Still, as adults from dysfunctional families tell their stories to me in psychotherapy, I always hear of those rare times when their parents were not hateful but actually loving. Sometimes such parents even will unexpectedly express their love directly, although often in a way which undermines their own credibility. But why would anyone believe the professions of love of someone who generally tends to treat them horribly?
Mrs. T described the events as they unfolded, writing at various times (reproduced with her permission):
She called me tonight after I was home and told me that she never wants to see me again and that I am a bad daughter because I haven't confided in her and because I have shared information about her with the social services people.
[After Mom leaves the hospital:].
So, I am responsible for her survival.....just like I was always made to be responsible for her happiness (there is a no win situation for you with a woman who was constitutionally incapable of being happy...) So, I am trapped. And, if I stopped bringing her food and she lost weight, and died, it would be "all my fault."
Without turning her head to look at me, my mother said to me "You didn't get any sleep at all last night did you?" Today, while talking to my husband about this feeling of always being under scrutiny, with his help, I made the following observations:
She said, the other day, as I was leaving, words to the effect (and this is very very very rare) "You know I love you very much, don't you? You make life liveable." This was after telling me earlier that she did not want to be alive this time next year, among other things. I believe that by providing her with homemade food, so she doesn't have to eat the nursing home food, she feels cared about by me.
Alternate translation: "I know this is no fun for you and I'm a pill to be with, and I really do hope it wasn't as bad for you as I think it would be."
It's a version of self-denigrating sentiment expressed in the famous quote by Groucho Marx: "I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."
|Groucho Marx on "You Bet Your Life"|