I was strolling in the park by our condo one day and overheard this conversation between a little boy and his mom:
Mom: OK, 5 more minutes and we have to go home and prepare dinner.
Boy: Noooo.. I don’t want to go home yet!
Mom: Sorry, 5 more minutes.
Mom: No, 5.
Mom: OK, 7 minutes.
*the happy boy ran off to play*
It came as a shock that kids could negotiate at such a young age. I had never negotiated with my mother. She had never given me the opportunity. She NEVER asked what I wanted. She simply told me. I either grudgingly did what I was asked, or there would be full on yelling matches. I never felt like I had a choice. In anything.
Calm, level-headed discussions did not exist in my world. There was no talking things through. There was never “I care about you, and I want you to be happy, let’s hear what you have to say.”
As a grown ass adult, discussions are new to me. They are a challenge. Because once I feel that someone is in disagreement, I get overly defensive. I have to remind myself not to yell; to stay calm; that the other person is probably not attacking me even though I may feel that way. I have to hold back my tears; I have to remind myself not to take things personally.
It wasn’t until I went to group therapy that I realized, my mother raised me in a way that left me unable to navigate or function in this world. I had no tools to fend for myself. I only knew how to be a rag doll so other people could walk all over me and throw me around as they wished.
My mother fucked up my life. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t struggle with so many essential skills that came naturally even to children, like negotiating; I wouldn’t have wasted my prime years in and out of the psych ward – which directly affected my work, my resume, my financial stability, my plan for having a family. I felt like I was slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean, with a ton of bricks tied to my legs but somehow, I was not suffocating. Somehow, I was kept alive when all I wanted was for life to end.
For all of this, I have not forgiven her.