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My birthday is coming in a few days and I’m just a mess. I don’t want to get the mail or check my email because I know there’s going to be some high-drama bullshit arriving any day now. Most people who have healthy relationships with their family won’t understand. But for me, my birthday has never really been about me.

When I was still in contact with my mother, she would always call me and regale me (or if I was lucky, my voicemail) about the gory details of my birth. The conversation was always about her, and rarely included any discussion of the actual celebration. If it did, it would be to guilt me for not spending it with her, even when she lived six states away.

Since we’ve been estranged, it’s been a landmark date for her to try to weasel into my life, like Christmas and Mother’s Day. In previous years, regardless of whether I wanted it or not, she’s sent cards, always carrying the classic musk of cigarette smoke and her perfume. The aroma alone would send me into the throes of a full on panic attack. The day itself, card or not, would be filled with dread, anticipating what she would try to pull this time.

Over the weekend, she tried to friend me (and only me) on Google+ since I stopped using Facebook. I immediately blocked her, but then decided to do a quick search for my name to see if anything else came up. To my absolute horror, an image of me and my son appeared on what I thought was a completely private account. Even after I deleted the image, it still remained in the search results. Luckily, an email to their tech support quickly remedied my request to remove it. However, the damage may already be done.

The casual reader may not fully understand the issue, why I can’t have this woman in my life, and may feel that I’m being too harsh. If we were dealing with a normal, healthy person, perhaps that would be true. However, if there’s any trend in my family as long standing, it has been the continued and unabashed complete disregard for my boundaries.

Each time she does this, it burns into my head the resolve that she will never respect my boundaries. It isn’t a plea for love, forgiveness or even an apology. That would require empathy. This is more sinister. It’s a “fuck you for having the nerve to disobey me” and an absolute delight in ruining what would normally be a day for myself.

Unfortunately, her behavior is quite predictable. This has been a week of unprecedented panic attacks and incredible sadness. All I want is to be left alone, but like a child who feels entitled to something, she won’t stop picking at me until she’s at least made me as miserable as I’ve made her.