Friday, May 12, 2017

Why I don't celebrate Mother's Day

My mother once told me I wasn't part of her real family.

That's why I don't celebrate Mother's day.  There, you don't have to read any more.

I'm not stating this from a place of self-pity, I can assure you I really don't spend a lot of my time rethinking old events from my past. I try not to present ideas to myself in a way that makes me feel bad (or good - remember I practice Buddhism) about me or anyone else. Maybe it's the painful events like when I was disowned that make me avoid seeking self-reflection. A majority of it is simple mindset - I can't change the past or how people act so why waste my time on their problems?

It just so happened I overheard some ads reminding people to be good to their mothers. Well that prompted me to ask myself why I don't do anything for Mother's day. Apart from the obvious ideological answer was the fact that I have a mother that acts abnormally and I chose not to deal with her and allow her to make my life and my kids' lives any worse.

My mother is a narcissist. She remarried and had other children with Dad #2. When I was home visiting my grandmother and my mother was visiting with her new kids she mentioned that her family was taking a trip to New Zealand. She meant her new husband, her new son and daughter, and herself.

When my brother asked her, jokingly, why there was no ticket for him and me, she replied that we weren't "her real family". When prompted to explain herself she replied,

"You know what I meant." She was serious.

She said it from a place of reason, her reason. What she meant partly was that we were old enough to plan our own trips and even had kids of our own. But she also meant we were not part of herself - like that old Star Trek episode when all people are connected to the society-controlling computer and when they disconnect ( "you are not of the body") from the collective they can't be seen nor felt by the hive-mind. She had removed us from herself so we weren't part of her world.

That's what narcissist do, you are either part of them and reflected in their every action or you disappear and are nothing to them. I mean nothing from their perspective not the "normal" sense.  In some ways, they don't understand how that can be or feel to other people. They don't understand the harm they are causing because they are always centred on themselves. And they can't see how other people see their actions because

She didn't realize what was implied by what she meant, and she thought that the usual reason hid what she really felt in a socially-acceptable excuse.  I didn't understand it all at the time, I wasn't that mindful then, and only pieced it all together working backwards from my own marriage disaster. The pieces of the new puzzle looked a lot like the pieces of the old puzzle.

I learned from my messy divorce that the roots of accepting cruel abuse and mistreatment from my ex-wife were rooted in my mother's behaviour I learned to accept as a child.  I didn't know any better. My biggest failings are emotional and social and the roots of those failings go way back to pre-school. I had to look back to see what was going on in the present, to realize I don't understand normal.  

Why I wrote this is to express to people that may not realize how their ex is treating them may be part of a mindset that he or she can't control. Maybe that person thinks of you as nothing and that justifies all the mistreatment in that mindset. Maybe you can't see what's normal because you are calibrated at some other point? If this behaviour sounds familiar then you might want to educate yourself to how that person thinks. If this pattern is similar then you have to realize from the other perspective how you are viewed and if you want to avoid problems accept it's an uneven relationship. Maybe that treatment won't change and you have to make a stark harsh choice. Maybe you need to avoid contact as best you can for the overall good of all parties involved.

Today is my birthday, I won't get any contact from my mother and that is OK with me. Sunday is Mother's day and I choose not to interact with my mother because she's not going to change. Besides, I'm not her real family.

If you are going through a messy divorce or separation, please consider getting some advice from one that survived a horrible, legally-nasty divorce 10 years ago.