To put it mildly, my mother and I have not always had the best relationship. I am not unique in this, as family dysfunction is woven into the fabric of every family that has ever existed, in one form or another. It is also abundantly clear to me - this mother/daughter malfunction - because I work as a therapist. Likewise, I have sat on the other side of the therapist's office, for hours, discussing the relationship I have with my mother. Some time ago, my therapist and I had a long discussion about how the relationship with my mother was unlikely to change and yet, over the past many months as I have made considerable shifts, the relationship with my mother has also transitioned into an unexpected place. Apparently, Bowen's Family Systems Theory does have some merit. The two events that I have been able to identify as contributing to this shift were when I stopped smoking pot (my mother's dream) and started dating a good/normal/nice man from my home province (my mother's other dream). Since these dreams have come to fruition, her new dream is having her non-pothead daughter move back to Nova Scotia to start a "family" with said good/normal/nice man. Now, luckily for me, her ideas around me having a "family" do not involve producing grandchildren, because that ain't happening.
Despite my lifelong goal of "never being like my mother," we do share some undeniable commonalities. Recently, some of these similar personality traits have struck me as hysterical, as they fall under the category of "acceptable" or "livable likenesses." How we express ourselves, particularly when under duress, would be one of them. Over the past two months, I have been experiencing some fairly unbearable bullshit at my place of employment and if it weren't for my upcoming trip to Africa (which they are being supportive of and allowing me to take leave, most of which is paid), my ass would have quit by now. In the past, my mother's support around these issues would have looked like this: "buck up." But, more recently her support has taken a turn to the hilarious, of which I greatly appreciate. I have received these wicked emails from her that involve the type of colorful language I usually get shit for from her, including the use of the descriptive term "shit rats," which she is using in reference to some of the people I work with. Here are some direct examples:
- "How's the fucking shit show with the shit rats going?"
- "I would kick that shit rats ass the length of the fucking highway."
- "You are surrounded by uneducated morons who define the term shit rat."
This is the mother I love...one that I can relate to. Now, if I could only get her on the sauce more regularly.....