Mother Issues: How Cliché

A few sessions back I revisited the relationship between me and my mother. Specifically how she related to me when I was sick. As a child I was rarely sick, but on those rare occasions, I remember my mom not really believing me when I told her that I wasn’t feeling well. It wasn’t until she saw evidence of my illness that she would act on it.

She would get out the teas, salves, medicine, etc. that I needed, but it was always with a tone of disappointment and hassle (this would continue into my adult years as well). She was a well-worn woman who was given many tasks to accomplish everyday, and my being sick only added to the burden. In short she didn’t have a bedside manner. I felt no emotional comfort from her or connection with her. There was no soothing or nurturing.

Of course my therapist is quick to point out that this is how I treat myself. When I get ill, I don’t self-sooth. How could I do that when I wasn’t shown what that looks like? Instead I get frustrated and think of what a hassle it is. I lay in the hospital bed angry about the bill I’m going to get, instead of focusing on paying attention to what I need and asking for it.

This behavior crosses over into other aspects of my life as well. It shows up in my anger with a “fuck it” attitude. It shows up when I think of how much I don’t matter and therefore am not proactive in my best interest. It shows up when I check-out/go numb and can’t even show up in my own life.

Some people tell me that I do care for myself through all the group work, mediation classes, self-interest classes, and therapy sessions that I take part in, but these are merely tools to keep me alive until the next day. In between are the pitfalls. In between is the real work that I’m just too damn exhausted to do anymore.

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