Friday, November 2, 2007

"Boundaries aren't meant to be impermeable!"

Well it's been a while since I've had real privacy at my computer to sit down and collect my thoughts. My mother was visiting. These days that is a trial. This time she brought her new boyfriend with her. He seemed very nice, had a good sense of humor, no obvious tics. While he was here she remained pretty calm cool and collected. He wanted to hear stories about Mom of course and so I told him some anecdotes in the traditional good-natured-ribbing way. In her typical everything-is-a-personal-attack way she took great offense and demanded that I lay off the "terrible characterizations". So I did.

Alas it didn't help much. She started to stew herself up into a fit after he left and by the second night she had cracked to the extent that she went searching through my email and forwarded a dozen emails from Alison to me to herself. It didn't take long for me to figure out what had happened once she opened her email in front of me and confrontation ensued making the remaining 8 days of her visit uniquely awkward.
I was less angry than dh and Alison felt was justified. Why? I guess it was such a clumsy and childish gesture. Even when I asked her to explain herself she was like a child, pouting and retorting, "How did you know?" So was it too crazy for me to get mad or am I simply in the habit of giving her a pass on taking responsibility? I don't know so later in the week when she asked why I'd become such a meanie (okay, she really said "mean person") I told her that I thought she had made a lifelong habit of foisting responsibility for her actions onto other people. She asked for examples, I had a long list, she cut me off before I got through most of it. She cried, she bemoaned, she got angry, she got self-righteous. I felt unusually detached. I felt like since I'd seen and heard all of her antics before I could watch her performance without becoming a player too. That was the best. While I still felt sad to see her writhing around in her mind trying to understand what had become of her care-taking daughter I mostly felt free.