I guess it's time for this post. I have dropped hints about my not-so-perfect relationship with my mother before, but I think I'm ready to get to the heart of it all. I'm honest, this is my third or fourth attempt of it, and it might not make it either, but it's something I just need to write about to get it off my chest,
I'm by far not the perfect mom, but I try our best to raise the girls with all the love I have to be free-thinking, independent women. All I want for them is to be happy and able to take care of themselves. And while I don't doubt that my mother tried her best to raise her children with love, I always felt that she gave me her love bound on conditions. To have the perfect grades, to have the perfect figure, to be the perfect daughter at home, to date the guys she approves, and to stay with her in eternal gratefulness.
Well, I am not this type of person. As a result, I developed serious eating disorders at a teenager, struggling to take control of at least this part of my life. I suffered from depression and cut my arms with anything sharp I could find just to feel alive in the pain. Later on, I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, which almost always is founded in traumatic incidences in early childhood.
In all my struggling for independence I fought her tooth and nails to break the leashes she had attached to me. The paradox in our relationship always was that on the one hand, she is supportive, like finding therapists or tutors for me or helping me out financially to fund my college, while on the other hand she always tried to hold me back (she was mad when at 14 I told her that I did not want her to make my school lunch for me any more). I am still thankful to my dad that he helped me get out from home at the age of 19, when I took off to college and to my own life.
During my senior year in college, I met my husband. And my mother did everything in her power to prevent us frrom getting married at first. She only relented when she noticed that we would follow through, no matter what. The hubby and I still joke sometimes that it would have indeed been fun just to elope at the court house or in Denmark, the Las Vegas of Europe if it comes to weddings. Three months after the wedding and just days after graduating college, we took off to Richard's new duty station in Kansas. After a last-minute fight at the ariport, my mother did not talk to me for over two months. At this point, it was still hard on me; while I struggled to establish my independence, I still craved her approval to a certain point.
The four years after that, we had two daughters and moved back to Germany. But things didn't get better. We had found a new platform of communication since I was now a mother as well, but still she couldn't respect me as an independent adult and parent. When we first arrived back in Germany, with a newborn, a toddler, and no jobs, we lived in my grandmother's house next to my parents. As soon as I had found a job, we also looked for an apartment; we found one very quickly and moved, which she opposed to the point of accusing me to take her grandchildren away from her again (I commuted for 3 hours every day, and with all respect, our children needed me more than their grandmother).
During the last three years of us living in Germany again, things have gotten better, worse, and even worse. We're going from not talking to each other to her confiding things to me that I never wanted to hear about. The major issue we've been dealing with for well over a year is that Richard and I had decided to end all contact to my "sister", who is my mother's favorite, even though she would never admit it. Well, this person has at some point attacked our daughter with a knife and tried to potty-train her by force within a day to prove our inability as parents while we were moving into our new apartment; after that experience, Lily panicked if she only saw a toilet for a month and we were back to zero in that respect.
In my mother's eyes, I'm a drama queen, who tends to exaggerate and play up things. However, it is my responsibility as a mom to keep our daughters safe. I do not want them to suffer from depression and develop eating disorders just to be able to establish a minimum of control over their own lives. I have never asked my mother to chose sides between her daughters, but it is more than obvious that she has picked her side from the beginning.
I am still learning to accept it, but it's getting easier every time. I feel sorry for our daughters that they don't have the contact with their grandparents as they should. But as they don't know it much different, we will do our best to keep all the drama as far away from them as we can. We have lived as a family by ourselves for so long that the current situation doesn't change much. We have wonderful friends that have become as good as family. Yes, I sometimes day-dream about moving away again, far enough to leave the drama behind me. But I know that I cannot run away forever. I have ran almost to the other side of the world and still couldn't escape the struggle. We have returned to stay and build a good life for our family, and we have succeeded.
I will one day be able to leave behind the guilt, the depression, the panic attacks and become the person I was meant to be before my mother has taken the air from my lungs and tried to bind me to herself. I try to take one baby step at a time, but already feel that I am making progress. My husband is the greatest rock in this process, and I will be eternally greatful to him for all his support in the past, the present, and the future.