Loopy, Lonely and Lost

The matriarch.

Posted on: August 12, 2009

Sometimes, I really can’t stand my mother.

In the space of a few days, she’s gone from unbearably nice to unbearably awful.

She sleeps. She shouts. She accuses. She drinks bottle after bottle of wine.

She says that none of us ever do anything around the house. She says that all of us are useless, lazy, good for nothing. If she took a moment to look, she’d see that my dad and brother both have full-time jobs. She’d see that my brother and I clean our rooms, and help out with the rest of the house. She’d see that my dad cooks every meal, with some help from us. She’d see that my dad cleans the house, does the shopping, does the gardening, washes the dishes, does so fucking much.

But it’s not enough for her. She thinks that the fact that she recently cleaned a bathroom means that she’s some sort of slave in our house, always toiling away. I told her that if she asked me to do something, I would do it, but I can’t read minds, I don’t know what she wants me to do. And she told me that there was no point in asking me to do things because I don’t do them properly. She says that my brother never listens or does what she asks, but she still insists on telling him everything dozens of times, very loudly and with increasing amounts of profanities.

She just looks for things to complain about. She says that my brother and I spend too much time on the computer, that she never gets the chance to use it. But every time I offer to fetch it for her, she says she doesn’t want it. Today, I took it downstairs, put it beside her chair, told her it was there, and she sat next to it for six hours without even switching it on, spending that time doing nothing but watching things on tv that she didn’t particularly want to watch, sleeping and having a go at us. Then when I asked if I could use it, she rolled her eyes like I’m some sort of selfish, computer-hogging cow.

My dad is an uncaring bastard, she says. Because he lets my brother and I “get away with stuff”. She tells him he’s as bad as us, because that’s the worst insult she can think of, isn’t it? God forbid someone should be anything like her children, disobedient, feral creatures that we are. She told my dad that she hates him. She told him to go away, to leave her alone. It hurt me to hear that. Like I’ve said so many times, he does so much. He can be a bit of an arsehole at times but he’s the only constant in this family. He was the one that raised us, he’s the one that treats us like we’re real¬†people.

I’m so angry with her. She’s lashing out at everyone and it really hurts. Not so much when she says stuff to me, because she’s just echoing what I think of myself most of the time. But my dad and my brother aren’t lazy – especially not my dad. He tries so hard to help her. He tries so hard to keep the family happy and together, but it’s never good enough for her.

And I’m angry at myself for being angry at her. She’s my mother. Surely that means something? Surely I owe her some lenience, some understanding. I’ve tried so hard to be a good person, a good daughter, but I just keep failing.

She says that if she’s ‘out of sorts’ it’s because of her pain. She is in pain, I know it. She always has been. But it can’t just be that. Pain alone doesn’t make people like this. Pain makes you grumpy. Pain makes you irritable. It doesn’t make you want to destroy your family, it doesn’t make you hate everyone around you. It doesn’t make you spiteful and malicious. It doesn’t make you blind to how much people care, how much they do for you, how much they’re trying to help.

She’s crying, all the time. Even in her sleep.

She says it’s my dad’s fault, because he won’t get her help for her pain. He’s tried so hard. He’s been to every doctor’s appointment with her. He’s argued with doctors, even against his own judgment (he’s a nurse), when my mum was struck dumb with pain and sadness (something that never happens at home, of course). He’s changed doctors with her, time after time, when she inevitably fell out with them about the amount of painkillers she needed, or other nameless problems that never really get explained. When she found a specialist doctor at a hospital around 60 miles away, he’d drive her to and from her appointments (and when she was an inpatient there, he drove there and back every day he wasn’t working – he was still making time to work, and to look after me and my brother, and to keep the house looking tidy). And then every time he suggests that perhaps another bottle of wine isn’t a good idea, or perhaps she should go a bit more slowly on the prescription painkillers, he just gets shouted at and told he doesn’t understand, doesn’t care, should just fuck off.

The painkillers, of course, are another problem. She’s not addicted, she says. She doesn’t take them for fun. She takes them because she’s in pain. And no, she can’t ever miss a dose, because of the withdrawal symptoms. And yes, she really does need another one, right now. Even if it means she has to go to the doctor and get another prescription because she’s got none left. It’s the drugs that make her sleep, I think (that and the alcohol, and the pain). But they also make her spaced out. They also make her lose her concentration. Every time she’s driven the car over the past few days, she’s almost had an accident. But she won’t stop driving. My dad said he’d take her keys off her, but then she accused him of being cruel and unfair. Every time she goes out alone, I worry, I panic, I’m scared – that maybe today will be the day when she doesn’t stop in time. Maybe today will be the day when the other driver doesn’t see her coming.

I’m trying to be calm. I’m trying to justify her actions to myself. I’m catching my brother’s eye and trying to express sympathy and caution and beg him not to react too much, with one look. I’m trying to be kind. I’m speaking in a quiet voice and calmly explaining things. I’m tidying things up before she gets the chance to see them and complain. I’m being as helpful as I can. I’m trying not to complain, or argue. But it doesn’t come naturally to me –¬†meekness, subservience. When I feel I can act like myself, I voice my opinions, I’m honest, and it means that I’m never really angry because I’m not bottling anything up. But when I’m at home, I’m constantly biting my tongue, constantly trying to be selfless, think of other people, keep the peace. And my patience is wearing thin. I can feel all the annoyances building up inside me.

She is my mother. I’m supposed to care about her – and I do, so much it hurts, sometimes. But I’m also supposed to like her, and I don’t. Not very often.


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My name is Laura. I was once told that I have cyclothymia. This blog is mostly where I write about living as a person with extremes and instability of mood, and the history of a life that led to the development of those symptoms.

I complain a lot, I'm very repetitive, unreliable, and I tend to contradict myself.

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