Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The lights are on....But......

So my mother came over for dinner tonight. Regular Weds night thing. I usually enjoy it, actually. We were talking about my DD's recent illness and injury (she fell down the stairs and got a black eye). And my mother says "Well, thank God she has a good mommy who takes such good care of her. It just kills me to hear about these kids who have no one who takes care of them. Your brother was telling me a story this morning and I had to tell him to stop. I just can't stand to hear about kids forced to listen to abusive conversation and who are victims of neglect." *blink*

Ummmmmm. Hello, Mother? It's Reality calling......he'd like to know if you're home?

WTF is wrong with her?? Was she really so out of touch with everything that happened? Is she so deeply in denial that she doesn't even know what was wrong with what she just said to me?? I did really well while she was saying it. I stayed grounded. I listened and I was breathing (with some effort). I didn't dissociate. I didn't really get angry because I realize that, in the moment, it's not a useful reaction. Right now, it shuts me down. I wanted to stay present and hear the words she said so that I could process them later. I don't know the appropriate response to those kind of curveballs. If I challenge her, she retreats. Yes, that's the dance. The dance I play into that I'm trying to change. I suppose the thing for me to say would be something along the lines of "don't talk to me about those type of subjects anymore"?? Is that the self-care thing to say? What I really want is for her to comprehend what went on and how her words slice me like the Ginsu knife through a tomato! Like "what planet were you living on because you clearly were not in the house with the rest of us!!"

Another thing I noticed tonight in her interaction with my DD....well, in the past when I've described some of mom's behavior around DD to my T, she's commented that mom is near-manic, nervous and running circles around DD trying to please her. How she goes into this trance-mode of people pleasing. Tonight, DD was a little crabby. Still recuperating. And she's right on the cusp of potty training which is a highly sensitive topic in our house. She needs privacy when she has to poop. I pay attention to my baby. I know what she needs or wants most of the time and I can follow her cues and respect her boundaries. I realized tonight that my mother is incapable of that. DD left the room and was hiding and my mother is playing, by herself, in the living room with all DD's toys arranged in a circle around her, loudly talking in this squeaky voice as if she's trying to interact with DD. I'm just letting her do her thing but thinking to myself.....she is in her own world. Anyone with half a brain would just give DD some space since she's CLEARLY expressed the desire for it. She's 3....she's not going to say "You know, Gramma...thanks for coming by but I could really benefit from some alone time right now." (Although she did shut herself in the bathroom and said "I just need to think for a minute" and then I hear this thoughtful little "HHmmmmmmmmm" coming from the bathroom as if she's really contemplating some big issues in there! Too funny.) Anyway....not a rocket scientist needed to know DD is saying I need my space right now. But my mother is working this passive aggressive barrage trying to coax & bribe DD out of hiding. I didn't intervene because I truly was fascinated tonight watching her. I guess it's just a new way that it struck me: for all the people pleasing she tries to do, she can't see the forest through the trees. She gets so frantic that she doesn't see what is right in front of her. Suddenly (scary to admit) I almost understand what my father meant when he told her that with every word that comes out of her mouth, she drove him further away.

You know I decided a while ago that if I desired to keep her in my life, and I do want that for a variety of reasons, I had to accept that this is who she is. This is what she is capable of. And any relationship we have will consist largely of "fluff". Funny things DD says. New things she does. Cooking. Weather, etc. So when a heavy topic comes into play, a topic that is at least heavy to me, I feel like she's changing the rules on me. I guess it's just going to take a while to choreograph the new dance.

I'm proud of myself tonight. I brushed my teeth right after dinner and took a shower to relax b/c I knew that I would be tempted to eat while trying to process these thoughts about her visit. I kept the TV off and just sat here relaxing and writing. Now it's 10:48 and I'm going to bed. This is early for me, so it's a step in the right direction of self care!!

Tomorrow's assignment....I found a tape player and I'm going to start the "Healing the Father Wound" series. OMG, I'm so excited to start this program!!!


Enola said...

Your post once again proves..........we have the same mother. Yep absolutely the same one. Down to the "fluff" talk; the inappropriate comments; the inability to fathom how we are feeing; and driving our children bonkers. My daughter even says "I need PRIVACY" and Grandma talks to her. My mom makes comments about abuse stuff in an attempt to show me she's caring and understanding and not this evil little witch. Do you think your mom is doing it for that reason at all?

Perfect said...

No, I don't.....I really truly think she is that delusional about what happened. Remember I told you after DD was born how my mother went on and on and on about child abuse and stories of people raping newborn babies, etc. I could NOT believe she would say such things to me. I think she's just completely out there and has alot of pain she hasn't dealt with. But she needs to deal with that on her own time....not with me & my daughter!!

Kahless said...

There seems to e a lot of similar mothers out there! My mother has told me on numerous occaisions how lucky I was to have her as my mum.

I am so pleased you are self-aware and can see hou est to raise your own daughter in a loving and caring environment.

And thanks for visiting my Daisy blog.

Mrs. Homebody said...

About a year before ending my relationship with my mother, she came into town and we met for lunch. As she was driving off, my friend noticed she was sporting a bumpersticker along the lines of, "I believe in protecting kids."

Hmmm? When did she adopt that particular belief? I mean really now, when did she protect any of her own kids?

There were times when she would say the most outrageous things to me about abused kids, just like your mom does.

I think that for a mother to live in constant denial while abuse is going on takes an awful lot of effort. She can't afford to feel guilt, because then she might have to think about why she feels guilt. So the guilt gets shoved as far down as possible, where it festers and rots. Decades later it begins making little appearances; it's almost as if our mothers sometimes can't open their mouths without something revealing coming out, only I doubt they have the insight to realize how it sounds to us.

You did well during your mom's visit, and you obviously are very protective towards your own daughter. Good for you!

Beauty (aka Mrs. Homebody)