I like books.


I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

When Love Hurts

Yesterday, it occurred to me that my daughter doesn’t like me; in fact, I know she hates me. This isn’t an epiphany that just hit, I have thought for many years that she was repulsed by me. I can only describe how I felt when I looked at her and she had this look, one that I recognized, it’s genetic, my mom had that same look. It’s a look like, well you’re here, not my choice, I’m stuck with you, what the hell, on good days maybe I’ll tolerate you on the rest of the days, I’ll ignore or simply show my repulsion, you don’t count. That is how it was, yesterday. She came to school, to the lab, where I work and I was working on a Toni Morrison paper. She told me I had to babysit, so I said, cool. She hates for me say cool, I don't know why, I have said it since the 60s, it's how my generation talks. I think she thinks I am trying to be like the kids at school, but she is wrong and I have told her that. When I got in the car, she wasn't speaking to me. Just like when I was a child, just like when my mother would ignore me and ignore my attempts to talk to her, that is how I felt. I asked her if she was angry at me, she said yes. I asked her what was wrong, what did I do; I panicked, I didn't want her to be mad at me. WE were driving along, she was sulled up, me trying to humor her, and then she blurted out that I was the reason she hasn’t graduated college. I was the reason she was flunking psychology, I was the reason she couldn’t keep a job. It wasn’t even the words, it was the way she said them, and I finally realized that she made me feel like my mother made me feel. Like I had to always prove myself or bend myself to make her happy and it occurred to me that I am fifty and I don’t like those feelings. It was sad, that moment of total recognition, and what was sadder was what I had to say and how I had to stop the abuse. (It's not like I never do anything for her. I babysit all the time, all night and all weekend, and when I am not in class. She lives with us, I give her large amounts of money, I buy all my grandchildren's clothes and toys and anything else they need. If I don't she doesn't speak to me.) She called me later as if nothing had happened, the name-calling and as if the awful things she said were okay and it was another hour and I should be over it and pick up and let the cycle continue. She needed me. When she called, my heart leapt, yes it leapt, like a child who might get a hug or an I love you or an I’m sorry. (I tell her that I love her all the time, she hasn't shown me any affection other than anger since she was a child) But it wasn’t that, it was she wanted me to baby sit, wanted me to give her gas money, wanted me to forget that I was the person she hated, as opposed to the man who she adores who never spent a penny on her, never exercised his visitation rights, came into her life after she was grown and every two or three years she runs into him or hunts him down. The man who gets her unconditional love. I don’t feel sorry for myself; I let it happen. I should have stopped it years ago. I did stop it yesterday. No more. I am fifty and I am not going to be that little girl with the red handprints on her face, the bruises on her back and legs, and the ego that is deflated at every moment of life, I am not going to let my daughter's emotional abuse and verbal attacks on me continue. I couldn't stop my mother, I was a child, but now I can stop any abuse aimed at me, I am, after all a woman. If this means spending the rest of my life distanced from my daughter, it has to be. I will miss her and I hope she lets me see my grandsons. If she doesn’t let me see them, I have to live with that too. There just comes a time when enough is enough and it's enough.


Blogger delagar said...

This probably won't help, but I was often vicious to my mother when I was younger not because I hated her but just because I could be vicious to her: I knew she would always forgive me.

Man, what a sucky reason.

Especially to be mean to your *mother,* the woman who brought you into this world and fought to keep you alive all that time.

That just bites, Zelda. I'm sorry.

6:13 AM  

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