Mother and Child

I sit on the couch watching the television, my eyes wander, looking at the piles of paper that surround me.  I remind myself that I am no longer a part of this world.  That I can walk away at any time.

One comment and instantly I’m now part of that world I thought I’d left behind.  I’ve become the child I once was with the same responses that child had.  The only thing different is that I have an adult body.

I sit on the couch watching TV when suddenly it shuts off.  “I was watching it” I comment quietly.   “I didn’t think you were” she says “and besides it sounded like a stupid program”.

“I’m hungry” “ Could I have some pudding?” I ask my mother.  “Of course you can have a pudding”.  I’m very hungry. I haven’t eaten all day.  And since there are two flavours, I decide to have one of each.   “Did you have two puddings?” my mother asks me with a slight edge to her voice.  I quietly answer her with a yes. Somehow I forgot I couldn’t just help myself to the food.  I need permission to eat.

And in the two days I stay at her house I only eat one meal.  She has lots of food but for reasons I don’t know we don’t eat much.  I guess I could cook but…

I have a bowl of cereal.  She goes into the kitchen and notices the spoon I had used.  “Why did you use this spoon?”  “That’s not the one you should be using”.  I quietly tell her that it would be easy for me to wash it up and put it back.  I forgot that there are only certain dishes I can use and I need to ask which ones those would be.

One morning I wash my hair and grabbed a towel to dry it.  “Why did you use that towel to dry your hair? “ “I don’t want you to use those”.  I quietly say to her that I didn’t know that I had to use a certain towel.  She is the one who will pick out the towel for me to use.  And it will always be a small thin towel.

I get up to use the washroom.  “What are you doing?” she asks of me from the living room.  “Why?’ I ask back.  “I ‘m just curious,” she says.  I’m asked this almost every time I leave the room.

I try to walk carefully around the piles of papers but sometimes I end up tripping over something.   “Boy you sure make a lot of noise for one person” she’ll say.  I don’t even comment on this, just let it go.

And so I am instantly transported back into my childhood.  I don’t know how to change this. Loyalty and respect for her was terrorized into me by Wayne, which is somewhat ironic since he used to beat her to a pulp.  As much as I try I can’t seem to break out of that.  Apparently I was a good learner.

I don’t how to become an adult in my mother’s eyes. I don’t know how to stay an adult when I’m in her house.  The switch from adult to child seems to happen before I’m even aware of it.

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23 Responses to Mother and Child

  1. Oh this sounds so hard. 😦

  2. Harriet says:

    How difficult. I suppose your mother has scars from her abuse, and perhaps needs to feel in control at all times? So much dysfunction – but I hope you know that none of this is your fault.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I’m just starting to see how much dysfunction there really is. I don’t think her life was easy at all. Not to make excuses for her but in trying to understand. I hope I don’t ever become like that because of how my life was.

  3. Wow Lost. I’m stunned by your bravery.
    I’m so sorry that it’s so hard. I can understand exactly how it is that somehow, you shrink before her.

    Thinking of you.

    • lostinamaze says:

      It’s strange how a comment can put me back into what was. And how I don’t even fight it, just let it happen. And she is just a little old lady.

      • This makes so much sense… And it doesn’tt matter how old or how little, some part of you doesn’t see that… A part still sees her as all powerful. She has been so controlling, and you have been so frightened. It’s a pattern your mind recognises.
        I’m so sorry it’s been like this.


        • lostinamaze says:

          I struggle with that – wondering what my problem is – telling myself I’m an adult now, the ‘child’ shouldn’t be here. But I never thought of that – a pattern my mind recognizes.

  4. It sounds like your mother’s house is a very difficult place to visit.

    • lostinamaze says:

      The more I face the reality of our family the harder it is for me to visit her and to let things just slide. I’m starting to resent how she lives as well. But I think she has created a safe place for herself and I somehow become an intruder even though she wants me to visit all the time. Yes it’s very difficult.

  5. Mike says:

    I can relate to how hard it is to be an adult in my parents’ house. Somehow I am transported back to the person I was just five years ago. I think to them I haven’t grown up. It does sound like your mom needs to maintain rigid control because of the abuse from her past. I’m sorry.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I find it amazing how that can happen even though we are adults. I just recently realized this was happening to me. I will probably always be a child to her. I wish I could figure out how to maintain my adulthood in her house.

  6. One long journey says:

    Oh Lost – this sounds so hard. It’s amazing how we can revert to the child and have those responses. Bless you for going to visit her over the holidays, as difficult as that must have been.

    Take care of yourself.

    • lostinamaze says:

      It is hard. I feel torn in what to do at times because she is my mother. There are times when I would like to do my own thing during a major holiday (especially when I only had two days off) but I can’t bring myself to do so. I have been able to separate myself in some respects because I don’t visit her as much in the last few years as I used to. I’m not sure why I feel such strong obligations towards her.

  7. Lothlorien says:

    Oh, so many of us experience this too, even people without trauma, but it hits us worse I think. Your mother doesn’t help. It appears to me that she treats you like a child and not very nicely I might add. You want to know something weird? I never felt like an adult until just recently—my mother passed away. I have pondered that the last month or so. I just could never feel grown up with her in my life. I looked like a grown up and acted like a grown up, but I never felt it til now.

    You’re not alone.

    • lostinamaze says:

      That is interesting. I’ve only recently realized the child I am in her presence. It’s like I can suddenly see myself from outside myself when my mother and I are interacting. Does that make sense? I’m finding myself not wanting to interact with her as much these days because of how she treats me. For some reason I find it troubles me. (a loyalty part of me)

  8. Just Be Real says:

    Oh Lostinamaze, this hurt to read. I am so very sorry. I certainly understand about getting in touch more with our pain when we come out of denial. This is too happening to me, and I spoke about this in my t. session yesterday. Here listening dear one.

    • lostinamaze says:

      Sometimes I don’t know what is worse – the denial or the pain. But I realize I can only heal if I quit denying. Healing is not an easy road but I hope worth it in the end.

  9. Milo says:

    for the same reason, I do not go anywhere near my mother. warmest thoughts….

  10. lostinamaze says:

    I have been able to step away to a certain extent but I can’t totally. I limit my visits to two days at the most. I think we have a strange relationship.

  11. birdencaged says:

    This post made me weep. I know these actions and feelings all too well. It’s why I ran away to Australia. Unfortunately, I now know it follows me everywhere, to the point that I have need reassurance to do almost anything. As a fellow adult child, I’m sorry, I hope we can heal.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I find it distressing when it happens but so far there doesn’t seem much I can do about it. It’s like an automatic response in me. I do limit my time with her which makes me sad but it’s for my own sanity. I really hope we can heal too.

  12. Pingback: Busy | lost inamaze

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