Aquarians are also friendly, smart, and honest, so it's not all bad.
I ended up talking about my mom in therapy. I'm kind of getting sick of complaining about my relationship with my mom, but I think it's still a sore spot that I'm trying to reconcile. I love my mom, I really do. There are a lot of good things I can say about her. She's smart, and sometimes funny. She has her fun side. She's very intelligent. I'm grateful that she was a health nut when I was growing up because I think that's made me more health-conscious. I'm grateful that she got me into watching PBS as a kid because public television has been a passion of mine my whole life. Both my parents really value education and learning, and so do I. My mom has an almost spiritual relationship with plants. Her yard is a shrine to native plants. The native plant society where she lives gives tours of her yard. She has a sense of justice that came out when the city tried to force her to plant regular, non-drought resistant grass. She stood up to the city because she felt wasting water on grass in a desert area was wrong. She adores her dog. I know she does love me and care about me, in her way.
All these things, though, can sometimes make her failings as a parent all the more frustrating. I care nothing about my dad. In my mind he's lost the privilege of having any sort of relationship with me. He's a manipulator and a liar. He used me and my brother, and I will never forgive him for out and out refusing to try to help my brother when he made suicide threats in order to spite our mom. He kept guns in the house while my brother was suicidally depressed and he knew it. And whatever he did to my brother while he was living with him, to say nothing about all the cruelty he inflicted on me. My dad's abuse was intentional; I don't believe my mom's was. (Neglect is abuse.) My mom has very serious depression. My dad has no excuses. I don't feel that I am missing anything by not having him in my life. I still struggle with the lack of emotional connection with my mom though.
I feel like we could really have a great relationship if she could just exhibit normal human emotions for once! I mean, really. She has the most insane reactions to situations. Or sometimes the most insane lack of a reaction. Like, find out your daughter is being sexually abused, nothing. Watch your husband almost beat your child to death, call your therapist, go to bed while your child passes out on the floor from the concussion, then wake her up the next day to go to school with a black eye and bruises all over her face. Uh, yeah. It's like she's not all there. I know she's smart, but she's so out of touch with the world around her. It's like at some point some part of her brain, the part that regulates emotions and emotional reactions, just shut down. I realize that nothing she can say or do now will change what happened in the past. I'm just asking for acknowledgment, emotionally genuine acknowledgment. Not this very rational, emotionless discussion I feel like I get when I try to talk to her, like we're talking about some other family that we saw on TV. When I talk to her, it feels like it didn't even happen, or that we were all floating around disembodied while it happened. The ghost family. I feel like she's been keeping me at arms length my whole life, and it's very confusing. She's my mom. It's like we live on two totally different planes of existence. I kept trying to connect with her, and now I've given up. It's hard for me to define what I even mean by connection, but something is missing. I can't talk to her about real things. Anything difficult and I can see her shutting off. Her attention shifts away from me.
I think why this is really frustrating is because I struggle with connecting with people. Part of me is afraid of getting either the disinterested rejection and cutting analysis of my mom or the more aggressive attacks and ridicule of my dad. I feel slightly skittish around other people, like an animal that's been spooked. Part of me is always waiting for people to lash out at me. I don't really feel safe, so I continue to protect myself emotionally. The one person I really knew how to relate to was my brother. My relationship with him was easy, in some sense. I didn't have to work to connect with him. Even though we were both scared and keeping a lot inside, we were totally there for each other. We completely accepted and appreciated each other. I always felt like the best person I could be was who I was in his eyes. He didn't see me as faulty or to blame for the problems in our family. I aspire to be the person I was around him. I like being friendly and open. I like expecting the best of people. I don't like being suspicious and distant. I don't like holding things inside. I especially don't like being disconnected from myself, and feeling numb and floaty. I like feeling present with people.
I have been working on this. I try expressing my real feelings to other people, and when they don't react badly I feel reassured. I try to recognize when I'm zoning out and get back into the present. I try to be observant of how I'm feeling and how people are relating with me. I'm kind of learning how not to feel scared of other people. It's like luring a new kitten out from under the couch. It takes time. It takes patience, and I'm not the most patient person, especially with myself. But I'm learning.