Monday, October 31, 2005
The Tattoo.
No I didn't get one.

Becky and I have been talking about getting tattooed for awhile. I want a fairy (of course) on my shoulder. Whether or not this will ever actually happen, I don't know. I had mentioned it just casually to my parents before and they would joke and laugh about it but it came down to the fact that the church has spoken out against tattooing and therefore I shouldn't. Well, Saturday night we were all sitting around before bed and my mom goes, "So, Erik says you and Becky are going to get tattoos."

Oh shit. "I told you that." I say.
"Well, I thought I had talked you out of it."
"No, I still want one."

More banter ensues while my parents try and talk me out of it and I try really hard not to tell them go to hell. I love my parents. They are great people and among my best friends but sometimes, they just piss me off. Anyway, I was trying to keep things light and trying to avoid a conflict, when my mom throws out. "You can get a tattoo, it'll just really disappoint me and I'll probably have to up my dose of Paxil."

SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEECH.... ooooh, no she didn't!

Then something snapped in me. "Why do you say shit like that?" I practically yell.
"Because I can."
"Are you kidding me? I have worked the last 22 years at not disappointing you. I bend over backwards to help out around here, to take some of the stress off you, and the ONE time I want to do something for myself that has absolutely NOTHING to do with you I get this bull?"
Mom turns to my dad and says, "I don't think she can take a joke."

And then I started crying, which made them feel bad. Good, they should feel bad.

I don't remember what they said to bring it on but I ended up ranting about them having no idea how much pressure they put on me. How hard it was to be their perfect child, how much I had given up to keep them happy, how many things I hadn't done, so I didn't disappoint them. Then I went upstairs to bed and cried. Then I cried some more. Most of the next day, I cried. When my mom came home from church and saw me sitting on the floor working on a project I was helping her with, she asked why I was crying. I just shrugged. She asked if someone at church had hurt my feelings. I shook my head. She asked if she had hurt my feelings and I didn't do anything. Then she said "Well we can't be friends if you won't talk to me." Wait a minute, first I'm a disappointing daughter then we can't be friends if I don't talk to her?? This just keeps getting better. I think I stopped crying around 4 or 5 yesterday. Now we're both just pretending that nothing happened.

I wish I had the guts to tell her that of all the mean things she could say to me that one was the worst. That I can brush off just about anything but the D word. I'm still mad, I'm still hurt, and right now I'm trying really hard to not burst into tears in the middle of the computer lab.

Today's thing I learned: The people that love you most can hurt you worst.


Blogger Missuz J said...

Sorry babe. Mom guilt is the WORST!!! If it's any consolation, she told me that hse feels really bad, and was truly just joking. Love you!

(Karaoke Revolution in 8 DAYS!!)

Blogger lonna said...

I am sorry that you went through this. My mom used to do all sorts of shit like this to me too. She too would say that she was just joking when she realized she went to far. Then it was funny that I was really upset. Even though I went through years of this, I don't have any advice for you. I never got over it. We even went to family counseling for a while, and we never made any progress on this. The only thing that helped me was moving out, but that doesn't sound like a good option for you right now.

Blogger NME said...

Throwing around "disappointment" is dangerous business - especially when it is done in such a faux-joking passive-aggressive way. It sounds like there have been issues with your mom's depression and everyone's fear of contributing it so I can imagine how upsetting it must have been for her to threaten that. Sorry you were SO sad. You sound like a model daughter to me - tattooed or no.

Blogger Diane said...

I wanted to get this super-cool tattoo after I had been in the Marine Corps for a while (Eagle, Globe & Anchor inside a Fred Perry Laurel on my right shoulder), but we all know how well that worked out. Now I'm still tempted to get a tattoo, but I don't know what it would be. I'll probably stay an ink-virgin for the rest of my life because I won't be able to find an image I'd want to commit to.
I'm sorry to hear about your mom's behavior. Depression does suck, but it's not fair of her to blame it on you. The whole "can't be friends" thing must have been so frustrating as well; I can't stand being manipulated.

Blogger Kodi said...

Mom's love to throw the disapointment thing in your face. I must admit, I've used it on Kiri. Once when she was around 9 or 10, she lied about stealing something from me. When I caught her with the item, I told her I wasn't angry, just really disapointed. She burst into tears. I guess that makes me a manipulative mother too, but we all really just want what we think is best for our children.

Blogger rob said...


Ouch. The freakin' D word. She is not a blade to be wielded lightly. I think that term needs to come with a safety. It can be deadly.

My Mom has spanked me, smacked me, screamed and yelled and even kicked me out of the house but none of that ever resonated more than when she would look at me and tell me that she was disappointed in my actions. That was worse than any punishment I had ever endured.

Last week I told somebody that I was disappointed in them. She completely broke down. Even though I was being honest and she needed to hear it, my heart went out to her because I know how that feels. I hated myself a little for saying that. Maybe your mother does, too.

Perhaps, if you ever talk with your folks about this, you should explain to them the value that word has with you. I know there's probably a lot more to this than what's bubbling on the surface but it may open up a circuit of communication previous dormant.

Blogger rob said...

Oh...and tattoos are hotttttttttt

Blogger Katy said...

I think the thing about disappointment is that you can't really throw anything back at them. If they get mad, you can be mad back, but if they say I'm disappointed in you, what do you say back? "yeah well, you suck." Just doesn't quite work.

My word verification is jyzus. He's just everywhere isn't he??

Blogger amandak said...

The only thing you can throw back at them with the disapointment thing is that sometimes they disapoint you too. I'm sorry things had to blow up like that. Nothing much is worse than passive-aggressive semi-joking bullshit like that, because then they (she) gets to take themselves (herself) off the hook for it by saying, hey, I was only joking. Try to let it go, there's not much you can do about it at this point, other than sit down and have a more calm discussion with her, or maybe a letter? I think it's good for you to let her know where you're at, but don't hold your breath that she's going to understand, and especially don't hold your breath that she'll ever change. That's really the trick with her, learning to accept and love her, even when she doesn't (can't) return the favor sometimes. Love you sweetheart.

Blogger Kat said...

Hi, found you through the comments for missuz j. Sorry your mom hurt you so much. My mom almost drew blood trying to scratch my tattoo off when she first saw it...and there were words and tears, and then my dad got one.

Blogger Stine said...

I think the thing about disappointment is that you can't really throw anything back at them. If they get mad, you can be mad back, but if they say I'm disappointed in you, what do you say back? "yeah well, you suck." Just doesn't quite work.

- Honey there is plenty you can throw back at your mother. First and foremost, the guilt is HERS. The choice to feel bad, sorry, "up her Paxil" is hers. The best thing you can do for yourself AND her is to let her have it. When she says things like that, you say, "Well mom, I hate it when you feel bad, I'm sorry that you will be choosing to do so. It is my wish that at some point, you can choose to be happy on your own independent of anyone else's actions."

And leave it at that. There is nothing more you need to say. Seriously K, let your mother have her own issues, because they aren't yours.

Blogger Katiemagic said...

Must be something in the parental waters. I'm sorry you're dealing with it too.

Blogger patrice said...

oh god, that's just awful. I find myself doing little things that are passive-agressive that way too sometimes and it TOTALLY reminds me of my own mother.

I agree with stine, if you can keep your wits about you to say all that.

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