Tuesday, November 8, 2016


TW: this post describes situations that may cause distress to those with parent problems.

A wave gains momentum for a long time, building up to a crescendo, before inevitably crashing. The crash came very suddenly after yesterday's high, when I called my mother about how I did not plan on going home for Thanksgiving. I rationed that whenever I went home, I was unhappy, everyone else was unhappy, and it isn't my responsibility to make everyone happy. She agreed that the situation was unhappy when I came home, but in some twisted logic, still wanted to me to go, I presume because it would give the semblance of a normal family situation to her friends. This, of course, is not the case, and pretty soon the call devolved to old sound bytes: I owed my life to her for giving birth to me, I caused them so much pain when I "got myself hospitalized," I'm selfish and ungrateful for the food water and shelter they provided, everyone hates me for not being nice to my parents, so on and so forth. This time she added that she hoped I would never get married and have kids, which (surprise!) I actually would prefer. She had been pestering me for a long time whether I had a boyfriend and if I planned on having kids, and I had been dreading the day I would need to tell her that I do not plan on giving her grandchildren. At least that's one problem solved. What worries me is that she threatened to cut off my financial support because I didn't give her the attention I "owed" her, despite the fact that we had an agreement that my four years in colleges would be all expenses paid if they chose which college I went to.

This time, more so than before, she did not seem to be in a right state of mind. Having previously confronted her about potential mental health problems, the only clear response I got was that she "knows she has problems, but doesn't want to do anything to solve them." I can't blame her for her having mental health problems, but that doesn't mean that she rightfully can refuse to take action and instead project all of those problems onto me. Unfortunately this directly contradicts with her role as a parent. The thing is, I believe in a relationship of blood, parents' love and support should be absolutely unconditional. That is absolutely not the case in this relationship. My parents' approval is based solely on my accomplishments, their support is based solely on what they believe I owe them.

To be in a relationship is to only want to give to the other person, and to give freely, never to take what is not given. There is no sense of ownership or debt. In a relationship of choice, to choose to be devoted to the other person is what keeps the relationship going. In an ideal relationship, this belief is mutual to both parties. If I am going to devote my attention and love to someone, I would hope that they'd want to devote the same in return. Otherwise it doesn't work, and forcing or expecting someone to give their devotion is abusive and dysfunctional. It would be kinder for me to let go of someone who doesn't expect to give me anything.

I don't know what to make of my situation now, but I know that I am not responsible or obligated to fix it. I know that I am not yet strong enough to subject myself to that kind of confrontation. I know that I'm no longer naive enough to believe the blatant untruths my mother continues to desperately fling at me. I know that it may be different in a few years, when I have grown to be sure enough of myself to withstand hurtful words, so I can solve this problem once and for all. ◊

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