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Author Topic: My Mom Is Nearing a Nervous Breakdown *New Input Please*
Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I may have a good opportunity to tell my mom what I think in a way that will be heard better. My parent's pastor wants to meet with my parents, brother and I to learn more about the situation and how we all feel about it (or something, it's not entirely clear). I suspect he'll want to know what we're doing to help and I think it'll be a good time to say some of the things I'd like to tell my mom. When I first heard about it I dreaded it. I had more than one pastor-type person when I was young tell me I was wrong for feeling certain things about my dad's situation- like it's only okay to be happy for what I have and not okay to wish my dad were whole. I think it's partly why i have such a hard time with my emotions regaurding the situation now. But now I am looking forward to the meeting. I have thicker skin than I used to and it may be a good opportunity.

We had a small party for my dad today and he loved the tribute album I made him. I got over 25 contributions, including old co-workers. He was very choked up. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading what people wrote and hearing my dad's memories of college, work, etc. It was very nice.

Thanks for all the good wishes everyone. The girls were really good on the plane (yeah!) and hopefull they will get adjusted to CA time soon and not wake up at 5 am tomorrow!

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I wish I could send you a minister I know. He was the pastor at the church where my mother worked. Then he left there and became the chaplain at one of the hospitals and was involved with hospice, also. When my mother was dying, he and the hospital staff, along with the hospice staff, helped us to cope with our own feelings. This is not what you meant, but they helped us to understand that it's okay to get angry, to feel ungrateful and resentful at times, and to need a break. So, grit your teeth and say what you need to say. Just remember that you are only human and can only do what you can do - nothing more. Good luck with the family meeting. I hope the pastor knows how to help all of you.

That is wonderful about the party and the book you made for your dad, especially since the book led to a whole afternoon of talking. That memory will be priceless.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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The meeting went well. They wanted to hear our feelings (and validated them!) and mostly wanted to know what all the option were, what my brother and I werre able and willing to do, stuff like that. They also decided to cover the cost of a housekeeper once a month and someone to come twice a month to help my dad get up and ready in the morning so my mom can have some respite. Really, really meaningful to us all. It also sparked a good conversation with my mom tonight, so that was cool.

Starling got really sick Saturday night and Monday I had to take her to urgent care. They sent her to the ER which was probably only because the first doctor didn't have much experience with babies. After several hours and a heplock IV line in her poor, tiny little hand I was told it was, indeed a virus. She's doing better but overdid it today and "got sick" again. Pooor thing! My parent's poor carpet!

There have been some frustrating moments, but I am trying to be understanding. I did ask my mom- at a nuetral, relaxed moment- to use please and thank you when asking me to do things. It didn't go over terribly well but I feel better having spoken up in a mature manner.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Algae
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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{{{{Starla}}}}

I'm glad the meeting went well. I'm sorry Starling is sick.

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Alcohol and calculus don't mix. Don't drink and derive!

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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So, one thing my mom has always done, but it seems to have escalated, is pointing out everything that is worse with my dad. I notice 9/10ths of it already, and having it all pointed out is very difficult.

So Monday night I had to take Starling to the ER ("just a virus," she's fine now) and after my mom got off work she came by. We're sitting on a gurney in the hallway waiting for a final test result and my mom starts in. "Did you notice how Dad isn't asking to have the girls put in his lap any more? Did you notice he isn't reading to them as much? Don't you think he looks much more pale? Did you notice how little strength he has in his left arm?" I kept saying yes and trying to change the subject. Finally I said, "yes, I do notice a lot of these things and it's very hard to see. I'm sorry it's happening. But unless it's a constructive conversation I really don't want to talk about it. It's just too hard."

So she said something about feeling like she was the only one who saw these things, feeling crazy. It's true that if you just spend an hour with him you may not be able to see how bad things haved gotten; but I see it. I see how the other day he said his cup was stuck to his saucer and would i please soak it and make it unstick. I didn't tell him, but all it was was that vacum "force" a cup can make when a bit of liquid has spilled. It was all I could do not to cry about it. My strong Dad reduced to this.

But since I told my mom that I've felt kinda guilty. Was it wrong of me to tell her I don't want to talk about it? We have had some constructive conversations that have been really good. I'm not saying I don't want to talk about it at all. But I just can't handle the constant, "did you notice" stuff. Am I wrong?

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Dear Babby
Deck the Malls


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It sounds like your mom is looking for her fears to be validated and you need to process it more privately for now. Does that sound right? I'm not sure what to do about it other than acknowlege each other's feelings and needs and be supportive of each other the best you can.
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Faith
Happy Holly Days


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Starla,

One thing I've noticed about all your posts of your mum's behaviour is that you give the appearance of willingly being your mum's emotional punchbag. A role you seem to take on out of an awareness of how hard things are for her. (Maybe you feel that if she didn't vent in some way, things would get worse for her?)

But you're her daughter! You don't deserve to have to put up with that sort of treatment. It's not excusable because she's your mother, it makes her behaviour a million times more unforgivable. I see nothing from your posts that your mother appreciates you letting her vent all her anger on you and I wonder what your daughter must think when she's sees her grandmother treating her daughter this way with no comeback.

Bottom line here is that I see that both you and your mum are terribly upset about what is happening to your Dad, but your the only one considering the impact of your words and actions.

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"You watched it. You can't UNWATCH it."

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Starla

You're not wrong to not want to talk about it. On the other hand, it seems as if your mother's concern is that she feels she's seeing things. Is there anyway you can get your brother to validate this--i.e., get him to say he's noticed and perhaps take some of the pressure off you?

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Babby- That's it; I need to process privately and my mom needs someone to talk to.

Faith- Part of the reason I have let my mom vent more than I can handle is because what she says is true, it's not a situation one can fully understand unless one has lived through it. Also because I was raised to be respectful of my parents (which I do think is a good thing) so speaking against her seems so wrong. Although she treats me too much like a peer when it comes to sharing her problems, if I try to speak up for my needs or offer suggestions she doesn't like I'm instantly the child who should not talk back. A tough spot to be in.

I do shut her down almost instantly when she brings things up in front of my girls. A reminder that little ears are listening effectively stops her. The thing at the hospital was in front of the 18 month old. When the four year old is around I will not let my mom talk about probelms.

Seaboe- My brother is less emotionally equipped than I to handle things. He can't really talk about it at all. Yet another reason my mom sites for talking to me. He can barely handle the few constructive conversations we have had to have. Less has always been expected of him, IMO, in every aspect from emotional burdens to housework.


I really am getting better at speaking up for myself, I just wish I wasn't getting flak for it. But I can't control what other people do... Hopefully one day the guilt for standing up for what I need will go away as well. It does feel good to speak up a bit more. I am also learning more about myself. And there are good times with my dad and my mom.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Jocko's Jolly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Starla, is there any way you can get your mom to go for regular counseling (maybe with the pastor who came and talked with all of you)? It really sounds like she needs someone to talk to about her fears and feelings and she doesn't (for whatever reason) have a friend to unload on, so she waits until you're around and you get it full force. If she had someone to talk to and validate her feelings, I think she might be able to deal with you and the girls in more of a mother/grandmother way. We went through this with MIL when FIL had Alzheimer's, but her problem was the opposite -- she didn't tell anyone of us how bad things were until she ended up needing a quintuple bypass from the stress.

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Like every good third-in-a-series it contains a whole load of ewoks, ‘Clubber’ Lang, whey-faced Sophia Coppola, Sean Connery as the Pirate Captain’s estranged dad, a crappy CGI alien, and Richard Pryor on a donkey. -- Gideon Defoe

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Jocko- I suggest it every so often and it gets dismissed. Not enough money/time/too hard to find someone, you get the idea. Talking with the pastors last week does seem to have helped some. They met with her yesterday to hear what she found out while in Oregon and that seemed to be really good for her too.

The whole Oregon trip was good for her. Even though the director of the nursing home waited until she flew up there to tell her flat out "no way" could my dad go there (because of the Hoyer lift that gets him out of bed. Really dumb reason; it's easy to operate and safer than other methods homes often use) she still found a lot of options she felt good about. Right now she's talking like they wouldn't move for a year or more, but it's good to see her with options again.

She always had a plan, when X happens we'll do Y but this last round exhausted her options. Now that they are back she seems to be doing a little better.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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the Virgin Marrya
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Starla, does she journal at all? maybe you could pick her up a pretty notebook and offer it to her as a way of getting the stuff out of her head without it going into your ears?

darnit! I wasn't going to offer anyadvice, I thought [Big Grin] Sounds like you're coping admirably in the circumstances - hang in there - you're doing fine, fine fine-fine! even if it sometimes feels otherwise.

[hugs and strength]

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bthyb
WiFi Christmas


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Hey Starla - you were in the ER taking care of your kid! Your main role at that time was to be her mom, not to be your mom's daughter.

What I'm trying to say is that it was totally appropriate for you to tell your mother that you didn't want to talk about your dad.

And now, hugs. {{{Starla}}}

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If you say you love ice cream, you better be dreaming of an orgy with Ben, Jerry, and one fine-ass chunky monkey.

-- My sister and poet extraordinaire, Joanna Hoffman

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Minor Update: Ever since I said that to my mom, she has stopped the offending behavior!! We have had a few constructive, problem-solving conversations about the situation and those have been good. She has not dumped on me. It's amazing. And wonderful.

I found out she has been going to a wonderful counselor. I've met him; he's awesome. She just still has a lot of stress.

She has also started acting very appreciative of me. I pretty much took over dinner/clean up when she works, am doing light housework, and a few times a week I've tackled a project like cleaning out the fridge. She has told me more than once that she feels relieved and able to relax thanks to my help, how glad she is I'm here, and the other day, out of nowhere, she said I was a good daughter. I got kinda choked up. And when I haven't kept everything up on a few rough kid-wise days she didn't make passive-agressive comments. She just did the dishes or whatever needed to be done.

So this is turning out well. It's still hard, and I miss my home, but I'm glad I'm here. I'm learning a lot about myself too, and handling things a lot better than I thought I would. The old backbone's really growing in well.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Dear Babby
Deck the Malls


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Yay, that's great!
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Jocko's Jolly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I second the Yaying - sounds like she's getting some help and able to get a better persective on things, and you're refusing to let things fall into the same old pattern. Hopefully, things will continue to improve from here on out!

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Like every good third-in-a-series it contains a whole load of ewoks, ‘Clubber’ Lang, whey-faced Sophia Coppola, Sean Connery as the Pirate Captain’s estranged dad, a crappy CGI alien, and Richard Pryor on a donkey. -- Gideon Defoe

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the Virgin Marrya
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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[pops her head in...] Oh, yay thirded [Big Grin]

I'm so glad to hear such a great report!

Keep hainging in there!

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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Well, ever since my wonderful weekend away my mom has been cooler towards me, but whatever. She hasn't missed an opportunity to express her disaproval that I went and implies that I am irresponsible for going in the first place. It pisses me off because it goes back to me feeling like she has never seen what a good person I am- just looking for the faults.

Anyway, now transportation is an issue. I was goling to take a train with my kids next week to visit my cousins for a few days but was concerned that all the gear needed for the kids was going to make train travel a hassle. Since we need to rent a car when Mr S gets here anyway I thought maybe I'd just get it early. So I asked my mom what we were going to do about cars when Mr S got here. She said it was my problem.

Instead of backing down like I would have done, I persued. I thought she'd said she was going to rent us one. What about another option she'd mentioned? She was kinda ticked but I was being so polite there was nothing she could get mad at. I said I'd look into rental prices and we'd talk more. This morning she told me she'd pay half of the car, up to a dollar amount that's nowhere near half what I already told her the car would cost. Fine. I just said thank you (then I went to Priceline and got a kick-butt deal, thankyouverymuch).

Here's what makes me mad: My brother, a graduate student who is supposed to be on his own now, came home for the summer and took over my mom's car. It used to be his b/c she bought it for him while he was an undergrad. He was suposed to pay half but he never did so it was signed over to her when he went away to CT.
He was supposed to get a job before his summer course started, but he didn't mostly due to lack of follow-through on his part. So now she's paying for his gas, spending money and plane tickets for him to get back to CT and go to a friend's wedding. Meanwhile he has sole domain over the car (he is gracious about letting me use it, but it's gone most of the day. And the fact remains that I have to ASK to use it). She takes the other vehicle to work. It can't be left with me b/c the way it's outfitted for my dad there aren't enough legal seats for the girls and I.

Why, when I'm the one here to help, who paid my own way, is helping with groceries, cooking 6 out of 7 nights, doing 9/10ths of the housework plus looking after my own kids with NO HELP AT ALL EVER from them, do I have to figure out for myself transportation? She gives my brother everything and I have to push just to get her to offer a tiny bit of help on something she was supposed to take care of months ago. She was supposed to order another seat for my dad's van so we'd all fit and this wouldn't be a problem. I even offered to make the calls for her but she'd never give me the numbers. They are impossble to find on one's own b/c it's such a specialty service. Because she dragged her feet and never did it, now she makes it out like it's all my problem when I'M HERE HELPING HER IN THE FIRST PLACE!! Because she practically begged me to come!! Because I'm doing favors for everyone else. It really, really pisses me off.

The one weekend I was supposed to get a break turns into a disaster and ammo for my mom to go back to treating me like an irresponsible teen. I get a horrible flu two days later and she gripes about the extra dishes in the sink. I was shaking, sweating, and doing things you don't want to hear about. I had to sleep on the couch b/c I didn't have the energy to get off the floor airbed everytime I needed the bathroom. I still had to get up at 6 a.m. with my kids, but my mom has the nerve to make passive-agressive remarks about all the dishes in the sink. Are they aimed at my brother who was home for all those meals? No!!

I wish there was some way I could make her see what's she's doing, but it is not going to happen. At least I can be proud that I'm finally standing up for myself and in a very reasonable, mature way. But it's exhausting.

-Star"that feels better"la

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Jocko's Jolly
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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I have no suggestions for dealing with your mom, so just {{hugs}}.

--------------------
Like every good third-in-a-series it contains a whole load of ewoks, ‘Clubber’ Lang, whey-faced Sophia Coppola, Sean Connery as the Pirate Captain’s estranged dad, a crappy CGI alien, and Richard Pryor on a donkey. -- Gideon Defoe

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TurquoiseGirl
The "Was on Sale" Song


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Starla, I am so sorry. I know how it is to be the responsible one and still get treated like you are not to be trusted. Remind me to tell you sometime of the time I got in trouble for getting home late when I was home two hours before curfew.

It doesn't help that your (younger?) brother gets all kinds of slack.

Could you calmly tell her what you just told us. Using "I statements" like:

"Mom, I know that it was hard for you when I was sick and there were extra dishes in the sink. I just could not physically get up to do them. I am here to help, but I feel like my presence, and that of my children, is resented. This hurts my feelings because I am trying my very best to help you out and I am doing the best I can.

Also, it is very hard to be a good mother to my children, and helpful to you, when I feel like I am being treated as if I am 12 years old and irresponsible. I am sure you do not mean for me to feel that way, but I do. I felt this way when (name instances that happened).

I am doing my best to help you, but I also need to be able to take care of my girls, as you do not need the extra burden of that. In order to do so, I need safe transportation that is available to me. You promised you would help with this and I believed you. Otherwise, I probably could not have afforded to come (take time off of work). "

Keep it between her and you. Leave your brother out of it. It is the way she is treating you that is the issu. That your brother is getting treated better is just icing on the crap cake, so to speak.

Good luck, honey! You are a very good person. You know that? Do you need me to send you a wav file saying that? Just say the word.

Much love,
TGirl

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There are people who drive really nice cars who feel that [those] cars won't be as special if other people drive them too. Where I come from, we call those people "selfish self-satisfied gits." -Chloe

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Seaboe Muffinchucker
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Kudos, Starla, on persisting with the rental car issue. I'm sorry you feel that you can't respond to your mother the way you'd like ("gee, Mom, I'm sorry I didn't wash the dishes but I didn't think you wanted me to throw up all over them").

Have you tried talking to her counselor? You can describe her behaviour and ask for advice in dealing with her.

It also sounds as if she feels this trip is ONLY about helping with your father, so she's probably going to kick up nastiness about that visit to the cousins, too, and you should be prepared for that.

{{hugs}}

Seaboe

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Education is not the filling of a hard drive, but the lighting of a bulb. -- Yeats via Esprise Me

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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She's made a few comments about being "generous" to share me with my cousins, but whatever. She's mostly joking about sharing her grandkids, not me. I really am getting better at letting stuff like that roll off my back.

I did persist on the car issue and am getting money towards it. I did point out that I had offered to take care of ordering the chair a long time ago that would have resolved everything. When she made remarks about the dishes I said something cheerfully like, "at least I cooked those meals!" So I am standing up for myself, I just wish I didn't have to so much.

TGirl- I'd like to hear that story! I could tell you about the time I got grounded because I should have known my friend was not really getting phone permission from her mom to be out late while I was standing right next to her. I should have known she was really talking to the answering machine. I basically got grounded because my friend's mom woke my mom up and it pissed her off. [Roll Eyes] Right there with ya.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

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Dear Babby
Deck the Malls


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That's so *interesting* about the differrence in expectations between you and bro! The few years age difference, the fact that he's still in school while you are a responsible married person and parent, the fact that he's a boy, the fact that you have proven yourself such a capable person over the years and probably some other stuff we don't know all add up to a crappy situation for you. You are handling it remarkably!

Does your dad have anything to say about all this? Since your mom has a therapist, any chance you could have a family session as Seaboe mentioned?

Again, you are remarkable! Enjoy your trip.

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Algae
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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{{{Starla}}}

Listen to TGirl. She is wise. And keep coming here when you need to. We're here.

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Alcohol and calculus don't mix. Don't drink and derive!

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Starla
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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We had a nice day together today. We got makeup lessons together (thank you, you know who [Wink] ) and then had a nice lunch. At lunch she told me in detail about the finacial situation. It was good to know exactly what is going on and why she thinks certain options are viable while others are not. I'm glad I have a clear picture of things now.

In there she made a comment like, "and that's why a rental car is a strain." I was very proud of myself as I calmly pointed out that it was quite a strain for my family too. I did the whole, "I see you have contributed this, this and this BUT I have contributed this, this and this and I feel..." She did listen and while I know our perspectives aren't the same at least I was heard. Actually, I called her on a couple of things and never let myself get snarky; she heard those things too.

Overall we just had fun. She really liked trying out new makeup and we got to relax together while my little brother watched the girls. It was good. This trip has had many, many good moments. It really helps to be able to air some of my feelings here and have them validated- it gives me courage to stand up for myself. That's a great feeling.

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This used to be the life, but I don't need another one.
MyBandwagon

Posts: 3254 | From: small town Texas | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I'm glad you had some fun with your mother today and managed to talk about some things. I just had an idea. Maybe when you get back home, you could either e-mail her these pages or print them and mail them to her. Sometimes, it's easier to read about problems and find solutions that it is to talk about them. I noticed that you and many of us have said how your Mom is a good person but is just carrying a burden that is too heavy for her, so she would be able to see that we sympathize with her situation, as well as yours. She couldn't be upset that you typed about it here, because we don't even know who you folks are in real life. If someone already suggested that, and I missed it, sorry. [Smile]

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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