Monday, February 8, 2010

Human Is Okay

I'm a little old to be going through the kind of angst I've been experiencing with my mother lately. The kind of angry exchanges we've had were probably better suited to the teenage years, but being the WASPY family we were......that was taboo.

All in all, our conflicts have been childish at times, vicious at others, and overall hurtfull.

One of the lessons I've learned is women do not fight fair. Instead of sticking to the issue, they employ what I call a 'scatter techique" which is meant to 'shock and awe', and WOW is it effective. They'll pull 15 things out of the air and throw them at you to knock you off guard.... and it works.  You end up shell-shocked.

Intellectually I know part of my mom's attacks are due to old age and all the insecurities and fear/anger that comes from her situation and that stage of her life.  However that doesn't change the hurt one feels when you're on the receiving end of her barbs. In fact, because it's my mom I end up feeling 10 years old all over again. It's when her snarky comments devolve into outright evil hostility, you start to question whether she's right or wrong, and that's baaaaaaad territory.

Self doubt, coupled with whatever else is going on in life is dangerous because it magnifies every aspect of your existence. For instance, she said to me the other day, "The only reason you're nice to your brother now is because he's dying. You're only nice to other people when it suits you."
How do you process something like that?

I told her that A: what she'd said wasn't true, and B: If that's what she really believed then I felt sorry for her.

But when all is said and done, and you're left alone with your thoughts....the knife in your heart begins to bleed, and you wonder..."Is she right?"

Aging parents are nothing new. Almost everyone has them (or will have), and while what she said was not true at all, her words made me recall stupid incidents, decades old, where maybe I wasn't the nicest person in the world.....and the self doubt began it's work.

The truth is, no one is perfect...not me, not you and not her. We're all human, simply trying to do the best we can every day. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail, but we try, and that's what's important.

Should I obsess over when I was a jerk at 16 and didn't want my drug addicted, alcholic brother sleeping in my room? No. Today I love him, and I pity him for the damage he did to himself physically and mentally during those awful years, but I do not have to pay one smidgen of her prescribed penance. I do however have to grow enough to transcend the hateful place she's trying to place me in.

It's not easy, but I'm trying to remember being human is okay....for both of us.


A Lewis said...

Precisely what hubby and I have been involved with for a long time now with the taking care of his mom. These situations are so multifaceted and have so many fingers to them that it's hard to sort out. Above all, nobody gets to walk all over someone else's dignity and must respect others. Period. Having said that, nobody is required to accept hate or undue comments from anybody else. Nor does anybody have to enable the other. Difficult. Horrible. Thinking of you.

Geoff said...

Thanks Lewis, I really like what you wrote. I knew you would have a special take on my 'mom situation'. Thinking of you too.

Charlie said...

I feel your pain geoff tho i think you have a great take on the situation

KenPaul66 said...

Wow, Geoff. You & I have the same aging mom "thing" going on & I had the same almost identical situation going on with my brother when he was alive. I feel you.

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