Black Women and Our Mothers: Love Vs. Guilt by Oshun/Aphrodite

A stellar comment by Oshun/Aphrodite:

You are being manipulated.  Ask me how I know. Just ask…  LOL

Because I have been in your shoes!  Literally! My mother did a lot of right things by me, but she also did some bad things by me.  I think when you grow up and you have been taught to respect authority you equate your parents with God.  They are not, they are human just like everyone else and sometimes act with selfish intentions.  Your mother is being very selfish right now.  She is only thinking of herself.  Also you have an attachment to her and want to please her.  I can raise my hand on that one too because I have had to go through people pleasing deprogramming bootcamp myself.

Monae, when my mother discovered I was leaving home to complete my undergrad she threw herself across my bed sobbing and crying in a hysterical fit and told me she didn’t know how she was going to make it, she couldn’t live without me and I was mortified.  Add to that she has had health issues and I started concocting all sorts of scenarios in my head of my mother dying and me feeling responsible etc My mother became alternately passive aggressive, openly hostile, and even got in a few attempts at sabotage. She enlisted other folks to side with her…you name it- I went through it.

The other similarity that we share is that your mother is grooming you to be the caretaker/burden bearer in your family. It is that “raise” the girls, but “love” the boys meme in the so called Black community.  I can tell from what you shared that you are responsible. When I worked I also chipped in and paid bills and bought groceries.  But since I was an ambitious yet unskilled worker- low wages and mind numbing work chipped away at my self esteem.  The thing is this will only grow to become a larger burden that will be difficult to get out from under as time passes. Your family will come to rely on you more and more as you are the “responsible” one and if you can be easily guilted and manipulated now because of a desire to please and avoid conflict – they have your number.

Tell my why you are buying a new computer when you weren’t the one that broke it? When someone damages someone else’s property they compensate that person for it.  Your cousin should be at whatever store buying you a replacement or at least having it repaired.

At any rate your mother:

1. may not be prepared for you to grow up
2. may not wish to see you surpass her accomplishments
3. may wish to leech off of you emotionally and financially
4. may be using you as a crutch to avoid facing deeper psychological issues she is not addressing
5. may want to live vicariously through you and your youth

Whatever the reason, it is not your responsibility take care of her and work through her issues.  Parents raise children not the other way around. If you are 24 then your mother is young enough and wise enough to navigate through life and care for herself! Unless she is missing all her arms and legs and has been declared mentally incompetent by the state your mother can and will survive if you leave.

And even if she wasn’t wise enough to plan for her health issues or her old age that still isn’t your responsibility. You have to plan for your own health issues and retirement! If anything your mother should want you to be as successful as possible so that should she really need you – when she is 74 and really can’t do for herself you will be able to assist her if you are so inclined.

My advice to you is to work through your attachment issues. Address your fear of leaving and work though that now.  Until you do you are setting yourself up for being exploited. They can always play on that.  Do not discuss your plans with her or others and if you do slip up, do so in vague terms so she can’t employ psychological warfare or sabotage to derail you.  If you mother is that intense, then give her the okey doke just like she is doing to you say, “mother, I am doing this for the benefit of all of us” or whatever you have to to get the space to do what you need to do.

Major life changes are stressful even if you have tons of support, but since this is something you lack you need to have clarity at all times to stay centered and keep your emotions on an even keel.

If you don’t do what makes you happy you will have regrets. If you don’t do what makes you happy you will develop a seething resentment towards you mother that may have you considering homicide! LOL

Ask me how I know…LOL

You may develop resentments even if you go on and do what you want much later than intended because you will have to play the catch up and unlearn game and neither of those are fun.  So don’t give your power away.  Seize the moment!

I want to tell you that despite my mother I left anyway and had some of the most fabulous years of my life.  And you know what?  My mother got over it and kept on living.  All those things I was responsible for – they got done in my absence.  And your mother will do the same. My mother did not fall apart – if anything my separation redefined our relationship for the better. I think she now sees me as an adult/whole person – separate and distinct from her. There is a dramatic difference in the way she relates to me now in both speech and action.

I know that the whole process seems overwhelming, but ask if you need advice or info and I wish you much success.

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