I was thinking about it yesterday during my paranoid downward spiral that it’s my mom’s fault I’m paranoid. Well, I know, I mean, how obvious, right? But what I mean is that I can find her at fault in a very specific way. It just had to do with how she was always shoving her energy onto me. It left me polluted and unable to get her essence off of me, because she was always there.
I had a real [bleep] of a teacher in third grade. Her name was Triva Duffy. She expected advanced-program third graders to be little prodigies. At one point, she assigned us to give presentations about famous people, and I was assigned to be a famous nurse.
The night before my presentation, my mom was on her hands and knees in our carpeted upstairs hallway, sobbing her eyes out and begging me to cooperate with her. The shawl she kept putting on my head was fuzzying my braids, and she feared this was going to ruin my grade and destroy my future. She was in a total panic, and she couldn’t get a grip. In fact, she didn’t even try to get a grip. She just kept oozing pathos and desperation all over me and acting like it was the end of the world. Pressure started to mount inside of me, and that was when I first started screaming.
And I’m sure I’ve talked about Carlotta before. When I was eight or nine and my brother being two years younger, he and I were standing near my mom upstairs. She was seated on the organ bench in our hallway. She shut her eyes, opened them, and became Carlotta, a woman with a robotic voice who expected kids to do loads of housework.
My brother and I burst into tears and begged her to be Mommy again. She shut her eyes and became Mommy again, but she acted as if she knew nothing. No apologies. No explanations. She refused to own it. “I’m Mommy. Who’s this Carlotta you’re speaking of? Did something happen?” She thought it was funny. It’s hard to describe, but her voice carried a hint of laughter in her role as Carlotta, as if she was trying to ward off the desire to dissolve into giggles.
When I was six or seven and my brother two years younger, she sequestered each of us in our rooms and demanded to know who’d broken our dry sink, a piece of furniture made by my late paternal grandpa. Just flash forward to when I was twelve or thirteen and my brother was ten or eleven, and the same situation occurred over her demanding to know who’d drunk my sister’s juice box. (It was my brother in both instances.) She made threats, she acted scary, and she made my brother cry from guilt both times. The furniture had been an accident (a frame of wood wasn’t put in well, and I still have to fix it to this day), and he drank the tiny juice box because–duh–he was thirsty.
Mostly, though, it’s hard to describe her toxic energy and how it got all over me. She was just a horribly negative and somewhat evil woman. I threw a lot of screaming tantrums to avoid keeping her energy bottled up within myself. I’d argue with my parents in that manner–with me screaming, and my parents acting all victimized, because why was I so difficult to control? At one point, my dad had me backed against a wall in the kitchen when I was nine. I grabbed a paring knife and threatened to stab myself in the chest with it. I meant it, too, because I was sobbing and shrieking my lungs out. That actually got him to back off.
I realized that everything that went wrong yesterday was his fault. He shouldn’t have bragged about his close relationship with the manager of the restaurant. He also shouldn’t have read a scene from my book and said, “Aha! You got this policewoman character from the time your brother called the cops on you, didn’t you?” Gee, thanks for the reminder. And furthermore, he shouldn’t have acted all victimized over the coronavirus.
But anyway. My mom’s energy is ugly, and it was frequently dumped all over me as a child. I couldn’t escape it. My voice (the way I’d scream) was my only defense, but I was made to feel as if it made me a bad kid. It also left me with no way of understanding how to regulate my emotions or control my temper. Fortunately, that’s no longer an issue. I no longer go around shrieking at everyone and having complete meltdowns. Back when I used to, it made me hate myself. Like, at one point in college, I wanted to major in teaching, but then I had a screaming, throwing-things meltdown and felt like, “I can’t be a teacher! I’m too messed up in the head.” That makes me sad now. It all goes back to my mother.
I also never learned any boundaries, because my boundaries were under constant assault by my neurotic mother, who saw me as her ideal victim onto whom she could project her insanity. I wasn’t allowed to have boundaries, and I wasn’t taught how to have them, anyway. Instead, I was taught that it was wrong of me to try to separate myself from my mother in any way that would help me. For this reason, other people’s energy continues to splash all over me–because I was never allowed to “block” my mom’s energy. And that’s why I’m schizophrenic today. Sure, these days I try to “block” other people’s energetic fields, but it rarely works. Whatever dark essence a person has, it bleeds all over me.
I had to spend years–decades–dragging myself up and out of the abyss of my mom’s demanding neediness. I worked quite hard at it. I even did A Course in Miracles. It’s amazing, but I only recommend it if you feel called to it. All the while, my mom was still going around spewing negativity wherever she could. A few times while I was in college, I tried living with her. (My college is right up the street from here, and she lived in an adjoining neighborhood.) It never ended well. I’d be playing DK64 (Donkey Kong for the Nintendo 64), and she’d have some sort of tantrum over something, and she’d blame me for how awful her life was, and that sort of thing. I couldn’t even climb the stairs of that beautiful home without feeling miserable and full of dread. That’s what I’m doing in my memory–climbing the old-fashioned stairs with their textured green carpeting and feeling miserable and hopeless, just like she wanted.
Yesterday, I felt too close to it, as if I’d traveled back in time and was exposed to her negativity and cruelty all over again, as if no time had passed since whenever she last tried to destroy me. In the broad scheme of things, she’s enjoyed keeping me crazy, because it gives her control over me. She hates it that I’m happy now, and that I have friends. She wants me to be isolated and miserable, mentally ill and weakened.
She says the exact opposite. “Oh, I’m so glad you have friends. Friends are everything.” But I know she’s full of it, because for years when I was younger, she’d find me crying over a tiff with a friend and say, “Well, who cares? You won’t even know this person in ten years, so forget about him/her already. Relationships can’t be relied upon, unless you’re related. Besides, I think your friend is very strange for [insert something that makes someone completely normal]. Don’t you find that odd? I’d keep my distance from him/her.”
She was a master at making me aware that no one cared about me. Not unlike when I had fun at a Christmas gathering one year several years ago, and she said, “You know your cousins all hate you, right? If they really cared, they’d keep in touch with you during the year. They’re only playing along today because it’s Christmas. It’s nice of them to be so polite and to include you in conversation, isn’t it? It’s so mature of them.” I think that was the same Christmas she said, “Your grandmother doesn’t understand you. She thinks you’re quite strange. She likes your cool, older cousin Shannon quite a bit more, because Shannon’s normal. Now, your grandmother wouldn’t want me to tell you this, but I believe in honesty.” My grandmother died a few years later, and she literally had to visit me from the grave to apologize for that, which I appreciate. Although I’d appreciate it more if she’d never told my mom that.
Anyway, I’m not sure what the point of this was. But I need to put myself first during this coronavirus and not let her guilt-trip me into doing stuff for her that makes me feel uncomfortable, whatever that might be.