I've posted before on how my father has often used guilt as a weapon to get what he wanted out of his children. Now I shall talk about my mother.
Anger is a dominant element of my mother's personality, even before she entered a disastrous marriage. She had been angry with her mother, her uncles and aunts, and teachers long before.
My father was never one to hide emotions - he would let them spill out of control, yelling and cursing harshly, for hours - but my mother 'seethed in silence', developing a deep sense of hatred of both my father and herself - and often the children as well.
My father held a graduate degree; my mother had not finished high school. She developed a deep sense of inferiority to my father and eventually to her own sons, when they reached high school.
Only once did my mother actually tell me she hated me. I was nine and have never forgotten that incident (just days later she didn't remember it). Another time, when I was twelve, she told me she wished she had had a daughter instead of me, the second son. She has never said that again but the pain is still with me and I have often wished I was never born. My mother, not surprisingly, is very close to my female cousins, regardless of age.
My grandmother died in 1985, when I was eleven. My mother had never been close to her mother but reacted by deep depression, admitting to me some months later that "all life and joy has gone out of me, I am just a slave to him [my father]".
Until I was about 8-9, my mother was a perfectly loving, nurturing mother. After that things slowly worsened. My mother grew to despise almost everything about me - any resemblance I had to my father, my obesity, my intellectualism, my social phobias etc. When I began overeating at age 9, she was constantly trying to get me to diet, calling me a "barrel" and sometimes getting annoyed at my weight just by seeing me.
This more than anything else contributed to my deep sense of myself as ugly and hideous that fuelled my overeating and led me to believe when older that no woman could ever be drawn to me.
My mother hardly every hugged me or showed more than token signs of affection during my teen years. If I came to hug her (many others have commented on what an affectionate son I am) she would resist, as if some repulsive thing was embracing her. Her sense of inferiority only led her to disdain my achievements at school, and if as a result I drew closer to my father (he also emotionally abused me in different ways, but at least he never spurned affection to his sons) this only alienated her more.
She believed husband and sons were a "gang of three men" who only held her in contempt. I denied this hundreds of times to no avail. My mother was convinced I did not love her, yet physically resisted any attempt by me to draw closer to her. Sometimes she almost seemed to believe that my father and I were actually the same person, known simply as "they".
By the time I was 16-17, my mother was capable of going for days without smiling or laughing. I think my habit of self-hatred comes from her. It was easy to tell that she hated herself.
I once watched some TV show where a teenager comes to his mother about something and the mother hugs him and comforts him. My mother has not done that, ever, since I was very young. She would say on birthdays etc. that she loved me but showed little sign of it. If I did anything wrong, adjectives like "idiot", "babe in the woods", flew freely.
How did this contribute to my sexual addiction? Easily so. I go to lap dancers not for the foreplay but for the nurturing of holding on to someone else. The pig paying $100 an hour for a woman to dance on his lap is really a lonely 12-year-old wanting the security of his mother's arms. I would pay the dancers just as much if they kept their clothes on and simply hugged and kissed me as a mother would.
I avoid real friendships and romantic relationships because of a pathological fear of rejection. Yet no woman has ever actually rejected me - except my mother. It was she who told me I was ugly, she who called me a boring bookworm, she who did not accept me as I was. If my own mother could not love me as I was, who else would?
I did not, at the time, consider the possibility that what my mother was doing constituted emotional abuse. It was just a mother scolding an errant adolescent, what's so unusual about that? If ever I said anything of a reprimandary nature to her, she would hiss, "maybe you would just be happier if I was dead, is that it?" and I would feel still worse. My mother never forgave anything, still berating me for things I had said two or three years before. I never could permit myself to feel the slightest bit of anger or resentment to her, instead convincing myself it was all my fault.
My mother has since changed. Since separating from my father last year, she has entered therapy and much of the old anger and hatred has disappeared, and she smiles and laughs far more, and never insults me. Unfortunately, it is too late. One can forgive but not forget. The desperate hunger for love, even faked strippers' love, is still there. The terror of 'real' women is still there. And the deep sense that I was a mistake, an aberration, a burden, is still there.
I can try to tell myself that these beliefs are false, that they are based on someone else's neuroses, but I cannot bring myself to act accordingly. I have never actually asked a woman out; what makes me so sure they will reject me? Because I still believe, deep down, that I am unworthy and all this recovery talk is self-delusion. I can convince my conscious self but not the inner child.
Sorry again for the pessimism (maybe that's another neurosis),
ARAS, Jan. 30, 1996.