June 23, 2010

Tethered to a Ringing Telephone.....

When I talk with my mom, and she wants me to listen to her, I see myself reflected in very strange mirrors.

I live three thousand miles away--my life with my husband took me here. I have always had a hard time accepting my mom and my differences of opinion about who is responsible for her being left so far behind in my life. Her sense that I have wronged her by moving away is huge. Yet it is I who has invisible PTSD from the childhood I survived with her.

You would think I was a horrible person from the way she treats me now. There are lots of resentments about the past, not on my part ironically, but very much so on her part.

This past twenty years I have had to learn to hang up the phone before things got ugly and confused and learned to do so gently with "I love you mom. Gotta go." But about a year and a half ago, my guilt and fear of losing my connection to my parents crept up on me. I made the conscious choice to stay on the phone and become sturdier and less reactive to her attacks. That alas, has not been completely successful.

I think my mom has grown an enlarged sense of entitlement to her resentments and blame, because of my efforts to stay on the phone and learn not to be hurt by her remarks. Well this past week I have had to admit it is not humanly possible for me to become inured to her negative perceptions.

The Catch-22 I must be honest about is this: even as I chose to stop hanging up the phone on her, she now holds the past times when I did (a year or more ago) against me. She lets her animosity out on me by phone, and I have not been successful at becoming indifferent. While I don't want to bite back, nor do I want to hang up the phone on her, I'd best take my power to set a boundary with the dial tone, as her sense of entitlement is taking over our phone time in a big way!

1 comment:

  1. I have set boundaries, been reactive, not reactive and it made little difference because the alcoholic is so good at twisting things to make me be responsible. I think the best tact for me is to detach with love and not buy into the arguments.


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