Monday, October 30, 2006

Hell, handbasket, etc

It is well documented in these pages that my mother makes me itch.

I think I had it in my head that I would mellow with age. That as she and I got older, we would learn to live with each other's faults and irritations - my flat refusal to stop getting tattooed, her complete, total battiness. We'd get on, if not brilliantly, at least at a level that would preclude actual, physical violence.

I found out last week that this is never going to happen. My mother makes me ill, emotionally and physically. She only stayed for one night. It was hellish. She'd invited herself, thus disproving the oft-quoted myth that you have to invite a vampire over your threshold, and if you don't they can't come in. Driving from work to pick the Other Half up, I had a panic attack. A proper, sweating, spinning-out one. Given that I was halfway over a very big bridge at the time, this was an interesting development. A combination of making sure I hadn't actually stopped breathing, and narrowing my field of vision down to the width of my car plus ten feet in front meant the local emergency services got to stay at their respective, cosy depots, eating chocolate digestives and watching Judge Judy which was doubtless a more inviting prospect than cutting me out of a burning car when they'd rather have been getting home for their teas.

Still, it scared the bejesus out of me. I had a split second where I thought to myself, in a perfectly rational way, I could just keep driving. I get paid tomorrow. I could drive for a few hours and stay in a Travelodge and work out what to do next. I could go home tomorrow, after she's gone. I very, very nearly did it.

For fuck's sake. I am thirty-three years old.

So I didn't give in to my hysterical side. I picked the Other Half up. We went home, Mother turned up with Small Person and I spent the evening leaping up and down from the sofa like a demented bellboy, totally unable to stay in the same room as her for more than fifteen seconds at a time. Seriously. I can't even look at her. And when she went the next day, my body reacted in the manner of one of those people who gets lost in the Australian Outback and survives for four days on chewing gum and adrenaline, and when they get rescued the relief is too much and everything sort of breaks down*. I have spent a week battling an enormous, venomous mouth ulcer. It nearly ate my head. The Other Half had to get me some super-powerful steroid gunk from the chemist to get rid of it. It's gone now, and I have swollen glands and a vaguely not-quite-here feeling to keep me company instead. I can't sleep. I can't concentrate.

Some of this may have to do with the fact that I have to do this all over again next week. Next week!!

It was Mother's birthday in September. In a fit of sheer, utter madness I suggested taking her to see Andy Abrahams, the Affable Singing Not-Quite-Dustman who didn't win the X-Factor last year, or something. Am I MENTAL**??? This entails her not only staying the night again, but the two of us having to spend actual time with each other with nobody else acting as a buffer. I mean, the singing dustman aside - he'll help, of course, but unless he's going to give us a lift to the venue and sit between us in the taxi on the way home, I can't see him saving the day. And I don't even like his music.

I'm going to be hungover to fuck next Tuesday. Fact.

* I may be overstating this slightly. Me me me.
**Yes. Hopelessly, irrevocably so.


Anonymous Melissa chimed in with...

Sorry you had such a rough time. Wishing you a smoother visit (and little to no mouth ulcers) next week.

30 October, 2006 22:05  
Blogger GreatSheElephant chimed in with...

Can you not just divorce her? People do stop seeing unspeakable parents.

30 October, 2006 23:36  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

seconding gse. for heavens' sake, something that bad has an effect on your family. if she is just one of those clueless, impossible people, at least take care of yourself and maybe seek out a support group. i had to.
she doesn't bother your small person, does she???? grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

31 October, 2006 00:44  
Blogger suburban wonder chimed in with...

Oh my dear! Walk away - some relationships are just too toxic. I suspect you're a little like me, though, the eternal optimist who always hopes for the best. It rarely transpires.

Seriously, if this was your boyfriend you were talking about, we'd all be screaming at you to get out, go to a shelter, and distance yourself. Anyone who gives you panic attacks is not good for you, and that person having given birth to you is relatively immaterial.

My opinion, though. Feel free to disregard.

31 October, 2006 02:22  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

If you honestly hate someone that much then don't bother. It's almost simple.

31 October, 2006 09:20  
Blogger The Murphmeister chimed in with...

How are things otherwise?

31 October, 2006 11:23  
Blogger Betty chimed in with...

I dunno how easy it is to actually sever ties with parents. No matter how hard you try, there's always a little voice inside that makes you think "perhaps I CAN win their approval". Plus, their criticism always hurts much more than anyone else's, for some reason.

I suppose the best thing to do is to keep them at arm's length as much as possible.

31 October, 2006 11:35  
Blogger creepylesbo chimed in with...

Forget this lamo Halloween lark - mothers are the ultimate fear-inducer. I completely understand.

31 October, 2006 12:43  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Re relationships - we can all feel sorry for ourselves. Just don't make a career out of it. Victim is not attractive.

31 October, 2006 14:21  
Anonymous Ole Phat Stu chimed in with...

Get a tattoo "Mother". That should please both of you?
Remember to leave room for an additional 6 letters appended at the end though ;-)

31 October, 2006 15:05  
Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

to betty, it most certainly is possible, and your life improves in ways you cannot begin to imagine, too. keeping someone in your life who is the very antithesis of what they stand for psychologically is more corrosive than acid. and those people never change. not deeply, not permanently.
*looks around, pulls paper bag over head, slinks off* sorry! didn't mean to take over there!

31 October, 2006 15:37  
Blogger claire chimed in with...

on another note, Andy the Binman did seem like a nice man. He may be willing to help if you ask... I've no use for his music though, either.

Um. Does she KNOW that there is this much tension between you two? I can't imagine she doesn't see it.

31 October, 2006 15:44  
Blogger Huw chimed in with...

So, does your mum read your blog?

31 October, 2006 16:39  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

yeah, all the time. it's in her favourites.

and to the person who kindly (and anonymously) pointed out that "victim isn't attractive"? couple of points for you.

1) i know. one of the things i am sickest of is carrying all this shit round with me constantly. it's not as easy as just "letting go" or "getting over it". each time i find the words to articulate how this whole load of bollocks makes me feel, i come a little bit closer to resolution.

2) choose your words carefully. you never know (and even if you've read every single word of my archives) what has actually happened to a person to make them who they are today. never. victim might be apt, for all you know. even if you know me, which i doubt.

3) i'm not sure at which point i'm supposed to be making myself attractive to everyone who might happen across this blog. really. i don't have time or energy enough to think about it. i'm calling it like i see it, every time i open blogger and start a new post. you are, of course, entitled to your opinion. as i am entitled to respond further with mine.

4) shutting up now. really. oh, and ole phat stu? made me laugh....

31 October, 2006 19:32  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...


blimey. will i ever get over myself, i wonder? you carry on bitching, anonymous. it's good for the soul.

31 October, 2006 19:41  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

I didn't realise I'd hit a nerve.

Sorry for voicing an opinion that you may not agree with. And I don't know you or you me (although I am a complete bitch obviously) so I've no doubt you're lovely and don't just feel sorry for yourself. It's just how it reads.

31 October, 2006 20:03  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i know - and that's what i was trying to say in point one. if it annoys you then you can rest assured that it annoys me four times as much (see how i quantify? see?). that's what this whole blog is for - to save the long-suffering other half from the endless "but is it ME?" conversations. everyone's entitled to an opinion. if you don't agree with me you're free to voice. if i don't agree with you i can do the same. it's what elton john would call the "circle of life". mind you, he's a cunt.

do you know the trouble with anonymous comments? i don't know if i'm talking to the anonymous from before, or a different one. paranoia...

31 October, 2006 20:08  
Blogger Mikey chimed in with...

Splendid. have nothing to add re:the parent, other than you've made me feel a shade better about mine. Am adding this to my link-list if only to remind me to come back here every day.

01 November, 2006 10:05  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

I have dodgy relationships with the parents but if someone's making you feel bad and not giving anything back, then leave it. I just hate whinging when you can opt out.

01 November, 2006 11:51  
Blogger ldbug chimed in with...

Hello, I've just found your blog via Angry and been kinda reading around. Anyway, I wanted to post a comment on "the passage of time" post you did last week and thought you might not see it if I posted the comment there..Anyhoo, to get my two cents in: My mom has a friend like that. Who just hurt her over and over. My mom had a dysfunctional childhood (emotionally), and I think she sometimes has a hard time recognizing when someone is being mean to her to make themselves feel better.

My advice, don't be friends with someone who makes you feel like shit. Yeah, you have a history, but did your friend really help you through the dark times in your life or did you do that on your own and she just happened to be there?

My mom is on a 'temporary friend' basis with that woman now. She told the 'friend' straight out, I can't be friends with someone who hurts me. Maybe you don't realize you do, but you do, and you are (the lady protested and my mom gave her some examples). If you want to be my friend, then you have to recognize my feelings too.

I was sooooo proud of her!!

That temp friend didn't talk to her for a bit. But my mom held firm. Now the temp friend calls from time to time. Now she is polite when they run into each other on the street. Now temp is running after my mom for a bit of attention. And she's doing it the right, respectful way.

01 November, 2006 17:38  
Anonymous sooz chimed in with...

Maybe you can try to be different. Be the way you want to be with her - say what comes into your head and behave as if you don't give a shit what she thinks.

You will feel better, she may be stunned into silence and she may never come again - result!

01 November, 2006 21:26  
Blogger Kyahgirl chimed in with...

I hope you won't mind if I just give you a big hug SG.

I know your mother is a fruitcake and she has done horrible, horrible things to you. But I also know that people are driven by very strong forces to keep trying with their parents. No matter how shitty it was, there is always some little kid in there that wants to love and be loved by the parents. I think 'anonymous' should understand that plus read your previous 'mother' posts to get the whole picture.

You are an amazing woman sg and a fabulous mother. That is one of the gifts in all this. You learned everything to 'not be' from your own parents.

I hope you both survive the outing to the Binman show (is that a comedian?)

big hugs...

p.s. I'm really impressed with how open and accepting you were with your anonymous commenter. A year ago when I first started reading your blog, I think you would have told them to fuck off and die.

01 November, 2006 22:16  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

Sorry things so bad between the two of you Surly but if it is any consolation the deep gulf between you makes your writing extremely funny - keep it up, it's cathartic for the rest of us too!

01 November, 2006 23:11  
Blogger zanna chimed in with...

I feel moved to comment that Surly spends very little time feeling sorry for herself and is dealing with everything that has happened in her life extremely well. I'm sure that comments telling people that victim is not attractive have some place somewhere in this blogging world, however Surly is not a victim, and she is beautiful both inside and out. She's not whingeing - she's healing. Tried not to write this and just accept that everyone has an opinion but when it comes anonymously I wonder how happy that person is in their own relationships, and what they get out of slating others with no constructive advice.

02 November, 2006 11:05  
Blogger Dave chimed in with...

Madness, indeed. Surely you should have taken her to see Brenda, the slightly unhinged diva who also didn't win the X-factor last year and ended up in Chicago ( the musical not the city). I like her.

06 November, 2006 04:05  
Blogger SBB chimed in with...

Oh god. This is way too close to the bone right now for me to leave any constructive (or coherent) advice.

What has somewhat worked for me is to have almost constant contact with my mother - I'm not sure if it is because I have matured and now can see beyond the hysteria or... whether I am now dead inside.


06 November, 2006 12:17  

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