Predictably, VP Ma’am called me today and asked me to come to her house. She started off with an out for me—I think you must be busy. She wanted me to help her granddaughter. I said I did have a lot of work and maybe next weekend I would have time for her. Her performance evaluation is next week, and she’s nervous. She wants someone close by. I said to tell her granddaughter some encouraging things and hung up the phone soon after that, and I think it was a decent conversation. In general, things between us have been better than they have in the past during other stressful situations. I sat next to her at her request at the baby shower because of that. She didn’t hit me. I didn’t particularly enjoy the conversation, but it was okay.
It has been more frustrating in the past, because she gets in these disorganized states where she asks questions and doesn’t listen for the answer. She will actually talk over me while I am answering and then run off to ask someone else the same question. It gives me the sense that someone hit the mute button on my mouth. She is just afraid of the answer. It isn’t that I have done something wrong. It is reach, push, run away. Disorganized attachment at its finest. It’s not personal. Triggering, but not personal.
Anyway, I reacted today to her call afterwards, just the usual sequence of shame, fear, anger, wanting to reach (not for her). I was thinking about this, trying to figure out what would help. (The heater. Blazing hot is great for getting me calmed down again.) And I began to think in my disorganized, foggy way that she touches on a very big wound. She is trying to meet her own needs for support in vulnerable moments, but her intrusiveness reminds me of growing up. It reminds me that my mother seemed not to like anything about me. I don’t know why she behaved that way. I suppose I was trying to get connection with myself, doing “my things,” she brought her vulnerable child to me, and me being me rejected her out of fear and also out of an expectation of being attacked.
So much of Punishing Parent is just, “I feel left out, I feel unwanted, I feel unimportant.” And then being angry about that. I rejected my mom in favour of connection with myself—I couldn’t get connection with her, but I could get connection from myself when I was alone. She was angry about that sometimes.
The thread connects up with C, because when VP Ma’am is intrusive, I wonder if I am intrusive with C. It’s probably not all one way. I probably am sometimes. I am trying to be supportive, but I have my own disorganization to contend with, and it plays into things. Yesterday, I asked C to come to my house, because there is a holiday. I have my own reasons for wanting people near me. I am feeling vulnerable too.
In the evening, she called me and said she had a program the next day and wouldn’t come down. Also, she said not to text her, because she was giving her phone to a day student to charge, because it isn’t getting charged at school—there is only one outlet which isn’t really an outlet. It is loose wires intended for a light bulb hanging from the ceiling.
On the phone, I heard fear. I didn’t feel distrustful of her. I felt she meant what she said. I asked her if she was okay and told her I loved her, and she hung up the phone with a happy “Okay, bye.”
Later, a friend of hers came online and began chatting with me. After a while, I thought I would just ask. No, there was no program. I kind of thought there was probably no giving the phone to a friend either.
I sent her a text about the program, that there wasn’t one and it was okay. The thing is that C is losing time, and I responded to something she might have no memory of doing. I forget that and I also don’t know how to handle that.
I went to sleep then. She sent a text about an hour later. “Yeah. No plans.”
I said again I wasn’t mad at her. “Mad?????” I got back.
I said I think you feel afraid I will be mad a lot of the time.
Anyway, I didn’t hear anything back, and I fell asleep soon after that. It had the sense I hadn’t been able to attune to her. I was too sleepy.
In the morning, I gave her a recharge, because on holidays they give a bonus. It was supposed to be 50% this time. She had asked for one on the phone. I didn’t get any response to that or to any other text. Not attuned.
When this happens, I don’t know if she needs reassurance or if I am being intrusive. There is kind of no way to know. But I was thinking about it, and thinking I really want her to know that when she makes her own choices, even when those choices seem to reject closeness to me, I do feel a closeness with her, because she is being authentic. What I want for her is to be able to live authentically, and whenever she is living authentically and not shutting down her connection with herself in order to make someone else happy—even me—then I feel in a way I am there with her, because that is what I want for her.
I have a really deep sadness about my own relationship with my mother, because it makes me realize this was never the case. When I made my own choices, my mother wasn’t proud of me and didn’t feel happy seeing me grow up to be me. I don’t feel actually that she liked a single thing about me, and I am starting to see how that was painful to me, just to be disliked inside my own family. I got used to it, but it’s very, very painful. That’s the wound which VP Ma’am keeps touching upon when she interrupts me: you cannot be you. You must pay attention to me. It’s so painful.