The earliest memory I have of my parents fighting was a late Sunday night after church. They started arguing as they were walking to the car. I was five or so. I don’t know what they were arguing about. I just remember them putting my sister and I to bed when we got home. I lay awake. I listened to the anger in their voices as I prayed that it would stop. My sister said something, but I can’t remember what it was. I cried. It made me feel such a deep sadness. I couldn’t understand it.
For years I tried to make sense of it all. The arguing wasn’t that bad until I got into middleschool. I’m not sure what changed, but for whatever reason it progressively got worse. They were angry at each other, I thought. At times directing it towards us. But for the most part the anger was from my mother. My father seemed to be just as confused as we were. So I began to “study” their behavior when I started to show the same anger.
I didn’t like myself when I was angry, but it made me feel better. I was so confused when my mother would lash out at me. She could never explain herself. On a very rare occasion my father would also lash out. His I could make a little sense of more so than my mother. He knew that if I made my mother mad that it would come back on him. If only he knew it was a two way street.
Most of my mother’s arguments involved insecurity, sensitivity, paranoia, assumption, resentment, and the past. Now and then she would give me hints into her childhood. Both of her parents died at separate times when she was young. Her and her siblings were split up. Because her parents died when she was young, she still had that childish image that her parents were flawless. So she compared how she thought she would treat her parents to how we treated her. She never got a chance to realize they made mistakes too. She was sent to live with a distant family member. This is where a lot of her insecurities come from. They were cruel it seems in the slightest of ways. The small things that dig deep. To hear her talk about it with tears in her eyes was hard. But it was just as hard to try and justify her cruelty considering she had been through so much herself. So many things just didn’t add up.
She told me about many mistakes that she made. In fact, she would reiterate them to a degree of madness. Of course, she also included my mistakes and the mistakes of my father and sister and whomever was on her bad side that day. Things a mother shouldn’t share with her child unless it was to teach a life lesson. Her moods never improved. They only got worse right along with our relationship. It wasn’t until I moved far away that I could tolerate her badgering and she could hold her tongue most of the time. But her sadness still lingered. The funny thing about my mother is that with all of the rage that she seems to have inside there’s sincerity and generosity. There really are many layers to people. She just has a few extra ones deep down that need to be peeled away. Even now I have trouble dealing with her odd behavior. It frustrates me so, but I understand that this is who she is and you can’t change a person who has been this way for such a long time. In the same way that she couldn’t change my beliefs despite the fact that they were nothing like hers.
To this day I can’t figure her out. I’ve given up on trying. I simply call her once a week trying to avoid conflict at all costs and moving along in conversation. I never gave up on her though. Her mental state is questionable at times, but she’s still my mother and I love her. I try not to pour salt on her wounds even if she pours it on mine. I would love to hear from anyone who has experiences similar to mine. The relationship between mother in child is such a diverse relationship and I am intrigued by the similarities or diversities.