If it weren’t in such bad taste, I would post my mother’s latest letter and use it as an object lesson in “How To Recognize A Mindfuck”. Excuse my language, but there’s no other way to put it. Her entire letter was an exercise in gaslighting. I’m getting much better at recognizing it, but, oh Heaven help me, I didn’t pick up on it fast enough. I still got the stomach ache, the shakes, and the watery eyes before I figured it out. What were the finer points of this latest
poison pen letter?
My Queen/Witch mother has become the Waif. I have never seen this side of her. I am beginning to wonder if this persona is working for her with her therapist who has misdiagnosed her. She is playing the victim, and she is now playing the victim with me. So, where’s the mindfuck? The entire letter is a mindfuck. This is why it was so confusing to me.
Imagine a known sexual predator coming into a court setting, facing his accuser, and then cowering in front of her–a woman he raped, bludgeoned, terrorized, and, for the sake of argument, stalked for a year by sending her dead kittens. Who is the real victim here? The sexual offender or the victim? The victim. Who should be afraid? The victim. Who should be begging? The victim. Begging for justice, for healing, for peace. Not the perpetrator. So, when my mother writes me a letter like this wherein she recalls how wonderful my childhood was, tells me how I really do feel about her, and then begins begging me “for her future” because I’ve somehow victimized her because she has missed the opportunity to know her granddaughters even though she made that choice–not me–the experience is victimizing. Her narrative is so off the mark it’s crazymaking.
My mother is indeed a victim. She was a victim in that my father did gaslight her. She is a victim of sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse. It’s almost impossible not to experience victimization of some kind in life. She was, however, not a victim in our relationship. She was the adult. I was the child. She was the power broker there as all parents are in relation to their young children. There is absolutely no room for her tone in our relationship. I have deprived her of nothing.
This, I have realized, is our primary problem. It is the clash of narratives. Her letter revealed a striking truth. Her story revolves around herself. She only made a few mistakes. Come on, Daughter, move on now! This is trivializing at its finest. The entire letter is steeped in denial. Her latest narrative says that she is now a victim, and I’m victimizing her. I am not. This is very hard stuff to stand up to. Mark my words, this is very painful stuff because my narrative is the opposite. She is fearful of me? I’m no longer shocked. How could I be? I’ve never known my Queen mother to play the Waif, but if it no longer serves her then why not change personas.
I have been crafting a letter to send in response to my mother’s July email. I had chosen not to send it yet as I wasn’t feeling peaceful. I revised it today. I feel it’s ready to send. It is very long, and this is a portion of my response:
I know that there is fear on your behalf, but you have missed something. You are my mother. I am your adult child. For most of our relationship, you have been in the position of power. I saw you almost kill my stepsister by strangling her. I saw you physically attack your second husband on numerous occasions. I saw you punch holes in drywall with your bare fist. I was the victim of a few beatings that left me unable to sit for a day. You withheld relationship, security, privacy, and love from me consistently for most of my young life. The sound of your voice can trigger a migraine in me in 5 minutes.
Who do YOU think is more afraid?
I will not kowtow to this new Waif, and I won’t be victimized by this manipulation. This feels like the work of a lifetime. Earlier today, I felt utterly defeated. I have grown so weary of this fight. It will end one day.
And, I will be the better for the fight.