Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.

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stasia

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Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« on: April 20, 2017, 07:51:17 PM »
M has been SO nice to me lately. Not even kidding. Mostly wanting to chat about garden stuff. Granted, she's been leaving me messages DAILY about gardening stuff, which is wearing on me - seriously, EVERY day? FFS, just go away!!  But I've been letting more than half of them go without a callback, which is pretty huge for me. Haven't even felt that guilty about it.

Boyfriend has been getting sort of impatient about screening my messages for me, as none of them have been the least bit bad for a week. She hasn't even asked me to do anything. He sort of implied he doesn't see the point of him continuing to do this as now she's being pleasant. I told him, just wait, the bad call is coming.

Yeah. Tonight he checked and there was a message. Started out with her saying "I've had an awful day" and then her phone kept cutting out so we could only make out maybe every 4th or 5th word. I should've just ignored the message, but I've ignored the last 2 and started feeling bad about that.

Should've listened to my gut. Got treated to a whole litany of everything is awful, life is so hard, life is miserable, "I never expected my life to be this awful when I got old!". What set this off?

... the fact that the grocery store whose camera department still sold disposable cameras with film in them, no longer carries them. Because "Young people don't want them! Young people have PHONES that can take pictures. They have COMPUTERS. I DON'T HAVE ANY OF THAT AND NO ONE CARES ABOUT WHAT I WANT BECAUSE I AM OLD."

Then she started wailing about how she has to do dishes still tonight, and the cats need fed, and she was late on some bill because she doesn't have time to pay bills.... at which point I started trying to get off the phone, as she talked over me.

As an added bonus, my volume button doesn't work on my phone any more, apparently, so I had to hold the phone away from my head as I couldn't turn her down.

I wish I hadn't felt guilty and called her. As I couldn't make out the message, I couldn't tell whether or not she actually needed anything so I thought I'd better check. That was a total knee jerk reaction that is programmed into me. Oh well, two steps forward and 1 step back, I guess.

I am at least glad that I know how this works now. It's a cycle. M is nice and normal ..... then sooner or later comes the wailing and the "life is so hard" and the "everyone wishes all of us old people would just die." I didn't let my guard down while she was being pleasant and what passes for happy with her, and I expected it, and I think that's why I'm not crying and freaking out right now. Progress?

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practical

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 08:04:27 PM »
Huge progress :cheer: Not just for today, but for not returning every call lately, for seeing this coming and then trying to get off the phone and now sounding extremely calm. Amazing work!

Calling and finding out that it is the same old, same old is part of how you learn, how you recondition yourself and start trusting your gut, so don't beat yourself up.

I'm really proud of you, if I may say so  :)
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)

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FedUpWithPA

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2017, 08:11:23 PM »
Yay, you!!!  You should be damn proud of yourself.  Think of how much more self aware you are of your reactions to the behaviors and your control of those reactions now!!

I think we all pretty much move in baby steps when trying to get away from a loved one with a PD.  We need to celebrate the small victories because those victories mean we're making progress.

Keep up the great work!! 

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Sidney37

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2017, 07:03:37 AM »
Congratulations!  This isn't easy, but you are learning how to do it - one step at a time!  You should be very proud of yourself!

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Zebrastriped

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2017, 07:14:03 AM »
stasia, good for you to recognize the cycle and be prepared.  It does get easier with time and knowledge.  Also, you do not seem concerned about trying to solve any of this for her, which is a huge step for you.

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stasia

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 09:50:34 AM »
stasia, good for you to recognize the cycle and be prepared.  It does get easier with time and knowledge.  Also, you do not seem concerned about trying to solve any of this for her, which is a huge step for you.

I mean, I thought about, if I happen to see any disposable cameras while I'm out and about, getting her a couple for Mother's Day. But I don't want to go out of my way to do it.

She says that the fact that she is currently unable to take pictures of her flower garden has "destroyed" her. That it's just another thing that has been taken away from her "BECAUSE I AM OLD AND NO ONE CARES."  :stars: :roll:

You're right, though, I am just so burned out and exhausted by trying to solve her problems, that I don't want to do it any more. Like, the other day she said she thinks her youngest cat, who is very energetic and destructive, needs a new home because she can't handle him. Then she just paused. I guess she was expecting me to jump in with solutions? But that feels so futile; she won't do what I suggest anyway, I'll just get 10 reasons why it won't work. There's no way she'll actually get rid of this cat, and the shelters are all full to bursting at this time of year anyway. I feel done with trying to solve her cat issues.

On the other hand, since last night I have been feeling really bad about myself for not being more supportive and for ignoring so many of her calls. If I hadn't just ignored a bunch of them, I wouldn't have returned yesterday's call. But I heard the "I had an AWFUL day....." and I couldn't make out much else that she said because her phone kept cutting out, and it was just like this knee jerk reaction. :(

I realized the other day that, as many of you suggested in another thread, Boyfriend simply does not hear the "dog whistle" of her Waif Tone. He listened to a voicemail, said she was just giving me information about what blueberry bushes she found at Home Depot. (We'd talked the previous day about that; I want to plant some and she already has a lot.) So I went ahead and listened to it - as it did contain information that I might want - and it started out with a whole litany of how awful her life is before she actually started talking about plants. I pointed that out to him and he just kind of shrugged and said he didn't notice and that it wasn't important anyway. I explained that it's important information to have, so that I know what I'm in for when I call her back, and whether there'll be yelling, or tears, or whether she'll want me to soothe her. But - it's really interesting to me how someone who's not afraid of M at all and doesn't feel responsible for her, like I do, reacts to her. I hope I can get to a place someday where her emotions don't stir up FOG as well as a lot of speculating as to how angry/upset she is.

I am a lot calmer about all this, though, and I'm not really sure why. Other than, my living situation has changed; I do notice myself being calmer in general now that we're no longer living in a very bad neighborhood. (There was a shooting on my old block last night; an innocent person's car was hit in gang crossfire while he was driving. He is OK, but still, yikes. This is what I lived with.)

Really, I wish she would just stop calling me EVERY DAY. It's like having a small, annoying child constantly tugging at your skirt wanting attention.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 09:54:56 AM by stasia »

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looloo

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 11:06:52 AM »
Stasia, good for you!  It IS progress, but it sure does feel like "two steps forward, one step back" at times.

I also felt -- and still feel to some extent -- that I have to solve all my mother's problems.  But the minute you solve one, there's always another to take its place, and they're never happy anyway.... 
Lol, the last time I got a phone call from my mother (she's always been extremely 'ignoring'), it was to request that I handle something for her.  She's a huge Queen type of N, so she used the 3rd person -- "What should ONE do about this????"  she asked me.    It was a voice mail, thank goodness, but I'd reflexively tried to answer and didn't pick up in time.  What a relief that it wasn't urgent and that I hadn't answered.  I never responded   ;D



And congrats on your move! 
If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.  Oscar Wilde.

"My actions are my true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand."  Thich Nhat Hanh

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bopper

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 02:22:45 PM »
I think before you didn't even know you were attached to a rope.  They pulled and you followed.

Now you realize you are holding on.  You notice that when they pull, you seem to follow.

And you ask yourself...do I want to go that way? Is that the best way for me?

Then you started pulling back on your end...and they pulled back harder.

Then the rope got smaller and smaller..merely a thread.

Then you let go.


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I think you are on step 3.
Just because they are incapable of loving you, doesn't mean that you are unlovable.
Anything makes the false self appear real is supply.

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2017, 12:22:44 AM »
I think back on how you were when you first got here and I think your progress is amazing!   :cheer: :righton: :woohoo:

I think another boundary you might consider adding is:

"If she is upset or I can't understand her message, I will wait a full 24 hours before calling back."

It's just a matter of powering through the FOG - you haven't talked to her in a few days.  What if she NEEDS you?   :violin:

Fact:  If the first words out of her mouth aren't, "HELP!  (garble)  FALLEN! (garble!)  CHEST PAIN! - she doesn't need you and if they ARE, she needs 911 - and you need to stay *far, far away!*

Your mother is FAR more capable than she lets on - she's proven it time and time again.  If a disposable camera is enough to send her on a wobbler, she can manage her own emotions and not drag you into it.

Not being able to take pictures of her garden has "destroyed" her - oh, good grief.   :roll:

Ignore it.  Seriously - ignore it.  In a few days, she'll have forgotten all about her garden and be on to a new topic that "destroys" her and another rant about being old and nobody caring.   :bawl:

With people like Didi and your mom, there's a never-ending supply of misery right in front of them, usually of their own making.

Good for you for not offering to take a feral cat you don't want!

What you described about offering 10 solutions and having them all rebuffed was what somebody on this forum called, "Yes, but..."

I wish I could remember who it was, but I *think* her unPD MIL had some kind of problem and the poster replied, "I'm sorry - I don't have time for a game of "Yes, but..."

That's exactly what it is - a game where you offer every solution you can think of and every single one is WRONG, because they really don't want the problem solved.  They just want to complain endlessly and *tell you that you didn't TRY hard enough to solve the problem FOR them.*

When Didi would try to suck me into a game of "Yes, but..." - that tell-tale pause is a dead-give away  - I'd shut her down with, "I really don't know what to tell you," or, "I can't help you."

I'd also let her comments hang for an awkwardly long time before I just changed the subject.

You're getting there, Stasia! 

You *know* what's going on.  You don't *like* it.  And yes, she is like a toddler, pulling at the hem of your skirt.

Please think about this:  try to hear her like your BF hears her.  Once I did that with Didi and Ray - taking the damnable tone thing out of it - life got a LOT easier.

Once you break the dog-whistle or mute it, boundaries become a lot easier.

 :hug:

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MLR

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 06:24:51 AM »
I went to Amazon, did a search for "disposable camera", and got 1,384 results.  You can even buy them by the case, and she might die before she runs out of cameras.

Though, if you solve her "problem", she will have to go through the agony of finding something else to "destroy her because she is old and nobody cares about her".

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lkdrymom

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 01:05:39 PM »


You're right, though, I am just so burned out and exhausted by trying to solve her problems, that I don't want to do it any more. Like, the other day she said she thinks her youngest cat, who is very energetic and destructive, needs a new home because she can't handle him. Then she just paused. I guess she was expecting me to jump in with solutions? But that feels so futile; she won't do what I suggest anyway, I'll just get 10 reasons why it won't work. There's no way she'll actually get rid of this cat, and the shelters are all full to bursting at this time of year anyway. I feel done with trying to solve her cat issues.



This so describes my father.  He'd throw a problem at me but had excuses for every suggestion I made that would involve him doing something.  They want you to take care of everything.  The only problem with that is then they have to make up another problem. My father got so lazy that he would still have the same issue over and over even though I fixed it only days before.  He couldn't even do the work to find a new problem for me to solve.

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Iguanagos

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 05:54:09 PM »
Getting old is the reward you get for living a long life. It's what will happen to all of us if we are lucky enough to live that long. And a bad as getting old is, it's better than the alternative, isn't it?  :cool2:

I've seen people who grow old with grace and humor, accepting of their more limited capabilities, but grateful for the ones they still have.

And then there are those who are angry and bitter, like this is a dirty trick that God has played on them, and it should never have happened. And it's apparently YOUR job to be her toxic waste dump, sitting there while she spews forth all her frustrations and you absorb and mop them up like the good girl you are.

None of this is your job, and you don't have to listen to her whine and moan any more.  Maybe cut her off with "I have to go", or give her one of the platitudes, "Yes, getting old isn't for sissies", or just address it directly, " It's not that no one wants to help you because you're old. No one wants to help you because all you do is whine and moan and who wants to be around that?" 

Whatever approach you think will work best with her, knowing none of them will be easy.

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Adrianna

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2017, 11:50:39 AM »
I see so many similatities with your mom and my nana that it is freaky. It is not our fault they are old, or alone, or miserable. It really isn't. Nana is not aging gracefully and neither is your mom.

You are making good progress. I get the boyfriend not hearing her the same way you do. I have noticed that also with others who talk to her. We are triggered so on high alert. They are not triggered. There is a big difference in how we perceive things.

Keep up the good work.
Practice an attitude of gratitude.

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stasia

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 09:34:11 AM »
This is just so interesting! M called yesterday after leaving me alone for nearly a week. (ahhhhhh, blessed peace.) Boyfriend listened, said that she wanted my address to give to the insurance company, and said she was talking a lot about garden stuff.

(In our state, if you have received a life insurance payout, as M did when F died, you have to call the insurance company.... I believe it's either every 6 months or every year, to verify that you are still alive or else the state can take the money. I wish I were kidding. Anyway, it's nearly time for M to call and each time they do, they verify her address and the address of her beneficiary - me. So, yeah, now she has my address, but I'm not that concerned about it as I know for certain that she will not drive into the city. She is too scared to.)

I asked if she sounded upset. He said no. I went ahead and listened because of the garden stuff (Boyfriend does not garden so had no idea what she was talking about). About 20 seconds in, I paused the message, looked at him incredulously, and said, "seriously, you don't think she sounds upset on this message?"

Because, she didn't just say "I need your address to give to the insurance company." She said, "I need your address to give to the insurance company, because tomorrow is FRIDAY already and I have to call RIGHT AWAY or else they're going to take all my money, and I can't call on a WEEKEND because they are CLOSED and no one is WORKING, and I don't have TIIIIIIIIME to make all these phone calls, and I'm SO OVERWHELMED and all my bills are piling up on the table because I can't PAY, and it got COLD OUT and I can't afford to turn up the heat..."

And he just tuned all that out. I am amazed. I told him I need to take lessons from him in how to ignore all of the waifing and just focus on what it is she is asking. I wonder if this is a guy thing, or if it's a he-doesn't-have-PD-parents thing?

Anyway, I called her and there was not too much waifing; as an added bonus my landlord rang my doorbell so I had a built-in excuse to get off the phone!

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practical

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Re: Cycle starting again... at least I recognize it now.
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 02:05:58 PM »
I think he wasn't trained to hear all the subliminal messages like you were, he just hears the facts - she needs your address - of what your M said. For him it comes natural, you have to learn to filter out all the emotional garbage and find what is actually hard reality versus waify neediness. Nicely done on your part so, as you saw it for what it was. If you get to his level, you are way out the FOG.  :)
If Im not towards myself, who is towards myself? And when Im only towards myself, what am I? And if not now, when? (Rabbi Hillel)

"I can forgive, but I cannot afford to forget." (Moglow)