How I React
I told Dr H about whatís gone on this week. Between her trying to blame A for Dís drinking, to telling me we were going to the drum circle, and how all of that has affected my stomach. And the anxiety Iím feeling.
I also told her about the silence in the kitchen when I made that remark. And how good it felt to leave my mother speechless. Dr H was amazed that I said that. Then she said, good for you.
Dr H brought up the fact that when I feel anger, I always end up with anxiety. She asked me if I had any idea why my anger and anxiety are so intertwined, because they are two separate emotions.
The way I see it is this. When my mother makes me mad, by imposing her overbearing self on me, I fill with anger, and then anxiety. Thatís because I donít handle my anger well. From the time I was a child, I learned how to hide my emotions, to stuff them. With my anger, because I stuff it, it ends up coming out as anxiety. Iím not sure why, except that maybe because the anger is so uncomfortable, or that Iím somehow not supposed to feel anger toward my mother.
We talked about the child I was. I have told Dr H about the time my mother molested, and how she rejected me after. Dr H wondered if some of my anger and anxiety could be explained because of how her rejection of me affected me after she molested me. How I didnít dare show my anger to her when I was younger, because that was not allowed.
How, since I couldnít express my anger, it just festered inside of me, and instead I filled with anxiety, because her rejection of me always left me feeling like she might never love me again. And how, if I show my anger toward her, or somehow stand up to her now, she might reject me again.
She asked me what I would do if my mother rejected me now, and cut me off. I joked, and said it would be great, because I would be mother-free. But then I got serious, and thought about it for a moment.
If I want to be honest, as much as it pains me to admit it, if my mother rejected me, cut me out of her life, I think that it would hurt me. I donít know why. I donít know why I cling to the relationship we have. Every once in a while I wish sheíd be proud of me for something. But I never get that from her.
I then told Dr H about how I cut my mother out of my life when we lived in Colorado. For about three years, I didnít call her, write to her, send her any gifts. Nothing. I had come to a point when I couldnít take her shit anymore, not even long distance. I didnít even tell her about the miscarriage I had. She found out about that years later.
For those three years, I was pretty happy. But then again, there was always a void inside me.
The next communication I had with her was when D was disabled, and we decided to move back home. It was a hard phone call to make.
Dr H asked me if my mother ever talked about the time I cut her off, or the time when I was 10. I said no. She wondered why my mother never broached either subject. I donít know. Maybe for her, talking about things like that are too hard for her. Maybe it would be different, and we could talk about that, if she were a more compassionate person. But I donít see her like that.
I did tell Dr H that I felt bad, and maybe I had hurt my motherís feelings. A couple years after we moved back home, my aunt and cousins came up from Atlanta for a visit. My aunt and I were sitting on my motherís deck, talking.
I could talk to this aunt of mine about anything. She is a very open, warm, caring person. She listens, and gives good advice.
Anyway, my mother was bringing things out onto the deck, because we were going to have lunch there. She had just stepped onto the deck at the time I was telling my aunt about my miscarriage. She didnít say anything, but she got a strange look on her face, and kind of slumped down a little. After she went back in the house, I had this feeling that I had hurt her, because I never confided in her about that.
I told Dr H that as much as she upsets me, I donít want to hurt her. I asked her if that even seemed logical, after everything Iíve been through because of her. I mean, I shouldnít worry about hurting her, should I?
Not after she hurt me.
Dr H said that just shows that Iím a compassionate person. Not that I can forgive her, because Dr H doesnít think Iím ready to forgive her. But instead, just because Iím that kind of person, the kind who never wants to hurt anyone.
Then we talked about the hardest thing for me. How to react to her.
As we were talking, I realized that I anticipate the next time I am going to see her, and I anticipate her upsetting me. And that fills me with anxiety. I anticipate her saying something to me, telling me what I should be doing, judging me and whatever Iíve done. But now I see that itís almost like Iím setting myself up to let her get to me.
She said that if I can work on some things I might say to her, and the different reactions she would have, that maybe I can be prepared a little better for her to say whatever sheís going to say. She pointed out that my mother is never going to change, so I need to learn how to react to her.
Thatís easier said than done. I told Dr H that I donít think itís going to be easy for me to react to her in a way that allows me to stand up for myself. She said she knows how hard it is for me. But to just try to imagine what I would say to her, and the things she might say back.
Itís something Iím going to have to learn to do. She canít do it for me, so I guess I need to be strong.
Dr H did say she was sorry that Iím dealing with everything about my mother, about D, about my worries about A, on top of trying to deal with everything about the rapes. Sheís very compassionate, and Iím thankful I have her.
I think things became a little clearer for me today, and I might be able to start looking at things a little differently. And the anxiety I was feeling this morning disappeared as Dr H and I talked.