#062–How do you talk to someone in your family when you have nothing to say?

This is just not my day, and every time there’s something in the mail from mom or a text, it makes me think about this question. This morning’s no exception–something came in the mail lately. This thing was something I didn’t even recall we had, and don’t remember asking for from her. But there it was.

And so I sent a text, early in the morning so I could avoid conversation (yes, I’m an awful person). It wasn’t really a thank you, but an acknowledgement that it arrived (some packages have abruptly been lost and found in the past few months around here) and I thought it was neat. Well, that didn’t sit well with her. She was annoyed that I didn’t say “thank you” and “what’s with you?”

Me and getting things unexpectedly don’t go along very well. I know I’ve mentioned this before about a certain annoying someone, but it’s becoming more true by the day.

I admit, I suck at saying “Thanks,” even in a text. I’m guessing in this case I was abrupt because I didn’t want to get into a lengthy conversation and be even ruder when I told her this was my me time and i needed every moment. I don’t know anybody else who wants lengthy conversations at 5 a.m.

Fat lot of good it did me–I was annoyed by our responses to each other and my concentration was shot, so I abandoned writing and went to work way too early.stress-1837384_1280

The last time she sent me something I didn’t say anything, because I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t acknowledge that anything had come to me because I wasn’t sure why she gave it to me (or didn’t remember she was sending it), she was all huffy that I didn’t acknowledge what she sent and maybe she “should’ve just thrown it in the garbage.”

I don’t know why she’s sending me crap. I haven’t lived with her in 15 years–safe to say if I’ve never asked about it, I don’t need to have it that badly, if at all. And some of the things she brought up are things I barely remember having in the house. Clearly they don’t mean that much to me, or it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten all about them and no point having them now.

I’m sure there’s an easy solution here–Hi, I don’t want anything from you, please give whatever’s left there that’s mine that you don’t think I’m sure about to charity or something. She doesn’t need to spend the postage and I don’t need the stuff. Heavens, I’m trying so hard to clear out my office and rooms of all this excess crap I have as it is!

But that would include talking. I’ve become defensive as a reflex when it comes to talking to my mom, worse than talking to dad. I don’t want to talk to her and I feel like a total bitch because I should love my mom, right? But I don’t even know if I do.

We have nothing in common, really, and there’s less and less each day. I don’t know what she wants from me, and could probably call up my stepdad, but I wouldn’t want to put him in the middle of this crap myself (and she’s probably already talking his ear off about it).

I hate that she’s my mother and I don’t want to talk to her. I don’t want to talk to any family…and I’m not entirely sure why.

It’s just me, mom and dad. And we’re all loners, not too many friends and certainly not nearby. No wonder I’m all messed up if they were my social examples!

But honestly, I’d love to know, when it comes to family, how do you talk to someone when you have nothing to say?

I get defensive because I’m used to old conversations that revolved around mom’s political beliefs/rants. She may not do that anymore, I don’t know, but I can’t help being knee-jerk about it.

Newsroom throwing Blackberry
(From “The Newsroom”) Not quite that bad…but only because I can’t afford another phone.

 

I was talking to somebody this morning about the tendency for some people to start reaching out to family, seemingly out of nowhere. His theory was that the older some people get, the more they realize they don’t have much time left and they wanna spend it with everyone around them. Time is the key.

I agree somewhat. But we’re not spending time together, this is stuff that’s being pushed my way. I can’t bring myself to call and speak to her, and don’t want to.

I think it’s because of the downside of time: the more it passes by, the more my “wonderful childhood” with my parents feels like a lie, and I can’t help remembering things that eventually didn’t feel right anymore.

The biggest thing is I grew up bar-hopping with my mom. I think she rarely sprung for a babysitter and took me with her. Most of my memories of childhood include her driving or with a beer in hand. Sometimes she’d do business there, most of the time she’d drink with her friends and buy me a few sodas. The pinball machines and pool tables were my babysitters.

I’m sure this is one of the big reasons why I can’t really stand the smell or taste of beer. Took me a long time to figure that one out.

And I can’t remember those days all that fondly. And then as I got older and tried to develop my own viewpoints, to learn more and expand my horizons, it probably disappointed her that I didn’t think the way she did anymore (if at all).

I don’t want to argue, and I am the worst person at faking sincerity that I’ve ever known. I can’t pretend to enjoy someone’s company or some food or something–I’m an awful liar. And I know it comes across in my voice if we were to speak to each other. I can’t just “get along” anymore with her or anyone at the expense of how I’m really feeling.

I’ve lost that ability–or blew it to smithereens, perhaps. My really crappy coping mechanism so far is to just avoid, avoid, avoid. I just can’t figure out anything else I can do or say.

jmo house md hameron emma swan allison cameron Jennifer Morrison Hugh Laurie House M.D Greg House GIF

(From House M.D.) Yeah, kinda like that…

Honestly, how do you talk to someone when you have nothing to say? If I had a question about something I was trying to do, like a recipe or something, then it made sense I would call her up and get some clarification or tips. I used to do that.

Now I feel like I’d rather burn my kitchen down than let her help me out, because how long would we stay on topic?

I hate actually fearing conversation, actually dreading talking to family. Shouldn’t they be the easiest people to shoot the breeze with? I just don’t want to talk to anyone I’m related to, not really.

And if I can’t talk to family, who the hell else can I talk to? This is really killing my ability to learn how to be more sociable, if I can’t even get over this paralysis of talking to family members.

I have to ask because she used to get mad that I wouldn’t call her much if ever and I tried to tell her that I had nothing to say. That conversation, when I finally got through to her, ended in crying and screaming on both ends… for a ton of reasons. I used to hear her eyes glazing over when I started talking about research papers I was working on and things I’d found, and she’d be all “wait, what?” I know I get excitable and talk too fast, but I’d been around her often enough to know when she was working on something else at the same time. She sounded that way a few times, and then she’d rant about politics for half an hour before I got frustrated and made excuses to get out of the conversation.

To me, if you’re not going to dedicate your time to the person on the other end of the line, then why bother talking to them? I hate that crap and would just rather not talk.

Any ideas on how to talk to family when you have nothing to say, if you have to?

I have a feeling I’m going to need to try something, whether it leads to rebuilding or severing ties with honesty between us. I’m a lousy liar, so this will take a great deal of work either way.

6 thoughts on “#062–How do you talk to someone in your family when you have nothing to say?

    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      What kills me is I JUST read the last text she threw at me, talking about she expected me to have manners and “would you leave an inheritance to a person who is not grateful?” Every damn time she brings up gratitude and money–Why? I’ve never asked her for a cent (except when she agreed to split community college costs with dad, and then she reneged on that), so I don’t know what the hell she’s going on about, and that’s another reason I don’t want to talk.

      Makes me wonder what she REALLY thinks of me at this point, too.

      Liked by 2 people

        • TheChattyIntrovert says:

          I was an inch away from asking that question myself–does she want validation, proof that she matters? She’s got a husband, house, and a life of her own, a helluva lot more than I’ve got. And if this is some guilt tactic, for what, exactly, I don’t know. Ugh…no wonder I’ve had a bad day, trying to figure this out. At least it’s in the Ether and I can think about other things.

          Liked by 2 people

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