`I went to therapy recently and we discussed my mother. In my other posts, I’ve complained how my mom is stuck in the past, critical, and just doesn’t get me. After therapy, I have reminded again it’s not that my mother doesn’t understand me- it’s just that she grew up in a different culture, time, and place.
I wish my mother wasn’t critical of my weight. I wish she didn’t tell me to go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge when I had my breakdown. I wish she was more understanding of my anxiety disorder rather than telling I’m dramatic or telling me to brush it off. There are many “I wishes.” Are these wishes going to come true? No. She will not change, and I have to accept that. How do I do that? Have more compassion for her.
Being compassionate and understanding towards my mother is difficult. It’s easier for me to have compassion towards strangers than to my mother. I have high standards for her and I get mad when she doesn’t live up to them. Other mothers aren’t as reactive as her and worry less, why can’t she be like them? I know I should ease up on her because everyone’s different and imperfect, but it’s hard. I want a mother who is understanding of my anxiety and doesn’t tell me repeatedly she wants me off medication, but she didn’t grow up with mental health awareness. In the Philippines, when you have anxiety, you tell someone or ignore it. Mental illness in the old country was considered non-serious and non-existent. Only “other” families experienced mental illness, and not us.
My mother and I argue over many things that include politics, driving methods, and lifestyles. Often, we’d argue to each other to the point it would get physical. She would slap me and I would scream vitriol. At the time I thought cursing at her would make me win the argument, but it just made it worse and augment the fighting. She’s more traditional, while I’m unorthodox. She follows the crowd, while I go out of my way not to follow the crowd. It’s normal among parents and children who have large age gaps between them, but it’s still hard nevertheless. Speaking to the therapist, I learned that if my mother says something that irritates me I should try to hold my tongue. Fighting doesn’t make anything better, and thinking what I’m going to say rather than reacting reduces the conflict.
Despite how much my mother drives me crazy, I’m grateful to have her. I’m grateful that I have a mother to complain about because there are others who don’t have that opportunity. I’m grateful that my mom worries about me because other people have mothers who don’t give two cents about them. I’m grateful I have a mother who pushes me to persevere even when it gets tough because I’ve grown to understand that obstacles are there to make you stronger and not weaker.
There are many things that my mother does that I may not agree with, but it works for her. At the end, all I can do is accept and love her.
Photo by: Mary Cassatt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons