My mother isn’t coming to my wedding.
I think in my very worst moments, the times that emotionally I have been turned inside out, all self inflicted bruises and cuts hanging out, I have hated myself with such a passion that it has been quite easy for me to believe anybody I had touched, come in to contact with or had ever even spoken to, felt exactly the same way about me too.
And that any disagreement I had with anybody, resulting in any sort of negative emotion was always my fault.
I should have acted differently.
I shouldn’t have been so selfish.
I shouldn’t have been expecting care.
My self-esteem by this point was solely based on what I assumed others thought of me.
In therapy I learnt that a lot of this lack of self-esteem came from the feeling that my own mother doesn’t love me.
If my own mother doesn’t love me I really must be a disgusting parasite of a human being.
I have never openly admitted that this is what I believed, because of course, who can easily admit this?
Instead of even admitting this to myself, I would try and be a better person in the vain hope she would react by being the mother I always wanted.
But she never did.
And it has always been my fault.
If only I hadn’t been a difficult teenager, if only I had chosen to grow up with her and not my dad, if only I hadn’t caused their divorce, if only my brother hadn’t died and I had, then I would make her happy…
When I was 22 I got drunk, the next day at my aunt’s house, I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep. I awoke briefly to feel her putting a blanket over me and kissing my head.
She thought I remained asleep, but instead I cried at the way she had made me feel with that simple gesture, she didn’t know I was witnessing.
Something I had never experienced before, in it’s truest form.
‘Trying to care for you,’ my therapist explained a few weeks ago ‘is like throwing an egg at a glass window.’
‘How can you possibly know and feel comfortable with care, if it is not something you have ever experienced?’ I slammed back at him passionately.
And in that moment, I saw what he had done.
I was finally admitting that perhaps it wasn’t my fault, that perhaps I had deserved care.
Perhaps these were her issues not mine.
When she would hurt me, or ignore my successes (having never openly admitted to reading my blog) or put me down with her one liners (you were up for three awards but you only won the little one right?) there have been too many to recount them all, I would blame myself, and agree with her and apologise in a vain attempt to please her.
I am sorry I am not a good enough person, daughter, mother.
It never worked, not really.
I could never be forgiven.
She loves being a grandma though, adores him, loves him, hugs him, treats him as her own, would do anything for him… I have to watch this and be happy for her and him.
I am happy for him even though every time she hold her arms out to him, I feel like I am being stabbed by rejection repeatedly.
So she can show love.
Just not to me.
It is my fault.
And off we go again… searching for acceptance…
Occasionally I would get up the courage to react and say the things I wanted to say, but I always regret my decision, as she stands firm and I wither under her distancing punishment.
I thought I was winning.
I thought I had dealt with this in therapy.
I set boundaries.
We were building a stable relationship.
My self esteem was becoming more about what I thought of myself.
And then the phone call.
‘I am not attending your wedding.’
I cried in to the dark of the night, I cried because I felt guilty, and ashamed over what an awful person I was to be putting her through something that she didn’t deserve.
She shouldn’t have to travel, to not be in the limelight, to be in a room with my friends… She must feel awful, how could I do this to her?
I cried until I was wrung out with the grief of the relationship we had just started to build again, that was now lost.
I cried until I could barely breath and I felt my heart was going to stop beating because I missed her, I miss what could have been, what I deserved to have had.
I did not cry because I was hurt, because this was my doing.
And then at 3am, staring at the ceiling, a learned thought process from therapy miraculously tiptoed in to the corner of my brain, my brain filled to the brim with shame.
‘What are you putting her through?’ It said.
‘You are a parasite because you should never have put her in a position of. What?!?!?!’
And then another timid little thought joined it and held it’s hand and whispered ‘what if?’
‘What if this isn’t your fault?’
‘What if this is her choice and you are and have always been good enough?’
What if you are just the victim and you have been laying here for hours crying for her and she is sleeping soundly with no anguish.
‘Who is crying for you?’
‘Accept the hurt and stop now. Enough is enough.’
It was fleeting, but it was there.
My mother isn’t coming to my wedding.
I don’t really know how I am supposed to feel if there is no shame and guilt.
Hurt, I guess.