85…things they are a’brewin’

Ahhh. Every time I make space for myself to write it feels like such an indulgence. And then I wonder, why don’t I do this more?

I’m in a funky place, wherein I think I might be either hiding something or hiding from something. Or both.

My mother has come up a lot lately. A post-Christmas picture of her with my nieces caught me by surprise one day, and now she’s on my mind again. I don’t like talking about her, and I just had a long conversation at lunch about her…and about me…and the 4 years I spent living with her in my mid-30s.

My (very good) friend was asking me some questions about that time period that required some personal accountability…like:

  • What was going on in my life when I moved in with her? (Big breakup with my boyfriend of 5 years, got fired from a job for doing something REALLY stupid, decided to leave LA…)
  • Did I have any reasons for wanting to be there, outside of wanting to take care of her? (I was depressed, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life after LA, needed therapy big-time.)
  • [Lots of questions about how I met my husband while I was living there, how that all happened, when and how I decided to move to Austin…]

I left that conversation feeling…very awkward. Uncomfortable. It’s a trust issue, even with someone I believe I can really trust. Talking about all of that from a sober perspective left me feeling exposed. I realized that in the years since everything went WAY south with my mother and me, I’ve been telling the story (even to myself) from… a biased perspective.

It’s true that she caused irreparable damage through some ill-timed actions. It’s true that I did everything I could to talk about it more with her, to reason with her, to ask her to admit that she might be wrong about what she was asserting at the time. She could not, which still means to me that she had an agenda. I tried very hard at the time to communicate, to beg even, because I could see the future from that vantage point, and I didn’t want to lose my relationship with her. It’s also true that she’s never done anything at all to repair the damage done. We’ve been friends on Facebook for the last 5 years, and she’s never wished me a happy birthday, for instance. The one time she called me during that time, she was asking me to do her a favor. (I said of course I would.)

The thing is, she’s 83. I haven’t talked to her at all in about a year and a half, maybe 2 years. As usual, we had a parlor-type chat that was all surface and no meaning. We I have so many unresolved issues about our relationship that chit-chatting as though nothing has ever happened is worse for me than not talking at all.

So what’s coming up now?

Since I got sober I’ve asked myself the question: When she dies, will I go to her funeral?

And the answer is, well, no.

I just think it would be hyper-hypocritical to fly across the ocean to see her after she is gone. If I were going to go see her, it should be now, while we can still talk.

So one of the things my friend suggested is that I do go now, while I can still do it on my terms. Because, as he so rightly said, one of these days I’ll just get a phone call. And it will either be the “she’s dying” call or the “she’s gone” call. And then my opportunity for going on my own terms will no longer be on the table.

And this idea, to be honest, if I seriously consider it, makes me freeze.

Back when I chose my WOTY to be Trust, I realized that this whole debacle with my mother is at the heart of me changing so much, trusting less and turning inward. (Moving to a French-speaking country without knowing more than bonjour and merci didn’t help either, but that’s another matter.) I had also been grappling with…well, I was finally able to forgive her, sincerely, to have compassion for her and love her and know that she did her best…but well, what now? I mean, do I forgive her and still stay far, far away? Or am I capable of the complete and full kind of forgiveness that means I allow her back into my life? (Not that she’s been banging down the door to get back in or anything…)

Close-up Of Two Hands
BERLIN, GERMANY – JULY 16: Child holding the hand of her mother on July 16, 2014, in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Marie Waldmann/Photothek via Getty Images)***Local Caption***

For now I’m just breathing with this, letting it all settle.

Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve been having drinking thoughts and ideas more frequently. Lately at lunch the cold beer seems to look more and more enticing. My husband and I have actually, finally, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, planned a long weekend alone together in Provence. And I found myself thinking, Oh, wouldn’t it be so nice and lovely to just take a little sobriety break and drink champagne and get high all weekend?

Fortunately my answer to those insane moments of darkness is…But look at how hard it was to get sober again this time. Look at what it cost. My marriage is on the precipice of making baby steps into recovery…I’m feeling stronger and more centered about everything…what would happen to all of that if I drank again?

Of course I know already the answer to that last question. Everything, but especially me, would fall apart all over again. I’ve been there, done that over and over again throughout the past year or so. I think I have enough evidence to be able to see…and that is, I have enough evidence to see how things have gone so far. Maybe if I spent a couple of days drinking I wouldn’t find the inspiration to stop again. At all. Ever. And I have a very good idea of what would happen to my self-worth, my balance, my relationships with everyone around me.

So yeah, I think I’ll go ahead and do it all sober.

 

15 thoughts on “85…things they are a’brewin’

  1. one of the things i love about the 12 step model is the way we have to forgive others so they stay out of our heads ..but even more so the whole amends process.
    I know that whenever i think someone else did me wrong i had better look at my side of the issue…what did i do, how could i have made it better, etc. Bottom line being that I must clean up my side of the street.
    I wish my parents had still been alive when i got sober. I have been able to clearly see and forgive them for mistakes they made, but i think all the time about how badly I want to acknowledge, to them directly, the awareness of the ways in which I screwed up.
    I agree with your friend…go
    but go knowing that she will not change (and if she does you can be pleasantly surprised). Go knowing you HAVE changed, and own your stuff, make your amends. then if anything happens to her you are clean, you won’t have to add guilt to your grief.
    Finding my part in any disagreement or situation has changed my relationships beyine my wildest dreams, allowing me to be closer to some people and even let people go from my life but in a fair and clear way.
    Steps 8 and 9.
    That’s where the real freedom lies for me

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Michelle, I’m just not sure about going because I think it would cost me too much. I don’t know how much would actually be accomplished, except that what I would really want from a visit like that… I would not get. It’s not ALL about me, but what she did cost me and my family so much…at such a fragile time in my life…just married, had a baby after 40, my mother abandoned me. Her actions continue to hurt me (and us). My daughter, who’s only 6, really wants to know what happened. I have to tell her…that I promise I will tell her when she’s ready, when it’s okay to tell her what happened. Anyway I do my best to release anger, release expectations, release everything and affirm to myself that I love her but not what she did. When her cancer returned a year and a half ago I called her, gave her a long parlor chat and told her I love her. She never asked a single question about me, what’s going on in my life, nothing. I mean, I moved to France. Learned a new language. Have done well in my career. Had another child. Anyway…this is complicated. I appreciate your insight, and I am thinking about it. After everything I’ve done to win my mother’s love and affection over the years, any action I would take would be about the exact things you mention…making sure I’ll be at peace with myself when she goes. Will I feel that I’ve left something undone? Will I have regrets about what I didn’t do or say? Those are my thoughts…whatever they’re worth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m going to voice the other side. I went back and read your post of what she did and what it cost you and your husband. I’m not a great example as my mother and I had no relationship either. But as a parent and grandparent I have to say that just because she’s your mother you don’t owe her anything. She worked very hard to destroy you and your marriage. You don’t have to forgive or make amends. You’re not the one who should feel guilty. I say forget it, and her. Some parents aren’t meant to be parents,because they’re fucked up they want they children to be too. She’s a manipulative selfish person and just because she’s aging doesn’ t change what’s inside. Go to Provence with your hubby, have a good, healing time and leave your mother out of your head. Sorry for the rant.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve always appreciated your straightforwardness, Sharon. And I really REALLY appreciate the freedom and permission in your advice to let her go. Every time I’ve pondered this situation, and her, it really is the only logical outcome. But the child inside tends to wander back, hoping…or worse, trying to figure out what I could do to make it right. The problem is, there is nothing I can do. It’s beyond my control. Anyway, YES. I will enjoy my time away with my husband and leave her out of my head. I think that’s great advice. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My mother is a full fledged narcissist. I don’t believe she loves me. Or, if she does, it’s because she feels like she should. She definitely is not supportive or kind. Unless she wants something or needs things to “look good”.

    I maintain a very distant relationship. Mainly for my dad and my children.

    Society puts a lot of pressure on us to love out mothers. To see them as selfless, sacrificing women. But they aren’t all that way. And it is not because I anything is wrong with us. It’s wrong with them.

    When I had my own children it deeply hurt me to see how my mother treats me. How hard I tried for so many years to gain her approval and love. Things I felt unconditionally for my kids.

    So, if your relationship is anything like this, if your mother makes you feel like everything is your fault, that you aren’t good enough that it IS ALL YOU, don’t go. Now or ever. Focus on your own family and finding the joy that is in your every day life.

    And don’t drink on your weekend away. It will be so much more special sober.

    This is hard stuff. Hugs.

    Anne

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I get this anne..

      my mom was a narcissist too. I had several LARGE life things happen to me that i did not even tell her because i knew that if i did she’d make them about her, that she couldn’t really help me in any way.
      I understand the push back about moms, not all are good and some should be avoided, i don’t know the circumstances of what went down here for you dinah…
      but i am troubled, at times, but the things left unsaid in my relationship with my mother and the ways i behaved toward her as she neared the end of her life..
      I would like to go and clear that up and I cannot. i own that. I can live with it, i must. But I never had a thought of the way I behaved until I was sober, and then it was too late, she was gone.
      So i still believe that, at least for me, amends would have helped…..if she had died and I owned what I needed to a load would be off. Frankly, this goes for my father too…I could be a real shit! He’s dead too, however.
      But you know, I accept that I cannot make amends, and I am very kind to old people (older than me, which isn’t saying a lot!) as living amends.
      And It never makes me want to drink. Not once.
      And, bottom line Dinah….you’re having drinking thoughts. That’s what this unresolved shit does, right? the thoughts start creeping back in. If you hadn’t said that part I would have read and maybe had a different response.
      But you’re thinking about drinking.
      And at that point, for me, the calvary is called and its time for action.
      You can forgive and not go to see her…that is a perfectly acceptable response. But YOU have to accept that response and allow it to be ok, to be finished. You are waffling about it, so work needs to be done there..maybe not jumping on a plane, maybe in your therapy.
      Simply because it is causing you to think about a drink….
      to me, nothing is worth that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. For me, I have no amends to make to her. Maybe I’m blind to my own behaviour, and I will realize that some day, but honestly, I never did anything to hurt her or to cause her to be the way she is.
        In fact, I gave her way too much of my emotional health over the years. I’m not willing to anymore.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes. That’s exactly where I am in my situation, Anne. And though I’m really sorry you’ve been through this too, it does actually make me feel better to not be the only one. ❤

        Like

      3. Absolutely, that is the main point I really wanted to write about this. So I appreciate your thoughts and your support. I have some work to do here, you are spot on about that one, my dear. Much love to you…

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    2. Ah Anne, I don’t think I ever knew we shared this really deep sadness. It is hard stuff. Yes, my relationship with her sounds almost identical to yours with your mother. I spent years trying to win her love with gifts and services. In some ways, and this sounds weird, it was almost a relief when she finally did something SO horrendous that I allowed myself to say, ENOUGH. I get frustrated with myself that … even though I (finally) found a way to forgive her, I still haven’t found a way to really let her go. And I want to. Anyway I won’t drink on my holiday with T. I think I’ve made it through the drinking thoughts…they didn’t last long this time, thank goodness. And just getting them out of my mind and on paper, here, has revealed the truth about them. Thank you for the hug. Here’s one for you too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a hard issue.
    It doesn’t sound to me as if you will be able to connect with her on a deep level.
    So, if you went, what would be accomplished?
    But I do know, that by not drinking, you will be able to handle the hard things better with each day!
    xo
    Wendy
    PS – And have fun with hubs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Wendy! I agree, I don’t think much would be accomplished there. A long expensive trip and a parlor chat without any resolution or deep meaning. I know, I’m so glad I know that drinking would help nothing…it would just make all of this impossible to deal with. I would probably just keep burying it instead of trying to look at it more openly and honestly.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi D,
    Nasty stuff to have to work out. 😦 I’m thinking: if you want to go, don’t go now because if drinking thoughts ‘suddenly arise’ when thinking of going I would say: NOT a good idea. On top of that; whatever pops up in sobriety and causes you to want to drink is related to the drinking problem itself. I’m thinking the subject and the relation should be studied carefully, not so much because you ‘need to finish things’, ‘should forgive’ or ‘let go’ or whatever, but because the subject seems to cause trouble which is so difficult that you would rather not deal with it (= drink). If you, after looking into stuff and in the same time being continously sober and clean, still feel that you need to go, you could always reconsider. No problemo. She could die before that, so it might be a good idea to take that option, imagine it and feel it through. See what pops up. But I’m guessing, thinking about the drinking comes first. You come first. 🙂

    So… there is us telling you what to do, but what would a woman who loves herself do? 😉

    Enjoy your weekend with the hubs. 🙂

    xx, Feeling

    Like

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