Its a funny thing. I knew that my mother was not your normal, everyday mother but she differed so significantly from the other mothers of her time that it never occurred to me that there might be more to it.
She was a working mom, by choice, not by necessity, and that was pretty rare in our neighbourhood in the seventies. Also, she divorced my dad, which actually became quite common but she was at the beginning of the curve and no one was talking about it yet. She also had had many, many surgeries on her foot.
We had always been told that she had polio when she was two, but I have no way to confirm this. What I know for sure is that her one foot was significantly smaller than the other. She had had bone grafts and braces and they had never been able to make both her legs the same length.
As I recently discovered, she fits the description of a narcissist. Dr. Karyl McBride says there are two main types: the one extreme completely controls the children’s lives and tells them how to act and how to dress. The other extreme, my mother, was extremely neglectful. As I mentioned, I thought that this contrast was because she worked, but there was more to it.
I like to write, so I tried to dredge up memories of what it was like when I was still living with my mother and I noticed a funny thing. It was difficult to remember anything. Then, suddenly, a crack opened and a flood of memories came back. I quickly made short hand notes of each of them.
Later, when I was trying to write a blog on having a narcissist as a parent, I couldn’t remember anything again. I sat and relaxed and was poised to write and there was no connection to the memories. I have built a wall around the bad stuff. I find it not very accessible at all. I guess that shouldn’t be that much of a surprise, to find that you have blocked out bad memories, but I had no idea.
When I think of my mother there are about a half dozen safe memories that surface. The shop she worked in, a couple of bits that I have shared with my own daughters and the odd piece of this or that from restaurant meals and the like. There is this entire wall around most of it.
I checked my notes and the wall came down. I wrote. I remembered. It was not very nice in my home.