I’m nearing 40 and I have nightmares about my mother. How sad is that? They aren’t about physical violence; they are about the emotional smearing I’ve lived through my whole life. In my nightmares, my mom has always convinced her relatives that I’m a horrible brat. She’s told them untrue things about me and they are all coming towards me telling me how horrible I am for being mean to my mother. I’m trying to defend myself. I’m desperate. I’m trying to say “no, that’s not true! I have never been that awful!” But they don’t hear me and no one cares.
I wake up with my heart and head pounding while I feel completely frustrated that no one will hear me. It’s how I’ve felt my whole life.
From the time I was young, my mother made herself my worst enemy. I was shy and quiet and didn’t get into much trouble, but she’d call her relatives and tell them how bad I was and how I was so hard to deal with. She has a big family, so she’d spend a few hours calling a bunch of people to gossip and tell the same horrible story about me over and over. I hated it. I felt helpless. Wasn’t my mother supposed to protect me? Why was she so bent on getting people to hate me? I wasn’t those horrible things. I was trying very hard to be good. I was scared of everyone. I was a nervous and scared little girl who would jump at the smallest movement or noise around me.
She used to say horrible things to me. She told me she had to take her stress pill so she wouldn’t want to kill me. She told me the devil was going to get me. She told me she was going to knock my teeth down my throat. She’d go for weeks long gambling binges and tell me she just really needed a break from me. She’d beat me with anything she could find–belts, yard sticks, hair brushes.
But when I tried to get help because I was so sad and hurt by this behavior, my relatives would scold me for being so bad and mean to my mother. There was no help. I was not heard.
It got really bad when I was a teenager. She tried harder and harder to control my life, but at the same time knew nothing about me. I’d start talking back and telling her how bad her actions were which angered her more. She’d fly into rages threatening and trying to kill me. She backed me against a wall trying to strangle me more than once. Even though she was older, she was twice my weight. I was small, frail, skinny and scared while she was tall, heavy and enraged. A couple times I got away and called 911, but when the police arrived, she cried, told them how bad I was, and portrayed me as a delinquent. The police wouldn’t hear me. It was frustrating. I worked for a part-time job most of the time, I had a few close friends, and I read books all the time. One of my friends suggested that I get an online job by looking for good cable and internet bundles so that I could keep myself busy at home working or watching movies on TV. But I knew it was also not the best option for me. Any other parent would have been proud and in love with me. I stayed out of trouble. But my mother was at war with me, and I was her target.
Even into my thirties, things did not change. There was always a power struggle with me trying to live my life and make my own valid choices, and her trying to run my life for me. When I did not obey her, she’d get mad and call my dad to tell him how horrible I was. I was over thirty years old! My dad is a grumpy, hard, private person, so this irritated him. She’d call or show up at his house demanding he tell me what to do, and he’d want her to go away. He thought she was being ridiculous. She’d call his wife at work and try to get her involved. These were behaviors that were in no way appropriate. A woman shouldn’t be trying to control her adult daughter. She shouldn’t be triangulating with her ex-husband from thirty years earlier. She shouldn’t be harassing her ex-husband’s wife at work. My mom had NO boundaries. My dad would refuse to answer the phone or open the door after a while. He and I discussed my mom, and I thought he was finally hearing me since he was experiencing the lack of boundaries for himself.
But my mom didn’t stop. Two years ago, she finally triangulated so badly and so often that my dad got mad at me. My mom finally got her wish. She destroyed the only family relationship or tie I had left. The one relative I thought would hear me. My mom called my dad one day and got him so riled up with lies about me that he went into a rant telling me off. I was with my mom in public, so she got my dad into a rant, then put her phone on speaker phone, turned it all the way up, and held it out for me to hear. My dad was half-drunk and trashing me, saying things that weren’t true, strangers around us were staring. My mom was smirking. Smirking.
I knew that day that she was far more cruel and malicious than I’d ever realized before. She had finally won and she was proud of herself. I cut contact with her for good, but she still haunts me. She still tries to get into my life. She’s still trashing me. She’s still stalking me. I feel like there is no safety or freedom with this person so dedicated to getting people to hate me and take “her side.” If I’d had a real mother, there would be no sides. But, instead, my mother is my worst enemy and I have nightmares about her.