Battle

“When called into battle, you don’t rise to the occasion. You default to the level of your training.”

Well, my friends – my level of training is woefully deficient.  Here’s what’s been happening, as I round the corner on 11 months of sobriety. First, and most importantly, my life absofuckinglutely rocks.  I’m crazy about my husband, kids, grandchildren, job, co-workers, friends, and most of my family.  I’ve got this self-care thing down pat.  I work out, eat right, make sure I have plenty of “me” time, and have pared way back on things I was doing that didn’t make my soul sing.

But there’s ONE thing that’s bubbled up to the surface of my mind, and it’s floating along like trash on the surface of a pristine lake: my relationship with my mother. It is difficult.  Has always been difficult.  For me – not so much for her. She thinks everything is peachy. Because I keep my mouth shut.

Listen, I don’t mean to offend, but – her belief systems, world view, and politics are diametrically opposed to mine. Which is fine.  I have a couple of friends who hold the same opinions as she does and we’re civil.  We respect each other’s right to be wrong and move on. Not an issue. Not the same with my mother. If you don’t agree with her, she plays the morality card. Or the “next life” card.  She has been known to take something I’ve said, gnaw on it for six months, sharpen the edges, and throw it back in my face when I least expect it. I don’t feel safe with her.  I’ve learned not to share anything of substance with her. So I bite my tongue and seethe and passive-aggressively avoid her for seven weeks at a stretch.

And goddamn it, as a 55-year-old grandmother, I have earned the right to speak my mind when she goes off on a tirade about global warming or how the Democrats were against the Civil Rights Act or whatever.

I just don’t. Know. How.

When I was growing up, I was a feisty, mouthy, spirited little kid. And I learned, in very short order, that those qualities were not valued in my family.  Any sign of rebellion was quite literally squashed – with the back of a hand, a hair brush, wooden spoon, fly swatter, or belt. I never learned conflict resolution skills because she doesn’t fight fair.

So I find myself seeking counseling to put some tools in my sad, empty little toolbox. I want to learn how to stand my ground and respect myself without diminishing her.  Because to me, silence is compliance.

I had my first appointment yesterday.  I went back to an agency that my husband and I went to years ago, for codependency, when our daughters were in active addiction.  And I don’t know if I’ve made the right decision about where to seek help, but I’m going to reserve judgement until the initial assessment is over.

But I didn’t appreciate having to blow a breathalyzer and having to pee in a cup with a counselor standing next to me in the bathroom. Ew.

The irony being that I’m there BECAUSE I’m solid in my sobriety – and that, from what I’ve learned, it’s pretty common for other issues to crop up once you’re not thinking about not drinking all the time.

So, friends, I’ll keep you posted.  If this isn’t the right place for me, I’ll keep looking for help.  Because she’s 84 and life’s too short to waste.  I know she’ll never change; I’m the one who has to. I just need some expert advice.

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12 thoughts on “Battle

  1. I almost wrote a post about my own mother.
    I’ve been working on this at therapy for a while. She is narcissistic. And I grew up codependent, fearful, anxious, forever trying to please and always falling short.
    It is not pretty. And it is way worse than what I wrote here.

    Therapy is really helping. This is about finally regaining my belief that I am worthy. That my decisions are mine to make. That taking pride in my achievements is ok. More than ok. Necessary.

    Follow through with your therapist. It’s been so helpful for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry for the hairbrushes, backhand slaps, wooden spoons….they were so wrong. Go get that feisty little girl out of the corner she was sent to you years ago, she’s waiting. I am at the same age as you, and I, too, realize how many times I’ve backed down. Sister, what are we waiting for? For someone to come around and say, “Okay, now it’s your turn to have your say.” Ain’t gonna happen until we stand up for ourselves.

    As for the counselor, unless you feel peeing in a cup will help you stay the course, lose him or her. At our age we don’t need any more humiliation than our mounting years are going to hand us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen, sister! If I can’t get what I perceive I need (which is short-term, here’s how to stand up for yourself – kind of advice) I will vote with my checkbook and insurance card and move on. We are consumers, first and foremost. Right?

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  3. I’m back and still struggling to stop drinking but had to respond to send you support. I also have a difficult relationship with my mother and I’m constantly disappointed by how self-centered she is and her lack of interest in my life or my family’s. She is fine going months and years without seeing me or my 2 sons because she chooses not to travel to visit and expects us to always come to her (she lives in the midwest and we’re in NJ, I have limited vacation time and travel for a family of 4 is pricey). It saddens me greatly. The way that I’ve learned to cope and believe me, I don’t do it very well most of the time, is to try to accept her for who she is. I cannot change her and make her show her love for me the way I’d like. I can try to change the way I react though. I am planning on scheduling an appointment with a therapist next week to help with all my issues, especially my problem with alcohol and geez, I hope I don’t have to pee in a cup! Thank you for your inspiration and I hope you get support to work through the issues with your mother. You have so many other positive things in your life and you should be very proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I encourage you in your intention to take your checkbook and insurance card and move on. After nearly a year of sobriety, the last thing you need is the condescending insult of drug testing. You are not there to get/stay clean. You are there for therapeutic help with a specific area of concern in your otherwise emotionally stable and mentally healthy sober life!
    Moms are enigmas. I think all daughters struggle with that relationship. My mom died in 2009. I still miss her sorely. We had our issues; I loved her anyway. Sending support and hugs as you tackle the obstacles that are standing in the way of your having a healthy relationship with your less than perfect mom. You are right; she will not change. Yay for you for wanting to move forward anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you…. The counselor seemed as uncomfortable with the protocol as I was. It seems that, since I’m short of one year sober, I’m not technically “in remission” yet. I have one or two more visits before I decide if this is the place for me. She did, in fact, admit that it very well might not be. I should know in very short order!

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  6. Wow, I thought you read my mind and wrote my thoughts down, I also have issues with my mother. I am 55, a wife, mother and grandmother as well. Get along great with all of my family except my mom. She is 85 years old. Too many details to write about, but it makes me feel a little better that I am not alone!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Keep your chin up girl, you have fought the drinking demons for over 300 days, your momma ain’t going to bring you down! Love you my friend, Rah.

    Liked by 1 person

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