So after feeling pretty sad yesterday I spoke to one of my lovely blogger friends last night on Whattsapp and had a pretty in-depth chat about things. We both think that the reason for my grief and my sobbing, can’t breathe-tears is that I am realising, or accepting, that my wedding is very close and that my mother will not be who I want her to be on that important day.
I know that probably sounds both obvious and simple but I think that I have been in my adult head for a while, trying to navigate my way through the wedding stress and the plans and I’ve not allowed myself to really *feel* those things.
I think the fact that I asked if she would rather I went to my dress fitting this Saturday alone and she said (basically) “Yes Please!!” hurt me. It must have done. I think that triggered me into some grieving.
I said this yesterday, but I am saying it again for my own sake: I don’t even really want HER at my final fitting. WE don’t have that happy and relaxed mother-daughter bond that every girl wants at her dress fitting. It is fake and awkward and just uncomfortable. I sense her (possibly denied) jealousy and her rage at me not being her puppet any longer – and it hurts. So going on my own seems the easiest thing to do. I can get up, drive myself there, do the final fitting and drive home again. Done, easy, simple…
But where does the hurt go? Where does the sadness and the grief go of the little girl in me who always dreamt of a day like that with a loving, smiling mother sitting on the chair as I open the curtain and walk out in my princess dress? I know this doesn’t make any logical sense, and I know it is very young, but I think perhaps I used to hope that the day I got married – everything would change. She would suddenly be the mother I always needed and wanted. She would finally see something in me that she didn’t think I had – I have no idea what or how that works, but it’s true.
Anyone that has followed me from the beginning may remember that I once admitted I had some strange fantasy for YEARS that on my wedding day, at the top of the aisle I would tell my mother that her ex-boyfriend had sexually abused me and we would both cry and then she would love me. Yep. “She would love me”.
In this fantasy (which I know doesn’t make any real sense), I would tell her what had happened to me and she would somehow finally *see the pain* I had been through. She would finally realise I am deserving of her affections. She would somehow want to protect and nurture me. I’ve never figured out why my wedding day fitted into this fantasy, but there we go.
Now obviously I don’t actually want that fantasy to happen in real life. For starters, she knows about that ex-boyfriend now and she most certainly didn’t learn to love me from hearing what I had gone through – it just made her even more self-obsessed as she felt so sorry for HERSELF. Anyway, that’s another story. My point is, clearly for many, many years I had some mother/wedding day fantasy… and now my wedding day is approaching in real life and my mother still “doesn’t love me” – not how I need and wanted her to for my entire life.
As I sit here and type this I am 30 years old and it is the most disconnected I have EVER been from my mother. Our relationship is hanging by a thread and is based purely on my guilt I think. That realisation makes me so sad. I love her in a way, I feel sadness for her life experiences and yet I hate her for mine (life experiences).
The pain I experienced “that night” when I confronted her for the second time and she told me I was mad will never leave my mind. Her lack of empathy, her inability to ever apologise for the pain she had caused is something I am not sure I will ever be able to fully accept. So then 6 months of no contact followed – only to be broken by me because I couldn’t handle the guilt that was ruining my wedding plans. Because I needed to have my sister in my life again and clearly I couldn’t have one without the other.
Guilt is my thing. Rightly or wrongly, when she is concerned, I am full of guilt. It literally consumes me. I feel the need to look after her, to make HER okay, to stop her from feeling bad – I’ve learnt in therapy this is because it is what she programmed me to do, so its my natural go-to position. Regardless, it’s shit. So on my hen do two weeks ago, she came, she sat at her table with her friends and my aunty and I didn’t really see her as I was sat at another table with my friends, I felt bad. I felt bad she wasn’t at my table – I felt bad that SHE would feel bad. And then later that night when she came to tell me she was going home, she hugged me goodbye and then she absolutely broke down crying. She sobbed, big, huge sobs. She gripped her arms around my neck so tightly. She kept saying how much she loved me.
What did that do to me?
Well, it confused the life out of me. On one hand I was thinking “what the fuck is this about?? why is she crying?” and on the other? ……..
The naïve child in me is thinking, maybe part of that weird mother/wedding fantasy has come true? Maybe now I am really getting married she is realising? and then obviously I felt a lot of guilt. Guilt that she was so upset, guilt that I hadn’t spent any time with her that night… so. much. bloody.guilt.
SO much guilt in fact that the following day, I drove to get my food shopping, brought her some flowers and a couple of cakes and drove to her new house to surprise her with them. I didn’t even tell T that I did this. Why? because I feel utterly stupid for it. Because I fell for it AGAIN didn’t I? What is actually wrong with me? (as a side point, my friend cleverly pointed out that not telling T about this may have added to my feelings of “having nothing to speak about” because I wasn’t being honest).
Anyway, I broke my own boundary of not seeing her alone. I won’t lie, driving myself to her house felt weirdly nice. I felt adult – just driving there, taking my mum flowers to surprise her.. that’s what people do, right? As I pulled up at her new house, my heart rate went through the roof. My heart was pumping out of my chest. She saw me and she seemed genuinely very shocked and very happy. I gave her the flowers, she showed me around her house and I stayed for a cup of tea. We spoke about my hen do, about her house plans and about some smaller wedding details – I spoke quickly and A LOT which I tend to do when nervous.. and then I left before anything was ruined.
I spent the rest of the day feeling glad I had done that. I was glad that would have made her feel better and I’ve thought about that a lot over the last two weeks as I realise that it was her breakdown at my hen that prompted me to do that. I was trying to look after her – again.
Anyway, back to my actual wedding and I guess she doesn’t fit in to it how I used to imagine she would. She won’t be getting ready with me in the morning. She won’t be there to see me in my dress before anyone else. She won’t be there taking photos saying how proud she is of me. She won’t be sitting at the top table, she won’t be making a speech (I know that isn’t normal but again, fantasy)… and that is all a bit shit really.
The best way I can describe it is that the space between us feels HUGE. We are so totally disconnected – broken. I just know it won’t ever feel the way I wish it could. Now that I know what I do, things will never be the same again and I say “same again” knowing that wasn’t healthy, but it was familiar – does that make any sense?
I hope this doesn’t sound like a self-obsessed poor me type blog. I am sad about it, but it is not lost on me that I am very lucky to be getting married to a man I adore so much. I am thankful every day for him. I know it’s a huge cliché, but I often think all of the pain I went through in my childhood was worth it if that is how I ended up finding him – sometimes I view him as a type of prize for surviving the bad times. Sometimes I wonder if some higher power kinda said “give her a nice guy to marry – she deserves a break”! and I’m not even religious.
I cry when I think about how happy he makes me and how he gives me a family that I’ve always been desperate for. His 3 children and his lovely parents, he gives me family days out, and birthday celebrations at home. Family Christmases and board games – all things I’ve always craved. I cry when I think I could still be caught up in my mother’s web and not understand the things I do, not feel so hurt by her, still be living in denial and I am so glad that I am free…
But just sometimes I cry from the fact that I won’t ever have her in the way I always wanted and I guess now I am finally trying to let go of that – and boy does that hurt. I think when it comes to our mothers, we are always that small, helpless child and letting go of things ever being different is the hardest thing to do.
For me, the wedding symbolises a lot of that somehow. It somehow symbolises me being an adult – leaving her – growing up …… and I guess what I am seeing/feeling/experiencing right now is that she isn’t playing her part in my life-long fantasy that being married carried with it and I think in a way, this explains that feeling I wrote about yesterday that I cried over all night Sunday feeling “that I was desperate for some closeness” – I think maybe that was a bit of an emotional flashback or a re-experiencing.