How do I create and maintain boundaries with Mom?
My new therapist suggested we work with Tarot cards as a way to share a "surface" while we are doing sessions remotely. It was easy to say "yes" to that. I've been coveting a deck of cards that I saw in her office - the Ethereal Visions Illuminated Tarot Deck. My husband gave it to me for Christmas and I've started playing with the cards in simple, one card, readings.
We've also been talking, in therapy, about my very challenging relationship with my mother. It's going on 17 years since I moved across the country and away from her and my siblings but, wow!, still!, I am triggered easily by her behavior, way of talking to me, and even individual words she says. It's upsetting, distracting, mood-disrupting, and just ugly for me.
Distance, alone, isn't enough of a boundary between me and Mom.
A few days after Christmas, I opened my new deck of cards. I shuffled them, laid them face-side down, and spread them in an arc. I asked one question, "How do I create and maintain boundaries with Mom?" I drew one card. The two of pentacles.
Such a lovely card! A young woman dancing energetically. Waves ebb and flow behind her. An infinity sign wraps around the ground below her indicating perpetuity and potential. She holds a pentacle in each hand, like weights being balanced. Her face is serene and her hair flows out behind her, riding the motion of her steps.
After sitting with my first impressions of the image, I visit Google. How do others (experts?) interpret this card? My favorite interpretation is also the most encouraging. Little Red Tarot suggests that I am capable of handling this challenge, this balancing act, this dance. It advises me to find my "sweet spot" where I can manage the weight and the sway. The interpretation also grants that I may need to ask for practical help or even lay something down. And that's ok. In conclusion, this interpretation notes that it might be time to make a decision. Either/or? Both/and?
Today, I'm holding with both/and. I can be myself and I can have a different relationship with Mom. It requires change and balance - that persistent wobbling to find a sweet spot. Which means, ugh, this will require energy and time, like maybe I'm dancing these moves forever. And it means, oh, I can do this, I can be creative about it, and I can ask for help. I have choices.
My first choice is obvious to me. I'm laying down that very heavy "good daughter." She's the one who ensures current photos are up on Facebook or otherwise available to Mom. She arranged the family video call at Christmas. She always replies to texts and calls and says thank you and cushions any possible disappointment for her mother and never asks to be seen or heard as anything other than a "good daughter."
She's also a terrible dancer and she's wearing me out.
My brain knows that it's going to take some energy and time for the "good daughter" to be replaced by... who? What is the name of the daughter, me, in the sweet spot? I'm dancing my wobbly balancing dance to meet that version of me.