Monday, December 21, 2015

Can I just hide for a bit?

Today is the Monday before Christmas.  It has been Monday all day, if you know what I mean.  Not all bad, but intense and full of ups and downs.

Today I got a call from my hoarding mother as I was within 10 minutes of the office.  I told her I was almost to work, and I would call her when I started home this evening.  And I did, post doctor's appointment with the chiropractor.  I knew that I would hear from her since it had been a few days since we last spoke.  

She was in a ruminating mood, and first she said that she got a poundcake in her mailbox which is most likely from the lovely couple she went scorched earth on since they dared to try to improve the dirt road they all reside on.  I did not comment or give any feedback, and she progressed to accusing the hated neighbor 'in the turn' of stealing a scale from her laundry room and hanging it on his porch, stealing a chair from the attic of the hoarded garage and putting it in his flower bed, and stealing a wind chime set and putting on his porch as well.  Oh- and he stole a wooden ladder from her that against his garage.  I told her we were done on that topic, if she felt he engaged in theft to call the police, and if not, it was all speculation and not worth the headspace.  She then said she wished he would "move to [the city where his brother lived] and get a job as a pizza delivery driver and run from the police".  The hated neighbor lost his brother several months ago.  His brother relapsed, and while out delivering pizza ran from the police and was killed in the pursuit, he was shot fatally.  Just an absolutely hateful and shitty thing to say.  I advised her we were done on the topic, and that was simply enough.  I ended the call, grabbed some dinner at the local taqueria and went home.  

There I found some lovely holiday cards, I have the best friends anyone could ask for.  One sent a card from my kitties to 'Mom Grey'.  Then I got to the final two, and they were from my sister and my mother's sister.  And I felt like a set of cinder blocks dropped on my shoulders.  My sister's card was over the top sentimental, and I got the "I love and miss you" stuff.  Yeah.  Actions speak so much louder than words.  My aunt's card was full of scrawled writing still going on about the incident in May where she called the police on my sister, and a whole lot of paranoid craziness.

I just can't.  Cannot.  Will not.  I am in a really strange place where I simply need to withdraw from all of them, and I have decided that it is time to seek a therapist that understands hoarding to work through whatever this is.  I cannot remember feeling this tired ... and I cannot even describe how I feel right now.  I find joy in my job, my friends, my cats, my hobbies, but for some reason this is a quagmire.  

I am not sure what is happening.  I was a bit low this past birthday, and I was glad when it passed.  I just want this holiday season to be over so they will not have the usual excuse to reach out and give me a poke.  

I have some decisions to make.  Nearly 20 years ago I essentially estranged myself for self preservation and so I could have a shot at a life.  I think what is happening now is my willingness to deal with the narcissistic behavior of those who are supposed to love me, but only see me as an extension of what they want to happen, is getting very depleted.  Is this what the space before the jump into no contact feels like?  

I have created a safe and quiet life for myself, and yes, work is exceptionally stressful and very busy, and my side business is booming, my friendships remain a key support for me, as do my fuzzy family members... my cats.

Why am I allowing these folks who are related by biology but not necessarily affinity to send me into a tailspin?  Enough.  Just enough.  If they keep pushing me, I will just *poof* on them.  I am good at that, sadly.  

Sorry for a whiny and rather repetitive post.  I will post a humorous one soon.  Have a great holiday if, and how, you choose to celebrate.  

Thank you for reading.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Merry Gaslighted Christmas...

Yesterday I checked my mailbox.  Something I do not do often as all my bills are taken care of online, and I receive very little in snail mail that is substantial. 

I received a Christmas card from my hoarding mother, one full of schmaltz and nostalgia for me as a child under the tree, yadda-yadda-yadda.

In the past couple of years she has resumed signing cards 'Mom' instead of her first name, something she did for nearly 30 years as some sort of punishment for setting boundaries as developmentally appropriate as a pre-teen.  The lovey-dovey and overly sentimental cards are a relatively recent development too.

And they make me sad.  And a bit angry.  

If I felt that I existed as anything other than an extension of her, or at best, an extra in her drama that she plays the main character and protagonist, maybe I would have a different reaction.

Maybe it is just because I am so stinking worn out from 75-85 hour work weeks between the day job and consulting, and I am a bit concerned something might be happening health wise.  I have appointments with my doctors so no worries there.  My running game is improving, and my race last weekend was a personal record, so I think it is just stress and lack of sleep.  

I maybe have erred in not taking the next two weeks off as I usually do, but honestly, I just am not in the 'staycation' mood and I want the holidays to hurry up and get past.  I am in a bit of a funk, but thank goodness for my cats, a job I love, and my wonderful friends and supportive people.  

This too shall pass... And still I rise...

Have a great holiday everyone, if you celebrate any kind of holiday tradition.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Oh no she didn't! She is pushing me closer to going no contact...

Let me start with what a rough week this has been.  Nothing earth shattering, but just a tough week at work, in my personal life, and this is a tough time of year it seems.  I am also getting sick, and am really tired and not sleeping well.  And what does my hoarding mother do?  Makes it that much more difficult.  Just because she can...

My last post was about my amazement at her soaring over boundaries.  Oh... that was just the warm up for today.  Let me give you a bit of background.

A few years ago my mother met a slightly older woman who was narcissistic as she is, and definitely on the hoarding scale.  They hit it off, but as any relationship with her is doomed to fail, this one did.  Sadly, the friend (who I will call Edna) developed severe dementia, and the drop into confusion and paranoia was UGLY, and for her, relatively quick.  When my hoarding mother became the newest villain in Edna's lifetime drama, my mother went no contact.  Prior to that, she was obsessing over a small pedigreed dog Edna had purchased, and had never potty trained, crate trained, or fed dog food.  I asked on Facebook if anyone knew of a rescue for that breed of dog, and a high school friend stated that she volunteered with an animal rescue and she loved those types of dogs, and she would be glad to help.  I let my mother know that I had found a resource when the time came, if she had the opportunity to get the dog.  This was most likely almost a year ago.  I did not give her much information, but I must have inadvertently said this person's first name.  And it is a common first name, and is shared by one of my best friends in high school that has worked at a local discount store that my mother shops at for the past 20+ years.  Not that my mother speaks to her or acknowledges her, but she knows she works there.  I will call her Gidget.  

So... Today...  I run a residential nonprofit, and it is an understatement to say that some days are a bit busy.  Today was one of those days.  I had a 7:30am board meeting for a civic service club I am part of, and then I (with two other staff, one being my business office professional I will call Meg) had an appointment at the courthouse for a work related matter.  Since we have to go through security, I did not take my phone or purse to the courthouse.  I was there approximately one hour.  I returned to the office, met with staff on a couple of matters, when I went downstairs briefly to the staff main office where I encountered one of my front line staff members who seemed confused and conflicted, and asked if Meg was in her office and had listened to her voicemail after a bit of stammering and awkwardness.  I went upstairs, and the staff had reached Meg, who told her that someone calling the direct services number rather than the office number had called and asked if this was our agency's name, and identified herself as my mother, sounded really upset, and that she needed to speak to Meg right away.  (She has pulled this crap of calling Meg to try to get information before, and Meg has her MO).  

I looked at my cell, and I saw a missed call and a voicemail.  At that point it was about 70 minutes ago, so she would have called about the point I left for the courthouse.  I did not listen to the message, I just called her.

She sounded escalated and upset.  She told me of Edna being out in the yard naked waving her pistol (that she has a concealed carry permit for) around and the police were called and they got adult protective services over there, and Edna ended up being 302'd (involuntarily committed) and she will go to a memory care center when she is out of crisis and medicated properly.  Her stepson had flown up from FL, and called my mother and asked if she could see about the dog, which started her off and going.  She said since she could not get me, she called Gidget and Gidget acted like she did not know what my mother was talking about, and she mentioned she found her at a local school.  I asked her who she called... and she clammed up on that part, only saying APS called the humane society and they had the dog, and one of their volunteers 'fell in love with it and is adopting it'.  I ended the call.

WHO DID SHE CALL?  I was furious.  I briefly considered the only Gidget she knew that I knew was the one that worked at the discount store, but I did not understand the school piece my mother mentioned so I dismissed the thought that she would have called her.  

I was also furious that she again made something a capital-E-emergency that was not, and called the direct services line of my organization.  Now, I tend to be a bit of a private person, and I have not had the discussion with new staff that I have a seriously mentally ill mother.  Now, thanks to this, I had to have an uncomfortable discussion with a few staff members, and as I left the room I saw their look of empathy... 

I went on with my day, and it continued to be a long and hard one for multiple reasons.  I left to come home, and I decided to call my mother to get to the bottom of who she called.  She again directly evaded any discussion of her calling Gidget.  I ended the call and ran a few errands, including picking up some Chinese take out.  I got home, checked social media on my phone, and saw a message from Gidget, my high school friend.  This IS who she called.  Gidget said she called the store multiple times, and somehow found out where her son goes to school and that she works there on Wednesdays, and called her being demanding about the dog.

I was horrified, embarrassed, angry, and I am also just so defeated at this point.  I know this will pass, and I reached out to a dear friend to vent to.  Thankfully, Gidget was gracious and saw the humor in this.  

She exhausts me.  I may have more to say on this later, but right now, all I can think about is this is why I jumped at the chance to move over 7 hours away.  This is why I keep her on the low contact plan This is why I do not visit, and why she sits alone on holidays and the like.  She is absolutely toxic, and that toxicity just tears me apart.  She keeps working to puncture the nice, organized life with appropriate boundaries I have created for myself.  And she seems to go for the sphere that is the most off limits... my career space.  I have not listened to the voicemail she left earlier today.  I may just delete it without reviewing it, as I feel it will just stoke all the feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness that I am trying to process tonight so I can keep my game face on at work tomorrow.

She is getting worse.  Much, much worse.  And she still has a long way to fall before she can be forced to accept help.  I just hope we do not have her shooting her guns naked in her yard someday before that happens.

Thank goodness for good friends, and my two sweet kitties that have showered me in love and affection tonight.  I do not know what I have done to deserve the folks and furry family in my life.

Hoarding.  No one wins.  No one.  This will not end well.  Thank you for reading.  I think I am heading to bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day as well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Sailed over THAT boundary


That is all I can say after the phone call today.  WOW.

My hoarding mother is apparently on a mission to alienate everyone that has shown her a bit of compassion.  If not through her off-the-charts and 'scorched earth' reactions, then to her inability to maintain the most mundane of boundaries.

A neighbor a few streets over has a dog that tore his ACL a couple of months ago, and has not responded well to surgery and is now up for a consult for laser surgery.  The poor thing has been in a cast for almost 2 months.

So what does my mother do?  She calls the emergency vet clinic and 'blue skies' the scenario with whomever answered the phone.  Her takeaways from that call were:

  1. There is only one vet in that town qualified to do that surgery, and it is not the one used.
  2. The other options are university hospitals with veterinary programs about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from where both these folks live.
I am sure there was more, but I was just gobsmacked.  Then it gets better.

My mother calls this woman and imparts her newly found knowledge to her.

I ended the call before she could tell me the reaction, but I know what many folks' reactions would have been, and they would not have taken kindly to such presumption and intrusion.  The arrogance of such an act boggles my mind.

I suspect she talked to a reception professional or a veterinary technician, and I am sure they were THRILLED with that phone call.

I say it again.  Wow.

Have a great evening, and thanks to all that read this!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

I should NOT be surprised... but I am amazed...

So I called my hoarding mother as I traveled to an appointment after work.

It seldom is a 'good' conversation, and this one had me shaking my head as I got out of my car, and when I entered the place of my appointment a friend who was there asked if I was okay... she stated I had a 'WTF!' expression.

Now, I do not expect her to be a mother.  She was simply incapable of that when I was young.  I simply only exist as an extension of her, from what it seems.  

After a short period of silence she asked "Didn't you have a stomach tumor?"

Um...WHAT?  When?  No!  

"A couple of years ago when you had something taken out..."

Do you mean two years ago when I had an almost 11 pound Fallopian Tube tumor removed?  No.  It was not stomach...

"Well- whatever it was... Was your belly swollen or sore?"

No.  It was only sore if actively pushed on.  

"Did you gain weight?"  

No.  I was actually losing weight at a scary pace since the tumor was 'eating' so heavily.

"That is weird.  I find that hard to believe...  That is so strange you had that, but I did have an ovarian tumor and have had many cysts removed..."

Whatever.  She has not seen me since 2 months before the discovery of a thankfully benign tumor that nearly took my life two years ago.  I had to have a second surgery last summer, and recovery has been a long hard road, and I have physical reverberations I will deal with the rest of my life.  However, no complaints- if this is the price I pay for the tumor not being malignant, for it not rupturing, and for me not needing additional life altering and disfiguring treatments and surgeries, I take it gladly.  And now, her revisionist history tactic has been employed to minimize this.  She had the opportunity to see me last April, which would have been her first and only chance to see me since that happened, and she declined for insignificant reasons. I have to not get stuck in the "what kind of mother does this?" type of contemplation.  I know what kind.  A seriously mentally ill, narcissistic person.  

She then begins discussing her crusty feet, her dry lips, and creams, etc. she is now using.  YUCK.  She also starts complaining about the paving on her street, about her neighbors, and how they must be mad at her since they did not bring a plate over on Thanksgiving like they have for years, and are not speaking.  She further states that "it was okay" since she had "decided [she] was not taking anything from them anyway and would throw it away if they left it in the mailbox."  I did not say anything.  She refused to pay to help with the project, then wants to armchair quarterback now that it is done, and has verbally escalated on the neighbors on the phone and in person.  Being able to imagine the bat-sh*t level of scorched earth she most likely went on them... No WONDER they DO NOT WANT ANYTHING TO DO WITH HER.  I had to get off the phone.

I am simply exhausted.  Work has been really busy since my return from vacation, and in a span of a week I have given over 13 media interviews and spoke at a protest rally.  I am in grant season, dealing with multiple projects and crises, and also continuing to work a long term consulting project, and because I am a total glutton for punishment, I may be teaching a class at a local college for the spring semester since I do not have anything else to do!  <Heavy sarcasm>

I do not expect a pity party or a medal.  She seldom asks about my life in appropriate ways, like "how is work going?  Any new projects?" Or my personal life... Perhaps "what is is new and different?  Meet any new friends or experience anything new?"  I am dating a bit, no one that is exclusive, but just having a bit of fun (or I keep telling myself...hah!) and making new friends.  She never asks.  My new 14 year old rescue kitty, she seldom asks about her or my kitty that will soon be 12.  She asked little to nothing about my vacation, like activities, food, places, none of that.  She never asks if I have any races scheduled or about my fitness/running goals.  I see the relationships some of my friends have with parents, and I am so happy for them and their relationships.  It is bittersweet, because it is something I have never had, and never will.  She is not capable of it, and even if she was, she is unwilling.  I think that is what cuts the deepest... Yet despite having a serious W.T.F. reaction, I am just numb to it and I am not surprised deep down- although sometimes it annoys me temporarily.  

I guess I have done my grieving years ago, and this blog helps in putting things in perspective without (to use a gross analogy) figuratively ripping any scabs open... and I am so lucky that I have very little to complain or be unhappy about.  I have a successful career that challenges me and gives me a lot of satisfaction.  I have my health.  I am happy at my home.  I have my furry family, and friends that ARE family of choice.  I have much to be grateful for, to enjoy, and experience.  I am surrounded by a warm, affirming, functional and minimalist home that I am comfortable having anyone over at any time.

Sometimes the best strategy (to use a mixed analogy) is to live life at full volume. And that is what I do.  Each and every day... It just makes me sad for her that her life is what it is, but she is the only one that can change.  I still hope that she will, but she turns 79 years of age this month.  I suspect it is too late due to her refusal to try.

Hoarding... No one wins.  No one.  Thank you for reading.