Last night and this morning were very difficult. Much more difficult than I had anticipated.
I learned yesterday evening that my mother-in-law was stopping by today, having asked my husband to return a cable box for his Uncle, who was recently moved into a Nursing Home. She wanted to drop off the box and most recent bill on her way to the Nursing Home. They had been talking on the phone and I heard him saying, “yes, I can do that”, “yes, that would be fine.”
He said she was leaving her house between 9-9:30 am, so he was going to come straight home from work, rather than running banking errands. He didn’t want me to have to entertain her by myself.
Once again, just like the person who called and wanted to pick up her books, I wasn’t asked if the time was good for me, I was just “told” this is what’s happening. My husband could have told her when he was getting home from work and asked her if she could come then, but he didn’t.
I think it has been more than a year since we last saw her. We’ve spoken on the phone a couple of times, but not seen one another.
We had gone to visit her in September, 2011, taken her dinner and ended up being confronted by both her and my husband’s sister and brother-in-law over my blog. It was a horrible evening, it felt very much like an ambush, they were very aggressive, accusatory and cruel. I won’t go into all the details here, but it was a devastating exchange.
Last night, I dreamed that whole event, like a movie replaying, in vivid, graphic detail.
I woke this morning, sweating, heart beating fast, with a migraine. As I sat up on the edge of the bed, tears began rolling down my cheeks.
As I got dressed I began to realize I was suffering an anxiety attack. I didn’t want to sit across the room from my mother-in-law, didn’t want to make small talk with her. I didn’t want to see her.
All that hurt, all the horrible things that had been said, the accusations that had been thrown at me, the fact that they would not let me speak, had never been addressed. There were never any apologies.
I walked my dog, got some fresh air. I didn’t want to hurry through our walk, but didn’t want my son to be here alone, should my m-i-l arrive earlier than my husband anticipated.
By the time she arrived, I was having a full blown anxiety attack. I was dizzy, sick to my stomach, could feel my pulse racing.
She opened the door and walked in, without knocking first, so Kodiak was agitated. She announced she needed the bathroom and went into the master bath, as she always has, though the guest bathroom is off the living room, the bathroom our son uses.
She sat down and started talking about the cable box, what books she’s reading, my husband’s Uncle. I smiled, nodded and listened. Then my husband came home. Her first words to him weren’t hello or how was your day, but “You’re getting fat boy.”
Shortly thereafter, my best friend arrived, as we take her with us the first week of every month to get groceries. Once she arrived, m-i-l got up and put her coat on, going to the door, saying she had to get going.
The rest of the morning, I was dizzy, nauseated, irritable and just felt bad. I apologized to my husband later in the day for being impatient and anxious. He told me there was nothing to be sorry for, he understood.
That was the first time a “dream” affected me like a “flashback”, the first time (I can recall) that a “dream” triggered an anxiety attack.
I’ve spent a good bit of time tonight talking to my husband about my feelings, talking about the effect her appearance had on me and my emotions. He was very supportive. He understood that it might have been a good idea to have included me in the discussion and planning for her to stop by the house, seeing as how he knew she was going to arrive before he got home from work. It felt good to talk about everything and know that I was heard.