Lately, NM has been pulling out the "I know I wasn't a good mom" card. A lot. I couldn't quite put my finger on why that was bothering me so much.
When I was a child, I idolized my mother. I wrote stories dedicated to (and about) her. She was my hero: strong, proud, hard working.
After the mess of the divorce, and in my twenties, I tried repeatedly to tell her how I felt about her mothering. CLEARLY, she had not been the best mother. She had, in essence, abandoned us while she ran around. She kept claiming it was "her time to be happy". I remember thinking how something about that logic didn't seem right at the time with that statement. I remember thinking, was she not happy before? Is she blaming me for her unhappiness during my childhood? And now I think, is it an either/or situation? That either her kids or her could be happy?
Whenever I confronted my mother about her behavior (present behavior, things she was doing in the moment to upset me) she would turn it around and blame it on my "long-held resentment" over the divorce. I wasn't mad at her. I was mad at the divorce. It did not matter that she caused the divorce, handled the divorce poorly, abandoned her kids at the time of the divorce, among other things. She would. not. hear. me. She demanded that I treat her like a good mother. That I give her the respect and "pay back" for all she did for me. I was NOT ALLOWED to tell her she wasn't a perfect mom.
When I had my kids, she kept bringing up the things she did for me as a mom. She wanted me to be like her. She wanted me to "finally" appreciate her or at least that's what she was thinking in her mind. She never outright said that. She expressed anger at my father because he said my MIL was a good mother (ha!) and didn't mention her. She might say that she "didn't do everything" right, but she clearly still believed she was a good mom. She brought up all the things she did for me as a kid: swimming lessons, occasional crafts, dance lessons. You know, all the THINGS, that give you the 'love' of a mother.
So, this new "I'm not a good mom" bullshit is unnerving. Every once and awhile she'd relinquish that she was a shitty mother. Usually when I had her trapped in an argument and she didn't have a "move". She'd go pathetic and weak. She'd start yelling "I know! I know! I was a bad mom, what do you want me to do about it!!! I'm sorry OK!!!" This did not help. Really, all I wanted was some sympathy for my childhood. For her to hear my side of the story. I did not need a "confession".
She has implied lately that some "things have come out around your sister" (I'm guessing in therapy, but who knows. It could just be some "heart to heart" conversations.) that have "indicated" to her that "some of the "mistakes"" she made as a mom "might" have contributed to pain in my life. Maybe. Sort of. Little stupid things she may have done. One that ONE bad day. Right. I'm curious too as to why, after YEARS of me trying to tell her this, she's "suddenly" seeing the light.
My guess is that she isn't seeing the light. In the past few conversations, she's mentioned "I know I wasn't the best mom." And it makes the hair on my neck stand up. There is something fishy about it. First and foremost, she never really makes admissions about WHAT she did that was shitty. Just "some stuff". She never really apologizes....although she said she "was not asking for my forgivenss" which means that is exactly what she wants. (And let's not forget the fact that she is CONTINUING to do the things she did to me as a kid. Her behavior has not been reflected on and has not changed.)
I couldn't figure out what her angle was in telling me the bad mom story. Pity? To look like a victim? To disarm me? Make me feel guilty?
It just occurred to me it's most likely a trap. Because really, I'd LOVE to say, "YUP. You were a horrible mother. And you continue to be." And I couldn't figure out what was holding me back from telling her the truth.
It's because it's a trap. If I saw that, she'll be able to play the vicitim. She'll have me "anger" and "resentment" at her being a bad mom as an excuse to deflect from the real reason for my anger. That she is treating me and my sons horribly. That she is continuing to play the same old bullshit games. I can only imagine the rage and tirade and pity party she will throw herself if I dared actually agree with her.
She's laying out bait, hoping I'll bite, so she can bite back. No thanks. I think I'll pass.