So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

18 September, 2007

You Don't Hit Your Mother

Another mother anecdote, while I chew on other things and mostly make like a hermit.

I have no idea what we were fighting about, anymore; it was one of those blowups of teenagerhood, with all of the bonus angst that comes of dealing with stark madness, and all I remember was that I was madder at her right then than I was entirely comfortable with, mad to the point of going into hunter-vision where all that was left was the sense that if I let go just a little I would punch her, right in the center of her condescending, contemptuous face.

I made an attempt at getting some balance, stopping her tirade, with a "Stop it or I'll --" and stopped, because one doesn't say "Smash your goddamn nose in" to one's mother. It's shameful to even be considering it, let alone threaten it, let alone do it ...

"Or you'll what?" she said, the sneer deepening. "Run away and get married?"

She won that round of fight because I was too confused to continue. What Borderline Crazy calls the Black Box struck again, leaving me utterly wordless.

And that was not long after my husband (then husband-to-be) had given me the first ring, my husband who she constantly tells me she adores. I have never been able to reconcile that in my head, figure out how she believes so many impossible things before breakfast, how she could be so blazingly hostile to my relationship with him in that one moment.

I told my liege that story, and he said, "Fascinating. Her first response was fear that you'd get out of her control." And that was sharp, that was.

I told my father that story a few months ago -- something like twelve years later -- and he was reminded of a story he heard, of some abused kid whose father finally came at him with a baseball bat or something, and he took it away. "What'd you do then?" the kid was asked. "I took the bat and walked out." "You didn't hit him?" Response, in mildly scolding tones, "You don't hit your father." And Dad was kind of full of wondering tones at people who somewhere in there, despite the fucked-upedness of their circumstances, grew up having that line they don't cross. You don't hit your mother.

This was part of why I concealed being poly from her for a long, long time -- because if she was willing to try to turn my partnership with my husband into a weapon to use against me, this being someone who she was constantly effusive in her praise for, someone she gave all appearance of adoring, what would she do to someone whose relationship with me was somehow deviant to her arbitrarily defined principles, less legit? What would she try to do to me over it? What would she try to do to my father over it (I actively concealed things from her until the divorce was final and she couldn't try to blame him for my relationships)? And at the same time ... I stopped hiding, because I needed to know which way she would jump before I have children, so I knew how much I would have to protect my family from her, beyond the obvious living far away that I already do.

There's a little spot in my personal conception of hell for people who try to grab a hold of partnership and jab it back into someone's gut, to evicerate them for the temerity of admitting to love. Not that I subscribe to any of the classic hells, but nonetheless family is family, community is community, and trying to twist those around into something with edges to use on anyone who admits to the vulnerability of caring ...

And still ... you don't hit your mother.


Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to write about my own mother.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I've just found your blog and am enjoying a browse through it. :)

Cool idea, having a reading list in your sidebar. :) The books you have there reminded me of one I read which was one of the beginnings for me in terms of self discovery within the context of my interactions with my parents. I keep coming back to it for reference. It still speaks as clearly and as vitally to me today as it did 5 years ago when I first read it. I highly recommend it.

Plus it's got an absolutely aMAZing title. :D

It's called Children of the Self-Absorbed, A Grownup's Guide to Getting Over Narcissistic Parents, by Nina Brown.

Even if you don't read it, I still just adore the title. :) The book does live up to the great title, though.

Thanks for the post. I can really identify.

Best regards,


Dw3t-Hthr said...


I figure, hey, every so often I make reference to something -- including in the blog title -- so people may as well have access to a list. And as I actually get around to writing more about what I intended to do when I started, the list will get longer and weirder. ;)

And yes, that's a great title.