Tracy Morgan and Why It’s Hard To Judge Family Relations

37 comments
February 2, 2012 ‐ By Charing Ball

"charing ball"It’s been about two years since I’ve last seen my mother.

We were born twenty years and eight days apart. When people see the side by side comparisons of us, they say we look like sisters. My grandmother says I am a carbon copy of her, down to the mannerisms and inflection in our voices. Often times she calls me by my mother’s name in confusion. With all this commonality, I still don’t know who she is.

I can’t pinpoint it down to an exact moment when our relationship became strained because the reality is that it had always been. I won’t get into detail because this is not the forum to air all messiness but I will say that our home was not a happy one. We dealt with lots of dysfunction, secrets and anger. This environment fostered our inability to communicate and relate to each other. We always did the obligatory things together like graduations and birthdays and Christmas.  But it was always something missing between us -warmth, connection, hugs, kisses and I love yous – that didn’t exist. Instead we fought more than anything else.

We had tried to work on our relationship several times. I remember after college my mother welcomed me back home, fresh face and renewed with a whole new outlook on life. She was no longer the angry person I remember her being as a child. She pulled me close to her and hugged me. Then she told me how proud she was of me. She wanted to talk about school and my plans now that I graduated.  But I was angry and harboring lots of resentment towards her, so I just shut down.  I know she could sense it; I could see it on her face. I wanted her to acknowledge the obvious tension between us but instead she shut down too. And that’s how we were for several years after that -short conversations and even short tempers.  Later she would move out of state. I guess we were both hoping that the distance would heal but it seemed that our communication just got worse. Mainly because I had questions and she was still not ready to answer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my mother dearly. And I am pretty sure that she loves me too.  At the same time, we just can’t get along. I wish I could get over it and just let it go. To forgive and forget. However some stuff can’t just be pushed under the rug and shrugged away.  I don’t think we’ll ever be okay until we sit down and have an honest and truthful dialogue with each other.  But that can only happen if we are both willing to do so.

That’s why I have sympathy for Tracy Morgan.  As many of you may already know, Morgan’s name is being dragged through the mud once again, not because of some drama on-stage but because of family drama off-screen. According to published reports, Morgan’s mother is facing foreclosure and his family has decided to take their business to the media. They claim that Morgan, who is worth around $8 million, is unwilling to cough up the $25,000 that would pay off the rears that she owes the bank.  Not much more is known about the situation other than that Morgan and his mother have been estranged for years, which is said to be documented in the book I Am the New Black.  And according to another family member, “Her health is failing. She has diabetes, and her legs are giving out on her. This would be a drop in the bucket for Tracy. She has a son that can do, and she’s done everything that she possibly could for her family.”

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  • Catoapril

    People need to stop pretending that all parents are perfect and that they didn’t intentionally harm their children.  I stopped speaking to my mother, who never raised me and is not dead, years before she died.  So far, and it’s been at least 20 years, I have never regretted it.  The woman was a toxic user who just to drain my bank accounts and make me feel guilty because I would not allow it.  I never read Traci Morgan’s book but people should leave him alone.  The fairytale of “all families are good” is just that – a fairytale.  If you have a good mother, family great.  If not, stop condemning people who want to have a good life!  Leave them alone.  You can’t pick your family but you can certainly stop them from ruining your life. 

  • Alwaysaspiring2000

    Whatever, that’s your mother and you only get one. She brought you into this world and besides abuse or neglect, nothing should have you not speaking to het for years. People have become too bold and unappreciative. Me and my mother don’t get along all but I couldn’t fathom not talking to her. She gave me life. Get over yourself and talk to your mother before it’s too late.

    • Catoapril

      People need to stop pretending that all parents are perfect and that they didn’t intentionally harm their children.  I stopped speaking to my mother, who never raised me and is not dead, years before she died.  So far, and it’s been at least 20 years, I have never regretted it.  The woman was a toxic user who just to drain my bank accounts and make me feel guilty because I would not allow it.  I never read Traci Morgan’s book but people should leave him alone.  The fairytale of “all families are good”

    • Catoapril

       Excuse me but GOD gives you life!  GOD does, not another human being.   The mother carries the child inside their body but if mothers actually gave someone life, there would be a lot less stillborn children.  And you have some nerve telling someone to get over themselves.  There are so many ways a parent can abuse a child.  Until you can feel and experience exactly what they went through, you should take your own advice and get over yourself!

  • Thankful

    Excellent article, Charing. Congratulations for having the courage to state the truth in a world where difficulties with mothers are often hushed. Abuse is abuse, not matter whom the abuser is. I have come to realize in my interactions with my own mother, which ended several years ago, that being a mother does not necessarily mean being maternal. I have met many childless people who were much more nurturing and caring. What you wrote about secrets is so true, and so many people, including myself, would be able to trust and have a relationship with our mothers if they would stop pretending to be something they are not, and be honest about the issues that effect their children. I can and have forgiven, but to allow continued abuse is to enable evil, which is wrong. I find that those who criticize children who take a stand against their abusive parents have either never had to suffer that kind of abuse, or do not have the courage themselves to stand up against abuse. Thanks Charing.

  • Marie

    There are some people that you just cannot connect with, no matter how hard you try. Unfortunately, sometimes these people are your own family. Accept it as best you can and find someone you can connect with. You can be the friend or daughter substitute for someone out there who will really appreciate you.

  • Jewjewbeed

    Your mother sounds bipolar. Seriously. She could be mentally ill.

  • Ifuaskme2

    Leave Tracy alone. If I had 8 million I damn sure would like to hold on to it. Not give every Tom, Dick, Harry or ‘Mom’.

  • NOLADarling

    Past behavior is often an indicator of future actions, and I’m sure Tracy Morgan’s decision to not bail his mother out is a based on her past behaviors which we have not been made privy to.

    My mother threw me out of the house (late at night in one of the worst neighborhoods in New Orleans) when I was 12 because my father (from whom she was divorced) gave me a gold necklace with a cross on it for my birthday and she felt I should have given it to her. After bouncing from relative to relative for the next six years, I still managing to get undergraduate and graduate degrees from top universities.  Unfortunately, I mistakenly let this woman back into my life as an adult, and foolishly agreed to buy a house with her only to be left holding the bag on the payments, and on one occasion to have her steal my ATM card and gamble away my mortgage payment at Harrahs. Being the forgiving person that I am, I actually gave her $4000 for a downpayment on a car after hers got flooded during Katrina while my aunt co-signed for a loan (something I had the good sense not to do). You know how she repaid my aunt and me, she stopped paying the note and let the car get repossessed wrecking my aunt’s credit and wasting my money.
     
    Recently, I discovered that my mother, like many women in this country, has a personality disorder (borderline) and that no amount of medicine, prayer or therapy is going to change her, so it’s best if I stay away. Since then, I’ve washed my hands of my mother and told her to never contact me unless it’s a medical emergency.
     
    Growing up as my mother’s child I learned that even snakes can procreate but they’ll still bite you, and some actually eat their young. So if you find yourself growing up in a den of snakes the best thing you can do is get out before you get bit or eaten.

  • Pingback: The Tracy Morgan Dilemma: Is It OK Not to Help Mom? | Sol Fusion

  • Miranda Mkhumbuzi

    This is a big fear of mine, to disappoint my child to the point that they are unable to enjoy my company. I’m willing to do the best I can to not let that happen. He is only 1 year old but I think the detachment and trust issues start from day one if a parent allows it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Brian-Reed/1679312059 Brian Reed

      Talk is over rated!  She doesn’t need to understand you and you don’t need to understand her. We have to over look some of the short comings of people we want in our lives. When it’s toxic or if it’s a toxic relationship you just move on. It’ a big world, but in the case of Tracy Morgan and those in the position to help their parents even when they may not have a servicable relationship just do it and save yourself the heartache later..

      I nevr got along with my mother but that was my mother? Shyt my son never sees his mother do to her poor choices in life but I encourage him to keep the lines for communication open and if he ever had the means to support his mother and didn’t well let’s just say me aND HIM MIGHT JUST HAVE A STRAINED RELATIONSHIP!

    • Catoapril

      The fact that you care about the way you communicate with your child makes me feel that you will always have a good relationship with him.  Many parents think they can do anything, talk any kind of way to their children and they deserve unconditional forgiveness.  Words can hurt just as much, sometimes more, than actions.  Bravo to you.

  • Fran

    Bravo to you for writing this. And I agree with you 100% Those who didn’t grow up in a very dysfunctional home don’t understand the feelings of those that did. And therefore our actions will never be understood. But as long as you know within your heart you made an effort to rectify or at least mend fences that’s all that matters. Some relationships can’t be mended and thus you leave alone. Again I thank you for this article for it expressed the same sentiment I have about my own family. 

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  • Games44112

    His family is trying to use emotional guilt to leverage a financial situation. I dont like Morgan. He is a buffoon. But you dont back down to bullies. And right now he is being bullied. 

  • Amy

    Many celebrities have more debt than they do money. Ppl have this impression that if you’re working you have money. Big houses equal huge mortgage payments. Flashy cars equal high priced car notes. Stylist cost, managers cost, travel cost, and all the other ppl in the entourage gotta get paid as well. Why do ppl think so many of them fail to pay their taxes, and often times many of them end up with their very own homes in foreclosure or either filing for bankruptcy if not both. Mommy may be in need but like you said NO ONE KNOWS the TRUE FAMILY DYNAMICS. How would any one know if he’s bailed his family out time and time again, and that he’s not taking a personal stand right now. Then you sometimes have the free loading siblings and grown grands who keeps running back to Mommy’s to live rent free, because they assume when the going gets tough there is someone to bail them ALL out, not just Mom. How would anyone know if he even has $ 25,000 to give right now just because he’s Tracy Morgan. When you’re on the outside looking in you just never know the full story so I wouldn’t be so quick to judge him. There’s always two sides to every story…

  • Shannon Lemon

    I am not in the position to judge anyone. But, Tracey should help his family. She might have a bad mother or role model but we cannot change the past. I think it would be much better for him to forgive and 
    let go. That will be a heavy burden lifted from him if he can forgive his mom. God has bless him financially, so why not help his family. We have to remember: Sometimes God bless us to help others too. This might be a test for Tracey. He never know he might need his family again. 

    • Newcastle

      Helping someone financially doesnt have anything to do with forgiveness.  I have forgiven my mother  but I refuse to be the Daughter Bank of Savings and Loans.  If she choses to live a certain way then that’s her choice.  People really have to remember that you reap what you sow.  End of.

    • Tiffany B.

      I agree with NEWCASTLE that giving someone money has nothing to do with forgiveness.  We don’t know for sure what if anything he has already given to try to help.  Sometimes just giving people certain things, money included, enables them to carry on with bad habits.  As long as they have enablers, they will never get the moral of the story.  Also, when a person’s net worth is advertised it does not mean they have that much CASH just lying around. I would not assume either that this man has not done a host of things to help others and spread the blessings that he has received just based on this incident.  If SO MANY family members want to come out about him not giving her the money, lets find out exactly how much money they have contributed and how many are truly willing to take her in if need be.  Sounds to me like a people (in his family)  are bitter about money which may be the reason for the distance…some people, family included are leeches.  Period. 

  • Hillari

    My mother and I haven’t gotten along since I was eleven years old.  She blames my younger siblings and I (among other family members) for not having a better life. She kicked me out of the house when I was 15, and ran my younger sister off sometime later.  My youngest brother had a developmental disability, so unfortunately, he had to stay at home (my father would not step up to the plate, but that’s another long story).  When I was 30, Ma tried a reconciliation, but my younger sister and I (our brother had passed on by that time) quickly figured out that Ma could not relate to us as adults and was unwilling to do so.  When my sister and I refused to go back into the old dysfunctional round with her, she rejected us again.  Now my younger sister has passed, I’m the only child she has left (I’m 50 years old now), and she refuses to talk to me.  But I’m long past putting up with her ish at this point.  I don’t know anything about Morgan’s relationship with his mom, but I do know this — life is too short to put up with abusive, difficult family members.

  • tasha

    As I get older I realize that I’m not the only one with “mommy issues” my mother was an drug addict. She was never emotionally present with me and my siblings. Till this day I can’t look her in the eye based on how I was treated as a child. Even now it’s hard putting into words the way she made feel. Like I was worthless, but when she got sober she wanted to be a “mom” and have a realtionship. I couldn’t do it. I was so hurt from all the years of neglect that when she extended her hand to mend the relationship I shut down. So I totally feel what you are saying when you said you “shut down”. It feels like it’s not genuine. I totally understand that and thank you for having the courage to say it.

  • cake211

    I’m glad I’m not alone on the sentiments I had about Tracey’s situation. It just be like that some times. Sometimes helping someone isn’ t just helping them when there are emotions involved.

  • Gigi

    At the end of the day, parents, especially mothers, have to realize that many of their decisions have affected their children.  many mothers will read this article and their errors will go right over their heads.  Im college educated, married with a child and dont respect my mother although I love her.  She is also educated, raised us in big, suburban home and showed us more than most pothers.  But her chose of men and willingness to bring them in our home turned me off, respect wise.  Many single mothers reading this are doing the same thing right now. I think if many mothers asked their older daughters if they love them, the overwhelming response will be yes.  Ask about respect… 

  • Tiffany B.

    All I can say is ditto! I SOOOO feel you.  You hit so many good points, especially about the guilt trips from others.  Some things simply can not be put into words that others can understand.  Acceptance of the situation at hand but that glimmer of hope that it will someday change is all that can be done to preserve my sanity; something I need to be present as a mother for my own child.  I am sure that writing this article brought a lot of pain to the surface that you try to keep locked away for the sake of “sanity”…I know it does for me when I have to or need to reflect on the history/status of the relationship I have with my mother for whatever reason.  Leave it in God’s hands and let him work it out.  (((HUGS)))   

  • Quiet As Kept

    Wow… The bible urges parents not to provoke their children to anger, but it also says children should honor thy mother and father. My mom and I get along well – she’s the person I can confide in and talk to about anything and the person I want to make the most proud. There are times when we’ve had our bouts, but I had to realize that both my parents did they best they could. My dad is a different story. Now that I’m grown, I totally understand the reasons why he wasn’t there for us as much, but it still doesn’t change the fact that we needed him. And while I don’t have the same warm and fuzzy feelings toward him as I do my mom, I still try to be there for him and take care of him as much as I feel necessary. I give him money sometimes, and took care of him after his stroke. Even though I harbored resentment, I did it anyway, because I knew he really didn’t have anyone else that would make sure things were in order. At the end of the day, I think Tracy should try to let go of the past mistakes his mom may have made and help her out.

  • Kia

     I can total understand the authors view. My mother was a drug addict, who put her freedom and boyfriend first. Unfortunately out of the 7 children she gave birth to I was the oldest and the pressure was mostly on me. I have a family now looking to be married soon and trying my best to give my kids what I don’t have and thats love from their mother. I recently moved out of Fl to distance myself from my family because I felt my mom has favoritize towards my other siblings leaving me to wonder what did I do to deserve a non-loving mother. After thinking about how she was raised I can some what understand why. I don’t think she knows how to love and because I need love from my family, I felt the better thing was to find a place for a new beginning. My mom never apologized for the way we were raised, for the things we were exposed to as children or for the things that happened to us that scarred our lives. I had to learn to live for me and if it meant I needed to run away from the people I know as family then I can deal with that. As long as my kids and I are happy, I can care less about the rest of my so called family. I never was the daughter of her dreams and I really don’t care anymore

    • Gigisix6

      Just know that people really do do the best that THEY can do.  Just be open should she come forward but know also that she may not have the capacity to ever tell you what you need to hear.  Know also that it has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.  Don’t pick up that burden and carry it. And try not to carry resentment either because it eats at way at you.  However, know that people can change and it is ok to not subject yourself to painful relaitonships—even when it involves family.

  • NSimonefan

    My comment is first about Tracey.  I haven’t read Tracey’s book, but he explains his and his mother’s relationship in detail.  Whatever the circumstances are, it may shed some light on why him and his mother have been estranged for 10 years.  What what I read, he did give his mother $2,000 towards the foreclosure situation.  Based on their relationship, he didn’t have to do that.  Knowing that family can be a trip, I’m not judging Tracey regarding this situation.

    My second comment is to you, the author of this article.  You mentioned that after your graduation, your mother was not angry and was enthusiastic about talking about your educational plans.  However, you said that because of feelings of anger that you had, you shut her down.  She in turn, shut down.  The culprit in that incident: was you.  Because of your unforgiveness, you shut down what could have been a new chapter in your relationship with your mother.  If you had the intense feelings, you shouldn’t have agreed  to meet with her.  Now you’re talking about unanswered questions, her wanting to have another meeting with you and her being a no show.  The reason was because of that meeting that you and her had some years ago when you shut her down.  You need to work on forgiving your mother if you really want to have a relationship with her.  You should also apologize to her for your behavior at that meeting. 

    • Gigi

      You assumed the author is unforgiven because she shut down.  Forgiveness doesnt always involve forgetting.  It may take time to get over the hurtful feelings, but you can forgive while continuing to work on the relationship.  You can forgive and choose to not work on the relationship.

    • Games44112

      The author is not a culprit. 

      Her mother established a pattern of behavior set in stone with years of reinforcement. Her mother should have given her time to adjust to the kinder softer person. Why should she take anyone “new” at face value?

      She has a right to have intense feelings AND trust herself enough to behave in a meeting. It’s not mandatory to forgive our parents. At some point we all become adults and there is less blame and more complication. 

    • 4b

      From what I read the Mother didn’t ask for forgiveness. She assumed a new attitude would heal old wounds. Without knowing what those wounds are we can’t assume that a smile and hug was a big enough gesture. 
      And just because one side is ready to forgive and forget that does not obligate the side to do the same. 

    • Susanne230

      WOW – okay, now according to you (NSIMONEFAN) we have decided where to place the blame.  HOW does that help the outcome?  What has been gained by judging and assigning guilt?  AND in this instance, a “college kid” (recent graduate or not) is still just that: a kid.  Her mother should have been the adult in this situation.  It will always be the parent’s responsibility to help guide the child into appropriate behavior in my humble opinion.

      This mother was unable to guide herself and take responsibility for the results of her past actions.  When faced with a difficult situation, the mother shut down. That is not adult behavior.  It is amazing to me that the child (in this case the author) finished school.  It is gratifying and encouraging that this child is able to have a life BECAUSE she did not receive the love and support that EVERY child deserves from its parents.

      This mother needs help and support.  This child needs help and support.  No one is helped or supported by the blame game.  I sincerely hope that they both get what they need.  I hope that the cycle of dysfunction has ended with this strong, amazing woman who authored this blog.

  • KiTsy

    Reading the author’s account of her relationship with her mother was painful for me as it mirrors my situation exactly. I’ve just recently come to the conclusion that my mother and I will never have a good relationship and I need to put a respectable distance between us. I will never be the daughter she wants me to be and it’s too late for her to be the mother I needed.

    • Amy

      It’s never too late, just always know that. The author’s portrait is so very real and many of us suffer with these types of relationships. However, as long as you live to see another day, you always have ANOTHER CHANCE…

      • Games44112

        You cannot always save a person who does not want to save themselves. There is not always another chance. 

        If throughout life we tried to raise and heal every toxic relationship we’ve had, we would exhaust ourselves, never saving our best for the people who can give us what we need. 

        So spend your chances on those who deserve them. Step away and let the other person try. 

        • Gigisix6

          You don’t have to try to heal them, just be open to the other person reaching a place where they want to come forward.  Also, any resentment held on to actually ends up hurting your “other” relationships more.