Mothers Manipulating

     So that’s what happens. She insults and yells and berates and guilt trips and guts you with everything she’s been holding back. You knew she has been thinking those thoughts long before now. Only they’ve been hidden behind a quick frown and a, “nothing.” She gets her way. Then she determines, after the fact that, yes, her way was best. Your fury subsides after a minute. The next day you forget; you can look her in the eye. The week after it’s back to normal with one more layer on the perpetually building pile of simmering slights. You think you can really insult quiet people without hurting them because they don’t scream back.
      Yelling at me won’t work. Especially when you don’t accept criticism. And when it’s given it’s thrown back in your face to try and mimic any last vestige of hurt that the true words might have hit. So that the next time she tells you all you’ve done wrong, to get her way, it’s a bit less believable. A punch of that earlier pain comes back to the surface and says hey, you remember me. You remember what she did. And how it’s caused nothing but improved self-torment. But she still speaks with a voice you’ve heard since the womb; it comforts. Because what she wants is best, and she’s right. And if you ever think of trying the same trick on her all the sanctimonious pities comes flailing right back at you. All she’s done. All she’s trying to do. How much better you’ll be once you listen. So that the best you can do is avoid the gaze until you’re told to talk at the dinner table.
      She questions. “Why isn’t anyone else talking?” You’ve taken the talk out of us. You cannot manipulate emotions from rock. You can move it with blunt force. You can serrate it with acidic tongues. You keep sanding it down over time with endless dribble. But you’ve made us into stones at this table. Uninteresting, immobile, capable of little thought beyond the basics – this is your handiwork. Now live with rock. Love with these moldy molded boulders. Enjoy yourself and your tethered love ones.

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