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!
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.