Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Are You Smoking?

On Friday, DH received the following message from EFIL in his work email:

From: EFIL
Sent: June 24, 2011 @ 4:52 PM
To: DH's Work Email
Subject: (no subject)
Attachments: The Letter; Photocopy of excerpt from "Maximized Manhood"

Hi DH

I don't know if you got my other emails and card so I'm sending it to you here. Please DH don't throw away your whole past and now your future with your blood family Please read these things. A WISE man has many consolers. You are a wise man DH

I love you
DAD


And on Sunday, he received the following in his personal email:

From: EFIL
Date: Jun 26, 2011 @ 12:51 PM
Subject: Letter
To: DH [actual email address], DH [incorrect email address]

Hi DH,

Could you please email me your response to my letter so I may respond to them easier? :)


You may have already guessed it Dear Reader, but I see several issues in these emails. Please, allow me to outline them for you:

1. As was the original email that EFIL sent to DH, which contained an attachment of the infamous letter, the email on Sunday was sent to multiple email addresses, only one of them correct. It was clear to me that EFIL was so desperate to have his message heard that he sent it to six different email addresses, obviously not knowing which one, if any, DH would receive. It was quite apparent that EFIL just didn't know DH's email address and wanted to make EXTRA sure that his message was received. To illustrate, imagine that DH's correct address is this: DH123@hotmail.com. EFIL sent his original correspondence to: DH123@hotmail.com, DH123@yahoo.com, DH123@gmail.com, 123DH@hotmail.com, etc. And as if that wasn't enough, he went further out of bounds and sent it to DH's work email address, which he most likely found in an online database which is open to the public. The fact that EFIL went so wild and crazy in his attempt to be heard is bothersome to me because it shows such a disrespect for my husband and his need for space and time. If this kind of behavior were happening face-to-face, it would look like the parody of a conversation. Picture it like this: EFIL walks into the room, and it's obvious that he is just bursting with something to say. So he walks up to DH, face-to-face, and says it. Then, with DH still standing in the same place, EFIL moves off to the side and says, "Just in case you didn't hear me, let me say it again from over here." He follows that up with the same message he gave DH the first time. Then, when DH moves to sit down at the sofa, EFIL follows him and, while walking to the couch says again, "I'm not sure you got the message when I told you the first two times, so just in case you didn't, here it is again." And he follows up that statement with the same exact message. This would continue over and over ad nauseum. So what I want to say is that we get it. We got your damn message the first three times you sent it. We got it in the mail. We got it in a voice mail. We got it in your damn emails, or at least three or four of the seven you sent. SAYING IT A THOUSAND TIMES ISN'T GOING TO SWAY ANYONE INTO THINKING YOU ARE RIGHT. It is rude and disrespectful to continue to send your message because you would rather think DH didn't receive it than acknowledge that he did but he chooses not to respond, or not to respond the way you'd like him to.

2. I have to say it, folks. The poor spelling and grammatical errors really get under my skin. I realize that EFIL doesn't understand that he is quickly losing his chance to communicate with DH, but one would think that he would work a little harder at making his correspondence clearer and more precise. I know he hasn't yet figured out that these letters may very well be the last time DH speaks with him under these circumstances, but with that knowledge in my pocket, it makes me sad to think that DH's EF couldn't even take the time to run a spell-check or have someone proofread what may be his last correspondence with DH. The spelling errors, grammatical issues, and lack of clarity in his words are indicative of a person who won't even put the effort in to making his point clear. Either that, or he is even less intelligent than I had thought. I doubt that his communications would be riddled with fewer errors, even if he knew that it would be his last chance to be heard by his son, and I guess my thoughts on that matter indicate how very little I feel DH's father feels for him. If it were me, even if I didn't realize that I wouldn't be getting another chance to share my thoughts, I would still write as though it were my last chance. I would want to present myself as an intelligent person who had, at the very least, shown that I was willing to take the time necessary to make my feelings and ideas as clear as possible.

3. On that note, the definition of "console" is this, according to dictionary.com: –verb (used with object), -soled, -sol·ing. to alleviate or lessen the grief, sorrow, or disappointment of; give solace or comfort: Only his children could console him when his wife died. Origin: 1685–95; (< French consoler ) < Latin consōlārī, equivalent to con- con- + sōlārī to soothe ( see solace); perhaps akin to Old English sǣl happiness (see seely) I don't believe that EFIL was telling DH, "A wise man has many people to alleviate his grief." While a wise man may indeed be surrounded by people who will comfort him in times of sadness, I believe what EFIL actually meant was perhaps something more like this, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." (Proverbs 12:15) or this, "A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel." (Proverbs 1:5) or this, "A wise man has great counsel." (The last fortune cookie I cracked open). I believe COUNSEL was the word EFIL was looking for. COUNSEL. CONSOLE(R). "Consoler" isn't even a word.

4. It is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to send correspondence to someone's work email address, unless that person has specifically given you permission to do so. Furthermore, even when you have gotten permission to send correspondence to an individual's work email address, the content of those emails must still be safe for work. The rules of business in our country say that it is unethical for employees to use their work email addresses for personal reasons. While it is unlikely that anyone is reading DH's work emails, it is not out of the realm of possibility. Therefore, it is my feeling that sending personal correspondence to his work email address is inexcusable. It is just plain wrong to mess with someone's livelihood; particularly if your reasons are selfish and self-serving. Just because EFIL is desperate to be heard, doesn't mean that he gets to send his personal attacks on DH's character to his work address, where his employers have a right to read them.

5. The fact that EFIL is so dead-set on being right is very apparent in all of his letters and messages to DH. "Don't throw away your whole past...with your blood family" is a clear indication that EFIL believes DH's past is something that is worth keeping by allowing it to repeat itself in the future. He thinks he is right, and that DH's interpretation of his own history is wrong.

6. Just because DH chooses not to do what EFIL wants does not mean he is not wise, which is exactly what EFIL has implied, many times over. In fact, I would say that DH is more the wiser for choosing to open his eyes to the abuses he has suffered his whole life, and the abuses being inflicted on his FOC. He is more the wiser for having gone NC with people who do not value him as a human being, love him as a unique and beautiful person, or respect him as an equal.

7. The whole "Can you make it easier for me to respond" thing is really annoying and speaks more to EFIL's laziness than it does to his interest in communicating with DH. Anything that needs to be said can be typed up and re-written, if need be. DH had several very good reasons to send his letter in the mail, and EFIL is merely disregarding those reasons by asking him to make it easier for him to respond.

8. The smiley face. Dude, seriously? What are you smoking?

9. I have never seen EFIL "fight" so "hard" for DH before. Now that DH has decided he's going to ex-communicate himself from his FOO and extricate himself from their abuses, EFIL is doing all sorts of crazy things to "save" DH from his own "terrible" and "uninformed" decisions. EFIL is trying to save DH from himself. EFIL is trying to save DH from me. The fact that this is probably the hardest EFIL has ever tried to communicate with DH is very sad to me and speaks to his apparent desperation to keep DH at least in the periphery of their dysfunctional lifestyle, rather than having anything to do with genuine love or consideration.

I will conclude this post with a few of my own quotes. Since EFIL is so fond of throwing his around as irrefutable evidence of his "rightness," I found some I would love to gag him with in return. From some of The Greats:

On being called a fool:

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
Albert Einstein

Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do.
Benjamin Franklin

A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Bruce Lee

Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it.
Henry David Thoreau

If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.
Carl Jung

Guard your roving thoughts with a jealous care, for speech is but the dialer of thoughts, and every fool can plainly read in your words what is the hour of your thoughts.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

My manner of thinking, so you say, cannot be approved. Do you suppose I care? A poor fool indeed is he who adopts a manner of thinking for others!
Marquis de Sade

There is a difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man is really so; but he that thinks himself the wisest is generally the greatest fool.
Francis Bacon

You think I am a fool, but you are a greater fool than I.
Sitting Bull


On Truth:

Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.
Albert Einstein

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
Buddha

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
Winston Churchill

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
Oscar Wilde

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.
Oscar Wilde

In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.
Author Unknown

Friday, June 24, 2011

Your Friend, In Truth

For my dear friend Upsi:

"I find it shelter to speak to you"
-Emily Dickinson

Blood Is Thicker Than Water

I must give a shout-out to my dear, dear friend Upsi. She is brilliant. She left the following comment on my most recent post, and I wanted to highlight what she said in a special post:

I've been researching the origins of the expression "blood is thicker than water" and it turns out it means exactly the opposite of what people use it for. People use it to mean family ties are the most important, but really the saying comes from the idea of a blood covenant - "blood of the covenant is thicker than water of the womb" - in other words, the bonds we make in faith are stronger than those of family.

The bonds we forge in choice, with all our hearts and all our faith, with those we make a promise to stand by and honor, are thicker than the water we're born in - stronger than the bonds with the family we're born into. Because we choose to make those covenants. What we choose for ourselves is stronger than what is chosen for us.

Fuckin brilliant.


Upsi, YOU are brilliant.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NMIL: The Puppeteer

Yesterday, DH received an onslaught of strings-attached communication from his FOO regarding his birthday. DH wrote about his feelings on their use of his birthday to attack him and I think what he had to say was very powerful. DH doesn't tend to write out their messages word-for-word, but he was willing to let me share a more concise version of their pseudo-birthday-wishes on my blog. He helped me transcribe all of their sappy emails and voice mails so that I could present them here. I've written them in the order that DH received them. Be prepared for a shit-storm of guilt-trip bullshit, Dear Reader.

He received the following email from his Naunt, first thing in the morning. Naunt was, no doubt, hoping to be the first person to wish him a happy birthday, in order to show him how very much she loves him. This is what she wrote:

From: Naunt
Date: Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 7:36 AM
Subject: Happy Birthday
To: DH

DH's Childhood nickname,

I wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday today. I realize you don't want to have anything to do with any of us, but I want you to know I am still thinking about you today and every day.

We all still love you and will always be here for you. Take good care and I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Naunt's first name


My interpretation: All the correspondence from DH's FOO yesterday was more about THEM than about DH. They all used his birthday as an excuse to contact DH and offer him their underhanded opinions about what he has decided to do. I focused mainly on the phrase, "I realize you don't want to have anything to do with us..." Naunt used that particular phrase to imply that DH is the bad guy. She very specifically used the word "want" because she wanted to make it clear that the responsibility for his estrangement lies solely on his shoulders.

My very first thought was that the estrangement is not about what DH wants. He did not wake up one day and say, "I WANT to disengage with my family of origin." No, he woke up and said, "I NEED to disengage with my family of origin in order to maintain my physical, mental, and emotional well-being. I NEED to disengage with them because their behaviors are unhealthy for me, my wife, and my children." This estrangement did not begin under the circumstances that Naunt has stated. To say "DH does not want to have anything to do with his family of origin" is completely inaccurate, unfair, and demeaning. He WANTS to have a relationship with all of them, but no longer at the expense of himself. He WANTS to have a relationship with them, so long as they are willing to take responsibility for the wrongs they have committed and begin to make honest and appropriate changes in their behaviors. He WANTS to feel loved by his FOO and know that they have accepted his life choices and the woman he has chosen to spend his life with.

Naunt concludes that thought, "but I want you to know I am still thinking about you today and every day." She might as well say, "I believe you hate me, but I still love you. You're the bad one, see? I love you, but you don't love me. Go ahead, try to love us, I dare you. You can't love us while you are doing what you are doing." It's like a taunt that she's throwing in his face: "La la la, I'm over here thinking about you and there's nothing you can do about it."

She says, "We all STILL love you." It's the "still" that's a problem. The use of that word implies that they "love" him "in spite of what he has done." My main concern with this is that they have held this sentiment since WELL-BEFORE DH decided to go NC. We've seen that phrase pop-up time and again from NMIL, EFIL, and Naunt, and the rest of their elk. The problem is that it implies that DH is the one wronging everyone and they are such wonderful people that they will just forgive him and love him anyway. NMIL used that phrase in her "special card" to "just DH" on the day of our wedding. In other words, "Even though you're getting married, I STILL love you, because I'm the bigger person in all of this." Or, "Even though you're getting married TO HER, I still love you, because I'm the bigger person in all of this." The use of that one word implies that THEY are the ones being hurt by DH's actions. In their view, DH wronged them when he dated me. He wronged them when he married me. He wronged them when we decided to have children together. He wronged them by not doing everything they wanted. He wronged them by not being their doormat anymore. And now he's wronged them by going NC. But, you know, they still love him, in spite of all that. Because they are such good people. BARF.

She says, "We'll always be here for you." I know, without a doubt, that she's throwing around phrases she's heard before that seem appropriate for this situation, without knowing what they mean or being able to stand behind them. What that phrase should mean is that DH's FOO support him and accept his choices. It should mean that they will accept and welcome the family he has created and validate his thoughts and feelings. It should mean that they will stop blaming him for everything they feel has gone wrong and take responsibility for their fair share. It should mean that they will stop attempting to manipulate him and actually listen to what he has to say.

But, Naunt uses that phrase to say, "I hope this email changes your mind and you come back to us. I hope that you know when it doesn't work out, we'll be willing to accept you back into the fold as our little doormat. We're willing to let things get back to the way they were before." That mentality is precisely what DH is fighting. He no longer wants to be their emotional doormat. He no longer wants to be treated as though he has no feelings and his opinions don't matter. He no longer wants to watch his NM and Naunt and EF treat his FOC the way they have. He's taking a stand against their abuse because he is not willing to be a part of it any longer.

The following is a poem I thought up last night and got out of bed to jot down:

You're Fired

Dearest Auntie
Sweetie Pie
Sugarcakes
Honeybuns

Please kindly remove yourself from the premises.
Clear out your desk and hand in your resignation.
I don't know why you've come around
'Cause we fired you
years ago.

How conveniently you've forgotten
Your poor work ethic
Your performance on the job was severely lacking.

Your saccharine, sappy shit don't impress us.
So pack your bags, you're through.

We don't need to see your face
in this institution again.

Dearest Auntie, Sweetie Pie
You can take your sugar and shove it.

Next on the list. NMIL's best friend: We'll call her Toast. She left DH the following sappy, over-the-top voicemail:

DH's childhood nickname? It’s Toast...How are you?

DH, happy birthday. I’m just calling to wish you a happy, happy birthday. I’m thinking about you, as I often do. Um I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday and uh and tell you (pause) DH, I think of you all the time and I have a gift for baby DS and um I just never sent it cause I was hoping I would see you. But anyway. It’s been over six months now. Yeah, about six months now. I’ll actually get the address from your mom and just send it to you. Um, but I do hope to see you soon. I miss you terribly. I hope you are well. I hope (garbled) Jonsi and the kids are well. I just wanted to call you and wish you a happy birthday and that’s it. I will talk to you very soon hopefully. And just look for that present in the mail within a week or so. Okay, happy birthday DH. Ok, bye.


My Interpretation: I named her Toast because that's what she is. DH has never talked about her, except to say that she is his NM's best friend. He invited her to our baby shower, our wedding shower, and our wedding because he thought he was obligated to. By the time he realized she really didn't belong as a guest at our wedding, he had already invited her to the shower and didn't feel it polite to revoke her invitation from the wedding. Toast is basically a non-entity in this whole thing. If Naunt barely deserves a second thought, then Toast pretty much has no existence in our thoughts or concerns. She's really nothing but a Kool-Aid drinking, superficial, Flying Monkey.

She didn't call DH on his birthday last year because he wasn't estranged from his NM at that point, so it was unnecessary. To me, this is NMIL's most obvious attempt to find a loophole in the "laws" of No Contact. Toast has no business what-so-ever sticking her nose in DH's life, even to call and wish him a Happy Birthday. At this point, she has no relationship with DH, or DH's FOC. We never even momentarily considered seeing her again, given the circumstances with NMIL and the rest of her soft-headed groupies. Even under near-perfect circumstances, the chances that we'd be hanging around NMIL's friends would be slight. Sending Toast to wish DH a Happy Birthday was NMIL's way of breaking NC, but telling herself at the end of the day that she did what he asked because she didn't contact him herself. In fact, I would go so far as to say that she didn't even have to ask Toast to do this, she probably just pulled her strings and worked her evil magic and Toast fell for it, thinking she could save the day for her dear, dear friend. Ah, what a trickster, NMIL. What a way to play with our words. What a deceitful and sneaky move.

Toast was obviously stretching for something to say. She said Happy Birthday at least five times during the course of the message. She implied that DH is a jerk for not letting her see our DS, in six whole months! DH and I are both well aware that his FOO has not seen DS since he was born. It's ridiculous to point it out to us as though we had no idea. We did it, on purpose, Toast. NMIL hasn't seen DS but for the fifteen minutes in the hospital after he was born because she doesn't deserve to. And neither do you. So, go ahead. Send us your shit. Our DS has no idea who you are, so your present will be meaningless to him. I'll wrap up the gift myself and present it to him as though it's a gift from US, rather than some stranger he doesn't know. So, go ahead. Send it. We've cut the strings you attached to that gift anyway.

And, oh the melodrama! Really Toast? You miss DH terribly? You can't sleep at night because you're thinking of him so much? Is that it? You can't possibly get through your days without thinking about your friend's estranged son and the well-being of his wife and children? It would just make your day if you heard from him! It would be the light of your life for DH to call and let you know he's alright and he loves you too. Oh, what a world!

Please, honey, save your sappy, over-the-top shit for someone who believes it.

When DH heard the voice mail he said, "She sounds like my mother."

And there is a reason for that: This woman is merely operating under the control of NMIL. She mentioned not once, but twice, in her message about how badly she hoped to see or hear from DH. That's not Toast talking. That's NMIL. Toast doesn't have an interest in our lives. She doesn't have an interest in DH's well-being. She's not going to implode when a week passes and he hasn't responded to her shitty message or thanked her for her gift to our son. Because she's not really the one missing DH, or thinking about him all the time, or wishing he was back in her life. Toast didn't leave that voice mail. It may have been her voice. But it was NMIL's message.

Next, DH got a message from J, his mother's second ex-husband. J said: Hey DH, it’s about ten o'clock on Wednesday. Just calling to say happy birthday. Alright, take care.

My interpretation: Let me tell you a little something about this schmuck. He's pretty much a dead-beat dad. He has no relationship to speak of with DH. DH has very few memories of the man, and most of them are not fond. J is a guy who would rather help Pig on his house, than help his own step-son on his. That's right, Dear Reader, last summer we got wind from J that he had helped Pig build a patio outside his house one weekend. For your clarification, Pig is DH's ex-friend. Pig should now be considered, by DH's FOO, a lost cause; a piece of history; a fart in the wind. I have an inclination that, in her quest to adopt Pig as her "new-and-improved" son, NMIL somehow navigated J in Pig's direction and busied herself with sowing the seeds of obligation. She and J are probably developing quite the rapport with Pig. Which is bizarre considering that J is her ex-husband, and Pig is her son's ex-friend.

What has DH ever gotten from J? One thousand dollars for our wedding, and a bunch of tiles for our bathroom. He gave us the materials, but not the time. He gave us the money, but not the love. The one time DH asked J for help on our house, J's response was, "You know, you've got to figure out how to do this stuff on your own." Apparently, Pig will get all the help he wants from J, the house-builder. But DH has to "figure it out on his own" because J is too busy being busy to lend him a hand.

DH received a card from EFIL in the mail. Inside the greeting card that he obviously didn't put any thought into picking out, EFIL wrote: Happy Birthday, Son. (signed) Dad & L. Stuffed inside the card were a $25 gift card to Home Depot, the printed letter he wrote to DH, and a photocopied page from a book entitled "Maximized Manhood." In it, he underlined the following passage: "When you do not forgive someone's sin against you, you bear that sin; you carry it. You also make the same mistake again and again, with person after person."

My interpretation: The short and abrupt "Happy Birthday, Son" signed with no love, is an obvious response to the thank you card I wrote to them for the "Easter/Christmas/Guilt" gifts they sent us about a month ago. I had written, "Thank you for the gifts. (signed) DH and Jonsi." EFIL was mimicking me.

The use of the word "son" to replace DH's name is putting emphasis on the "fulfill your familial role to me" mentality that EFIL is choosing to subscribe to. He wants to drive the point home to DH that HE is the father, and DH is the son; that HE is the adult, and DH is the child; that HE deserves respect and loyalty and consideration and DH does not. EFIL's ultimate message is that DH should be doing as he is told and not asking questions. When his father says "jump," DH is to ask, "how high?" The use of the word "son" is just one big, fat unhealthy expectation. It's a demand. It's callous. It is not loving and it is not kind. It's not even sincere.

And the article he included? It's nothing but a bunch of self-serving malarchy, served up on a religious plate. What sins is DH supposed to be forgiving exactly, EFIL? And HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT MY HUSBAND WILL BE ABUSING HIS OWN CHILDREN just because he has chosen not to forgive YOUR ABUSES. I read the rest of the page he copied and to me, it represents the most heinous message EFIL could have sent. The passage reads, "Unforgiven sins pass from father to son, mother to daughter, generation to generation." Here's the thing, oh Holier-than-thou Father-in-Law: Just because a person has forgiven his parents does not mean he will be able or willing to stop the abuse that was done to him or to end the cycle of abuse for future generation. YOU, Daddy-Dearest, are the perfect example of this. If you are so holy, so forgiving, so kind; and if "forgiveness" is the answer to ending abuse, then why the fuck are you still abusing your son?

I can answer that question, too. You treat your son this way because you would rather side with your ex-wife than with your own son. You treat your son this way because you want him to forget about his pain long enough to accept you back into his life. You treat your son this way because you didn't know how to stop the abuse and didn't care to learn how. You treat your son this way because your ex-wife tells you too. (Who's a pussy again? Certainly not MY husband, who has the balls to stand up to anyone who treats him with such a lack of respect as you have.) You can take your quotes from "Maximized Manhood" and use them to your advantage with your millions of superficial friends. But keep them away from me and my family. We don't want your hypocrisy. We don't want your faith. We don't want your god. And we don't have to forgive your sins.

Particularly when you claim that those "sins" were just a figment of our imaginations.

When you speak for everyone else and say, "WE love you so much." And "I am sure that your mother loves you," all you are doing is defending people who don't deserve it. You don't know a damn thing about how anyone else feels, so don't pretend you do, you pretentious bible-thumping bigot.

The only person here who should be asking for forgiveness is YOU, EFIL. Only you. You should be on your knees BEGGING DH to forgive you for the way you have treated him and the lies you have told. You should be pleading with him to give you one more chance...just one more chance...so that you can prove to him that you love him and you weren't just using him for your own personal gain, and that you are capable of valuing him as your son and a human being.

Instead, Dear Reader, EFIL called DH at 10:06 PM last night to leave the following message: Hey DH. It's dad. Um I'm just calling to wish you a happy birthday. Hope everything went great for you today. Uh I did call you before and asked you to call me back. You didn't call me back. Um I don't know why. Well actually I do know why but...And I did send you a card with a (drawn out "a") letter in it and I also emailed some stuff too. Um I truly would like you to read it and try to understand DH what it's all about. Um I'm not forcing you to do anything I'm just giving you ideas. Um please uh don't separate yourself from your blood family, it's not a good idea. (nervous laugh) we love you DH, all of us, we love you tremendously, alright? Call me back. Alright. I love you. Bye.

Translation: I'm not going to tell you what to do. [Insert what to do].

How dare EFIL put this on my husband's shoulders. How dare he call him at ten o'clock at night, on his birthday, to blame him for this estrangement with the claim that it must be happening because DH "just doesn't understand" what he is doing.

I assure you, EFIL, that DH has never been so clear in his thinking or had his wits wrapped so tightly around him.

EFIL, you say you aren't trying to "force" DH to do anything, when that is precisely what it looks like you are doing. You say he shouldn't separate himself from his "blood family" because it's not a good idea, even though you never even entertained the thought that maybe it is. You've never been interested in hearing DH's side of things because you've been too content listening to NMIL and holding her hand to reach out and hold your son's. You've never believed in him, you've never Seen him, and you've never tried to. All your talk of wanting things to be better between he and you were lies. This is not about DH not "understanding" and you're nothing but a great big COWARD for claiming that it is. Giving my DH "ideas" about how controlling you think his wife is and how kind and loving his NM is, is not my idea of letting my DH think for himself. You have failed in your constant attempts to convince him that YOU are the loving one, that YOU are the good guys, that YOU have his best interests at heart. You do what you have to do to Maximize your Manhood. My husband will be just fine without your hypocritical, judgmental, disrespectful, and cruel demands.

That was it, Dear Reader. The only sincere and loving birthday wishes DH received were from me and my family, who love him for who he is and not what he does for them.

There were no direct messages from NMIL. She's choosing not to show her face because it's easier for her to direct her Monkeys from behind the scenes.

No messages from the hundreds of supposed "friends" from his past life.

Just an onslaught of phoney, insincere, and manipulative messages from people who care more about their own needs than DH's.

What they haven't yet figured out is that their attempts to "win DH back" are only strengthening his resolve to shake them off completely.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ketchup

I have to start off by explaining the title of my post. I'll give you some hints, Dear Reader, and maybe you can figure it out before I get to the end of my explanation. I figure, it'll be more enjoyable to read this post if I include some fun trivia before we get into the dark stuff.

Hint 1: It's a play on the words "catch up." You see, I'm still playing "catch up" with my story and I'm rather anxious to get to the present so I can talk about what has happened today.

Hint 2: Jelly Beans

Hint 3: Nintendo

Ah, what an obscure reference. If you haven't guessed it yet, the title of my post is a nod to the old-school Nintendo game A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia, in which a boy uses jelly beans to turn his Blob-friend Blobert into various items that will help him navigate through his adventure. In the game, when the boy throws a ketchup flavored jelly bean behind him, Blobert will "catch up" if he's been somehow left behind.

So, here I am, throwing out my ketchup flavored jelly beans to you, Dear Reader. Let's get all caught up so that I can talk about the most current events. Whether you've been with me from the beginning, you are just joining me now, or you've been been a presence on my blog from somewhere in between, this is definitely the post to read, because it will give you some of the most-telling evidence into our relationship with DH's FOO. I have included some events that I've never talked about on the blog before, so if you have been following my posts from the beginning, you might find some new points of interest.

I figured, what better way to share the past two years with you than with a list. I have created a list of all the major events leading up to today, with as clear and succinct explanations as possible. All of the items on this list are crucial to our understanding of how and why we have decided to go NC with DH's family of origin. For your clarification, Dear Reader, from the beginning:

- March 2009 - Upon meeting NMIL and SIL, I discovered their extreme immaturity and attraction to drama, as they spent the entire lunch dual-texting and behaving in an immature, unhealthy, and superficial manner.

- March 2009 - I witnessed my first "NMIL guilt-trip" on DH, when she manipulated him into house-sitting for her.

- May 2009 - We shared our pregnancy news with NMIL and found her reaction to be lacking in the Genuine-Happiness-Department. She spent her time making comments about how she was "too young to be a grammy" and asking if she could text the news to all of her friends. She never congratulated us or showed sincere happiness for our happiness.

- May 2009 - We shared our pregnancy news with EFIL and L. They told us that they "Had hoped we would have gotten married first." DH was disappointed with the responses we got from both of his parents about our exciting and life-changing news.

- May 2009 - NMIL showed her "interest" in our pregnancy by questioning DD's paternity and suggesting we get a paternity test. She then disguised her resentment of me by claiming to know what I wanted, concerning our wedding.

- June 2009 - NMIL tried to manipulate us with lies and trickery with her offers to "help" us out by letting us rent the apartment she owns. When we discovered her lies and DH addressed them, she responded with the typical blame-and-shame garbage that all Narcs like to use. She did not apologize. She did not show remorse. She never brought up the subject again, except when she was trying to use it as a means to prove that we had somehow lied to her.

- June 2009 - NMIL had an email exchange with DH in which she blamed him for her lies and made it clear that she disapproved of his relationship with me. She concluded the chain of emails with the sentiment: "It's not all about her DH."

- June 2009 - Naunt told me I was not welcome to live with DH in the apartment he was renting from her. She made it very clear that she wanted me gone, and that her offers to "help" us were no better than her sister's. She tried to scare me away and continued to try and win DH's loyalties.

- June 2009 - NMIL hosted a party that she told DH was a birthday party for him. She behaved in a cruel and manipulate manner, showing no remorse for her past behaviors, and rewarding DH for coming by sticking two-hundred dollars in an envelope for him. No one wished him a happy birthday or gave him any presents. It was really just a party for NMIL.

- July 2009 - We attended SIL's birthday party and I was treated with as much disdain as ever. NMIL busied herself by taking photos of her "family" and making sure those photos did no include me. She blamed DH for his sister's bad feelings about her party because he didn't invite his friends so that she would be surrounded by tons of people that day.

- July 2009 - NMIL used tactics of triangulation in an attempt to undermine my authority when she invited us on vacation with her. She was not forthright with the details of the trip that would be taking place an entire year later, but it was clear that she wanted my husband to accept her offer. She never once mentioned these plans to me (either directly, indirectly, in person, or via email) which made it obvious to me that she was hoping I wouldn't have a say in the matter. Though she feigned understanding when we declined her offers to vacation with her on two separate occasions, both DH and I have reason to believe that she was actually angry and disappointed, even if she didn't have the courage to voice those feelings. When we asked her to inform us of her travels when the time came to actually go on the trip since we did not feel comfortable promising our time a year (or even six months) in advance, she agreed. But she never did.

- August 2009 - NMIL did not RSVP for my baby shower until three days before. When she finally called, she told my mother her reason for RSVPing so late was because, "She was so excited [about my shower], she forgot to call." She bought the biggest gift on the registry, even though she already knew it had been purchased, because she wanted people to think she has "so much love" to give.

- October 2009 - DH's "friend" Pig proved that his loyalties lie with NMIL, and that she's got him wrapped around her pinky finger. Pig called DH to express his disapproval of DH's recent life choices, his disgust with "how terribly DH was treating NMIL," and to share his thinly-veiled hatred of me.

- October 2009 - NMIL emailed DH to inform him that she thought "SIL felt left out a little." That may have been so, but DH and I decided it was not healthy to be including her in our marriage, which was what NMIL was implying that he do.

- October 2009 - J, NMIL's second ex-husband, called DH to ask him to check-in on his sister. His "request" was in fact a demand that DH act as SIL's father, as he had been expected to do his whole life. When DH told J that he could only be her brother, rather than a parent to her, J responded: Sorry I asked you to check on your sister, I will never again ask you to do any thing that is a inconvience for you. You so selfish it is just amazing...I don't expect you to be her parent. She misses her brother thats it, so if you could be a big brother that would be great. Second I don't deserve any lip from you, I have always treated you with respect and encouragement. I have never asked you for anything before nor will I again. I am being same dad to her as I was to you!!!!! And you turned out OK!!!! I wish you luck with your new Family, just don't forget your old one!!!! We don't need to meet, I don't want to take up your precious time!!! There's no explanation needed, is there, Dear Reader?

- November 2009 - NMIL disregarded our needs concerning the birth of our DD. She risked DH's life, my life, and the life of our unborn child when she kept DH on the phone while I was in labor en route to the hospital. She proved that she cared more about the pictures she took that day, then she did about the people in them.

- November 2009 - For the ultimate NS, NMIL posted photos of DD on her Facebook page without our knowledge or consent. When I requested that she remove them and ask permission in the future, she responded with feigned concern. Always keep in mind, Dear Reader, that NMIL is a liar. A promise means nothing to NMIL.

- November 2009 - DH's old "friends," all of whom are closely linked to NMIL, spent much of their time weighing in with their thoughts and opinions about me, DH, and our DD. What they had to say and how they chose to behave proved that none of them had our best interests at heart.

- November 2009 - NMIL was willing to risk the health and life of our newborn, when she exposed herself to the swine flu and then expected us to visit for Thanksgiving.

- November 2009 - Conveniently forgetting the way she had chosen to behave concerning her apartment offers in June and that there was no way we could trust her, NMIL sent an email to DH, informing him that she'd would love to help us financially with the purchasing of our first house, and that she had "secretly hoped" we would still end up "down the street" from her.

- December 2009 - We declined three Christmas party invitations. L tried to guilt-trip DH into feeling badly about not going to theirs.

- December 2009 - NMIL showed up to our apartment to celebrate the holidays with us and came bearing gifts of guilt, shame, manipulation, lies, and a no-doubt-re-gifted scarf for me. SIL was not in attendance.

- December 2009 - After NMIL left from her Christmas visit, DH got a call from SIL, in which she asked him, "How could you do this to Mom?" She proceeded to tell DH that, "No one else will tell you this, but someone has to say it. You're wrong. We all think so, but they just won't say it. You're wrong!" She cried. She told him he was hurting their mother. It was the first and last time DH ever heard her tell the truth.

- January 2010 - I witnessed NMIL bully a small, innocent child. It was horrible, and the fact that I did nothing to help that little girl will haunt me forever.

- February 2010 - DH told NMIL his truths and that he would no longer accept or tolerate her lying. She responded with every manipulative tactic she could. She refused to accept responsibility for any of her actions. She refused to offer up a sincere and heartfelt apology. She blamed, shamed, and guilted. She excused herself and all of her lies. She tried to turn DH and I against each other. The topic was never discussed again.

- February 2010 - NMIL continued to pretend that everything was "fine" and acted phoney in my presence. She asked to look at my wedding dress before our wedding, as though nothing she had ever done mattered and she expected me to say yes. I said no. My "no" in the moment was symbolic of my "no" to her.

- March 2010 - We discovered that NMIL was in contact with EFIL and L. EFIL took DH out for lunch to discuss NMIL, after disguising the date as a "father-son-bonding-time." Once there alone together, EFIL opened up a can of festering worms. He told DH that he didn't have to marry me, if he didn't want to. He asked why NMIL had been "treated so terribly" at our wedding shower. Most of all, EFIL and L exposed themselves as flying monkeys and proved to us where their loyalties remained.

- March 2010 - L sent DH a chain email about how much mothers do for their thankless children.

- April 2010 - NMIL wore white to our wedding. She was uninvolved in it, and never once offered up a sincere and heartfelt offer to help us with it. She never took photos of DH and I, as a means of "cutting me out of the picture." Aided by her cut-from-the-same-clothe siblings and ex-husband, she took photos of DH prior to our wedding, in an act of desperation. It was as though they were saying, "We aren't going to taint our memories of this day with photos of HER." She also gave DH a card that was addressed only to him, riddled with guilt-inducing commentary about how she wanted things to "go back to the way they were before." Her card begged the question, "Before, what, Mommy-Dearest? Before Jonsi?"

- April 2010 - After our wedding, I sent out a mass email requesting that people not post pictures of our wedding on the internet, out of respect for our privacy. No one from DH's FOO responded to the email. When DH called his NM to ask for the confirmation that she had received the email and would follow our request, NMIL responded with a nasty message: "Have you called everybody from that email? Or just me?" She added, "Why would I do that, after the big deal you made out of the pictures I posted on Facebook of DD?"

- May 2010 - EFIL and L gave us their "Forgiveness / Judgement Talk" and insinuated that we should be offering forgiveness to whomever they deemed worthy of it. They told us we shouldn't judge anyone because it wasn't our right to do so. They thumped their invisible bibles at us throughout the entire conversation.

- June 2010 - We did not attend SIL's birthday party, as a result of her continued lack of interest in DH's existence, so long as he was married to me. She offered up her tantrum in the form of an email to DH in which she informed him that she "didn't want him to come" to her birthday party since he wasn't willing to give up the whole day for her. NMIL called DH and left a message on his voice mail. Full-fledged underhanded guilt-trip over his decision not to attend the party ensued.

- June 2010 - We informed NMIL over the phone that we were pregnant again. She responded with fake surprise. We now have reason to believe that she already knew the news, having heard it from EFIL. She did not ask for details about the pregnancy or offer up any sincere congratulations.

- June 2010 - EFIL offered to help DH with our car, which needed a new engine. EFIL picked a weekend and said he would come pick up the car and take DH to his house so they could look at it together. The day before, he called DH to tell him he had found something better to do and would be doing that instead. EFIL and L went on a mini-vacation to go snowmobiling out of state with friends. EFIL didn't call DH to make good on his promise until one month later, when he finally came and picked up the car.

- June 2010 - DH invited NMIL over to read his Declaration of Independence to her. True to form, she responded with guilt-trips, denial, blame, and lies. Also true to form, she did NOT respond with kindness, sincerity, apologies, understanding, or respect. Like DH's last REAL talk with her, it was never discussed again. Nothing from his list of what he needed from her was respected. She then gave him the cold-shoulder for four months.

- August 2010 - NMIL's best friend called DH to tell him she "missed him" and "loved him so much." She asked him if he wanted some old television set that he had lended her five years before. There is no doubt she was acting under the orders of NMIL, who was hoping to find out about us through a third party, since she was too busy ignoring us to find out herself.

- October 2010 - NMIL finally broke the silence and called DH. She left a message on our house phone, feigning sadness, and expressed her "interest" in seeing "us." The eventual meeting with her was a failure: She offered no sincerity, attempted to buy our love with gifts for DD, and never once inquired about my pregnancy. SIL ignored us, except when NMIL asked her to take photos of DD with the camera. Then she sat in a chair, robotically carrying out her mothers orders. Neither NMIL, nor SIL could look me in the eye for the entire visit.

- November 2010 - EFIL and L decided that attending a concert was more important to them than DD's first birthday party. They bought tickets for the concert, despite the fact that they were informed three months ahead of time about the party. When we addressed our concerns, both responded with guilt-peddling nonsense and asked us to disrupt our plans for theirs.

- November 2010 - NMIL sent a big bouquet of flowers to DD for her first birthday, as a way of "showing" her puny love. The act did not impress any of us.

- November of 2010 - DH attempted to schedule a visit with SIL. SIL accepted our invitation for lunch. But, once NMIL was through manipulating her, SIL cancelled, stating that she "didn't feel comfortable" going out to lunch with us without her mother.

- November 2010 - DH offered our time to EFIL and L for Thanksgiving. They refused the offer. He asked them to join us in our own festivities. They ignored him. EFIL attempted to guilt-trip DH into promising to spend the upcoming Christmas eve with them, as DH had always done in the past. When DH declined due to the impending birth of our DS, EFIL told him that "The holidays are about family" (as in DH's FOO) and in not-so-many words, showed us that he didn't care about my well-being, or the well-being of our babies.

- December 2010 - NMIL and SIL came to the hospital after the birth of our DS and spent all of fifteen minutes with us. The only gifts she brought were a pair of useless baby socks, a useless trinket, and a bag of candy for DH.

- December 2010 - NMIL forfeited her Christmas visit with us when she decided to call DH the day of and blame him for being such a big fat meanie. She tried to get us to change our plans, in the hopes that her guilt-tactics would work.

- December 2010 - NMIL Fed-Exed some gift-cards from Naunt to us and included a note card from herself that said she was holding onto her Christmas gifts for us until she saw us in person. We never saw her in person. She never sent the gifts. We doubt that she ever had any gifts in the first place.

- December 2010 - EFIL and L made an obligatory one-hour visit to us so that they could prove to the world that they had done their "duty." L offered underhanded commentary about how their were "no pictures of NMIL in our wedding album." EFIL asked to take pictures with DH and our two children, at the exclusion of me.

- January 2011 - EFIL pretended he wanted to have dinner with us once a week so that he could spy on us and report back to NMIL. He spent his time during his one and only visit with us confusing our one-year-old daughter with our one-month-old son. At some point after the visit, he shared with NMIL DH's travel plans and called DH to suggest his "great idea" that NMIL be involved in them. He informed DH that he speaks with NMIL at least once a month. We all know that they aren't talking about the weather.

- January 2011 - When DH informed EFIL that he would no longer be needing EFIL to give him a ride to the airport, as a result of his continued communication with NMIL, EFIL left a message with DH, asking him "Why he hated his mother so much."

- January 2011 - NMIL chose to ignore my birthday as a clear indication that she either doesn't care enough to remember it in the first place, or that she wanted to send the message to DH that she hates and resents his wife.

- February 2011 - L attempted a guilt-trip on DH for not calling his father for his birthday. She sent her guilt-trip in a voice mail, as well as an email.

- March 2011 - DH offered his mother a golden opportunity. He invited her to therapy with us. Instead of graciously, respectfully, and thankfully accepting, she chose to turn her nose up at it. SIL tweeted, "We're all starting to forget [DH] was ever a part of this family" the day after DH asked his mother to therapy.

- March 2011 - Naunt reared her ugly face in a sappy and superficial email to DH, no doubt attempting to see if he would engage with her, in spite of his most recent request to disrupt his mother's abuses by inviting her to therapy.

- March 2011 - NMIL called to leave a message on our answering machine about the supposed death of DH's childhood cat. The message was superficial and guilt-ridden.

- April 2011 - DH's entire FOO ignored our one-year wedding anniversary.

- April 2011 - NMIL friended DH's college ex-girlfriend on Facebook as a way to show her very public support of DH's life before it included me, and her continued lack of respect for DH's choices.

- April 2011 - DH informed NMIL we were cancelling our therapy session with her. We did not offer any reasons for the cancellation. NMIL responded immediately with a phone call to our house, where she left a message addressing ONLY DH. Then she sent a follow-up email demanding that we call her back. She pretended to ask, but we knew she wasn't.

- April 2011 - I made a heinous discovery about a promise that NMIL had broken a thousand times over. It represented the worst kind of intrusion of my privacy and her complete lack of respect for me as a human being. I can not share what that discovery was, Dear Reader, in case NMIL shows her face here on this blog someday. All anyone must know, however, is that her behaviors towards me were the biggest indication of her feelings, no matter how much she pretended to DH that she "liked" me.

- April 2011 - DH sent his letter of NC to NMIL. She did not respond directly. Instead, she sent out multiple feelers through her Flying Monkeys.

- May 2011 - Attack of the Flying Monkeys! DH and I learned that his best friend's obnoxious girlfriend, OG1, may have had some contact with NMIL and was drinking the kool-aide. OG1 showed her bizarre connection to NMIL when she offered her opinions to DH that he was being controlled by me, he was a coward, and that he was losing people in his life who "really cared about him." She packaged her rant with an "I care about you" bow.

- May 2011 - OG1 excluded me from her wedding invitation in a sign of open contempt to DH, thereby sealing her stance as a Flying Monkey and an all-around disrespectful and rude snob.

- May 2011 - DH's ONLY remaining "friend" from his past refused to stop communicating with NMIL. He had done so in the past on numerous occasions and even felt comfortable enough to go to her holiday parties even when DH wouldn't be attending. This so-called "friend" informed DH that NMIL had contacted him via email twice prior to our wedding "out of desperation." He refused to share with DH what was discussed. This "friend" offered up non-apologies for his behaviors, blamed me for DH's "bad relationship" with his mother, and claimed that "missing important events like NMIL's Christmas parties two years in a row" meant that DH didn't want to reconcile with his NM.

- May 2011 - When EFIL told DH that he wanted to have dinner alone with him and drop off some gifts for our kids, DH's red flags went up. Suspecting foul-play, DH started inquiring into EFIL's intentions, to which EFIL and his wife responded defensively. We believe EFIL wanted to get DH alone to discuss NMIL. Both EFIL and L's behaviors at this time proved to us that they were acting under NMIL's direction, that they had no intention of backing down, that they did not respect me, and did not have DH's best interests at heart. When we called back and put him on speaker phone, he ended the phone call by saying he was "DONE WITH JONSI!" and that he had things he wanted to tell DH that he didn't want me to know about. L attempted her own brand of manipulation when she spoke with DH and I on the phone after her husband's temper tantrum. Our communications with them were very much like conversing with the wall.

- May 2011 - J randomly called DH to "check in" with him.

- June 2011 - EFIL and L put their "Easter gifts" in the mail. The Easter gifts were wrapped in Christmas wrapping paper. There were two cards shoved in the box as well. The one to DD read, "Have a very happy first Easter, DD. From Grampa EFIL and Grama L. With all our love, be blessed." The problem with L's message was that it was DD's second Easter, not her first. I wrote a one line thank you note that read: "Thank you for the gifts. -DH & Jonsi."

- June 2011 - EFIL called DH and left the following voice mail: Hey DH, it’s dad. uh I just called to say hi and let you know that I love you very much and I miss talking to you. Ummm call me back if you like, alright? You know the number. Love you. Bye. It was an obvious attempt to get back to the status quo and further proof that he expected a "get out of jail free" card for his most recent behaviors.

- June 2011 - L's daughter, who has no relationship what-so-ever with DH, g-chatted him online to say she wanted to "wish him a belated father's day and ask how the kids were." It was obvious to us that EFIL and L were sending her to do their dirty work. Five minutes later, EFIL sent DH a letter stating how wrong DH is, how disrespectful and controlling I am, and how DH should be accepting God into his life. The letter was filled to the brim with condescension, denial, and tactics of control. DH put his response to that letter in the mail today.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Game Over

On April 9, 2011, NMIL friended DH's college ex-girlfriend on Facebook. We saw purely evil intentions and dark motives.

When our one-year wedding anniversary came around later that month, everyone from DH's FOO ignored it. We saw a group of people who would have been happy if DH and I had never gotten married. We saw anger, hatred, and a pathetic fight-to-be-right. We saw people who were more invested in their deeply-entrenched dysfunctions, than people who wanted DH to be happy. We saw them hunkering down in their familiar roles, and a flat-out refusal to take responsibility for anything that had happened.

We added those things to the "list" of their offenses and made our final decision: To go No Contact with NMIL and her entire side of the family.

Making the discovery that NMIL wasn't going to change was no walk-in-the-park for my husband. It was painful. It was ugly. It was terribly sad.

It was also necessary.

Let me just say that I am PROUD of my husband for who he is and for what he has done. It has not been easy to shake the lies that his parents clothed him in his whole life. It has not been pleasant for him to move from a place of denial to a place of reality. My heart aches for the little boy inside of him that just wanted to be loved and couldn't get it from the people who should have offered it freely. But I am so happy that he has chosen a healthier path for himself, and for us, as a new family.

DH had to make some sad realizations. He realized that NMIL was not someone who was ever going to change. She had shown her true colors from day one. Her cruelties were endless, her disrespect blatant. In April of 2011, DH decided enough was enough. He decided we were not going to sacrifice our mental, physical, or emotional health in order to have a relationship with her.

He decided it was over.

Game Over, NMIL.

You Lost Your Chance

The following is the communication we had with NMIL in April of 2011 when we informed her we would not be meeting with her for therapy:

From: DH
CC: Jonsi
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:52 AM
Subject: No Meeting
To: NMIL

We have decided not to have the meeting. Unless otherwise notified, do not show up.

DH & Jonsi

_____________________________________________
Phone call from NMIL
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 10:59 AM

Uh hey DH. Um, I just got your email.
Uh, can you give me a call back? Um...I just think
it might be something we can talk about on
the phone at least? Thanks. Love you...bye.

_____________________________________________
From: NMIL
Date: Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Subject: No Meeting
To: DH & Jonsi

I just tried to call your house...can you call me back? Thank you. Love, Mom

Sent using BlackBerry

_____________________________________________

After many discussions about our plan to meet with NMIL, DH and I had decided against it. Between the time that we had offered a therapy session with her, and our refusal of the meeting, I had discovered something NMIL had done that was in such a direct violation of my needs, and such a disrespect to my privacy, and such an intrusion on my life with DH, that we decided we no longer needed any further justification for canceling our plans to meet with her. We decided he had already given her a HUGE opportunity to change and she had chosen not to take it. In fact, she had chosen to throw it out with yesterday's trash. We decided that her abuses had gone on long enough and we were not going to stand for it any more. We decided that no amount of therapy was going to make this woman gain the capacity for empathy. We decided that she would piss on any chance we gave her, so we weren't going to give her any more. We decided that her time in our lives was coming to a close.

The following is our original, uncensored version of what we would have told her in therapy, had we followed through with it. It would have been read by DH, so it is to be read in his Voice:

It is not okay to gossip about me or my family behind our backs. It is not okay for you to speak with other people about the things that go on between you and my family – you are being deceitful when you gossip, and then talk with us or visit us and pretend everything is fine.

When you go to EFIL and talk with him about anything that has to do with me or my family you undermine the relationship we are attempting to build with him that is and should be a separate one from the one we have with you. We need for you to stop enlisting other people to try and convince me that I am doing something wrong.

I need to have a relationship with SIL that is separate from my relationship with you and it is not ok for you to meddle in it. With all of your past actions, you have done nothing but attempt to hurt the relationship me and my family could have with my sister. It is not okay for you to blame her, me, or anyone else for what you have done.

When you don’t acknowledge my wife or my family you hurt me and your chances of connecting with me and my family. This is a step in the wrong direction and a sign that you don’t have intentions of working on a relationship with me or us.

I need you to take responsibility for the poor way you reacted to the relationship I formed with Jonsi. Yes, it was fast but it was my choice, one that I am happy with, and you need to respect that. Further, I need you to take responsibility for your actions because that acknowledgment is the first step towards working together.

Please be honest with me and Jonsi. In order to have a healthy, open relationship with us - which is the only kind of relationship we are looking for - you must be truthful at all times – about the past as well as the present. We need honesty to be a way of life. And claiming that you don't remember the details of things that have happened in the past is not a valid excuse for your behaviors.

No more “when we don’t talk about it, it goes away” mentality. That only serves to foster a very superficial relationship and that is not what I want or need from you.

I am happy with my life, even though it may not be what you would have chosen for me. I choose it and I expect you to accept that this is the way things are.

It is not okay for you to lay any guilt trips on me. I am not responsible for your feelings, and neither is my family. I need for you to acknowledge and accept that it has been your inability to recognize and respect our boundaries that have put you in the position you are in. It is not my fault and it is not my wife's fault that you have bad feelings about the path our relationship has taken. That responsibility lies on your shoulders.

I need for you to admit that it is YOU who needs to put in most, if not all, of the work required for [this relationship to move from such an unhealthy place]. We need for you to stop avoiding the consequences for your own bad behaviors and own the responsibility to make things right.

We will not sacrifice our own mental, physical, or emotional health in order to have a relationship with you.

It was clear to us that NMIL was either incapable or unwilling to do any of these things.

So we decided she had lost her chance.

Old Cat

On March 22, 2011 NMIL reared her ugly head. She called our house phone, her voice sounding all fake sad, with the following message:

"Um long pause hi [DH's childhood nickname]. Another long pause. I just thought you'd like to know sigh that pause Old Cat just died. I found her on the couch just now and she's gone. Another drawn out pause. (Hub's going, "Huh?? Why is she crying? She didn't even like that cat!!!") "I'm really upset, you know, she was just lying there. Pause. Well, she came from (home town) and she died in (home town), so I guess she found her way home after all. So, you can call or not call, whatever you want. More sighs and pathetic pauses. So that's all. I hope everyone is good there. Okay. Voice tapering out into a whisper. I love you. Bye.

The thing is, I do really feel badly about his cat if the news was true, and I told him so. At one time in the cat's long life, she had belonged to DH and he did have some fond memories of her. I know first hand that it is hard to lose a pet, even one that you haven't seen for a long time. Sadly enough, pets can be better friends than people. They truly are only capable of loving unconditionally - an ability some human beings do not possess. After giving Old Cat a moment of silence (in which I thought, "Well at least she's in a better place now") we moved on to the more serious matter at hand: NMIL's manipulation of a legitimate situation as a power play, and her continued acts of aggression, in general.

First of all, I believe that DH's feeling that his NM was being disingenuous was not inaccurate. She had tried to pawn Old Cat off on us on several occasions because she was not attached to the animal and was growing tired of it's senility. On all of those occasions when she tried to get DH to take his aging cat, it was my feeling that NMIL didn't care how cruel she was being - a stressful move such as she was suggesting at that point in the cat's life could have killed it. I told DH that I had no problem taking Old Cat, if he really wanted her, but that it was my feeling that it would be unfair to us (we had a dog and a cat already, as well as young babies and a new house to take care of) and Old Cat if we did. DH agreed and she stayed with NMIL until her "supposed" death.

That's another issue entirely: Who even knows if Old Cat's death actually happened? How fucked up is it that we can't even trust NMIL enough to know that she was telling the truth about the death of DH's childhood pet?

Regardless of the truth, it was clear that her phone call was one pitifully desperate call for attention.

NMIL wasn't even grasping at straws, she was grasping at imaginary ones. How ridiculously sad and inappropriate to call her son because Old Cat just passed away. It was merely a ploy, an underhanded scheme. She left it up to DH to decide if he should call back, so that if he didn't, she could bad mouth him some more: "Oh, my son hates me so much, he couldn't even call me back when HIS CAT died!" and "I just wanted him to call so we could reminisce together about all the great times we shared with Old Cat!" and "What a cold-hearted bastard, to not console me over this great and terrible loss!"

It was all me-me-me, for this bitch, and how-can-I-use-this-situation-to-my-advantage? I firmly believe, that not only did she not care that the cat had died, but she didn't care that DH might have been upset by the news. Instead, she was banking on his "weak moment of sadness" to be enough that he would call her back and she could work her old familiar manipulative magic.

DH didn't call her back. We had our moment of silence for Old Cat, since that was all we could do for her anymore, and we moved on.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Toast

A week after DH invited his NM to therapy, he received the following fluff email from his Naunt:

From: Naunt
To: DH
Sent: Mon, Mar 21, 2011 @ 1:27 PM
Subject: Hi [DH's childhood nickname]!


Hi [DH's childhood nickname]

How are you doing? I have callled [sic] you a couple of times and left messages. I hope you got them. I hope all is well with you, Jonsi, DD and DS. Please let me know how everyone is doing.

I wanted to invite you guys for Easter and to celebrate [her son's] 18th birthday on Easter Sunday at around 2. I can't believe it's been almost one year since we've seen you at your wedding! Please think about it, ok?

Miss you and love you,
Your ole Auntie [Naunt]


Before responding, he and I discussed her correspondence at length. We both saw the rather obvious undertones of guilt-peddling: "I have called you a couple times but you always ignore me." and "Please think about us, okay? Because you never do that. You never think about us." and "It's been one whole year since we last saw you, and it's all your fault!" and "We miss you so so so so much because you're such a jerk and a limp noodle that you let some bitch take you away from us [insert feigned interest in the well-being of said "bitch" and her children]." DH read her email and, with a snort, said, "My aunt is toast, I wonder why my mother is still trying to involve her?"

DH responded politely and matter-of-factly, with me carbon copied:

From: DH
To: Naunt
Cc: Jonsi
Sent: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 @ 2:23 pm
Subject: Re: Hi [DH's childhood nickname]!


Hey Auntie,
Thanks for the invite but we won't be attending.


Twenty minutes later she responded to only DH:

From: Naunt
Date: Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 2:43 PM
Subject: Re: Hi [DH's childhood nickname]!
To: DH


Well, okay then.


There went her fluff, right out the window. As soon as she saw that DH wasn't going to play along, she dropped the superficial bullshit like a hot coal. Why this woman hadn't figured out that she was no longer a valid player in the game, I'm not sure, but DH's last correspondence with her (as seen above) may just have done it. It was clear to both of us that her supposed interest in our well-being, as well as the invitation to her son's party were not coincidental in timing. This email exchange took place just one week after we asked NMIL to therapy. Guess who she ran and told all about it the very next day?

And guess who then used that information as her underlying motive to email DH, while feigning interest in our lives after not contacting us for months.

As insignificant as this email exchange might seem to some, to us, it represented just one more moment of guilt-peddling and manipulation. It was just more of the same. DH's FOO was incapable of understanding our needs and unwilling to change their behaviors.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Golden Opportunity

In March of this year, we decided to give NMIL what should have been considered the most golden of all golden opportunities: We invited her to one therapy session with us. Only a fool wouldn't see our invitation for what it was: one last chance.

But, so we're clear Dear Reader, this was not something either of us was doing for her. DH's reason for inviting NMIL was simple: He wished to offer his mother the choice to construct an appropriate and respectful communication bridge between us. My reason was even simpler: I wanted DH to be happy. I knew he would not have been happy if he hadn't made every possible effort to repair the damage of his mother's "love." Though I had a very strong sense that his NM is beyond hope, I knew it was something DH would have to See and acknowledge for himself.

So started yet another unnecessary power struggle.

NMIL picked up the phone when DH called and offered some ridiculous niceties - the superficial-hi-how-are-you crap that she has always perpetuated in spite of the absurd levels of tension she had been cultivating for years. DH's plan for this part of the conversation was that he would try to move on to the reason for the call as quickly as possible, rather than get caught up in her superficial bullshit. He succeeded. So he got to the reason for the call and put in his request - the where, the who, the when.

She said "yes" to the request. If you're surprised by that, you need only look a little bit deeper and then I think you'll find her response to be right-on-cue. I was not surprised by her agreement because I knew that at any point, if she thought it wouldn't work in her favor, she would revoke the promise of her participation. Furthermore, I knew that her immediate response meant that she thought she could fool our therapist. The N doesn't play where she thinks she won't win.

NMIL then asked DH if the therapist was just HIS, or if she was OURS (mine and DH's) - This merely showed her obvious trepidation and disapproval for doing anything that might level the playing field - she would feel much better if she knew that this therapist, whom she assumed was gullible and stupid like all other people she manipulates, had NOT heard my side of the story or knew anything about me. She did not want to work with US, and that was abundantly clear by comments such as these.

She then told him, "You know, I'd be happy to do this, just you and me." - This was the "I'd rather do this under my terms, and not yours" moment. She was letting him know that she may have said yes, but that he'd be paying an emotional price for it. A big one. Furthermore, this was yet another moment where she was letting him know that she did not want me, or our therapist involved. Narcs operate best when NO ONE ELSE IS AROUND. The Momster does not want to deal with people who can sniff out her bullshit. She knows I am one such person. And she wasn't sure about the therapist.

She asked him how long he and I had been seeing this therapist - She was attempting to scope out what she was up against and how hard she'd have to work to manipulate the therapist. She must have figured that if we'd only seen the therapist a few times then it would be more likely to get her where she wanted her - on her side. Shit, if she could manage to compromise OUR therapist, then she'd really be golden, wouldn't she? But DH knew something was wrong with this question and he did not oblige with a specific answer - instead, he gave her a vague non-answer.

NMIL pushed on, and asked if his sister was going to be included in the group therapy - It was one-half guilt trip (what's wrong with you, don't you want to work on things with her too?) and the other half power-play (I want, I want, I want!) Momster has always wanted as many people on her side as possible, even her seventeen-year-old daughter who has always been used intermittently as a pawn and a human shield. SIL remains, and probably will always remain the GC because of her inability to rise above the superficiality and complete dysfunction of her upbringing. In other words, SIL represents the perfect guilt-trip. But DH did not fall for it and informed his NM that SIL was not invited.

NMIL attempted to engage him in a conversation about when she should go, but he stopped that effectively and quickly. We had already discussed with the therapist that we were not responsible for setting up an appointment for his mother - his mother was. Though he had to repeat to her several times that he didn't know the therapists schedule and that his mother would have to call her to set things up, he was able to stick to his guns and she was forced to move on.

Finally, she kept him on the phone longer than he wanted to be by bringing up something that was not her business to be discussing in the first place and which had nothing to do with the conversation at hand. This was a way of letting DH know that she may have said yes, but SHE was still going to control the conversation: when it ended and what it was about. The information she used to keep him on the phone was senseless drivel at worst and guilt-inducing at it's "best." She essentially scolded him for not responding to some alleged communication from his Naunt regarding his cousin's birthday party / graduation party. Not only was this relay of information inappropriate because it had nothing to do with the conversation they were having, but it was not her business to be sharing in the first place. She pulled it out of her bag of tricks because she wanted him to feel badly about the fact that he had not responded to his Naunt about his younger cousin's special day. NMIL was trying to pull the old familiar strings of obligation.

DH and I had practiced ad nauseam before the call, so he handled her attacks very well. By the end of their call, though he had stayed on the phone several minutes longer than he had planned, he managed to avoid most of her manipulative tactics. He didn't get off scot-free, but it was damn-near close to it.

The very next day, SIL took to her twitter account with the following message: We are all starting to forget you were ever a part of this family.

SIL's fourteen-word-message to the world was the biggest clue we were going to get about what NMIL was saying regarding our offer for group therapy once she got off the phone with DH. And I'll say this, she did not think it was a golden anything. For SIL to have THAT thought, it was clear that our offer was being shit on and shit out. It was clear that the moment NMIL hung up the phone, she was doing nothing but bad-mouth us to everyone she possibly could. It was clear that she was going to continue to piss on her chances and try to take everyone out with her.

It's really quite appalling that an offer to go to therapy to work out our problems would be reason for such blatant disregard. But there you have it, Dear Reader, that is narcissism at it's finest. The minute we refused to allow the abuse any longer, the very second we called her bluff, NMIL set about sabotaging any chance at a relationship she could have possibly had with us. If it wasn't under her terms, she didn't want it. Period.

In case you are wondering, Dear Reader, in spite of the evidence that therapy would be a flop before we even went through with it, we were still, at least at that point in time, planning on seeing it through. Better to let her fuck it all up, we figured, than to bear the burden of that responsibility ourselves.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

In addition to NMIL's nonsense, February also brought some drama from EFIL and L.

And, if you can believe it Dear Reader, at surface-level the drama involved yet another birthday.

EFIL's birthday is just a few days after mine. We sent him our well-wishes in a birthday card, a few days prior.

DH can not recollect if, in years past, he has made a point to call on his father's birthday to wish him well. But regardless of how he has handled it in the past, the circumstances this year were quite different. We both feel that sending a card on either of his parent's birthday is a suitable and appropriate way to acknowledge their birthdays, now that we are married and have a family of our own. Furthermore, this year DH was away on business during his EF's birthday and was not paying attention to the goings-on of anyone's social calendar but his own. We had also discussed, prior to DH's departure, that he would wait until he came back from the trip to continue any form of communication with his FOO, be it large or small-scale. Thus, calling his father, even to wish him a happy birthday, was not on DH's mind. He did not want to get sucked into any more drama, considering it likely after EFIL's nonsense prior to his trip, so he tried his best to put everything on hold until he returned home and we could deal with everything together.

We'll never know how EFIL actually felt, because he wasn't the one who addressed his supposed hard feelings with DH.

L did it for him. Or, perhaps she did it against his knowledge. Either way, the results were the same.

First, L took it upon herself to call DH and leave him a lengthy voice mail about how rude and cruel it was to avoid calling his father on his birthday. She said, "I am disappointed that you would try to ignore your father on his birthday. If you were trying to hurt him by not calling him, then you succeeded. I don't understand why you are so angry with your him. It's your dad, it was his birthday."

Then, L sent an email saying much of the same, though I'm sorry to say we didn't save it so I could reproduce it here for you. I'm sure you can catch the drift of it though, Dear Reader. It was all so finger-down-your-throat vomit inducing in its guilt-peddling.

I was also annoyed that L was fighting EFIL's imaginary battles for him.

I wondered, did he really care that much about DH not calling him on his birthday? If he did, why wasn't he the one stepping forward and making mention of it? Then I thought, why don't these people get that they aren't the most important people in DH's life anymore? Why can't they get it through their thick heads that it's normal and healthy for us to grow in our own direction, and when will they realize, if ever, that their thoughts and behaviors are completely dysfunctional and unhealthy? Was L merely trying to stir the pot because she wanted her hands in the "fun" too? What was she getting from all of this?

The whole "DH should feel ashamed of himself for what he has done" attitude was getting so old and we were getting ready to shut it down for good as we began to see that EFIL and L were not going to change. L's manipulations were becoming tiring and her voice mail and follow-up email were truly pathetic. DH didn't ignore his father on purpose. In fact, he didn't ignore his father at all. We sent a birthday card to acknowledge his birthday, and even did so a few days in advance so that we were sure not to miss it. I wanted to say, "Speak for yourself" to this woman who so readily put words in other people's mouths. What she clearly fails to realize is that by enabling her husband's cowardice and immaturity, she's only making the situation worse.

L's nose is turning black because it's so close to the fire she is stoking. Her words about "wanting to understand" are so familiar because she's said them before. But here's the thing about understanding: It's overrated. Everyone wants to understand - it's a basic human drive. But we've never asked EFIL and L to understand. We've asked them to butt out. We've asked them to respect us. We've asked them to provide us with unconditional love. Affording us those things should not be contingent on their understanding. L doesn't need to understand why DH is angry with his father, or if he's even angry at all. After all, who ever said anything about DH being angry with his father? Sounds like projection, to me. No, L needs to stop sticking her nose where it doesn't belong and let her husband speak for himself. And once that occurs, EFIL needs to stop pushing the desire for understanding and start putting his money where his damn mouth is.

They're so stuck on pretending to have an interest in understanding our basic needs, that they are flat-out refusing to meet our elementary relationship requirements. The fact of the matter is, they don't have to understand to treat us with kindness and respect. They just have to fucking do it.

It would seem to me that dealing with EFIL and L, indeed, dealing with anyone from DH's FOO is an exercise in futility. It's like trying to save an ice cube from the cold.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dot Dot Dot

The subject of birthdays has come up frequently on my blog, and for good reason. How one chooses to acknowledge the yearly anniversary of another person's birth can give great insight into their modus operandi. Since the act of celebrating a birthday is equivalent to celebrating the life of the person, clearly then, opting to ignore a birthday is equivalent to disregarding that person's very existence. In a similar vein, when dealing with Narcs, any time a birthday is celebrated, there are always strings attached to the celebration: including but not limited to the party, if one is thrown, the gifts, if any are given, and the acknowledgments, if there are any to be had. If one benefits from the attention of a Narc, it is only by chance and, in most cases, because there are strings attached that the Narc wishes to pull at a later stage of the game.

Enter, NMIL. I have seen her disregard DH on his birthday. I have seen her draw attention to herself on her own birthday, on several occasions, in a grandiose attempt to remain the center of attention at all times. I have witnessed her ridiculous attempt to buy DH's love by sending an obnoxious bouquet of flowers on DD's first birthday. As though any one year old has an interest in flowers. In 2009, the only acknowledgment she made of my special day, was a brief mention of it in an email to my husband after the fact.

In 2011, she ignored it completely. Here's why, Dear Reader: NMIL knew that no amount of flowers would impress me. No birthday card decorated with her phony script would fool me. No extravagant gifts would sway me. She ignored it because she believes she can treat people however she wants and there won't be any consequences. She ignored it because she was hoping that all of her nastiness would drive DH and I apart. She ignored it because she knew, thanks to EFIL, that DH wasn't going to be around, so there was NO ONE HOME TO IMPRESS. NMIL ignored my birthday because she wanted to send the message, loud and clear, that I mean nothing to her and she wishes that I did not exist.

I have no doubts that her lack of acknowledgement had nothing to do with a poor memory. No, Dear Reader, I assure you that this woman is hyper-aware of my birthday, and our childrens' birthdays, and our anniversary, and every other special occasion we might celebrate.

Here's the thing she is too dense to figure out: I know what she is. I can so clearly see the slippery, slimy monster lurking underneath her pampered skin. It doesn't hurt my feelings, though she probably wished it did, that she ignored my special day. It came as no great shock to me that she would choose to behave in such a manner. I called her shit-storm from a mile away because I have met monsters like her before and they are ALL THE SAME.

She must not have realized that she was digging her own grave, slowly but surely proving her self a monster lacking even enough empathy and love to fill up a thimble. NMIL was giving us more and more reason to ex-communicate her from our lives with each passing day and every sleight of hand.

Two weeks after my birthday passed, and one week after DH returned from his business trip in February, she wrote DH an email:

From: NMIL
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Time: 11:09 PM
Subject: Hi DH...
To: DH

Me and SIL are leaving for a little vacation tomorrow morning – wanted to tell you I love you and am thinking about you. SIL told a funny story today about how somebody said something that reminded her of you and she laughed so hard – we do miss seeing you and talking with you.

Hope to see you and your family soon – please call when you can – we will be back on Tuesday night. I send [sic] you and email a few weeks ago and called you but I haven’t heard back yet. We would love to come see you and Jonsi and [DD's name spelled wrong] and DS.

Bye!!!

Love,

Mom


The dynamics of DH's past relationship with this woman were such that she assumed he was merely going to eat up the shit she so readily offered him. Though DH responded to the above with some superficiality, I assure you that behind the scenes, his unhappiness with his mother's behaviors was growing. NMIL's superficiality and complete disregard for the feelings of others has become more and more obvious to DH. He is growing increasingly more aware of her disingenuous and cruel nature.

How completely dishonest to say, "We would love to come see you and Jonsi and [DD's name spelled wrong] and DS." What lies she was spewing!

It makes me laugh just thinking that there are actually people who would believe her lies and fall for her trickery, when it's so easy to See through it! Believe me, not one detail of her email was overlooked, not one component missed in our discussion as we dissected it. Everything, right down to the ellipsis at the end of her subject line was crucial to our greater understanding of her motives. On the ellipsis, according to Wikipedia (highlighting for emphasis, mine):

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: ἔλλειψις, élleipsis, "omission" or "falling short") is a series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.

The email was a set-up. It was an attempt to gloss over her most recent behaviors and get back to the status quo. It was also an attempt to elicit enough guilt from my DH that he would back down and conveniently forget what she had done. The email represented her most superficial and ridiculous stretch for attention: Her pathetic little anecdote deserves nothing but mockery - I heard something from someone who heard something from someone who heard something that kind of sort of reminded me of you. The absurd commentary revealed her poorly-hidden message: We miss you. I miss you. I need you in order to feel whole. Come back to me. Come back to me. Come back to me.

Of course NMIL misses seeing DH and talking with him. Because he once was one of her greatest sources of NS. The lies she concluded her email with were merely one last attempt at gaining his attention: "See?" She said. In my mind's eye I can see her charming grin. "I'm even mentioning your wife and children because I care about you so much."

Ah, no, NMIL. We don't see any such caring. We see a stretch of emptiness behind your eyes that indicates that no one is home. We see a woman who ignored my birthday because she wishes I didn't exist. We see a hopeless monster who did everything possible to sabotage the relationships of both of her children from the very beginning and, if given the chance, would continue to do so.

NMIL, don't think for one second that I don't know EXACTLY what you are doing. And I'm not afraid.

But you should be. Because I see the truth and I've learned how to tell it. Because I know exactly what you are and can smell your deceit like shit on a shoe. Because my knowledge is power. And you've given every last drop of it to me.