Wednesday, January 25, 2006
I was on the train this morning, thinking that I needed to buy a new bottle of perfume. I use it so seldom, and mine has gone bad. For some strange reason, my mind moved to a long gone memory.
I had moved out of my mother's home my senior year of high school, and lived on my own, working full time at night to cover bills. A year later, she came to me, begging me to move back in with her and share the house payment, so that she wouldn't lose the house. I agreed. At some point soon after, I acquired a new JCPenney card, and began ordering items over the phone. She became jealous of my newfound credit, and begrudged everything that came in the mail, verbally berating me as it arrived.
My last mail order was a perfume that I'd tried once and always wanted: Ralph Lauren's original signature scent. I had ordered a gift box, and as it arrived, my mother came a bit unglued. As though it were the final straw on the proverbial camel's back. So I thought to turn the tables on her. It was nearing her birthday, and so I told her I'd ordered it for her birthday, that it had been intended as a surprise. Made her feel guilty for the continual hurt.
The irony, however, is that I had (and still have) never chosen anything for her -- perfume, makeup, jewelry, clothes, anything -- that she actually like and used. Everything any of her children gave her was placed in a drawer, put away, never to be used or seen again. And so went the Lauren perfume. The 50 buck box sat on the floor of her closet for years, until it was unusable and had to be thrown away. She never even tried it. And I didn't buy another bottle for years.
So it was with my mother. Nothing ever good enough, including me. I only say this for your own good, was her favorite line. There is someone on the other site that reminds me of the young version of my mother. I only say this very hurtful thing for your own good. Perhaps that's part of why I left. I don't need my mother in the lifestyle.
But as any trained clinician knows (yes, my MSW is clinical) when person A verbally hurts person B, it isn't for person B's own good, but for person A's. Because person A instinctively recognizes that they lack something in themself, or at least feel that they do; only hurting person B brings feelings of adequacy to person A. We see that often in borderline personality disorders (yes, my mom's borderline).
I think I will buy that bottle of perfume tonight. Oh, not the designer version, of course. I actually don't even like that one anymore. Too heavy. But something. I'll buy something.