I’ve been going to therapy for nearly 30 years at this point, long enough that I’ve done therapy with every modality and philosophical bent. One particular therapist had a pillow on his couch that said; “if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” I don’t remember him being particularly Freudian in any other way, so it might have been a joke.
That joke being that in Freudian therapy, it almost always comes back to the mother for young men. I remember when I was covering it in college and I found out that part of why Freud is less taken seriously now is that his approach worked for early 20th century people in the upper middle class. That’s where ALL of his data was from.
But my mom…. guys, gals, I love the woman but talking to her I realize more and more how most of my problems incubated in her while I was growing up. She’s trying really hard to be supportive, but she won’t work on herself…. at least not yet. That’s part of the guilt, I’m supposed to pull my stuff together then she can work on herself….. and it hasn’t happened yet, it may never happen, and that’s a lot of pressure.
She works at this job that just…. invades her life. One of her coworkers got in trouble for mentioning that maybe minorities have a harder time of it. She said she’s not allowed to say anything that makes her employer look bad, ever. Like, she is so totally owned by that right wing crazy org….. and her self esteem is so low she just keeps at it.
Is it any wonder I have employer issues? I tried to make it work with similar employers, and it was in that way I hit a wall. I can’t devote my life to the org I work for. I can barely care enough to devote 32 hours a week to it.
And you know what? You can’t save everybody. My therapist made that point, and I was all “sure, yeah” but you should be able to save SOMEBODY, right?! But some people are just into being abused, into letting their employer own them.. I guess it’s a generational thing.
Like, I don’t want to kink shame, but use a safe word for pity sake. One is supposed to be able to say enough is enough, right? It’s not just supposed to be endless abuse, or am I missing some essential masochism required for capitalism (hey that rolls off the tongue, there’s a song there.)
And she’s just…. toxic positivity. A cousin of mine has dropped off the radar, there’s a pretty good chance she’s dead, just based on her economic situation. But the whole death denial is so strong in my mom, she spun an alternate narrative where my cousin just doesn’t remember us…. and I was overwhelmed by it, how do you live a life where you assume anything ever goes to plan, or where vulnerable people aren’t dead?
Willful ignorance, she doesn’t want to know, she doesn’t want out. This whole system works for her, I just don’t know how to tell her it doesn’t work for me.