I left my mother and cut her out of my life back in early 2015.
After years of feeling like she didn’t understand, much less care to understand, me, I finally started speaking to her again in late 2016 or early 2017 at some point. Even then, our conversations were rather limited to that of what television we’d watched recently and shit like that, mostly because that was all I could handle discussing with her. I haven’t spoken to anyone else in my family in about 5 years now. Then, in mid 2017, my longtime girlfriend and I moved to Texas, and within 4 months or so, everything went belly up and we nearly found ourselves homeless. Thankfully, I found us a new place to live, and things were okay for a while, and then my mother decided, just on a whim, to move there as well, to be “closer” to me.
At first, it was alright enough to see her again. I’d visited her two times prior to this, but this was the first instance of ongoing constant exposure to her again, and for a bit, things seemed okay enough. We went to lunch, we saw some movies, we just generally hung out and celebrated birthdays and for the first time in forever, it seemed liked when she said “I just wanna fix everything”, she was being honest about it. And then it started again. The attitudes, the mood swings, the daily calling and dropping by without even telling me, which made me exceedingly anxious (and, in her defense, would make me anxious no matter WHO it was, not just her) and the somewhat snide, underhanded remarks.
Here was a nearly 60 year old woman telling me “you need to find me a place to live” and generally wanting me to fix her entire life when I, a moderately autistic young woman, can barely keep my OWN life together on a day to day basis, especially at that point in time when we were in constant fear of being evicted because our landlady was ALSO somewhat psychotic. But, all that said, we managed and I continued to put up with her, and we’d fight and scream every now and then at one another, but eventually we started talking again after a week or so and things resumed as normal until another screaming match occurred. Keep in mind, these screaming matches aren’t like something a kid and a parent would (or SHOULD, for that matter) have. She’d show up, she’d get me riled up over something, then she would leave, knowing I would break something in anger or hurt myself because of what had just happened and spend the rest of the day in a terrible mood.
This wasn’t random. This was calculated planning. She KNEW what she was doing. And why do I say this? Because she’d done this for years before, just not in such an obvious manner. See, the thing about people like this, who do things like this, is eventually they get sloppy. For a long time, especially when doing it around other people, they’ll be cautious, they’ll make themselves seem like the victim, but then they’ll just stop caring and do it anyway, because fuck the consequences. Eventually, they just stop caring about doing it well and just keep doing it because they don’t know how to function otherwise. And here’s the kicker: people her age, other people, expect their children to take it and accept it and say ‘it’s just who they are’ or ‘they’re my parents, I have to deal with it’ or ‘I really need to help them’ when in reality…IT IS NOT ANY OF OUR FUCKING BUSINESS AND THEY ARE OWED NOTHING FROM US.
I told myself this for years. It was the only way to keep myself sane in a continually abusive household growing up, and I told myself “I don’t have to love these people, I don’t owe them anything for doing the bare minimum of child rearing”, and everyone told me how wrong that was. Now? Now I see everybody say that. It sort of helps, seeing my peers vindicate me now, but I wish someone had backed me up back then too. Maybe things would’ve been different.
Eventually, my mother kept blaming all her failings on me and my girlfriend, and tried to move out of the state of Texas two times before coming back because she just can’t not have control over me. Then, our landlady finally decided, and for good reason because she shouldn’t be a landlord, to sell the property we were living in. I turned to the only person I knew could help get my girlfriend and I out of there. My mother. So, my mother rented a moving truck and my girlfriend rode with her while I rode with another friend, and all together we drove back to New Mexico, to my girlfriends parents place. My mother continued to tell me things like “You need to stay with me in a hotel because I can’t be alone” and “You need to help me whenever I need it” and while I agreed to help her, because she’d helped us under the guise of kindheartedness but really because she craves total control, she kept insisting that I drop everything everyday and devote all my spare time to fixing her life.
And then, about a week or so into being back here, her car disappeared from the hotel she was staying out. She wouldn’t answer her cell phone. Suddenly, she was just gone. A few days ago, my girlfriends mother asked the hotel manager, whom she’s friends with, what happened to the woman staying there, and they told her she’d just up and left. She still hasn’t called. She still won’t answer. She just left.
And this is where I feel conflicted. One part of me is relieved. Thank god, now I can get back to my work and my life and not be stressed. And yet…and yet there’s a huge gaping hole inside of me. People KEEP leaving. People who insist they want to fix things. People I SHOULDN’T be hurt by anymore because I should be so used to being hurt by them by now. But they still manage to do it. It makes sense why I have trouble believing anyone committing to me or sticking around, because my family was so broken for so long, and then everytime they say they want to fix things, they STILL. JUST. LEAVE. The thing is, it isn’t so much, I’ve realized, the fact that she just up and left without telling me that hurts. It’s more the hope I keep having that somehow things will be fixed. Somehow my mother, my whole family, will suddenly come to their senses, get back together and everyone will be happy and loved. When you grow up without feeling connected to the people you’re related to, the world is a fucking cold and empty place, no matter how many people you replace them with.
Friends? Lovers? Doesn’t matter. They ease the pain, but it’s still there. I appreciate them, but they aren’t the same. I don’t have parents. I just have severely broken people who demand I fix them when I can’t even fix myself. I’m what I’ve come to call a Living Orphan. My parents aren’t dead, but they aren’t here, nor were they ever, really, and it hurts so fucking much every single day.
But what hurts even more is knowing how sick she is. There’s something wrong with her, and I know this, and I can’t tell her because she’ll deny it so it can’t get fixed. Now and then, when we were in Texas, and she did something even remotely nice, like bring a pizza over for dinner, she’d sit and smile at me and she’d say “Aren’t I the best mother ever?” and I’d just smile back and nod, while inside my heart is breaking because she believes that, and she so badly wants it to be true. She really thinks she’s the best mom ever. And I so badly want her to be that when she asks, I just tell her yes, and we sit there.
Lying and unaware.
And sometimes it hits me that that’s the best things will ever get, and it’s time I just moved on.