The fifty-eighth question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “What is the cruelest thing a person has ever said to you?”
I spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to this, because I’ve had more than one abusive relationship, and figured the cruelest thing ever said to me must have been from one of those people…but when I really think about it, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. They said some horrible things, and many of their comments were certainly intentionally cruel, but none hurt half as much as the comments my mother made to (and about) me a few years ago, when I had my son. The absolute cruelest things she said were not actually said out loud, they were in writing in a notebook that I was not supposed to find (and only did by accident, while looking for somewhere to write notes on apartments I was viewing), so I’m pretty sure that doesn’t count…but the cruelest thing she said out loud to me was very much along the same lines.
In the notebook, she wrote that she worried for my (at the time unborn) son’s future, because I was “too selfish and self-absorbed” to raise a child properly, and she didn’t want him to have to go through what “everyone else has to go through” to be close to me. She wrote more than that, but I can’t remember it all at the moment, and when I confronted her about what she wrote, she ripped the pages from the notebook…but yeah, it was mostly just about how horrible I would be as a mother, and how miserable my child’s life would be because I was just such an unbearable person to be around due to the fact that I cared about no one but myself, and I would surely be the worst possible thing for him. The comments she made were ironic for so many reasons, and also based entirely on nothing, since she knew next to nothing about me at that point, which she admitted years later when she finally did spend enough time with me to get to know how I thought, felt and treated people in my life…but they were still very hurtful.
As I said, though, those things weren’t really said to me, they were written about me, just not denied when I confronted her on them…so with respect to what she said to me, the cruelest thing was probably a few months after my son’s birth, when she told me I was “just like my father”. Now, my father and I have a relatively close relationship, but I am well aware that it is a screwed up one, and there has been no point in my life when I wasn’t fully aware of my mother’s view of my father, so when she said that, I knew exactly what she meant by it. At the time, my son was not eating due to a breastfeeding issue we encountered (which I think I have mentioned in this blog before), and the situation was getting pretty bad, so I was basically completely distraught. I cried all the time, felt like a complete failure because I couldn’t even feed my child, and started to consider that he might be better off with someone else, who could care for him better. His father and I briefly discussed putting him up for adoption, so he might have a chance at a better life, but when my mother found out, she flipped.
“You’re just like you’re father,” she said. “Selfish, cruel, heartless, and unwilling to take responsibility for yourself or anything else in your life.” I know she said more, but I can’t remember it all now…suffice it to say it was not a short conversation. She felt that my considering adoption was my attempt to get out of having to take on the responsibility of raising a child, and that I was more willing to ‘ruin’ his life by giving him up (ironic given that she’d previously written about how much *I* was going to ruin his life), because I was just oh so selfish, than have to “work hard at anything”. You know, because I didn’t have a job since I was 10 years old, move out as soon as I graduated, go to college for two years, live in apartments for six years paying all of my bills on time without ever asking for any help from her, dad or anyone else, pay off all my student loans in two years (again, by myself), rendering myself debt free by the time I had my son, and so on, right? Obviously, I’m just the biggest slacking mooch ever. And as I’ve said, I know what her views on my father are; if she thinks I’m just like him, she basically thinks I’m the lowest type of person you could ever hope to encounter. So, yeah, that felt pretty cruel to me, especially since as I said, at the time she actually knew next to nothing about me.
She has apologized for saying those things since, and as I said, admitted that she never even knew me until this past year (and even then, I wouldn’t say she knows me well by any stretch of the imagination) and said that I am a good mother, yet every so often, she will still insert a little comment that makes me feel like I am going to screw him up worse than anyone else ever could. Which, again, is ever so ironic.
Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments!
(Next question: “What is the recurring dream that you most enjoy?”)