Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the craziest of them all?

Sometimes, the obvious occurs to me as a revelation.

I just realized (again) that this blog is anonymous (as I have successfully avoided the urge to tell one or two close friends about its existence) and I really can write whatever I want – which means, I can write about my mother! My mother is crazy and therefore supplies me with lots of entertaining, head-shaking, absurd moments. I’ll be sure to not let her spectre take over this blog… but just a little “crazy mom” should be sprinkled in for good measure.

The short-cut to understanding my mother: she is a textbook narcissist with bi-polar disorder. This is my diagnosis. But I do have plenty of years of therapy (as both patient and therapist) to back this up.

The moment she found out I was pregnant, she broke out into tears of joy – which sounds normal-ish – but my mom cried because she sees me as an extension of herself, so somehow it’s her pregnancy. ‘Think I’m the one who’s nuts? This is a lady who usurped my birthdays – as a child, mind you – by loudly proclaiming it was really her “birth day” as a mother and actually told me that my involvement was incidental. I couldn’t help being born on a particular day – but her life, her very identity was changed that day – so it’s really a bigger deal for her than for me.

Anyway… the very first actual comment that I can remember her making after I told her about my pregnancy was, “Just eat a little bit less every day.” And the unspoken words, “So you don’t get fat,” repeated themselves in my head. What? You mean, your mother didn’t tell you to eat less when you told her you were pregnant?! Doesn’t she care how you look? Haha.

Yesterday, she was griping about how she’s getting older and feels like she can see new wrinkles every day. In an effort to try to make her feel better, I said, “I look back on our wedding pictures and already think we looked so young then – and that was only three years ago!” (I was half-joking.) And she said, “Well, that’s because you were a lot thinner then. You need to lose weight after the baby is born. You’ll have to eat less and exercise, but you can do it.” Sigh. Do I really have to go through another 7 1/2 months of this?!

My husband always tells me that after 38 years of this, her behavior shouldn’t surprise me – and he’s absolutely right, but it still does! At 75 years old, my mother has been nipped and tucked so much that she’s starting to resemble Joan Rivers. If that’s what she’s willing to do to herself, I shouldn’t be surprised by a lifetime of her critical comments about various aspects of my physical appearance.

Years and years ago when I was still single, my mom wanted to introduce me to a young man from Argentina who she thought was perfect for me (I have no idea what that means.) She said, “But before you meet him, you have to have a nose job!” I said, “A what?” “A nose job!” she repeated. I took a deep breath and held it for as long as I could before exhaling and asking, “Why?” (The seconds spanning my question and her response felt like slow, silent heart-beat minutes.) “So he will have no reason to reject you!” she quipped.

It all pales in comparison to the self-esteem-shattering comments she inflicted upon me as a helpless, vulnerable child… when everything people say about you sinks right in because you haven’t developed that armor yet. It does make me think a lot about how I want to parent my daughter and how careful I have to be about the direct and indirect messages I send her about her worth. I know I will be a very different mother than my own mother because I have consciously addressed this and gone through years of therapy with the express goal of ending the cycle with me.

I hope I can make my daughter feel that she is precious and perfect as she is. I hope she feels loved and safe and free to express herself. I want her to embrace the magic of childhood and the wonder of being alive. And, yeah… I want her to think I’m a really good mom.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Daryl
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 16:32:17

    You will be a great mom!

    And not to laugh at your mom, but she sounds totally crazy-pants. And I needed a laugh today! And also, I’m so sorry she was like that the whole time you were growing up, but you’ve definitely survived and become probably a much better person than she’s even capable of seeing.

    Reply

  2. msfertility
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 19:03:33

    Oh, you can laugh at my mom! lol I got over misplaced loyalty a long time ago. In fact, laughing at her antics is the only way to keep sane!!

    Thanks for saying I’ll be a great mom! xoxo

    Reply

  3. Bachelor's Button
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 04:06:24

    Reading this from my hospital bed. Made me giggle. I have to say, that although my mum isnt a text book narcissist, and is overall a lovely mum, she does have her moments so I can relate. When tensions arose over our wedding planning, I was told in no uncertain terms that this was my mum’s big day….. Since pregnancy I have been told how to behave, live, eat and had the distinct feeling of this being her pregnancy too… She has recently told me that my brother is always very open to her giving him advice about how to bring up his girls….. a precursor I suspect/ indirect way of saying that I will be given plenty of advice by her and that she will be hurt if I dont bring up my children as she would. I wonder if all mum’s are similar in this respect…… Hx

    Reply

  4. msfertility
    Feb 22, 2012 @ 19:33:02

    I would say “yes” but my husband’s mother is so circumspect regarding giving advice or imposing her views – lucky him — lucky me! I have a great mother-in-law! If you send me your address, I’ll mail you earplugs, since it sounds like your mom is brimming with advice! 😉

    My mom tried pulling her stunts at our wedding, too. She got upset because I wanted to have our first dance before allowing her to read an open letter to us (how dare I want to have my wedding done my way?!) So she sulked and refused to smile the rest of the night. The next day when my in-laws were talking about how beautiful our wedding was, my mother said, “Yes… it was a nice party.” I nearly bitch-slapped her (okay, maybe I just fantasized that response!)

    Btw, I get goosebumps every time I think about your and your two little miracles!

    Reply

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