Gravel In Ya Guts and That Spit In Ya Eye

Whenever I do a reflective post regarding my childhood and the wonderful affects my mother had on it, it's never too positive. Scratch that, it's never been positive. I feel bad about that. But that is what she made out of her time with me, shaping me, molding me. So, when I need to rip that old band-aid off, I will. She is my mom, yes. Did she do the best with what she knew? I suppose. But my mom was the Yin and my dad was the Yang. And when I can find something positive and uplifting to recall about my childhood with my mom, I will.
I'm still searching.
Anyway. This is leading somewhere. Last Thursday, I called my mom in the morning to check in. She called me back a few hours later, we spoke and hung up. I began my chores for the day of laundry, stripping beds, and well...you get the idea. I was upstairs, the phone was ringing & there were no phones upstairs with me - they were all downstairs. The answering machine picks up. And this is what I hear in a horribly monotone, horribly suspicious, horribly bland tone of voice: "Je-ss. Where are you? *sigh* I don't know where you go all of the time. All right. Callmeback." This annoyed me terribly. It doesn't sound like much. But you'd have to hear it. It had her 'tone'. The one I've heard my whole damned life. The one that makes insanely ridiculous accusations, the one that is Passive/aggressive, the one that makes my neck hairs stand on end, the one that sends me in a tailspin. After I huffed and puffed, ranted and raved about this message, I had a revelation.

I've lived with accusation after accusation, suspicion and guilt. And I lived this on a daily basis with my mother. So, no wonder I'm always so damned defensive. I constantly had to defend my actions, my thoughts, my desires to better myself. And I had to defend them to my mother. Granted, I'm not defensive all of the time. I am actually a pretty laid back person. However, the minute I feel I am being questioned, demoralized, put into a corner, condescended, scolded or bossed around. BAM!!! Out she comes....Mt. DefensiveBitchTabitha.

Yes, I am an adult. With my own mind. My own personality, my own views, morals and values. But at what point can we shed what has been, essentially, programmed? I know it's there. It's one of the things I like least about myself. But it's like the aftershocks of an earthquake. It's just going to happen. It's part of the process. Nature vs. Nurture, folks.

It's funny how something as trivial and stupid like, a little message on an answering machine, can open a whole can of worms. But that's the funny thing about life and our 'demons'. They're there. We're all walking around "carrying a bunch of ghouls" around with us. (You'd have to watch old episodes of 'The Soprano's' to get that one. Good old, Paulie.) Anyway........

Something has been working it's way out. I've been on a journey the past few months. Where that journey will lead, who knows. And my journey's never seem to make any sense until about 5 years, after the fact. I'm just hoping that I am able to walk away from the defensiveness that has been bred in me. I'm hoping to shed that last bit of that little girl that sits cowering in the corner, awash in shame and guilt, for no good reason. Other than her mother's need to keep her down in "the mud and the blood and the beer". Because that little girl has had a fire burning inside of her for quite sometime. It just has been grossly misdirected.

5 ripples in the pond:

jen said...

ahh, tab. you are doing it..you are slowly unveiling as you need to...and you have damn good reason to feel self-protective..the little girl you didn't have anyone in her corner, did she?

well, sister, you've got people in yours now, and we are sticking put and ready to listen.

Thailand Gal said...

Tabba, what a post! Good heavens, what a post! Somehow, I think we can all relate. It's a defensive world. It seems we're always defending something. Compassion is the only answer. I honestly believe that ~ and, yes, it's freaking hard with certain people. If she wasn't hurting somehow, she wouldn't behave that way. In the end, we all come from our woundedness somehow ~ even your mother.

Best to you,

Thailand Gal

Penny said...

Wonderfully well written, again as always. Enjoyable. Although I feel awkward enjoying so your dismay.

Your mom was failing to self-monitor. Mine does that, too. She's adorably sweet, but unless she has a running tally of what I've done and eaten, she's half-panicked. I've started answering the phone will, "Hi, Mom! I'm just studying and about to pick up Oee and then we are having pork-chops for dinner, before (sig other) goes to watch hockey and Oee and I make a craft and then I'm going to put her to bed after I read her some stories, I think she'll sleep well, because she was up early and I sent her to school with a good lunch, so I'll call you when she's fallen asleep, after my shower and tell you how my day went, if you like."

From the archives of the Life-ala-Mom stories that my friends and I have shared over the years and beers, here are a couple of comebacks.

The Gentle reminder:

"Those are the thoughts that are supposed to stay inside (insert borderline-patronizing laugh),so that I don't feel like an eight year old, Mom. "

The Direct Shock Punisher:

"Mom.. sometimes I just can't get to the phone. I mean.. there is no cause for alarm. It's not like I was driving to the local co-ed dormitory to experiment with some latent-bi-curiosity, I was just (hushed confidential tone) masterbating for heaven-sakes, I can't very well answer the phone in the middle of that, now can I."

Backhanded Honesty:

"Just because the phone rings, doesn't mean I am going to answer it. Because I might have other things on my mind and just because you are talking, doesn't mean I am listening. And, I want to be able to give you my full attention.

The Brutal Psychobabble Baffle:

"Mom, I grew up and moved out so that I wouldn't have to answer to you. You said that I had to do as you said under your roof and that when I moved out, I could do as I wished. Here I am, doing it. So, limit your calls and your narration of frustration, please, because it becomes kind of redundant for me to call you back or come and visit when you are constantly imposing your roof over my house, during most of the times we communicate."

The Retro-Generational Threat:

"If you keep calling me, I'm gonna get Grandma to call you six times a day and when you stop answering, I'll get her to fill up your voice mail with questions such as: what did you eat today, where did you go this morning and where are you now."

Deciet for the Technologically-Deficient:

"You know fibre optics nowadays - there're glitches here and there all over the place - I didn't get your call and your message is probably floating around in fibre-optic space."

Or, call-forward your phone to your sister or the local pizza hut.

Good luck with your Mom. I think when it comes to this, Moms are all the same.. God love 'em. ;)

Pippajo said...

Crikey, I'm almost speechless.

I, too, am on a long journey concerning my mother. My relationship with her is very complicated, with issues that run very deep. It has not been easy, but it's been very necessary and, at it's core, very good.

Where you seem to go into "fight" mode, I go into "flight." Whenever I feel the need to defend my actions, my choices, my opinions (which is almost constantly) I shut down. I used to just change my opinion or my mind to match up with hers, but I've made significant progress in that area and now I stick to my guns. But I still feel the guilt for days and days afterward.

I don't really have any words of encouragement for you. I'm not sure where this is going either. But I do lie awake at night and pray that I won't cause such anxiety for My Girl. Is it possible to NOT drive our daughters crazy for the rest of their lives? Is there any way to avoid becoming such a source of irritation to someone I love so desperately? I really don't know.

But I think there HAS to be some merit in being so aware of it all. As The Viking says, sure we're going to make the mistakes, but I'll be damned if they're the same ones my parents made.

Hugs to you, and just keep on keeping on.

Tabba said...

Thanks, girls. For all of your kind words.
That is one of my biggest fears - that, one day, I am going to be on the other end.
I'm trying really hard to lay the groundwork now, so that doesn't happen.
It's daunting. But I'm trying