J and I have been living in the downstairs apartment of my parents' home for officially over one year now. Here is what I have learned:
1. I am much happier (and I think she is too) when my mother and I do not speak to one another.
2. My mother hates my husband, or is cold and rude to him often enough so that he thinks she hates him, which just amounts to the same thing.
3. I hate the dark and the cold. My friend N came to visit over the weekend and slept on our couch. When she first arrived and brought in her things she noticed how dark it was, even on a bright, hot, sunny day in New England. She actually asked, "Do you think you're likely to get seasonal depression down here?" Additionally, we all woke up around 10-11am the next morning because it is impossible to tell the time down here.
4. I am the worst version of myself here.
5. I have really conflicted feelings about Massachusetts. On the one hand, it's where I grew up. I know how the culture works and how people think, so even if I'm not always happy I'm at least comfortable. On the other hand, I'm a really miserable version of myself. I know that if I move I'm closing the door on Massachusetts and that's what freaks me out I think. Not only would it be hard to come back to this area to teach but my family does not take kindly to members leaving. There is no joyful homecoming; there's perceptible bitter judgement, resentment, and an overall "Fuck-you-you-think-you're-too-good?" or a belief that the person is an idiot and doesn't realize that it doesn't get any better than this. According to my father, "Every state wants to be like Massachusetts, I hate to tell ya."
N also noted to me that during her only interaction with my mother (after my brother checked to make sure it would be ok for N to come in to say hi to her without my mother turning into a total bitch) that she felt like we were freshmen in college again because of the condescending, nasty way my mother spoke to me. (Those were not exactly her words because she's too nice a person to talk about someone's mother like that.) Imagine that every time you make a move, any move, you get screamed at. For example, there is a complex parking situation here with so many cars. While we had people visiting, our normal routine went out the window for the weekend. Late last night, J got up and moved my car back into its normal spot because he knew we would get yelled at. Today, my mother and father both told me that I needed to park closer to the shrubbery or they were going to hit my car. Not like a hey, I don't want to hit your car....but like a hey, move it or I will purposefully hit your car. I ignored them while they turned their attention to my brother to complain about his parking, which had him yelling back in their faces because they pull this shit no matter how anyone parks.
On top of that, I decided to make some pancakes. I had extra batter and was putting it in a container when my mother yelled at me to just throw it out while at the same time my father asked why I didn't just make one last pancake and give it to the dogs. I decided to make the pancake, but my mother then yelled to just throw it out, she doesn't want her dogs to have any of it, and yelled at my father about getting involved. Normally, I would just put the batter down the sink drain but she usually yells about anyone putting anything down the drain so I turned to put it in the trash. She screamed, "Are you fucking STUPID?!?" At that point, I threw the entire bowl in the sink, grabbed my stuff to go downstairs, all while she was yelling that I needed to come back and clean everything instead of "having a tantrum".
This is what I mean. I don't know how to explain it to people; J always thought I was being dramatic or exaggerating when I talked about my relationship with my mother. Now he sees it. N seemed to think I was exaggerating about how difficult it can be to feel like a functional adult when living with her. Now that she's been made to feel like absolutely shit all within the 10 seconds she tried to say hello, I think she gets it. If I had the money/opportunities, I would move the fuck out, believe me. I fantasize about moving out without even telling them and never giving my address. I would rarely call and, if it wasn't for my father, I would most likely never visit.
It's toxic. If this was a relationship, every friend I ever had would tell me to get the fuck out and get a restraining order.