I put a call-out for cute gifs on Monday night because my mom was giving me the silent treatment.

Last Sunday night, I brought BoyPengiun to a party at the house of a family friend. My mom was there as well, and we were all playing cards against humanity. During the game, one of mom’s friends—who’s house it was not—was in the kitchen acting very host-y while the host was at the table. The Hosty person does this often—she’ll take over an event and do it her way. In this situation, it was fine with the host. My mom commented to GuyPenguin and I that Hosty does this because she’s a “2 Gemini”, meaning she’s a 2 on the enneagram, and a gemini. GuyPenguin didn’t understand, and asked “What?” So mom said “Oh, a 2 Gemini. Like the enneagram and astrology! What number are you?”

“Um, what?”

I knew where mom was taking this, as several weeks ago she’d asked me for his birthday so she could look him up in her color book. I refused to give it to her because a. I’m not comfortable with the enneagram, colors, astrology stuff as far as it being really legit and b. she treats it as legit. Like, we’ll have a conversation about someone and she’ll make assumptions about them based on what she knows of their sign. When it comes to boyfriends, and I talk about them with her, she provides input similarly, and I don’t like it being colored or heavily influenced by what she knows of their astrology (the last one probably wasn’t ready for a relationship because he’s coming up on a Saturn return, rather than he’s a damaged person who’s built up barriers to never get hurt again and refuses to address them). Also, c., I want her to get to know him first without that, to get an impression that isn’t influenced by her interpretation of him as a Pisces, or a 7, or a Sea Foam Green. So at that point, I told her I wasn’t giving her his birthday and we left it at that.

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But I knew that the talk about the enneagram was going to lead to her asking GuyPenguin for his birthday. So sure enough, when he said “Um, what?” to her asking about his number, she said, “Oh, well what’s your birthday?”

I immediately squeezed his hand and said “Don’t tell her.” She kept pressing, and it was sort of awkward for him. He was turning from me to her, trying to figure out what to do. In the moment, it seemed all lighthearted, sort of kidding around. And we could have talked about the enneagram stuff if she had just explained, “Oh, well this is what it is…” and talked about it, but she specifically wanted his birthday. It was a matter of discussion vs. participation, and participation about something I’d already declined to participate in.

In the moment, GuyPenguin being in an awkward situation, tried to extricate himself humorously by saying his birthday was February 30th, 1512.

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So that’s why my mom has been being super quiet and passive aggressive towards me for the last three days. She feels like we were mocking her. She said she was just trying to make light conversation. She feels like she can’t be herself around me anymore. She also brought up stuff from a while ago that she’s not happy with me about, which boils down to me not having the right reaction to something or not doing what she wants me to do.

Mom and I haven’t talked about this, just emailed. I responded as nicely and understanding as I could, while also explaining my perspective on the whole situation. I told her I love her, and that in the future if I hurt her feelings, to please talk to me about it. I am trying to change the way she approaches conflict, which is to be passive aggressive about it. But I don’t want to have a fight that way, and I don’t like the meantime when she’s giving me the silent treatment.

But I’m mad. I feel like she was throwing a temper tantrum because she didn’t get what she wanted—his birthday. And she’s not considering that what she’s asking for is more than just a date because she treats it that way and it influences her impressions and our conversations. She wants me to accept her as she is; I do. I want her to accept me as I am, which is not into the same things as she is. And while she’s not shoving this stuff down my throat, I do draw a line between discussing something and being asked to (or asking someone else who doesn’t know what he’s walking into) to participate in it.

GT: Any advice welcome. Am I off base?