I think I mentioned a while ago that I was thinking about going on a vacation over my birthday. Well, for various reasons I never did. But I am now, and I’m excited. Except for a couple of things which I’m just going to set aside for now so that I can enjoy the trip.
In the last post, I explained the growing situation with my parents. Well, I had taken the situation as an opportunity to break off contact with my father. I explained to my mother that I was not going to try to patch things up this time. She told me that was fine. I just didn’t think that I would have needed to ask her not to patch things up for me, but apparently I should have. Because now I’m back at square one. Maybe even further back.
I got an email from my mother a few days ago saying that she didn’t think my father would be angry with me anymore and that he won’t be asking for an apology from me anymore. I was suspicious. So I called her and asked her what she did. She said that she explained to him that I am simply an immature kid who needs to have a mature adult to show me the appropriate way to act. Hearing this made me a bit sick to my stomach, and I felt a quick burst of anger flow through me, but I didn’t say anything. She said that she doesn’t actually think that about me but that she was just telling my father “what he wanted to hear” to get him off my back. I don’t believe her. She so easily lies to him, in elaborate ways, that I see absolutely no reason why she wouldn’t be doing the same thing with me. My therapist agreed with me…unfortunately.
I feel defeated. My attempt to do something that I thought was healthy for me has now been interpreted as immature – something a kid would do. Like a defiant teenager acting out against a parent for no legitimate reason.
I didn’t say anything to my mother about what she told him, because nothing good could come of confronting her about it at that time. So I let it lie. But when I was in therapy the other day, I started talking through the situation and came to a realization. I have two options. Either I stay a part of this contorted, abusive, dysfunctional web that is my family, or I break off from them. I no longer have the option of breaking off from just my father. As long as my mother is enmeshed with him, if I want to cut contact with my father, I’ll have to do it with both of my parents. My mother, despite her faults, does try hard to love me, and it seems unfair to her for me to punish her for his behavior. And that’s exactly what I’d be doing if I cut contact with them. My T pointed out to me that my father is essentially using my mother as a weapon against me, because he knows that if she’s angry or upset with me, that it makes me feel guilty. So even if I stay in contact with her, it’s still like he has a way of getting to me.
As I was explaining this to T, I was speaking somewhat matter-of-factly. She asked me if I realized what I was saying and kept trying to remind me of the gravity of the situation. I feel resigned, because some part of me knew that this was always going to be the case, no matter how I tried to get around it. My T then started talking about the fear I’d felt the last time and that it seems like immediately after I have any contact with my father, in any form, I have serious internal repercussions. She seemed to talk around what she really wanted to say, which was: no more. Keep him out.
She’s right, I know she is. Maybe the timing is right. T and I had a wonderful conversation last time, one that affirmed my trust in her and reassured me that she’s in this for the long haul. I know for sure that I have someone to support me if (when?) I take that step with my parents, because it won’t be easy. I may not do it today, or tomorrow, but I don’t think I’ll make it through another holiday season with them.
In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy a nice four days off from work and the first vacation I’ve had in 6 years. Happy Thursday, everyone!