[sexist]I must remember, never tell a female that she has faults.[/sexist]
Of course, that's probably a good general rule with any human.
My mother is generally pretty cool, if insensitive to the effects she has on her neurotic son or indeed anyone close to her. She's going to Burning Man this year--how cool is that? And just finished getting her Doctorate a few months ago. Really cool.
She's pretty much where my family ends, as far as I'm concerned, her and my sister. There's not a lot to endear me to my grandparents. Maybe I'm being a pissy little kid, but I've had fights that ended in tears with my mom over being forced to go to family reunions. It's a damned waste of time, I don't know any of them, and there's only a few that I'd want to know. And there's a fair amount of back-story, too, grandfather's a vitriolic right-wing Catholic republican, grandma's just flat-out scary.
So early in September my grandfather's turning 80. His party falls on Sunday, and he wants to have it in Padre Island. That Saturday night happens to be my and Whine's first anniversary. Besides that, my job is unrewarding right now, I've got a pretty intense volunteering schedule, and little enough free time as it is. I really don't have ANY desire to blow an entire weekend on this. I'm tired, and I deserve my time off. It's also during my mom's trip to Burning Man.
So, we conclude one of our recent fights with her saying, paraphrase, that if I don't go to her father's birthday, maybe she won't be able to go to Burning Man.
For someone as terribly codependant as I am, that's really harsh. My sister calls me a few days ago, a few moments after I'd gotten a fabulously petty $150 ticket and a few hours before I contracted food poisoning, and tells me that we need to figure out what we want for travel arrangements. I'm in a terrible mood, and respond repeatedly (oh, very mature, but heartfelt) "to stay in Austin." She finally hangs up on me.
Yesterday, mom calls me up while I'm barely staying vertical--darn poison chicken--to chew me out for complaining to my sister. She thinks it's terrible that I said terrible things about her, that she would NEVER have said precisely the words "I can't go to Burning Man if you don't go to the party," those were only facts, what, should I only try to convince you with things that I make believe? and closes with the memorable line, "It hurts me when you say that I'm manipulative."
Of course, there's no way to say that and sound sincere, it's like saying "I'm not being disagreeable." But this martyr stuff is wearing thin, real quick.