Crossing a line

My birthday was Thursday.

Earlier this year, my bi-polar mother withdrew the power of attorney from me two weeks after I took two days off work to help her with it, and her will. Why? Because she was furious with me for daring to be incredulous when she said she was going to cancel her will and let it sit for several years until she was ready to do it. Of course, I found out that I had no power of attorney when I was doing her real estate transaction for her, with her consent and the buyer was there with the cheque. I didn’t get arrested for real estate fraud but as you can imagine, a two page defamatory letter coming from the fax machine claiming that I was a violent, and financially coercive criminal did very little for my mood.

You see, she’s accomplished nothing with her life so any power she has — be it a bank or tax form signature — she uses to deny.

She’s been driven to the bank to sign a paper for her mother and then begun throwing tantrums in other to make us play fetch for some unrelated matter ‘just because.’ According to the people at SHAEF, a submarine is essentially a weapon of denial. It denies you access to the ocean and fast transit. I think of her that way: the power to deny is her only power so she uses it wildly and inappropriately. My mother is a fantasist. If you relate a story, she will then begin telling the story as though a) she already knows about it and b) was there. I’m serious. Overhearing a story about my workplace manages to get told as though she was there and somehow involved. Pressing her on the point invokes her one of her limited arsenal of typical behaviours.

After her house was sold and her money was deposited in her account, I told her she was on her last bit of credit with me. I’m the last family member who has anything to do with her and she cannot expect that after four decades years, my patience is inexhaustible. Well, a few weeks ago she did something else and I nearly blew my stack. The best thing to do is separate and so I told her I’d see her after Labour Day but that’s difficult since she actually needs things like pin money and toiletries.

I told her I wanted no birthday present from her, not even a card so don’t waste the postage. She sent one anyway and I returned it to her when picking up this month’s bills. Needless to say, she had a meltdown because she wants to be good, blah, blah, blah. So I opened the envelope and fussed over the card, pretending to like it but refused the gift. I don’t know why it matters, but I really feel as though accepting that cheque —  not a huge amount by any real standards — seems so symbolic at this of all stages.

I shall fulfill my duties. She’ll be well-cared for, her finances well managed for her exclusive interest, et cetera but that’s all.

Her cheque is in front of me I write. And now I’ve torn it.

…and go far away

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One thought on “Crossing a line

  1. barbara joy says:

    Sometimes defining our relationship with destructive parents as “obligatory” is best for our own mental health. I did the same thing for my mom before she died almost a year ago. The most important lesson was learning what I HAD to do for her welfare and what I THOUGHT I had to do because I might still be chasing her approval. It’s a life long lesson, that’s for sure

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