My mom and I had just finished talking (and crying) how I didn’t want to see the rest because of how awful I felt, and I didn’t want to feel like I had to pretend. So I took the dog out for a walk in the snow. We didn’t even make it across the street when the rest of the family got home. Of course, the dog spotted them so I had no way of escaping the little gettogether.

And so it happened that it was the five of us watching TV.

My mom and I were still hiding the tears of ten minutes earlier
My mom and dad had an arguement earlier about something they’d said
My dad and brother had been on each others lips and backs for the entire week already
My brother and his gf had just been in (another) humongous fight
My brother and I rarely ever talk anyway

Who the fuck is wearing the mask here anyway?!

I realize everybody does this to some extent. We all feel when it is and when it isn’t socially acceptable to not pretend. But I’m pretty sure this is a damn unhealthy setting. And it got me thinking; when am I ever really me?

I think I only really show how my brain’s fucked when I’m fucked. Like, when I get to that completely-out-of-control desperation state. The uncontrollably sobbing, mumbling painfully constructed words. When it’s already too late. And that only ever happens with my mom. My poor mom who I’ve dragged through hell yet not back. Who I left there burning with me. My poor mom who already feels like a failure for letting me get to hell in the first place, for not keeping me away and for not being able to single handedly dragging me out. And then I put the extra burden of spilling my most toxic thoughts to her when doomsday has arrived again. On the poor shoulders of someone who I know doesn’t vent to someone else either. Who will only utter her helplessness, but never her anger. Who will never spill her guts, look for relief in sharing her struggles with anyone, either. And I just keep adding, and adding, and adding!

The second I tear up I feel more guilty than I already did. I know the second I see the tears swell in her eyes I don’t ever want to put her through this again. How desperately I want to become the daughter she deserves, the daughter she fights for. How I want to pay her back by showing her that her hard work paid off. That now it’s okay, and she can relax again. I want to be that free-spirited, happy girl again that she deserves as a child. Because she already has her worry-child, and that was not supposed to be me. My brother can fulfill that role. I am the responsible one, the elder daughter. The one you don’t need to worry about, or look after. She’ll take care of herself and it’ll be fine. The one who can play on her own, study on her own, travel the world and take you out for coffee. That daughter, that’s me. That was me. Thats who she deserves. The one she can vent to about things that bother her, as she used to, and not the one she would want to vent about.

I feel so guilty for still abusing her like I do. For sucking her empty, draining her of all light-heartedness, trust, happiness and energy. I am the vampire yet I’m numbing her into being a zombie. I want to give her back her life and yet here I am, making her pick out a new mask over and over again to cover up what I am turning her into


16 thoughts on “Masks

  1. Speechless…
    Ok, I’m sorry, Sooz, but I was kind of watching TV there too…
    And crying, and wishing that you didn’t…
    You are not a vampire! She just cares for you. I do too, but that’s incomparable! She is your mom, sweetie.
    And this description of yourself – it’s not YOU. And you know that perfectly well.
    Please look after yourself, as much or as little as you can.
    And please let us worry about you. Because we care.
    I love you.

  2. Sooz!!!! Hello!!! I hope you’re well.

    You’re not a vampire. You’re not draining your mum. Don’t be silly. Your family generally kinda want to loom after you. That’s part of what family is. Yes sometimes people hide their feelings, but only because sometimes it’s too hard to let people know how you feel. I’m sad you’re feeling this way.

    Anyway bebz, I hope you’re doing ok. Lemme know how things are.

    Love and feel better x.

  3. Oh I so know what you mean! I too feel like a drain on my family. You know your Mum would feel terrible if she knew how awful and guilty you feel don’t you? It’s a RUBBISH situation, because you think you’re being a burden or whatever – but really Sooz, she loves you! She would hate to think you’re so upset about it.

    I do know what you mean though honestly. I hate how much pressure/stress I have put on my family and doubt the guilt will ever go away for me. I try to keep as much as poss from my fam but I really do think it’s a good thing that you’re close and honest with your Mum.

    Feeling like you want your Mum to have the daughter she deserves is a familiar feeling, but I’m sure your Mum wouldn’t change you for the world xx

    • We talked it out, and we agreed on how we had to let each other feel our feelings and not worry about that, because if I worry about the fact she worries and then she feels guilty about that which makes me feel guilty etc we’re never getting anywhere ;)

  4. I very strongly do not think you use or abuse your mum. She loves you, and you are sick, she cares about you. She knows it’s not you doing this for the heck of it as we all do, too. Nobody feels like that about you except for you – I hate how ED makes such lovely people loathe themselves and so harsh at themselves. I don’t think you would say the same stuff about any of us.
    I know guilt at your loved ones worrying, I feel the same. I do know, however, that I am not doing this on purpose and i know how hard I have FOUGHT to get better for them, for myself, for any reason, and it hasn’t helped. If I could, I would have been straight away for their sake. I know this is true for you too.
    YOu have fought so hard. Please be kind to yourself. ((((hugs))))

      • Hey… it is. And you aren’t alone. ME TOO. I am horrible to myself, yet kind to others. So is just about most of my friends… they are awful to themselves.
        We need to stop hating someone who is just trying to do the best they can with what they have. That’s you, that’s me..

  5. the daughter she deserves?

    the daughter she deserves is you, exactly the way you are. you don’t see yourself the way other people see you — as a WHOLE person. meaning: a sweet, beautiful, kind, compassionate, thoughtful, intelligent, gorgeous spirit. your mom sees that in you. you’re not this horrible awful monster. you are a person, who struggles, like any other person. you’re just honest about it. WHICH IS BRILLIANT.

    your mom loves you so much, lovebug. so much. that fact that she talks to you? helps you, continually? that is the most unconditional situation ever. you have someone in your life, right now, who will be there for you for as long as she is alive. the luck! it’s amazing. i know you might not think that right now — that you see yourself as the burden you are not — but your mom is your mom. she would gladly walk into hell of her own volition because she loves you so much.

    you never asked for any of this disease. you never asked for a mess you feel you cannot clean up. stop apologizing for something that is, quite literally, not in your control right now. stop apologizing for struggling, stop apologizing for being human. whoever you were? you still are now.

    additionally, don’t for one fucking single second believe the role for you to fill is that of the “perfect child”. that shit doesn’t exist. there are no roles. there is you, as a person. only. don’t label yourself or feel you have to. just be you, no matter how “complicated” you are (we’re all so strange. some of us are experts at hiding it, some of us are really good about being honest with how they’re feeling: YOU). your mom wants you to be happy — that is why she is sad. she knows your capability to be happy, your ability to be carefree. she doesn’t want you to be perfect, she wants you to be you, to stop worrying over whether you’re perfect enough. and you mom? she’ll worry regardless because she is your mom. moms *never* stop worrying. (seriously seriously EVER).

    you’re not making anyone’s life hell. you’re not the stain you think you are. you’re a bright light, and it’s clear a lot of people care about and love you endlessly. it’s clear that people are willing to go to hell with you, to come back with you. your mom is one of those people. she wants to. don’t think she’s doing it for any other reason. don’t think you’re dragging anyone anywhere.

    ugh this was a verbal vomit of a response but i reacted so strongly to it. i don’t talk to my mom, about anything. treasure your connection (it sounds deep and beautiful). like meg said: your mom wouldn’t change you for the world.

    • Thank you love.

      I do treasure what I have with her. Which is what makes it that much harder. That much more painful. For both of us, I realized. We talked about it, and we realized we both feel guilty about how we make the other feel; she about not being able to help me ‘out of this’, and me about being a burden to her. So we agreed to realize that and to accept it.

      I wish you felt that bond with someone (not necessarily your mom, could be anyone, really) as well. It’s not like I tell my mom everything, but this illness has made me open up to her more, especially about the illness itself. The rest of my brainfog I tend not to share with anyone, though..

  6. Wow I don’t know what to say. I don’t know you very well yet. I really appreciate that you are being real. It sounds so difficult and I don’t wish that for you, but I appreciate what you are communicating, getting it out. I like what other people have written. I just want to say that I’ve been liking your writing recently, some of your posts have really gotten me to think and view things differently.

    I hope it gets easier for you soon.

  7. You do not abuse your mom!!
    Trust me, I am a mum.
    Yes, we sometimes have expectations for our children but only because we want the best for our children, but I would never want my little one to feel like she had to “act” normal or how I would expect for me. No way. I love my little one for all that she is. You know, she has problems, shes waiting for help herself. I don’t feel like I’ve been hard done by because i have a daughter who needs help, I just want her to have the help she needs and I love her just the same as I always did. You know what would make me more sad? If she started hiding things from me, or wasn’t “real” around me. That’s what I want, even if that means it’s sometimes hard or sometimes upsetting hearing her say she needs some help, I feel like I’ve done good when she feels like she can talk to me.
    Abuse is such a strong word, and it doesn’t belong here.

    Hugs x

    • That does make me feel better, coming from a mom. Thanks Rox. I’ve missed your comments and insights!!

      Hope your little one will be okay. Give her an extra hug from me! (you dont have to tell her that, think it’d probably creep her out haha) xx!

      • I’ve been spending so much time away from my computer, but know that I’ve totally missed being here and reading and writing. I think about you all, all the time! Chin up lovely, you’ve helped me so much, you should feel proud.
        I still don’t think I’d have got as far as I did without people like you, and I know that, every single day.

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