Needed to rant so excuse me if this is kind of all over the place and doesn't flow as well as my usual posts. My head's still feeling a bit crazy!
So, my dad and stepmom came into town last week. They left Ohio on the 20th, spent the night with my half bro that night and came the rest of the way here Monday. They stayed with friends who live about an hour from me. My SM called when they got into town and said they'd probably see me Wednesday and then they'd TRY to get back to see me Friday before they left that Sunday. So, yeah, they drove over 9 hours to visit with their friends basically and, according to my SM, they'd TRY to fit visitation time with me in. This basically set the tone for the whole visit.
About a half hour after getting here, my dad and dh began working to fix our shower fixture in the front bathroom. It was a bit involved but should have only taken about 2 to 4 hours max. Instead, the whole project wound up taking 10 hours that day. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong did but that was mainly due to the fact that they were trying to fit old stuff to new. Needless to say, I didn't really get to see my dad much that day.
Despite working ten hours Wednesday, the shower fixture still wasn't finished and the guys had to work another 4 hours Friday when my dad and SM came back. I strongly suspect that had she been able to have her way, my SM wouldn't have come back at all after Wednesday, figuring she'd already spent enough time visiting with me and away from her precious friends who she never stopped going on and on about the entire visit.
Since dh was busy with my dad working on the shower, that left me to visit with SM who did nothing but bitch and complain the entire time. She was having stomach issues - she's gluten intolerant and apparently accidentally ingested something with gluten in it - and I had to listen to her go on about that the entire time. She spent a bit of time with ds, which was nice as it kept him busy and they both seemed to enjoy themselves but, once that was over it was back to complaining. SM didn't like the fact that we allow ds to watch Spongebob as she feels it's "inappropriate". She doesn't like the fact that we only flush our toilet every so often when it's only pee to save water because she says it's spreads germs. She doesn't like that we don't make ds wash his hands after going potty unless he touches something (apparently even walking into the bathroom is enough reason for him to wash his hands according to her). She doesn't like that we allowed to eat McDonald's TWICE in one week - gasp! - while they were here.
Despite my anxiety issues, I really pushed myself to go out to at least a couple of antique stores while my dad and SM were here. With my side hurting - despite my having taken some Motrin earlier that day - I told SM that I could probably go to two or three places but then I'd need to return home otherwise I'd be in a lot of pain later that night and probably wouldn't sleep well. She said okay. Since my dad was still busy on the shower thing with dh, that left me and SM to go out shopping. I called my MIL to see if she wanted to go as she'd been wanting to go to that store and I figured she could help keep an eye on ds. MIL got here and off we went.
Of course, all SM did was complain about everything, particularly how she couldn't believe the stupid shower thing was taking so long. It was like she was blaming me or something, as if I'd caused it to take so long. I just ignored her. But the whole time we were at the antique store, anytime I mentioned liking something, SM would say, "Oh no. No, no, no." as if to say that my choices were wrong, ugly, etc. As we left the first store and I noticed a small section of old, wooden porch railing and commented how it would look so good hung on the wall above my tv, SM looked at me like I was crazy. I just smiled and said, "I decorate cottage style, remember?" She said snarkily, "I know what cottage style is! I used to decorate that way!" Once again the implication being that I was wrong and apparently did NOT know what cottage style was and that I was insane for even contemplating hanging an architectural element on my wall.
After two more stores, I was hurting badly and said I needed to go home. The fact that it was 99 degrees and super humid that day didn't help either. So off we went home. SM didn't say anything much but I could tell she was pissed that we were heading home after only being out for an hour or two. Oh well. Since *I* would have been the one to suffer all night if I pushed myself further, I drove us all home. As soon as we walked in the door, SM set to bitching because the guys still weren't finished despite the fact that they were putting the finishing touches on everything and nearly done.
I also had to hear about how I need to work on myself more with regard to getting out and becoming able to travel. A) I HAVE been working on it and B) I suffer from intense anxiety and agoraphobia for which healing is a process. Apparently, now that NM is out of my life, all my issues should have magically disappeared as, according to SM, my NM was the cause of them all. And the fact that all my issues haven't just magically disappeared is cause for my SM to bitch, piss and moan about them and make nasty comments. For example, we were sitting in the living room trying to decide what to do about dinner and dh asked me if I felt up to going out to eat. I told him no, partly due to the fact that my side was hurting due to a muscle spasms caused by my back going out the day before and also partly because of my anxiety issues about going out certain places. Now I'm the first to admit that dealing with my anxiety problems can be a pain in the ass to put it mildly, but it's not as if I can really help it, ya know? Anyways so my SM gives me a dirty look at about that point and makes a snarky comment about "some people" not being able to go out to eat. I just looked at her and finally said, partly joking, "Don't give me yer dirty looks woman!" to which SM responded, "I'll look at you any damn way I want!" At that point I had grown tired of her freaking comments so I said (in a slightly LESS joking manner) "Fine! But then don't be surprised when I shoot you a dirty look back...woman!" She just grumbled something under her breath and continued looking pissy.
As it turned out, I stayed home by myself and enjoyed a few moments peace and quiet. Dh had promised to take ds to McDonald's since he'd been so good the past couple days and MIL said she'd tag along if he didn't mind. Rather than coming to another agreement, SM decided she and my dad would just not eat until they got back to their precious friends' house and tagged along with dh, ds and MIL and pouted the entire time. Dad and SM were the first to return home and SM, as usual, was ready to get back to her friends' house immediately "before it got dark". (It was barely 5pm at that time and it currently doesn't get dark here until about 9pm.) My dad said he wanted to stay until dh and ds got back to say goodbye to which SM, quite begrudgingly, agreed.
My dad asked if I was going to be working on becoming able to travel again. I explained that I was working on it, it was a process, etc. and he seemed to understand and was okay with it all. SM on the other hand said again how I need to push myself, blah blah and how I can't let my myriad of health problems like back pain or stomach issues stop me since, after all, they don't stop HER. (Sound like NM much?) I just reiterated that I DO "push myself" daily and that these things take time and aren't going to just magically evaporate just because NM is no longer in my life causing problems.
As soon as dh, ds and MIL returned, SM jumped up and was ready to leave. As everyone was saying their goodbyes, SM hugged me tightly and said to me, "Oh! I'm going to MISS you so much!" I felt like saying to her, "What?! Are you freaking kidding me?? All you did was bitch and complain about everything and it was clear you could barely stand to be with me and away from your precious friends the entire time you were here!" But, of course, I said nothing because, really, what would it have changed?
So, despite the fact that they were in town for about a week, I got to spend about ten minutes with my dad and that was only with SM there being her usual controlling self and dominating the entire conversation. Before my dad left, I asked him if he wanted some of the chocolate chip cookies I'd made for him and dh and SM interjected, "No. He doesn't need them." I wrapped some up for him to take with him. I mean, really, the man is 58 years old. I think he can decide for himself if he wants a damn cookie lady! My dad seemed happy to receive them and I hope he got the chance to enjoy them. Most likely, SM made him throw them out.
I miss my dad so much. They left yesterday to go back to Ohio, an 8+ hour drive from here. He and I have missed so many years together, in large part due to NM and her lies about him all those years. And now that he's getting older, the time we have left grows ever shorter. He seemed so different from the man I used to know when he was here. He seemed broken down somehow. Clearly, SM has finally broken his will and taken over total control of him. Every time I'd ask what he wanted to do when they got here, he always answered, "You'll have to talk to (SM's name) about that. Whatever you guys decide." It just makes me so sad. I wish I could talk to him - WITHOUT SM getting involved, reading any letters or emails or otherwise interjecting herself in my relationship with him - and let him know how much I love him and am here for him if he ever needs or wants to talk.
There's been some talk about a position opening up about 30 minutes from here - my dad is a Lutheran minister - in a year or so when the current pastor retires. As much as it would suck to have SM so close by (and able to drop in constantly), I would love to have my dad so close. We spent so many years not in contact with one another and while I'm so grateful to have him in my life again, even if it is mostly by telephone, it would be so much nicer to have him here, close by, where we could visit often and get to know each other again.
For now, however, I'm just glad my SM is gone and I can have a break. I don't know if it just hit me harder since I've been NC with NM for nearly 6 months now or what but one thing that was clear, despite SM going on and on about her sister being a narcissist, after this visit, I'm thinking that SM is also very much an N. She's so much like my NM. A bit subtler in her criticisms but still very N. Kind of came out of nowhere in one regard as she and I generally get along so well over the phone. Then again, thinking back now, there have always been signs. I guess I just didn't notice them until now.