Apologies, enmeshment & estrangement

I’ve been very busy at work today so I haven’t thought much about everything with my mum which is a welcomed break. I saw T last night and then dreamt about her, which was a pleasant change from the awful anxiety-inducing dreams I have been having most nights, although my mum was still in the dream a little bit.

In it, T had given me her gold watch to borrow and I was very touched that she trusted me with it. I wore it around my neck (don’t ask how that is possible) to make sure I didn’t lose it. We then sat at her computer inside her actual house and were mucking around doing something, we took a selfie and T laughed really hard and loud. Her children were in the house but not with us. We went 15 minutes over our session time and I was very happy with that.

Later in the dream I was at a party and there were lots of people my age there who I did not recognise, they were all friends with my mother. I was later speaking in a kitchen with my sister and my mother walked past and I debated ducking down and hiding at the side of the fridge so that she didn’t see me, but then decided I would look pathetic if she saw me hiding and so I stood firm (but was really hoping she didn’t come in the room or see me.

In my real session last night, I gave T her Christmas card and gift. I wrote in her card that I wished her a very happy Christmas and NY and said that ‘thank you’ would never seem enough. I also wrote a short note about what rose quartz symbolised and how it felt really relevant to give to her. I guess that the dream of her lending me her gold watch is related to that somehow. Perhaps I would like her to give me something (not necessarily buy, but give) so that I could feel connected to her. I guess that must be what it is about although I do already have Frank. As for the bit with my mother, that isn’t hard to work out because my mother is always befriending people my age and getting new friends which used to make me very jealous – why could she enjoy their company so much but not mine?

I have been reading a lot about enmeshment the last few days. I have gained a deeper understanding of how enmeshed my relationship with my mother was. Despite 3 years with T and reading all the books on narcissism that touch on enmeshment, I truly did think me and my mother ‘used to be close’… it sounds ridiculous to write now, but it was only really yesterday that I *really* understood we were never close. Never. We were truly enmeshed. I read an article which summed that up so well, it said things like ‘If you think you and your mother are best friends, if you tell her absolutely everything, if you run every decision by her, if you two share clothing, if you only feel okay about a decision if you know she would approve of it‘…etc etc and I was like *lightbulb moment*. Another step in the recovery.

It made me think, she thinks we used to be close and then I met my fiancé who took me away from her (and now blames T for this for brainwashing me) but really it’s because 3 years ago (coincidentally the same time I met my fiancé), I started seeing T and disconnected from my mother psychologically. I distanced myself emotionally – and soon after, I also moved further away geographically. Anyway, she probably thinks that if I was to “stop going over the past” (read if I stopped mentioning my childhood abuse), we could be ‘close’ again. She doesn’t understand that will never happen and it made me think, if she knew she wouldn’t want me back in her life anyway. She wouldn’t be happy with our relationship any other way and she will, I know for certain, always blame my fiancé for that (as well as T now it seems). She will take that with her to the grave I am certain.

Writing this reminded me that a year or so ago I was at her house, drinking with her as I did and said something nasty, she said to her husband “there’s our TT!” and then went on to say how I am not myself these days and THAT is what she isn’t happy with my fiancé about….. now I realise what she meant was, “that sounds more like me!” – isn’t that sad or maybe sick? Both?

This isn’t really related but I also remembered that only several months ago, she was saying how she hopes my sister’s boyfriend CRIED when she told him she was very upset with him for something he had done. She went on to say that she, and this is a quote. “Made all my men cry” and only then would she feel they had been suitably punished. She said if they didn’t cry, she would keep going. I told her there and then that she was sick – she shouldn’t have to reduce a man to tears to accept an apology off them. She laughed. She knew what she was saying was ridiculous and sick…or she found it funny. I don’t know. That’s all about humiliation right? Or propping up her ego?

Anyway, the fact is that we were never close really and the only way that “closeness” could come back is if I forgot everything I had learnt and went back to being the fake me who went there every weekend for drinks, who slagged everyone off and took her advice on every aspect of my life. In the process I would lose my fiancé and stepkids and my real self. So that’s not going to happen. RIP enmeshed me.

I’ve realised a lot this week that I focus far too much on what SHE might be feeling and what SHE might be thinking or saying. I realise I need to take the focus off of her and put it back on to myself. How am I feeling, what do I want? I questioned why I do that and I think it’s because I was conditioned to put her before myself and I was conditioned by fear. I needed to be one step ahead and suss out what she would be needing or thinking. I have to remind myself constantly, that’s not the case any more.

T told me last night that nothing can happen now. That I can say at any time I need more time or I have nothing to say… I told her I’m petrified of what comes next and when and how I’ll next hear something.

T said something like “what about giving yourself permission to stop that worry and just know that you’ll survive it whatever way it comes?” I kinda went into shock… errr sorry what? Is that an option? Is that possible? It all sounds so simple doesn’t it? But she’s right of course.

I told T that part of me feels guilty that I ignored/didn’t respond to her message. T asked me why and I said “because she meant it nicely”. T seemed surprised and questioned me “did she?”. I said “well yes, if someone sent that surely it’s meant in a nice way?” T said I was confusing normal people with a narcissist. I smiled sadly.

I read T my latest letter and made a joke about how it was letter 5000. T said to keep writing, that it gets the feelings out. I told T that whilst I had written in the letter that i needed an apology. I didn’t want to spoon-feed her with what to do. T asked me what I would do if I sent it and my Mum then said she was sorry? I said well, I would ask her what exactly she was sorry for to see if she had any idea but also said to T that I knew my mother would be very much like “you wanted an apology. You’ve got one – take it or leave it” and I would have to leave it

And so I realised (again) that I’ll never get a genuine apology. Even if she said the word sorry it wouldn’t be what I need it to be. I told T that I’m limited on how much I can handle that fact.

T said to me “If you never want to see your mother again you don’t have to. It’s not even like you could have a limited relationship doing something together you enjoy, because there isn’t anything is there?”.

She is right. I told T I want to say to her “what you want is a mini-you and I am not like you anymore.” She would deny it of course, but that IS what she wants.

It’s unfamiliar ground right now. I’ve never had this much space from her before. I’ve not had social media for about 3 weeks so I can’t see what she’s up to (which is a relief) and she can’t see what I’m up to (which is an ever bigger relief). I’ve not seen anyone that we are both close with so there’s been nobody to pass things between us…. I’ve ignored a message from her and I’ve never done that before. It’s brand new and it feels weird. Not bad though.

You would think the longer this goes on, the more I would miss her or want to fix things but the opposite is true. The longer this goes on the more I realise it can’t be fixed.

Did I really see my mother for the last time 6 weeks ago? Is that it forever?

When I left her house that night, I left angry, crying, shaking, scared and relieved but I never thought it was the absolute end. The beginning of NC. Of being estranged. But I think I am.

I’m not hugely sad by the way, I’m not sure how this reads? It’s more disbelief!

5 thoughts on “Apologies, enmeshment & estrangement

      1. The video is probably location-locked. Try googling “YouTube, Labyrinth, you have no power over me” and see if that gets you any results.

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