Maternal Estrangement

She is incapable of feeling love …

Anyone who is able to do to her child the things Pat did to me, as well as condone what Ed did to me, is incapable of feeling or giving love.

The love of a mother for her child is the purest emotion there is – I’ve see the awe in her eyes when my wife looks at our children.  I’ve seen her protect and nurture and cry for their pain.  I’ve seen her fear and panic when she thought their physical safety had been compromised. And I’ve seen her unable to contain her joy and pride in knowing who our children have become.  This is a mother’s love, and the confidence and self-esteem it gives to her child is immeasurable.

I didn’t know anything like this growing up.  Pat was physically abusive – a believer in terrible and humiliating beatings, but even worse; she was emotionally abusive.

In therapy you always get around to blaming your mother – I even pointed out how cliche this felt to the therapist who finally initiated my breakthrough, his response; “it isn’t cliche in your case, in your case it is true.”

You can’t abandon your child in a grocery store parking lot, or leave him home all alone and make him believe you’re never coming back without dire consequences.

You can’t leave him in a crib to scream for hours on end as an infant and expect the mother child pair bond to form.

You can’t allow his father to beat him without mercy and then have him believe you were his protector.

And you can’t control and twist his emotions for your own cruel gain and not have him fear the loss of your approval and love to such a degree he doesn’t become ill later in life.

If my therapist and I had to guess, Pat has Borderline Personality Disorder (this is ONLY a guess) …

She sensationalizes in the extreme – hyper emotional

She creates drama and tries to suck everyone around her in

One minute she loves (what passes for love in her mind) you and the next minute she hates you

She has no control of her emotions- they are intense and change frequently

She misinterprets interaction, falsely assuming insult 

She is given to dark depression

She was (is?) promiscuous

I left her house because she asked me to after issuing an ultimatum:

Pat had a penchant for married men, she’s had numerous affairs – been The Other Woman many times.   One night, my girlfriend (now my wife, Rhonda) was at our house at 2:00am when a very good friend, a very good married friend, of her parents walked through the front door without knocking and went down the hall to my mother’s bedroom. Rhonda isn’t dumb, no explanation for what was going on was needed.

She struggled with this emotionally … but she (Rhonda) decided not to tell anyone what she knew.  Pat even thanked her, through feigned and dramatic tears no less, for remaining quiet- telling her what a good girl she was … This scene made Rhonda sick.

Several weeks later, Pat was sure – had become obsessed with the idea, that Rhonda had told her boyfriend’s wife he was having an affair.  Pat was a mess; ranting and raving at me about the situation caused by my girlfriend. She cried, screamed and would not listen to reason.  I’d never seen her so upset, so dramatic, so ridiculous.

Rhonda, whom Pat had adored days earlier, was now public enemy Number One over something that hadn’t even happened.

Pat told me that if my girlfriend didn’t apologize to her, she would never be welcome in our house again … and then my mother, knowing how she was able to unhinge me emotionally as a child by disappearing and leaving me alone, left me alone for days … I had no idea where she was.

Now, I was twenty-one years old and could take care of myself, but PTSD and severe abandonment issues being what the are, I nearly lost my mind – which is exactly what Pat wanted to happen.

Rhonda calmed me down, but she rightfully refused to apologize to my morally devoid mother for something she didn’t do.

When Pat came home, she refused to speak to me civilly – she was cruel and cold, catty and biting, and finally she told me to choose – “Rhonda or me.”

I chose Rhonda, and Pat told me to leave her house.

I can only imagine what a shock my choice had to have been for Pat, abandoning me and then freezing me out, withholding even polite interaction, had always worked in the past.  Not being able to manipulate me was definitely new for her …

I knew when I left I’d never go back – it was a vague  feeling, but it was absolute.  Within weeks, I felt better than I ever had before – being away from my mother was like having the weight of the world lifted from my shoulders.  I could breathe, for the first time ever, I could breathe.

I didn’t have to walk on eggshells for fear of upsetting Pat.  I didn’t have to worry about her passive aggressive behavior, or her calling me a prude for my silent disapproval of her having sex with married men, most of whom were wealthy, prominent citizens in our community- their money and position being what she prized above all.

And I didn’t have to spend all my energy trying in vain to get her to love me.  I finally accepted that she never had, and never would love anyone other than herself.

I don’t even think she knows what the word love means.

The one thing I’m sorry for is not staying in touch with my mother’s sister.  I have missed her …

But when I left home, it was all or nothing — I couldn’t risk being pulled back into Pat’s nightmare.

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