This comic from Unearthed Comics is perfect. Last Friday was another day of walking on eggshells at our house. I am raising my daughter as a single parent. I adopted her as a single parent. My mom moved into my house to support me as a single parent. That was seven years ago – and I think the time may be getting close for us to separate. My feet are shredded from all the walking on eggshells that goes on.
Don’t get me wrong – I could not have survived these last seven years without her support. Or could I? I’ll never know. I do know I am grateful for all that she has done – but lately she seems to be slinging barbs at me and my daughter. And it hurts.
She is from a different generation. A generation that slapped children for misbehaving. A generation that slaved for ungrateful bosses to keep food on the table, roof over heads and clothes on backs. FASD was not recognized back then. And she was brought up in England after the war. She is sarcastic, holds nothing back and shows her love in what she does for you, not in saying or hugging. It is her. And that is fine.
But I am my generation. And I will protect my daughter from harsh comments made by anyone – friend or family. My mom is always on my daughter. Do this. Do that. Stop. No. How many times do I have to remind you. Act your age. All things that her FASD brain has trouble processing. She can be really patient with her, but when she has had enough she lets her words out and there is nothing that will stop her.
Like last Friday. I can’t even remember what started it. But it had been a difficult week. My daughter didn’t go to school on Monday and then again Friday. School is not a very welcoming place for my daughter. Her home should be. And I am mindful of that and try my best to let home be the softest place for her to be. The expectations on her are not as they would be for a typical 15 year old. They can’t be because she is not a typical 15 year old. It is hard for people to understand, and through stories I share I hope people who don’t know will soon know. And those that do will find refuge in stories similar to their own.
But back to Friday – I was in the kitchen getting dinner and my mom and daughter were in the living room and I could hear her going on at my daughter. I lost it momentarily, and yelled – but quickly calmed myself and simply asked this of my mom: Why don’t you try using kind and loving words. Why not try it that way and see what results or reactions would be? Her answer blew me away. ” I can’t do that. ” Her solution? Spend more time away from us in her room.
How will that help? I honestly can’t believe my mom said she would not be able to use kind and loving words. I understand it may not be the way she grew up – but why would you choose to continue sarcastic and harsh interactions when you’ve been told that you are hurting your daughter and granddaughter.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My dad was an alcoholic. He tried to kill my mom before they came to Canada. He was jealous and controlling. He tried to commit suicide twice before my mom finally left him – after he dragged her up the stairs by her hair while I watched. She swears her upbringing was normal and loving. I realize her marriage wasn’t but she has not been in that marriage for 40 years.
I was honestly ready to ask my mom to leave. I still feel the pain from her judgements of me – but I have had enough and I don’t want my daughter to be subjected to this anymore. Am I wrong?
All I know is life is too short to be treated the way we are – if this was a so-called friend or acquaintance who refused to honour my request then I would move on. But how can I move on from my mother. But how can I continue to let my daughter hear the harsh words. Or am I being too sensitive – something else my mother tells me I am.