I broke no contact after two years and I changed but she didn't

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threetimesalatte

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Hello, everyone! I know it has been a while but I am back and trying to catch up.

To bring everyone up to speed, I moved out of my hometown this summer and went through a bout of depression that was so intense that I went back to T. I have been on an antidepressant since August, and I have supplemented that with regularly scheduled talk therapy. As can be expected, my relationship with both parents came up in each visit, and I felt that I had made a lot of progress in taking care of myself after years of being emotionally abused and neglected. (I will share more about my journey in healing in a separate post on Working On Us.) My T was supportive in my decision to continue NC with my mother and said that it seemed like making that decision was a great benefit to my mental health and well being.

So, life does not ever go as planned. On Thanksgiving Day, my mother's non-PD best friend died after a long illness. Growing up, I had WAY more interactions with this woman and her daughters than I did with my biologically related extended family, so losing her was difficult. I found out she passed the day after Thanksgiving, and after reeling from the news for a day, I made the decision to break no contact and call my mother. Given my mother's personality, this friend was literally the only one through the years that stuck with my mom because somehow she did not make it onto the treat-like-garbage list that everyone else in existence did, so I expected my mother to be a wreck.

When I called her, she didn't answer. I hastily left a voicemail and thought maybe she would just ignore it. She called me back within the hour thinking I was her sister (we have the same name), and I broke down in tears. She asked me what was wrong, and when I started talking about her best friend, she made the connection that her daughter was calling. She was over the moon that someone was paying attention to her and talked my ear off for hours. Some part of me kept wishing she had changed and become the parent I had wanted after all this time, but she had not. She wanted to gossip about everything, talk crap about her family members, go on about what a failure she thinks my father is, etc etc etc.

In the weeks that followed, I told some people I am close to about my decision to break the silence with my mother. My dad and sister were elated that we were back in contact even if I was severely limiting it. On the other hand, my boyfriend as well as my close friends either told me they had no comment on my decision or that it had the potential to be disastrous. I have been treading carefully; we have only met in person twice, once at the funeral and one time about a month later one on one. The one on one meeting was so draining for me that even though I was off work that day, I felt like I had run an emotional marathon trying to keep up with her. The other times we have communicated, I am the primary one to initiate contact almost always. I am not sure if this is her accepting my boundaries or if I'm so low on her radar now that she doesn't bother trying to get attention from me anymore. What I can gather is that she is not bombarding me with attempts to control me from afar like I feared she would, so that is a plus.

What I have noticed now is that she is a terrible listener. She has ZERO regard for me when I ask her not to talk about certain subjects or take certain actions. For example, the last time I spoke with her, she wanted to tell me really personal things about her relationship with my father and when I said that it was not appropriate to talk about those things with me since I was her daughter, she acted like she didn't hear me and went on with her smear campaign. When I saw her in person, I asked her not to smoke pot around me indoors and she refused to smoke it outside, claiming I didn't need to worry about it because it wouldn't stink up the house if she only took one hit. She then pulled her bowl out on my couch and smoked it as if to show me that even though it was my house, she was going to do whatever suited her.

Anyway, I am not attempting to become close to her again because I have difficulty maintaining a positive self image when I have more than about twenty minutes worth of contact. It makes the adult child in me sad that she will never change, but in learning how to take care of myself, I hope to move forward and be happier.

Anyway, how are you guys?

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JenniferSmith

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Re: I broke no contact after two years and I changed but she didn't
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2016, 07:38:00 PM »
It almost sounds like this contact with her has helped you get a clearer sense of your mother's deficits and dysfunction.  It is certainly painful to go through it, but you now have more knowledge that you can use to guide yourself in your decisions going forward. The good thing is you are able to see her for who she is, and I think that helps us with creating boundaries with family members like this.


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practical

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Re: I broke no contact after two years and I changed but she didn't
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 11:30:55 PM »
Sorry you found her unchanged and still have to deal with not having the mother you deserved. I went NC three times with my M, broke it twice under the pressure from enF about how unhappy it made her, and it was always very strained after reestablishing contact, it never became a warm relationship, I was just so very much on my guard. I had done a lot of work, she hadn't, a similar experience to what you seem to have.

What I have noticed now is that she is a terrible listener. She has ZERO regard for me when I ask her not to talk about certain subjects or take certain actions. For example, the last time I spoke with her, she wanted to tell me really personal things about her relationship with my father and when I said that it was not appropriate to talk about those things with me since I was her daughter, she acted like she didn't hear me and went on with her smear campaign. When I saw her in person, I asked her not to smoke pot around me indoors and she refused to smoke it outside, claiming I didn't need to worry about it because it wouldn't stink up the house if she only took one hit. She then pulled her bowl out on my couch and smoked it as if to show me that even though it was my house, she was going to do whatever suited her.
From what you describe I would not call her behavior "being a terrible listener" but a total disregard for your boundaries and thereby for you. She seems to behave like a toddler whom you tell not to climb up a tree or not jump into a puddle and she will do it anyway. I think she hears you just fine, but she does not care as what you want interferes with her wants and even if she is in your house her wants supersede anything you want or need. Have you tried to repeat your boundaries and establish consequences if she does not respect you/them - basically like you would treat a toddler? Boundaries are hard and a constant maintenance job, but with the help of the Toolbox and the thread in the Working On Us section I have certainly gotten better, and it has made a huge difference in my life. I don't feel totally drained anymore after encounters.

It makes the adult child in me sad that she will never change, but in learning how to take care of myself, I hope to move forward and be happier.
It is incredibly sad.  :group hug: Please be gentle to yourself, you are already on a good path.
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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SunnyandBright

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Re: I broke no contact after two years and I changed but she didn't
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 02:34:10 PM »
You are lucky that she isn't calling you all the time.   I'd call her even less often than you are, and do a gradual fade.   It doesn't sound as if this woman has anything to offer you - it will never be any kind of a give-and-take relationship.