A dicey situation.

dicey_situation_by_johnnycorduroy
“Dicey Situation” by Johnny Corduroy, Deviantart

I always hesitate before posting anything about my N mother, because I know she reads this blog. But then I think about two things: 1. what can she do? and 2. no one ever asked her to read this blog. It’s mine. If you don’t want to get burned, keep your hands off the stove. So here goes.

Yesterday when I talked to my mother about my dad, she said she wants to come visit me in the fall. She cannot afford a hotel room, and I can’t afford to put her up in one. She pretty much invited herself, saying, “Well, I will have to stay at your place.” Immediately I felt my self-protective shackles kick in: Danger! Danger! Boundary violation!

In most families, letting your mom stay with you fore a few days wouldn’t be a problem. But my family isn’t most families.  My mother is very judgmental of me and my lifestyle, which, although I’m satisfied with it, is less than glamorous and I know she would not/does not approve of the way I live (which really isn’t my fault anyway because I don’t have the financial resources to live better).  Even if she says nothing about my mismatched furniture, the sagging, stained couch, the buggy old-fashioned kitchen with its tiny 1970s electric stove, an old summer camp steamer trunk used as a coffee table, the box TV in the living room, the ancient windows that don’t open, and the black mold on one side of the house (which my landlord has yet to do something about), I know she will go back to her extended family and tongues will wag. I know she has devalued me to the rest of the family and puts me down, disapproving of the way I live. She cloaks these criticisms with “concern,” saying things like, “I just don’t know why Lauren always makes such bad choices,” or “it’s so sad the way she lives but she made her own bed.”  Or she talks about how mentally unstable or immature I am. Even though my mother is far from wealthy and even borders on as poor as I am, she has always put on airs of being of a higher social status than she actually is, and to be fair, she does a good job of it. Even if I was of a social class she approved of, our tastes and interests are vastly different. I’m far too “bohemian” for her liking and I’m pretty sure I still would be even if I was rich.

I also know she wouldn’t approve of my housemate, and they would get in each other’s way. The idea of the three of us having to share a roof, even for a few days, gives me the willies.   I wouldn’t be able to tolerate feeling like I have to apologize for the things I do while she is here.   If I tell her no, she can’t come, I know she will go back to the extended family and tell them I’m “hiding something.” She seems to think I still have my ex living with me and am saying nothing about it. This is of course ridiculous, but I know it’s what she’ll tell everyone. She can’t understand why I wouldn’t be thrilled to put her up on my couch for several days and I don’t have the courage to be honest with her. The fact she reads this blog and knows I’ve pegged her as a narcissist (even though I don’t think she is malignant, she is a textbook example of a woman with intractable NPD) doesn’t seem to faze her in the slightest. Being the narcissist she is, she simply is incapable of understanding why I wouldn’t be jumping for joy for the “opportunity” of putting her up on my couch for a few days.

I had no time to prepare for this, so I said weakly, “well, you will have to sleep on the couch then, because my roommate has the other room.” She responded with, “oh, you have a roommate?” As if this is some life choice of mine and isn’t a matter of financial necessity.  It’s also interesting to me that I have never been invited to see her where she lives.  The one time I suggested going to visit her there, she told me my half sister didn’t want me there (they share a townhouse).   I think she was lying, because my half sister barely knows me.  I haven’t seen her since 1986.   I think it’s actually my mother who doesn’t want me to come there, because I would “embarrass” her in front of the family, so she put words in my sister’s mouth.    Even if my sister doesn’t want me there, it was probably my mother who turned her against me.

I’m in a dicey situation, and I’m praying she changes her mind about coming. Just in case she isn’t, I guess I’ll have to start saving enough money between now and then to put her up in a local motel, which I should be able to do given the time frame. Then all I need to do is think of some reason why she can’t stay at my house (repairs? haven’t cleaned it?) She would like a motel better anyway with its pool, sterile rooms, flat screen TV, and a real bed. The fall is still a few months away but it will be hard for me to save the money because I’m trying to save enough money to go see my son in Florida in September. I think she might know this too, but she doesn’t care.

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About luckyotter

Recovering from BPD and C-PTSD due to narcissistic abuse from childhood. Married to a sociopath for 20 years. Proud INFJ, Enneagram type 4w5. Animal lover, music lover, cat mom, unapologetic geek, fan of the absurd, progressive Catholic, mom to 2, mental illness stigma activist, anti-Trumper. #RESISTANCE
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24 Responses to A dicey situation.

  1. Can you shorten her visit any? Even by a day, whether she stays in the motel room or with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Im sorry it is so uncomfortable.I can relate.You shouldn’t feel obliged to put her up or pay for a hotel, just because she makes you feel like you have to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      I know I shouldn’t, but it’s my programming.

      Like

      • I completely understand..it is extremely difficult, especially with a narcissistic parent, to say no or to stand up to them..Standing up to both my narc parents was incredibly hard.
        My Dad and I no longer speak and my mother just knows not to expect too much. I hope you get through it ok. x

        Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          It makes no rational sense at all, why is it SO hard to stand up to an N parent? Even if nothing will happen, you just can’t do it. It’s like you can’t turn off the past. Thank you XO

          Like

  3. Lisa Mary says:

    Luckyotter I enjoy reading your blog because you are so candid and express yourself so well. It seems like you may be having a lot of difficulty being direct with your Mom so maybe it will turn out to be a blessing if she actually reads this posts and learns how you truly feel. I feel happy for you that you feel empowered enough to share so openly knowing she could be reading. Because often we children of N parents have learned to edit and censor all of our honest impressions. Perhaps she could pay half the motel bill since she invited herself?

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Thank you for the kind comments, and yes, it is possible she might see this. I don’t think I’m saying anything that terrible anyway, it’s just my honest observations. But yes, I do have trouble expressing myself and being honest in front of her. I always feel like a 5 year old child who did something “bad.” I don’t know how to turn off those tapes yet.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lisa Mary says:

        No…you didn’t say anything terrible at all. You know the best way to overcome those tapes in your head? Just always remember to be very truthful with yourself at all times…. emotionally and intellectually truthful. You don’t necessarily have to express your truth to others…but try tot to allow others to force you into manipulating the truth to accommodate their needs ( which I don’t think you do because you chose to express yourself in your blog despite the possibility of your Mom reading…So that’s great). I just thought I’d remind you to avoid any temptation to rescue people by reinforcing any versions of reality that are not accurate just to avoid conflict or to stroke another persons needs.( N’s have a special way of extracting desired reinforcement and it’s easy to get caught up in the spin) Staying completely truthful really keeps us connected to ourselves and reality and the integrity of that is extremely fortifying. I am always trying to remember this very thing in my own life . I notice that when I fail to fully honor the truth that I tend to think it’s a small thing to bend and manipulate my reality to accommodate others. But It’s not a small thing. It draws us into other distortions. And you’ll find yourself having more difficulty discerning absolute truth and reality especially if you fall into it frequently as an unconscious pattern. I mention this as a reminder because , as children of N’s or Cluster B’s, we were conditioned to reinforce distorted narratives at the cost of our own perceptions of reality. And that single issue causes us so much confusion and consequence as adults. So a commitment to telling the truth at all costs immediately and radically orients us to reality so we don’t wander off into dissociation survival strategies or fantasy. If you feel a sense of difficulty expressing yourself……then you are vulnerable to accommodating the false realities that N’s spin. Thats why I mentioned it 🙂 Sorry for the lengthy message.

        Liked by 1 person

        • luckyotter says:

          Don’t be sorry. What you say is helpful. I’ve never once regretted telling the truth in my blogs. It’s hard sometimes, but the rewards of doing that are definitely worth it.

          Like

  4. Leslie says:

    Well I think your roommate doesn’t want your mother there and even if it’s not true…you could certainly put the words in her mouth. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Yep, i also feel like a child with my narc parents…my husband always observes the way I just ‘give in’ and cant understand how hard it is for me..it really is their programming which makes us terrified..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thumbup says:

    Summer camp steamer trunk sounds nice!
    Mismatched is good, variety is the spice of life i say!
    Tell her you got bedbugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. nowve666 says:

    If your stuck-up mother doesn’t think your place is grand enough, if she has no where else to stay, you are still “grander” than she is. You don’t need an excuse not to put her up. Or tell her your roommate doesn’t want her. LOL! Tit for tat.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lisa Mary says:

    I do understand feeling inhibited from being fully direct with your Mom because we all have so much conditioning in our responses that it’s really very hard to overcome completely. I recently bought a new car and I had bit of anxiety over what I knew would be the inappropriate reaction of my parents to my purchase. You see…they purchased a car several years ago but soon after they became no longer able to drive due to stroke. It’s been sitting in the driveway for a long time because they are elderly and just have not had the ambition to get any of their aids to assist them in selling it. It also has body damage which needs to be repaired. They also have it piled with hoards of personal and household items. The battery has already failed once and it is a hybrid so the battery failing is a big expense and indicative of other problems. I knew they would feel that I was a traitor for buying a car without considering their need for me to purchase their car and take it off their hands. Of course this would require me to buy a vehicle that I don’t want, assume payments on that vehicle, fix the body damage, clean the dirty interior, potentially incur ongoing hybrid battery problems, drive the car to a dealership for maintenance which is not convenient to my home, etc In the past I would have certainly taken it on as my responsibility and just automatically accepted that I was required to do so. I solved all their problems and rescued them from all their responsibilities all my life. It caused severed impairment to my life on so many levels to maintain that dysfunctional codependent relationship. But I am fifty one years old now and have finally learned that I actually do have a right to do whats in my own best interest. But exercising that right is very difficult and it requires me to face some uncomfortable and disapproving circumstances. My parents were indeed pissed at me for buying a car instead of volunteering to solve their problems. But they got over it. Sad thing is that buying that car would have caused me quite a bit of inconvenience and problems. And they never would have registered the amount of sacrifice that would have been involved. It would have been no big deal……just an expected favor that would have been dismissed with a yawn , as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luckyotter says:

      Whoa, buying their car would have been a huge headache! I’m glad you stuck to your guns and bought a new one instead. At least you had a handy list of legitimate excuses though: too many repairs, too inconvenient, etc. I’m not sure how I would have handled that but I know those “tapes” in our heads can be so hard to overwrite since they’ve been there since childhood. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      • Lisa Mary says:

        Thanks luckyotter. It actually took quite a bit of mental and emotional energy to talk myself into exercising what was in my best interest. I knew that it was very possible that they would both never speak to me again for such a betrayal. So I prepared myself for the possibility that my relationship with them would be over and I accepted that it would have been ok if that had happened. But I felt it may be helpful for me to share this with you because we do have to exercise the muscle of establishing and maintaining boundaries. And it does take a lot of energy and awareness and attention and discomfort. It is especially difficult for those of us who are not accustomed to doing it. But it’s necessary to our growth and health to work through the discomfort of establishing what you feel is appropriate for you. But even just having an awareness of your feelings is a good sign. Because many children of N’s have not been able to connect to their true feelings at all. So congratulations on that.

        Liked by 1 person

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