This has been an anguished end of the weekend. My mother called as I was making dinner; this was a follow-up to a family wedding we were at last night. We chatted briefly about the wedding. And then my mother said, "I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, teaching your first class...what time is it, again? 5:00?" It is indeed at 5pm tomorrow that I'm teaching my first class at New Uni. And it's lovely and sweet that my mother will be thinking of me. I am a lucky daughter - my mother is nothing but kind and loving. But I reacted the same way I've reacted since I was ten. The mother-hating way.
I made my mother cry. As I have before. She said, "I feel as if I don't know how to talk to you. I've tried everything, and that's why I don't call as much anymore. You intimidate me sometimes. I feel as if I embarrass you."
And I have nothing to say in my own defense. She's right.
Why do I do this? I watch myself doing it, the same way I have for so many years, and see myself quite clearly being a complete, appalling shit. Behaving in ways that are so out of character for me. Friends - and GF - who see me interact with my mother are shocked. They laugh at the incongruity between my daughter-self and my everyday self. Except it's really not funny. And I can't figure out how to stop it. It's as if it's a sick force that feels bigger than me (as it surely is, our friend Kristeva would say...) I feel like a monster.
The worst part is that feeling like a monster is a sort of objective reaction to myself. In these moments of discussion with my crying mother, I don't really feel anything. There she is, crying, anguished, and there I am, an emotionless stone. What an asshole. This, too, is so out of character for me - this kind of repression. I'm a crier; I emote, usually. With her, I just apologize, but it's without real emotion; it's apologizing for what I can identify as shocking behaviour on my part, what I recognize as appalling, inappropriate rudeness. But I'm turned off.
These moments with my mother put me in touch with the very worst parts of myself. I think it's time to get me to a counsellor to talk through this one. It's not "bigger than me", and I can't use that sense to excuse myself. I have a responsibility - to my mother, and to myself - to wrestle with this, to understand it, to try to exorcise it.