Monday, October 26, 2015

Finding my voice

This blog helped me to find my voice.  It gives me a place to share my story.  I've been reviewing why I use certain phrases or cliches to help others in crisis without analyzing if what I am doing is helpful.  Sitting back and reviewing each statement, many of which I use, I am recognizing that how each person feels about God and religion is fairly personal.  I am also not talking about what is really on my mind. 

My mother is once again reaching out to 'improve' our relationship.  I know from repeated experience to her this means I go back to putting up with whatever she dishes out with zero change on her part.  I've learned from careful observation that in company she is mostly safe to be around.  However, lately she is using her audience, family or church group, as a part of her campaign to manipulate me.  I don't want to stop seeing family or going to church so it is time for me to "law down the law" as she calls it.  What I did a year ago was explain that I could not tell her to respect me but I could give her clear guidelines on how to treat me with appropriate consequences.  Now she emailed me with the complaint that she wants a closer relationship.  In my opinion, she hasn't changed anything.  After moving back close to my parents, I made it a habit to stop to have breakfast every Saturday morning.  I did this for over 15 years.  About two years ago, both my parents are now very busy on Saturday morning with no time to talk to me.  My sister and I started taking bets as how fast I could clear the house by walking through the door.  Then I noticed that my mother would wait to leave until I arrived.  I am fully aware that I can be fairly clueless about emotional cues but even I understood that this is a clear indication they want as little to do with me as possible.  NO PROBLEM.  My sister and I now go to PCroissant for breakfast.  A very yummy change in patterns.  Now, my parents are complaining that they don't see me.  OK can I have a "Say what?"  with lots of confusion.  I usually ignore the emails my mother sends.  She chose a topic that she knew would purposely upset me.  She announced to the world at the grand age of 87 she wants to renew her drivers license.  Yup, she got a reaction.  I was reminded by my sweet DH that she is pushing for any interaction even if it is negative.  Puzzled look on my part. She rejects a positive stop by and chat on Saturday morning so needles me about getting her drivers license there anyone besides me that notices this makes less than zero sense.  I remind myself that emotional behavior is not about making sense.  I decided to respond to her latest salvo*, not because I believe we can resolve anything or have a closer relationship but because I apparently need to "lay down the law" again and tell her that she may not treat me like an emotional punching bag.  She may not shove me away then complain to my father about how mean I am.  She may not call me.  If she has a medical emergency she is to call 911.  (She wants to call me and let me solve problems....waiting to contact me in a medical emergency at age 87 could be a matter of life or death and I don't want that responsibility.)  All contact must be with someone present or by email.  She may not hug me without my permission.  The list is a bit longer than this.  DH reminded me that we are coming into the holidays.  This is her stress time loaded with triggers that she never shared but my sister and I get the fall out.  She will cling then push us away in a rage then want to cling again with not consequences for the raging.  So I will answer her email.  Not with the belief that anything will change but for the sake of no one saying I didn't tell her.  Yes, if I tell her in private she will wail loudly that I never told her.  My counselors wanted me to go no contact.  My sister lives there.  I minimize contact with my parents but keep contact with my sister.  I don't understand why I am in this situation.  I often don't know what to do.  My natural tendency is to be kind but any kindness is rejected unless it can be used.  If I show kindness my mother denies to others that I am kind.  I am sad.  It is OK to be sad. 

termed used that may not be familiar with all readers - salvo - 1. a simultaneous or successive discharge of artillery, bombs, etc.


Judy said...

Can't really like or love this, but it isn't really a bummer either. Praying for you.

mulderfan said...

Why, oh why, can't they just leave us alone! Maybe you could just buy her a punching bag, gift wrapped with a note saying, "Just pretend this is me and leave the real me alone."

Jenafer Bauerle said...

Remember her actions are a reflection of her. She does desire to be closer but lacks any relationship building skills. It may be helpful to look at attachment disabilities such as reactive attachment disorder and insecure attachment. Based upon what I know about her upbringing she has had no positive examples and very few opportunities where she is forced to use healthy skills. Keep setting limits and be OK with her deficits. They are a reflection of her, not you. You've got this. Your "job" is to be true to you, stay firm and be kind. Kind does not mean a doormat. I realized this just the other day in dealing with another conflict. She really doesn't like being a bully/narcissistic/unhealthy but she has no alternate skills. I love you!

Cassandra said...


Ruth said...

Thanks Judy, your prayers are appreciated.

mulderfan, you've given me a brilliant idea for a Christmas present. Thanks for your support.

Thank you Jenafer, I agree that her behavior is about her.

Thanks Cassandra.

Tundra Woman said...

Ruth, When you decide to spell out your Boundaries again, you're gonna do this in writing? I assume that's true. Actually her behavior makes a lot of sense to me: Position, Position, Position. She isn't interested in a "closer relationship" with you and I believe you know that. She does NOT want "Help" either; Crazy wants to be ENABLED. That's it. So she's winding up for the annual Holiday Festivities a la the Romans at the Coliseum. Guess who's on the "entertainment menu?!"-again?!
I feel so bad for you and your sister as there is no reasonable way to NC at this time. Managing a manipulative CB is absolutely draining, even if it is from a distance. I don't suppose your sister (and "mother") live on Elm Street?!

Ruth said...

Nope, not Elm street....Yup, I figured out that I am on the 'menu' for Coliseum type entertainment. Setting boundaries doesn't improve things. Mind field gets worse but I know where I am at. I can't control her but I know where I stand. That is empowering. Closer we come to the holidays the worse she gets. I actually love the holidays. Had a blast trick or treating with grand kids. The adult costumes were AMAZING. Thanks TW.