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Mary's Talk at the May 2019 Group Session

Session 201905252
Mary’s Talk
“Different Perceptions”
“Fixing”

Saturday, May 25, 2019 (Group/Hinsdale, New Hampshire)

Participants: Mary (Michael), Brigitt (Camile), Carole (Aileen), Christina C. (Melian), Eric C. (Doren), Ivan K., John (Rrussell), Karen (Turell), Lynda (Ruther), Marcy (Idris), Mark W., Scotty (Gianni), and Tariq (Jessic) and Veronica (Amadis).

MARY: That’s so interesting that you decided to come, Carole, because for the first time ever I had a dream about Vicki last night.

CAROLE: I have been thinking about Vicki for the last three days.

MARY: Really.

CAROLE: Yes. I was wondering what’s going on with her. And then I remembered this photo that I took of her in California. And I think I sent you seconds of all the photographs I took out there. And remember that picture - it’s her at her desk as the scribe with…what did she have? Did she have like an alien or something on her desk or something?

MARY: Yep. Yep.

CAROLE: You can’t really see her face, but it’s really cool. I wonder where that photo is. I should find that photo and post it. So, that’s very interesting. I was thinking about her on the way up here, too.

MARY: Oh, how interesting. It just reminded me when I saw you that I had this dream about her last night, which I woke up and was like, “Okay, that was weird.” (Laughs) I don’t dream about normal things, ever. I mean, I don’t. I dream about weird, bizarre, strange things that don’t exist.

SCOTTY: They DO exist, but not here. (Group laughter)

MARY: Well, they may exist somewhere, but they definitely don’t exist here. And that’s usually what I dream about. I can’t ever interpret my dreams because they’re all so bizarre.

CAROLE: They’re camouflaged.

MARY: Yeah. I think I usually include one thing in my dreams that is something that I can relate to, and I think I only do that to anchor myself somehow. Like I’ll have a school bus in the middle of flying neon weird creatures or something. Or I had an electric dragon type of creature that you couldn’t see because it was all made out of electricity. You could only see it if something touched it and made it light up. And then I had a bowling alley there. I was like, “What?” I have these weird, one-image-in-the-middle of things that will kind of ground me into something, but I don’t usually dream about normal things or people I know. And I’ve never had a dream about Vicki ever since she died.

CAROLE: I had a few about Vicki just shortly before she died, and I saw her and Ron in this place. It was like he was… You know like when a house disappears and all he has left is the foundation?

MARY: Mm-hm.

CAROLE: It was in another country. It might have been in Peru, and they were living in this thing, like that’s all that was left there. And they had dishes and everything all made of stone. And I could feel their relationship. It was really interesting, because I told Vicki about it, and it was not too long after that that she transitioned. And I said it was really interesting because in the dream I could feel your feelings for each other. And I said it felt like in the dream that he loved you more than you loved him. And she said, “Oh no. It’s the other way around.”

MARY: Yes. Yes.

CAROLE: But that’s interesting that it made… it brought it to the surface, you know?

MARY: Mm-hm. Yeah, it would have definitely been the other way around—definitely. I would agree with that. Yeah. Because he was very much in love with Cathy.

CAROLE: Cathy. I know. That was from away back. (Group chatter)

MARY: Yeah. It was just meant to be.

CAROLE: He knew how to keep aloof and detached in the relationship with Vicki. That was so obvious.

MARY: They were like roommates.

CAROLE: They were. It was like, “Ron, are you even here?” I remember Vicki and I had a little thing..(inaudible).

MARY: I think he was in love with Cathy for a very long time.

CAROLE: …like to make believe he doesn't know what's going, and I said, "Are you not even noticing?" Anyway, I walked into that.

MARY: (Laughs) Well, see, he was meant to be with Cathy.

CAROLE: Yeah.

MARY: Which was pretty cool, that they actually did end up together after all that time. That was really cool.

But anyway, before we get started, I just wanted to thank everybody for all of their encouragement and their energy and their help with my move. And that was a really big deal.

It’s so interesting to me that I have a tendency to create physical imagery in relation to whatever I happen to be doing and whatever movement I’m doing, and that was a big one. I think I’m making some big moves with myself.

And one of them, which I don’t know – I have no idea what Elias is going to talk about, but I know that it’s… I know that what I’m dealing with or what I’m realizing is related to what a lot of people are also kind of connecting with themselves. And in relation to perception and realizing—I don't know, I’ve been giving myself a really healthy dose of differences in perception and how creepy that is. It’s really insane to realize how people can have such different perceptions and it can be real.

I don’t know. It’s like I know I have thought about that through the years and stuff, listening to things that Elias has said, but I don’t think it’s ever really registered with me and really hit home in a real way until now. It’s like being in an actual, physical experience with someone else, and me seeing one thing and the other person seeing something entirely different. It’s like mind boggling to me how that can even be possible.

And I realize whenever people have said also, just like the other day, "This is what I’m used to." So my daughter and I are both kind of whacked over Game of Thrones, so last week was the finale of Game of Thrones, right? Okay. Well, before Sunday we had gone on a walk together with the dogs, and we were talking about the finale of it. Let me just qualify, first of all, I ended up being wrong, but I didn’t know that until later. But anyway, so she said, “I can’t believe that the finale of the whole show is on Sunday.” And I was like, “No, it’s not.” And she said, “Well yes, it is.” And I said, “No, it’s not.” I said, “It can’t be, because they’re doing a special of the making of the whole series or whatever.” And she was like, “No, they’re not. It’s this Sunday they’re having the finale.”

And I mean, we went back and forth for about a minute, okay? Which I think is probably typical when people, like they’re talking about something and each one of them is saying something completely different, and you’re not really arguing but you realize the other person isn’t going to give in, and you know you’re not going to give in either, because you’re convinced that whatever you’re saying is right, and you really think that the other person is either delusional or they’re mistaken. But you don’t want to fight about it, so you just kind of drop it after about a minute. And you just kind of go, “Okay. Whatever.” And you dismiss it.

Which we did, and I noticed later – I mean, in the moment I didn’t think about it, but later I thought about it, because I’ve been thinking a lot about differences in perception and how it just seems so impossible that you can have two different perceptions at the same time and actually be engaging the same thing.

Now in this case I was actually wrong, because I got the dates wrong and I was recording that special, which is going to be on tomorrow, and I thought it was last week. So I ended up being wrong. But my perception was pretty strong that I was right at that time.

But I’ve been having other experiences where it isn’t even a matter of being right or wrong about something, it’s just a matter of things being incredibly different and being able to look at the same exact thing. Like you know looking at this room and looking at this rug in this room, and me seeing several rugs in this room in pieces and they’re all this dark red color, and somebody else saying to me, “It’s all one piece and it’s brown.” Okay, now we’re at a stalemate, because this isn’t a matter of concept. This is like, “What? No. It’s not. There are several pieces.” And I would probably even go as far as to say, “And I bought them, so I KNOW there are several pieces (group laughter), and I put them in here so I know that there are several pieces and they are dark red.” And if the other person insisted and said, “No, there isn’t. There’s one piece. I don’t care if you bought it or not. There’s one piece, and it’s brown.”

In being aware enough at this point right now and not wanting to dismiss what the other person is saying, that becomes super hard. When you can’t compute what the other person is saying, your brain won’t take it in. It’s going, “No. Wrong.” And I mean, I’m like trying to realize that somebody else has a different perception from mine and it’s real, and it’s just as real as mine, and how those two things can exist side by side and not intersect. It’s like really weird.

And what happens sometimes – I don’t know about all the time, because I don’t know what other people do, but for me, what happens if my perception is really different from somebody else’s, depending on how my perception is different, if I think that my perception is telling me that something is wrong with the other person’s situation, I automatically jump into fix-it mode. Which, all of you have been Elias people for a long time, so everybody here knows that that word is like the worst curse word in Elias language (group laughter), is “Let’s fix it.” That’s like terrible. You could be saying, “Fuck it!” way easier, and that would be nothing. “Fix it” is like the worst, worst thing you can do.

And everybody around you will be chiding you and judging you, because they’ll be saying, “What’s wrong with you? You’re not supposed to fix things, you know!” And so, realizing that I automatically go into fix-it mode was like, “Oooh! Oh my god. Choke me now. Okay. Just shoot me in the head or throw me in a cell,” because this is just terrible. How could I possibly be that kind of person? I could be a prostitute better than being a fix-it person. (Group laughter) It’s like, oh my god!

And then, realizing what the implications of the fix-it person means REALLY sent me over the edge of, “Okay, if I’m being the fix-it person, then that means that I’m pretty much telling the other person that whatever they’re doing is terrible and not good enough and bad and wrong and I have a better answer." And oh man, I really don’t want to do that. But I do it.

And looking at that and admitting that to myself was like… I really wanted to dig myself into a hole with that one. I mean, it was just awful, and it was a really not-good revelation, and I just couldn’t even believe it about myself first. And then I was like, when I really saw what I was like, “Okay, wow. This is going to be horrible. And how am I ever going to change this?”

And interestingly enough, it is being not so hard to change it, now that I see it, now that I know what it is. It seems to be kind of changing itself pretty well.

But I even told my counselor about it. I was like, “Oh my god! I’m the worst person on the planet!” And she was like, “I don’t think it’s that bad, Mary.” I’m like, “You don’t even know. It’s really bad. This is not what I want to be. This is not who I want to be at all. How awful of me anyway.”

And especially with people that I care about and I love, I don’t want to be projecting an energy to them that they’re not good enough and that their choices suck and they’re doing something wrong.

And also, in the meantime I’m also projecting an energy encouraging them to be dependent. Which really sucks, because I really don’t want to do that, but I’m doing it, or I was doing it. And I think that that is a really hard thing to come to terms with. And it’s all because I couldn’t – and believe me, I still can’t – because I couldn’t accept that somebody else could have a very different perception from mine and that theirs is equally as valid and that I don’t have to do something to make theirs match mine. Which is really hard, because you automatically want to make the other person match yours, in your perception. And I still don’t understand how that works or how that’s possible.

I mean, I wouldn’t go so far by any stretch to say that I have moved into a position of accepting that people have different perceptions and that that’s really real. I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But I can say that I’m not bothered by it. It isn’t bothering me that somebody might have a very different perception from mine. And it isn’t… I guess, in my perception now I think it’s not impossible. Which for me, that's a big step. I mean, because I think I was definitely believing that it was impossible. You just can’t do it. You just can’t… You know. You can’t see the exact same thing at the same time and see two different things!

It’s just, how is that even possible? And I mean, you can think about it intellectually, but really? If you’re having a conversation with somebody, you probably aren’t going to stand there and say, “Oh, isn’t that interesting that you have such a different perception from me. Wow! That’s so cool!” I don’t think you're going to say that. I mean, you’re probably going to say, “No. That’s not what’s happening.” And then you’ll just pooh-pooh it when the other person doesn’t relent. When they keep holding to their perception, both of you will just dismiss it and walk away and not think about it too much, because your brain can’t handle it. It’s like, okay, that’s not possible.

So, I think getting to a point where I at least am not fighting with it, and am like saying okay maybe it’s possible, is pretty big in itself. I mean, at least it’s not COMPLETELY discounting the other person or completely dismissing them. Which I really don’t want to do.

It also has made me kind of look at myself in another way, too, that – another one of Elias’ terrible words – that I kind of have seen myself in a different light of being pretty rigid about things. I can be flexible sometimes, but I can be pretty rigid about things, too. And things that I definitely believe or directions that I'm going in or whatever, I’m not really flexible on. You know, if other people kind of want to go in a different direction, like whoops! I don't think so. And I don’t like that word either. I don’t like being… I like thinking about myself as being flexible. And it doesn’t feel really good to think of myself as being rigid.

Yeah?

JOHN: You seem flexible to me. Can I put you on the spot?

MARY: Yeah. You can. Absolutely. I would say now actually that’s interesting, because my counselor said the same thing. And she actually said something to me which was really interesting. By the way, I go to a counselor because my daughter was making me feel like I really needed some kind of help, and so… But actually, it’s turned out to be really good, because it’s really kind of cool to talk to somebody. And I can’t talk to the dead guy like you guys can, so it’s kind of cool that I can talk to somebody. Mostly, I just like vent. But it’s cool.

But she said the same thing, and she also said to me—she made a suggestion to me that I look at how I’m defining rigid, and that actually we did talk about it, and she said that actually most of my definition of rigid about myself is about stuff that I do or how I do it. And that she said that she would not use the word rigid; she would use the word disciplined and organized.

VERONICA: Perfectionist.

MARY: No, because I would definitely say that I am not a perfectionist. I can definitely go in that direction, because I can see even with my creativity or my art I do have a tendency to cut corners.

CAROLE: I see why you’re stuck, though—the organization.

MARY: Yes.

CAROLE: And you saw my art room.

MARY: I am very organized.

CAROLE: …your stuff and my stuff.

MARY: Yeah. I am very organized, and I do like things to be in their place. And anybody that’s been in my house and seen my sewing room can attest to I like things to be organized and I like things to be in their place. Yeah.

CAROLE: My older son Tom said, when he saw my house he said, “Ma,” he said, “This isn’t messy. This is mental illness.” (Group laughter) And I said, “Maybe.”

MARY: Yeah. I mean, so I had actually—and she did bring up a few examples to me of things that I’ve talked to her about, and she did say that this would be an example of what flexible would be and what rigid would be, if you were this, and you don’t go in that direction. And she said, “And when other people do things, you seem to be able to go with the flow with that.” Which I do. I can do that, but I'm not that way with myself. I need things to be, you know, a place for everything and everything in its place, even in my brain. I mean, I need things to be organized, which is why my daughter calls me OCD.

And so, I am starting to kind of maybe relax that definition with myself a little bit just recently, that maybe that’s a little too harsh and maybe I’m not really that rigid. Because I really didn’t like that word either. (Laughs) I was like, “Oh man. I’m so screwed. I have been doing this for almost twenty-five years now, and this is how far I’ve gotten? That sucks!” I’m like, “Man! I am still so far behind the eight ball. I mean, hello!”

Any of you that are thinking that you just haven’t gotten too far for however along you’ve been listening to Elias, well, I’ve been there since day one, and I really felt like, “My god! What am I? Thick as a brick, that this stuff is not going in?” I’m like, “Because I’m still dealing with these kinds of things?”

But I think that at first I was being kind of really hard on myself. I mean, not that I am minimizing the business about the differences with perception, because that still is baffling me a lot. It’s one thing to be able to say yeah, people have different perceptions; it’s another thing to be in your face with it and be okay with it. It’s not easy to be okay with it.

And it’s easier when it’s something that is conceptual. Other people can come up to me and talk to me about both sides, about, you know, the U.S. government and Trump and how they feel and whatever, they hate him or they think it’s great. I mean, I have a bunch of clients who think he’s great and voted for him, so don’t think for a second that everybody that talks to the dead guy hates Trump, because they don’t. There’s quite a few of them that really love him. And I can listen to either side and not think too much and not feel too much about it and think to myself, "Oh, okay, that’s their perception. I don’t necessarily agree with them but okay, whatever."

But when it comes to this rug is in three pieces and it’s red and somebody is telling me something completely different, then I’m like yeah, okay, I can’t. I can’t really wrap my brain around that and say okay. That’s like somebody walking up to me and saying, “Gee! What a cute little black dog you have!” What? (Laughs) I mean, it just… I think our brains are wired in a certain way in relation to our senses and they input information in this absolute way, and it’s really, really hard to change that.

VERONICA: What do people do when they perceive a green carpet?

MARY: They just see a green one! I mean—

VERONICA: Traffic lights.

JOHN: It’s like that thing online, right? With the tennis shoe, and it’s like pink and then… (Group chatter)

LYNDA: Oh yeah. Gray and then pink and then white. Right.

MARY: You know, people see different things! And they have different associations and stuff. I mean, when we moved, my daughter moved into a new apartment, and my immediate perception of her apartment is that it sucks. That it’s filthy, it’s horrible, it’s like a slum, it’s the most tiniest thing ever. It’s claustrophobic, it’s so small. It’s broken. And – now here’s the deal, with the difference in perception – because of all of that, my immediate response to that was, “We’ll just have to move you again. I will find you a better place.”

BRIGITT: Fixing.

MARY: Yeah. And, “We’ll move you into a better place.” The implications of that are huge. She found this apartment herself. I asked her if she wanted help, and she said no. And so I said okay, and she moved. I asked her if she wanted help packing, and she said no and I said okay. I asked her if she wanted help moving, and she said no, she had it covered. And I said okay.

And she chose this place and she got friends of hers to help her move, and she moved into this place. And I went over there and saw it, and I was horrified. And by telling her that I thought it sucked and that it was not fit for a homeless person to live in – I said that to her. (Group laughter and chatter) That’s what I said to her.

It makes me want to cry right now, that I actually said that to her, because now I understand what I was saying to her and what the implications of that were. And for me to then follow that by saying, “And don’t worry about it. I will move you out of here and we’ll find you a different place.” (Group chatter)

Which, I might as well have said to her, “You are an idiot. You can’t do anything right. Your choices suck. You are not capable of taking care of yourself. You are not capable of making decisions by yourself, and so I have to fix it.” What a god-awful thing to say to your own kid. I mean, it makes me want to just stab myself.

And she is so used to me fixing things that she didn’t dispute it. She just was like, “Yeah, I know.” (Group chatter) Which is pretty awful, too.

BRIGITT: Is the place fixable? Uppable? Like making it nicer?

MARY: Well, okay, so this still is a matter of differences in perception. Okay. It’s very small, and that is a big piece that influences MY perception because I need a lot of space, and I like a lot of space. And so that’s the first thing right off the bat, that it’s so small.

Now I did – which I shared with you – I did remember a conversation that she and I had about a year ago in the old house where she came to me and she was bitching about something about the house. And she said, “You know, one of the reasons I hate this house is because it’s so big.” And I said, “What?” And she was like, “This house is too big. It’s huge. It makes me… I feel overwhelmed, and I have a constant sense of anxiety running, underlying things, all the time, every day, twenty-four hours a day, because this house is too big and it is overwhelming to me.”

I didn’t say anything else to her at the time, but I do remember thinking, "How is that even possible?" I could live in a house with fifty-eight bedrooms and I would be perfectly fine. I mean, I could live in a castle, and it would be fine. Nothing could be too big. There’s no such thing as too big. Too small, yes; too big, never.

That struck me while I was at her apartment a little over a week ago, and I thought, “Oh!” It doesn't change my perception that it’s really too small, but it did make me think, well maybe she feels more safe and more comfortable in this place because it’s so small, which she doesn’t have to think about it and there definitely isn’t very much to clean because it’s so tiny and it’s manageable. So, maybe she feels more comfortable because it ISN’T like ginormously big.

I don’t know that that’s her perception. I think that it was just something that came to me to make me feel better, and to try and maybe understand something about how different our perceptions are. Because they’re really, really, really different. And it’s really hard. That’s what I mean. When I’m standing in a room and there’s literally this much room between the couch and the table that the TV is sitting on, which is across the room—that's it. I’d say that there’s probably less than three feet that you can walk through. I mean, I was feeling claustrophobic in that apartment, it’s so tiny. And to have somebody else… I mean, she’s not saying it’s huge or anything. She admits that it’s small, but I mean, she doesn’t seem uncomfortable. She isn’t saying anything that she’s uncomfortable. She doesn’t act like she’s uncomfortable.

IVAN: Have you asked her how she feels about the apartment?

MARY: I did the other day, and she said it’s okay. She didn’t say it’s great or that she was in love with it. There is a lot to not love about it. And it’s got a lot of broken things, which the longer she’s there, the more she’s realizing. She did say that when she first moved in she thinks that she was disassociating quite a bit, because she was feeling overwhelmed, because she was doing this by herself this time, and that was kind of overwhelming for her. But that she also feels like she… it’s comfortable enough that she would be okay living there for the next year and a half to two years, that she doesn’t want to move, and that she said it’s a little bit too small for her but she can deal.

Which I think partly she was trying to agree with me—partly. She doesn’t really agree with me.

IVAN: It seems like you see the differences in perception; there’s also similarities in perception involved in that. So, if you ask… (group chatter)

MARY: I think that she doesn’t have that much of a commonality with my perception. I think some of what she says is kind of just trying to be more appeasing because she’s used to that, because she doesn’t want to oppose me. I mean, not in something like that. She will oppose me in other things, but she’s not real big on opposing me in something like that because I support her. And so, I think that that threatens her, if she opposes. Which also makes me crazy.

I don’t want her to feel that way, but I’m sure she does. And I’m sure that a lot of that is because of how I have behaved for years and years and years and have encouraged her to be dependent. Which sucks. And I don’t want her to be that. I want her to be her own person, and I want her to be independent, and I want her to make her own choices, but I have consistently made choices and expressed myself in ways that have definitely influenced the opposite. Which is a really hard thing to swallow when you’re looking at yourself and thinking about it and going, “Oh my god, I can’t believe I have been this way and I have done this to my kid.” It sucks. And it’s a really hard thing to… it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

But the good part, or the upside of all of that, is that I can actually see it, and so I can do something about it. And the fact that I can see it is making me realize or look at that subject of differences and people’s perceptions. And even though it’s still like next to impossible to understand – I don’t get it yet. I don't know if I'll ever get it. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t, I mean, but whatever. At least I can stop myself from pushing it onto somebody else or thinking that somebody else is wrong or delusional or crazy because they don’t see what I see.

VERONICA: And what about your granddaughter? I mean, that’s another piece of this thing.

MARY: Well yeah, because that totally has an influence with me too. And the thing is about that is that my granddaughter and I are kind of two peas in a pod. We’re very much alike. My daughter and I are like opposites. We’re very much not alike. And that is the piece that is really unfortunate, because then she doesn’t just have to deal with one of us, but TWO of us that are… She’s like battering the onslaught that she’s very much, I think, naturally a minimalist. (Laughs) And you’ve all been to my house, and you can see I’m not. (Laughs) I’ve got a lot of stuff, and so does Allie.

BRIGITT: Is there room in the place for her stuff?

MARY: No.

BRIGITT: Is it a two-bedroom at least? Does she have her own space?

MARY: Yes, but it’s really tiny. And most of their stuff is in our basement because there’s no room for it.

LYNDA: And there’s animals in Allie’s room too.

MARY: No, they’re not in her room anymore. That’s when I had this revelation—

LYNDA: Oh, that’s where you moved them. Oh.

MARY: They took one of the guinea pigs and the rabbit. But because the place is so small they can’t let the rabbit run around anymore, which he’s not happy with because he’s never been in a cage before. So he’s not happy, so he’s like rattling the cage all the time.

And he was in the same room with Allison because she had the biggest room, and she couldn’t sleep because all night long he was bang-bang-bang-bang-bang on the cage. And so Donnalie asked me to come over and switch it, take the cage out of her room and reconfigure it and put it in the living room, which I did. And I was like, “God, this room is so small! I can’t even move. I can’t even turn around in this room, it’s so tiny.” You know, I put Belle on the couch, she went in the corner. I’m like, “That’s what I would be doing if I would be in this room. I can’t BE in this room. I’m claustrophobic. It feels like a closet, it’s so small.”

And you know, she’s like, “Whatever.” It didn’t seem to bother her at all. I mean, she doesn’t seem to be upset or bothered, and that’s what I should have been paying attention to, instead of what I feel or think. I don’t live there. What difference does it make? Why does it bother ME? And I tell myself it bothers me because I love her and I want her to be in some place nice, but I’m gauging what the nice is, what that means. And what means nice to me maybe is something entirely different to her. It might be overwhelming to her.

That old house was nice, but it was too big for her. I thought it was great because my granddaughter had the entire third floor. She had her own suite. My daughter had half the second floor, and I’m thinking that’s great, they have all this room. And my daughter the whole time is feeling overwhelmed and is having anxiety about the whole thing because it’s too much room, it’s too big. And all she can think about is how much she can’t keep it clean, because it’s too big. I’m not thinking about that at all. I’d hire a cleaning lady.

So, it’s been an interesting experience to realize these things, and I think that the reason that I’m sharing this is because I think that it’s important for – well, for me. I should not include anybody else, but I think for me it’s important to be vulnerable and genuine and share with other people because it helps me to see myself more, and maybe it helps to encourage someone else in whatever they are doing, and maybe they will be able to say something too.

But I also think that it’s…especially….I don’t know. I guess I feel especially that because I do what I do with the dead guy, I think it’s important that people see me as being human and that I have my flaws, too. That I’m not trying to pretend to be out there and be all knowing and better than everybody else, because I certainly am not. I mean, I don’t want to put myself in a position where I’m completely discounting myself, because I actually kind of like myself now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have my flaws.

So, that was my revelation for this group session.

GROUP: (Applause) Thank you for sharing. Yeah! Thank you. Candor!

MARY: So, we’ll just let the dead guy take it away now.

MARK: I'm pretty sure the carpet's green.

MARY: What?

MARK: I'm pretty sure the carpet's green. (Group chatter concerning the color of the carpet being green)

MARY: Green!

LYNDA: He's pretty sure the carpet's green.

MARY: Okay! Well, okay then. Glad that it’s green for you. (Laughs)

VERONICA: Well, Mary, I’m so glad that you shared that with us, because all of us have some relationships where, you know, why don’t you see it MY way?

MARY: Yes.

VERONICA: We’re thinking that we’re the only ones who have disagreements based on perception… Very good. Many of the things you said, I threw back to the relationship with my daughter, who’s in a messy relationship. And she may be comfortable in this messy relationship. Not everybody wants a velvet blanket all the time.

MARY: Mm-hm. Or she might not be, but it doesn’t matter.

VERONICA: Right. We should just allow.

MARY: Right. It’s not for us to say what another person should do or shouldn’t do, and it’s not for us to fix it.

VERONICA: To make them happy.

MARY: Because you’re not… I mean, I can see I’m not making her happy by fixing things for her—I’m making her angry. She has been SUPER angry at me for a long time; I mean, for almost a year now she has been wicked angry at me. And I can see why now. You know, if I’m constantly trying to fix things with her, then I’m constantly telling her how she’s not good enough. And I mean, I’m constantly putting her in a position of being dependent on me, and I’m sure that really sucks for her. I’m sure that it doesn’t feel very good, and I’m sure if I were in her position I’d be pretty pissed off too.

I think she’s at an age now, at a time in her life where she really wants to be independent. She wants to be her own person. I think the only thing that she really claims for herself is being Allison’s mother and doing a pretty good job of it. But even that, I think she wants to do it herself, not with me. And I have been there, coming to the rescue, over and over and over again. Maybe I wouldn’t be having to come to the rescue if I wasn’t constantly influencing her to be dependent.

VERONICA: You have to try not looking as much. You know my situation.

MARY: Yeah. Yeah.

VERONICA: Try not knowing and seeing it.

MARY: Well you know, we see what we see. We perceive what we perceive. I immediately went in the direction of reinforcing myself when I saw this apartment. I was like, “See, she can’t make these choices for herself. She can’t do it. She’s not capable. I HAVE to help her.” That doesn’t mean that I don’t have to… okay, I’m not even going to say I have to, that I don’t choose to be helping her; I do.

But I do realize that she has limitations and that I need to help out. But how I help out can be a lot more encouraging than it has been. I mean, it’s kind of like I explained to my counselor, if someone has a child with Down syndrome, that child could grow up and be very high functioning and could probably have a job. They may have relationships, may even have a child themself, have an apartment or whatever. But do you think that that person is functioning through their life 100%? Probably not. Either their parents or the state is helping them. They’re not doing 100% by themself. She can’t either, but that’s okay.

I mean, I can help her, and in some ways, like financially, and can tell myself that that’s enough and that I don’t have to help her with everything. I don’t have to make all of her choices for her; she can make her own choices.

ERIC: When I think about the college admissions scandals and being some of those kids—

MARY: Yes!

TARIQ: — and then finding out that your parents didn’t trust you enough to get into college?

MARY: Yes!

ERIC: And humiliating you?

MARY: It’s very similar. It’s very similar. And yes, how humiliating that is. And what does that kid feel like? And that’s why when I realized this I was like, “Holy god! What does my daughter feel? What am I doing?” And my perception the whole time is that I’m helping. I love her, she’s my kid, and I am helping.

And I’m like doing the opposite from helping. And like, wow, that’s crazy. That is totally crazy.

CAROLE: I have to say this, because you’re going through exactly what I’m going through. Rick has just – you know who Rick is, right? My elder son. My older son is an attorney for CBS; my younger son barely leaves the house. He has decided lately that he doesn’t want to accept anything from me—nothing. If I bring over water, he pays me out of his money. Nothing will he accept from me. So, he came to the conclusion before I did. So, it’s very frustrating to see him not have things, believe me. I want him to have everything and enjoy his life, and I have an idea how that’s supposed to be. Not for him. And he loves closed places. He loves them. He fantasizes about a little tiny cabin, total minimalist, not even electrical lights. That feels good to him.

LYNDA: Well, you guys are counterparts. I forgot about that.

MARY: It’s really fascinating. It’s amazing. It’s interesting how people can [inaudible], and how you cannot know it, not see it, and you’re just like oblivious. You go through your life and you just are like, "No I'm not, everything's great," and it’s really not. And I’m like, wow.

So, it’s kind of an amazing realization, I guess. But hopefully it will lead me in the direction of doing better and lead her in the direction of being more happy, which would make me happy. We’ll see.

TARIQ: It’s hard not to fix [inaudible].

MARY: It is!

TARIQ: And why you cannot fix them.

MARY: It is very hard not to fix. I mean, you don’t even know that that’s what you’re DOING, because we don’t want to use that word. We’re just helping. We’re being helpful. (Chuckles)

LYNDA: That’s a bad one, too, though. You have to find another word to delude yourself with.

MARY: Yeah, being supportive. That’s a good word.

LYNDA: Yeah, support. I’m not being helpful, I’m being supportive. Right.

(Audio ends after one hour)

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