the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 131 Defend Yourself

Posted by themirrenlee on 10/05/2012

Well, I did it again – went on the defensive instead of the offensive.

This incident involved my Fibro. but it can apply to anyone and their particular “Buttons”.

As I’ve written before, I have a “Guilt Button” regarding my health, due totally to not being “allowed” to be sick by my family growing up. I was to be on duty at all times as the “Hired Help”.

So my ex mother-in-law is due to get out of hospital on Monday, where she’s been for three weeks since breaking her hip.

I constantly help her, and do everything I can to show her how much I care. The problem is, she absolutely can’t understand Fibro or Chronic Fatigue, no matter how much I’ve explained it; or helped her with her own chronic health issues. She acts like my family did, meaning as if I’m letting her down by not being fine whenever she needs me.

I thought I was getting good at telling her she needed to stop acting like it was my fault, but today I slipped backwards.

I hadn’t rung her for two days due to being so tired, and today she was a bit distant with me – I knew she would be, and I was prepared for it. Then she went on about how much she misses me (I haven’t visited in over a week with my health struggles), so I wasn’t “punished” too much.

I had told her a week ago I’d take her home from the hospital (when she knew the day) since I wasn’t going to Sydney until the end of the week, and she had been looking forward to this.

So I asked her if she knew her discharge day yet, and she said Monday. I said I’d just made a doctor’s appointment for then, but I’d change it and pick her up instead.

Here it comes: “Oh, I don’t know, Mirren, if I can rely on you.”

Hmmmm … I won’t list here how I’ve helped her, but trust me when I say that I’ve been picking up the slack where her family has been letting her down, and going above and beyond the call of duty.

I would have understood (and agreed) if she’d said, “But I’m worried about trying to make a plan the way your Fibro’s acting up at the moment.”

But no, she phrased it in such a way as to be personally discounting of me. It’s Game playing at its best, which she’s known for, usually as the Persecutor.

Now, that’s not what bothered me – I expect things like that from her – and indeed, I replied, “Don’t give me any grief, I’m doing the best I can. And I’ve never let you down.”

What bothered me as I thought about it later is that I immediately went on the defensive about it instead of the offensive, which would have been: “Yeah, you’re right, my health’s been a bitch lately. Who else can pick you up?”

I told myself a long time ago that when somebody hurt me I should take a breath, count to three …

and then shoot them.

Or, barring that, at least answer from a position of power and control, than from a knee-jerk Victim response.

But that’s the problem when we get kind of beaten down by health issues or fatigue or emotional abuse, isn’t it? We find it hard to dredge up the strength to fight back the way we should.

And Persecutors know that. They can sense your weak spots and “Buttons” a mile away.

We can’t change their ACTIONS. We can only change our REACTIONS.

Caryl is down with one of her horrible migraines (they can go on for days), and Roman went to Perth for a conference. It’s one of the reasons I postponed my Sydney trip – in case Caryl needed help while he’s gone. She often has to go to hospital with her migraines.

So “unreliable” me is trying to help two wounded people while still feeling pretty “special” myself.

I’m thinking of playing with Zina and telling her I can’t pick her up after all. To play Games, here’s a hint: you have to use their own arguments against them.

So in this case I would say, “I’ve been thinking about it and you’re right, you can’t rely on me. Plus I’ve got Caryl to look after. (This would not please someone who wants to be the most important.) So, I’ll try to see you at home before I leave Melbourne.”

Will I do it? I’m not sure. A theme through my whole life has been people taking me for granted because I let them, and it’s one reason I went into counselling in the first place: to teach myself to believe that my needs were just as important as anyone else’s.

I may never be able to get her to understand my health, but I can sure as hell make sure she doesn’t discount me or take me for granted.

I’ll let you know what happens. In the meantime, I hope anyone reading this recognizes when they’re being “dissed” and calls the Persecutor on it.

I’m just lookin’ after me …

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