I Moved 2500 Miles Away, and Now my Mother Lives with Me!
(Santa Maria, CA)
My mother has always been "difficult". She is a histrionic personality - everything has always had to be about her and her wants. From the time I was a young child, I learned that I must be "perfect" and do everything she wanted for me to do in order to get her love and attention.
I became a "trained poodle" - making the best grades, taking the piano and voice lessons she demanded, playing the piano and organ at church and performing at every opportunity...so that she could brag about everything I did to anyone who would listen. (I hated it.)
At home, it was a different story. She made certain that I knew, always, that I was expected to march to her drummer - not my own. She is a very demanding woman, and I was called "stupid" and "dumb" whenever I tried to rebel. My father, on the other hand, was just the opposite. He loved me just simply for being me - and he taught me how to use my mind. We were on opposite sides of the political field, and we spent hours debating politics...he taught me, no matter what the topic, to respect others but to hold on to my beliefs. He was my strength, and although he couldn't save me from my mother's personality, he tried to temper it with love. He tried his best, but I don't think that he knew until I was grown what my mother's demands and verbal abuse did to me.
I have never been able to form a lasting relationship, and most of the time it is because I am trying so hard to please my partner. In 1999, I moved from Mississippi to California to get some peace. My mother blamed me for "deserting them", but my father cheered me on.
When he got really ill, he told me that he was dying, and spent two hours telling me what he wanted me to know...one thing being that I wasn't to let my Mother move in with me. Well, he passed away on February 8, 2006, and my Mother moved in with me on December 30, 2009. I am an only child, and there was no one else. So, I had to move her to California. I wanted to move her into her own apartment, close to me, but she said that she wouldn't move unless I let her live with me.
In Mississippi, she had lots of friends, and would drive from one end of the state to the other anytime she took a notion. Now, she refuses to leave the house without me to take her. I live in a small town in California, with four major streets and very little traffic - but she won't drive.
The only thing that I put my foot down about is going to church with her. I left the Southern Baptist Church 20 years ago, and I refuse to go back. I went with
her to a church for a few months, thinking that she would make a friend who would come and pick her up for services.
Nope...she just wanted me to continue to go with her. I have offered to get a senior bus to pick her up to take her places, and again she refuses. So, I am her only contact with the outside world, except for the neighbors she sees when she goes to the mailbox every day. When I come home every day, she has to start telling me what I need to do as soon as I come in the door. She has these "ideas" of what she wants to do - for example, fly her friend's granddaughter out here for the summer and have me entertain her as a graduation present - and when I balk, she pouts. I try to explain to her that I don't have the money, but then she thinks that I am going to lose the house and we are going to be homeless.
She has pretty much taken over my house, and it is now decorated the way she wants it to be decorated...the other day, she said that she wanted to put up the rest of my Dad's paintings - there are already 12 of his paintings in the house - and when I didn't answer, she pouted once again. Since she has moved in, I pretty much live in my bedroom. It is the only place where she won't go, and it is the only place that I can truly call my own.
My bills have tripled since she moved in; my electric bill alone has gone from about $50 a month to over $200. There is really no one I can talk to about it - except for my therapist, who has pretty much given up on me - because all of my friends tell me that I should "enjoy her while she is still around". I feel guilty for feeling this way, but I am afraid that I will never have a life.
I am 49 years old, and alone. I have no partner, no children, and no siblings. I have no chance of being with anyone, because I can't bring this baggage into a relationship. I wear a mask most of the time, trying to act like I am happy. I love my job - I am the Director of Activities at a large high school - but that is the only place where I am at peace.
My life is pretty much set, because there is nothing I can do about it...and that makes me angry. I would never be mean to her, and I will always take care of her, but don't I deserve to find a life to sustain me after she is gone? It makes me angry that she doesn't consider that...she doesn't think about me or about what my life should be...it is still, as always, about her.