Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Importance of Standing Up For Yourself

Sometimes standing up for yourself sucks Holy Balls. Sorry. It just does and Holy Balls is my new favorite expression. Just for clarification, Holy Balls doesn't always have to be a bad thing. You can use the term like this:

"Holy Balls, RadoMom! You won our first contest. The next time you're feeling low about yourself, know that you can pick a dysfunctional Mom's love of vibrator talk, right down to the minute it happens." You are gifted and now you shall be gifted... bath stuffs and such. Now email me at 100DaysinBed@gmail.com so I can arrange to get you your fabulous prize!!!

So here's the thing about standing up for myself. It is totally new to me. Where my parents have come in, it's just been totally easier to go along with everything rather than fight with anyone. Why? Because my Mom can NEVER be wrong so it's always been easier to bend and bow than argue with someone who can never see your side, never admit they are wrong and never take responsibility for their own actions.

My sister and I laugh at my Mom's new Non-Apology Apology. It's like a Passive Aggressive Apology. When she knows she's wrong (but will never admit it) she will say, "I'm sorry for my part."

BUT IT'S ALL YOUR PART!!! Here are some examples of when I've gotten an apology like that.

Mom: "Do you really want to be eating that muffin? (Insert condescending glance at my hips and thighs) It probably has 600 calories."
Mom: "You would think living in L.A. with all the professional hair people someone could show you how to manage your hair."
Mom: "Is that top supposed to bunch like that around the waist? I don't know if that's very flattering."

And know you know why it's been a few days for me to write. Because SHE'S TOO MUCH, it's all too much.

But let's go back to how we ended not speaking to each other. The day was Sunday and my Mom and I were supposed to go down to a beach hotel only I was feeling like we had had A LOT of togetherness. We had had two dinners where she was very critical of where I was in my life and I just wanted a break.

I blogged about that day, when I asked for "space" and was going to have dinner with her down at the beach and then drive up to my apartment and sleep here. I figured her time alone, not counting sleep would be about four hours. I blogged about her flipping out but it went one step further.

She called my Dad crying saying she had to move out of that hotel because it was not how she remembered it. So I went down the next day and moved her back to the hotel near me. Now all week she had been saying how she moved out of that hotel for me. Because now I couldn't be trusted to stay with her like I said I would. I might need "space" again and that's not what my mom planned on.

Finally, I had enough and said, "You moved out of that hotel because YOU wanted to. It had nothing to do with me. You said it wasn't nice enough and it wasn't what you remembered and you didn't have enough places you could walk to. It was what YOU wanted. Don't say you left because of me."

I don't know why this bothered me so much but there is a history in my family of "rewriting" history. Taking something that happened and changing the story to make my Mom look better in it. My Mom would not budge and it got progressively nastier which is what happens when I stand up for myself and assert myself and she feels like she's losing an argument.

She started getting really nasty and said some really mean things, trying to paint me as not dependable, that she couldn't count on me and that I had done the worst thing you can do to a person - "You abandoned me." I said, "I abandoned you at a luxury beach front hotel?"

Really? 'Cause now, I think she's reaching. Just a lil'. But she has to win. But I wasn't going to let her. Because I have all my life. I've just backed down. Adopted her version of the story to keep things cool and non-fight-y.

But I always hate myself. And worse, it permeates all my other relationships. I learn how to switch off in arguments because it's just easier. My "standing up for myself muscles" grow weak and I don't know how to use them anymore.

But this time I did. I just couldn't take it anymore. I could feel her manipulating me, first with her psycho-babble, then her anger, then her tears. But I felt nothing, I was unmoved. You feel nothing and unmoved when you've seen it a million times.

And when it was done, and she was out of the car and out of my Los Angeles life, I did feel something. Proud of myself. It's not going to be easy, our future. I don't know what our relationship will be now that I won't operate in the old way. But whatever it will be, it will be better for me because I'm being real for the first time. I won't be pushed around anymore.

Now that I started this, there's no going back.

This post is dedicated to not taking any s*%t.


TwinkleTwinkle said...

Good for you, adventure girl!!! Thats what life is all about - being yourself and not letting anyone walk all over u. its not fair of her to act so spoiled and so much like a little child who needs to say hurtful things and cry to get her point across. this happens with my mother a lot. we will fight, and when i get the upper hand and start winning the argument, she will start to cry and say that shes a horrible mother and that i must hate her. and then when i freak out and go no no!! i didnt mean that! of course your not a horrible mother! - thats when she turns INSTANTLY back into mother-from-hell and we get right back into the fight.

what are we gunna do with these mothers? btw, i think ours are TWINS.

theneatos said...

Kick ass! I am so glad you stood up for yourself!

My mom, though I love her and miss her, used to try to swing everything into faults, and it's just not necessary. That is not how life has to roll. I am glad you had the gumption to stick it to her and not back down.

the glitter kid said...

Awesome that you stood up for yourself in that situation!!

I also have extremely weak "stand up for yourself" muscles but I'm working on it. It is a good feeling when you do use them :)

RadoMom said...

All I can say is... Holy Balls! Apparently I'm more in tune to disfunctional mothers than I thought. Good news, I win a prize...bad news, I'm one step closer to riding the crazy train!

Speaking of the prize, instead of going out and spending money + postage on bath stuff & such, (as much as I love it) just make a small donation to your favorite charity or if I get to pick, go for the Humane Society or the Alzheimer's Association. It'll be both our good deeds for the week. =)

Last but not least, good job on standing up for yourself. That is something on need to work on too with certain people in my life. Thanks again for the inspiration!


past-continuous said...

Good for you! At least one of us has the gumption to stick up to our unstable mothers. My mom has a nonapology apology as well usually along the lines of "I'm sorry I'm such a horrible mother, I haven't ever done anything good for you" as to make you feel so bad that you concede your argument. I'm proud of you!

hoosiermeeshee said...


Angie said...

i'm so glad that you stood up for yourself... now i just need to stand up for myself. My mom can be the exact same way and it bugs the livin' crap out of me! I'm moving out of the house in August so it should get better then... hopefully.

Mandy said...

Well done! Congratulations! It's a hard thing to do but you have to do it and, although this sounds condescending, I'm proud of you. I may not know you personally, but I've reading your blog for so long that you are a virtual friend.

Stay strong :)

Anonymous said...

Adventure girl,I have to say, good for you. I just had an awful fight with my mom last night (I'm a sophomore in college) about my grades. Even though I have a good G.P.A,I'm awful at math! (Failing it). Needless to say, I let my mom know,and she freaked out.
now its no news to anyone in my family that I struggle with math-but it was a very low blow as my mom tried to do everything in order to make me feel even worse about the situation.
Can I e-mail you?

adventure grrl said...

Twinkletwinkle - thanks, I think our Moms are twins, too. It's good you are recognizing that you are being manipulated. My shrink used to say to me, "You talk too much." What she meant was, I engage with crazy too much. We can't make our points and then end the conversation. Next time (and you know I'm no expert), after she says she's a horrible mother, maybe just say, "I'm sorry you feel that way." And then end it. Good luck, I'm here for you!

Theneatos - thank you for the compliment. Your comment really struck me - why do Moms want to get into blame so much?

The glitter kid - those muscles will feel sore after your first "workout" (standing up for yourself) but soon, like anything that's makes you feel good - it gets addicting. :)

RadoMom - how much do you rule? I am making a donation to the Humane Society which is dear to my heart, too!

Pastcontinuous - have you met Twinkletwinkle???? Now I'm thinking our Moms are triplets. Do they learn this stuff at "Crazy Moms University????"

Hoosier - thanks, girl!

Angie - Just get to August and then start setting little boundaries. Soon they will become second nature and big ones will be easier to draw.

Mandy - Your comment did not sound condescending at all! I loved it and it makes me feel good to be so supported and rooted on. Thank you!

Anonymous, sweetie, I'm so sorry about that fight with your Mom. Totally email me. Just know, I'm not an expert at anything but if you need a good pep talk, IT'S ON!!! 100daysinbed@gmail.com

BloodRedRoses said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile now I think you're hilarious! Love reading :)

Congrats on standing up for yourself!! Well done.

TwinkleTwinkle said...

I wanted to leave a little shout out to Random: What an awesome thing you did by passing up personal good-smelling, skin smoothing, scenty goodness for the wellbeing of animals and a much needed donation to Alzheimer's research. GOOD FOR YOU!! man i feel a Pay-It-Forward moment coming on!

Also, Post Continuous AND anonymous, i think i found my body doubles. im also (well will be finishing tomorrw) a sophomore in college and i SUCK AT MATH.

Anonymous said...

The best post ever. Loved it.

adventure grrl said...

Bloodredroses and Rhea - your comments mean the world to me. :)

And YES, YES, YES! Shout out to RadoMom for donating her gift to the Humane Society. DO A GOOD DEED IN HER HONOR: Take any blankets or newspapers you have to your local animal shelter. Thanks!

lsaspacey said...

You go! I've had to do that with my sisters (my version of your mom.) My mom died when I was 20 so I have no idea how that relationship would have gone, but my relationship with my much older sisters (12 and 13 yrs older) is very like yours. My "problem" to them is not weight-related but how I "refuse to grow up". At 39 I'm just now finishing college, starting all over with a new career path, don't own my own house, not married, and don't have kids. And to boot, I blog (gasp!) and love animated movies. Yes, I'm a freak as they live their cookie-cutter lives.

Standing up for your self does get easier on your side, but try not to expect her to change just because you have. One particular sister STILL tries to bait me even though I changed my side of "our script" YEARS AGO.

Good luck!

Angie said...

things are starting to get a little better but she is still very clingy to me since my brother is getting married at the end of june. She's always in my space and bringing up things that I don't want to talk about because I don't share a lot of my personal life with my parents. I am very stressed out and a little down in the dumps and I don't talk to my mom about because i know it'll just get into this huge blown up argument. I wish I had a mom where I could be friends with and talk to about my life and problems and all that. But i don't. I think it has to do with her hardely being home 2 years during my childhood because my grandma was sick and she was always with her. I wish I was closer with my mom!