Friday, March 2, 2012

This is a really hard one to write....but here goes......

I screwed up today. I forgot today was my stepfather's birthday, and didn't call him to wish him a happy birthday. My mother called me Saturday (almost a week ago) to remind me and to ask me to call him this morning and for me and Steven to wish him a happy birthday. I forgot. Honestly. It was a mistake. It's too late now to call him, as it's after midnight over in England.

So I check my yahoo email tonight, and have an email from Mom with the subject line "I really appreciate you and Steven calling Marion today. Thanks a lot." No message, just the subject line. I know she's mad, or disappointed, and it was terrible for me to forget to call him, but I am suddenly so emotional and upset over making her mad and disappointing her.

Why does this upset me so much? I don't know how much sense I will make with this, but I will try. For as long as I can remember, I have sought my mother's approval. I think most kids seek their parents' approval, but my mother was the only parent I grew up with. We lived with my grandmother until my grandmother moved out in high school.

But I digress. I had this intense need to seek and 'win' her approval, over pretty much everything. Any time that I upset her, or disappointed her, or made her angry about something, I felt such deep shame and sorrow, and it would just make me try harder to do better. I have memories of specific things over the years when I was in school, of things I did that disappointed her or upset her, and how shamed I felt over my actions.

Of course, I found my ways to rebel against her - I always seemed to pick the boys that she wouldn't approve of when it came to "going steady" as it was called back then. She took great pleasure in making fun of some of them, or saying very insulting things about them to me after she'd met them. Her disapproval of them made me like them even more, at least for one or 2 of them.

Worrying about how she would react to various decisions I might make has caused me to hesitate and perhaps miss out on some things throughout the years. In the past, if I pushed an issue regarding something I knew she wouldn't approve of, she rarely approved after the fact, and I would be left feeling a sense of regret sometimes that took a very long time to shake.

I have felt a lot of conflict over the past 8 months or so over the whole ordeal with Michael, and how my mother has pushed me to try to reconcile that friendship and move past it. I have done my best to not let my mother guilt me into reconciling, because I just don't feel it was okay for him to talk to me and make the threats against me and my husband like he did - I STILL haven't gotten an apology from him. She has tried her best to force me back into that friendship, and I have pulled away from it as hard as I can, but again, there's that feeling of not wanting to disappoint my mother.

Don't get me wrong - I have truly missed a lot of my friendship with Michael. I do talk to him on occasion, but it angers me every time I think about it, that my mother thinks it's okay for things to try to "go back to how they used to be", without some sort of apology. I know I need to talk to him about my feelings, and that I still think he should apologize, but part of me wanted my mother to do that - I mean, hell, she pushed me so hard to be the "bigger person" and to make the first move, but never once did she suggest to him that perhaps HE should make the first move. She claimed to want to stay out of the middle of it and let us resolve our issues ourselves, but she was right there the whole time, pushing ME to do something to fix it.

So it all boils down to this - how do I stop letting her have the power to upset me like this? You have no idea what this is doing to me - I am sitting here in my bathroom floor, sobbing as I write this. I'm in the bathroom because I don't want my son, his friend, and my mother-in-law to see me like this. I know I should feel some guilt over not calling my stepdad, but this is crazy.

I have taken power away from others that used to upset me - my exhusband being the biggest one I have overcome. You know, I rarely had to be punished for bad behaviors as a child - the guilt was all it took to correct me. I have caught myself in the past, trying to use guilt to make Steven behave, but it worried me so much that he would turn into a guilt-laden adult like me, that I don't do that anymore.

I know it's quite easy to say "just don't let her (or anyone) dictate how you feel" - but it's not that easy to actually do. I also want to say this - I did not have a bad childhood. Other than the guilt trips, things weren't too bad. I had everything I needed to be comfortable and healthy, more clothes, toys and stuff than most kids had at the time, my mother just ran the Guilt Trip Agency and I was a frequent flier.

Guilt is what hurts me so badly when someone wrongs me, too - I look at what the person has done, or said, or lied about, and it hurts me to know that someone is capable of doing any of those things without apparently feeling much guilt about it. I just can't fathom doing some of the things that have been done to me, without knowing that the guilt would tear me apart if I'd been the one that was doing something wrong.

So - if any of you have any suggestions to help me figure out how to take this power to make me feel so miserable away from my mother, please enlighten me. But please - no smart ass remarks from any of you - while I am very emotionally vulnerable and a sobbing mess at this moment, I am on the edge of flipping to "super bitch mode" thanks to my enemy PMS.

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