Friday, March 23, 2012

Something painful to share

I came across Yashar yesterday morning. In case you have not worked it out, Yashar is a man. I don't know what makes him able to write what he writes on the blog, but I do find myself having to constantly remind myself that this is a man writing these whole thing. How a man manages to attain such understanding on women and what it is like being a woman is something that is beyond my comprehension.

My first taste of Yashar is his article here in which I learnt a new term gaslighting. I never knew such a thing existed until I read Yashar (yes, I know, I am pretty ignorant) and I scrolled down quickly through the comments to find that lots of people were sharing their experiences being the receiving end of this phenomenon. I call that, quite simply, emotional manipulation.

I have been the subject of emotional manipulation by my own mother ever since I was young. I have a crappy memory about my childhood but everything that I manage to remember as a child that involved my mother has always been nasty. I don't remember feeling good being around that woman. And this is after learning that as human beings we are preconditioned to remember the good things more than the bad things (the rosy retrospection bias). I don't even want to think about how terrible I used to feel around my mother if what I remember right now are the relatively good things.

My parents got divorced sometime back and in the years leading to the finalisation of the divorce were the years that I started realising how much emotional manipulation my mother engaged in. She practised it to everyone and anyone she came across, and in particular to me, since according to her, I was my father's favourite. Needless to say, I was manipulated for a while, before I came to my senses and realised that this was just wrong - no matter how hard I tried to justify it. There was no justification at all. I spent the subsequent years fighting off her attempts of emotional manipulation, but I was still manipulated because I was unable to feel good about myself. I was constantly upset and angry as a result of her tricks.

Life was just so hard. I thought about my friends who looked forward to going home and enjoying the weekend and doing whatever else that they do with their families - I never had the opportunity to do that. The rest of the time that I was not at school or at work, well, I just spent it doing something else on my own, mostly studying. I avoided my mother because I did not want to give her another chance to emotionally manipulate me. I avoided my sister for the same reason. I never quite boil it down to these, but lately I realised that they were manipulating me and of course, currently denying it (which confirms the manipulation) - and here is the deal: I have had enough.

I have had enough of pretending that I like you when I don't like you. I have had enough of pretending that life is great and everything is fantastic between us when we have so many issues that we cannot even discussed - especially when you don't even want to hear what I have to say. I have had enough of you dismissing whatever I feel as something wrong. I have had enough dealing with your side of the family telling me that my choices in life are wrong.

I am a child of divorce and I know that fact. My parents are not bad people because they are divorced. You are a bad person because you emotionally manipulated me (and still do). You are a bad person because you said you are sorry, but you are in fact, not genuinely sorry. Actions speak louder than words.

All my life, I wanted to feel loved by you. I wanted you to put me first for once. I wanted you to think about me first - the way parents usually think about their children, especially when they need them most. I wanted you to be there when it matters the most, not because of you, but because of me. But all that I ever see is that you want me to do things for you, which is why you want me around. If I am of no use to you, then you don't want me around. Is it any wonder that I feel so used and so manipulated?

Do you remember that time when you said that my father wanted to abort me? I bet you don't remember, but I do. I asked him whether it is true. This is what he said: your mother wanted to abort you. So thank you for making me feel unwanted for all of my life.

For the longest time, I felt like everything was my fault. Nothing that I ever do will ever be good enough for you. I wanted validation from you - another thing I would never get. I stopped wanting it for the past few years and my life has been significantly better because of that.

The difficult thing about this is that one, we are supposedly family and so there is no way I could just divorce you and have nothing to do with you for the rest of my life; and two, most people out there who heard me share thing were mostly in disbelief because according to them, a mother can never do that to her own child. Guess what. This one does. So it is either I am wrong about my feelings (again), or if I am right about my feelings, then it must mean, by inference, that I am not her child.

I don't care which one it is.

I have stopped wanting love from you, mother. I do not want to have anything to do with you. Your life is yours and my life is mine. Let's just keep them separate. I don't want to share my life with you, and I don't want you to share your life with me.

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