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A Conversation with my Mother

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Me: "I will be away for two days next week."
Her: "Oh, why is that?"
Me: "I will be giving a presentation to book reps on my textbook and having discussions about writing another book. They want to commission me to write a book that could be quite significant on the topic of ____."
Her: "Well, you better be prepared for bad weather. You could be delayed in airports, have to stay longer than you expect to. And I suppose Mr.C. will have to take time off. How many days will he have to take? How long are you gone for again?"

My interpretation:
She could give a shit about the things I do and even if she does, it doesn't really matter because she can't express herself like any other human being might. She looks for every possible critical analysis of a situation that she can. Instead of congratulating me and being happy for me, she thinks about snow storms and poor dear Mr.C. having to take a day off work. Poor thing. Bad wife. What do I do these things for anyway? She is a really terrible person, my mother. It is hard to feel so conflicted about someone you are supposed to hold so dear. But I don't, because she doesn't. Never has. Doesn't know how. I don't care; I shouldn't know how either but I do. Get over yourself mother. I know you won't. It actually only gets worse as you age. And I am not a big enough person to reach out to you. Because I can not stand your judgement and synical self.

  1. Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said:

    I was so sad reading her reactions to your conversation. I was disappointed in what she said. I would have been so proud, wanting to know more about the specifics....just generally thrilled that my child was doing so well.

    My Mom does things like that too. I've learned that her own anxiety, dashed dreams etc lead her to not appreciate who and what I am.

    It is very hard when someone so dear falls so short in this realm. I am sure you, like I, are so different with our children.

    What is the commissioned book to be about? Don't leave me hanging.


  1. Blogger Chloe said:

    oh Cathy.
    how awful never to be congratulated, always to be questioned, never being right about anything.
    some people don't know how to show they care. My mum used to overfeed us to show her love. She was distant, awkward and the only way she could find to show us she cared, was to bake cakes, buy crisps and chocolate. She has been better since she had her grandson.
    I do hope your mum changes her ways. However, we are big girls now. We don't really need their approval.
    Congratulations. We are all very very proud of you.
    (an answer to "you could be delayed in airports": "oh well, that's not so bad. i love shopping at airports, have you seen the prices?")

  1. Blogger vani said:

    your mother sounds allot like mine. ever since i can remember- even as a kid, bringing home the a's in my report card. she was never satisfied, it was always "you could do better", or looking at the negative.

    we, being mothers now can strive to learn from our own mother's mistakes. that is the only thing we can do, because i've learned people don't change.

  1. Blogger Stephanie said:

    I'm so sorry to hear about your Mom's response. You can choose your friends, but not your family. You became you despite that, and we know that you are different, and we like you a ton :) Also, we think it's awesome about the book thing!

  1. Blogger Connie and Rob said:

    I so sorry that she couldn't just come out and say she is proud of you. Of course really there are a lot of people who have a problem expressing themselves. She is the one that is missing out on so much joy.

    Well I would like to take a moment and say...WOW...that is so exciting! Congratulations! I am very proud of you.

    All the best to you.

  1. Blogger missbhavens said:

    "And I am not a big enough person to reach out to you."

    Don't do that to yourself! The way I see it, a lifetime of reaching is about as much reaching as a person can be expected to do! Especially when reaching out to someone who is way past the point of being able to change her behaviour.

    Grrrr...I don't know how someone gleans "Airport-weather-bad-delay-husband-takes-day-off" out of "They want to commission me to write a book" but it must frustrate the hell out of you...not to mention hurt your feelings.

    I'm sorry, Cathy. I wish I could say that someday you'll grow to expect less from her therby disappointing you less, as well...but I don't know. I still expect bare-bones-basic good behaviour from my Dad and get crushed every time.

    But NEVER let yourself think that you aren't "big" enough to turn her around. You should be fairer to yourself.

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    Thank you for taking the time write such kind and thoughtful words. I am sorry to hear that your mother does things like this as well.
    It may be a book about weather extremes.

    My mother showed hers by going shopping. That's why I have a shopping addiction today, I think.

    Oh no, not another one! The best we can do is learn from their mistakes and make ourselves better people for it. Blessings in disguise.

    So glad to have you and everyone else so supportive. Really, it matters and you are all so wonderful. Yes, if only we could pick our family...

    Thank you, you are so sweet to say this. As always, supportive and wonderful.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write out such a heartfelt and kind response. You know what, you're right. I hear ya'!
    Thank You.

  1. Blogger No_Newz said:

    Well hey, I'm proud of you and so are those six people above me. And Mr. C and the little guys would be too if they knew how freakin' exciting this is. Keep smiling and be proud of you. :)
    Lois Lane

  1. Blogger Devil Mood said:

    Every relationship with our mothers is different and in each one there's a bit on conflict.
    I don't know your mother so I shouldn't really be commenting but she probably is proud of you, although she might not say so. Some people are just naturally over-critical and she doesn't even realize that her critic affects you. But you can handle it :)

  1. Blogger angel, jr. said:

    Anyway, congrats on getting to do a presentation. I hope the trip goes well for you and that there are no delays or bad weather.

  1. Blogger Gurgo said:

    Oh Cathy, I am sure that she loves you! Not only because she is scared that you are away for some days!
    According to your writing I would guess she only heard that you are going away for some days and that scared her so much that all other is gone by the board.
    And the poor Mr.C is just an excuse for not being forced to say to you how much she is scared!
    Further I am sure - she is very proud of you and talking all over in the neighbourhood!
    You don't believe me - call her bestfriend!
    I know that you will do a good job!
    Well go now and kick some arses!

  1. Blogger fb said:

    That is my relationship with my father.

    Example for the jury: 2 days before Christmas, he plays golf all day while my mother buys groceries for Christmas Lunch...he then wants to know why I didn't go and help her carry the bags. I just came home from hospital 2 days ago after an operation...could that be why?!

    Sorry I could go on with more examples...

    BTW That's kinda cool...you can say I wrote that when you see the book somewhere!

  1. Blogger Heidi said:

    Cathy..What a bummer..makes me sad to hear this as well.

    Were all proud of you!

  1. Anonymous Anonymous said:

    I agree with Gurgo... you must know your mother wouldn't intentionally hurt you. (And she probably isn't a terrible person)

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    Mr.C is supportive and always excited for me. We have a wonderful relationship. The boys are too young to know what's going on around them right now.

    Devil Mood;
    She probably is, yes I know she is. I would just like her to say it for once. Frustrating beyond belief sometimes. Our personalities clash like thunder sometimes.

    I'm sure I'll be posting about how it goes.

    My wise sage ;) (although she has no best friend)

    UGH; how frustrating for you! I am realising that there are many of us with dysfunctional relationships with our parents.

    I know you are, and it's not that I am searching for accolades, it's just the way my mother is that has always driven me nuts and will forever drive me nuts.

    I also agreed with Gurgo. But she's still annoying as hell.

  1. Blogger Jase said:

    The reason you are upset is perhaps becuase you want your mother to be someone other than who she is. You know she is like this and there is nothing you can do to change her. So accept that she finds fault or rather expresses fear of risk rather than choosing to share what could be a moment of common joy. It is not her way. If you accept that this is what will happen, rather than reaching out repeatedly and getting hurt repeatedly then you will find it easier to deal with her. When I moved to Costa Rica, my mum spent two weeks fretting over yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria rather than "Wow Adventure". Mums Frett.
    Everyone has a different way of expressing love and their need for love. Some do this destructively. We that can, have to try to filter out the noise, in order to hear the real message.

    Right, now that that's over with. I personally, am really proud to be able to call you a friend. Really proud that you are going to get published. I also feel an awful lot of admiration for you because of all the work you put in holding down a job, being a great mum, being a good wife, maintaining a whole bunch of global blog relationships and truly caring about the people you deal with, giving them your time and your thoughts. On top of all of that you are going to be a published author. Well done Cathy!

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    I am visited by another wise sage:)

    Deep down I know the following:
    -my mother really isn't a terrible person
    -she is a product of her upbringing
    -she can not show love or affection like many mothers can
    -she has never spoken I love you to me once. In my life.
    -she really is proud, but does not know how, nor can she bring herself to say it.
    -I wish we had a different relationship but we never will.
    -She loves me and is proud of me.

    I know these things very deep down. It is frustrating for me to have to dig. My relationship with my children is so completely different. They are hugged, kissed, cuddled and "I love you'd" to pieces. Every day. I can not picture it any other way.

    On your second theme, you are so sweet, Jase. Really. Great friends make up for crap like this.

  1. Blogger Meow said:

    It is sad that your mother doesn't tell you what you want to hear, but unfortunately, many parents are like that. They grew up in a different world than we have, perhaps did not receive praise often, so are unsure of how to give it. That's my theory, anyway !!
    Congratulations on your achievements, and on what you are about to embark on. You should be very proud of yourself. I know we all are, and your Mr C and kids, too.
    Take care,
    Meow xxx

  1. Blogger Neo said:

    Cathy -Yeah, know the feeling. My mom doesn't quite understand my writing either. But I love her anyways. ;)

    Her answer should have been:

    I'm proud of you. I know you'll do well.

    Then she should have given you a hug.


    Sorry I'm late on this one, yesterday was hectic.


    - Neo

  1. Blogger Jase said:

    Maybe the reason you are so different with your kids, is because your mum was so different with you.

    Just perhaps, the reason you are so loving to your children is directly because she was not loving enough to you.

    So in a way you have your mum to thank for you being such a great mum yourself and you should love her for that.

  1. Blogger Michelle said:

    If there were any doubt in my mind we are from the same mother......this ends it!

    Selfish selfish selfish.

  1. Blogger Cathy said:

    I have thought exactly that, my friend. In my actual journal I have written words so similar to the ones you just posted. The irony. I have her cold heart to thank for lots of things. How would I have turned out if I had been showered with love and affection? Now that I shower my children with love, how will they turn out? Every individual is different but such a huge part of the good things that I have been able to do are in large part a direct result of adversity I have faced. So my challenge is to enable my sons to grow up to be wonderful caring people who have not had to face adversity.

    Well, what would we rant about if it weren't for them!!!

  1. Blogger Gurgo said:

    Cathy, you forgot to write "old" sages are always old! So: wise, old sage! would be perfect!!!

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