Am I entitled to back-up?


I keep going back to that question whose origins I understand, but the answer to which I haven’t been able to make my own yet.  When people have such terrible circumstances they’re allowed to have a response to their pain, they’re allowed to have others offer them money, food, even if they don’t need it.  Am I entitled to back-up whether my circumstances are comparatively much less dire?  Am I enough just as I am to deserve the nurturing and protection and support I long for so that I can learn to do it for myself?  Can I have all this without being punished emotionally?

Today I must phone my mother to ask if she can pay my rent.  I know she won’t say no, and she might even be okay with it and nice about it.  But I also know that the next time we speak I’ll be her emotional punch bag.   I feel so small and vulnerable when I talk to her.  She won’t look at the work I’ve done in these last 6 years, what I’ve achieved.  Refuses to listen to my side of the story re my bankruptcy, even.   I can’t seem to stop wanting her to want to listen.

Up until about a year ago, 100% of our conversations were about her.  I was just the listener, and she did all the talking.  I know everything there is to know about her and her life, her challenges, her triumphs.  If ever I tried to talk about myself, she would get this physical reaction – a compulsive yawn, couldn’t stop herself.   And at the earliest opportunity she’d redirect the conversation back to her.   I’ve learned to claim time in our conversations, but I have to be aggressive to do it, and she still doesn’t really listen or remember anything I’ve told her, because she resents my aggressiveness.

In our relationship, she is the one who’s supposed to get all the strokes.   I know she genuinely doesn’t see it that way.  The one thing she does remember is that I need to ask her for money!  I am grateful for all the help she’s given me.  She’s not wealthy, she’s got a fixed income and no investments that I know of.  I am grateful that she does what she can.  I don’t feel good about taking her money at all.  And I’m not grateful for what I have to pay emotionally.

My heart’s jumping about again.  The problem between us is that I want her to change.  I know that.  She has the right to be who she is.  The journey, the challenge, is mine, not hers.  It’s hard to accept.

My new novel and script are doing great. This is the first time I’ve done so much ground-work on the story before I started the script or the book.  I wrote and rewrote the story a gazillion times, and the characters’ bios, then I expanded the story and wrote out the dynamics of all the scenes for the script.  I spent 7 months on that.  It’s really paying off.

I look forward to the day when I’m independent from my writing.  Yessir.  But some nasty sneaking suspicion lies within me that that day will come when I can give myself permission to not take emotional abuse because I need back-up.  When I can really believe it.  At least I’m on the way.

Jim Carey said when he was a kid he won a bicycle in a lottery that he didn’t take a ticket in, and it was the first time he realized miracles can happen.  Well, the same thing happened to me, I won a bicycle and I hadn’t bought a ticket, but I didn’t make the connection then – you know, that I don’t have to make it happen, I don’t have to be abused to be rewarded.  It’s just taking me a bit longer to really understand it, is all.

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