Distance Can Be Healthy

Contributed by Anonymous

I am 45. For years growing up my mother yelled constantly and did not act as if she cherished me. She probably did love me but she did not know how to show it in ways that I needed. She was not abusive, it’s just that she couldn’t be bothered with a lot of the things that I cared about. She didn’t know how to handle that I had my own mind, ideas, and interests. At times I was depressed and she just “pooh-poohed” it. She was not well equipped to be a parent of kids born in the 60’s and never learned from her parenting mistakes.

My father died when I was 16 and in a lot of ways I became the one in charge. I guess to summarize, she took care of the “big picture” things like keeping the house when she had no job, paying the bills, getting my sister and me to the colleges we wanted, but when it came to any sort of conflict resolution, her solution was to slam the door and yell, so we had a household of yelling. She has always tended to try and take the easiest way out of things. She never apologized for some of the bigger things she did wrong. At age 26, after years of her spouting “get out of here!”, I moved out quickly when I got a new job. Then she cried to my aunt that I moved out. I moved 100 miles away and liked it very much.

Fast-forward 15 years and her health is failing so we move her to a nice little apartment near where I live. It’s a godsend in that I can be there for medical issues, yet she has her own space and has made many nice friends. In many ways she is a lot easier to deal with than years ago, but also she is very needy. I try to keep as much distance as possible. I realize it’s not productive to think about things she did wrong 20+ years ago but I am sure it impacts how I feel about her today. There are snippets of nice times we have together these days, and I would like to have more of those, but she still manages to say or do things that push my buttons (probably not on purpose but she is so oblivious sometimes it makes me crazy!).

What do you think:

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