Mother and herself

She bemoans my lack of sharing, a distance and independence, yet when you try she’s one of those people who immediately seeks to impart her own frame of reference and glide the conversation back to her.  This makes for an irritating conversational tic in anyone, but for your mother it’s particularly tricky.  You can almost hear her brain scurrying around as you speak: what can I say next about me and however I relate to that.  Where’s my angle?  WHERE!? What tiny irrelevant detail can I use?

No, Mum: here’s something I’m saying and what I feel about it.  It might not be anything of any massive importance, but come on, try out that empathy, no?  Go a little further.  Don’t hijack it and tell me how you experienced something similar, before diving off down a tangential tunnel which will see us in the frozen foods section of Tesco, because you needed peas, and you’d bumped into Maureen Wilmott, you remember Maureen Wilmott?  (Shrug).  Yes you do.  Anyway, she was saying that her son Shane, you remember Shane…

It’s not intentional or as if she’s aware of it and its effect.  I’m sure she’d be mortified if I explained it to her in such terms.  But even then, she still wouldn’t be able to stop it.  It’s an ingrained habit, just what she does, how she interacts with everyone.  I don’t expect change now, it just disappoints and frustrates.

I still find it unfathomable that she was a Samaritan for so long.  Did she employ similar methods when speaking to genuinely suicidal people?  You know, she might have said on the phone to a caller, I felt a bit glum last Thursday when my husband wouldn’t do the washing up because he had a bad back so I always have to pick up after him and…   Oh, they hung up again.

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