My mother and I had a serious fight over the holidays. I didn't spend New Year with her because some friends invited me and my partner to join them and they live a few hours away. It was last minute and the truth is that my mother has her way of making me feel bad ahead of time if I can't do what she would like me to do or if I don't feel how she would like me to feel...
What ends up happening is instead of me saying, "Mom, I really don't know what I am going to do on that day..." or "Mom, I'll let you know if and when...", I try to please her when I really wish she didn't make me feel I need to. I don't have a problem saying "No" to my mother. (I've done it in the past and still do). I have a problem when she makes me feel guilty afterwards or makes me feel I did something wrong.
I did mention that we might spend New Year together but only because I felt pressured by her and told her that I really was doing it for her. Her understanding was that I was doing it for myself (she doesn't accept that sometimes people do stuff for others because they feel obligated even if they aren't in the mood) and then she accused me of contradicting myself which I probably was at some point but only because I didn't feel I had the right to just say "I DON'T KNOW".
I told her that for me the holidays are just days. And she is the one that gives special meaning to those specific days. Long story short I ended up telling her that sometimes she's a bully (perhaps harsh but I was upset) and that if I can't feel that saying "No" to her is OK and this is how boundaries are set (first between parents and children), how does she expect me to be comfortable doing it with others? I told her that she just doesn't understand that she manipulates and blackmails me because she is alone. And she does it very very subtly. (My mother lives alone and never remarried after her divorce and I'm an only child).
I understand it might be difficult for her but I just can't seem to be able to communicate to her that I can't always be expected to spend the holidays with her, especially when I see her often and talk to her on the phone almost every day.
Anyway, at some point during the argument she told me that if she is such a bad mother, I should keep a distance and hung up. I tried calling back but she has probably turned both phones off.
At some point she also "threatened" to involve my boyfriend by telling him that we treated her "like garbage" during the holidays. We spent Christmas with her but we were both sick and didn't stay long (She perceives it now that we were trying to get rid of her by doing that early on so we do something better later).
How can I best communicate to my sensitive mother that I sometimes feel too pressured and suppressed by her without her freaking out so much?