I had two very fun and interesting weekends in a row at the end of June. I traveled by myself (pics are below) and the following weekend a friend of mine came to visit me!
After being depressed for a while I went on a weekend excursion to the Marseille and Aix-en-Provence by myself. I don’t know what it was but it helped to be by myself and in a somewhat uncomfortable situation as my French is not very good and this is not my home country. I had a lot of time to think but also not to think and enjoy sights…look at things I had never seen before. I also figured out why I was depressed…at least the root cause of it.
My narcissistic mother had contacted me for the first time in a 5 years about 2 months ago…she sent one sentence: Your father is ill and btw your uncle died last year. Nice, eh? Her e-mails to me haven’t changed but I have. I read the e-mail knowing that she could be lying because my father has been ill with heart disease and other ailments for the last 20 years. He has never been really 100% and he is getting older. But I found out what had happened and contacted my aunt to find out more info. My father is not well…not urgent but the ailment will soon take its toll as he gets older. And so I contacted him…I called my mother and father after 5 years of no contact. When my mother picked up the phone she asked who I was 20 times before acknowledging it was me on the line…a tactic she has perfected since I moved out of the house (20 years ago). I was able to talk to my dad for a few minutes and then it was immediately back to my mother.
I wasn’t upset after the interaction…I was actually apathetic. She repeatedly tried to provoke me but I stuck to my purpose…how is my dad? That was the reason I called…not to see how my mother is.
It seemed like, at first, I was fine with all this…but in the end I wasn’t. I was depressed over my dad. It is really hard to look at this situation and not call myself a spoiled little brat. How can I not be in contact when my dad is not well? How can I live overseas and enjoy this experience while he suffers? I wondered if the blanket in which I shield myself is just a mask to cover up my own narcissism. The blanket of recovery…I questioned all of this…all that I believe.
I had to get out. Escape my own thoughts. The weekend trip by myself gave me relief and some clarity. I am officially breaking No Contact and visiting my dad next month. It has been 5 years…not long but yet so. A lot has changed since then…for me. The other thing I am doing is bringing my bf with me. In 13 years of our relationship he hasn’t met my parents. I kept all that was good in my life away from them…a fear she would find a way to ruin it. I also realized I can’t do this alone nor do I want to anymore. I don’t know how it will go…but I do want to see my dad and it may be for the last time.
The next weekend a friend of mine that I met in language class came to visit me. We got along really well and we are both Americans living in Europe. Since our friendship is new we didn’t really talk about the ‘it’. Our families. It didn’t really come up until the second evening. My friend talked a lot about her dad and never mentioned her mother…nor did I. It is not a weird thing when someone doesn’t talk about their family…at least to me ;). But eventually she asked and I gave the standard response ‘I don’t have a good relationship with them’. And this lead to the discovery that we both have NMs. Her dad and NM are divorced and she has a good relationship with her dad now.
In the surprise and a mixed delight that we both have crazy mothers, she kept using a key phrase when she realizes she struggles in relationships…FYM…it rhymes with ‘TUCK U MOM’. It was hilarious. She said ‘every time I go through a bad relationship with a friend or bf…I say…FYM.’ So true. So…FYM!
The Saturday market in Aix-en-Provence
The marketplace in Aix turned into a brightly colored terrace in the early evening.
Marseille: view from the church (Notre-Dame de la Garde) where sailors go to give thanks for making it home safely from sea.
The Vieux Port in Marseilles (with the Notre-Dame de la Garde up on the hill in the background)