I killed the "information train". Yesterday, to be specific.
It all started yesterday morning with an email from my aunt N. Most of the email was about general stuff - the weather, my ds and aunt N's upcoming foot surgery in a couple weeks - but there was also some information in there about my NM. That part of the email reads:
DA, I think that you're just gonna have to be patient with this whole situation. I have shared lots of things with uncle C and he is mature enough to make his own decisions. I will have a face to face with him also - I won't let him believe it all. If and when I get a chance, I will also tell NM to shut up and keep her poison to herself. I will make her understand that the bible passage that she claims to love so much is something that she should aspire to and follow to the T. If she would read every word of that passage, she would realize just how wrong she is when she spews her old garbage. There are many things I could say about my own children. they also made mistakes in their teens, (some things I'm just learning about too, lol) but those are private family things that need to be left behind. None of anyone's business-period. Once a person grows up, it should be left behind. We all develop over years and learn how to make better judgement decisions. It's a normal way of life and any parent should understand that and defend their child past that point in their lives. For some reason, your mom can't do that. She's been hurt in the whole situation, and she lashes out to people like me or Gram B. The 2 people with whom you have alliances with. Gram is on the fence. She feels that NM is hurting and she wants to defend her, but I calmly remind her of what is right and what is wrong. I also feel bad for NM - I hate to see anyone hurting, but I look at the entire picture and realize that NM has it within her power to make things better IF she would only deal with the issues at hand in a mature manner and accept that she has old baggage that is getting in the way of you both healing and getting on with your lives. It's basically been her choice to not come over and pursue a relationship with her grandson. I've said it before and I'll say it again. NOTHING will ever come between me and my children, or between me and my grandchildren. NM feels that she is a victim in all of this, and I've gently told her that she is not the victim, but she doesn't get it. The way she tells it is that you and your dh ganged up on her and she could hardly get a word in. Gram B believes that, and thinks it was "horrible" that you shang haied her in that manner.
I think that you have to decide what you want in all of this. If you want to have a relationship with your mom of any sort, then find a way to do that. (I could tell her that you're waiting to hear from her or something like that [if you wanted]) I honestly think that NM thinks you DON'T want to hear from her again, so she's respecting that and staying silent. (I think) As for the rest of the family, reach out a little bit and you might be surprised. Uncle C is an open book. He's very easy and you'll basically get back from him very similar to what you get from me, so beware, lol. Aunt S has had major problems in her life with M (ds) and F (dh). M can be quite an asshole-just the things he writes on FB can tell you that. However, Aunt S tells Gram that she isn't interested with hearing anything that goes on between you and your NM bc she has all she can handle with her own life. She made a mess with M - at one point I thought she had it all together, but she took F's side and alas.....F can be very abusive with his words AND he also got abusive with his hands at times. (the truth finally came out, but F used to abuse M, and F was also abused as a child and refused to go to counselling about the whole mess so aunt S took F's side) Gram B would take your NM's side if she had to choose only because she cannot fathom that your NM wasn't a perfect mother. I keep on pointing out things to her though, so she really tries to keep an open mind but it's hard for her. Your NM was her sickly child and she still treats NM as such.
At any rate, I do know most of the truth and I will be happy to share it with others. I am not out to hurt your NM in any way, but I refuse to ignore what the real problems are. NM knows how I feel and she's respectful of it. However, Gram B tried to make me feel guilty a while back because she thought that NM felt abandoned. I wrote her back and told her that I was sorry if NM felt that way, but I'm still here for her (NM), AS I AM FOR DISTURBED ANGEL. I simply refuse to be bullied into decisions that are not mine. I make my own decisions based on the information and gut feelings that I have received. I'm honest and tell NM the same thing. Gram sometimes doesn't like it, but tough s**t. Not her choice.
Regarding whatever bible passage NM is supposedly always quoting, I have no idea what passage that would be. The only religious thing my NM ever said to me was, "God helps those that help themselves" and that isn't even IN the Bible. If I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's either something about honoring one's mother or doing unto others. In either case, NM needs to take a good, long look in a mirror before she goes pointing fingers at anyone.
Moving on, the issue of me "acting out" as a teen. I have a few thoughts on this:
a) What teen DOESN'T act out? It's a natural, normal part of growing up at that time. It's how people, hopefully, learn to become individuals and think for themselves. Of course, NM and SJ did everything they could to squash any individuality or independent thinking on my part.
b) Despite some normal acting out, compared to most all of my friends and peers at that time, I was a freaking SAINT. I didn't drink. I didn't do drugs. I wasn't sneaking out all the time. (Well, okay, I snuck out ONE TIME and on another occasion, skipped ONE class once but on both occasions I felt so guilty about it that I actually confessed. How's that for "bad"?)
c) The bulk of my "acting out" involved cutting my arms with anything sharp I could get my hands on. At the time, it was a means of releasing some of the pressure inside that would build up. By cutting myself, I relieved some of the pain and pressure built up inside so that it became more manageable again. When my NM discovered what I'd been doing, her response was, "Why would you do that? Don't you know how EMBARRASSING this will be for me if anyone finds out?" But as for the horrible thing that must have led me to do something like that, she couldn't have cared less.
d) Bottom line - I was a GOOD kid. I did my chores, I made good grades and tried my best to be invisible so as not to draw any more abuse and unwanted attention than I was already getting. Yet, to hear NM tell it, I was a HORRIBLE, highly troubled child who gave her nothing but problems. To this day I can do nothing right and she hasn't a kind word to say about me. And such is my experience as the family scapegoat.
Regarding dh and I supposedly "ganging up" on my NM, dh and I knew this one was coming. Of course it's a complete and total LIE on NM's part. If you all knew my dh and I, you'd know that my dh is the sort of person who rarely, if ever gets upset. Rather, he gets upset but almost never raises his voice or shows much agitation. It's actually rather infuriating at times, being his wife, when we disagree. I'm all upset and there sits dh, perfectly calm and collected. LOL
Firstly, NM apparently claims that she was lured to my house, by me, under false pretenses that I wanted to talk. Seeing as how we DID talk, I don't see how that constitutes "false pretenses". Secondly, NM claims that she couldn't get a word in edgewise. This part is total projection as the reality was that it was DH AND I who could barely get a word in as NM was so busy yelling and defending herself and SJ and my NHS. The second dh or I DID start to speak, NM immediately went back to her defending and talked over us.
The entire conversation, which lasted roughly 40 minutes, was spent with NM saying over and over that she wants her grandson, my ds, to know here and feels she's not being given that opportunity because my MIL is "always here" and NM "never has a chance to be with ds just the two of us." When dh said that he'd talk to his mother and make it so that NM could come by whenever she liked without MIL being here, suddenly NM said to dh, "B...quite frankly, I don't WANT to come here to see him! I want to be able to take him to MY HOUSE, BY MYSELF, without DA there and I don't understand why I shouldn't be able to do that!" It was at this point that dh said rather sharply (but still in that irritatingly calm tone), "Quite frankly NM, because I don't trust that the same psychological damage that was done to DA won't be done to my son." OF COURSE NM jumped on that one and immediately set to defending herself yet again by saying, "I am NOT responsible for DA's psychological damage!"
NM admitted to guilt only ONCE the entire time. Her crime? Allowing me to mistreat and disrespect her! Beyond that, she is a martyr and a saint of a mother, though she hasn't ever come out and said so in those exact words. But the way she talks about herself and all she's supposedly done and sacrificed for me, that's what she's getting at. And I am her disappointment of a daughter who has betrayed her sacrifice by disrespecting her. I'd laugh at the absurdity if it wasn't so painfully sad.
Upon getting this email from my aunt N, I was very upset. The more I've heard, the clearer it is to me that:
a) NM has been busy with her smear campaign against me, trying to win the loyalty of the extended FOO and..
b) (And I base this also on the attitudes of extended FOO recently) that pretty much everyone except aunt N has decided to believe and side with NM.
It is the second part that HURT. BAD. I spent the better part of yesterday and last night feeling gut punched and sick to my stomach. Despite not wanting to and feeling very nervous for some reason about doing so, I finally killed the information train and told my aunt N I didn't want to hear anything more about NM. No more about what she is saying or doing, where she's vacationing next, what she and SJ have been up to...NOTHING. I added that I also didn't want to hear about NHS, BIL or their kids either as I felt all of them, NM and SJ included, had made it pretty clear through their choices and actions that they no longer consider me a part of their "family" and so I was cutting that final tie to all of them.
Aunt N's response was to say that she read and would respect my request and would only let me know in cases of serious illness or death. I emailed her back and said I didn't even want to know that. After all, what would be the point? Let's say NM wound up in the hospital, very ill. It's not as if I could go to visit her. I can just imagine SJ and NHS waiting there, hoping I'd show up so they could get at me. I can hear them now - "Are you happy, bitch? YOU did this to her, you know. YOU are KILLING HER with you ridiculous behavior and silent treatments. Are you happy now??" And what I'd get from NM wouldn't be much better, I'm sure. Bottom line, nothing positive would come from such knowledge. It would serve only for them to have one more chance to hurt and abuse me and I say, no thanks.
Since sending that response to aunt N, I haven't heard back from her yet. I'm not sure what to expect. On one hand, she seems to get where I'm coming from with my NM and yet, not having lived in such a toxic relationship, it's hard for anyone who hasn't been there to truly get it. Because of that, I fear a negative response from her along the lines of, "Are you kidding me?! If your NM were lying in a hospital, DYING, you wouldn't want to know??!! That's just immature of you. She's your MOTHER for crying out loud! I know she's been abusive and all but to not even want to know that she was sick or dying, that's just too much." Guess we'll have to wait to find out for sure.
In addition to stopping any info through my aunt N, I've also blocked NM on email and Facebook. Blocking NM's email address was something I'd been withholding doing despite being NC, though I'm not sure why. But, as of last night, it's done and I no longer have to worry about any nasty emails coming my way. At least not unless NM gets a new email addy or sends it through someone else's account.
I also got rid of some stuff in my house that was NM's. It was one item in particular - some tea bags - that gave me intense anxiety after getting rid of them. Tea to NM is like crack cocaine to a user. NM HAS to have her tea multiple times a day and used to have a stash of tea bags here for when she'd find the time to grace us with her presence. Once, shortly after dh's employer had cut health insurance coverage for me and ds, NM and I were shopping in the local grocery store. As we were checking out, NM tossed her box of teabags in with my stuff. I said to her, "Those aren't mine" and she said, "I know. They're for your house for when I come." I put the box back in with her stuff and said, "I'm not paying for those. I can't afford it." NM said, "They're for your house" and I again told her, "I can't afford it." "They're only, like, TWO BUCKS!", said NM. I calmly responded, "I don't care. I'm on a very tight budget right now and can't spare the extra cash, especially when dh and I don't drink tea!" Well NM threw a holy FIT right there in the store and made a HUGE deal out of it, even badmouthing me to the cashier. I didn't really care as I had gotten out of paying for the damn things but this complaint about the stupid tea bags went on for WEEKS. NM even brought it up in a therapy session she went to with me months later. So my throwing out her blessed tea bags was a HUGE deal. At first I started to panic but then I remembered that little scene in the store and suddenly, I didn't give a shit.
Now all that's left are two toys NM gave ds for Xmas which I plan to send to my IL's house so that ds can still have and play with them but they won't be in my house and that damned couch that my NM gave me that is currently in my sunroom. Dh and I have plans to get a new sofa set for the living room once we get our taxes back and I cannot WAIT to get NM's damned sofa with all it's bad "ju ju" the hell out of my house!
I've felt much better today than yesterday, but I'm still feeling quite sad. I think it's because, when I first started this period of NC, it was sort of a "for now" thing. I thought that maybe, in the future, once I'd healed a bit and was stronger, NM and I could reconnect and I'd be better able to deal with her having reached indifference toward her. But to know that she's been working so hard to turn my own family against me when, as far as she knows, they are my ONLY source of support aside from my dh, I don't think I could ever have her back in my life after that. How does one get past something like that? Someone deliberately trying to turn your own family against you, in the name of "winning", and especially when that person is your own MOTHER who claims to love and miss you so much and only want a relationship with you? I could never, ever trust her again, not that I ever really could but, you know what I mean. So I think it just finally hit me yesterday that the last time I saw my mom 3 to 4 weeks ago REALLY was the last time I may see her. And that just makes my heart ache...