I had the usual unnamed dread and unhappiness Christmas eve and Christmas day but they soon passed, in about 24 hrs each
Today I carried out my annual 'duty' and visited my mother. Was there attention seeking? Check. Manipulative behaviour? Check. Overblown histronics? Check. Sly insults and put-downs? Check. When none of those worked were there insincere compliments? Check.
I have gotten really good at not engaging, not giving her any way in, not giving her the attention and emotional responses she wants. I'm quite pleased with that. Today I thought; Wow! This is the mellow version of my mother. It is also the restrained version who knows I can and will simply walk away. How the hell did I cope when I was young and she was ten times worse? How did I cope when I was dependent and couldn't walk away?
I'm wondering if it is healthy for me to go through with this farce each year. I am wondering if I am simply reinforcing the protective disengagement so necessary with her but so damaging in other relationships?