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I have a tendency to unconsciously appropriate other peoples' affectations, leading me to say things like y'all.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Response

My mother sent me a letter in response to the post I put up a few days ago. I'm thinking about publishing a few key bits, but want to be fair. I'd like to avoid grossly misrepresenting her, but I'd also like the opportunity to show her side of this whole thing. I have to think about how to go about it.

In the meantime, I will say that directly after reading her letter I happened to go to the bathroom and picked up Psychology Today for what was probably the first time in my life. This month's issue has an article entitled: "When to Drop a Relative".

Hmmm. It seems I'm not the only one who's encountered this situation. The article isn't available on-line yet, but its gist was that if you've tried to set boundaries repeatedly and you've attempted to rebuild a relationship predicated on those boundaries and you've attempted to reinforce them, but nothing seems to work? And that relationship has proved damaging? Then that's your key to get out.

Important points in the article also included: a) children who grow up in families that frequently cut ties learn that this is a way of solving a problem (I wonder if that sounds familiar to my mom); b) one should only take a step like dropping ties with a relative if one has looked at and acknowledged their own roles/responsibilities and isn't just making a rash decision (which is the case here); and c) ask yourself whether there are good things to be gained from the relative before making this decision (in an pro/con list analysis, I'm sorry to say that the con list at this point is too long).

2 Comments:

Blogger Kimber said...

Irena,

I hear you going on about how horrible your Mother is, but I am not picking up on the reasons why. I know that there are 3 sides to every story and I know that the Mother/Daughter relationship can be very difficult to say the least. I want to tell you that unless your parents beat you, verbally abused or abandoned you, there is hope. It sounds to me like your Mother wants to work it out, but you are not willing to open up and tell her what she did wrong, even if you think she knows you need to tell her what is bothering you specifically. Do not be passive/aggressive.

I am not an expert, I have horrible parents. I was lucky because my Aunt and Uncle took me in and raised me. I wish there was a relationship left to salvage with my Mom or a Dad that I could call, but he is now deceased. Life is too short to turn your back on family, you never know when you might need them. Just think about it before you do something you might regret. Remember that one day Sophie will be a grown up and you might have issues with her.

2:30 PM  
Blogger Irina said...

Kimber, I think you're totally right. There are multiple sides. I haven't gotten into it in detail and perhaps I should, but there was a considerable amount of abuse growing up. My parents have never been willing to even consider that, but my maternal grandmother told me things she'd witnessed (that even I had forgotten) before she died. In many ways, that is the biggest road block...their unwillingness to say: okay, this was fucked up and we're sorry, but now let's move on. I can move on, have, but the wound reopens when I'm told I'm crazy for even thinking they did anything wrong.

I think that you're right. That my mom probably does want to find a way for us to reestablish a connection and it makes me very sad that it doesn't seem possible, but we lack the basic thing that anyone would need to for a relationship to grow: trust. She also wants much more than I can give.

I really appreciate what you've said here. I'm also sorry to hear that you had some hard times of your own. Don't think that your words don't give me pause, because of course they do. Maybe I need to put some of these other thoughts in my blog more formally, so that it's clear I'm not having some kind of goofball reaction to a minor bump in the road.

2:41 PM  

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