As I have been doing my work, to try to extract myself from my families dysfunctional patterns I have come to realize I am an extension of my mother. I first assumed that this extension began when I was born or sometime there after. I was doing an emotional healing session when the energy of my mother came up. The practitioner encouraged me to go back to when this entangled relationship started. I took a deep breath and allowed my sub-conscious mind to go back through my childhood. I took another breath and time kept unwinding. Another breath and it was dark, I was warm and suspended. It took a few more deep breaths until I recognized I was in the womb. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I came to realize that my entire existence was nothing other than a manipulation so my mother could entrap a man to marry her. My mother became pregnant to escape her childhood home. What I felt was tremendous fear while I floated in that womb space and I was very aware that I was already being rejected. The fear that I felt though was not only mine but my mother’s. The fear of being found out, the fear of being rejected and abandoned, the fear that I would not be the boy she so desperately needed. Somewhere in her mind she believed a boy would bring her security. I was not to be a boy. I learned to tow the line, to be a “good little girl”. I feared making a mistake, I was hyper aware my existence was expendable, I could be rejected or abandoned at any moment. When I was young my job was to be sweet and well behaved so friends, neighbors and those at church would compliment my mother on what a good girl I was, more so what a great job she was doing. As I got older though I became a bit more of her energy source, she would push the boundaries. Now I was expected to not only make her look good but to also make her feel good. I was her companion, best friend and confidant. To the outside world we had this perfect mother-daughter relationship and one of the unwritten rules to make sure other’s envied her for it. My personal belongings were there for her taking. Money I earned from babysitting or jobs was often “needed” by her and saying no was not permitted. No matter what she told me I couldn’t or wouldn’t flinch. I heard the latest gossip about family and church members and the random comment on her lackluster sex life. One morning as I was getting ready to leave for school she informed me she was thinking about divorcing my father, it wasn’t uncommon for her to create an upset at an inconvienent moment. I was overwhelmed with emotion; I needed to get to school, I needed to get out of there, I needed to cry. I was engulfed in fear, grief and rage. I apparently didn’t react in the way she had desired. I vaguely remember saying something to her, what I don’t recall, her response was harsh. She may have slapped me across the face. I was in complete flight mode. I went to school and avoided coming until late. She berated me when I got home and then ignored me for days. The silent treatment was one of her favorite tools and then when she was done she would be sugary sweet. I became accustom to the silent treatment, not having her talk to me was fine it was the uncertainty that was unnerving. In hindsight I suspect she was just trying to hurt me, to get a response or reaction, this gave her a sense of power.
There was a part of me that despised my mother. I detested the the smell of her, the sound of her voice, even her mere presence could make my stomach churn yet I was so enmeshed I found it difficult to get away. There were subtle little things that let you know you could never make it on your own. In comments only you could here she would point out where you had failed, how you hadn’t measured it, how yet again you had let her down. A childhood of conditioning, no matter how hard I tried or worked it was never enough, if there was any praise she somehow was able to turn it around so she was actually the one receiving the praise. I continued working hard into adulthood, put myself through college, got a job, married a good man, bought a house and had a family. All the right things, along the way there were put downs, road blocks and sabotage.
I would distance when possible or when together with the family avoid her but about 8 years ago it finally came to blows. I dug my heals in, avoided all contact and things became ugly. For the first 4 years I lived in fear every single day! Fear that she would kidnap my kids, fear that she would kill me or my husband. Fear that she would do something that might possibly force us back to her. I was so completely a part of her that breaking away was painful and frightening. What if she was right and I actually couldn’t make it? It has only been in the past couple of years that I have felt I can breath. I am also coming to terms with my life situation. I am learning what it feels like to no longer be enmeshed, that I am my own person and get to have my own dreams, my own failures and my own successes. It is overwhelming at times, I have so much freedom. I have also come to realize I lack an identity, I really don’t know who I am now that I am no longer controlled by my mother. My life feels like it is in a constant state of flux because who I was yesterday is no who I am today. What felt important a month ago has lost interest. Each day is a new adventure and gratitude has become a wonderful tool to help me through my dark hours.