I'm dropping in from the busy moving front to share with you something big that happened to me this weekend.
It's no secret that I'm the daughter of a crazy woman. It's a huge part of my life, whether I like it or not. I have to explain why I don't celebrate mother's day or my aversion to Hoarders or a million other things. People want to know and it gets old explaining.
But more than that, my mother's (and my father's) behavior has had a huge influence on who I am and what I do. I grew up in the ideals of not blaming your parents for your mistakes. You take responsibility for your own actions. And I believe that to an extent. Yes, I am an adult with free will and no one is twisting my arm to do anything. And yes, I have worked very hard to fix myself and my own issues and make myself a whole person. I'm continually learnin and it's something I work hard at every single day.
But it would be naive to think that my parents didn't have a huge influence on my life. Everything I learned from watching them is apart of me.
And I had a HUGE AHA! moment the other night. The kind of epiphany that changes everything. Hopefully, anyway. I'm sorry that I can't share the details of said epiphany, mostly because it would expose very intimate feelings I have as well as details about others. And my goal with this blog has always been to not let me blog hurt those I love.
But this epiphany is huge indeed. It involves a family pattern that's been carried out for generations, passed down from my grandmother to my father to me. Who knows how further back it goes.
Hopefully this recognition helps me break it.
It's about something that I've been naively yet uncontrollably hanging onto. Something I didn't actually want and consciously knew was fruitless, but something I didn't possess the ability to let go of. No matter how hard I tried, it floated there just below my conscious, taunting me in my sleep, reminding me at every turn. It tinged all my interactions.
I think that now I know why it was hanging on despite my best efforts, I think I can finally let it go.
This isn't the first pattern I've broken, but it is the first that's an heirloom.
For instance, as far as relationships go, I was always on the lookout for daddy issues, being that I'm a girl and that's usually what girls have to look out for. I never realized that for years, I was dating people like my mother. I realized this in therapy several years ago. It's still easy for me to do, but at least now I'm more aware and can see it coming.
So parentage does, in fact, influence.
Though I think in the grand scheme of things, I've gotten off easy. I could be a lot worse off and I think what helps is my stubborn determination to figure it out and be happy.
I joke about being crazy, but I am not insane. I don't have a personality disorder. My issues tend to be of the neurotic variety. I'm quirky and odd, but I function. I feel like love repellent a good portion of my love life, but I love myself and most of the time that's enough.
My mom is a hoarder and I have a great fear of hoarding, but I do have my emotional attachments to certain things. I've kept any anthology or textbook that I've found important over my 6 or so years I spent in college. I have all my old notebooks and essays and portfolios. I have an attachment to anything I've learned or created.
My mom has narcissistic personality disorder. If anything, I struggle with the opposite. This is directly because of her. My whole life was an effort in pleasing a woman that couldn't be pleased. Therefore my adulthood has been an effort in learning how to be more selfish. How to please myself. I would add "within reason," but anyone who is a doormat knows that that's never an issue. Reason has nothing to do with it. Once I learn to stop pleasing others first, then I can worry about keeping it in check.
My dad is a doormat and, I think, part of why I was choosing partners like my mom is that I was repeating my father's behaviors. When really I should have been looking for partners more like him. Not doormats (I don't want that), but giving people who are super smart and witty and loyal.
Something I used to lament in therapy was being like my mother when I am a mother, or swinging too far opposite. I obviously don't want to be a narcissistic parent, but I also don't want to be too permissive. My therapist was always reassuring, naturally. She knew as I knew deep down that my concern alone for this behavior is what will make me a great mom. I'll always be alert to it.
My mom is a drug addict. I really can't say that I've inherited this and I'm grateful for that. I'm not genetically related to her. I know people joke about being addicted to chocolate or a TV show or whatever and I laugh, but truthfully, it's bullshit. That's just enjoyment.
People are appallingly lax about prescription drug addiction. It's the somehow acceptable addiction. At least she's not shooting heroine right? Except it's really just as bad.
Until you've had a parent passed out for several days on end strung out on who-knows-what combination of pills. Until you've had to ride with your mom in the middle of the night, while her whole body shakes because she's coming off some pill, to the pharmacist's home, the pharmacist who is illegally filling her prescription because she's convinced him she'll die if she doesn't have it. Until you have to walk away from someone because they will pull you down with them, you just don't understand.
I hadn't intended this post to once again be about my mom's addiction and her insanity, but it took me there. Because it always leads there.
So back to my epiphany. I think it will also help me take even more steps away from my mother as well.
Every piece of the puzzle helps me become a more whole person.
I can't wait to email my therapist and tell her about this. She'll be so proud!
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