Fire burned in her chest. How could one person be so incredibly fucking stupid, selfish, and invilidic all at the same time? Especially when the moronic cupcake was your mother. Caitlin had always felt that she and her mother were akin fire and ice. They both had their benefits and their drawbacks. Her mother was warm and emotionally out there, while Caitlin was more reserved. The Ice Queen – as her mother frequently jokes. Her mother’s text, while not overly aggressive was a bombshell waiting to be detonated.

“Hi Honey, not sure of your plans today. I know you’re always so busy. Are you at home or still at work? I made soup if you’d like some. Just thinking of you! xoxox”

She knows I’m still at work. She knows this, because we spoke on the phone this morning. I’m covering her shift. If I’m covering her 3 – 7 shift, and it’s 7:00 PM then I’m still at work, not at home or at the gym, or anywhere doing anything for me. I’m finishing working.

The highlight of any text from her mother was the simple phrase where she silently blasted Caitlin for some poor decision or her lack of attention to her. Any seemingly simple phrase is actually a long winded rant about how her mother conceived, birthed, and raised Caitlin. If it wasn’t for her Caitlin wouldn’t be here – mind you, she didn’t conceive the baby without help, but it’s not worth the argument to point that out with her. It’s better, as always, to deflect. To be uber straightforward while incredibly vague. Think: compliment sandwich. Example:

“Thanks! After work I’m going to the gym. Soup sounds good – make sure to freeze some for me. Feel better!”

Decoded:
Thanks – for the love and/or the soup? The world will never know, but who doesn’t like to be thanked?
After work I’m going to the gym – which means I will not be coming to your house.
Soup sounds good – feel good about your ability to cook
Make sure to freeze some for me – I’m definitely not coming over.
Feel better – Relax. I still love you

This should make a clear point without actually engaging in an argument, having anyone’s feelings hurts, or causing unnecessary aggravation for those less inclined to be sensitive. It’s not that Caitlin is proud she’s a bitch. She’s just aware of it.

“Ok. I figure that you won’t be stopping by then. I want to visit your grandmother at some point this evening. Keep me posted. I love you xoxox”

Normal people might feel like a dick here. Their own mother practically begging them to visit, to stop by, to show them love. Caitlin feels like punching herself in the face, or maybe putting her fist through the cabinet. How is she supposed to do anything for herself when she’s surrounded by all of these needy people? Baby, I love you; Honey, come visit; Hey girl, I need a favor… It’s super terrific to have people who love you, but why can’t they do more of their loving from afar?

Just try one of those tricks your therapist recommends. Say something positive and breathe in. Hold it. Say “so, relax” as you breathe out. Or you can just wait for everyone to stop sucking, or just stop being a raging cunt, or you can focus on your positive statements. “I have a cigarette, so relax. I am lighting my cigarette, so relax. I am driving to the gym, so relax. I’m crazy, but I know it… so, relax.”

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