It was around two years before my mother pulled the stunt that precipitated my decision to cut her out of my life. The year 2000 thereabouts. The process of my emotional distancing from her had embarked on its final stages in 1998 after an event where I was forced to fully acknowledge to myself that my mother was hopelessly chilish and selfish, controlling and sinisterly manipulative, a big, fat liar and dangerous.
Mother's Day was coming and I was feeling very pressured. I had reached the point where I could see that none of the Mother's Day cards applied to my mother. Combine that fact with how she had been ratcheting up her expectations for gifts on Mother's Day year by year. Now she was habitually providing "clues" as to what she would like to get for Mother's Day. She would issue the gift list in such a way as it was supposed that she was simply expressing, wistfully, the things she wanted. We would be out at the mall, or she'd be looking at catalogs, or simply during the course of a conversation. Or, annoyingly enough, she would openly covet my or my sister's possessions and threaten to take them! We would often buy her what we had just so we could keep what we had. Mom's wish list was an ever-lengthening one. We were told we should appreciate how easy she was making it for us to "get it right".
She had castigated my sister a year earlier for not sending her a Mother's Day card. Sister was told, "I want a card on Mother's Day!" "But, Mom" protested my sister, "I sent you a lovely gift, remember?!" Mom is shameless and undeterred. "Cards are not optional." Mom then assumed her sickly saccharine and slightly girlish tone, "I have a special box I put all my cards in. Then I go back from time to time to re-read them. It makes me happy to look at them. I love cards, and I expect to get them on Mother's Day."
Whew, boy. That got my goat. I realize now that her box of cards was a supply source to my mother. She would go back and read all these cards that describe other people's mothers...certainly not ours...and pat herself on the back for being wonderful. All I knew at that time is that she took the last smidgen of pleasure out of giving her cards and gifts on Mother's Day because it now stipulated that it was OUR DUTY to do so. She was quick to chastise and complain when we didn't perform up to her standards.
In this rather pissy mood I was having to figure out what to do for Mother's Day all the while hating the fact that it was such an onerous task. I was seeing her for the petulant, demanding and bratty bitch she really is and wasn't keen on giving her what she was insisting was hers by right.
I got a bit cheeky.
Okay, before I get to the cheeky part, a little bit of background on my mother's mental paradigm. Many years ago she started being attracted to conspiracy theories after getting her hands on the book, "Fourth Reich of the Rich". This was 1980 or so. I have mentioned her penchant for conspiracy theories in one or two other posts. What I haven't mentioned yet was how her descent into paranoid conspiracy theories went along with a keen interest in finding all the pagan origins of the various holidays that we observe today. (No, she isn't a Jehovah's Witness.) The pagan origins of Christmas was her favorite thing to go on and on about. Santa is one evil little demon in her estimation. Anyone that jolly, cheerful and generous must be evil, right? Heh.
The pagan roots of Christmas did present a dilemma for her because she loves Christmas. She decorates like Martha Steward on steroids. She can't resist putting up that 'pagan' tree each and every year and decorating it in Better Homes and Gardens style. It takes her hours and hours just to find the perfect tree...and then more hours and hours to decorate it. She must have her huge Christmas Eve feast ala Mexican food which requires hours and hours of cooking and preparation. Everything is done from scratch and all authentic-like. How does she justify going all out on this most pagan (in her estimation) of holidays? She Jesus-ifies it. As spiritual head of the family (and anyone else in her circle of 'friends') she is single-handedly sanctifying Christmas. I don't think she succeeds in putting Jesus back into Christmas, but she sure as hell thinks she does. I won't go into how she Jesus-ifies Christmas...at least, not in this post. Suffice it to say she is convinced that, in her house, Christmas has been unpaganified. Yeah, I just made that word up. She can have her cake and eat it too with a wave of her magic wand. Christmas has been used by her for decades to milk huge quantities of supply from her family and her satellite audience. She MUST have Christmas despite her condemnation of its pagan roots.
Back to Mother's Day. So what did I, in my annoyed state, do? I created some vapid little card on my computer. I wasn't in any mood to go to Hallmark that year. Then I did a search on the Internet...it had occurred to me that perhaps Mother's Day had some of its own pagan roots. I hit the motherlode. Heh. I then found the article I thought best summed up the pagan origins of Mother's Day and printed it out on some nice, purty stationery. It was kinda like wrapping up a dog turd with wrapping paper and ribbon. I folded it up and slid it inside her Mother's Day card. "Happy Pagan Mother's Day, ya bitch." That was the covert message.
I knew it would only accomplish one thing. If I rubbed the pagan origins of Mother's Day in my mom's face, I knew it would not have the effect of convincing her we should leave off commemorating the day. I had Christmas to amply prove that pagan origins mean nothing when gifts and attention are on the line. I knew I would only succeed in sending her my covert message of discontent. Can't say my exercise did much good except as an exercise for me. I was flexing my full autonomy muscles. I was practicing rebellion toward her rules of subservience and worship. In that sense, I suppose it paid off in the end.
I was amused by my little act of rebellion. I was further amused by her not mentioning one word about it. I let a little time go by. She eventually brought up her Mother's Day gift that I had given her. It was my opening. "What did you think of that interesting information I sent on the pagan origins of Mother's Day?" I asked in my most light and casual voice accompanied with an interested smile. "Oh", she shrugged, "it was interesting." Only, the way she said it I knew it wasn't interesting. Zero enthusiasm. Not her usual reaction when we get on the happy topic of pagan roots. I cheerfully continued, "I knew you'd think so! I know how interested you are in the pagan origins of things, so I wanted to pass that along to you." She dropped the subject by switching to a completely different topic. I knew that meant she hated what I did. I smiled internally and patted myself on the back. Message received.
The point to this post? I'm not sure there is one. It is just an anecdote that is only possibly interesting given the season of Mother's Day. So, there ya go, I shared it. It is memories like this that make my freedom on this holiday especially sweet. My mother received three more Mother's Day gifts after this one. Three more cards picked off the general section...where you'd find a card for a nice old lady you barely know. I guess she has to go to her box of saved cards in order to get through this day now.
For the record, I believe that honoring a good mother on Mother's Day is a nice thing to do. The day is what you make of it. The day is resurrected to its pagan origins when applied to the narcissist mother who demands the day be a day of obeisance and service to her 'holiness'. So, yeah, in that sense the day can be equated with whatever pagan associations its past contains.
Apparently some modern day 'goddesses' would like to remind us of the pagan origins of the day...a day to worship Gaia. Motha Earth. Click here.
A short overview of the origins of the day can be found here. This one is very similar to the info I sent my mother.
There are lots of people out there who believe in every delicious conspiracy theory that comes along. I would guess that most of them are not narcissists. But I suspect the more paranoid Ns are often attracted to conspiracy theories if they catch wind of them. If you have someone who pummels you with conspiracy theories to the point where you start thinking it might be true, or you simply want to pinch their heads off, you may find Jon Ronson's book, "Them: Adventures with Extremists" to be helpful. I put a link to it in the sidebar. I heard this guy interviewed some weeks back and then read an article by Ronson on his visit to the Bohemian Grove. (If you know anything about conspiracy theories then you've heard about The Grove and their supposed worship of the Owl God.) This book is the result of extensive time spent with various and widely philosophically divergent extremist groups. As different as many of these groups are from each other they have something in common. They all seem to believe in similar conspiracy theories about the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers, Skull and Bones, etc. If you're in need of a look at these theories through fresh eyes, Ronson is your guy. He came out the other side of his investigation still not a believer. Although he got close at one point. Funny story. He is better known for his humorist writing...now he has applied that humor to a rather dark subject. I've been unpleasantly surprised from time to time when a fellow church member starts whispering to me about the Illuminati and Freemasons, etc. Before this book, I would resist rolling my eyes before telling them I've been hearing this stuff for decades. I usually know more than they do on it (thanks, mom). They are baffled when they see I don't believe in "them". I'm grateful for this resource so I can more effectively shove a little reality back at them. If you believe in "them", gosh darn, sorry about this paragraph. Check out the book anyway. It could simply be more proof of how much effort "they" will go to in order to convince us "they" don't exist. Ronson is likely one of THEM.