Monday, November 12, 2007

Not so Paralyzed

Morning wasn't quite right-I couldn't get the ATM to give me any cash, but I drove out to the stable, introduced myself to the owner, and made an appointment for next week. Then I looked around to see what the world looks like at 9 am on a Monday, something I hadn't seen for awhile. Out in the country, surrounded by horses and their intoxicating smell (I love the smell of horse) it wasn't so bad, so I decided that that would be how I started every week from now on for awhile.

Walked around Hancocks, a fabric store, and got some fleece to make a robe. When the fleece wasn't met with open arms, I just said "no worries, I'll take it home and make it myself or get someone else to do it." and Mom didn't quite know how to react. I really had no expectations, I thought she might like to be asked to do something since she has indicated she feels left out, but if she doesn't want to sew it, that's OK too. What was interesting was I truly didn't care either way, and that's what got her riled.

There is no winning this game. If I buy a robe, I've paid too much. The fleece was half price but was still too expensive because it came from Hancocks. It was camo colors with horses on it and the material was too thick....Uh, wait. Whose robe is it?

Apparently, the only way to win approval is to walk around buck naked until Mom finds a robe at the thrift store for 1.49 and gives it to me. I get it, I'm not supposed to go buy my own clothing. Or food (organic food is too expensive and uneccessary). Or roses (I have too many already).

Strangely, having finally understood the rules of this game, I no longer felt the need to play. I just disengaged. It's an asbsurd game. No one would be expected to play it, and I'm not going to. The price of complete approval is just too high.

Now, because I refuse to play, Mom just called to ask about the length of the robe and what I thought would work best. (Not down to the ground but covering my ass works fine for me).

The take away is not how to manipulate your mother, it's the power that comes from not fighting. And the really kick as thing to realize is that only one person has to agree with themselves not to do it. Not a bad lesson for a Monday.


Forever Young said...

another lesson for monday, when you fight, only you get hurt, only you lose!

Debra Kay said...

True, very true. Why do we always want to be "right", especially about those things that aren't really right/wrong?

The cycle is-Mom is critical, I defend...yadda yadda. But really, at this point, why would I expect anything else and why should I immediately jump on the defense when I expect the criticism? The answer (for me) is not to stay away, but to not get defensive. And when that gets too hard, to leave (I CAN leave-just go down to my house).

I rarely do anything without an escape hatch built in.

Michele said...

I haven't had a chance to look at these links but a coworker and I discovered we have similar MIL problems this morning and she recommended these sites to learn more about dealing with difficult peeps:

Debra Kay said...

Thanks-they were very interesting-I love the idea of the "Drama Triangle". It reminds me of the old movie "war games"...the only way to win is not to play....