Thursday, January 28, 2010

An update...

Thought I'd give a bit of an update as to what's been going on the past couple weeks.

This coming Friday will make two weeks of NC for me. So far, it's been pretty quiet. No direct contact from NM though she was working overtime the first week badmouthing me to extended FOO members. This week however has been pretty quiet.

I spoke to my aunt N and she revealed that NM has emailed her multiple times this past week wanting to know if aunt N and I have talked. Aunt N told her no, we hadn't, and that I needed time to myself right now and NM should respect that. Later in the conversation, aunt N also revealed - without coming right out and saying as much - that NM apparently wants aunt N to talk to me and convince me to agree to her "requests" and "make things right". While, previously, I'd felt rather indifferent about the whole thing, this made me really angry.

As always, it's all about NM - what SHE wants, what SHE needs. She's been giving her "woe is me" sob story to aunt N claiming she "misses me" and "just wants to know how I am". Knowing what I know now about NPD, I know that what NM is really missing is her chew toy and what she wants to know so badly is whether or not I'm miserable without her in my life these past two weeks.

Aunt N (as well as a couple other people) said how great I sound and how I haven't sounded this good in a long, long time. Then she asked if it would be okay to tell NM that she'd finally spoken to me and I was doing well. I told her sure. Let's see how NM reacts to finding out that I'm not only doing good but I'm better than I have been in years and all because she is no longer in my life! Of course, I'm now expecting some form of contact from NM. Once she hears how well I'm doing, she's going to want back in the door even more since how DARE I be able to live - and happily to boot - without her in my life!

Aside from a few down moments, I'm actually rather shocked at how good I feel. I'm happier, lighter, feel more free than I've ever felt, my anxiety level is way down, my back pain and headaches have significantly decreased and my stomach (which had previously been upset almost constantly for months) is now all but healed. I'm taking more of an interest in myself and my family with my dh and ds and have been redecorating my house in a french cottage style which I am LOVING. I'm suddenly finding I want to DO stuff now instead of just lying in bed or on the couch all day feeling sick and depressed. I've also begun to take more of an interest in how I look. Not that I didn't care before but I was more content to not fix myself up whereas now I will do my hair and get dressed even if I'm not going anywhere that day.

There is a small part of me that is sad and that misses her. We DID occasionally have good times together, such as when we'd go antique hunting or to bellydance class, and I do genuinely miss those times. The problem is that those good times had become so far and few between as to almost be non-existent. More than missing what IS, I think I'm sad for what could have been.

Sometimes I think about what our relationship COULD be if NM could just be nice. The annoying little things she says and does, I could handle. The ego the size of the sun, I could handle that too. But I cannot and will not associate with someone, especially someone who claims to love and care about me, who willfully and purposely sets out to hurt me and keep me down. NM thinks she can set out on her nasty little smear campaigns against me and rage at me via email and voice mail and then, once her rage is spent, just waltz back into my life like everything is hunky dory and we're the best of friends. While that may have been the pattern in the past, it's not going to be that way anymore. If NM wants to be a part of my life then she's going to have to put in the work to earn back my trust and respect me, my life and my boundaries instead of DEMANDING respect simply by virtue of having given birth to me and telling me I WILL follow her rules if I want her in my life.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - if it must be NM's way or the highway, I choose highway.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let the fallout begin!

It has been brought to my attention that NM has been quite busy talking indeed. Naturally, all of it has either been twisted in NM's favor or is a total lie, but that hasn't stopped her from turning pretty much all of my extended family against me.

At this point, the only person on that side of the family who hasn't made up their mind that I'M the bad one is my aunt N. According to aunt N, all the others - my GM, aunt S and uncle C - are staunchly on NM's side. Perhaps not so ironically, NM has been focusing nearly all of her whining and complaining on aunt N. I know that this is an attempt to turn the final family member against me. While I'm fairly confident that aunt N will, at the very least, remain objective, I still worry sometimes that she, too, will eventually be brought round to NM's side.

If anyone on that side of the family took two seconds to step back and really THINK about what NM is saying or doing, they'd realize how little sense she actually makes. First and foremost, what kind of a mother who claims to be so distraught and heartbroken over the state of our relationship, and supposedly wants nothing more than to heal things between us, talks so horribly about her own daughter? When you truly are repentant and want only to heal things, you don't badmouth that person, you say things like, "What can I do? How can I make it right?"

Secondly, regarding the issue of Thanksgiving, NM's latest claim is that I WAS invited by her but declined because I supposedly had other plans. Now, let's say for just a second that NM is telling the truth. She's NOT, of course but, for argument's sake, let's say she is. WHY would I complain about not being invited if I had other plans? What would be the motive for lying and saying I wasn't invited and voicing my hurt about not being included? The answer, of course, is that there IS no logical motive for doing that. Hence how anyone with half a brain who took the time to really think about it would know NM is lying.

All that being said, I suppose I can't really be surprised at how my FOO views me. NM and SJ moved NHS and I down here from Ohio to N. Carolina many years ago, when we were both still young children. We visited FOO for the first year or two and then the visits pretty much stopped. Yes, I went up there to visit my dad but I spent all my time with that side of the family rather than my NM's side. Any communication between them and I was triangulated by NM from day one and I think it's safe to say that everything was severely skewed by NM so that they only heard what she wanted them to hear.

The TRUTH is the my extended FOO really doesn't know me at all. I had hoped to overcome my anxiety issues and be able to go up and visit for Thanksgiving or Xmas this year or next. My dream was to have a big family get-together like I remember from when I was a child, before we moved down south. Of course, all that is up in smoke now, thanks to NM's sick, dysfunctional games. The result is that my own FOO has turned against me and my dreams of getting to know them as an adult are shot to hell, all so NM can "win" some sick vendetta she has against me. Yeah, she's a real caring, loving mom alright. She cares so much that she's decided if I won't be her doormat anymore, then she'll make sure I have NO ONE.

My first inclination is, like always, to defend myself against her accusations. I've been wrestling all morning with the idea of sending out a mass email to my extended FOO so that I could have the opportunity to present my side of the story. I haven't included them in the conversation thus far because, quite frankly, I didn't think it was any of their business. This is between NM and me, period. The only reason I speak to my aunt N is to get her opinion. The upside to that is that at least SOMEONE in my extended FOO hears my side of things. However, since NM has seen fit to make this the entire FOO's business, I figure why not?

The thing is, they are going to see me how they want to see me. They've obviously already made up their minds about me and sending out an email would likely only serve to reinforce those feelings. Not only that but it'd give NM further ammo to use against me. "See the awful things she says about me? What did I ever do to deserve such a wretched, evil daughter? Oh WOE is ME!!"

So, for now at least, I haven't bothered to send anything. Logically, I know it wouldn't do any good and could actually wind up doing more harm. Still, it just chaps my behind to know that bitch is running her mouth and spreading such horrible lies about me and that they are all believing what she says. And I'm sure NHS, BIL and SJ are having a flipping FIELD DAY now that I've upset NM so much.

I say, let them have her. If "winning" means having a relationship with NM and having to put up with her crap, then I'm happy to be the "loser" for once.

Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hurt and angry about the whole thing. It's just so unbelievably UNFAIR. All my life, all I've done was try to be good enough, to do the right thing that would make all of them love and accept me and it was never enough. Even now, I'm doing the kind, respectful thing by WALKING AWAY rather than choosing to engage NM in a toxic relationship. Yet, once again, I'M the bad one and have been cast out.

I know that some would say I'm the lucky one because I've chosen to rise above the dysfunction. I got out and will go on to be happy and healthy while the rest of them stay stuck in the dysfunction. But I gotta say, most times, I don't feel very damn lucky.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Death by Quoting?

So I log on to Facebook this morning and see this status posted by my uncle:

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. ~Mahatma Gandhi"

Below it is the following response from my GM:

“It's too bad that more people don't know this. It's also the Christian thing to do.”

Then, a short while later, my uncle posts this:

"To go along with my last quote .... "The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, 'In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!'" John F. Kennedy"

Now, I admit it’s ENTIRELY possible I’m just paranoid given recent events and, because of that, I’m reading too much into all of this. But it just seems a little TOO coincidental to me, know what I mean? As if these messages are intended as subtle messages for ME.

As confirmation, up comes a status update from my aunt K (same aunt that's married to the uncle who posted the previous comment above) that reads:

"Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile."

And shortly after that, another comment from my GM in response to my aunt’s post that reads:

"Love it K, if only everyone could follow those thoughts."

Yep. NM has definitely been a busy little bee, buzzing along the gossip line and spreading her toxic lies about what a horrible daughter I am.

At first, I admit, I was a tad upset. After all, no one likes to feel people don't like her or are against her. But then I began to see my extended FOO for the immature, sad, pathetic (and, dare I say, passive-aggressive?) bunch that they are. At that point, all I could do was laugh. So laugh I did!

I mean, really...what is this supposed to be, "death by quoting"? LOL Give me a break!

Methinks some people need to get a life. (Or at least a good hobby!)

Edited to add...

Just as I finished posting this, I discovered yet ANOTHER entry by my uncle. This one reads:

"[...]to go along with the other two ... "Never ruin an apology with an excuse." ~ Kimberly Johnson"

LOL Hi-freaking-larious!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The final straw...and now I am officially NC!

Got this email from NM yesterday...

To my dear Daughter

The holidays these past few years have been very unhappy ones for me. While in Virginia, I had some time to think on all of this. Dr. Phil always says "we teach others how to treat us". I guess you could say I'm guilty of this. DA, for the past few years I've received nothing from you as far as birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, and I don't recall but one Mother's Day gifts either. I get a phone call. DA, I am 58 years old-my Mother is soon to be 80 (in October). As far back as I can remember-I've NEVER missed her birthday, Mothers day, or Christmas. I would NEVER, EVER, let my Mother think I didn't care enough to remember her with a small gift. I love and RESPECT my Mother. She's not always perfect, and we have our disagreements, but I've never shut her out of my life-for any amount of time, snubbed her, or humiliated her for any reason. I am tired of being your scape goat for each and every wrong you think I've done in your
life. I'm tired of being snubbed by you and considered "unfit" to have my grandson be with me. I'm tired of no respect from you, and I will not accept any more "donations in my name" to charities. This is humiliating to me, and extremely depressing to know that my daughter thinks so little of me, that she can't take the time to find a small gift to give me. I know of gifts you send to (stepmom and dad's names), and I know you give gifts to all of dh's family. Don't deny it because you yourself have told me, and hey-here's a clue-don't put their packages under the tree for SJ and I to see!

New Rules for the rest of My life...

1. The gift you give-is what you will receive for each and every birthday, and holiday from now on. SJ and I can use the money-we're not giving it because we have money sitting around to burn.

2. Don't be so quick to snub SJ from holiday gift giving. He remembers YOU at gift giving times. (Hey-I'm not the one with an income-I've been out of work for 2 years now!!)

3.. Out of respect for me (and SJ when applicable) I think you could have an ocassional day where I could visit with my grandchild without your IL's having to be there. They are there constantly, and now I have you AND MIL telling me not to praise my grandchild too loudly, because it makes him cry. Here's another clue-you know why he cries with me??? Because we NEVER get to be just him and me! I say something to him and he looks at you or MIL on how he should behave toward me. This is depressing and makes me very sad. (Doesn't let ds know he can depend on his other grandma either.) If you need MIL with you every day, I could have ds at my house for a couple hours. IF you don't want me around and /or consider me to be a bad influence on Jack, tell me, and I'll never darken your doorstep again. Ds can get in touch with me (if he wants), when he gets old enough.

Out of respect and love for you (and your dh), I have worked very hard to adhere to your rules and regulations. Now I expect the same in return! I suppose I can count on your "silent treatment" again. So be it. Just remember-things happen in peoples lives in a flash. Sometimes we don't get another chance to say what we want, or should've said. I love you very much, and want you in my life until the day I croak. I pray that you feel the same. I need to see and feel that from you.

I love you DA. XX

When I first read the email, I was upset to the point that I was shaking all over and crying. Mostly I was hurt but also angry.

1.) Regarding gifts, NM knows damn well that dh's and my finances are limited these past couple years. We have ds now, a sick and elderly dog to care for and, since dh's employer canceled health insurance for ds and I, we have to pay premiums out of our pocket to boot. Not one other person has had a problem or complaint about the recent inexpensive or non-existent gifts. If an inexpensive gift isn't an option, I do my best to send a card or, at the VERY least, phone the person to wish them a Happy Birthday or whatever the event is.

Furthermore, from day one, dh and I have made all monies spent on gifts for our parents completely equal. We decide ahead of time what the limit is and do our best to stay within that limit. On the rare occasion that one of us goes over a bit, the other goes out and buys something small to make it even again. So where NM gets the idea that my dad and SM or my IL's get better gifts than her is beyond me.

Personally, I would be honored if someone made a charitable donation in my name as a gift to me. But not NM. No, a charity donation made in her name is considered "disrespectful" and cause for humiliation on her part. What-eva!

Moving on...

2.) NM knows DAMN well - because I've told her many, many, MANY times and been VERY clear on my feelings - why she is not allowed to have ds on her own. She has disregarded my wishes on several occasions, most of the time when I was right there to witness it, and has proven she cannot be trusted. Period. However, because - up to this point - I felt it was important for ds to have a relationship with his grandma, I've made it clear to NM that she is welcome to come to the house anytime (provided she calls first) to visit with ds. NM always "has stuff to do". Yet it's supposedly MY fault she isn't allowed to have a relationship with her gs.

3.) I'M disrespectful??? This woman has criticized me, insulted me and my life, stood by and allowed my stepjerk and N half sis to abuse me and then turned around and DENIED any abuse happened, not to mention that she has sided with them time and again while kicking me to the curb and leaving me to fend for myself and yet I'M the disrespectful one??! Me, who has bent over backward for over 33 YEARS, desperately trying to find the right thing to say or do that would please NM. Me, who has stood by NM despite the constant abuse. Me, who despite being coldly dismissed from the family Thanksgiving festivities lest my freaking N half sis be upset by my presence, invited all of them - INCLUDING SJ, NHS and BIL - to Christmas Eve at my house. Me who, even though I was in the midst of a 10 week period of no contact, sent my NM a flower arrangement last year for Mother's Day costing over $50....I am "disrespectful"??? The woman clearly does not know the meaning of the word.

4.) My NM has a HUGE problem with the fact that I am so close with my IL's. First off, NM has never been okay with me being close to any other females. Time and again I have heard, "You already HAVE a mother!" Secondly, apparently because SHE never had any help taking care of me and my NHS (which is a total LIE, btw), I shouldn't have help. So because my MIL makes visiting with ds a priority and is here most days of the week, NM takes huge offense.

What's more, NM claims to want a relationship with ds, yet she does almost NOTHING to encourage a relationship. She only comes by between appointments so that she doesn't have to go all the way back home to kill time or when she's not busy doing other stupid stuff like cleaning her bathrooms for the third time that week. We see her MAYBE four days a month compared to MIL who we see basically every day. NM is insanely jealous of the relationship ds has with his "nana", my MIL, yet her solution to the "problem" ISN'T to come by and visit more. No, she wants MIL to "get a life" and come by LESS just so SHE (NM) can be the better grandma!

5.) With regard to me and MIL supposedly telling her not to praise ds too loudly, NEVER HAPPENED. Ds has this quirk about him where, if you praise him a hair too much, he gets embarrassed and starts crying. When NM was here earlier this week, she started in praising ds and, of course, he starts crying. I went to comfort ds and looked at NM and said, "Don't worry about it. He does this all the time. It's just a funny thing about him that we're hoping he'll outgrow." Then MIL chimed in, "Yeah. He does it with me too so it's nothing you did wrong." THIS is what NM apparently considers me and MIL ganging up on her and chastising her about ds.

6.) Perhaps most offensive to me was NM's request, nay DEMAND, that I need to respect my stepjerk by remembering him on gift-giving occasions. This woman has the GALL to tell me that I must honor my stepjerk, a man who has terrorized and abused me most all my life, by giving him GIFTS??!! SOOOOOO not gonna happen.

7.) And last, but not least, she finishes with the old "You'll rue the day! I may die and THEN you'll be sorry!" card. It's so pathetic that it's laughable.

Just the sheer GALL of this woman - telling me who I can and cannot have at my house and when, telling me that I WILL respect her, that I WILL give her a gift, that she WILL have access to my ds when SHE wants it - who in the flipping hell does this bitch think she is????

So, after a (very) brief period of being angry and upset, I quickly reached a feeling of, "That's it. I'm DONE!" And, just like that, the decision to go NC was made.

What I've felt since is, for the most part, a mix of indifference and relief. There's a touch of sadness but that's more for what could have been had NM just been willing to meet me halfway and compromise a little bit. There's also a little anxiety being that this is all new to me and I don't know what to expect. Mainly though, it's just relief. Relief that it's over. I made a decision and there is no more trying and bending over backward and expecting and being disappointed and all the crap that comes from having an NM. It's over and done with and now I can focus on ME, healing myself and being a better wife and mother to my dh and ds.

I expect there will be ups and downs but I believe that with my faith in God, the love of my dh and ds and the support of my DoNM sisters, I will make it through.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Differences Between NM and others...

I was just thinking the other day just how very different NM is from my stepmother or my MIL. Take her recent trip out of town. My IL's and/or my SM and dad would have called before leaving to let me know they were going to be out of town. Then they'd have called the day before or the day of to let me know they were leaving or would call when they got in to let me know they'd arrived safely. Then, depending on how long they were out of town, they'd have called to check in and, finally, they'd have called to say when they'd be coming back and then once they were safely back at home.

My NM has been out of town for a week. I only found out she was going out of town because I happened to call to ask her a question and she mentioned that she was nearly done packing. Of course that prompted me to ask her where she was going at which point she told me.

She didn't call before she left. She didn't call to let me know she'd gotten there safely. She hasn't called the entire time she's been gone. She didn't call to let me know when they'd be coming back. And, now that I'm pretty sure they're back home now, I haven't heard from her to let me know she got back home safely.

Moving on, if my MIL calls and wants to know if I want to do something or go someplace with her and I say I'm not feeling well or I don't feel like it or I have other things I need to get done, she simply responds with a cheery, "Okay. Maybe next time then!" No so NM. Heaven forbid I say I need to get some housework done or that I just don't feel like going anywhere that day. Suddenly it's, "Well thanks a lot! Now I guess I'll have to stay home! I really wanted to go to xyz!" It doesn't occur to her that she can still go by herself. No, the fact that I didn't want to go has ruined her entire day!

My MIL and FIL, SIL and BIL, my SM and dad, they all adore those tacky gifts that say stuff like "#1 Grandpa!" or "Grandma's Little Sweetheart". They love the handmade stuff from dh. His little paintings and drawings, etc. All of their refrigerators and walls are covered with page after page of my son's artwork. NM, she has but ONE pic on her fridge - at least as of the last time I was there months ago - and THAT is only because she was jealous upon finding out my IL's had some on their fridge.

Of course, this is the same woman (NM) who gave me back all of MY school and wedding day mementos - which she referred to as "junk". Apparently she was cleaning out her closets and decided to "give me back my junk". Nice, huh? Which brings me to another difference - my own NM sees my wedding photos as "junk" to clutter up her precious house whereas my MIL got an entire duplicate made of our wedding album because she couldn't choose which pictures she wanted!

My NM, when she finds time in her "busy" schedule to grace my ds and I with her presence, spends the majority of her time talking to me (and expecting me to focus solely on HER) and tells ds to go play by himself and let grandma talk to mommy. Not so my MIL who spends SIX our of every seven days, on average, here spending time with ds, playing with him and whatnot.

I think the biggest difference though is how my IL's, my SM and my dad all accept and love me just as I am. Sure, there are likely tiny "quirks" or whatever about me that they disagree with or would change ideally but they love and accept me as I am and don't try to change me by criticizing me or telling me what I "ought to" or "should" do. Obviously NM doesn't love and accept me AT ALL for who I am but rather for what she THINKS I should be. Actually, I don't think NM loves me at all as I don't think she knows what real love is beyond her N "self-love".

I wonder what sort of person I might have been if my SM or MIL were my mother instead of NM...? Would I be different or would I be me only better? Would I be confident and self-assured instead of shy and anxious and fearful? Would I be thinner or healthier instead of slightly overweight and sickly? Would I be successful in a job somewhere or would I still be a stay at home mom? Would I be as kind and caring and giving or would I be less or more so? I guess I can never know for sure, but I like to think that I'd still be all the wonderful things that make me "ME" only better. Meaning that I wouldn't be so anxious and afraid all the time. I'd be confident and have good self-esteem. I'd have friends and not sit home alone all the time.

Then again, growing up with an NM has helped shape me into the person I am today and that's not such a bad thing. :o)