Keeping Out Of The Fog

When I returned home from work yesterday there were two messages on the answering machine. From my mother. The first was left about 10AM and was slightly accusatory, along the lines of : ‘I haven’t heard from you in weeks. You never ring. I don’t know what’s going on.’

The second was left five hours later and was slightly more antagonistic: ‘Can’t even be bothered to ring me back, eh? I could be dead for all you know.’

This is my mother all over. Setting things up so she can cast blame. She knows full well she can always get me on my mobile, but she can’t initiate her much loved mind games if she speaks to me directly.

I was angry when I got home. Too angry to call her. I wanted to, I was chomping at the bit to. I wanted to tell her she was the one who couldn’t be bothered, not me. Couldn’t be bothered to get her only grandson living in Australia an easter egg. Couldn’t be bothered to see him once during the school holidays. But I didn’t because I know that’s what she wanted.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I felt the fog descending as my mother’s admonitions were replayed over and over in my head. How easy it is for those who have the power to abuse it. How easy it is for peace of mind to be shattered.

I called my mother first thing this morning. The phone was a slab of granite in my hand. She didn’t answer. I called again and again. She didn’t pick up. She was probably there screening the calls.

I gave up. I can’t do this. It’s upsetting and pointless. I can’t handle it when people who are supposed to be adults act like children. I can’t handle it when blaming becomes more important than forgiving. I can’t handle it when people create their own misery.

I could feel all the good work I’ve done over the past few months in getting myself out of a really negative mindset unravelling with one phone call. The fog was coming up from the water and closing in.

I think of my mother, growing older, at odds with everyone, but mostly with herself. I am sad about it. Grief-stricken; but there’s nothing I can do.

I see the fog rising, swirling at my heels. Quickly, I run to higher ground, avoiding the draw of it. For now, it’s all that I can do.

22 thoughts on “Keeping Out Of The Fog

  1. At least she didn’t scream ‘Are you there? If you’re there, pick up!!’ into the answering machine, then hold on till the tape ran out, so no-one else could leave a message.

    At least, she finally got the message that, if we were in, the answering machine wouldn’t be on.

    But, please, please don’t feel guilty or be sad because of someone else’s actions; you can do nothing about them.


  2. It makes me feel very sad for you to read this Selma. She really isn’t being fair at all and she obviously realises the effect she can have on you.

    It’s silly and destructive but you can’t control the way other people behave, you can only control your reaction to it. As hard as it is, because she is your mother, your first responsibility is to you. I hope you find your way through the fog and only wish I could offer you some good advice. This is a tough one for sure.


  3. Oh Selma, this makes me so furious. Why must our family often bring us the most pain?

    Please don’t let her control you like this. You own your life and she owns hers. Leave it at that.


  4. This is so sad Selma but I am glad to read that you are handling things as well as you are. A very tough spot to be in. Your mother’s “mind games” are not uncommon but they are hard to bear when it’s you at the other end of the phone line. Things will get better, there will be a resolution to all this. In the meantime, take care of yourself, rise above and away from the situation as much as you can. I am so sorry. Hugs, G


  5. Don’t let her suck you into playing this silly mind game with her. It’s a waste of time and energy. If you’re going to play a game, make it a fun one with your son.


  6. Ah dear one, you’re right. It’s maddening how one little phone message can totally knock us off our game.

    But the thing is, it happened. So pick yourself, dust yourself off, look it all over, annd next time the response my be just a wee bit different.

    Zen is practiced, not conferred, you know. πŸ™‚


  7. ((HUGS)) I’ve been there. I told those people in my life that if they have a problem, it’s their problem, not mine. I’m doing all I feel is necessary. If they want more, it’s up to them. I no longer give them any energy – positive or negative.

    And the emotional vampires went away….


  8. My mother is more subtle than yours. Her quiet resigned martyrdom communicates guilt through the ether somehow.


  9. Selma I know exactly how you feel having to go through that since my mother does very similiar things too. No matter how much I try not to let it get to me it still does… You are a much stronger person than I am… Why do they do what they do? They use this manipulative thing they have to make us feel like crap.


  10. The good thing about being a writer is that the trials and tribulations of life are all grist for the mill.
    Cheers, David.


  11. Sometimes that is all you can do is run for highground.

    And sometimes we feel a bit more immune to the fog and are able to get down into it without it suffocating us.

    Do whatever you’re capable of right now.


  12. I think you are handling it way better than I would have. If I had got such a message from my mom, we would have had a shouting fit and some words would have been exchanged. It’s sad that parents are usually the ones who can get to us in such a manner. But don’t give up dear. Don’t let it get you down. It’s a cry for attention. Treat it as that. She will soon see the error of her ways.


  13. PAISLEY:
    Don’t worry. I’m going to avoid the fog at all costs.

    I am feeling less guilty today. It’s amazing how guilt works, isn’t it? It does creep up like a fog.

    Funny you should mention the answering machine. I had an old neighbour who used to do that. She was a little deaf and I don’t think she could hear the beep. Her messages chewed up the entire tape!

    I’m going to be OK. I’m just going to let it go. Sometimes holding on to things like this can be damaging so I’m adopting the ‘whatever’ attitude. Whatevs!

    Some families do that, don’t they? I look at families who all get on and support one another and I envy them. It must be such a comfort to have that.

    I’ll be OK, hon. Writing about it actually helps a lot. It has cleared up a lot of conflicting emotions for me. I will definitely rise above it!

    I couldn’t agree more. Even one of my son’s 6 hour Monopoly marathons would be better than this. Hehe.

    You are so wise. I do believe Zen is practiced too. It is a work in progress all the way. You are right. It happened. Time to move forward.

    What an excellent point you make. I think that is true of most negative behaviour, isn’t it? It’s about them, not us. So glad you got rid of those vampires – not even Buffy could fight them off. LOL.

    I sympathise. That martyrdom does my head in, it really does. Why do people do it? I don’t get it.

    I’m not going into that fog. There are horrible things in there much worse than that dream I had where I was chained to a chair and had to listen to every CD ever made by Kenny G. Not pretty!

    I think you are just as strong as me, if not stronger. Look what you are dealing with. I don’t know why they do it, hon. I wish I did. It baffles me.

    Absolutely. Without my family I would have virtually no material. You are so right!!!

    It’s true, isn’t it? There are times when we cope better than others. It changes all the time. I’m going to stay away from that fog for now.

    I’ll be OK. I definitely won’t give up. You’re right – no one can push our buttons like our family. Thanks, hon!


  14. “How easy it is for those who have the power to abuse it. How easy it is for peace of mind to be shattered.” That is so very true and so very sad.

    I am sorry you are having such issues with your mom. But I think you are dealing with it like a LADY and that’s all you can do.


  15. MELEAH:
    What incredibly wise advice. I am going to write that down because it is very important – ‘you are always in charge of your own reaction.’ Thanks so much, hon.


  16. “Every situation and event reveals my past, my actions today reveal my future”. Whatever is going on with your mom it is her journey not yours. You cannot fix what has happened to her or how she chooses to behave. I always tell my children “do not let anyone take your peace”. It is your choice….always, even though at times it may seem hard. Don’t forget that it is the hard times that you have gone through with your mother that has made you such a loving mom yourself. You are a better mom and person because of it. Take care, there are lots of us out there that know and understand your struggles.


  17. KATHI:
    I am so touched by your comment. That is just about the best advice I have ever heard – ‘don’t let someone take your peace.’ Definite words to live by. I am so grateful you stopped by and for the kindness you have expressed. Thank you.

    Absolutely. It is one of the few prayers I have kept in my repertoire. Very, very calming!!

    I hope so too, hon. The games people play, eh?


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