Journey Long Overdue Blog #1: Facing the Problem

I have been struggling with “something” for some time now. And for some time now I have not been able to put my finger on exactly what is eating at my soul. I’ve tried many things, praying, writing, just sitting in silence and contemplating. Nothing has seemed to work out whatever it is that I am struggling with.

I was thinking for a while that maybe it was the lack of happiness in my job/personal life, thus the “Quo Vadimus” blog, but with everything I do, whether it’s writing or praying, or whatever, I come up with great answers and conclusions, but at the end of the day the “thing” is still there. What the hell is going on?

As of late the idea, and fear, has crept up that maybe I am battling depression again. I say again, but I know this is the first time many of you will hear that word out of my mouth, or fingers I guess, lol. I will cover more on this later. The reason I started to have this thought is because I see/feel similar feelings as to when I was depressed before. Such as, lack of energy, pulling away from people, closing myself of emotionally to others, and an overall fear of the “what if” factor. The last part there relates to worrying about any and every possible negative situation that could happen to the point of obsessive paranoia.

Before we continue, (because I’m sure a lot of you reading this are beside yourself thinking of good ole happy-go-lucky Mike using terms like depression and obsessive paranoia), I just want to let everyone have a second to take this all in. This may not help here, and I’m not trying to be overdramatic, but there is a whole side of me that many of you do not know; even those of you who are my closest friends. That doesn’t make me any less of who you know; it just means there is more to me that is not so happy-go-lucky. Ok, everybody ready to move on?

I think I’ve finally figured out what is gnawing at me day and night. I believe it has come time that I talk about, and finally deal with my past. Again, not trying to be overdramatic, but over the last 5 years some pretty traumatic stuff has happened to me, and I have come to realize that I have spent so much time focusing on other issues and have said time and time again, “I can’t worry about this right now, I’ve got to keep moving. I’ll deal with it later.” Well, it seems to me that later is now.

I know this sounds very cryptic to many people right now, but trust me I will hopefully explain everything over time. It’s starting to look like this may be a several blog installment kind of thing, like the honeymoon blog. I guess I just have a lot to say.

So where to start? I guess at the beginning. Many who know me from “way back” know I was raised in a single parent home, not unlike many kids these days. My mom and dad got married very young, had me right away, and like many couples just refused to put in the work to make the relationship last. They divorced about a year and some change after first getting together. They have both given me completely different stories on why the marriage did not work. I’m not surprised; I just figure I’ll never get the real reason.

I spent the majority of my life with my mom, as my dad was not around. I’m not going to get into the whole “daddy-issues thing” as that is a whole blog for another time; maybe another as part of this series, lol. I just want to focus on my mom for a while.

Life with my mom was great when I was young (as I chose to remember it – I will explain later), but as I got older and even when I became an adult, it all seemed to change. Our relationship became the most difficult and challenging thing in my life. As a kid I saw her as this strong single working woman who was doing her best to raise a kid on her own, she was my idol. She seemed to always handle it with grace, and she always seemed to have a good attitude about the whole thing. But, as I said earlier, things seemed to change, drastically and dramatically for the worse.

I say that our relationship seemed to change, but in reality it didn’t. That is because now as an adult I possess the ability to look back critically, and without the rose-colored glasses, I see that our relationship was never quite right. My mother had a wonderful way of making me feel like shit. At a very early age it was beaten into me (figuratively and literally) to never disappoint mom. As a young kid, she would tell me how hard I had made her life, and how when I messed up she was just utterly just disappointed in me, as a person and a son. Talks like that used to crush me inside. It would make me long for the physical expressions of disappointment. Outer scars heal quicker then the inner ones. But still, I continued to see her as a hero. I mean come on, it was my mom. She gave me everything; she just also made sure I knew about it too.

It wasn’t until high school that I started to speak up for myself. It’s not like I rebelled, it was more along the lines of going from saying nothing, complying with everything, to saying “no” occasionally, but still pretty much complying with everything. Even after I graduated from high school, at the age of 18 (I’m a legal adult at this point people, free to do whatever the “F” I want), I did everything my mother told me to. Honestly, that’s how my military career came to be. Seriously people, she told me I was going to join the Army and I never said boo to her. Even as I sat on the plane flying to basic training I can remember thinking, “How the “F” did I just get here?” One second I was home with my friends and then girlfriend, and the next I was on a plane headed for Oklahoma. It also struck me as weird that my mother was crying in the airport as I boarded the plane to leave. I can also remember thinking, “Why are you crying? You made me do this.” I would never trade my military career for the world, but that’s how it all started. Pretty crazy, right?

After returning home from the military (now age 23) she treated me like I owed her something…..no wait, she actually constantly told me how much I owed her. Everything was still the same, except for one glaring difference, and that was that the young sheepish boy who left 4 years prior had returned a young man who was self-sufficient and completely independent. I was no longer going to stand for being berated. It didn’t stop her from trying though.

Now, to be fair, I am not trying to make it sound like this was an everyday thing, because it wasn’t. Most days (in the beginning) were typically good, but when it went bad, it went bad quick. This “did” change over time. Eventually it became that the bad times were the norm, and the good times were the exception. The crazy part was even as independent as I was I still never said “boo” to her. I would stand up for myself, but she would somehow still win out in the end. I felt like this going to be our relationship for the rest of my life, but I had no idea what was coming my way.

About 4 years ago my life was kind of in a weird place. I had seemingly got a good hold on my personal life. I was finishing up school, I was dating a wonderful woman (my now wife), and under the advice of my mother had entered into the homeowners market. My mom convinced me that I could afford a condo in my hometown of San Diego. Now, keep in mind this is pre-market crash and the end of the housing market as we knew it.

I knew I couldn’t afford it; the money just wasn’t there, but my mom and the sales agent were very convincing. Again, I don’t want to play the victim card here and blame my mother for everything. To this day I have said that I should have been smarter with the decision to get involved in purchasing a condo and not been so easily swayed. But, you never think that your family, let alone your mother, is going to steer you in the wrong direction. She kept promising me that she would help if there were ever financial problems, and to not worry about the astronomical mortgage because I could just refinance in 2 years. They both made it sound so easy. In hindsight, I should have known not to listen to my mother, simply for the fact that she’s never owned anything in her entire life. She barely owns the clothes on her back.

While all this is going on I’m also helping my mother buy a car, and new furniture. And when I say help, I mean actually sign for everything while she promises every which way that she will make the payments if I put everything under my name. What the hell was I thinking?

So, as I said, everything seemed to be going swimmingly, but I should have known better, because my mother is like a tornado; when all is calm, that’s when you really have to worry. Out of the blue one day (that’s when she likes to strike; things seem to be going nicely, she has to muck it up simply for drama) my mother decided to verbally attack the wonderful woman I was dating (remember, my wife now). My wife had been nothing but nice to my mother on all the occasions she was around her. Now, I’m not going to get into what was said, or what the reason was behind the uncalled-for attack, as that is my wife’s and my personal business, and frankly we don’t even like talking about it.

This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had had enough. I stood in defense of my wife, and at that very moment was dismissed from my family. So, I know this blog may seem a bit all over the place, but if you have been keeping track you will see that I now have no dad, and no mom. My dad’s family stopped talking to me (because of my mom) way back in my early childhood, and now because of the increasing crazy factor of my mother, her own family is deathly afraid of her; therefore they would rather just go along with my new excommunication than disagree with her. In the aftermath of my mother’s crazy attack on me and my wife most of my family has found a way to get in contact with me to tell me they don’t agree with my mom, but they don’t want to make her angry. Just try to imagine how that feels to hear, “We love you, just not enough to stick up for you.” This is how it has been now for the last 4 years or so.

Now let me try and tie this all back into the early part of this blog. Since that time of the attack my wife and I have been faced with one life-consuming situation or another (i.e. moving across the country, looking for new jobs in a new city, planning a wedding, and just generally trying to live everyday life). To my wife’s credit, as much as she hates talking about what happened she has tried on numerous occasions to get me to open up about how that entire situation affected me. My answer has always been the same, “I don’t really think about. I just got to keep plugging along.”

Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about people who have been part of my life, but not here anymore, and I keep seeing this pattern of how most of them left over one situation or another involving my mother. I will touch more on this in later additions of this story, but to give you a quick glimpse most women I ever dated broke up with me because they all said my mother was crazy, my best friends from high school stopped talking to me because they were at one time or another made to look like bad people by my mother, and my mother’s best friend of over 30 years stopped associating with her because she could not take her negativity anymore.

My life has been a friggin’ rollercoaster the last 5 years, and it’s all come to a head right now. I have to deal with this; I refuse to go to those places of depression ever again, and I do not want to become the very thing I hate. I want the rest of my life, marriage, and eventually the raising of my children to be a positive experience.

I know this is a long entry, and sorry if you feel like you just got blindsided by all of this info. Hey look at it this way, if you stick with me to the end of these blogs we might all be able to get our PhD in Psychology, lol. But thanks for listening anyway.

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  1. #1 by roguesophia on July 21, 2010 - 9:08 pm

    That’s really powerful. I’m really glad that you had the strength to do the right thing and end your poisonous relationship with your mother. That takes a lot of guts.

    I wish you well on your journey.

    ~Muse LeMorgon

  2. #2 by Sara on July 21, 2010 - 10:30 pm

    I think so many of us idolize and put our parents up on a pedestal only to realize that they’re not perfect, and in many ways, completely screwed up. I never realized how messed up my home life was until I saw how well other parents treated their kids.

    You’ll see it even more if you and Steph decide to start a family. That’s when it really hit home for me in a big, life changing way.

    Pondering your past, reconciling it, dealing with it, and moving past it will all be cathartic and healing for you, Mike. You’ll come out in the end as a better human being, more decent, more empathetic. You’ll be Mike.0!

    I’m proud of you, and I love you!

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