Saturday, July 9, 2011

My thoughts on my convo with NM...

Let's start with this comment:

DA, it has never been my goal in life-ever, to hurt you or make you feel bad. There's alot I just don't get, or understand about our relationship. One thing I can promise is that I will listen-and not "talk" over you.

On the one hand, I believe NM truly doesn't get it but, on the other, I think she knows exactly what she's doing. It's almost like there are two people inside of her - one part which can be nice and the other who is total malignant N. It's like the nice part of her wants to be a good mom and believes she loves me and that she'd never intentionally hurt me while the malignant part does everything it can to hurt me and knows full well what it's doing. I think that the reason she allows herself to conveniently forget is because her mind couldn't handle the full realization of the truth. In all honesty, I think having to face the full brunt of the truth would send her over the edge into a complete mental breakdown. The truth simply cannot coexist with her dysfunctional version of reality.
Moving on, just after I confront her about the things she, NHS and NSJ have said over the past 18 months during their smear campaign against me, NM responds with this comment:
NM:As much as I love you-our past conversations have been frustrating don't you think? I'll work on it with you, but please just don't expect me to be perfect. I am who I am-just as you are who you are. We both have to learn to except each other the way we are-crazy or not! Re: your last comment-I don't know who's been talking to you, but NHS and NSJ know that I'm not going to tolerate any bad-mouthing. At first-yes, but no one says anything to me at least, and NHS doesn't really talk to Aunt N or GM.

First and foremost, she doesn't acknowledge any wrongdoing on her part. She knows as well as I do that she did say the things I just accused her of. The fact that she didn't deny it proves it, at least in my eyes. Instead, it's once again the comment that dealing with me is "frustrating". A few years ago, I'd gotten one of those emails that you're supposed to forward to all your friends asking them to describe you in one word. My NM's word that she sent back was, you guessed it, "frustrating". While I agree with her completely that our previous interactions have indeed been "frustrating", it is not for the same reasons that she would state I'm sure.

Her next comment is that she's not perfect and "she is who she is". In some ways I suppose this comment is very true. Without knowing it, she is, in effect, saying that I can't expect a normal, healthy relationship from her, a dysfunctional, unhealthy narcissist. Of course, her actual intention with these comments is to shirk any responsibility and blame, both past and future. What I think of as normal, caring, respectful behavior, NM considers excessive and my asking her to be "perfect". In her mind, she's just fine and I, as her daughter, should just "except" (accept) her for who and what she is.

Her final comment in this part of the conversation is to say that supposedly NHS and NSJ know that she's not going to tolerate any badmouthing of me. Well, AT FIRST, okay but not anymore apparently. Then she says that no one says anything to her and that NHS doesn't speak to Aunt N or GM really anyway, which isn't exactly true. Since I know what has been said to me directly and in my presence by NHS and NSJ (and NM on occasion), I have no doubt that the vicious comments and smears made against me by NHS, NSJ and NM are true. I also don't buy for a second that NM "doesn't tolerate any badmouthing" of me by her mental case dd and dh. NM can try to convince me otherwise all she wants but I know the sort of person she is.

NM:I'm sitting here trying to say the right things to you. I can't believe that your name popped up under (nephew's) name. I didn't know if it was a joke or not.

This is part of the problem I had with NM previously. She was always saying how she was always (supposedly) trying so hard to say and do the right things, the things *I* wanted her to say/do. The thing she doesn't get is that I just want her to be respectful and nice. Once, when I said as much to her, she said to me, "I don't understand what you mean." When I repeated, "Just be NICE.", she responded again, "But what does that MEAN?" I now believe that this is the NPD part of her. Lacking the empathy that gives normal people the ability to understand how certain words and actions can hurt another person's feelings, NM doesn't understand what I'm talking about when I tell her certain words and actions on her part hurt me and cause me pain. It's like there is no "mean" and "nice", everything just IS.

DA-again, I'm not perfect. However, you've never been 100% the one at fault, but neither one of us are totally blameless. I've been wrong talking about your dad and NSM-hopefully I will keep my mouth shut. Let's try to start over and be totally honest with each other. If I say or do something wrong-tell me at that moment what I'm doing etc. 

Again with the "You can't hold me responsible because, after all, I'm not perfect!" excuse. This time it was because I attempted to hold her responsible for her previous acts of shirking responsibility and placing all the blame on me and my NF. She then takes it a step further and tries to assign a large portion of the blame for the way things are between us on me. Not surprising. The thing is I have never, in all my life, ever expected her to be perfect nor have I ever stated anything to that effect. I also have never said that I am 100% blameless. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes and I am no exception. But while I may be responsible for some of the blame, it is a very small percentage. In this instance, it is NM, NHS and NSJ who bear the brunt of the blame for the way things are between them and I.

I will give her credit where credit is due though.She DOES admit some wrongdoing - even if only barely - to badmouthing my NSM and NF to me, though her comment of "hopefully I will keep my mouth shut" [in the future] seems to leave wiggle room for her to shirk blame for any future bad behavior in that area.

Regarding her comment of my telling her when she's doing something wrong, if you read through the previous posted transcript of the conversation, you'll know I told her that we'd been there, done that before and it didn't work. Anytime I've attempted to confront her in the moment in the past, she's had one excuse after another why I'm wrong, why I shouldn't feel that way or why it's otherwise not her fault and she's not in the wrong. Mind you, that won't stop me from calling her out on her bad behavior in the future. Just because she'll still make excuses and shirk responsibility for her bad behavior doesn't mean I'm going to just turn over and let her get away with it. Sad for her but if she thinks I was "frustrating" before, she's in for a whole new definition of "frustrating" with the new, healthier me! LOL

LOL Then we come to the infamous eyebrow comment. NM writes:

NM:Guess what I did the first of the year?...had my eyebrows fixed, so they look more even! Did it hurt-hell yes!!!

Right in the middle of my talking about some very serious issues - that my feelings toward her are NOT a result of anything my NF has said but 100% due to my interactions with her, period - she makes a comment about her stupid eyebrows. Really?! I have to laugh though as it's so utterly and completely N of her to make such a comment at such a time. (For the record, as someone commented about her having had her eyebrows waxed, she didn't have them waxed, she had minor plastic surgery to fix her previously droopy eyelids.) Previously, before NC that is, I probably would have gotten super pissed or been hurt by this type of comment but now, to use NM's own words, she is who she is. Now that my expectations are on par with who she is, these things don't really get to me anymore.

It was about this point in the conversation that I felt NM was getting way ahead of herself and taking my tiny handout of speaking to her and running with it full speed ahead. I wanted to be clear about how I felt and so I told her, quite clearly and bluntly, that my speaking to her did not mean I was ready to jump back into a relationship with her head first and added that I also was not ready to see her face to face or speak on the phone yet but I did say I was okay with sending emails here and there. NM's response to that was:

NM:I understand what you're saying. I really would love some pics of ds. He must be getting so big now. I miss you and him very much. I can only promise you that I will listen-with both ears. I don't know if I'm ready to see you on a daily basis yet either. I have been hurt by this episode-very much. I resent (your dh) on the last time I saw him. I understand that he was defending you-still didn't like his playing "therapist" with me. I also will never be friendly toward MIL and FIL again. For MIL being so religious-that's a crock! I will never trust them again!

First, my guess is to save face since I called her out on getting carried away, she says that she doesn't know if she's ready to see me yet either, though she says she's not ready to see me "on a daily basis" whereas I said I wasn't ready to see her face to face. This tells me that my previous assumption that she was taking my talking to her as, "Oh good. Finally DA is ready to stop being silly and has come to her senses! Now things can go back to the way they were again!" was spot on. Previously, NM and I had spoken pretty much on a daily basis and she was constantly popping in on her way to or from somewhere, using my house as a rest stop to use the bathroom and make herself a cup of tea before heading on to wherever.

Anyway, then NM moves on to saying that she has also been hurt by this "episode". While I thing that feeling hurt by such circumstances is understandable, the point is that I've just opened myself and revealed my pain to her and all she can think to respond is, "Well what about MY pain? I've been hurt too, you know!". So NOT the response of a healthy, functional parent.

As to NM's comment about resenting my dh, she's been saying she feels that way toward him for some time now. Why? Because dh doesn't buy into her bullshit and, thus, NM isn't able to control and manipulate him the way she does with others. I don't think I have to tell any of you that dh did not "play therapist" with NM the last time we all talked back in January of 2010. He did act as mediator to an extent and called both NM and I out on a couple of occasions when we were getting too emotional and straying from the topic at hand. Beyond that, he acted as any husband should - he defended and supported me, his wife. 

NM is just pissed that dh can't be manipulated into siding with her against me. Which, coincidentally, is precisely why she now hates my IL's. When I first went NC with her, NM tried in vain to get my IL's to side with her. She called up FIL and cried the blues about how she had a gift for ds and could she drop it off and he'd give it to ds since I wouldn't talk to her? She used her best "woe is me" act. FIL, being a generally nice guy, said no problem. Once NM arrived, she paraded NHS' two kids around to my IL's and said, "Do this kids look abused to you?" in reference to dh's and my refusal to allow NM to take ds out on her own, which was NM's main bone of contention with us. (Her own fault that she lost the privilege due to repeatedly going against our wishes and abusing the privilege back when she still had it.) NM, quite cunningly, attempted to get my IL's to agree to let her see ds behind dh's and my back when ds visited my IL's at their house. IL's said she was welcome to visit THEM any time but did NOT agree to let NM see ds against our wishes. My IL's have also stood firm and repeated dh's and my wishes and feelings to NM whenever NM has tried to lie and badmouth dh and I. Because of all of this, NM claims my IL's have "mistreated" her and betrayed her trust. As with dh, NM is just mad they won't allow themselves to be manipulated by her and fall for her bullshit.

NM's final comment to me was:

NM:I guess I will go and start dinner-I still hate to cook. I hate to say goodbye - I love you so very much and want to make this work for you and me. I have asked grandma or Aunt N from time to time about (dog's name)-nobody knew anything. My granddog! Give ds and the dog a hug from me. Take care of you and we'll talk again whenever you're ready-you write me when you want to. I'm willing to talk whenever you want to. Hey..we've just had a conversation and no problems! See we can do it. Love Mom XX

The very final comment of "Hey...we've just had a conversation and no problems! See we can do it." rankled me only slightly but, otherwise I found the rest of our talk to be okay. I believe that SHE believes she genuinely loves me but I think the truth is more she loves me to the best of her ability. Because of the NPD, she's not able to
truly love me unconditionally, the way I love my son. And, once again, I need to give credit where it's due. She does say that we'll talk again whenever I'm ready and for me to write when I want to. Of course, if past behavior is any indicator - and we all know that it is - chances are this is more of her saying what she thinks I want to hear. I give it a handful more conversations between us and her impatience is going to start showing and the questions of "When can I see ds already?" will start.

I think this can work and I can maintain what I have with her now but it's going to take work. It will mean keeping my expectations of her very, very low and maintaining a healthy balance between my mind and my heart. It would be all too easy to allow myself to just surrender and believe what she says despite the fact that I know much of it is untrue and know her true nature. As it was during our conversation the other day, I need to make sure that I walk that fine line between standing my ground and enforcing my boundaries without allowing myself to be sucked back in emotionally where I start getting into old habits and defending, justifying, excusing, etc. I need to be vigilant about what I say and not sharing things that are too personal with NM.

As I think about the type of relationship I'm describing, it occurs to me that rather than a real, functional relationship, I'm talking about more of an empty husk. If any of you know anything about tarantula spiders (I personally HATE spiders but know a little bit due to working in a pet store for a while as a teenager), you know that they periodically molt their outer skin/shell. The shed part looks exactly like a dead tarantula spider but is really a dried out, empty husk of the real thing. I suppose my new relationship with my NM will be like that. At this point in my recovery though, I think that's okay. I know now that I can never have the relationship with my NM that I'd like to, but I think that having her in my life, even in some barely there capacity, is better than not having her in my life at all. The way it was before, never knowing if I'd ever see or speak to her again, just felt wrong somehow. Beyond the obvious I mean. It just didn't seem right FOR ME and my life that it truly was all said and done, that I'd never see her or speak to her again. It didn't seem acceptable to me. This, I think I can live with. It's far from perfect obviously but it's okay.


  1. I have learned that functioning on a surface level with low expectations is doable. Like you said it is a shell of a relationship but it seems to be all some people can handle. I think your analysis of the conversation is excellent. Hoping things continue to progress at a healthy rate. :)

  2. i read the whole long thing..yay i am proud of you

  3. You seem to have a very good grasp on the situation and the possible expectations. Your description of the husk is telling on several levels. Good for you! And what a blessing to have DH and supportive ILs. You are becoming healthy. Whoohoo!

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