At some point I decided my mother was kind of a liar. Near the end of my first year of college we had an argument over the phone, about money. She had cashed one of my dad's infrequent child support checks and given it to me as starting money before my scholarships came in, but she considered it a loan and wanted me to pay it back. I thought this was fucking stupid since I was the only reason she got the money from my father to begin with.
My mother always felt she was in competition with my father for my love. She brought up the fact that she was the one who had bothered to stick around and be a real parent, while my father ditched us and visited as it pleased him. I asked her, if she was such a good parent, how come she'd exposed me to an alcoholic veteran who'd gotten me to play with his nuts? My mother said it didn't happen. She didn't say she didn't remember, she said that it simply hadn't taken place. That was the very first time I realized my mother couldn't handle reality.
Probably she'd made herself forget because it was so nasty... so she wasn't really a liar, but kind of. Anything unpleasant or 'negative' she would put out of her mind. I remember we were watching some kind of news magazine on TV and they were talking about AIDS, and as they went to a commercial my mother said to my grandmother, "We'd be okay if it wasn't for those bisexuals." I was not yet bisexual-- I hadn't even gotten laid yet -- but I was shocked that my mother, a nurse, had said this. I couldn't believe it. I'm sure she wouldn't believe it either.
I realized later it could have been resentment, or self-loathing. A couple of years before, I'd gotten into a box of papers in my mother's closet and found a steno pad that she'd taped shut. Intensely curious, I reasoned it had been ignored for so long that she wouldn't remember if she'd reopened it or not. After splitting the tape I found that it was a short journal. I remember nothing about it other than that she described a three-way that she and my father had with another girl. Her statements made it clear he had cajoled her into doing so, and that even afterward she was very uncomfortable with it. She seemed more like a real person to me once I knew this about her past. But my reaction was to consider her a hypocrite for kissing another woman yet being a prude about my sexual activity.