Sunday, July 22, 2007
My Journey Continues
Our relationships in this world with other people can be very rewarding. And on the other hand, the roles we play such as child, parent, sister, brother, friend, co-worker and all the many things we are to others in this life can be down right challenging.
I'm an only child and a child of an absence father, even when he lived with us he wasn't really in my life. That being said, my first and longest relationship has been that of a daughter to my mother. And now after 50 years, I still can't seem to get that right. It has been without question the hardest role I've played so far.
This week I've come a little closer to understanding this relationship. At this point, really it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me. She is who she is and always will be. I long ago accepted that but I still thought if I could learn to act just the way she wanted me to, or to say just the right thing, she would be proud of me.
The hard truth is I'll never have the relationship with her that I'd hoped to have. I have to say it outloud and more than anything I have to understand it is not my fault.
Because I am talking about my mother, this realization hasn't been an easy thing to accept but I am at the point in my life that I must. For you see, she is living her life merrily and with no regrets and it is I who can't seem to move on. As she ages this form of narcissism she seems to have worsens and to keep from going nuts, I've got to come to terms with it.
I love my mother and it is sad that sooner or later you have to realize that things are just how they are. She can't help who she is, and I've got to be me.
I am lucky enough to have people in my life who know me for who I am and who accept me and all my weirdness. Some(bless their hearts) even admire my oddities. For years I didn't appreciate that. I was on such a path to get my mother's approval and validation that I ignored the ones who loved me for who I was. I'd do anything to get one moment, one little hint of approval from her. It never happened much and if it did it was so short lived that it was hardly worth the effort.
This week I've come closer to realizing that my mother is never going to say she is proud of me or that something I've done was good. And you know what? I'm ok with that. Because finally at 50 years of age, I've come to realize that it doesn't matter. Although she's my mother, she is just a human being, like all of us. Who I am and what I think and who I've become has nothing to do with her approval of me. It doesn't make me less of a person, it doesn't make my opinions or thoughts invalid if she doesn't approve or agree or even acknowledge.
I so regret not understanding this better at a younger age. Because you see how I let this affect me also affected things in my own children's lives and my marriage and other relationships I've had. For that I am so sorry.
This is just part of my journey into this next phase of my life and although it saddens me greatly, in another aspect it relieves me. To finally accept it, to just know that nothing I can do or nothing I ever did changes it. It lifts something off my shoulders and makes me lighter. And so now as I continue on this trip it gets a little easier with one less heavy trunk to lug around.
And such is life, a continuous learning experience that never ends. At least as long as we are here on earth.