Step 4: Resentments



I have a very undefinable relationship with my mother.  For me, it is difficult.  I have never asked her how she feels, as she would answer me as any mother would, unconditional love, of course!

The years, and life, have made my mother a very bitter woman.  She is passive aggressive, and a lot of the time, aggressive-aggressive.   She has no idea how she sounds, and most of the time can’t remember what she has said as it is fueled by bourbon.

She has had two major surgeries in the past, the last one was an operation to remove a benign tumor from her brain.  At times I think the surgeon used a hand mixer when he went into her skull as she seems to be getting crazier as time goes on.  Then there are glimpses of cleverness, so I am thinking she is “crazy like a fox”.

Over the years, I have looked at my relationship with my mother with my wine goggles on.

I have always recognized that it is not a typical mother-daughter arrangement.  It may have been at one time, but it isn’t now.

The dysfunction of this relationship became very clear to me as I took my first stab at sobriety last summer.

I was asked to go to Massachusetts and pack all of her worldly goods to move to Virginia. I had 4 days to get it done.   I had 20 days of sobriety going in.  My daughter and I spent 4 days in her dusty, smoky condominium packing up 30 years worth of living.  It was a tenuous situation.  She was scared, naturally, but unhelpful beyond measure.

Such as:

Me: Mom, you have 4 butter dishes, do you need them all to go?

Mom: Well, one I have for the refrigerator, and one I keep on the counter and then I need the others for when those get dirty. (Along with 10 more minutes of babble, which I stopped listening to after it was clear that 4 butter dishes were what one should have in reserve.)

Me: (Huge eye roll)  WHATEVER…they will go, dripping with sarcasm, laced with you are crazy, woman.

Every afternoon ended with the same question from her, “Did you get any wine?  Sit down and let’s have a drink.”

I didn’t tell her about my bad blood tests, I just told her I had too much to do in too short an amount of time to stop and have a drink.

We got it done.  We actually got it done a day early.

My brother rode in on his white stallion and loaded her up, and they moved to Beverly, Hills that is…I mean Virginia, and he drove a U-haul.

Then the shit hit the fan.  She started to bad mouth me.  I was a bitch, I unpacked all her little tiny boxes and DUMPED them into a big box, I threw away all her treasures, and what I didn’t throw out, I sold at a yard sale, or gave to the junk man.  (Who, by the way, wouldn’t even TAKE all of her stuff, it was TOO junky for him.)

Then I drank.  I had many reasons to drink.  I finished the job!  I did it in the allotted time!  I didn’t kill my mother!  I took bushels of shit and didn’t smack anyone until their teeth bled!

I drank for another 3 months.  I drank because of….name it, I drank at it.

Now, I have been sober for 215 days.

I am beginning the 4th step.

Resentments.  Guess who is at the top of the list?  That is right, my mother.

I put her name at the top of the page, and I am astounded at the feelings that flood into my brain and body.  I am so overwhelmed that I don’t know where to start.  I have been so damaged by this relationship that my eyes are filling with tears just typing this.

All I ever wanted was a “normal” relationship with her.  Not the one I got, not the one filled with jealousy, hostility, and aggression.

I know she has been broken by life, but I can’t reconcile the fact that she would have been better off if she had only given birth to boys, as they are her preference.

I have A LOT of work to do.




16 thoughts on “Step 4: Resentments

  1. Our relationships with our mothers is so similar that I could actually feel your pain through your words. I work in a hospital….with “normal” non-drinkers who all claim to have the best mothers in the world. I have watched my co-workers BE amazing mothers and grandmothers while my crazy mother sits with a beer in her hand and curses her children and ignores her only 2 grandchildren. She literally has not spoken one word to me since April 1st because I was running 10 minutes late to pick her up for my son’s birthday party (which she then refused to attend).

    I’m sorry to ramble on in your comments! You really struck a chord with this topic. You obviously learned a healthy way to manage your relationship since you have 8 months now. That’s awesome!!


    • I love your comment. I have not dealt with the relationship. I use avoidance behavior. Not exactly dealing with it but it works for mow. I feel your pain too. The sins of our parents right?

  2. It sounds like you are facing it, now, so who knows where things will go for you…hopefully it will get better from here! At
    East for you and the resentments that you feel. I have a difficult relationship with my Mother, too. The thing that has been helping me is to recognize that I have the love that I need every day…it doesn’t necessarily have to come from the places it is “supposed to” come from. Plus, we are adults and can parent ourselves to a certain extent now! Letting go of some of those resentments has been so good, but they still pop up when I am feeling hormonal/tired/stressed. Anyway, thank you for sharing your story. xo

  3. I spend much time at my therapist talking about exactly this.
    My mother is a critical, passive aggressive woman. Nothing I do ever seems good enough.
    I long for her to treat me like I treat my daughter. I believe she must love me, but her idea of love is pretty screwed up.
    I understand how you feel. It hurts the little girl inside so much.
    For me, finding love and compassion for myself has helped me feel sad for my mom. She is clearly unhappy and bitter. It still hurts, but I am beginning to move through it.
    Hugs from another daughter.

    • Thanks for the hugs. I will work through it. I am not sure I will ever completely understand it, especially the jealousy. I could never feel jealously toward my daughter. That comes from the mind of a truly broken person.

      • Profound statement: “I could never feel jealousy towards my daughter. That comes from the mind of a truly broken person.”
        My husband and I have had that conversation 100 times. I can’t understand jealously towards a child…even an adult child. I hope and pray that my daughter has everything better/easier/happier than me and to wish her ANY ill will seems sick in my mind.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more. Hence the reason it is so hard to wrap my mind around it. It began when I was little. My father held my hand in the A&P when I was 7, and my mother gave him hell. “Why are you holding her hand and not mine?” Crazy.

  4. When I went off to college I never went back because of the same shit. She never knew me as an adult, met her grandchildren only twice and died alone in a filthy apartment surrounded by beer cans. I swore I’d never be like that ever, so imagine how pissed I was that I drank. Not any more. I’m not sorry about her, just sorry that I drank but that’s in the past now too. Onward we go.

  5. My wife and folks and brother were at the top of my resentments list. I think it’s normal to have close family at the top of these grudge lists…as they say, they push our buttons because they’re the ones who put them there…or at least we allowed them to! lol.

    I am so happy for you on this part of your journey! I am ready to do another 4th too. So I’m with you. I find that once the work starts, things come at us from seemingly nowhere. But the abundance we get in return…wow. And sharing this later on, there is even more clarity.

    Your mother won’t change (or perhaps change for the worse), but what you will get is another way of seeing things and perhaps some forgiveness and acceptance. We look at what is activated in us and get clear on where it comes from and where it goes. Just the act of writing out some resentments made them leave me the moment I stopped writing the last column.

    Anyway, all the best and great work!


  6. Somewhere waaaaay back in my archives is a post almost exactly like this. When I did my fourth step mom mother was also right there on top of the list. But my mom was already dead and I had recently read the book “Will I Ever Be Good Enough” by Karyl McBride so I had a little ammunition handy before I got started. If you haven’t read the book, it might make this process a little easier.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s