I had a difficult conversation with my adult, but not grown daughter last night. Mainly because we can’t continue not speaking to each other indefinitely and I’m the actual adult in this relationship. Therefore, the job of opening up the lines of communication falls to me. It doesn’t matter the specifics of the situation that blew up between us. What it boiled down to, as it nearly always does, was inadequate communication, lack of consideration, a battle of wills with some stubbornness and attitude thrown in for good measure. Since this blog is all about honesty and getting to the heart of things, I’ll admit I own my part in all of that. But HER part is worse!!!! Ok, now that I have that childish (but totally true) point out of the way, let’s get back to the heart of things.
Learning to talk to Baby Bub as an adult in a calm manner and attempting to communicate clearly with her is not a process I enjoy or feel very confident in. Even when I know my position and my point are clear, she knows how to hit back where it hurts. Especially when it doesn’t really have to do with what we are discussing and hashing out. It seems that instinct children possess, to push you to the edge or manipulate you into getting what they want, gets sharper as adults. Somehow I ended up defending myself over behaviors that I really don’t exhibit anymore, or certainly have learned to process better in order to not affect those around me anymore, a point she admitted as she threw the red herring into the situation. However, as always, I don’t see it as it’s happening but I know I feel vaguely guilty and shitty afterward. Especially when she forgives me when I apologize for my part but somehow her part ends up minimized. It’s not a pleasant feeling to realize that you may not be emotionally safe with your own child.
She did bring up a point about the “miscommunication”. She says I should have expressed to her that it was important what I was asking of her. That part is bullshit. I told her to do something and when I needed it done. She wasn’t happy about it and my insistence that it be done. The conversation happened via text, so she thought she could get away with not doing it by saying she thought I had changed it like she asked me to. What I need to do is be direct with her, verbally by phone or face to face and not leave any room for uncertainty. This is not the first time she’s done this and as I write this I’m starting to understand why I don’t enjoy communicating with her or feel very confident when I do. Geez Louise!
It seems I need to start viewing her more as the adult she has become and not as the girl-child she used to be. Because the truth of the matter is that I’ve played a part in this dynamic. I am reluctant to identify when people close to me use my love for them as a means to manipulate, control or retaliate. I’ve got quite a few of them in my immediate vicinity, especially family. Once I do identify the person and their behavior, I usually keep my distance for a while. I talk with my therapist and spiritual advisor, possibly a close friend who can provide honest constructive feedback. I learn to assert myself when necessary or be clear and direct when a situation calls for it. Mostly I continue learning to gain strength and strides in who I am because that’s what there is for me. So far, as I’ve done that, the person or situation comes back around and I learn to respond differently, or not take it personally since their behavior is usually about them and not me. Or at least, that is what my spiritual advisor is teaching me and I am learning it to be true so far. This is another natural consequence from my growth and progress, right? I address an issue or situation. Things can get uncomfortable or downright hostile and hurtful. But I’ve said my piece, admitted my part, accepted accountability and responsibility for keeping my side of the street clean. It’ll be awkward, may be tentative for a time and then this is how it is. The hope is those who want to be a part of my life will adjust.