- 5 years ago
- Wedding: October 2013
I hope there’s someone here who can help me out. Sorry in advance if this is long/a bit convoluted.
My mother does not handle conflict, anger, or any feelings she finds “negative” very well. My entire life I’ve dealt with her being awkwardly cold or flat-out silent (aka “the silent treatment”) when mad – at me, or anyone else. It was very difficult to deal with, and was a big part in the development of my anxiety problems. It has taken me a long time to work my way out from under it – and to be honest, I wouldn’t say I’m all the way there.
My husband and I are expecting our first baby this fall, and she has been getting herself wound up over things needlessly. (She has a really really strong need to be in control of things all the time. Otherwise she gets very uncomfortable or accuses people of being “secretive” and keeping her out of things.) My husband and I are more than capable of making the decisions we need to regarding our baby (what to buy, what to register for, what to borrow, when to organize, etc) and after having her push and overstep a few times, we’ve just taken a step back. We’re not locking her out or anything, but simply not wanting to discuss too much with her because it just seems to create more tension. Things haven’t been too bad, but not great either.
I had some complications earlier in my pregnancy, and so have just refused to get stressed out or deal with anyone else’s issues. My health and my baby’s health needs to come first, and I’ve found it surprisingly easy to just mentally put up a wall and block out her anxiety and attempts at overcontrolling. It’s refreshing, actually. However, she is agitated with both my husband and I.
She is away now, and while she usually checks in with a text or email every couple of days, she seems to be giving me/us the silent treatment – long distance! I’m actually not angry or stressed about it, but just more “done.” I can’t/won’t deal with this any more, and I need to spell it out for her. However, as I mentioned, she does not handle conflict or confrontation well, and so I hate having to have this type of conversation. It won’t go well. As a wife and soon-to-be mother, my priorities have changed, and I’m just not willing to put up with this emotional blackmail anymore. It’s really unhealthy, and I don’t want my child growing up dealing with it the way that I did. (*I should note that we live quite close to my parents, which is great when our relationship is great, and stifling when things are not so great.*)
I know the responses here will be a lot of “Be honest and stand up for yourself,” which I’ve already told myself. What I’d love is to hear from people who have actually been in a similar situation. How have you dealt with your PA parent? I’m not looking to terminate our relationship or anything drastic. I just want my family to have breathing room and for her to communicate in a way that is beneficial instead of harmful.