Days have passed and I have been unable to reach my mother. I know she is just refusing to pick up the phone. Last week she arrived out of the blue. Many weeks had passed between visits. I have become accustomed to this pattern. I don’t know what to do anymore. My partner won’t go there and my mother is feeling slighted and won’t come here. The invite to go over on sunday was an informal one. no serious plans were made. As Sunday rolled around I went to polo. It was a long day. We became busy splitting wood and friends came over. I lost track of time. I called. She didn’t pick up. I was wrong. I know that.
I don’t know why I’m losing my family in pieces. My father fading into the abyss. My mother toying with all of us. shifting back and forth either extending or withholding herself. It is endless. I was calling not to apologize for Sunday, but to remind her of d’s birthday. Today my brother answered the phone. She had no choice. and so it began. I didn’t need her icy tone, and her injured self. There was no way I could have gotten d over there, even had I tried. I was set up to fail, I guess. I should have made it clear when the passing invite was mentioned. I held my tongue. I should have known better. But she continued to tell me how angry she was for days. That I had not called until 5:30 Sunday evening. I know that is untrue, as it was much earlier. Her words hurled like spears. I got angry. She’s too good not to notice even a subtle change in tone, or in a pregnant pause held to long. she knows me too well.
“You’re angry”. I did not want to go down that path as I was quite unsure what might leave my lips. There is only so much frustration I can hold onto. Instead I shifted the focus. d’s birthday.
” I was calling to remind you”.
“I have a card.”
I bit my lip. I knew I would regret what I might say. To chastise her for not calling, to tell her a card days later is not what I was hoping she might do. She is still angry with D. It is obvious from all her actions, and her words. This invite Sunday was just a pawn in this end game of hers. To get everyone angry. To once again bring disharmony to this home. I was not willing to fight with D over going to mom’s. I just agreed when d invited the neighbors, all the while knowing we had somewhere to be. I was not willing to push. As my mother brushed my anger aside and switched to talk of mundane things I felt my world pitch just a bit. I had been doing so well. I had found a way to tolerate her moods and her whims. As I hung up the phone I felt an all too familiar sadness. Borne of years of this type of behavior. She would demolish me with her dismissal. I would come unmoored. In those moments feeling as empty and helpless as ever.
I thought I had put her power behind me. I though her abandonment was no longer a weapon. But it is. Today I walked away wounded. Not mortally as I once might have been, but enough to collapse inward on myself. to struggle and cry looking to blame myself. but I am not the one who should shoulder that blame. It is not my fault. Yes, I should have communicated more clearly. Yes, I could have picked up the phone the day before and told her we would not be over. But that does not remotely give her the right to behave as she did. Her actions are out of proportion to the reality. I have to focus on that. Try to shift my mind and not beat myself up and create havoc in my head. I know this is a tough week for me. It was evident in session yesterday. The darkness is so close in the background now. I have to be careful and mindful. I need to take care of myself. the last thing I need is my mother in my head. The sadness and pain are here now, and I cannot avoid that. I guess it is how I chose to navigate through it that is important. It can devastate me if I am not careful, though to throttle it back and make it small is only a marginal escape because it will find its way back. I will sit with it for now, and it will settle. If there is one thing I have learned it is you cannot out run pain and sorrow. Pointless to try. There is much in my life that is sad and painful. that includes the relationship with my mother. It is okay to be upset about this interaction with her. It is in fact a microcosm of our life together. Our relationship is fucked up. It has been since the beginning. But it is what I chose to shoulder that is at hand. I do not have to take the blame, and wrestle the guilt, fear and subsequent abandonment. It is not my fault. It is her choice, her play to run and to harm. The more I can focus on that the less likely it is that I fall victim to my own dark thoughts and harrowing emptiness that I am cast adrift in when she withdraws. She is running. Not me. I am the one caught in the wake of her extreme shifts. For most of my life I blamed myself. Every time she ran I lost it. I beat on myself. I wasn’t good enough. I did not say the right thing, or act the correct way. I never knew how wrong I was. I know that in my head now, but sadly my heart still takes a beating when she does this. Today I wasn’t strong enough and was caught off guard. There is still working to be done. It is days like this that I catch a glimmer of my old self and realize how awful it was. I see what life was like when she held me hostage to her whims. I will find my way out of this sadness. I will make it through this week. Tomorrow is a new day. This is just another week in my life. It will be okay. It will be okay. It will be okay…