April 14, 2009

I’m not good with confrontation.  My mother told me for a number of years that I was a drama queen.  I think, because of that, I tend to go the exact opposite way.  I’m no shrinking wallflower but I don’t confront people.  I shy away from conflict.  A friend recently made an insensitive comment and while it hurt me, I know she didn’t mean it so why call her on it.  Another friend has no problem telling her mother, “hey!  That hurts my feelings!” I can’t imagine doing that.  If I said to my mother, “you know, it hurts me when you tell me that you are ‘ordering a girl next time’ when you know that the loss of my boys is still painful,” she would tell me that I am being overly sensitive and dramatic and that it was a joke.*  Ha.  Funny.

Hubby and I spent most of our hour at the therapist talking about my mother.  The therapist suggested that I confront my mother on the hurtful things that she has said and done over the past year.  My friend F suggested a letter.  My cousin suggested waiting a couple of days and then calling her.  I don’t know if that will accomplish anything but as Cousin Jenn-Jenn said, what have I got to lose.

The reason for this latest discussion was Easter.  My mother expected me to come to her house for Easter (I don’t say “home,”  I have never lived at her house in the ‘Boro – “home” is with Hubby in Holly Springs or San Diego).  I didn’t know this.  I don’t celebrate Easter beyond making a ham and some sweet potatoes.  I’m not religious, don’t go to church and have nobody to hide eggs for so I’m not big on the holiday.  It’s just another day in the garden as far as I am concerned.  I would have liked to see my family but I had a reason for not going – I had another miscarriage at the beginning of the week and Tuesday was the anniversary of the day I delivered the boys, I was in no place to spend time with anyone.  I couldn’t take any time off from work to rest so by the time Friday rolled around, I was tired, weak and exhausted.  I know that I need to go to my mother’s house to help clean out her spare room but I just didn’t have the energy.

I’m supposed to be practicing “self-care” as well.  The therapist (let’s call her Dr. J) told me that it was perfectly acceptable to be a little selfish right now.  Everyday, I am supposed to do one thing for myself.  Walking at lunch with K, a yoga DVD, walking the dogs, gardening, reading a book, getting a massage – something, anything that reduces stress in my life.

Dr. J thinks that I can’t practice good “self-care” with this dark cloud of a maternal relationship hanging over me.  She says that I am grieving the loss of the boys AND this changed relationship with my mother and what I really need to be doing is working though my grief with the support of my mother.  Okay, I’ll buy that.  But how? How do I get THERE?  I want to be there.  I do.  But I fear that confronting her will only result in the “you-are-really-quite-sensitive-aren’t-you?” conversation.  And the letter?  The actual ACT of the letter will make her mad – as if I embarrassed her by writing the letter.

So where are we right now?  It’s called a “Mexican Standoff” in our house.  The first one who picks up the phone to call the other loses. 

I lose a lot.  On oh-so-many-levels, I lose a lot.


*Nope, I’m not kidding, that really did happen.  See these this post for other such insightful comments:…ither-does-she/


3 Responses to “Confrontation”

  1. Kelly Says:

    It’s not a loss, though. If you call first, you’re the bigger person, the more mature one, the one who’s willing to take the first step to put the relationship in a better place. But first you have to figure out what to say… I’ve discovered that a lot of times people who say hurtful things are truly unaware that they hurt the listener. You’re not trying to develop a perfect relationship, just one where each of you is aware of the other’s feelings (because, really, you do have to acknowledge that she lost something, too) and are more ok with how that person chooses to handle things. Because, ultimately, you can’t control her, you can only control how you react to her. Good luck…feel free to vent to me anytime!! 🙂

  2. stacey Says:

    Oh man, I’m so not good with confrontation either. I’m your typical middle child peacemaker. I really feel for you here and I know it’s so easy to say this when it’s not my situation, but I think speaking up about the hurtful comments is a good start. I’m learning that so many times people really don’t realize that they are being insensitive. They really think they’re being funny or cute, and that they are helping the situation by using humor. This boggles my mind, though. I’m amazed how many people don’t have that filter that tells them “Don’t say this. It’s rude and hurtful.”

    At any rate, I hope you can find a way to resolve this with your mom where neither of you feels like the loser.

    (Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I appreciate your honesty about your own struggle with this issue. Thanks for being there and understanding.)

  3. Amy Says:

    Ugh, I’m sorry you have this to deal with too. Parents….. they’re ours like it or not I guess. I could write a book about difficult fathers – mine sends my BP up to the moon most days. I hope you find a way to communicate your needs and feelings to your mom and that she listen to you.

    On a totally other note, I nominated you for the sisterhood award. You can get the cute button and rules from my blog.

    See you Friday?

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