Didn't call at the "right time" on Easter = silent treatment - just venting

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Sidney37

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Hi everyone.  I'm an only child, OOTF and have been for almost a year.  My parents who are in their late 60s remained in their home town while their brother and sister both moved 30 years ago.  That means that their closest relatives, including me, are all 8-10 hours away.  They have first and second cousins who live nearby, but in the past 40+ years they have made little effort to see them.  All of the older relatives have passed away.

This means if they don't come to us on a holiday (they come here for Christmas) or we don't all meet at another relative's house  (sometimes we all go to an Uncle's house for Thanksgiving but it's still 8-10 hours away for us and my parents) for a holiday, they are alone.  Frequently they are alone for Easter.  My mom expects that I call her on holidays if we aren't together at a time which is most convenient for her and early in the day, but not while she is at church, the store, outside, eating dinner, etc.   :aaauuugh: Apparently I should know when that might be.  Today we went to church, did some family activities, took naps because the kids had us up at 5 AM and didn't try to call them until about 5 PM.  They didn't answer the phone.  We tried again at 8.  My dad answered, admitted that they were home, but "didn't get to the phone fast enough" (which in the past has always meant that my mom is mad because I didn't call early enough and refuses to answer) and he talked for a while.  She refused to talk to me entirely.  Usually this means
that she won't speak to me for weeks and my dad will call wanting me to call and apologize to her for not calling first thing in the morning.  I'm not going to do that.

I don't have a question.  I know this has happened to others of you.  It's frustrating, hurtful and makes me angry.  She could easily call me.  She won't.  I shouldn't have to know the exact time to call that won't be too early, too late or while they are busy.  Honestly, I know its never going to change.  I know as she gets older, it's getting worse.  My dad is calling weekly to complain about how she is treating him the same way that she treated me before I came OOTF.  I can't fix it.  I just needed to vent.  Holidays seem worse for these things. 

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all4peace

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I'm so sorry. It gets hard to deal with sometimes, knowing what's probably going on and what you're probably going to have to deal with soon. Sigh. I especially feel for you having to deal with it alone, without siblings :(

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practical

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Sorry you had to deal with this, and short of her telling you what will be a good time to reach her on a holiday beforehand, there is no way of knowing it. Maybe this is a passive aggressive way of punishing you for not spending the holiday with her, which would make it even sadder.

My dad answered, admitted that they were home, but "didn't get to the phone fast enough" (which in the past has always meant that my mom is mad because I didn't call early enough and refuses to answer) and he talked for a while.  She refused to talk to me entirely.  Usually this means
that she won't speak to me for weeks and my dad will call wanting me to call and apologize to her for not calling first thing in the morning.  I'm not going to do that.
Good for you for not apologizing for something you did not do and not going to. This is the good old ST, my M was a master at it and it worked just the same in my FOO, enF telling me to apologize so she would stop complaining about her bad daughter and he could have his peace back.

My dad is calling weekly to complain about how she is treating him the same way that she treated me before I came OOTF.  I can't fix it.   
Have you thought of establishing a boundary with regard to him complaining about your M to you? I was in the same situation and it kept me entangled in my parents dysfunctional marriage. I was still hearing about the abuse and it sometimes triggered me and just listening to it often left me feel exhausted. At some point I finally decided to tell F that if he has problems in his marriage to either go for couples counseling, talk to a counselor on his own, or talk to a priest to get it of his chest, but I would no longer be his psychological garbage dump and personal counselor. I felt it was not my role as my parents child to fill any of those roles, even if they both thought otherwise (my M used to complain about my F). It was for me part of the parentification/emotional incest they had involved me in since I was young, and I decided to step out of this dysfunctional dynamic.

When B and I got the ST from M, we came to see it as a holiday, a time of quiet, and we told F it was a problem between her and us, so he should try to stay out of it.

Maybe here is a strategy for next year, call on the day before and say you'll be out the next day, so you wanted to wish them a Happy Easter (or whatever holiday it is) now. Then your holiday will hopefully not be spoiled. It is something I have done for my birthdays for years, as my FOO managed to ruin them quite regularly.
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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Reda

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Sorry you had to deal with this, and short of her telling you what will be a good time to reach her on a holiday beforehand, there is no way of knowing it. Maybe this is a passive aggressive way of punishing you for not spending the holiday with her, which would make it even sadder.

This would be my MIL's reasoning - she's angry because she was alone on a holiday.  And even though my MIL has 3 children, the only one that would get the silent treatment would be my husband, and he would KNOW that next Easter he damn well better make sure to organize a family gathering with his siblings and his mother reining at the center of it.

I don't believe there was a "good time" for you to call your mother, so don't feel guilty about it or try and decipher what "the right time" would have been.  You tried to be considerate and call your parents to wish them a happy holiday; they chose to use that gesture as an opportunity to manipulate you and make you feel guilty.  If you fall for it, you are just reinforcing for your PD mom that it's a tactic that works on you.  Stop the cycle. (((hugs)))
« Last Edit: March 28, 2016, 09:48:59 AM by Reda »
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SunnyandBright

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Why can't she call you?   I think she was lucky she got a phone call at all --- maybe next year she shouldn't get one.   She's too busy anyway.   

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Sidney37

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Have you thought of establishing a boundary with regard to him complaining about your M to you? I was in the same situation and it kept me entangled in my parents dysfunctional marriage. I was still hearing about the abuse and it sometimes triggered me and just listening to it often left me feel exhausted. At some point I finally decided to tell F that if he has problems in his marriage to either go for couples counseling, talk to a counselor on his own, or talk to a priest to get it of his chest, but I would no longer be his psychological garbage dump and personal counselor. I felt it was not my role as my parents child to fill any of those roles, even if they both thought otherwise (my M used to complain about my F). It was for me part of the parentification/emotional incest they had involved me in since I was young, and I decided to step out of this dysfunctional dynamic.

Thanks!  Not a bad idea.  His complaining about her to me is fairly new.  It just started a month ago or so. He has always made the "you need to call your mother and apologize" calls.  I've given him some advice about medium chill and to ignore her, but he insists that it won't work when he has to live with her.   My plan at this point is to keep reminding him that she is never going to change and he should use MC or talk to someone about it.  That someone  can't be me.

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bopper

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You are having a tug of war with your mom about this issue...drop the rope.

In a normal relationship, one or the other person would call, and have a nice chat. There would be no talk of you never call, or you called at the wrong time, or why did I have to call YOU?

Enjoy the silence...if the topic comes up, then you say "If I call, but it is not at the "right time", then it is not about chatting, it is about control.  I am not doing that."
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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NotHelplessNow

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Why can't she call you?   I think she was lucky she got a phone call at all --- maybe next year she shouldn't get one.   She's too busy anyway.   

 :yeahthat:

A few years ago my father called me up on my mother's birthday to yell at me because I hadn't called her yet.  I was literally just walking in the door from work.  I had also taken her out to lunch the weekend before but I guess that didn't count because it wasn't on the actual day of her birth.  Now she gets no calls because I'm NC!

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Reda

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In a normal relationship, one or the other person would call, and have a nice chat. There would be no talk of you never call, or you called at the wrong time, or why did I have to call YOU?

Yep.  DH absolutely HAD to make time to call nMIL ... left the event we were at early so he could make the call and stay in her good graces.  Actually said twice during the day "Don't let me forget to call my mom tonight."

I didn't call my non-PD-mom until about noon today (Monday).  We had a nice chat, and neither one of us brought up the fact that we didn't talk on Easter sunday.

Enjoy the silence...if the topic comes up, then you say "If I call, but it is not at the "right time", then it is not about chatting, it is about control.  I am not doing that."

Oh, that's good.
Don't feed the Narcissist

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daughter

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Yes, I've that mother who wants to "be called", plus "get a card", and often also "expects a gift".  We're talking about not only Easter, but Valentine's Day (she wants the call/card/candy, didn't send them to her daughters, or even her young grandchildren), and HER anniversary (her two daughters were expected to call/card/flowers/gift AND host restaurant dinner for parents - NBM and enabler NF, every year, even while she ignored my anniversary, year after year after year).  So yes, I've got "that mother" too.

I'm now blissfully NC for nearly 4 years, but chosen to do so very belatedly, in my mid-50s, exhausted by NBM's and enabler-enforcer NF's "needs", expectations, and demands.  But I did "daughter-duty", as their "dutiful daughter", albeit the SG disfavored daughter, for years, decades to be sure.  What I learned to do, pragmatically-speaking, was anticipate the "need-expectation-demand", and just get it "over with".  So I'd call at 9 am on the appointed day, if I wasn't going to see NBM by noon anyways, and I'd always be sure to bring a gift, even if I found the "gushy-expensive greeting card" need to often be an emotional burden (because, let's face it, "best mom ever" cards were a lie for me).

And yes, NF reliably called to "remind" me of those "duty call" expectations, along with "get your mother flowers", as if I was somehow NBM's surrogate spouse, obligated to "court her" with gifts, flowers, cards, et al.