A young girl and her experience with an alcoholic for a mother. What could possibly be wrong?
Get Over It
I was probably 6 when I first noticed it. How my mom would change from nice to mean in matter of a couple hours, depending on the day. It was confusing, of course, for someone as young as I was. Most of the time I didn’t know how to react, or when I did react, it only worsened the, to me, imaginary problem. I understand it more than ever to this day, though. And, honestly, I’m over it now. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Whether it was in the past or not, it still affected me at some point. It affected our relationship and how I thought of myself. But I’ve moved on and out and away long enough to just say “eh, it’s whatever” about the whole thing.
Since I could remember, there’s always been times that I would look at my mom while being yelled at to not show my face around her or that I was a piece of shit and think, “What the hell did I do wrong?”. Unfortunately, I did not learn that I in fact did pretty much nothing to deserve the aggressive and violent attention my mom seemed to only give me, out of 4 children, until I was older. At age 5 or 6, it’s not that easy to understand, especially when you can’t even pronounce alcoholic. I remember asking my dad, “Does mom seem a little weird to you tonight?”, a night she had some old time friends over, talking loud and in slurs. He laughed a little and said, “Yeah, a little, but don’t worry about it.” I won’t lie, not understanding what was happening messed me up for a while.
Here I had a mother who, most days, was so nice to me, who smiled at me and laughed with me like any mother should, and then on other days I was called selfish and “the problem child” with the weight problem and was laughed at instead. It was a lot to take in as an impressionable kid, I’ll tell you. I was scared and vulnerable and embarrassed most of the time.
When I was—to be honest, I don’t even remember what age, but it was a long time ago—my mother decided my stuffed dog could no longer be in her presence, so she threw it out the door into the cold night. I was young, remember, so my stuffed dog was very precious to me. She had feelings. I looked out the door for what seemed like forever until my dad came around and asked what was wrong. “Sparky is out there,” I probably mumbled. I was a mumbler. And as he went out to go get her, not even bothering to ask why she was out there in the first place, I remembered why, and that I was afraid what my mom would say if she saw her back inside again. I ran back to the couch and watched as my dad approached the door from the outside, pulling it open, my black stuffed dog in hand, presenting it to me. I took it quickly and placed it beside me before moving to the other side of the couch. I didn’t want her thinking I got her back myself. Like I said, I was scared.
I’m not going to get into emotional scars or late night where salty tissues cluttered the bedside because that is just way too depressing. There used to be apologies followed by short hugs but those since long stopped after I turned into a teenager. I was too much of a “typical disrespectful teenager” to be worth any type of sorry. I was okay with it, though. What’s the point of saying sorry if you’re just going to do the same things again and again for the same reasons? I’m glad they stopped. “How did you guys make up?” Well, since you asked, we “made up” when she sobered up the next day (or the day after that, it depends sometimes) after sleeping off the booze on the couch, or my little sisters bed, or the bathroom floor. We “made up” when she acted as if nothing happened and no harsh words were said and no one ended up curled up in their bed, just wanting the day to be over. And I acted, too, because I didn’t like fighting. My mom liked me when she was sober (or at least pretended to), and I didn’t want to mess that up by bringing up something she obviously didn’t even care about anymore. It was easier to just let it go verbally. But let me tell you, it is so damn hard to ignore and pretend not to hurt. It’s not an easy job to think to yourself, “Is it true? Am I really a heartless bitch? Am I that selfish? Am I really like that?” and look at yourself in the mirror, picking at every detail and feature, trying to figure out what you can do to not look so bad, so ugly. As if being yourself was a burden to not only everyone around you, but to yourself as well. And it wasn’t easy pretending to be fine with the only person who made you feel this way.
I was proud when my dad left. He got it almost just as bad as I did. They fought just as much, with reason that made just as much sense as ours did (which was none). We both went through crap with my mom and I’m honestly so surprised he stayed as long as he did. I was so happy when he finally decided to get out of that house, albeit also a tad jealous. But I knew it was for the best for him to leave, even if I couldn’t. Well, actually, I could have. He offered for me to come with him because he knew just as much as anyone else in that house knew, it was hell for both of us. But he ended up all the way out in Indiana, and I just wasn’t about that life. The life of leaving everything I basically grew up around, I mean. And it was Indiana. I ended up leaving, too, a few months later.
Not only has my mother found a way to always get to me and my family in some way, she also always ended up fashioning a way to get to my friends, too. “You know your mom called me, right?” was a common question my friends inquired to me, in which I matched with “I’m so sorry.” It had become a frequent task my mother felt the need to do, of course behind my back. Although it was confusing to me as she apparently didn’t think that my own friends would tell me about the frustratingly long convos talking shit about me (I can’t stress enough, to my own friends) and expect them to keep it as their little secret. Whenever I brought it up, she acted like no wrong was done, and that I had no business asking.
It finally came to an end when she started up again with my most recent best friend, in which in one night she ended up costing him his job. As much of a hinder the whole situation was, I did find entertainment when she would choose call up this friend in which I could easily hear as I was only across the hall. Also can’t leave out the “Your mom is calling me again” text. It was fun to laugh over messages about what we could both hear, having him reply to me with the not-so-friendly counter we both wish she could hear. But I wasn’t interested in never being able to have my friend over to visit anymore, if you know what I mean. So instead, as it got old (and trust me, it got old real fast), my typical reply after getting his text would be “Hang up,” or “Block the number,” or “Just say you’re busy,”, but my mother is stubborn and nothing seemed to make her understand that her phone calls weren’t exactly wanted or needed.
Nothing I did was right for her. I could try to be as involved with her as I could, asking to ride along to the store, volunteering with her at the community center she went to, etc. etc. Anything I could think of to get on her good side. But it didn’t work. I tried being more by myself, finding my own style and personal likes, only to be called a follower or a freak. There was really not much I could do to keep out of her wicked attacks. As I got older, it was easier to see that nothing would change, no matter what I did or said. She is an alcoholic, and alcoholics don’t like to listen. She still had the audacity to act like the victim and ask what she has done wrong. My mother isn’t a bad mom, or a bad person- she’s just a really bad alcoholic. To this day, I am still trying to explain over and over the same answer but it just never gets through. “Get over it” is her usual reply, and like I’ve said I am over it. But getting over something and forgetting something are two very different things.