Can’t Function

I’m sitting on the bathroom floor still hysterical, which my husband blames my mom for. My husband doesn’t want to respond to her email in the way that’s easiest for me because that’s inauthentic to his own experience and fuck im so done being in the middle.

But he won’t go to dinner unless I go and she is trying to extend an olive branch and bury the hatchet (is she though?) but then he’s all like I will have dinner but only on my terms and I need to hash this out… and I’m like can’t you see how fragile she is and how awful things are for her and how this is her trying? And he’s like – you always take her side.

And he’s like fine I’ll go to dinner but I’m not hugging her, I don’t like her. 

And then she’s like “I just want my family to be whole again. I’m not talking to your husbamd and he’s not talking to me and you aren’t talking to your brother and who knows whats up with your aunt”

But notice in there theres nothing about my brother doing anything wrong- it’s me not talking to my brother. Also note the guilt trip – and I shouldn’t have picked up the phone (it broke all of my rules – past 6pm, Sunday, I was in the middle of something) but God forbid I reach for connection with my mother ever. 

So now I’ve spent 3 hours crying and my husband is like “that bitch ruined our sunday” um hello that’s my MOM.  

But on the flip side she called apparently because she wanted to “warn me of any repercussions.” Um what? Are you insinuating my husband is going to come after me? 

And now he’s like “do we tell her that you’ve been crying for hours? Do we tell her what this does to you? Do we ever share your experience with her?”

No, we don’t! That isn’t safe. My safety or relationship and ties with her feels threatened when he says that. Also, where would we start. But he is done playing along, and I don’t know what to do. I’m sitting here sobbing on the bathroom floor, after sobbing into my husband, sitting in the dark, my husband brought me water but he’s frustrated. 

And then is this all my fault? Cause I never let him speak his mind to her before? Cause I censored him from day one? He’s told me he’s done letting them trample all over me, but isn’t that my decision? I can’t believe this is still a thing. 

I love my Mom. I want her in my life. But I love my husband too. And I’m in the middle and I don’t know how not to be in the middle. Is she reaching out an olive branch or is she doing what she knows how to do best? Having me manipulate him to meet with her so she can play the victim.

It’s all so confusing, it’s all so unsafe. I can’t function. 

I honestly don’t have any next steps. I don’t know what to do. This has completely derailed me (and it’s day 3, I can’t ask for A now. I can’t. That’s ridiculous, I wouldn’t have even had a session yet). 

I’d take an Ativan but I had two mini bottles of wine. So that doesn’t bode well.

I honestly don’t know what to do. 

Here I am in the middle of trying to establish what is normal for just me and my mom and I’ve been thrown into this triangle with a very straight shooting husband who is apparently suddenly determined he won’t be censored anymore and is determined to defend me and share his feelings and I thought things were finally okay.

I thought they were finally okay.

I have thought it was okay many times before. I’ve always been wrong. 

WTF is my Mom doing calling me at 9:30p to ask me about an email SHE HAS ALREADY SENT and tell me she ‘thinks it’s nice but thought the last one was too’ and hasn’t slept for six months and it’s taken her all this time to figure out how to respond and to get the courage to reach out DOES SHE NOT REMEMBER RESPONDING? And she’s crying and then I can’t decide if I’m supposed to tell my husband or not that this email is just lurking in his inbox AND yes while what she said can be interpreted as nice it also started with “I know we haven’t talked for a variety of reasons” – One. ONE reason, Mom. And then “but I think we can agree with both care about PD”. And then “I’d like to have dinner and just put this behind us and move on” – which now what, if we don’t want to sweep this under the rug we are the bad guys? 

And WHY is this on me? 

Fuck. I don’t know what to do. 

My husband is refusing to just go along with it and play nice and pretend everything is warm and fuzzy and I’m super conflict averse but so deeply entrenched in my Mom’s emotions that I don’t know what is right. 

I know I don’t want to have dinner the three of us. I know that I hate A is on vacation. And I know I’ve basically shut down. I’m at the level of “ok, brush teeth, that’s next. Ok good, get up, ok good, in bed.” Step by fucking step. 

I don’t think I’m going to be able to get up and go to work tomorrow.


9 thoughts on “Can’t Function

  1. I agree with DV. Okay, I have a few thoughts in random order.
    1) you can reach out to A. She didn’t set a rule about how long, and you’re not reaching out just because – this is a huge thing and I believe she would want to be there for you through it.
    2) this isn’t your problem to fix. I know it feels like it is, from the way you were treated growing up (as the one in the middle fixing things), but it’s not yours to fix.
    3) you might not like to hear this one… but your husband does have a right to respond to your mom. It might not be best for him to do it in “emotion mind,” and he should listen to your input, but he does have that right to his own opinion and his own words as long as they are said respectfully. And, when he says those words – whatever they are – that’s not on you, even if your mom would turn it around to be.
    4) this is all very complicated, but I see your husband wanting to protect you and likely feeling like he’s caught in the middle as well. Maybe you could work together to come up with a compromise response?
    5) that all said, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING (not shouting – empowering tone!) It’s your right to take a big step back and get some fresh air if you need to. It might feel like you have to answer your mom right away. You don’t. She’ll act like she can’t handle it, but she can. Like DV said.
    If any of that doesn’t resonate just ignore it, but those are my thoughts. Holding you in my heart today and every day ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I strongly suggest that you email A. She told you that you could, and I feel this is the type of situation where you absolutely MUST email her. Please understand that this is my opinion only, and I’m in no way trying to make this decision for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hoping it’s a bit better for you today PD.

    Just wanted to add to the comments that I do admire your husband. My own ex simply complied with my family’s dysfunction, playing his allotted part basically at their direction. Yours is wanting to stand up and be healthy, just maybe at a faster pace than you are ready for. I think you’ve got a good one.

    I think this is an appropriate time to contact A actually. You’re in a crisis, and she offered contact. If you think it’d help, you could accept her offer. That’s what therapists are for after all.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A lot of emotions there. This is terrible timing, with A on vacation. Knowing that you don’t want to go to a dinner with them, that’s setting a boundary. And that’s good. Just keep doing the next thing; this won’t feel this way forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh PD, you can ask for A now. I don’t think it’s about how long she’s been gone, but rather about a BIG thing that has come up. If you want A, then reach out to her. It’s okay. Remember, she welcomes you reaching.

    This whole situation is hard. I’m no stranger to these mom issues. My own Mom wants perfect, and that is what she got for years. The rules were always don’t bring up feelings, don’t talk about incidents that would make the family look less than perfect, don’t go under the surface, ext, ext. I played along, and I married a man who easily played along with all of that because of his own mom issues.

    His mom….well, she is narcissistic (my therapist, my sister in laws therapist and our own research suggest narcissistic personality disorder but there is no official diagnosis) and manipulative and always the victim. My own mother is always the victim, as well, although both moms go about it in different ways.

    Either way, both moms are/were moms who weren’t prepared to be “good enough mothers”, they were mothers who maybe wanted or needed something from their children, when it should be the other way around.

    It’s easy when both people follow the rules of their spouses family of origin. It’s easy when no one is challenging mom. Things got complicated when I became more authentic, because with hubby’s mother, being yourself means directly challenging her (because everything is about her from how you wear your hair to what food you put on your plate and she is a confrontational person and so will shove her way into your space and make whatever you’ve done about you wronging her). With my mom, the disapproval hurts me more, but it’s done quietly and without much fanfare. There is no confrontation.

    This comment is turning out to be longer than I meant. Anyway, it’s so hard to find a compromise between all 3 of you (you, hubby, mom). I’ve lived that struggle many times. I think one of the things that has been most helpful to me was when a friend said to me that my mother (and his) aren’t *in* this marriage. The moms didn’t stand up with our pastor and make vows to love and cherish, for better or for worse. They aren’t part of this Union, they are on the outside. I don’t know why, but that helped clear things up for me. Maybe the words came at the right time in my life (when I was able to be more me around all people) but for whatever reason I was able to hear them at that moment.

    It always hurts when mean things are said about your mom. Hubby and I had to agree we would do our best to limit emotional name calling, but that speaking clinically was okay (so, I can say his mom is acting very NPD and playing the role of the victim, so I would like to handle her behavior in XYZ way, what does hubby want to do, can he see the behavior? Or hubby can say that my mother’s OCD and need for perfection is seeming to make me stress over our upcoming visit because I feel less than perfect, how can he help?) Those are just examples of things we have yelled and fought about in the past and our getting better at talking out.

    It’s rough. Please know you don’t owe anyone anything. You don’t need to fix this, or make it better for either of them. Both you hubby and you mom are grown ups. Right now, with emotions running high and A being gone, you just need to take care of you. This is not your fault. You didn’t cause any of this. I’m thinking about you and sending positive, supportive vibes your way. Hang in there. And reach out to A of you need to. It’s okay to do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh this is horrible. Just horrible. I sincerely feel for you. I often feel the same kind of caught between a rock and a hard place feeling that you are experiencing now. My mother (is awful) and she and my boyfriend “secretly” hate each other. For entirely different reasons. She hates him because before he came along I was enmeshed with her and she got to control me and he hates her because (and it sounds similar to your hub) she leaves me shaken up, crying and feeling shit about myself. She does something to me and he HATES it. He hates that I am not myself around her.

    I wonder if perhaps letting them hash it out together on their own (i.e. without you) so that you don’t have to feel protective of either one of them? I mean, they are both grown ups and responsible for their own behaviours and feeling’s aren’t’ they?

    It’s such a horrible place to be in when you don’t know if your mother is genuinely trying to offer an olive branch or if it’s manipulation to make her look like the good guy, and your hub like the bad guy if he refuses. This is so something my mother would do, too… and just like you, when my boyfriend says something like “that evil bitch” I flinch and think “ouch, that’s my mother” even though in actual fact my mother is evil (not saying your’s is!!).

    I feel for you. I know it feels impossible but see if you can find a way to let them both carry this for themselves. You aren’t anyone’s scapegoat, it isn’t fair that you should be left feeling like this. I am sorry that you are. x

    Liked by 2 people

  7. None of this is your fault. None of this is on you, personally, to fix. You don’t need to make ANY decisions right now. Please look after yourself and get through A’s break with whatever help your husband and friends can give you. Everything else can wait. Including your mother. You cannot harm her just by making her wait. Believe that. Thinking of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. oh pd this is so awful for you being caught in the middle like this. i dont know what to tell you because everything seems wrong. i hope you are ok i am thinking of you worried about you. stay safe, you are in my thoughts. xo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my love that totally sucks, just keep doing what you are doing. My husband and my mum fell out at Christmas. It was a long time coming. I have felt in the middle and actually it’s caused me to push them both away. It’s their stuff to sort out. In some ways your family sound a bit like mine, brush it under the carpet and forget it’s happening. The trouble is it will never go away, it’s like a huge crack in the wall, you can paper over it, but one day it will be back. I’ve had to face it because I don’t want this for my children. Be brave, be strong, be kind to yourself. Your husband is protecting you is how it sounds. Sitting with you and sending a hug if you want or need it xx


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