I posted previously about my mother's meddling and getting me invited to a shower I wasn't initially invited to. Lately, her obsession has been that I don't attend enough family events, and she's also been complaining alot that I never have time for her. She insisted on coming out for my daughter's 3rd bday. We had seen her just 2 weeks prior for Easter and had a pseudo bday party for my daughter that day at my cousin's house. So when the topic of coming out for the actual bday day, I reminded my mom that we had a kids party scheduled for that day and would be VERY busy. It probably wasn't the best time for a visit. Sure enough, in the weeks since then there's hostility under the surface in every conversation because I never even had time to sit down and chat with her that weekend (mind you, I generally call this woman EVERY DAY). Last Thursday the hositility kicked up a couple notches after I told her I wasn't going to apologize. I warned her in advance it was going to be a chaotic weekend and she chose to come out anyway. So if she's dissatisfied with the way the visit went, that's on her. Our discussion ends and 4 days later I call to check in and find out if she received the new cell phone we shipped to her (her old one is broken). I got her voicemail so I left a message and asked that she call me back. She has yet to return my call. This is a classic game my mom plays. She's a textbook narcissitic personality and LOVES her silent treatments. So, this morning my husband tells me that while he normally wouldn't tell me to play into her game, we both have business trips in the next couple of weeks and Mother's Day is gonna hit smack in the middle of this busy time. Maybe I should try to call her today and bring a stop to this saga because we really don't need this dragging out into the next couple of busy weeks. He told me that he knows my mother has serious issues and that we shouldn't enable her. But this is a "silent" fight over absolutely nothing of significance and we need to take the high road and act like adults even when she won't. I'm undecided. To be quite honest, I've had to contend with silent treatments from her my whole life and I've just about had enough of this nonsence. The way I see it, if she doesn't want to speak to me, fine. As you wish, mother. Thoughts?

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I had to open this discussion because I'm so familiar with "the silent treatment", one of my mother's and both sisters' favorite punishments. IMO, when it drags on, it is a form of shunning designed to make you feel worthless (so the other person can feel good about him/herself). It's a power play to not put the issues on the table and talk about what happened intended to coerce you into taking all the blame and never having your side, your feelings, your emotions acknowledged, discussed or resolved. I make one sincere attempt which does include an apology and acknowledgement of the other person's feelings and then it's on them. Sometimes its particularly hard to find something to apologize for but its important to own your part of it. "I'm sorry if you felt hurt" isn't real because it puts the onus on the other person - like they're feeling something that's not valid (and their feelings are reality to them just like your feelings are reality to you). Try examining your emotions, where your head was that weekend and put the apology into a statement of your feelings - like, "I was feeling stressed about managing another visit and having a b-day party for Janie at the same time. I resented not being able to just concentrate my energy on Janie and I should have just told you no. Instead, I accepted you coming and then didn't spend time with you. I will handle it differently the next time. I am sorry." (I chose this example because a lot of times, for me, the problem is I should have said no to start with and I did have underlying resentment from suppressing my own needs and that "underlying resentment" was a contributor to what went wrong.) While I think this is a very authentic apology, my guess is it won't work with your mom because she probably does have an expectation that you suppress your own needs. Nonetheless, you'll know that you did what you could do. BTW, my sisters haven't spoken to me in months because this apology didn't work for them. They would prefer that I suppress my needs, feelings and emotions and take 100% responsibility for everything. I won't do this anymore. But I have no guilt or regret. So give some thought as to how to respect yourself (very important) and still acknowledge how your actions may have impacted her.

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