Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I just graduated from high school and my mother and I are planning my graduation party. It’s supposed to be fun, but it’s only caused a lot of fighting and heartache. First it started with old school photos she wanted to display at the party. I just wanted the few photos that I like, but my mom wants to put ALL OF THEM–from kindergarten to now. Some of them are embarrassing pictures of me because I was a pretty chubby kid.
The other night, while I was in the middle of watching my favorite show, she pulled out the bag of pictures to show my father, little sister and me. She got offended at my lack of attention and the fact that I said some of the photos were embarrassing. But we said our good nights and it seemed as though nothing was wrong.
I woke up the next day and my mom pulls out a box of graduation goodies she ordered, suddenly commenting that I can just do everything by myself. I AM SO CONFUSED. In a harsh tone, she tells me that if I am so embarrassed about her work than I can do it all by myself. She won’t have anything to do with it. I cried and went to my room.
I called my dad to tell him the situation. He reassured me it will all be fine, but mom is the type where when she gets mad, you better stay out of her sight. My sister approached me and asked if I got in trouble, I nodded my head and told her “mom’s not gonna be at my party,” and she looked shocked.
I don’t know if my mom heard me tell my sister that, but suddenly my mom snapped. She came stomping out of her room and started yelling and throwing things. Then she said that we’re all not going to be able to live together in the house for the summer. She jokes a lot about being sent to a mental institutition, but she said this time that she really needs to go.
Now I’m back in my room, crying a river. I want to get out of here but I can’t leave my sister. I am an honor student, involved in many activities and organizations, and I did not just complete 13 years of schooling for this shit. I don’t know what to do anymore. If I am the problem in this equation, shouldn’t I be removed, permanently?
I guess I just wanted to tell someone – someone that wouldn’t risk repercussions. Thanks for listening.
Hurting and Confused Graduate
Dear Hurting and Confused Graduate,
Oof, my heart. I am so, so sorry that you are going through this during what should be a very exciting, happy time of your life. I feel the need to tell you congratulations on your graduation. Maybe set off some damn fireworks, girl. Despite the chaos that is surrounding you at the moment, this is something of which you should be proud. Take a moment to tell yourself how proud you are if no one else is doing it for you.
I don’t know your mother or your family dynamic, but I don’t need to see those things to understand that your mother is being emotionally manipulative and abusive. You should abso-freakin-lutely be able to tell your mother that you feel embarrassed without it initiating World War III. Your feelings are valid. That was not something your mother needed to take personally. What you endured says more about your mother’s feelings of validation, worthiness, and self-confidence and virtually NOTHING about you. So please also take a moment to tell yourself that: this is not about you. You are not a bad person. You are not a bad daughter. Your feelings are not bad. And while I don’t condone how your mother is treating you, I’m sure she loves you very much.
I feel so powerless trying to help you through a computer screen, so I want to offer you some resources that can be more reliable and immediate. Visit hopeline.com or call 1-800-442-HOPE if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I worry when you say that you need to be “removed, permanently” from this situation that you’re referring to suicide, and believe me when I say that the world is begging you not to. (Because, you aren’t the problem. You are valuable. You are loved. Hell, I love you because I feel your pain and I know you don’t deserve it. Anyone reading this will feel the same.) You can also call domestic violence hotlines because emotional abuse within the family falls into this category. Visit NCADV for local, state-based numbers, websites, and email addresses.
When you’re feeling especially lost, remember that this is temporary. Your life gets better. I swear. You may hear us crazy, old housewives whining all the time, but it’s all very much so worth it.
Take care of yourself,