Friday, July 12, 2013

Mother of the Lie

I'm not sure how to emote what needs emoting. 

I watch women, mothers, all the time. I listen to what they have to say about the task that we've each assumed, and I know the there is neither one right way to mother, nor anyone who can tell a woman how to do her job and be justified. We each have to figure it out for ourselves. But what if a woman doesn't figure it out, even though she's convinced the only thing wrong is her child? What if she stands for years and years by destructive premises that result in anti-nurture?

What if you are her child, and year after year, therapist after therapist, the message finally gets through? You may have deep rooted psychological issues, but the truth of your illness lies in the culture of evil that you were raised in by your narcissistic mother.

The biggest problem you have is that by appearances alone, she's right—you're a mess. And because she is completely consumed by the need to appear perfect, she seems to have it all together. No one knows what happens between the two of you, because she only lets the evil out when it is only visible to you, and anything you bring up she flatly denies. She keeps you locked in the culture of "crazy", which is just where she wants you.

Anick had me start reading M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie about a month ago. It's been slow going, but I'm far enough in that I get where she wants to take me with it.

My mother is sick. It's a kind of carefully crafted sickness that appears perfect, but is deeply rotted and beyond repair. Geoff tried to help me see that as well. He asserted that she wouldn't ever change and that she would never be the nurturing mother I needed. I appreciated his efforts to help maintain our family bond, but Anick is trying to get me to move beyond that. Because what good is family connection if it is chain-locked in cyclical damage?

My mother started telling me I was going to hell when I was still a toddler. She had me convinced by four that I, myself, was wicked. I was taken repeatedly to therapists to find the "problem". When one after another they told her that there was nothing wrong with me, that she should take me home and spend more quality time with me, she grew angry. She's since said, on one occasion, that she now understands that my behavior was all age appropriate. If only she hadn't spent years destroying my individuality, my self-trust, and belief in my own goodness. Finally, when I turned 13 she had me put on Ritalin for ADD. She had all of her kids—the other two were adopted—put on Ritalin for ADD. (Only one of us has it. He now self-medicates with caffeinated beverages and does well.)

Ritalin is a powerful narcotic, and when administered to those with Bipolar Disorder it frequently induces mania. Three months into Ritalin, twenty-five years ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar I. Psychotic mixed episodes in a 13-year-old is a frightening thing. But hey, at least my mother finally had her explanation as to why I was such a terrible child. 

I'm too tired tonight to get into all of the details (this isn't even the tip of the iceberg), but understand that between my violent Vietnam vet father, and my dogmatically narcissistic mother, I'm not exactly emotionally healthy. I am Bipolar, that is true. Bipolar definitely effects my moods. But I can tell you multiple stories of people telling my mother that they thought I was a great kid and she quickly corrected them. I can tell you that there is no growing beyond the control of who and what she wants me to believe that I am. And so, for tonight at least, I am considering what it would mean to break all ties with her. I would definitely be healthier. I would also definitely deal with guilt. I'm not sure what I will do. But my mother, the woman who wishes she could be Relief Society President, who works as a counselor for LDS University North Campus, who never got less than an A- in her entire education (including everything post-bac), who is "very put together" according to colleagues who've also worked with me, who is rehearsed in everything she does or says, who lives the letter of the law of LDS faith—she is evil.

She is a lie.

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