In which I talk about what’s great about not talking.
So my mother and I had an argument yesterday. Some background.
My parents are working on a new business. My dad was doing something design-y. My mother didn’t like it, called me over to look at it. I suspect she wanted me to just back her up. To be fair, my dad is not the world’s greatest graphic designer by very, very far, but the basic concept wasn’t terrible.
In any case, I said that with some changes it might be better.
What irked me though, was the way my mother had barged into my room and dragged me out, regardless of what I had been doing, which was getting started with my long ass PDFs to read.
The barging in is a long grievance of mine that I’ve tried to tell her about, but she insists that she always knocks. She doesn’t. Or if she does it’s simultaneous to her opening the door, and as an adult male I’m sure you can imagine how this is a really terrible thing for her to do. She’s never seen anything she shouldn’t, which might be why she still does it, but I don’t think one should have to do the bad thing to stop doing it.
So I’m irritated by being dragged out into an argument which would only be settled by me taking over what my dad is doing. My mom isn’t happy with his work, he’s annoyed that she rarely seems to like anything he does, so the only solution is if I do it… but honestly, in that case I would end up doing everything. And not only do I not want to, because it’s not my responsibility, I also have my own priorities.
I’m irritated enough to go back to my room and lock my door. Which then doesn’t go over that well. I got a rather verbose text message after she tried the door, namely that I shouldn’t hole up in my room, that I should help contribute towards their survival, etc.
About half an hour after that, she walked by and angrily banged on my door loudly twice and kept walking. Then I could overhear her bitching to my dad about me. Which is right about when I lost it.
I yelled that I do actually have my own stuff to do, that she shouldn’t barge in, and so on. She retorted that I’m too old to live at home. I said I’m working on it.
And she actually hasn’t talked to me since.
She has a tendency to act like arguments didn’t happen, after the fact. Like if she argues with my dad in the morning, she’ll still call him for lunch. If she had a spat with me during the afternoon, she’ll call me for dinner and make small talk.
But this time, she had my dad call me for dinner, and didn’t talk to me. When we had to cook the fish a little longer, she went into her room so she wouldn’t have to chat while waiting for the fish.
And today, she didn’t call me for lunch. In fact, I doubt she made any for me.
And this is AWESOME. I’m not kidding here. And this is for two reasons.
The first is a general thing. They’re kind of particular about meal times and that meals at home should be family things. I don’t always mind this, but if I had a late lunch while I was out, I’m not so into an early dinner. More often, I might have a craving for something in town, but I’ll still have to eat at home. This can sometimes mean I eat more than I should within a short time, which I don’t like. I like being flexible with what and when.
But the second reason is a big one. Like I said, my mom likes to pretend arguments didn’t happen, after the fact. Because the arguments are usually shouting matches, they’re not the best time to resolve differences. But then the opportunity to resolve differences never happens, because she pretends those differences didn’t. I have to say that it also undermines her argument, and means we take her less seriously, because we know that when she freaks out, we just have to stay calm until she moves on. I don’t know how true it is, but it sure makes her sound like she just has periodic spats of irrational wailing and then comes back to normal. It’s not a good impression to have.
So her not talking means she actually feels strongly about it. Which is pretty awesome. I mean, she’s still not improving, she’s probably got her own concept of events, but I have to take comfort in the knowledge this was finally an argument she couldn’t just pretend didn’t happen.
I have to say as well. She hasn’t talked to my sister for almost 2 years. She finds relatively few agreeable areas with my dad. And she’s now ignoring me. The evidence is kind of weighing in favour of the idea that she’s rather more of the problem than the rest of us.
And this is a thing. My sister would want to confront her with this and say “Please, recognize the truth and try to change!” My dad tends to just put up with things, it’s a short term solution only. I had rather hoped to change her gradually without being stressfully confrontational. Reassure her that the world isn’t against her, and just nudge her in the right direction, but then it really does hide the truth that she causes probably half of the stress in our direct family.
Ah well. More reason to find a job!