Saturday, September 12, 2015
The Loss Of A Parent, Not To Death, But To Abandonment
I always get irrationally angry when people post pictures on Facebook with captions like, "A Mother's Love is Forever" and "Nothing Is Stronger Than The Bond Between Mother and Child".
What a bunch of bullshit.
My mother walked out of my life years ago and never looked back. I texted her and set up a meeting at a coffee shop a few years ago, but, after waiting there for an hour, it became evident that she'd stood me up.
So how do I deal with it? How does one cope with the loss of a parent not to death, but by abandonment? I think it would've been much easier had she just died; it's hard knowing that she's out there living her life, being mother to her other children, being wife to my former step dad.
The wound gets less raw as the years go on, and I take a lot of comfort knowing that. In another seven years, maybe it won't hurt at all; maybe I'll be able to get through a Mother's Day without bitter tears and an all-consuming jealousy of my mothered friends.
It's better that she's out of my life. She wasn't good for me, and my life improved significantly once she removed herself from it. She's a selfish, terrible sociopath who should never have procreated, and she abused me greatly and often.
With her out of my life, I've been able to focus on myself more. She consumed my world, convinced me that I'd be nothing without her, demanded all my attention without giving me anything in return. She stole thousands of dollars from me, stole my jewelry, stole my mental well-being, my life. Now that she's not in the picture, it's easier to see more objectively just how terrible she really was as a mother to me; my most basic needs went unmet. I'm so much healthier and better off without her in my life, but, even though intellectually I understand this, not having a mother still stings, and leaves me feeling rejected.
I still want a mother. I want a mother to get my nails done with me, a mother to call up when I need marital advice or a good cry, a mother to teach me how to bake and use a sewing machine, a mother to be a mother. I get so bitterly jealous of my friends who have relationships with their parents that I start to resent them, and that's so unhealthy. I'm still working on getting over it. Years have therapy have taught me to focus on the positives and try to forget about her.
I still get flashbacks of her whenever someone walks by wearing Chanel No. 5, when I see someone with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, when I hear certain music, and when I see brands of clothing she used to model for. They play like tapes in my mind, these flashbacks, and for a moment it's like I'm a kid again, turning my laundry basket upside down and standing on it to reach the window so I can climb out and run away.
I used to run away and sleep in drainpipes out in the Arizonan deserts, because I felt safer and less lonely there, among the rattlesnakes and coyotes than I did at home- with her. Sometimes I'd be gone for days without anyone noticing or trying to find me.
Creating a childfree family with my husband has helped me to get over a lot of the abuse and neglect- we have two rescued dogs through which I get out a lot of my maternal inclinations, and, for the most part, I feel totally fulfilled in life. The hole inside me where my mother used to be grows smaller all the time. I really hope that one day, it'll be completely gone, because she's not worth my time.
Maybe that's what makes me angriest: how much time I've devoted to worrying about her, thinking about her, hating her. It's time that I let go and stop being so angry. I want to turn the page completely, but my thumb and forefinger are still gripping it tightly, unwilling to move on.
This is me letting go. This is me giving the five year old in me sleeping outside in a dark drainpipe a hug and tucking her into a warm, safe bed. This is me learning that I'm content within myself, and that I'm happy for my friends with parents, not resentful. Good for them. I hope they appreciate what they have in their relationships. I hope they know how special that bond is, because my story is proof that there isn't an automatic biological bond that forces the mother to love the child; the parent makes a decision to love the child or not. Mine chose not to, and I feel sorry for her, because I'm a fantastic person who's worthy of love, and she'll never get to see that.
She's missed out on me getting a driver's license. She missed out on choosing a wedding dress with me, she missed out on my wedding, she missed out on the adoption of my two dogs. She's missed out on birthdays, surgeries, near-death experiences, hospitalizations and car crashes. She'll miss out on my whole life, and I pity her for it.
That's how you move on when a parent abandons you: you create your own life for yourself, feel sorry for yourself for a minute, then learn to pity your parent and move on. The missing parent isn't worth your time or even the energy it takes to miss them. They're pathetic, they're nothing, they're gone. Now's your time to be strong, build yourself up and just let go.