Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Importance of Standing Up For Yourself

Sometimes standing up for yourself sucks Holy Balls. Sorry. It just does and Holy Balls is my new favorite expression. Just for clarification, Holy Balls doesn't always have to be a bad thing. You can use the term like this:

"Holy Balls, RadoMom! You won our first contest. The next time you're feeling low about yourself, know that you can pick a dysfunctional Mom's love of vibrator talk, right down to the minute it happens." You are gifted and now you shall be gifted... bath stuffs and such. Now email me at 100DaysinBed@gmail.com so I can arrange to get you your fabulous prize!!!

So here's the thing about standing up for myself. It is totally new to me. Where my parents have come in, it's just been totally easier to go along with everything rather than fight with anyone. Why? Because my Mom can NEVER be wrong so it's always been easier to bend and bow than argue with someone who can never see your side, never admit they are wrong and never take responsibility for their own actions.

My sister and I laugh at my Mom's new Non-Apology Apology. It's like a Passive Aggressive Apology. When she knows she's wrong (but will never admit it) she will say, "I'm sorry for my part."

BUT IT'S ALL YOUR PART!!! Here are some examples of when I've gotten an apology like that.

Mom: "Do you really want to be eating that muffin? (Insert condescending glance at my hips and thighs) It probably has 600 calories."
Mom: "You would think living in L.A. with all the professional hair people someone could show you how to manage your hair."
Mom: "Is that top supposed to bunch like that around the waist? I don't know if that's very flattering."

And know you know why it's been a few days for me to write. Because SHE'S TOO MUCH, it's all too much.

But let's go back to how we ended not speaking to each other. The day was Sunday and my Mom and I were supposed to go down to a beach hotel only I was feeling like we had had A LOT of togetherness. We had had two dinners where she was very critical of where I was in my life and I just wanted a break.

I blogged about that day, when I asked for "space" and was going to have dinner with her down at the beach and then drive up to my apartment and sleep here. I figured her time alone, not counting sleep would be about four hours. I blogged about her flipping out but it went one step further.

She called my Dad crying saying she had to move out of that hotel because it was not how she remembered it. So I went down the next day and moved her back to the hotel near me. Now all week she had been saying how she moved out of that hotel for me. Because now I couldn't be trusted to stay with her like I said I would. I might need "space" again and that's not what my mom planned on.

Finally, I had enough and said, "You moved out of that hotel because YOU wanted to. It had nothing to do with me. You said it wasn't nice enough and it wasn't what you remembered and you didn't have enough places you could walk to. It was what YOU wanted. Don't say you left because of me."

I don't know why this bothered me so much but there is a history in my family of "rewriting" history. Taking something that happened and changing the story to make my Mom look better in it. My Mom would not budge and it got progressively nastier which is what happens when I stand up for myself and assert myself and she feels like she's losing an argument.

She started getting really nasty and said some really mean things, trying to paint me as not dependable, that she couldn't count on me and that I had done the worst thing you can do to a person - "You abandoned me." I said, "I abandoned you at a luxury beach front hotel?"

Really? 'Cause now, I think she's reaching. Just a lil'. But she has to win. But I wasn't going to let her. Because I have all my life. I've just backed down. Adopted her version of the story to keep things cool and non-fight-y.

But I always hate myself. And worse, it permeates all my other relationships. I learn how to switch off in arguments because it's just easier. My "standing up for myself muscles" grow weak and I don't know how to use them anymore.

But this time I did. I just couldn't take it anymore. I could feel her manipulating me, first with her psycho-babble, then her anger, then her tears. But I felt nothing, I was unmoved. You feel nothing and unmoved when you've seen it a million times.

And when it was done, and she was out of the car and out of my Los Angeles life, I did feel something. Proud of myself. It's not going to be easy, our future. I don't know what our relationship will be now that I won't operate in the old way. But whatever it will be, it will be better for me because I'm being real for the first time. I won't be pushed around anymore.

Now that I started this, there's no going back.

This post is dedicated to not taking any s*%t.