I have a very complicated relationship with my mother. With the passing of my father, I have been cast in a role that I am not completely comfortable with. Companion, confidante, and buddy. At the same time my mother rarely extends me the respect of honoring my opinion or acknowledging my accomplishments that she doesn’t value. It would seem that I would need to be a sycophant in order to truly make her happy. Yet, the funny thing is that is not how she raised me.
So I bite my tongue, rarely if ever expressing my true opinion while listening to her rant about things. Which, as she gets older, becomes more & more closed minded. If I dared express a divergent opinion, I am accused of attacking her.
I truly struggle with this. My siblings are of no use on this matter. In their eyes my silence makes me look weak. The truth is they can not even make their own peace with their own childhoods. I made my peace a long time ago, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to live with her.
We all need companionship. That is a simple truth. Some more than others. Family, friends, &/or pets can fill that role. Frankly, my mother needs someone. No matter what she says, she needs companionship. Left to her own devices, she would sequester herself waiting to be approached.
She & I differ in this aspect. I work all day with people and truly need my down time. Yes, family counts as people. When I come home I just want to be left alone to decompress, not be her company because she’s been alone all day.
I say all this not to bag on my mother, because I truly do love her. Our needs are simply different. I discuss this because people often comment that I look like my mother’s twin. Depending on the day and my feelings, I flinch. Because, while my mother really is a remarkable woman and has many qualities I wish to emulate. I need people to understand that I am myself.
Plastering a smile to my face, I thank them for the comparison, but deep I my heart I wish they would phrase it just a little different. I wish they would say instead, “Your mother must be proud of the woman you’ve become.”