As I lay in bed praying asking God to help me to let go of the need to control how my mom deals with life I found myself thinking about where it started. Wanting to control how she views life, how she heals, how she reacts to life and the challenges that face her. Wanting to control how and when she forgives and lets go of her anger, and all other things that in my view are poisoning her life; is all part of trying to “fix” her…a “job” that has been mine since I was little.
Leah, if you say this or do this for your mom you could cheer her up and help snap her out of her depression. When I would tell other family members about my mom’s depression and about her being suicidal, instead of telling me to not worry that they would deal with it; I was told what to do to try to snap her out of it and make her happy again. This by the way NEVER worked. I was left with the impression that I could “fix” her, and not only could I “fix” her but that it was my job to do so. A “job” for which no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it right. Here I am all these years later, in my early 30’s, and I still can’t get it right.
Leah, if I wasn’t worried about what would happen to you I would run away, or sometimes it was…I would kill myself. I also was her confidant…personal councilor. Marriage problems, problems with her family, problems at work…I got to hear it all. There were many times when she was crying hysterically and would want to drive off. How was I supposed to react, knowing she was suicidal and talked about wishing she could drive off a bridge; how she wanted to run away so bad. I would hide her car keys, and even at times stood in front of her car to keep her from driving off.
After I told my mom what Jon had done, my Grandparents would call me to talk my mom down. They would say that I was the only person she would listen to. I could hear her in the background crying and saying she couldn’t talk to me…that she couldn’t face me. They would have to coax her onto the phone with me. This was codependency working its charm. My mom’s family is very codependent, and this is where it all started. Being taught that I was responsible for another’s wellbeing and happiness gave me the sense that I could control it somehow. So, here I am…still trying to control the uncontrollable. I will say I have come a long way from where I was. I’m starting to understand I need to make a choice to not let it bother me whether I understand why I let what she does bother me so much or not.
Every time I allow her to upset me I am giving her power over me, and only I can change it. I have to make a choice…to get upset or not…to give her power over my emotions or not. She knows how to push my buttons, and sometimes I think she pushes them on purpose. She has so much rage and anger not only at Jon, but at herself for not protecting me. I feel at times she pushes my buttons as a way to punish herself…a way to keep playing the victim role. She feels so strongly about her views on how she thinks I view her or feel about her that at times it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. She accuses me of thinking of her as less than human, and views all my actions through her skewed perspective. Even though I have been and continue to get angry with her, I always go out of my way to be as kind to her as I can at any given moment. My anger at times gets the best of me; so, I am by no means perfect at it, but I try my best. I do not think of her as less than human. I do, however, see her as a very toxic person in my life. She likes to talk to me about how she is doing in therapy in an effort to try to show me she is healing, but when she does something and I draw boundary lines; she goes on the attack towards me accusing me of not giving her any breaks…she puts on the victim role. By refusing to move on and to let go…to heal, she has become her own victim. She victimizes herself with her won toxic thoughts and behaviors.
In Joel Osteen’s book, Every Day A Friday, he says we should never pray and ask God to change others without first praying and asking God to change us first. So, I will ask God to help me; to change me; to show me my fears, and to help me conquer them. I know in my past blogs I have said, whenever we can’t let go of something or face something there is a fear there holding us back. That’s what I have to ask myself, and what I have to face. So, I ask myself, what is my fear? My fear is…