This past week, I've received three emails from NM. Nothing major. Just some silly little emails forwards that are making their way through the FOO's inboxes. It's more the meaning behind the sent emails I suppose. Her second bout of rage being spent, NM is now ready to "make nice" again and is sending the emails as her way of re-establishing contact.
Now, I'm sure the response of many of you will be, "Well then why don't you just block her emails from coming to your inbox?". Well, the answer to that is I just don't feel like taking that step just yet. Why? I don't know. I've thought about it and have thus far been able to come up with a reason really. Maybe I'm addicted to the drama and am hoping for another doozy. Maybe I'm hoping it'll be an email that is NM's dysfunctional way of "reaching out" so that I can tell her to take a freaking hike. I don't know. I just know that each time I've taken the steps to do so, just before I hit "Save Changes" in my mail setup, I chicken out and don't follow through.
(Though perhaps "chicken out" isn't the right phrase since I'm not afraid to block her, I just don't feel like I really WANT to yet for whatever reason.)
I've also been thinking about how good I've been feeling these past few weeks. In MY mind, I am now NC with my NM. The thing is, I haven't told HER that and I can't help but wonder if that's part of the reason I have been able to feel so good lately. Maybe it's the fact that I have an "out" if things get too tough that has enabled me to take this situation so well. Of course it could also be because I had pretty much accepted over a year ago that NC was where my relationship with NM was headed and have done my grieving already, but I do wonder if having that "out" - despite my intentions never to use it - have changed how I would otherwise feel having finally made my decision to go NC.
I have read and heard the stories of many other DoNM's who went through this huge period of sadness, anger, despair, guilt, etc. after going NC and I guess I wonder why I haven't really felt any of that? There have been small periods of sadness but they've been quite minor and rare. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak, and expecting the bottom to fall out and find myself falling headfirst into a pool of overwhelming sadness and despair. As if I've been fooling myself all this time and it's all going to catch up to me. About the only thing I DO feel confident about is that - N or not - my NM is toxic and abusive (albeit in her own rather subtle way) and I cannot continue being in a relationship with someone who actively sets out at every interaction to hurt me.
In the past, the pattern has been that NM and I get along, meaning that she is her usual abusive self and I let stuff slide and keep quiet until I, having had enough, blow up and tell her I've had enough. Then she gets angry, sends me a nasty email or blasts me over the phone and then I withdraw in pain and she sets out calling the extended FOO (as well as complaining to NHS and SJ and anyone else who will listen, including the lady behind the pharmacy counter at Walmart) smearing my name to all of them. Finally, her rage spent - and this can take anywhere from a couple days to a week or more - NM starts sending me little email forwards or, more often, she'll just call me up like everything is right with the world and the pattern starts again.
The repercussions of this pattern is that I am not only left feeling like I've been run over by a Mack truck and left for dead but I'm also left feeling very hurt which translates into anger which, unable to be turned back on the one who caused it - my mother - flows over into my relationships with my dh and ds who get a bitchy, pissy, impatient woman as a wife and mother. That is the worst of it but then I also have to deal with the fact that I pretty much have NO extended family - save my dad, SM and aunt N from my NM's side of the family - who I can talk to or count on since they've all been turned against me by years of stories from NM about what a "bad", "troubled", "problematic" child I am. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard NM say to me what a "problem child" I was (and still am) for her, I'd be quite rich indeed.
Having done all I know to do at this point - sending letters, emails, talking on the phone, sitting down and having face to face conversations with NM and even taking her into therapy sessions with me (on MY dime to boot!) - I have run out of options insofar as what I can do to try and make things better between she and I. SO....I can either continue playing NM's stupid, dysfunctional games and keep engaging her in the old pattern OR I can choose to walk away and I have chosen, at this point, to walk away. Seems so simple, doesn't it? To choose to be free and walk away from the craziness versus staying in the dysfunction? If only it WERE so simple.
Maybe if my NM were like the other horrid NM's I hear described on my discussion boards it would be easier to walk away and never look back. I've heard women talk of NM's who starved them, beat them, neglected them and abused them in every way known to mankind and then some. And then I have my NM who took the time to ensure I was fed and clothed. She showed me how to style my hair, wear makeup and taught me about feminine hygiene. She allowed me to have friends over the house and bought us toys like Barbies and stuff. She sat up with me when, after visiting my father, I'd be upset and crying because I missed him terribly. She sat and comforted me when I had my first real broken heart and defended me when the boy kept returning into my life to re-open the wounds. She went to court battle after court battle to protect me from my father and SM who, back in the day, were not so nice. She sat up and rubbed my legs when they woke me up with horrible growing pains when I was little. She bandaged my knees when I fell off my bike. She went to my dance recitals and programs when I was in grade school and was there for my graduation ceremony. And, as I got older, we'd go antique shopping and have a wonderful time together, laughing and shopping.
When you put it all out there like that, she doesn't sound so bad, does she? She certainly doesn't sound like a narcissist. And yet, this is the same woman who, when I was about 6 or 7 years of age, handed me a steak knife and told me to stab her for "betraying her" to my father when I, unknowingly, outed her in a lie she'd told him. This is the same woman who, after a month of not speaking to me, told me having a relationship with me was "more trouble than it was worth" and then, when I began to cry, chastised me saying, "Why are you crying? I haven't said anything mean or nasty to you!" This is the same woman who ALWAYS has a critical or nasty comment to say to me about me or my house or my hair or whatever. This is the same woman who has chosen to support my NHS and SJ, knowing FULL WELL that they mistreat, disrespect and ABUSE me. This is the same woman who purposely left me out and let me know I was not invited nor was I welcome to last year's Thanksgiving festivities lest I upset my poor NHS and BIL's feelings yet then had the gall to turn around and claim she not only HAD invited me but said I told HER that I HAD OTHER PLANS!! Her actions and behaviors are so subtle most times that, to a casual observer, they are innocent or, at the very least, misunderstandings on my part. But to me, the target of her actions and nasty comments, they are abuses, to be sure.
The hardest thing has been seeing her treat my ds in much the same way she treats me. Since dh is my son and I am the family scapegoat, the unfavored one, ds gets less too. Less time, less gifts, less money spent on him, less attention than NHS' - the GC's - kids. Of course, THIS is my fault too because I am unwilling to just hand my ds over into NM's care. Doesn't matter that she has chosen to repeatedly disrespect and gone out of her way to violate any rules or boundaries dh and I have set on how we choose to raise our son and THAT is why we do not trust her, in her mind, she is my MOTHER and for that reason alone, she is to be trusted 110%!
I know what I must do (stick with my decision to go NC) but that doesn't make it easy or simple. But then, those of us who've lived it know that the choice to cut ties with one's own mother is NEVER easy or simple, is it? Always it is a last resort after we've done all we know to do and then some and, even then, it's done reluctantly.
Now that I've gotten a few "feeler" emails from NM, I'm fully expecting to hear from her soon, be it via email or by phone. Despite my aunt N's telling her to give me my space, as an N, NM is not likely to do that as evidenced by her recent attempts at reconnecting with me. I pray that I have the strength and courage to follow through on my decision when the time comes.