I felt scared this morning. What if she finds out. What if my brother reads what I wrote yesterday. He’d know it was me. He’d tell her. He’d fuel her anger. I imagined him saying after everything we’ve done for you. All the money we’ve spent on you. You’re very hard to please, Jennifer. Who do you think you are.
I felt small, selfish, useless. And powerless. I could feel a hurt and rage within that I couldn’t articulate. Welling up. Body tensing up, heart jumping around.
Then I remembered. Neither my brother nor my mother have any right to tell me what to think or what to write. Why shouldn’t I bring the emotional abuse into the light? I’m entitled to. Why should I put the needs of my mother – or my brother, for that matter – before my own? They don’t do it for me. They’re allowed to kick me emotionally, and I may not object?
So, sitting here at my computer, I take control of my imagination, and point it in another direction. I imagine my mother confronting me, accusing me of ingratitude, of betrayal, and – her favorite tool – telling me that I’m terribly confused and need help. (She never connects the dots about where my supposed confusion came from, mind you.) I visualize myself making the mistake of trying to appease her. It doesn’t work.
So I pull back in my visualization, and replay her accusation. This time I don’t accuse back, say anything hurtful, defend myself, or abuse her. I don’t try to explain myself. I don’t let her in. I say “I have to go now. I’m going to put the phone down.” and I put the phone down.
When I do that in my visualization, she can’t get to me. Easier said than done in reality, but at least I can visualize it. There was a time when I couldn’t. When I didn’t even know of the possibility. That’s great progress, I reckon.