My body got into a terrible tangle this morning after speaking to my Mum on the phone. She rang to organise a dinner get together with my sister. I was just finishing my post on ambivalence and part of me hummed a hahed about going. I still have a desire to connect with my family and we can have an enjoyable dinner if I just focus on the now (and know it will remain superficial), but I dont like to eat too late and lately I am trying to be separate and spend more time alone rather than look to them for a connection that doesnt appear to happen.
Anyway the interaction got so terribly tangled up in such a dysfunctional way, as the conversation often turns to my sister who struggles (with everything apparently) finding clothing, setting boundaries with her breast cancer paddling team, getting in touch and opening her heart to others. I listen to all of this and while I feel compassion I also feel a bit annoyed at times as I am not sure how much is also projection on my Mum`s part, how much worry over the painful consequences her upbringing of us caused and how much is a deep unrecognised loneliness from my Mum own siblingless only child past, which was so lonely and provided zilch in the form of emotional connection and comfort. In the end Mum was having an almost toddler dummy spit about how difficult it was for my sister and to organise a meal with all three of us and I was a bit shocked frankly when I heard adult me telling her to get a grip and stop making it all into a drama. I get fed up listening to all my sister`s struggles to be happy when I know I have to work damn hard myself to make my own happiness from deep within and that that does not rest solely on outside things. How much of this is real also?
I was listening to a few You Tube videos last night by a woman called Sara on recovering from narcissism and narcissistic relationships. What she addressed in one was how the narcissist is never happy with anything. They have impossibly high standards in life, things never quite measure up, happiness is always somewhere over there, never here. They need constant reassurance from someone or something external as to their value which never really lies within and they really struggle in old age when their looks and careers fall apart as these offer them with narcissistic supply. Now I know what happiness can be gained from being involved in something that lights you up and connects you and that is not what I am talking about here, but it is a sad life when you cannot find from within your own heart, soul and mind a source of nourishment, support and care. I don`t know to be honest how much of my Mum`s own grief, pain and past unhappiness is being spoken of or projected in these conversations but I come away feeling all tangled up inside and panicky. I had a full on panic attack just after I hung up the phone.
Its is very hard when you have an older parent who is struggling with not a lot of support. I am going to shop for fruit and veg later so I offered to take my Mum this afternoon. It is something I CAN give and not exhaust myself and I am happy to do that. But being burdened all the time with others problems, pain or difficulty can be too taxing a lot of the time. I am doing the best to manage my own life and there are limits to what I can give. I do better when I am realistic about these and dont try to take on things that are outside of my own power and control. I may have had the panic attack today as I was overwhelmed with others stuff and by my Mum`s unboundaried state. It could have been some kind of wake up call to set and maintain limits.