Sort of a two-fer here with a double meaning. First after my most recent post regarding my mother, I decided it was time to draw a line. Time to follow Dr Henry Cloud’s advice and set some Boundaries.
However, given that I planned on using this video as part of the follow-up AND it does an amazing job of showing how I feel about the media, there’s indeed a double meaning to this post
Side note: The encouraging thing is that the video has 14,000 likes and over 1300 comments supporting it. People DO actually get it.
My Own “Dirty Laundry”
Getting back onto the main topic however… It’s time to finally stop the madness with my mother. I had previously written her, shortly after my last post, and more or less said the same things to her. No surprise; her response was “Maybe we just shouldn’t talk anymore since I always seem to piss you off. All that matters is that you two are happy anyway.”
I’ve stewed on that for a couple days. Here’s my reply to her:
Well, that was certainly an interesting reply… textbook narcissism and emotional manipulation: “We shouldn’t talk anymore, all I do is piss you off, and all that matters is you two are happy.”
I almost didn’t reply, but, I’ll give it one last try taking a more adult approach. Yes, the last email was pretty fiery. I solidly SHOULD have done better there. That level of anger rarely accomplishes anything productive.
THAT said, how many times over the past ten years have I tried to explain to you how bad my neck and back were though, only to have you pay lip service to understanding while your tonality and body language made it clear you thought I was BSing everyone? Even medical paperwork wouldn’t convince you. It’s easy enough to research how frequently spinal surgery fails and the best case scenario is almost always a chain of repeated surgeries with more and more of the back immobilized and in pain. It’s just a matter of how soon. SO, yes, I was very frustrated.
I’ve dealt with physical pain for decades. It had it’s ups and downs, also where I’d go through brief periods where I felt like I was getting better. As soon as I pushed myself more though, back to square one. Honestly, that’s even worse, because it makes you (me) feel like the problem is me, and not a physical issue… That I’m not just useless but choosing to be useless. To have you come along and continually make snide remarks and ask me when I’m going back to work, even after showing you all the evidence… Yeah it hurts, especially when the facts are so easily verified.
It’s easier to believe the worst of me though. Always has been. “Call a person a cow enough and they’ll start eating grass”. It used to be one of your favorite tag lines. Why am I the only one it doesn’t apply to for you? Didn’t grandma do the same thing to you and you rabidly HATED it?
You’ve never seen how it took me FAR longer than it should have to do the things you have seen me accomplish around the old house like staining the patio. You never saw how sore I was afterward either. Likewise, I could tell you about how I felt better after the decompression treatments, pushed myself into helping with the recent move and hurt my back again. That I’m recovering from thanks to home decompression units. As I tried to explain in the past though, this is a thing that takes time, and every time I push it, I only set things back.
It’s one thing to ask and genuinely try to understand and / or offer helpful suggestions. It’s another to browbeat. It’s yet another when 10 years of explanations aren’t enough.
Grandma’s toxic influence as an excuse only goes so far, especially when you say you’re over it now. I know it is still a factor though. I’d wager that you’re doing the same thing I did for years with our overall family dynamic; buried the problems and pretended that cured it. The trouble is, it never does. It all comes bubbling back up, especially when one doesn’t mean it to.
I’ll even give you credit for part of it being frustration at being unable to do anything to fix the situation. Typical parental feeling, even if expressed in an unhealthy way. I don’t think you’re a monster, I’m just tired of the criticism.
I’ve got to voice a couple of other LONG terms suspicions here also…
First, accident or no, I didn’t ask to be born, and *I* am not responsible for how your life turned out. Yes, I feel like you’re still acting like I owe you something there. That despite the fact that overall, your life turned out pretty good. We have had our issues, and things were rough with ****** (my first step dad for you readers), but it all has gone pretty well since, even if you didn’t become some big career success, whatever you imagine that to be.
Secondly, but related, I’m a unique human being with my own hopes and dreams. It’s not MY job to live the life you wish you’d had. Enough said there; it stands without need of further explanation.
And as a side note, moving to Tennessee was ONLY about the need to escape a state that’s falling apart and get someplace where we could afford to live. It had ZIP to do with family in any way. Family was what kept us there as long as we were.
OK, that’s the end of this one. Things need to change. It’s that simple. You have every right to ask reasonable questions and make suggestions, etc… Badgering and browbeating though, no. Likewise, I do NOT want to hear that this is “dictating terms”, etc… It’s setting healthy, clear boundaries. Something I should have done earlier, and under calmer circumstances.
IF you can accept that, we can work at fixing things and maybe both of us getting some real healing out of this for once. If you want to walk away, I’ve made peace with that too. This will be strike three for me though. I’ll either have peace with you in my life (even if it takes some work from both of us), or I’ll have it without you. The choice is yours.
Wrapping it Up:
And there you have it. This is the kind of stuff I don’t like posting about because I think it too easily becomes a toxic pity party. Some blogs have built a pretty substantial following on that too. *I* don’t want to be that person though.
Why post it at all then? Personal accountability to follow through on what I wrote here, and to let readers know I’m acting on the issue, not wallowing in drama that will pop up here over and over.
Personally, I feel pretty good after writing that to her. Ball’s in her court and I reached out as much as I felt I could under the circumstances. She flushes the relationship, it’s on her and I won’t look back.
OH, and if you’ve never read “Boundaries”, do so. There are too many people nowadays that will run roughshod over your life and call you a bad person for saying “no”. This will help you see you’re not the crazy one, and how and when to draw healthy boundaries.