This is what I’m deliberating today:
When I made contact with my mother in March or April this year, my reasons were:
- I couldn’t tolerate the guilt and fear I felt
- I wanted a relationship back with my sister
- I wanted my sister at my wedding
- I wanted my grandparents at my wedding
- I was worried the absence of my mother at my wedding would be harder than having her there in some limited capacity
- I was worried I might regret her not being there one day in the future
When I met with her for the first time (with my sister), I told her that I no longer wanted to drink alcohol with her, go with her to any drinking events such as parties at her house or to pubs etc and that I wanted all future contact to me healthy and between me, her and my sister. I also said I wanted to work on the dynamic between the three of us (i.e, stop the triangulation and attempts to put us against each other which had clearly worked in the past).
As I explained back then, she didn’t like these new boundaries of mine. She made that very clear. She made excuses about having a lack of time or money but I said that’s how I felt things needed to be.
Fast-forward to now, we’ve been “in contact” for about 5 months and I’ve seen her:
- The first meeting referred to above – Sunday lunch with my sister also there
- The second meeting – a very quick breakfast meeting with my sister there / she didn’t even eat!
- The third meeting – the eve of my 30th birthday, a meal also with my sister there (however I did drink a few glasses of wine)
- The fourth meeting – an evening at a pub with her and her friend (I shouldn’t have done that as that went against my own boundary!) where we all drank and she said the whopper of a comment “when you have a baby I better see it more then your husband’s mother” – entitlement at its finest.
- The fifth – my wedding although she wasn’t around me at all
- The sixth – Wednesday night
Out of all of these “meetings”, Wednesday night’s was probably the worst. Wednesday night she was clearly not happy, not enjoying it and very angry. I also felt extremely uncomfortable and awkward.
I spoke to my sister on the phone about it last night and she said that the reality is that my mother just doesn’t like doing the things we’ve been doing – I.e. going for meals. My mother is all about drinking and parties and karaoke and my sister said it’s clear she is not enjoying it because it’s “not her thing”. She likened it to me having to go to a football match when I have no interest in football – she said I would also look like she does, uninterested and miserable.
However, and as I told my sister, I cannot do the things she wants anymore. It’s not good for either of us (for me anyway) and it’s not who I am. My life is different to her’s.
I explained to my sister that half the reason she wants to be around me/us in a social (drinking) setting is because once she’s had a few drinks, she starts poking me for potential drama and conflict and gossip and once I’ve had a few drinks, I loosen my tight boundaries and am much easier to manipulate. My guard comes down, I’m easier to hover. Easier to attack.
The other half is that she’s an alcoholic.
Now the thing is that I’m not enjoying these “meetings” either so it’s not like I’m getting anything from them and I’m sure I spend the time feeling just as uncomfortable as her (possibly less angry though). I get the feeling she’s seeing it as a means to an ends – that if she perceivers, soon I’ll stop this silly nonsense and go back to drinking at her house until 5am whilst telling her every tiny detail of my life and giving her a much needed source of supply (not to mention someone to control and be a mirror to her).
And I’ll admit, as much as I hate to, that sometimes I wish we could go back to the evenings of drinking and chatting together because it was less painful than the emptiness I have to witness now…. but was it really? I think maybe it wasn’t but I was more dissociated then and so blissfully unaware? I’m not sure.
I found myself crying last night and writing the words “I miss how it used to be! I miss her”…. however once I started writing more and questioning my words, I realised what I miss is the illusion I had of her and what I’m experiencing now is the “death” of that image/that illusion. I had projected onto her all of my life and now I’m seeing the real person. I clearly don’t miss “her” at all – I just don’t like what I’m left with.
So my quandary now is that I set the boundaries of meeting in non-alcoholic settings – no parties or drink fuelled evenings. I’ve set (internally) the boundaries of staying detached and not telling her things just for her to sink her teeth into, for example anything negative I told her about my life, she would LOVE and anything good she would belittle and ruin and what’s left is sooooooooo shit – for both of us!
Adding to that the fact that she doesn’t acknowledge the existence of my husband and stepkids and I now refuse to acknowledge her husband since he’s been so aggressive and rude, so there’s no potential left for any family meetings either.
The point being, I set the boundary for these dinners/breakfast meetings and I’m not enjoying them one bit. She hates them too (clearly) and I’m not prepared to go back to the old ways of seeing her – so what now? How long do we do this for despite how empty and uncomfortable it is? It’s like we are head to head waiting for the other one to give in somehow. It’s like a battle of wills.
She is never going to enjoy sober interactions and I am never going to be able to let myself be around her and heavy alcohol consumption for my own sake… so what happens from here?