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Finding Peace — Manuscript Post #35

Adult Child of an Alcoholic, ACoA, Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, Finding Peace, One Patient's Journey, Therapy For the Adult Child of an Alcoholic
Posted: October 5, 2015 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

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–Sessions: 24 of 53
Monday, June 22, 2009 11:00am
Blood Donation, Apheresis, Number 299

Since my last session, Crackle had emailed me. She told me that Snap was concerned that our mother was having serious health issues and would not be alive much longer. Crackle wanted to know if it was ok for Snap to call me. This sounds like an odd question, but after he threatened me years ago I was not eager to speak to him. I told her that I preferred any and all communications to be in writing.

Snap called me anyway, to tell me that “mother doesn’t have long to live”. He had called me about a month earlier and left a message that my mother had been diagnosed with a congestive heart condition. I didn’t have any more information than that. At this time, Pop hadn’t had any contact with my mother or Snap for many years. While I was in contact with my mother, I did not know any details of her health or finances. Any time I tried to find out anything I was told it wasn’t any of my business, and I was confident that even if I was told something, it was inaccurate at best or at worst, a complete lie.

Crackle, who had been very close to Pop for many years was no longer speaking to him. I don’t know the details of this estrangement, but I’m sure I couldn’t understand it even if it was explained to me. So much drama.

Now that I have been contacted, and told that my mother’s health was declining, what was I to do? I was confident that Crackle and Snap would not contact Pop. Did I have an obligation to contact Pop? I asked Elsie this question. Her answer was direct — “yes”.

I had no way on knowing if my mother was near the end of her life. If she was, and if this might be the last time I could see her alive, then it was a given that I must travel to see her right away. Elsie was again direct — “No, it is not a given that you are going right away”. She went on to explain that I needed to think about boundaries, that I needed to figure out what I would and would not do. I should think about how much travel I would do, how much money I would spend. She went on to say something that really got my attention. In an earlier session she had told me that I don’t need to ‘catastrophize’ so much. She meant that I needed to stop assuming that the worst possible outcome was about to happen.

Elsie asked me what I planned to say to my mother if I did visit. I told her that I planned to tell my mother that I loved her. Elsie listened and then moved on.

If my mother was near the end of her life, Elsie said, “This is an event where catastrophizing was appropriate. This is a ring of fire”. Up to this point, Elsie had always encouraged pulling back from assuming things would go badly. Now she appeared to be telling me that it was appropriate to expect things to go badly. I took this seriously. I don’t know exactly what she meant by “a ring of fire”. I took it to mean that dealing with my family through my mother’s end-of-life was going to be an experience that could really damage me.

I told her that I just wanted it to be over, referring to whatever was coming. Given that I had already asked her if I should tell Pop what was going on, since my other siblings were not talking to him, she encouraged me to tell everyone (all my siblings) what I knew and let them decide what they wanted to do with the information.

I was also wondering, if this was the last time I could see my mother alive, if I should take my family, my wife and sons, with me. We had visited my mother some years before this and her behavior was concerning. Towards the end of the visit, when she realized that we were also going to visit Pop during the same trip, she started getting upset. I had my wife take our sons out to the car. I tried to talk to my mother but she became more upset and actually broke the glass of a framed picture she wanted me to take with me.

I didn’t know if I should take my wife and sons to see my mother or not. I wasn’t sure what would be best for them. Elsie listened to my concerns and told me that I should honor the boys by asking them if they want to go. Unless they had a relationship with my mother, they wouldn’t regret not going. She also said they might want to go to support me, and that there would be no harm to them in the future if they didn’t go.

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