clowns?)


And then? 


RANDOM GUY:  Smile!  It can’t be that bad!
ME:  (looks behind me.  Yep, I have obviously just left the mental health clinic)
RANDOM GUY:  (grins at me expectantly)


No, she didn’t die.  She’s not going to die, whatever her latest Facebook message might say.  (By the way, I am loving the new feature where people who are not your friends cannot see if you’ve read a message until you officially “accept” it, even after you’ve read the whole thing.  Thank you, Facebook, for finally getting it.)  I just really hate when people say that, and to say it to someone who is clearly Dealing With Some Shit is just… don’t do that, okay?  Because you don’t know.


Astute readers will have noticed that I’ve not included a conversation with my actual husband in this entry.  That is because he opts out of Mom stuff – which is really very smart of him.  I try to follow his example.



nb: I will be watching comments carefully for this post.  I understand that some people have close, loving family relationships, and that’s wonderful – I don’t, and that’s okay too, m’kay?  I also understand that there are people out there who lost their Moms and would give anything for just five more minutes.  I don’t want to hear about that right now, though.  I believe you.  Your mom sounds great; I wish I had five more minutes with her.  My mom is the other kind, so please respect that.




23 comments on “My Mother

  1. Rude = Telling a stranger to fucking smile.
    Rude = My mom sucks. –>Well, you’re going to miss her when she’s gone. I wish I had just 5 minutes.
    I feel ya.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Barb R says:

    Not all families are happy ones. Not all mother-daughter relationships are healthy. I dumped my mother a decade ago (and unintentionally my father and my extended family) and while it was painful and I felt horribly guilty for a very long time, it was the wisest thing I could do. In the long term, my regrets have been few and my mental health considerably better.


  3. I had the (mostly) good kind of mom. She was an alcoholic and I dealt with some crap because of that, but she was kind and thoughtful and loving. My grandmother, her mother, on the other hand…I actually call her The GrandCunt (pardon the profanity, but no other word adequately describes her) who I haven’t spoke to in the 9 years since my mother passed away. I was lucky to have a mom who recognized her family as dysfunctional AF and encouraged me to build a “family” of my own, hand picked friends who will always be there, who aren’t albatrosses, who aren’t train wrecks. I won’t regret the years that I cut out the GrandC, She has no redeeming value to my life, there is nothing to regret or miss. Keep on keeping on, only you know what is right and healthy for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good on you, for building your own family. I’ve never understood why a family of choice is viewed any differently than one of origin: both require exactly as much work to keep relationships healthy and working for all parties, which is the entire point of a family in the first place – love and support.


  4. Charlie says:

    As someone who recently joined the Cannot Deal with Her Mother’s Bullshit Club, I get it. She is passive aggressive, guilt trip central and I’m over her games. The people who say “But faaaaaaamily. She’s your mooooooooom” are the worst.


    • I have found – after many years spent with my shoulders up around my ears, nostrils flared and fingers reflexively clawing at everything anytime people start with that shit – that the people who spout that have honestly never experienced a family that wasn’t basically good. Sure, there’s the odd uncle who drinks too much and spouts horrible things, but he genuinely loves his family and can be counted on in a pinch – not like you have to watch him carefully around the little girls or anything, you know? So it takes them actually hearing story after story after story after story before they start to really understand, and I just don’t have the energy for that. Instead, I direct them to any number of online communities for The Rest Of Us, so that they can read the stories from many sources and finally get it.

      They very quickly offer me baked goods and a spot at their family’s table, lol.


  5. Omg!! I totally HAVE been working out!!! And I loved this post. How is anything EVER anyone else’s business. Next time someone tells you to smile (or insert weird stranger danger comment) just tell them you “have necrotising fasciitis but could TOTALLY take a hug right now…. “

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Michelle says:

    I could have written this..except it’s my dad.


  7. Merrisa says:

    The “smile, it can’t be that bad!” kind of people are my least favorite people. Also, “cheer up it could be worse”, “one day this won’t seem nearly as devastating” and “you should remember how much luckier you are than so many people”. We get it, positivity (theoretically) breeds positivity and good for them for setting out every single day with a mission of turning every frown upside down thereby solving world hunger. I don’t think of myself as a pessimistic person, I am in generally good moods all the time, but I do think we should all be allowed the freedom from, time to time, of having a bad day, for whatever reason we see fit, without being bombarded by a well-intentioned walking motivational poster that sounds like it lost its grasp on reality. Its like poking the bear and then the bear eats you and then the bear feels bad for eating you.


    • Frankly, how can we be expected to fully appreciate our good moods if we’re never allowed to really wallow in a bad one? These assholes are ruining our future good days with their insistence on a fake smile, and that’s just selfish.

      Honestly, if someone’s frown is darkening your day, why not smile for them? Brighten their view a li’l bit, hmm?


  8. lawgirljenn says:

    I feel you on this. I keep my mom at arms length because she is abusive and manipulative. Toxic, really. I have heard over and over again my entire life the stuff about “But she’s your mom” or “Blood is thicker than water,” etc. Fuck all of that.


    • I started hating that expression so much less when someone finally told me that, actually, the whole thing goes, “the blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” Meaning the relationships we forge and nurture out of choice are stronger than those forced upon us by mere chance and genetics, and more precious.

      Next time someone tries that line on you, just say “yes, it is” and walk away chock full of smug.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Random says:

    I love my Mom. I just really don’t think she should have been one. Wrap a “shield” around yourself when she is reaching out and protect the person that you are. Despite all that she may have or may not have done, she can’t take away the great person that you have become.


  10. JenS says:

    I thought my parents were normal and perfect. I thought all of my depression, panic, & anxiety came from me and I blamed myself everyday. I still do I guess. A few years ago, I had a revelation. A “WTF” moment. By talking with my husband about my life as a kid (more in depth then what he has previously known), I learned that a good portion of my family life was complete shit and they caused a good portion of my issues. They are in complete denial about any of it.

    So, yeah, I understand that parents can be assholes and narcissists. That some people should really not become parents in the first place.

    Good resource for you,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’ll always remember the day I made my therapist drop her pen. I don’t even remember what I was talking about, but something I was telling her was actually so far outside even her experience that she could no longer maintain the professional mask and, for just a second, her jaw went slack and she dropped her pen. Strangely, it made me feel better. Like, “yep, that’s definitely fucked up if even she’s shocked!”


  11. May says:

    The thing about parents is that they’re people too. Sometimes people are shitty. Being blood-related to someone doesn’t mean you magically don’t notice their shittiness. “But they’re family” has never seemed like a good reason to allow someone to treat you badly. I think it must be people who have perfect families and can’t imagine anyone in any other situation, or people who are also dealing with family shit but in denial, who don’t get this.

    On the other hand, and this sounds like it is totally NOT the case in your particular situation, there are people who won’t acknowledge that family isn’t black and white. I had a friend who hated my dad and refused to even be polite to or about him for my sake, because she knew some negative stuff about our relationship. All my attempts to explain that he wasn’t just a 2D caricature of a Bad Dad fell on deaf ears. It’s the other side of the coin, it’s still a third party trying to tell you how to feel in a situation they don’t understand and aren’t experiencing.


  12. I am so sorry. This sounds very, very hard. I wish your mom were different. Until then, I wish I could punch the guy who told you to smile. What a jerk.

    Liked by 1 person

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