My mom is mentally ill. She has always been mentally ill, but there are times when it bothers me more than other times. Today was one of those times when it bothered me a lot.
My first memory is of an incident that occurred in my bedroom, in the apartment we lived in (my parents and I), when I was three years old. My mother was screaming at me, screaming about what a horrible child I was. I don't remember exactly what she said. She took my favorite record, which was a Sesame Street album, and she broke it in half and threw it across the room. I was scared of her, and upset that she would break something of mine for no apparent reason. I figured there must be something innately bad about me, since my mother seemed to hate me, and moms don't generally hate their kids.
I grew up with many incidents like this. Stuff being thrown at my head - a porcelain duck from the living room, a chair. Hiding in my closet from my mom, when she was trying to hit me. My mom pulling me by my hair up the steps of the house we lived in when I was 12. My mom pounding me on the head with her fists, and my dad, who had moved out by then, running in and putting his fist up to her face to make her stop hitting me. The social services worker who came after my dad reported my mom for abusing me, while my parents were separated. The lie I told, when my mom made me call my dad and say "she never hurt me", while she stood next to me to make sure I said the right words over the phone. The psychiatrist who said I should go into foster care and not live with my mom, when I was 15, but who, for some reason, never followed through with that plan after she stopped taking me to his office. My mom screaming at me because I wet the bed. My mom screaming at me because the house was a mess. My mom screaming at me that she hated me, and she wanted to kill me, that she was going to kill me. My mom screaming at me that I was a bitch, that she wished she had an abortion when she was pregnant with me, that I ruined her life.
I remember a morning when we were in the van headed for Christian school, and she called me a "fucking bitch". I was nine years old, and raised to be a born-again Christian, I had never even heard the "F word" before. I just new it meant something bad. Very bad. That I was bad. Very bad. Unlovable. Evil. Horrible. Hated by my mother.
How bad do you have to be for your mom to hate you? I used to wonder that a lot, when I was a kid. I used to pray, every day, that she would stop hating me, that she would stop screaming, that she would not hit me anymore. God seemed to be deaf to my prayers; he never listened. She continued to scream. She still continues to scream today. I am 33 years old now. My mom never changed much. She stopped hitting me, after I got big enough to fight back or threaten to call the police. She went on medication, but it was never the right kind. It still isn't the right kind. She needs to be on antipsychotics, because she's paranoid and delusional, but she won't take them because she thinks that if you take antipsychotics, like I do every day, then you're 'really crazy'. She's diagnosed as Bipolar. This is not an accurate diagnosis, but no doctors have ever had the misfortune of living with my mom like I did for years.
Today, I was at my mom's house, and I was listening to her rant and rave, like she always does, about how absolutely horrible her job is (where she has only worked for a couple weeks, because she doesn't tend to last more than a month at any jobs). It's just like every other job, out of the hundreds of jobs she's had, over the past 18 years or so that she's been a nurse. She hates all jobs, no matter how much they pay her or who she has to work with or where the job is located. She hates working, and she thinks that she is the only person on the planet who has ever had to work at a job she did not love. She is convinced the world revolves around her; she's always been this way. I'm used to it.
Sometimes, though, it bothers me more than other times. Today, as I sat listening to this, I was busy applying for jobs at places like drugstores, on the computer that I gave my mom, because I haven't been able to find a job anywhere else during the past seven months that I've been filling out applications. So I did not particularly feel like hearing about how much she hates her job that pays her over $50,000 a year. I did not really feel like hearing about that while I'm faced with upcoming homelessness because I do not have the money to pay my rent. So, I sat there, ignoring her as best as I could. She went on to make fun of me - something she enjoys doing at times and which she thinks is just a game, by which she amuses herself, making jokes about the mentally ill people at the group home where I used to live. I ignored this as well.
Then, as I sat typing a message to someone on a feminist message board, my mother came up behind me, reading what I was writing, and I did not realize she was standing there. When she spoke, I jumped, as it startled me. I am easily startled, like most people who got smacked around as kids. She started yelling at me that I coudl not be typing what I was writing in her house, and on her computer (nevermind that I gave her this computer). At this point, I snapped. Something in me simply snapped. I heard myself scream at her, calling her a bitch and telling her to "get the fuck away from me". I surprised myself. I felt myself jump out of the chair and grab my purse and run out the door, slamming it behind me. I heard myself scream a few more words at her on my way out. I got in my car. I drove away, and I screamed some more. Screamed at the air, at the God I don't believe in, at the ether, at nothing. Screamed like I used to scream when I lived with her and she tormented me every day. Screamed about how much I hate her, how I will not have anything to do with her anymore, how I am done with her. I meant it.
She called me a little while later, to let me know that after I left, she had broken into my email account and she had read my emails and emails that I had written. She was angry that one of them, to a friend of mine, mentioned her and the fact that she is crazy. So she changed the password on my email account, in order that I should not be able to use it. When I got home, I changed the password myself and then wrote her an email telling her I want her to get out of my life, permanently. I'm not sure if I meant that or not. It's hard to cut your mom off. I've tried it before, many times. Eventually, I usually end up going back to her like a woman who goes back to an abusive boyfriend. But you can get new boyfriends. You can't get a new mother. She is the only one I'll ever have. So, most likely, I will not stick to my words. But for a while I will. I need a break from her.
My mother is the most miserable, negative person I have ever met in my entire life. Considering how many mentally ill people I've met in my life, that is saying a lot. Not much ever comes out of her mouth that is not some sort of complaint about something. She pretty much constantly complains, about everything and anything, to whoever is within earshot, all the time, every day. She has never changed that aspect of herself no matter what medications she's taken or how many AA meetings she's gone to. She still remains committed to spreading misery wherever she goes, to whoever she happens to deal with. I do not need this negativity in my life. In fact, I decidedly need something quite the opposite of this. I need to be around people who are hopeful, optimistic, compassionate, caring, and not morosely ungrateful, miserable, and completely self-involved like my mom. I've never been very adept at meeting people, but I know that I need to work on this as it is vital that I get some different people into my life, so people like my mother will not be the only people I can call or go to a movie with or visit.
I will always love my mother. I will also always think that she needs antipsychotic medication, and I will always maintain that belief, even though she will probably never take such medication. And, I am done with being my mother's victim. I do not need verbal abuse, or even the kind of karma you get from being around a person who is perpetually malcontent, like she is. I do not need the negative energy constantly invading my life. I need a break from her.