Tough Love Part 2

2 Oct

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My family and I toughed it out through the holidays as best we could.  Christmas Day came and we went to my Mom’s house for dinner.  I was running late as I was waiting for the hand-made gifts I’d painted to dry.  My showing up late set the day into a tailspin and dinner was the worst holiday dinner I’ve ever attended to date.  My mom was understandably upset by my tardiness, as she was trying to get the meal on the table without it getting cold.  I told her my reason for being late and she began with the questions.  “Why did you wait til the last minute?” “Why did you procrastinate?” “Why didn’t you start earlier?” I couldn’t tell her why!  Most of the reason was sitting right there!  With the chaos going on in my home I barely had time to breathe let alone make gifts or shop.  I decided that year that I was going to make a scrapbook of the trip I took with my mom to Italy 10 years prior.  It was my first scrapbook project and it took me longer than I thought to complete since my Aunt was always trying to pull my attention away from whatever I was focused on and back on to her.  My answer to my mom was a meek, “I didn’t procrastinate, Mom.  You’ll see.”

My Mom and her best friend, Auntie, took turns taking pot shots, and pushing my buttons throughout the entire meal.  Then they started on the kids.  I’d been practicing being more assertive with the help of my life coach, and I remember thinking, “Ok, here goes.”  I took a deep breath and looked at both of them and told them if they didn’t stop I was leaving.  My Aunt told me I needed to get a thicker skin and shouldn’t be so sensitive.  Not wanting to ruin dinner or make it any more awkward for my husband and kids than I was sure it already was, I set my fork down and walked outside to cool off.  I couldn’t believe her gull.  After all the drama she was causing at my house with her mood swings and extreme sensitivity to pretty much anything anyone said, I couldn’t believe she was being such a hypocrite!

In January, my Mom began having health issues. She’d been to several doctors and so far none of them had given her a definitive reason for her symptoms or a diagnosis.  She had to resign from her job due to her symptoms and I was very worried about her. I felt she already had enough on her plate, so I made it a point not mention anything to her about the things going on at my house.  Unfortunately, her best friend wasn’t as considerate.

My mom started to bring things up to me during our conversations that I knew I hadn’t mentioned.  It wasn’t hard to figure out who had. The only difference between the things my Mom heard from Auntie and out-and-out lies,  is they were based; however loosely, on actual events.  My mom would ask me about something I’d supposedly said or done to my Aunt, and I’d spend the rest of the conversation angry and defending myself.  I really had a hard time understanding how she could listen to the things my Aunt was telling her!  After all, I am her daughter and she has lived next door to me for the past 7 years!  I was raised by her!  The morals and values I have are the same ones I have always had, and the ones that she raised me to have!  She had seen my Aunt only once in that 7 years, and if it hadn’t been for me tracking her down, she probably still wouldn’t have spoken to her, let alone seen her. I felt she should know I wouldn’t do the things she was being told I had.  Although it took a lot of self-discipline on my part, I kept the things my Mom told me to myself and didn’t say anything to my Aunt. I was on to her and I knew exactly what she was doing. I refused to allow her to get the drama she so obviously was trying to create.  I did take mental note of the things she was telling my Mom and I built up a lot of bitterness and resentment toward her.  I felt like she was purposely trying to destroy my relationship with my Mom and that on top of everything else did not sit well with me at all.

My mom would tell me to try to be understanding because my Aunt was “sick” and had Bipolar Disorder.  I couldn’t help but get more and more frustrated and angry that Auntie wasn’t willing to be treated.  She was causing so much turmoil in our lives. I knew that most of it would have been avoided altogether if she didn’t have the extreme mood swings.  When I finally stopped censoring myself and started telling her exactly what I thought, things got worse.  She became even more vindictive.  She started to treat me and my family as if our sole purpose was to serve her and her needs.

Over the next couple of months she and I would engage in an emotional power struggle that would end up changing our relationship for good…

…next…when enough is enough…

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2 Responses to “Tough Love Part 2”

  1. Gary Leigh October 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    if that was me, I would be worried about what would finally happen when I lost it and exploded. 🙂

    • ZenMamaJen October 7, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

      Oh I did worry about that, believe me! All that pent up frustration gnawed at me…it got to the point I couldn’t even stand to sit in the same room with her.

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