Have you ever felt guilty about not feeling guilty?
It’s a strange concept, I know, but one I feel often, especially when it comes to my family and more so… my mother.
What is it about blood relation that makes us feel absolutely tied to that person or those people for life? Why the sense of obligation, even if it’s at our own expense?
My mother used to be a very strong woman. Raised 3 kids, worked 2 full-time jobs to put food on the table, and didn’t put up with anyone’s shit. Then life did what life does every now and then and knocked her down. Hard. Her youngest son had leukemia, the love of her life died in a horrific motorcycle crash, we lost our house (not once, but several times. 9 different elementary school here!), losing a child to suicide, moving to AZ to try and repair a relationship with your father that failed spectacularly, and now… health issues in the form of COPD, an enlarged heart, and who knows what else. To say that these events changed her would be an understatement, but so would saying “It’s been a piece of cake!”
I love my mother dearly and she’ll tell you I’m her best friend. We grew up together, we graduated school at the same time (me with HS and her with college) and we’ve had to face a lot of challenges together, but have made it through. And I’ll still never be good enough.
She’ll deny it, tell me I’m more than enough, and then apologize for our upbringing, when in reality, it wasn’t bad by any means in comparison to what others are put through. We had food, clothes, a roof over our heads, and felt loved. However, I think what she’s trying to apologize for is knowing I didn’t really have the same upbringing that my brothers did. As the oldest, more was always expected from me and if I couldn’t produce it, enter the guilt.
I’m not at all saying that she intentionally aimed guilt towards me for under performing or anything, but I think the accidental guilting is so engraved into her DNA, she doesn’t realize exactly what she is doing or how it makes anyone feel, especially me.
So enter MY guilt for not feeling more guilty.
I’m a bad daughter for not going to visit her more often.
I’m a bad daughter for not having my next visit lined up to go to her.
I’m a bad daughter for not going to see her when she was in the hospital for 2 days for testing.
I’m a bad daughter for telling my last surviving brother about her health issues.
I’m a bad daughter for NOT telling him more about her health issues.
And the list goes on. Now these exact words were never spoken by her, however, as one learns with their own mother, the meaning is in between the words that were never spoken.
Now in my heart of hearts, I know I’m not a bad daughter. When my brother was diagnosed, I put off college so I could stay home and work to help support my family. That led to me living at home until I was 26, helping my family with bills and anything else they needed. I’ve given money, time, effort, energy, my everything into helping not just my mother, but both of my brothers. I call her every day to check in on her and chat. And it never seems to be enough.
I am enough. I know this. It’s just getting my brain to be on board with what I already know. It’s also breaking that “family bond” that has me feeling obligated to help members of my family when they don’t even want to help themselves.
Where tha fuck do I go from here?!
Leave a Reply