Birthday trauma and my mother.
Heavy. Trauma. Mothers.
A birthday like every other birthday, one with childhood traumas and bad memories. Where did the hurt come from, how did it become so heavy and maybe it'll help to talk though the hurt.
Our birthday started on my mother's 42nd birthday. I hate OUR birthday. My birthday is fine, aging is fine, but our birthday (just the phrase) fucks my head up. My mother was a narcissist and a manipulator. It was her gift to be able to play a perpetual victim and get away with it for her 86 years.
My 8th birthday, and her 50th and divorce was on the menu instead of cake. My mother dropped the divorce bomb on my dad the day of our family birthday party. Well it was her family as she refused to associate with his family. I can only imagine the balls it took to stay for that party as he stared daggers into her through out the entire thing. He was unwelcome but stayed. Same cake, same candles, same song - right? As an 8 year old I knew this wasn't right, it felt like I was being cheated.
I celebrated every birthday with her - EVERY year. I loathed it. She bathed in it. It didn't matter if I was 8, 16, 21, or married with kids. Our birthday was to be spent together. Fuck how I hated that. Correction, how I hate that currently. My mother had few redeeming qualities, she was to be feared by me. That's how she liked it.
No one celebrated my 16th, but they called for her that day. She got happy birthdays and I got nothing. I was forgotten. An only kid, an afterthought. She is known by her first name, not mother. She was the Best Aunt. The Best Friend. The Best Daughter. She was the fun aunt, the one who showered you with gifts and love. The friend always there. The dependable daughter. The Worst Mother. The Abuse Giver. The Giver of the Most Pain. She was a shit human to me. To me, she was pain and ache and wounds. The Creator of it all.
Why is there so much surrounding this day. What is it about today? Certain birthdays brough big gifts and others brought nothing. For my 21st, I celebrated by buying her favored Kahlua. She didn't buy me anything. She went out and celebrated while I worked.
There would be days of messages and voicemails before cell phones. I would come home to screaming voicemails demanding a call no matter the time. Being that I had elderly grandparents I was close to I worried and called. NO, they would be fine each time, but Mother would be livid. She was upset cause the credit card bill had come from my supplies at school. I was an art student and while books were expensive, supplies were more so. I had taken loans to pay for them but the last year she insisted I didn’t, and she'd pay for them. I lived a privileged life, thanks to her. Money wise at least.
For my 21st birthday, I purchased a tattoo for myself. Lied to her saying it was free as heaven forbid I mark myself and paid for it. It was four dolphins in an infinity symbol to mark my love for my husband. Today, it's been covered up, but the symbol still remains.
Late night calls and power plays from hundreds of miles away. That was her game and remained her game till we went no contact years later. She would say sending me to school was the worst decision she ever made. She had no choice.
I left home and was confused as hell building friendships, learning to become myself. Damn, was freshman year hard as hell. The summer after my freshman year, she brought my manic depressive, psychotic aunt to live with us. Thereby sending me into my first manic episode with zero help and fear like I have never felt before. She was so mixed, so psychotic, so schizophrenic, that I spiraled. I'd been depressed before but this was my first mixed episode. My aunt eventually moved on and out of our home. No meds for my Aunt, by comparison I am nowhere close to my Aunt.
My sophomore year miracle, I met my spouse. October is a big month. Hence the 10 on my back. After I got back to school, I became me again, almost instantly. Away from my mother and my Aunt I stabilized. Now I wasn't medicated like today, but I was in the beginnings of my bipolar. Long periods of normal, and then not being normal.
Zero to 60 and getting my head ripped off? Sounds like a call with my mother. The preying mantis is an amateur compared to my mother. Then the birthday trauma passes and for 354 days I am ok. And I don't deal with it.
What's your trauma trigger? If you've been through childhood trauma or any trauma for that matter, you have a trigger. One of mine? A quiet conversation quickly going off the rails and having my head bitten off. Call center jobs and Emerson do not mix. I bawled my eyes out on my job and I was fucked for 3 days. PTSD says Hi!!
Birthdays are a mixed bag here. My kids and spouse celebrate birthdays quietly. Hubby could care less. My oldest, who just turned Sweet 16, really didn't care. We go out to dinner and give gifts and cake. My youngest is at the holiday zone of Christmas but before New Year’s. I try hard for him. Because I know what it feels like to be merged out on your birthday.
I share a birthday with the person hurt me most. I learned firsthand how to play with a narcissist and win. You walk away. Yes, I may be a privileged spoiled brat, but I am working on it. This is what happens when you are raised with funds instead of affection.
Hmm maybe some of Mom's narcissism surround the day of birth rubbed off on me.