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Study and Safewords. - helen-louise
baratron
baratron
Study and Safewords.
I have five or six livejournal entries in my mental queue to post here at some point. This is not one of them. As often happens, I'm buried in mostly-offline life, and A Thing has happened that's stressed me enough to need to post about it NOW.

Has anyone ever tried the concept of a safeword with their mother?

I'm asking this because I've spent the past 3 days in very close proximity with mine, working incredibly hard to clear out the back room in my house so I can use it as a study. This has been going really well (thanks also to hatter & bfo) and it is now usable and quite comfortable.

But about midnight tonight my mother got to the state of tiredness/stress where she started misinterpreting everything I said, and I kept telling her that she wasn't listening properly and it was too late at night and she should go home, and she kept on trying to argue with me despite acknowledging tiredness, and we ended up having an absolutely blazing row which wouldn't have happened if she'd have just gone home an hour and a half earlier like I'd suggested. So now I feel guilty and sad because it seems very, um, ungrateful to have a massive row with someone after they've been helping you sort out junk for three days, but still frustrated because I'd said I needed to be left alone.

So I'm wondering about the concept of a safeword to use with one's mother, with the implication of "No, I really mean no, you are pushing my buttons and we need to end this conversation now!". Of course, it would only work if your mother is reasonably sane, or else her response to the safeword would simply be to ratchet up the levels of emotional blackmail.

In other news (actually, completely related to the above, this being most of the source of the stress), IKEA don't make the sort of units I want, and I don't know who does. They did 21 years ago (when I was 13), but don't any more. This is highly annoying. I have a picture in my head of what I want this room to look like (basically my teenage bedroom, only without the bed), and I don't know how to go about getting it to happen.

It's probably mostly-pointless trying to buy more furniture for this room in any case, because it needs to be completely redone properly - at least one wall has such bad damp in it that paint is actively peeling off, and the floor has a crappy carpet and fails to be flat to such an extent that furniture leans in a multitude of directions. I think we're back to Richard and his legendary Gantt chart of house renovational d00m actually coming into existence before I can get any further. (I'm thinking it'll look something like this, only with far more dependencies. Have to clear the furniture out of the room before we can get the walls replastered, and have to do that before we can think about fixing the floor. But probably have to get the kitchen sorted out first because it's all the same wall - argh!).

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hiddenpaw From: hiddenpaw Date: 5th September 2010 03:58 (UTC) (Link)
It may well work once at least as long as you don't tell your mother about the concept of a safe word before hand. A random compleatly incongrus word thrown on its own in to a conversation can stop it dead while your mother asks what it means. At this point you can change the subject to the concept of safe words and hopefully quickly round to taking a break.
firecat From: firecat Date: 5th September 2010 03:58 (UTC) (Link)
This works in my family: "I'm getting tired, so let's call it a night."
(Deleted comment)
nitoda From: nitoda Date: 5th September 2010 06:40 (UTC) (Link)
I don't suppose it's any comfort, but I'd guess your Mum is also feeling guilty and upset about it. After all, she's used to looking after you and it won't be the first time she's pushed you too far. I don't know how it ended, but I'd suggest contact again as soon as you feel able and express regret about how the evening ended along with gratitude for the work she did for and with you earlier. I'm sure when she's not tired herself she will understand. You may even get an apology back from her? You and your Mum generally have a really good relationship as far as I can tell, so I'm sure it can survive this kind of thing induced by stress occasionally. ::hugs::
Understand your frustration re IKEA - they do seem to stop doing things just when we decide we need another ... maddening!
What kind of furniture is it that you need? If you describe it maybe we can find something similar elsewhere.
artremis From: artremis Date: 5th September 2010 11:04 (UTC) (Link)
o urgle! Much sympathy an *gentle hugs*

i'm guessing your mother isn't used to direct honest communication what with living with your Dad so it's maybe hard for her to hear it and not be looking for hidden messages and power-games. Specially when although it's an entirely reasonable (and sensible) thing for you to say it could feel a bit rejecting to a person in a bad-head-place. (i'm assuming you were already doing stuff like using i-statements to make it more gentle and hearable)
A thing that's sometimes worked for me is to (slowly and gently) physically remove myself - so i your case i guess i'd have started doing my bedtime routine and if she stayed around have eventual acttly have gone to bed leaving her to choose stay in other parts of your house doing clearing etc without you to argue with or take herself home
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 5th September 2010 14:38 (UTC) (Link)
Is your Mum able/willing to stop perseverating on something when your physical condition intrudes? Like if you had to run to the toilet or if you couldn't breathe, is she responsive to you saying 'I can't cope now, can we take it up tomorrow?" If yes, then the trick is to get her to see 'too tired to think' as a physical urgent crisis.

My former partner (yeah that one) was difficult to convince that we really would be willing to resume the hard convo later. With him we developed the convention of offering the other person the last word. "I have to go to bed, do you want the last word?" Also, we had to be rigidly rude about not talking at all after we had asked him to stop.

With your other friends, what would you do if they ignored your cues that you'd had enough? I think it's hard to be the same kind of assertive with one's parent, but at the same time, hard to expect them to pick up your cues.

*sympathy*
micheinnz From: micheinnz Date: 9th September 2010 08:55 (UTC) (Link)
Has anyone ever tried the concept of a safeword with their mother?

Not with my mother, but Weasel has known what a "safety word" is (if not necessarily the original context) since she was tiny. If we're having a tickle war or playfight and she says the safety word, the silliness stops Right Then. It works the other way round, too -- if I or the DH say it, _she_ stops.

I can't see us abandoning the safety word altogether, although we may not use it just for playfights when she's an adult.
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