Fly on the wall anonymous post: What I'm afraid to tell you
(This is the first in (what I hope will be) a series of anonymous posts from readers, called Fly on the Wall. These posts are the things you wish you could share with your universe, but for whatever reason can't.
I want everyone in the world to have a place to share (I am a trained counselor, after all). I think it's crucial to mental health and happiness, I really do. Not putting into words the feelings you bear is paramount to letting a sore fester: expunge it, share it, shed light on it, chew it, work it out. Even anonymously and in confidence, the power of moving something from just you and your thoughts into the real world can be felt.
Please show your support for this author's bravery and story. And thank you, author, for your efforts.)
What I'm afraid to tell you
I heard a lot when I was pregnant from women who suddenly understood their mothers so much better after their own children arrived. "Oh, now that I've done it I totally understand how much my Mom loves me." and, "We're closer than ever, it has deepened our relationship." I was suspicious, afraid to believe it, but deep down secretly hopeful that maybe we would finally understand one another.
My mother and I have a rocky relationship. She was an excellent provider to a very small person. My childhood is full of good memories and laughter. However as I approached adulthood it became abundantly clear that our path, as adults, would be quite different. Our personalities are incompatible with friendship. Our values somehow misaligned. Add on to that a history of teenage conflict and... it was over.
There are things that can be said between a mother and daughter that you can never take back and never forgive. Those things have been said out loud. There is no going back for me.
I soldier on, faking through the steps that mothers and daughters are supposed to do- the weekend visits, the phone calls.
When I finally had children I hoped for some kind of revelation, some kind of magical connection that would appear between us. Instead I feel further apart from her than ever before. I force myself to give in to those occasional visits but I dread them more every time. I find my head thinking, "Ok, a child's relationship with their grandparent is special, something to treasure. Just suck it up and let them figure out their own path. It's good for kid to experience different ways of doing things."
Meanwhile my heart is screaming, "NO NO NO MINE MINE MINE."
Clinically I try to separate my relationship with her from what my child's will be. Emotionally I am at war. I wrestle with my desire to pick them up and keep them away from her. A primal instinct in me screams over and over to claim my child as MINE, not HERS. But there isn't any harm waiting- just a loving grandma. I'm not sure what I'm trying to protect them from. All old scars and battles stand in relief every time I am with her and throw me right back into the past. My emotions rage completely outside my control.
I don't think our mother/daughter relationship is salvageable and frankly I'm not interested in "working on it." I can appreciate the excellent job she did getting me this far but every time we're together I just want to escape. My adrenaline goes through the roof; every action grates on my nerves. It's too much, too long. I promise myself over and over, "I'm going to be a different mother. I'm going to do things differently. I'm not destined to repeat her mistakes."
Unfortunately I have no issues sharing my child with anyone else. Only her. I'm happy to share with anyone else and don't feel these same crazy urges. It intensifies the awkwardness of it all. What kind of mother doesn't want their kids to spend time with their grandmother?
And each time after she's gone I lay awake into the night wondering if I'm some kind of monster. And if the people around me knew would they think the same thing?