The few weeks leading up to Mothers’ Day is usually a difficult time for me. It’s hard to head to the shops or even do the grocery shopping without being slapped in the face with pink decorations, flowers and gift ideas for mum. Advertisers are relentless, telling us to show our mothers how much they are valued by getting them a gift they deserve. It’s a pity that I haven’t seen a pink long handled shovel with a bow on it, because that is what my NM deserves – a hard, long swing straight to the back of the head.
The mother-daughter ads and articles and the sweet heartfelt words in cards make me both upset and angry. Cards refer to mothers as saints and selfless human beings who love, nurture and protect their children. My NM is nowhere near selfless. Everything she does is clearly calculated to achieve the maximum benefit for herself. My intellectually disabled brother is still under the care of my parents. My NM complains about him to anyone who would listen to her. She tells everyone how difficult it is to look after him to get sympathy from the relatives. I have told her off several times for saying that within earshot of my brother, but she evidently doesn’t care how he feels as she does it repeatedly. My NM also sided with the perpetrator – someone she had never met – when i got punched in school. She definitely didn’t protect me. My NM may martyr herself, but she is as subtle as a bull in a china shop. Everything that she does for others is never kept a secret because she publicizes that she has helped so that the other relatives are aware that she has “helped”.
The irrational doubts also start creeping in, and I start wondering if maybe there was something wrong with me after all, that maybe I’m the cause of the dysfunctional relationship I have with my NM. I start asking myself what is wrong with me that my own mother who brought me into this world cannot love me. Am I that unlovable?
Then I think about my own little family. I am loved by hubby, our two wonderful boys and even the furry son. Hubby’s sick and the boys are too young to serve me breakfast in bed, but I am totally okay with that because they show me love every day in the form of cuddles and kisses. No one can put a price on that! The boys got me a knitted and stuffed cupcake. It is now keeping my Pikachu, Toothless, Stormfly and Hook Fang company (yes, I am a huge fan of How To Train Your Dragon). I will definitely not be regifting it like my NM does with presents given to her!
I also think of the maternal figures in my life, one of whom is my NM’s former best friend. She looked after me from Sunday night to Friday evening while I was in kindergarten. This is a subject of my NM’s gaslighting as she tries to convince me that it was only for two weeks when I know that she pulled me out of kindy for a lot longer than that. When my parents had a falling out with her family, I continued to remain close to her, much to my NM’s displeasure! When I called her today to wish her a Happy Mothers’ Day, she started crying saying that she was so happy to hear my voice and that she wanted to give me a hug. Of course that turned on the waterworks at my end of the line too because I haven’t heard that from my NM. She told me not to worry so much and that everything will be alright. She also told me that I was one of her favourites and that she loved and missed me very much.
I was a bit apprehensive aboout logging on to Facebook today as most of my friends and family would be posting tributes to their wonderful mothers. However, when I turned my wi-fi on, there was a message from my auntie wishing me. She and my uncle took me in as a teen after I was discharged from hospital when I had overdosed on Valium. It reminded me that I do have mothers and that thought helped me cope with today.
So today, on Mothers’ Day, I give thanks for the several women who have taken a role as my mother. They are the selfless, giving women who have showed me so much love even though I do not share their blood and was not born from their wombs. They are more deserving of flowers, gifts, cards and breakfasts in bed than the woman who gave me life and is supposedly my mother. They are the ones whom I’d love to spend Mothers’ Day with. They are the ones whom I miss.
My heart and thoughts also go out to all adult children of narcissistic mothers scattered all over the world. Some of us are mothers ourselves and take every measure to ensure that we are not like our NMs. We love, nurture and support our children, trying very hard to ensure that they got everything we wished we had, despite our own struggles with our NMs and the mental anguish that ensued.
Some of us may not have children, but it is still a day to be celebrated. We have had to be mothers to ourselves, struggling to be kind and loving to ourselves so that we can heal and discard all the toxicity that has been heaped on us by our NMs. Today we need to pamper ourselves in recognition of our efforts to pick up the broken pieces of ourselves after the destruction of our NMs. I’ve been craving for waffles drenched in maple syrup. Today I made waffles for breakfast. What can you do to pamper yourself?