Saturday, April 19, 2008

Defending Your Life

Whenever I really worry about something, the opposite comes true. So I thought the fact that I was really worrying about my Mom's trip here, would mean that it would turn into a rolicking free for all, good time, wacky Lucy and Ethel on escapades type trip.

Then I remembered that Lucy really hated Ethel.

Things took a sour turn today (yes, a whole 36 hours into her trip). It might have started before that. She kept saying how worried she and my dad were about me. WORRIED, WORRRIED, WORRIED... like worried reserved for a person who lost their job or went into foreclosure or had a life threatening illness. It was starting to feel like, they were looking at some version of my life that didn't exist.

Yes, I am no longer writing for TV full time - no one I know is. But I am doing the most creative work I've ever done and actually making a good salary... a great salary and know that it's guaranteed for a year. So knowing that she worries about me and thinking the only worry can be about my financial future, I say, "Would it make you feel better to know that I'm making (insert what I think is a great deal of money here) a month?"

"No," she said quickly and tightly.

So we went into Marshalls where she needed to buy gifts for some baby set of twins she knows and we got into a huge fight about whether twins wear the same outfits or dress as individuals but it was SO CLEARLY not a fight about whether twins wear the same outfits or dress as individuals.

Of course, I dropped it because that's what I do, but I was feeling like - what more do you want from me? I have a great life (okay, I don't all the time and you guys know I'M FREAKIN' WORKING ON IT! but I've never let on to my parents that it's anything less than).

I guess I'm mad at being judged by my mother, "Judgy McJudger-stein" like I'm some poor sad sap that they have to worry about. Or maybe I'm mad that the things she should worry about - how I've taken my cousin's death or the loss of my boyfriend have never been addressed.

I was really pressing her tonight at dinner, "What are you so worried about?" I know that I am not some conventional "gonna get married and have some kids kinda girl" so I wondered, "Do you think I'm lying when I say that and you're really worried I'm missing out on something I'm not gonna have?"

She assured me she's always know since I was 14 I would not have kids. So what was it? I've said I'm doing well financially, she'd met all my friends the night before and the night before that. I AM THE PERFECT APPEARANCE OF ALL THINGS HAPPINESS AND LIGHT!

SO, what was it????

She wouldn't say although I was stunned when she said later on, "I just hate that you don't feel good enough for your father and I." I think that's when I really lost it. "What? I don't feel that way. Not good enough? You don't think I'm good enough?" It was like all of a sudden she was speaking some dirty truth she felt about me and there it was out in the open.

I felt like I could take a glass and just smash it into the table, I was so mad. Because I don't feel that way. AT ALL. With all I have to F'ING worry about it has never been about not being good enough to my father and mother.

Well, until now.

Because now she put it on the table, she can't take it back.

Then when I got pissed and wanted her to explain what she meant, she starts with the crying and I feel manipulated like I have my whole childhood when she gets backed into a corner she can't get out of and she plays the "tears" card.

That's it, I was out. As I said to a friend of mine, "Two days down, six more to go!" I'm home and she's at a hotel (The best $300 bucks I've ever spent) yet I could not feel more resentful or more trapped than I do right now.

This post is dedicated to prescription medication.


ferretspaz27 said...

Hi Adventure Grrl,
I am really sorry that you feel that way about your conversation with your mom. Communicating with a parent is very difficult. We all do the tap dance around the feelings and end up saying or doing the wrong thing anyway. Of course your parents worry about you all the time, you live far away and they don't see you much. They know you are getting over a depression but it is a sore spot for them too, so they tap dance around it. They can't come out and say "how are you coping with the terrible tragic death of David?" "Are you living the life that you want to live after your breakup?" They probably want to talk to you about really important things but they love you and they don't want to be the force that brings up the touchy subjects and breaks you. Your mom probably worries about the damage she caused you with her breakdown, but it is embarrasing for her so she can't mention that either, and you are afraid to mention that cause you love her and don't want to hurt her.

I really hope someday that you and your parents can share your feelings and have a good communication with no hurt feelings. We don't live in a perfect world.

I hope the rest of your visit goes better with your parents.

Take care,

HoosierMeeShee said...

I understand where you're coming from. I'm happy this visit with Mom is working out. I'd write more, but she's still here, and I don't have time to tell you why I relate. I will later though (after she's gone to the airport).

TwinkleTwinkle said...

This is the same in my family. my mom and i are the best friends long-distance. we get along just fine on the phone. when im having a bad day, i just dont call her until i feel better. when im having a good day i can call her right away and tell her. but when we are in person its like putting a goldfish into a piranha tank. she picks up on my emotions so well, yet she gets them all wrong. when im upset about something, she says im ungrateful and that i have an attitude problem and should get "some help". WHAT? i get a bad haircut and all of a sudden i need therapy?

Do you think that when moms become moms, they go to a certain mom convention, that tells them how they are suppose to deal with topics in the family, but their teacher is a quack and everyone is confused and it just leads to inevitable goldfish piranha moments?

But i do hope that everything works out. just dont let her leave with the hard feelings between you. no one has to get rid of that hurt, not right away, but u have to TRY to make things work before your mom leaves, because u never know what might happen. Am i making any sense?

if not, sorry, but i hope u know that The Big Guy is watchin down on the 2 of u!

Melly said...

When dysfunction comes to visit you - remember that you don't have to become a permanent resident. Mom will eventually go home - and in the meantime you don't need to be a part of her tornado-like-madness.

Carve out some part of the day for sanity.

When she starts saying things, things you know will lead down a path of anger/confusion/confrontation she can't follow through with... try and decipher if it's worth it. She's going to send out a lot of bait.. but is it always worth biting?

RadoMom said...

Just like your argument in Marshalls, it probably isn't about you. It's about her. Could she be projecting her own feelings of inadequacy on to you?
Maybe meet her at the hotel room with a bottle of wine and a list of questions... ask her to talk to you like an adult and make sure you both keep your defenses in check. You might be surprised what you learn.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you resolve the situation. I don't think you have anymore space for pink elephants in the room!
Good luck. I'll be rooting for you...and your mom!

adventure grrl said...

OMG! Big, crazy fight, AGAIN, today. I remained calm and she came at me with daggers every which way. I'm holding my ground. ALL OF YOUR ADVICE IS SO APPRECIATED. And I will blog more... probably Tuesday.

Rory said...

oh man, sometimes parents can be so hard to deal with (I imagine they would say the same about children). hang in there!

Natalie said...

Man, do I feel sorry for you! I think that Mom's subconsciously attend bitch classes in the early stages of motherhood. And there are different levels too, like in Karate. As you get older, they get another color belt. My Mom can be sooo vicious! They always know exactly what buttons to push and they do not hesitate pushing them either. But, I have come to the realization that Mothers are difficult to deal with. It is 100% a lesson in patience (not to slap the shit out of her). The only thing that works with my mom is to agree with her. Then. . .she cannot argue. But, it doesn't help with a lack of communication. The only way I can actually communicate with her (w/o yelling and saying unnecessary thing) is to email her. So, if you find any new insight on dealing with the parental, please share! Good luck with the Mom!


enolan said...

Just remember that she's on YOUR turf right now. You have more power than you realize! (and the hotel really was a genius idea)

Anonymous said...

Im sorry your having a rough visit. Sometimes when I read your blog, I get scared. I dont want to be THAT mom (I have 3 small kids). BUT, sometimes, I do loose it, I do want time for myself, I do yell, cry, laugh, play. It just scares me that I may not have the relationship I want with my daughters.
I hope you can get through this week. She will probably patch it up, you havent gone vibrator shopping yet LOL LOL

Anonymous said...

this isn't specifically about this post, but I'm a regular reader who has been going through something bizarrely similar to your experience adventure grrl. I have been trying REALLY hard to beat off depression and I have found something amazing that I just wanted to share with any other readers who may be struggling. It's called Emotional Freedom Techniques and info can be found at: It's basically a series of tapping on energy points that you do regularly. Sounds hokey, but works remarkably well. Anyways, thought it's worth sharing.

Susan said...

Oh man! I'm sorry the visit with your Mom isn't going *at least* as dysfunctional as you thought it would be, it's worse!

From a totally outside point of view, it sounds to me as if she's ashamed of her own breakdown and causing the family so much stress, so she's projecting it on you. Like you're the messed up one, ya know? If she can point a finger at you and say you've got some wierd attitude thing going on, well then she doesn't have to talk about HER problems, right? I'd sit her down and ask her exactly WHY she came to visit you, it seems as if she's got another motive here.

Anonymous said...

"I just hate that you don't feel good enough for your father and I."

I could be wrong, especially since you two had another fight the other day, but it seems to me your mother didn't say SHE thought you weren't good enough, but that she thought YOU thought you weren't good enough. Is there possibly some behavior(maybe you avoid them for long stretches at a time, or she thinks you got the hotel room for her because you don't think your place is good enough for her to stay in when she would be fine there{not that the hotel room wasn't a great idea IMO though}, or something like that)? Like I said, I could be wrong, and besides, my mother and I have gone a few rounds too, but I just thought I'd over up my two cents.

Mandy said...

I get ya. It's hard (mothers and daughters have it tough esp).

I used to not be able to talk to my mother about relationships without getting the whole "you're too picky and at least someone loves you" type reaction. I cuold at least talk to my father and tell him that unless she stopped with that tack, I would stop telling them anything about my life. He spoke to her. She is now better.
But keep in mind, she's better AND she lives on another continent. :P

But your mother is probably concerned about you and the depression etc but doesn't know what to say or how to say it, so she blurts something out that SHE thinks is an issue but meanwhile hasn't crossed your mind until now. Cue freaking out.

IMO, this is more about HER than YOU. Don't know what else has happened since then, but stay strong :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that your mom's visit isn't going very well. Just take it day by day and now she IS going home. lol

If you get a chance look up the lyrics to "Between A Mother and A Child" by Chely Wright. I find that songs help me say what I am feeling when words can't...and that one is AMAZING!

My mom just got a callback for Deal or No Deal...she took me to the open call (wouldn't let me go on my own...whole different issue) and decided to fill out an application. Well, she's got a callback tomorrow and while I am excited for her I can't help but feel a little upset about it.

Anyways, I hope the rest of her visit isn't so hard on you. She will leave and she's on your backing down!

Angie said...

the "tears" is a con! she is just trying to make you feel bad! my mom does it all the time and my grandma did it to her... i will break the curse! lol

adventure grrl said...

Laura, you are so sweet and knowing that you are coming from a parents perspective really helps. Thank you.

Hoosier - it just helps to hear you relate!

TwinkleTwinkle - thanks for always coming by, your comments help so much. I know you get it.

Melly - my good friend, I really tried to listen. I might have taken the bait though. I'll explain in a later post but you were always close in my thoughts. "What Would Melly Do?"

RadoMom - "It isn't about you." Thanks, I really tried to connect to that when she was here so I would not hear everything as a criticism. I think you are very right.

Nat - that's for being real! I don't know if I learned anything new except when you talk to mother's in a real calm voice - it makes them attack like polar bears in the wild. I'm still licking my wounds.

Enolan - My eye always go right to your comments! You're smart insights and "she's on your turf" really helped.

Susan, YES! YES! YES! I think we have the same mother. Keeping this in mind really helped. The more she can focus on me, the less she has to deal with herself.

AC - thanks, I'll check that out.

Joshua, you are sweet to make me think of it in a different way. You are like my old BF who I would have screamed at and denied sex and then realized he might be right.

Mandy - yes! You are on board with Susan and I am on board with you!!!!

Angie, thank God for you. I feel so bad calling B.S. on her tears but it's been like 30 years of this. "Yelling, yelling, can't get her way, say mean things, she can't win, cue tears, cue running to my Dad. And scene."

THANK YOU ALL. Lay your problems on me!!! Let me know what I can do, your support has been amazing.

marslo said...

It's incredible how moms can rip the rug out from under us with these completely left-field comments that have nothing to do with us. This post made my heart ache for you.