Skip to Content

mother, brother, sister, me

yesterday was Mother's Day. I taught my small one how to slice strawberries so she could make me breakfast. I spent time with my kids planting corn and landscaping and did my best to be gracious about Mother's Day sentiments.

I'm not a fan of most holidays. I find the overwhelming requirements of any holiday that purports to recognize someone based on their role in your life to be fairly unreasonable. we're all told who we should honor and how, setting up expectations on both sides that aren't practical. still, yesterday I wished I had a mother to honor. I have a mother, but I haven't spoken to her in a dozen years and I don't plan to in the future.

in spite of my no-contact policy with her, the simple fact that she exists has led to several interesting developments this past week.

the first was that my long lost brother was found. I read his blog and he seems interesting. he looks like family, he's a musician and actor, and he has mild to moderate Asperger's Syndrome. I felt like he's someone I would like to get to know.

the second development was that I became greatly concerned that my mother would use him to try to rebuild our broken family. she has a well-established history of pitting family members against each other, and currently (and for many years) I've been the odd one out. the thought of someone with Asperger's being used by someone like my mother made me feel sick to my stomache. I expressed my negative feelings to my sister about our mother using him to build a bridge to me. she became so angered that she told me that my bitterness toward our mother was over the top, that this situation wasn't about me and that I was a "fucking narcissist".

talk about confused. I couldn't see how it wasn't about me, since I had to make a decision about whether or not make contact with our brother. naturally, it's not ALL about me. that would indeed be narcissistic. but it's not NOT about me. I'm involved here. so is my sister, and brother, and mother.

I cried for 2 hours, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. having been the good little cult robot, I was used to switching gears and adopting others' points of view in the interest of survival. I didn't feel it was the right thing to do here, however. I spent a great deal of time deciphering what the real issue was, and concluded that it was that my sister made assumptions about my feelings and thought processes based on a single statement. she didn't ask why I was concerned about it. she simply judged, and attributed motives to me that don't exist.

I haven't talked to her about it yet because I have some things to sort out, which brings me back to development number one, and subsequently to development number three.

I decided to make contact with my brother, and got to read more of what he's written about being an adult diagnosed with Asperger's. I really like his sense of humor. it jives. but it was strange reading about his feelings of alienation, about not really fitting in, because it was like he was writing the things I feel.

I've always felt like I miss things that are going on. there are nuances to conversation that I just don't get. I can see people communicating with looks and gestures, and it baffles me.

my mother complained fairly regularly that I was "too literal". when she said that, I always felt bad about myself, and confused because I didn't know what she meant. our relationship was volatile. she was very self-centered and I was expected to take on pretty substantial care-taking responsibilities from about the age of ten. I would endeavor to follow her directions, but my efforts were rewarded with harsh criticism because explicitly following directions was not what she wanted and I was supposed to be able see that more had to be done than what she had told me to do.

my husband has also become frustrated over my tendency to interpret things literally. I tend to run with a literal interpretation when someone makes a comment, although I've trained myself to do a mental check to see if there could be additional meanings. it helps things out socially when I do that.

those things, and a host of others, prompted me to talk to my therapist about Asperger's. although she was disinclined to believe I have Asperger's, she did an initial assessment and was stunned that I fit so many criteria.

I guess we just hadn't got around to considering possible organic causes of some of my issues, since PTSD and anxiety disorder were so clear.

so, development number three is that I'm going to get an assessment now, since an Asperger's diagnosis would change my treatment plan as well as my expected outcome. I'm feeling both relieved and sad over this. relieved because there's an explanation for why I felt like I never belonged and why I was so easily victimized by my mother, by my ex-husband, and by members of the cult I belonged to. the sad feelings are because I've been hoping that if I stick with therapy and can resolve some of these overwhelming legal and emotional abuse issues with my narcissistic ex-husband, I might lead a normal life with normal family relationships and a career.

now I just don't know what the future holds.

my painful past, however, makes a little more sense.