In the immediate days that followed the birth of our DD, we had only a handful of visitors, which was exactly the way I wanted it. Most of them were members of my family, with whom we genuinely wanted to share this exciting event. DH and I had no qualms about my parents or siblings coming to visit, since my family has always respected our needs and wishes, and it has never been a concern that they would overstep their bounds.
DH's dysfunctional FOO, however, wouldn't know healthy boundaries if I spelled it out for them. They either know what boundaries are and just don't care that they've crossed over them (way the fuck over them), or they simply don't have a clue. With NMIL, my guess is that she knows where our lines are drawn and she crosses them anyway. She might argue that she's never crossed a boundary, and that if she has, it was unintentional. I say, "Listen lady, I'm not buyin'." I know, we're not supposed to have the "Who you are" conversation. Instead, we're supposed to frame it as "What you did." But listen, at some point, what you did crosses over into who you are, and judgments need to be made. And it's my judgement, my assessment of the facts over a two-year period of time, that leads me to the feeling that NMIL crosses boundaries with intent to do harm. That makes her a bad person in my eyes. That's right, I said it: A BAD person.
Let's talk about photographs, one of NMIL's favorite means of NS. When it was her turn to come visit, she brought along her darling sister, probably for narco-support, her eight-year-old niece, for use as a potential human shield, and her trusty camera, for pictures to show friends of her acting the "doting grammy." No SIL, Dear Reader, which was no great surprise to me. For all NMIL's, "Oh SIL is so excited for Baby Jonsi to be born" talk, you'd have thought SIL wanted to move in with us to be closer to the baby when she was born. Not so. SIL has never had an interest in DH's life, his wife, or his children, except perhaps, for use as her own narc-supply, since she's just a NMIL in training. But, I digress.
There NMIL was, snapping away with her camera, taking photo after photo of my family. Then she handed the camera to DH and asked him to take pictures of her with the baby. DH obliged, having absolutely no idea the level of exploitation he would be allowing her. While I opened the packages they had brought, with the sad realization that the most thoughtful gift came from DH's young cousin, Naunt chattered away to DH. As with all of our visits, they generally ignored me, and spoke only to DH. This time was no different. Naunt told DH, "Oh everyone just thought the photos of the baby were so cute." If ever ears could "perk," Dear Reader, mine did. How was it that pictures were already getting sent around to people when we had specifically requested that no one be notified of our daughter's birth, until we explicitly gave permission? Why had hospital photos, since those were the only photos taken so far, made it any further than the cameras, or perhaps personal computers, of the people who had been in the room with us at the hospital? Who the fuck sent photos, and to whom, and with what rights? Naunt continued, "Apparently, Exhibit A already posted a picture of DD on her Facebook!" She said it like we would think that was the most fantastic bit of news we'd ever heard. I'm sure in their world, where gossip rules supreme, it IS a good idea to share the private moments of others with everyone. Not so, in ours.
I flipped that one over in my mind a few times. Exhibit A already posted a picture of DD on her Facebook. Exhibit A. Facebook. A photo of my baby. Exhibit A, the same Exhibit A who once, early in our relationship, texted DH at two in the morning, "I miss you. When can I see you again?" like some obsessed, love-sick teenager. Exhibit A, who I had seen three times and never said a word to. Exhibit A, who didn't know me, didn't get our permission, and would never meet my child. That Exhibit A posted a photo of my newborn baby on her Facebook page, to pass it around like candy to her thousand frenemies. It was clear to me that she was attempting to use her "friend's" good news for attention, since she obviously did not have his best interests at heart, let alone the best interests of his wife or new baby.
I asked DH to email this tater tot, the moment NMIL and her crew left, requesting that the photo be removed and that she never post another photo of our child on the internet again. He obliged, though he wouldn't fully understand, or agree, with my assessment of the situation until over a year later. We discovered that SIL had taken a photo of DD at the hospital and texted the image to Exhibit A, who then posted the photo on Facebook and sent it privately to at least one other person. Holy circular-narcissistic-circles, Batman! I found myself swirling amidst a swarm of selfish, angry narcs, who all had their panties in a twist over "losing" DH. And they were all out for blood. Their biggest problem? When they sought out the blood of my newborn baby, they dug their own graves.
Exhibit A took the time, about a week after the birth of our DD, to chime in on her blog: [November XX, 2009] My best friend had a baby! Well, his fiance did. It's bittersweet though. She completely changed him. I haven't seen him since the Fourth of July because of her! Ugh she makes me so angry. I haven't even seen the baby since she was born. By the way, the baby's name is [DD's name]. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I just feel like she hates me, and I barely even know her. I think I've spoken once to her, and I said "Hello".
Speaks volumes, doesn't it, Dear Reader? Yes, this Exhibit A honestly believed she was important enough in DH's life to be a part of his daughter's birth. I'm quite surprised she didn't think she should be invited to the hospital, or hell, into the labor and delivery room with us while I was giving birth. Her delusions are laughable, her self-esteem pitifully depleted. Out one side of her mouth she says I make her angry, out the other she says she thinks I hate her. Insecure much, Exhibit A? What's all this talk of hatred, and who is it that's really hating here? All the "she's completely changed him" talk is just more proof that the spider was still spinning her web of lies and everyone was flying right into it. None of these people want to acknowledge that, if DH has changed, it's because HE wanted to, not because I've made him. When he stopped wanting to be their doormats, they started blaming me.
But Exhibit A is really just a Flying Monkey, doing NMIL's dirty work.
So. Let's move on to the bigger Monster in all of this: NMIL. You want to see a picture? Let me paint one for you.
NMIL - When you posted our hospital pictures on your Facebook page, without our knowledge or consent, so that you could pretend to be the "doting grammy", you showed me your complete lack of respect for me and my family. When we asked you to remove those photos and you replied, "I was just being the proud gramma" you proved that you require outside sources to feel validated, and have no qualms about exploiting people to get it. When you promised that you understood my feelings of discomfort over having these photos shared with the world, you were lying. When you took those photos off of Facebook and posted them somewhere else, you showed me and my husband that you will stop at nothing to get what you want, even if it means telling lies and manipulating with word-games. We gave you the benefit of the doubt. We gave you our trust when we shared photos with you or let you take yours. You pissed all over our trust and taught your daughter how to do the same. Right now, I'll appeal to your non-existent conscience and say this: If you find this blog and read this post, will you be spewing the rest of your stash for all the world to see? You have lost your picture privileges, NMIL, now and forever more, because of YOUR behaviors, because of YOUR decisions, because of YOUR lack of respect and devaluing of our boundaries. If you were smart, you would cherish the photos you do have, and treat the people in them with love and respect. If you choose not to, as you have so far, then you are doing nothing but prove my assertions. That is your prerogative.
**Credit to Shaun, over at Suburban Black Sheep, for use of the video he posted on "What they did vs. who they are"
**Credit to my dear friend Upsi, at You Don't Have to Dance for Them, for her endless words of wisdom.
**Credit to Pee Wee Herman for the title of this post