Why is it alway like this
The other day I called my mother (I try to avoid doing this to often) to ask her a question, we started talking about my sister who is currently getting back with her ex husband (terrible mistake in my opinion) and we entered into what I like to refer to as "it would be less painful for me to hit myself with this phone then to endure this conversation." Let me back up a moment, my mother and I have this weird relationship which is defined by her being adopted, having an awful childhood and her having me at 19-which culminates to me being her savior of sorts, daughter/friend and first blood relative that she clings to like a vampire clings to their next meal. As a kid I didn't realize how odd it was that she shared EVERYTHING with me-to the point that I was well aware that my dad was having an affair when I was only ten because she shared again everything with me. I didn't really get a wake up call until college (due to being a military brat and moving every year or so I did middle-high school via remote study) boy and was it ever a learning experience! You can't help but take psych and sociology classes and get a big smack in the head regarding abnormal behavior.
So, I started making changes, not allowing myself to be so emmotionally invested in the co-dependent relationship that was my mom, dad, and sister. This was hard and my a** of a father started to refer to me as Switzerland and later the ice queen because I tried hard not to take sides (let it be noted that both my parents regularly used me as a marriage counselor-again-I know it is so bizzare!!!!). Ok-so after 30 years of marriage they divorce, I literally cook and drag my mother out of the house (this is like 6 weeks after I give birth mind you) so she will eat something and stop holing herself in crying.
She has gotten to a good point in life post divorce, but she has adopted this fatalistic, passive agressive attitude. So back to the phone call, I was again talking about my sister and she starts saying how she has spent to much time worrying and trying to help her and she is exhausted and if her ex wants to take care of her and she is happy, well so be it, because she can't do it anymore. I hardly every am honest with my mother, but I said that this isn't about you and how you feel. We are discussing her, not how this relates to your life and yes, you helped make her like this, but regardless she is making a huge mistake. The converstation went on, but I have babbled enough. I have no relationship with my father and sometimes, it seems like an easier solution to not have one with her :)
Wow-we do have very similar backrounds to pull from! I'm sorry that your daughter has cut you out of her life-as much as I want to with my mother, I never would. My father on the other hand is toxic and had to be let go. My mother does see a therapist, but she is a charmer and I think she manages on making them her friend more than her therapist, her friends are all alamingly similar, adopted, divorced, co-dependent, etc. It overwhelms me to be in her presence in a group because she either latches on to me (if she doesn't know anyone-I can chat up anyone) or if she is comfortable she put on this persona that only comes out on special occasions and is Martha Stewart. I no longer feel responsible, but on the other hand I am always waiting for the other shoe to hit the floor-my own life is good, the ghosts of my past just rattle me a bit to often.
Yeah, I had to cut a toxic parent out of my life too. That look a long time to get over b/c it's one thing to get stuck with a certain relative, but the system LET this insane woman adopt me! I mean ????????? Spent a couple of years as the poster child for bitter over that one, LOL.
It sounds like you need to set some limits. Cutting your mother out would be a mistake. Trust me, it'll throw her into a full blown panic. She'll latch on even tighter, and whether you stick to your guns or not, it'll put both of you through more than it's worth.
Instead promise yourself you will gracefully exit a phone call after 15 minutes. Run out front and ring the door bell if you have to. Let her know there is time you will spend with her, and time that is your own. You can meet for lunch on Sundays and be unavailable the rest of the weekend or whatever.
BTW, people that are trying to get better do not charm their doctors out of doing their jobs. If she's doing this than perhaps she isn't quite the critical point yet.
I agree with vwytche. This woman needs boundaries...you were never allowed to have your own boundaries as a child and she never seemed to understand the universe of anyone else but herself. Her self-absorption sounds like narcissism- the wanting to pull your hair out and knock yourself out with the phone reaction definately fits! Check out this site:
This may give you some insight into what you're dealing with and why this has been so hard for you. She definately needs boundaries enforced, as she is accustomed to beng enmeshed with her children but also being the victim...as strong as you have come to be, you need emotional protection.
Kellie Montgomery< LMFT