I forget now, did I mention that I got a birthday card from my mother 5 days before my birthday.
In it, she included a personal message as usual. The message started out nice. She even apologized at the end of the paragraph. But there was also some manipulation and a bit of guilt tripping. Not that I think she knows that. I honestly don’t think she realizes it. But then who knows, she could have me fooled.
She thinks and has thought these last six birthdays, that I don’t talk to her now because of my shitty childhood and how bad of a mother she was. I’m paraphrasing.
So this year, instead of ignore it (or at least let her think I’m ignoring her, because every year I have a melt down, she just doesn’t know it) I decided to respond.
It really frustrates me that she thinks that I decided to cut ties with her and my siblings because of my shitty childhood, just after my father died. I mean, if I was cutting ties for a shitty childhood, would it make sense to wait until my father died? He made my childhood shitty too, so if that were the reason I’d have cut ties long before I did. Besides cutting ties with my mother for a shitty childhood doesn’t explain the reason for cutting ties with my siblings. So…
So here’s the email I finally sent:
Each time you send me a card with a message written in it, you refer to how bad of a mother you were while I was growing up.
I appreciate the thought and the apology for that, but in all honesty that is not the reason I stay away from you. (Or my siblings for that matter.)
My reasons for staying away, stem from my experiences with you, Chris and Mel shortly before and during the months that dad was dying. I felt scapegoated, manipulated and betrayed.
My boundaries were utterly disrespected and my feelings were completely minimized and dismissed. I felt like a used up doormat and a receptacle for the whole family’s toxicity by the time it was all over.
To give you one example, I was given the same ultimatum by all three of you in separate phone conversations!
“Step up or walk away.” Ultimatums are a form of manipulation.
I’ve stayed away because I finally realized what was going on and that I didn’t and don’t deserve to be treated the way you were all treating me.
Both forgiveness and trust are processes, and things to continually build on and nurture, not just once and done events. Again, just to be clear, I am not referring to my childhood. I’m much more affected at this point in time by what took place in those months in 2013, than what happened in my childhood.
So with all that being said, I’m confused as to what you want from a visit. What is it you are thinking? Do you want to talk things through? Or do you want to just visit and leave ‘the heavy stuff’ under the rug?
I am not able to have a superficial relationship with my own mother. There is a lot to work out. When things are as toxic and dysfunctional as they are, it is unhealthy to continue to pretend that they are not. So I am not capable of such a visit, let alone a relationship like that.
For me to come down and see you would take building some trust back up first as well. So if you’re interested in having that difficult and possibly healing conversation, then it will need to happen here in Delco. In addition, understand that I have reason to be apprehensive about talking through the “hard stuff” with you. It has not had great results for me in the past.
With that being said, I would not be ready at this time to have that conversation myself. It is a difficult one (and may not and likely won’t be just one conversation) and at this time, I am going through some really stressful and difficult things, working some issues out with Bruce and dealing with some health issues that I am attending to and which take priority for me. (That’s a boundary and I’m quite adamant about it.) Adding such a stressful conversation (although I’m not even clear if you are even open to that) to “my plate” is not going to work for me.
To be completely honest, in the Spring, in perhaps another six or seven months (here in Delco, you and me, without my siblings) would be much better for me.
So that’s where I stand. I would be willing to see if it’s possible to build back a relationship, but there are stipulations because I am no longer going to compromise myself to please others just because they don’t like my choice to say no. And I’m not going back to the same old same old dysfunction.
I’m nervous about her response, but happy that I stood up for myself and kept it respectful.