I’ve written a lot recently about how my mother has not been contacting me and how we haven’t seen each other in over 3 months and how that’s felt for me. I’ve written about the whole “narcissistic discard” thing and I’ve written about how hard that’s been for me despite the fact that it was me who wanted and needed the distance. Well, imagine my surprise when Friday afternoon she sent me a message which asked how I was, said she missed me so much and asked when she could see me.
I wasn’t prepared for it at all and I was at work so she caught me off my guard. It was weird because part of me was secretly relieved she had contacted me as the silence was clearly difficult, but part of me felt anxious too.
Before I knew it we were talking about dates we could meet and I thought I could offer to see her that very same evening… at the pub for a drink. I told myself that was a terrible idea. I told myself I’m not supposed to do that. I told myself that would be sending the wrong message and would only set me back, that I had set that boundary for a reason and that I had to stick to it. Annoyingly despite telling myself this I was having an internal battle with myself and for some reason I actually wanted to see her for a drink.
I couldn’t think clearly at the time but with the benefit of a few days having passed and now being calm about it all, I think that what happened was I was finding the lack of contact difficult and so when she contacted me and said she missed me and wanted to see me, I wanted to keep her interest and let’s face it, I’ve been well trained in knowing how to make or keep her happy and I know that drinking with her on a Friday night is right up there with the best ways.
She said she was busy that evening and so we threw around some more dates. I felt disappointed but also relieved. I felt like I had a lucky escape in lots of ways, but also felt sad that she had said she couldn’t see me which actually is silly because I shouldn’t expect her/anyone to just drop everything for me – and I don’t usually.
We still haven’t found a date that works and to be honest I was so drained by all the weird energy in me on Friday that I said I would get back to her and I haven’t done that yet. She suggested another Friday evening so we “had the whole evening together”.
This is hard for me because when I see her we struggle for conversation. She doesn’t ask about my husband or my stepchildren, I don’t ask about her husband and the distance between us feels soooo obvious. It’s difficult. We smile our way through an hour at breakfast or lunch and I genuinely believe we both feel awkward. However when alcohol is involved, everything is different. When she’s had a few drinks she gets brave and will start to ask questions and push conversations that she wouldn’t risk when sober. She might start by saying she really does miss me or ask me outright why I won’t see her husband etc.. she starts to ask questions about why I’ve not had a baby yet/got pregnant yet and other things. This time around I have no doubt she would tell me how hurt she was that I didn’t attend the recent family event.
When it’s me that’s had a few drinks, I get brave too and I am likely to be swept up in all the fakeness and start to imagine things can be fixed if we have this honest conversation OR I get brave and start telling her how I feel and what I think and all the ways she’s hurt me (bad idea).
It’s hard to explain and I imagine to anyone reading this it would be hard to understand why I would ever want to opt for drinking with her but I guess it’s because despite all the dysfunction around the alcohol and what it does to both of us, somehow there’s a hope in me because it at least opens a real dialogue – one that doesn’t exist when we’re both sober. I guess also I spent many years drinking with her on a Friday and so partly there’s the habit/familiarity of it and partly I hope it will make her happy and then she will be nice to me and it will all feel better.
I keep having to tell myself that this whole “I miss you so much” thing is a hoover and that it’s textbook. She’s shown me no interest whatsoever in months, not even for my birthday and now she suddenly misses me and wants to see me. I think about how she can barely make it through a lunch or breakfast with me sober and wonder why she suddenly wants to see me for “the whole evening”….
I also find it interesting that her message came on a Friday which, as I’ve said already, was the night I always drank with her at her house. I may be reading way too much into that. Who knows.
Anyway, after I had given up trying to find a date which we could both do, I went home and by the time I got off the train I felt horrible. “Horrible” is the word I am using and it’s a strange one, but that’s genuinely how I felt. I felt hot and sweaty and my jeans felt too tight and I felt agitated and stroppy. When I got home I cried and took a shower before laying on my bed for a while to calm down. I couldn’t understand what exactly I was so wound up about, surely not just because she couldn’t see me that very same evening? That felt very immature. Something wasn’t sitting right with me though and I felt all out of sorts.
With the benefit of having thought and slept on the whole thing for a few days I think it was just all the confusion that made me feel so horrible. Its having my mother offer me what I’ve always wanted and needed and telling me she wants to see me and that she’s missed me, but also knowing that it’s not really me she’s missed but the attention I used to give her. It’s knowing I dropped my own boundary within a second despite how hard I’ve worked and then the disappointment that despite me dropping that boundary, she couldn’t go anyway! And then the relief that she couldn’t go… it’s a lot to get your head around in the moment.
It reminds me how I’m not as strong as I thought and hoped I was, that the pull to go back to her is still there sometimes; even though I thought it was long gone. I guess I feel disappointed with myself in that, though I do understand the child in me is still trying to get to her mum.
Anyway… no damage was done and having reflected on all of this over the weekend I guess I know I just need to find a date for breakfast or lunch and avoid the drinks. I’m just going to have to handle the awkwardness and accept that after I see her for an hour that I’ll come away feeling all stirred up inside and I’ll probably cry again and then she won’t contact me for months and I’ll feel neglected and potentially this whole thing will repeat itself.
It’s hard because I’m not happy either way. I’m not happy when she’s constantly on my case trying to see me or making me feel guilty. I’m not happy when she totally vanishes for months and I’m not happy when she blatantly ignores the people I love (husband/stepkids). It’s hard to accept she just wants me to drink with her and to show her attention and that it’s not really about me – that’s still tough to really fully accept.