The thing about being my mother’s daughter is it is never NOT about being her daughter.
There have been stretches of time, sometimes even significant, where I can convince myself that I have carved out a space for my own life that does not coexist with hers. But, like any good, codependent relationship, this is pretty much impossible.
I have a theory, the details of which I have not quite yet fully worked out, about young, single parents and how their relationship with their children bears the brunt of the stunted emotional growth. I.e. if, like me, you have a parent preoccupied with people leaving them, they will do everything in their power, consciously or subconsciously, to make sure that you never can. No matter how this might affect you.
There is a thing that happens to a child when it recognizes that it is not planned for. Not that its conception wasn’t planned for; this is a different thing entirely. But rather, that everything that comes after that is a secondary consideration, if a consideration at all. That its adjustment/well-being is not the paramount consideration. That it has been told all the things it should do, but that no one has made the appropriate concessions or provisions to make sure that it has the means to accomplish them. The child learns to put itself second to work, to other people, to anything really because, after all, how does it feel worthy of even being considered, if it never has been?
Really, this is all a very eloquent way of trying to understand what I don’t understand. Why, at 27, our relationship is this way. Why I can easily trace back the roots of our issues, but not how to sever them. Why there is not a clear, easy path to do what is healthy and helpful.
It is easy to say all those things. Because it is not easy to say that I am angry. Angry that I’ve spent so much time catering and tending to her. Angry that so much of my childhood was about her and her issues. Angry that even now, my life can’t seem to stutter step forward, without hers falling apart and getting in the way. Angry that I still feel such a misplaced obligation to step in and help fix it, to shoulder burdens that are not mine, to take less than just so that she is not alone.
And, despite general consensus that I might actually be a good mom, that I don’t even know where to begin to break this cycle, and I can’t do this to another child. So I am angry that, once again, what happens in my life is predicated by what has been wrought in hers.