She’s right, damn her

Damn that Wonder Therapist. Sometimes she gives me the you-know-whats. Of course, it’s only because she’s right – she’s ALWAYS right – and she’s a certain star-sign, so she LOVES being right. Hmph.

It’s been a chaotic week here, running around to doctors and tests for Mum, organising the nursing home for the father, and dealing with things in my life (yes, apparently I still have one). I haven’t had a minute to myself, and it’s taken its toll.

I’ve also been overwhelmed by my mother’s incessant negativity and nagging – much of which I’ve wrongly taken personally. As a small example – driving home from one of the many hospital visits, I decided not to take the main road as I knew Mum would complain about the traffic. So, in a bid to protect myself, I took the back streets, only to have to endure this as we got near home:

Mum: “Why didn’t you take the main road instead of all these small windy streets?”

Me: Thinking, ugh, I can’t win. Because I knew you’d complain about the traffic, so I went the back way and instead I got to listen to you complain about the small streets.

Mum: Laughing.

I realise now this had little to do with me and was just mindless venting on my mother’s part, and thankfully I had the presence of mind to bat it back to her, but it’s still exhausting.

The Wonder Therapist pointed out that this is exactly why I went to see her in the first place, and that I’ve very rapidly fallen back into old patterns.

Yep, I have. And I hate it. No wonder I’ve been feeling completely out of control and like I have no ‘self’. I even remarked to myself during the week that I felt the same way when my father had his strokes and my life became a cycle of hospital visits and work.

The Wonder Therapist also pointed out that I’m falling back into that hideous co-dependent thing with my mother: “who needs who here?” she asked.

Yep, I’ve done that, too. It’s true that I need Mum here, both in the physical sense, and the metaphysical. It’s nice to be needed. We all want to be needed. At the moment, I feel like my mother is the only person on the planet who needs me (though she doesn’t, really). I could list a whole lot of other people who “need” me, though at the end of the day they don’t really – we are all dispensable.

After wallowing for a couple of days, and alternately ranting and raving or laughing at the Wonder Therapist in my head, I’ve resolved to try not to get trapped in the old pattern anymore. I’m much healthier mentally when I don’t do that.

My mother will be coming to stay with me while she has medical treatment. There’s a geographical, as well as emotional/physical reason for this. Her treatment is to take place in town, a little over an hour’s drive from her place. She’ll have to go in to the hospital every day and as the treatment goes on, it’s likely she won’t feel much like driving home. It will also be nice to have her close by, so I can look after her a bit, make sure she eats properly, and all that jazz.

So this is going to be a testing time, in many senses of the word. A time also to try my hand at some new ways to break those old patterns. A friend suggested I try things like:

“Mum, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a grown up now and I can decide when I need to eat/drink/sleep/wee” or

“Mum, how about we set ourselves a challenge and have a whinge-free day?”

I like those, I might try them. They might not be perfect, but they’re a (safe) start. I also thought this might be the impetus I need to get back to yoga. There’s a lovely little studio just around the corner from me. And, double bonus, this will get me out of the house when my mother’s around 🙂

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11 thoughts on “She’s right, damn her

  1. Hard stuff, sweetie. Glad the WT is there to provide that kick in the pants — and it’s great that she knows you’re strong enough to take the confrontation; it’s a real testament to how far you’ve come. I’m sure there was a time in your therapy-life when she wouldn’t have taken a chance on being so direct. Similarly, you get to take that chance with your mom. The fact of her being ill doesn’t mean she gets to mess with your head, you know?

  2. Hi Kerro,

    I agree with David.

    Perhaps this won’t help at all, but I wanted to recommend the articles I have listed on my blog under Holiday Coping, a time when we are usually around our dysfunctional families of origin. Here is the link:

    http://kate1975.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/2566/

    I don’t find you dispensable in my life. Yes I could find another friend, but no one else would ever be you and no one will ever fit into the space in my heart where you are.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

  3. I’m sorry things have become hard with your Mom. But I hope that you can use it to gain some insight into yourself. Looks like it may be heading that way.

  4. @ David – yes, it’s not the easiest of times. You’re absolutely right that the WT would not have kicked my proverbial if she didn’t think I could handle it. A blessing in disguise, perhaps? You’re also right about Mum – just because she’s ill doesn’t mean she gets to mess with my head, or treat me like rubbish. I actually think the opposite is true, and if I can keep some levity about me at times, it will all help. This might sound horrendous, but it goes to the good sense of humour my mother and I share – it’s her birthday this week, and as part of her gift I’m giving her some sunscreen for when the radiation therapy starts to give her sunburn!! 😉

    @ Kate – ((hugs)) to you. I hadn’t thought of this like a Holiday period, but you’re right, it has many of the same hallmarks. Thanks for the link, I think some of those resources – and some of the strategies I employed last Xmas – will all help.

    @ Paul – thanks. What is therapy if not a way to understand ourselves better?

  5. There’s a big difference… you can see that you were falling back into the old pattern. That’s a huge step to be able to admit that to yourself! The WT helped you see it, but you can see if clearly now, that’s progress… then to be actively looking at ways to cope with the coming time period of close interaction with your mother… awesome!

    Sending you positive thoughts and hugs,
    CG

  6. Your mother is so predictable. I’ve just realized, after reading this post, that our parents fall back on behavior they are confortable with when they are nervous, or stressed, just like we do. Much food for thot.

  7. @ CG – thanks gorgeous. 🙂

    @ Ivory, OMG you are completely right! That’s so much food for thought – I guess it makes me think I should be stepping right back from my mother’s behaviours and just see them as old patterns for her as well, almost nothing to do with me. I’m not excusing her, but really, if I can see it like this instead of taking it on, I’ll be much better off. Good thinking, thanks 🙂

  8. I think it is a major accomplishment to realize that you are slipping back into old patterns and are thinking of ways to avoid falling in. I’m sure this will be a true test, both for you and your mother, but it is great that you are keeping in mind that the problem is her, not you.

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