Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Luck with That

DH received an email from Double Agent this morning:

From: Double Agent
To: Dear Husband
Sent: July 20, 2011 @ 9:30 AM
Subject: Re: Re:

Since you haven't gotten back to me I simply sent your mom a short message saying that you asked me not to contact her, that I was going to respect that wish and that you and your family are all safe and healthy to the best of my knowledge.

Nice try, DA, but we're not biting. We know that you're trying to make it look like you're respecting DH's wishes. We also know that you have failed in your attempt to trick us, as you have succeeded in your show of disrespect.

DH was very clear in what he wanted from you. He said, several times, that any contact you had with NMIL made him uncomfortable. He expressed his opinion that your loyalties, as his friend, and not his mother's, should lie with him. He asked you, point blank, to stop communicating with his mother.

It shows disloyalty to my husband to explain to NMIL that DH asked you not to speak with her. It shows disloyalty to my husband to go against his wishes and speak with NMIL about us at all, even to offer her your superficial and unenlightened conjecture about our well-being. It shows disloyalty to my husband to continue communicating with NMIL under the guise of being "respectful" after he has explicitly asked you to stop.

We know where your loyalties lie. We also know that you are too ignorant and pompous to escape the mental and emotional spell that has been caste over you by one very evil woman. We know that you don't care to see that NMIL is using you and has no real interest in your well-being.

So go, have your twice-a-year email exchanges with NMIL and have a blast at her Christmas parties for the next couple years. That is, until she tires of you and realizes you are of no further use to her. It's obvious you care more about offering her your "common decency" than you do holding on to my husband who's friendship you claim is "so important". Good luck with NMIL. Yeah dude, good luck with that.

**Update: Here's what DH has to say about the email from his old-pal. I liked his point about how the conversations they had with each other should have remained between them. DH writes, "[He] expressed to my mother some pieces of a conversation he and I had about her - which I expected to stay between he and I." Right on. DH and I share the same sentiment on precisely why telling NMIL about DH's request that he not contact her was wrong.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Double Agent: The Judgemental Betrayer

I have been waiting for a good time to share the following email exchanges with you, Dear Reader. Now seems as good a time as any, considering Double Agent's recent appearance in DH's inbox. On March 22, 2011, DH composed a short and sweet email to his "friend" who we knew was continuing an inappropriate relationship with DH's mother. What you'll see below is the evidence showing how DH's email went over, and how this friend responded. After DH sent his initial email and received DA's response, I wrote back to DH with my thoughts. I offered DH my interpretations of the situation when he asked for my input. You'll see DH's messages in black, Double Agent's messages in blue, and mine in red. For clarification, Double Agent did not see what I had to say about his emails. My messages were for DH's eyes only.

From: Dear Husband
To: Double Agent
Date: March, 22, 2011
Subject: Yo

Ok so, I need to get something off my chest. I suspect you know at least a little bit about my situation with my mom. I feel that in continuing in the relationship you have with my mom you are hurting me, and being disloyal to me and our friendship. Now, I know you're a grown man, capable of choosing whatever relationships you want, but I hope you can see that my friendship with you is of great importance to me. If you continue to engage with my mother, our chances of continuing our friendship are slim.

From: Double Agent

To: Dear Husband
Date: March 22, 2011
Subject: Re: Yo

Umm... That came out of nowhere.
My thoughts: Not really. If he had really been paying attention to your circumstances at all, then the fact that you are feeling this way wouldn't be all that surprising. But okay, so he feels taken by surprise. Moving on...

"I suspect you know at least a little bit about my situation with my mom." I know that it's tense and that there isn't much communication. Obviously there has been hurt on both sides and the fact that she and Jonsi don't get along adds to it.
My thoughts: Couple things here - unless you chose to tell him this information, it is not something he should be privy to. This statement gives you an idea of the kinds of things he has been hearing from your mother - even if it was a while ago that they actually "talked." How does he know that me and your mother don't get along? And...what have I ever done that would count as 'not getting along?' No doubt, he is believing your mother, who has told him and everyone else that I have been mean to her - but you know, as well as I do, that I have been civil and polite to your mother. I do not have a biased opinion, this I know...which means that I read this and interpreted him siding more with your mother. But by the time I got to the end of the email, my overall feeling was this: he does side with your mother...not your wife (and therefore, not really you.) Furthermore...if he gives a fuck about your friendship, he should be a hell of a lot less concerned about your mother's feelings and more about yours...which you are telling him...and he's not listening.

"I feel that in continuing in the relationship..." I don't really know what you mean. It's not like we talk often. When I visit my parents I don't drop in to say "Hi" to your mom. The last interaction I had with your mom was attending her Christmas party where I hung out with Pig and Pig's wife and barely had much conversation with your mother. She emailed me twice leading up to your wedding but those are the only two times I recall talking to her in the last YEAR.
My thoughts: He doesn't have to talk often with her - any talking is bad, any engagement is bad. HE DOESN'T THINK GOING TO THE CHRISTMAS PARTY WAS A BAD IDEA, OR THAT IT WAS CREEPY, OR THAT IT SHOWED LOYALTY TO YOUR MOTHER INSTEAD OF YOU. THIS IS A RED FLAG! Also.....WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOUR MOTHER BE EMAILING HIM TWICE LEADING UP TO OUR WEDDING? More red flags, pay attention to these. DA seems to think that because his level of communication is infrequent, it is okay.

" have with my mom you are hurting me, and being disloyal to me and our friendship." Even if we presupposed a strong relationship between your mom and myself, this doesn't hold much water. Were you disloyal to me in 8th grade when you were friends with both Pig and I while we disliked each other? I certainly don't think so. Not only that, but the situation is even less strenuous than the LSV-Pig-DA relationship since your mom, to the best of my knowledge, wants reconciliation unlike Pig and I.
My thoughts: THIS IS A COMPLETELY JUVENILE ARGUMENT. He is comparing his relationship with your mother to that of the relationships of three eighth grade boys. Um, hello? Those boys he was referring to were kids. He is not a kid anymore, and your mother is not a kid, (nor has she ever been while cultivating her near-pedophile relationship with him) and their choice to continue to have any kind of relationship with each other is now a completely adult decision. Not only that, but he is trying to use logic to explain away YOUR FEELINGS. Whether you are right or not is irrelevant. You feel badly about doesn't have to be logical.

"I hope you can see that my friendship with you is of great importance to me." I do. And it is to me as well.
My thoughts: I am going to say, I do not believe this.

"If you continue to engage with my mother, our chances of continuing our friendship are slim." I'm confused. Mostly regarding the fact that you think that I'm "continuing to engage with your mother."
My thoughts: He is telling you he doubts your feelings, he doubts your reality. He put that phrase in quotes the second time because he does not believe that what he is doing is engaging with your mother. HE DOES NOT THINK THE RELATIONSHIP THEY HAVE ON FACEBOOK COUNTS AS ENGAGEMENT! HE DOES NOT THINK GOING TO HER CHRISTMAS PARTY IS ENGAGEMENT. HE DOES NOT THINK SPEAKING WITH HER ON ANY LEVEL IS ENGAGEMENT. I fear that the fact that he wants you to further explain YOUR FEELINGS, is not a good sign. I would like to say, be more direct - tell him what you mean by engagement - but no clarification is necessary here. Engagement means ANY communication with your mother - be it face to face, email, phone calls, or even (gasp!) Facebook. But I don't think he'll get that and I don't think he'll be willing to stop, mostly because he truly doesn't see anything wrong with it.

An addition, your friend may be book smart, but he's not people smart. He is being fooled by your mother, and therefore he is compromised. He doesn't know what he is talking about in terms of your relationship with your mother - he is talking to you as though your feelings are invalid. You were not communicating with your friend about this for him to validate your thoughts/feelings/or opinions about your mother. You don't need his approval to feel the way you do.

In some follow-up emails, DA responded to my husband with a couple of real gems:

- When DH asked DA if he found it strange that NMIL contacted him prior to our wedding, he responded: Yes I do. It was an act of desperation on her part.

- DH asked: What if it were you having an issue with your parents, and I went to an intimate event they hosted - that would seem like I'm invalidating my friendship, my loyalty to you, wouldn't it? To that, DA responded: First, the Christmas party wasn't an intimate event. There were 50 people there and beyond a tour of the new house I had almost no direct interaction with your mom. Outside of Pig, Pigs wife and Childhood friend+her Fiancee, the only person we really spoke to was that clingy gay guy...Second, I can't really commiserate with your plight. When I was having serious relationship troubles with my mom (junior year of college) I didn't just write her off. I worked on the relationship and didn't try to destroy it further by ignoring her at holidays and important events. It's obvious that you're not interested in reconciliation so this isn't a comparable situation.

- When DH expressed his difficulty in bringing any of these issues up at all, DA replied:
I wish you had brought it up in December when I told you I was going to the party. Sure, tough issues are hard to bring up.
- I occasionally hear from my wife about Jonsi disliking your mother. And from you I hear absolutely nothing.

- When DH announced that he needed " some time," Double agent's response was: How long is "some time"? It's been roughly 2 years...

- Do you think that avoiding important things like her Christmas party two years in a row is doing anything but demonstrating a resolve not to be reconciled?

- I am your friend. I am friendly to your mother. I have not, I am not, nor will I seek out contact with your mother. However, if she emails me I will reply out of common decency.

- Your definition of discomfort-inducing contact is truly strange. I've literally had 3 small exchanges of pleasantries with your mother in the past year. If she was a genocidal dictator, that would be a problem. If she doesn't get along with your wife, that's a complete overreaction.

- [NMIL] deserves a response because it's what is socially appropriate within the context of this situation.

When all was said and done, I forwarded the shit show on to my dearest friend, Upsi. She has given me permission to share her (fucking awesome!) commentary with you. Here is what she had to say:

[Blue]= lines from [Double Agent's] messages, [Green] = Upsi

I know that it's tense and that there isn't much communication. Obviously there has been hurt on both sides and the fact that she and Jonsi don't get along adds to it.
He did not address your DH's problem with the fact that "he knows" anything about the situation.  DA asserts that you and NMIL don't get along as though he knows the situation enough to analyze it, while saying out of the other side of his mouth that he never talks to NMIL and never hears anything...In [DH's] situation, when they frame it as "DH isn't talking to his mom because his crazy bitch wife is controlling him," he gets the double whammy of not only being framed as a doormat to his partner, but it is immasculating!  They're going after his manhood...your DH does not deserve the kind of gossip his "best friend" has revealed. 

Not only that, but the situation is even less strenuous than the DH-Pig-DA relationship since your mom, to the best of my knowledge, wants reconciliation unlike Ian and I...the fact of the matter is that it applies directly to this situation and you can't dismiss the argument simply because it happened when we were kids.
How dare this arrogant asshole tell [your DH] that his situation is "less strenuous" than their little problem in 8th grade.  How does he know how strenuous it is, since he hears nothing about it and knows very little?  Who the fuck is he to assume that b/c one party wants reconciliation, that makes it LESS strenuous!  "Fact of the matter" - I'd like to give him a few facts, alright.  "Applies directly to the situation" - "can't dismiss" - these are assertions with zero support, this is high-faluting language with no supporting substance.  We can dismiss it because the analogy is fundamentally inappropriate to [your husband's] situation.  A Mother - Son - Wife conflict triangle is not analogous to a friend-friend-friend scenario (even setting aside the 8th grade part).  The stakes are higher and the relationships are in no way similar due to the LIFELONG bond between mother/child and husband/wife.  Friends can call it quits, no problem.  Families are, as they say, forever.  The FUCKING "fact of the matter" is that this ignorant know-it-all doesn't want to be told not to affiliate with DH's mom and found one stretch-of-a-comparison to support himself.

I can't really commiserate with your plight. When I was having serious relationship troubles with my mom (junior year of college) I didn't just write her off. I worked on the relationship and didn't try to destroy it further by ignoring her at holidays and important events. It's obvious that you're not interested in reconciliation so this isn't a comparable situation.
...Who asked him to "commiserate"?  DH is asking him to consider his feelings, not to sit around complaining about his family problems.  Well lucky you, DA the Holier-than-thou, you could work on your relationship and find solutions.  You weren't forced to consider "writing her off" (which DH hasn't even done) because of the impossible problems.  If skipping her STUPID supply-fest Christmas parties was "destroying" the relationship "further" - further than what?  Destroying what?  According to whom?  "It's obvious you're not interested in reconciliation" - oh, is it?  Because of all that information you AREN'T getting from DH, who you've said tells you "nothing about" the situation???  How, pray-tell, is he so certain of DH's feelings and desires?  This prick masks his judgment in a pseudo-intellectual cloak of "oh mine isn't a comparable situation" - DH was asking him to PUT HIMSELF IN DH'S SHOES FOR THE SAKE OF COMPARISON - not asking him to have the same exact situation so he can understand.

I wish you had brought it up in December when I told you I was going to the party. Sure, tough issues are hard to bring up.
[This is what he is really saying]: "Well, you didn't bring it up so it's all your fault."  [DH's] bringing it up now, and it is clear if he had brought it up then, he would have been told where to shove it b/c he was being so "cruel" by skipping the party.  Their friendship doesn't seem able to handle much of any confrontation and discussion.

I occasionally hear from my wife about Jonsi disliking your mother. And from you I hear absolutely nothing.
Um, fucked up that he hears things from his wife about you "disliking NM."  Red flag.  Where is she getting this information from?  And like I said before, if DA hears "absolutely nothing" from DH about it, why is he so confident that his perceptions are accurate?

Your definition of discomfort-inducing contact is truly strange. I've literally had 3 small exchanges of pleasantries with your mother in the past year. If she was a genocidal dictator, that would be a problem. If she doesn't get along with your wife, that's a complete overreaction.
He went there, he trotted out the old "if she's not a dictator, there's no problem."  His messages are so riddled with factual contradictions...If DA has so little contact with NMIL & knows so little about the situation from DH, WHY THE FUCK DOES HE FEEL COMFORTABLE CONCLUDING THAT IT'S ALL ABOUT NMIL AND Jonsi NOT GETTING ALONG??? He is not trustworthy, not truthful, and very much a judgmental betrayer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Your Strategy is Showing

DH received an email this morning from a non-friend of his. But before we can delve into the wacky world of Flying Monkeys, I think a bit of background story is in order. I shall call DH's non-friend Double Agent (DA).

Sadly, DA was a friend who grew up with DH. There are many pictures of the two of them through out the years: Photos of a grinning DA with his arm around DH as they sat on the bench at a little league game. Photos of DA and DH at a blackboard in high school. Photos of DH as the best man at DA's wedding. But no amount of photos could ever give an accurate depiction of what that relationship failed to become: A true, everlasting friendship.

If you want a taste, Dear Reader, of who Double Agent is, then look no further. This self-proclaimed theologian believes:

1. You are condemned to hell: Not glorifying God in the drive through isn't what condemns someone. It's the life-attitude which inspires one to not live for God's glory which does that.
-DA via on Mar 26, 2011

2. That as long as your supposed intentions are good, it doesn't matter how you act: Sin has less to do with the action itself than with the intentions of the heart.
-DA via on Mar 26, 2011

3. That no matter how AWFUL our "parents" are to us, we still owe them: An infinitely holy God is merciful to let us live one breath beyond our having affronted his character. The fact that we are allowed 80 years is grace upon grace.
-DA via on Mar 2, 2011

4. That it would be better for everyone if your babies died: The death of infants - In the long haul, this is actually a mercy. Since the Bible is pretty clear that children aren't capable of making fully moral decisions they aren't held responsible for them...This means that those children killed in the flood are not being eternally judged.
-DA via on Mar 3, 2011

5. That YOU are more evil for not believing in his god, than the person who is capable of murder. Moreover, if murder is not the highest standard for an evil deed, people who merely treat others poorly is not important: The magnitude of evil - The magnitude of evil is determined by the object of its effect. For example: Kill a stalk of corn - you are called a farmer and everybody likes you. Kill a deer - you are called a hunter and, while PETA dislikes you for it, society is generally ambivalent. Kill a man - you are called a murderer and you are executed. What, then, is the penalty for sinning against the ultimate standard of goodness?
-DA via on Mar 3, 2011

6. That atheists are more evil than any religious person (I guess he doesn't consider all those rapist pedophile putrid Catholic priests evil): I'll simply point you to the example of famous atheists like Stalin who are responsible for more evil than any religious person.
-DA via on Feb 9, 2011

7. That we should all be excited to die:
-Commenter: All I can say is that if there is a God, and he is anything like the being you seem to believe him to be, then he is one evil SOB.
-DA : Except that he took the punishment on himself for all who would trust him.
-Commenter: I'm sure that made all the drowned babies feel much better about it.
-DA: Those babies are extremely satisfied with how things went as they are now fellowshipping directly with God himself... I can't wait for that day. The apostle Paul said: "For me to live is Christ, to die is gain... I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far." (Phil 1:21-23)

-DA via on February 9, 2011

In truth, Dear Reader, DA is a fanatic who ENJOYS being called a fanatic. On the same website where he posted the above statements, someone commented: "Wow. You're a true fanatic DA, I'll grant you that." To that, DA responded, "Fanaticism" is required by Jesus - Christianity is a religion of complete surrender. (Matt 16:24)

DA, that wasn't a compliment.

Some further insight into Double Agent's character:

1. He was secretly invited to and chose to attend NMIL's Christmas parties in 2009 and 2010, even though he knew both times that DH was not going to be attending.

2. A few weeks prior to our wedding, in which DA was the best man, NMIL emailed him. We do not know what the emails consisted of, but it was made clear by both DA and his wife that they were communications "out of desperation" from DH's NM. This phrase begs the question, out of desperation for what?

3. DH had to ask DA to stop calling his masculinity into question. I witnessed DA insinuate that my husband was gay on a number of occasions. I have a problem with this for several reasons: One, homosexuality is neither a sin nor is it evil. Two, using it as a slur in order to emasculate my husband when he doesn't want to live his life the way someone else would pisses me right the fuck off. And three, it is my feeling that DA's extreme homophobic nature may very well be a sign that he has internalized some inclination towards the same sex and he is AFRAID of that.

4. DA did not like me when DH and I first started dating and made no secret of that to DH. It has been obvious to me, from the beginning, that he felt I should have been honored once he "accepted" me. I was never honored. The feelings of dislike were mutual.

As a Flying Monkey, DA won't be providing NMIL with very much information. He won't be able to because DH already Sees the strategy, and with me by his side, ain't no one gonna fuck with us.

These were the comments I made on DH's post:

It is absolutely inappropriate for this so-called friend to be acting as the go-between here. He should be passing along no messages either from you OR about you to your NM. As you pointed out, he should not be communicating with her, period, not even to be "cordial."

At the very least, we know that she is still trying to get to you through EVERY connection she still has (however few and far between they are now). Let her. When she sees that you won't bite, she'll abandon those methods because they aren't working.

Be aware. If you don't respond to this "friend," or don't respond the way he expects you to, it will further his cause to be on your NM's side. Though he was already on her side, choosing not to respond to their tactics will just cement his position there.

That is not your fault. Your "friend" has made his choice. It is clear that he continues to side with your NM, and that he feels it is somehow his DUTY to HER to inform her about you, your life, and your FOC.

As Mulderfan says, "fuck 'em."

As for sending the message ["It is apparent that we have nothing to discuss."] to him, I personally think your silence will send an even clearer message. In other words, let the point that there is nothing to discuss stand on it's own STRONG not discussing it.

This jerk can't even see that he is being USED. Your NM contacted him to ask about you. She did NOT contact him because she is interested in his life, well-being, or welfare. She's USING him as a means to get to you.

Remember that this was the person you once believed to be intelligent.

Another point: I read your letters to him. You asked that he not communicate with your NM on ANY LEVEL. He clearly threw that away by saying that you told him not to have any "real" conversations with her.

That is not what you said. I read what you had to say. He, apparently, did not.

And finally: She's getting antsy now. Her tactics are showing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Best He Can Do

DH got a call on his cell phone from EFIL yesterday while he was at work. He let it go to voice mail. This is what his Dear-Old-Dad had to say:

Hey DH, it's dad. Uh just calling to say hi...see how everything is going. Um I was hoping you were going to respond to my email but, hey, you know, that's completely up to you. Uh I'm just going to say that I hope everything is going okay for you. I hope that Jonsi is okay. I hope that DS and DD are [unintelligible]. Um I also want to say that, DH, I'm sorry you feel that way about everything. Um the best I can do is just thank you. Uh seriously. That's it, that's all I've got to say. I love you. And I'll talk to you later. Bye.

I picked DH up from work yesterday and he let me listen to the voice mail. We talked about it the whole way home and then shared it with my mother while having dinner at her house. I think we were all surprised by it, but it was a sort of dull, been-there-done-that sort of surprise. Like, it never ceases to amaze me that EFIL could be so dense and pathetic; that he could really be that lazy and indifferent. Yet, every time he responds in such a listless, lackluster way to DH's emotional and heartfelt efforts to communicate, I'm still just that little bit shocked.

How, Dear Reader? How is it possible that EFIL could read my husband's letter and respond this way? How can he continue to pretend that all is well, that DH's feelings don't matter, and that it's acceptable to disregard our needs and disrespect our boundaries?

I listened to his voice mail more than fifteen times because I find it important to transcribe every word, every sigh, every pause, every intake of breath. I was struck by the thought that this guy really believes that just mentioning my name in a message to DH should be proof enough that he cares about me. This guy actually thinks that using the names of our children will convince DH that DH is the mean one, that he's the bad guy. Worst of all, there is no real apology in EFIL's message, no moment of humble acceptance of responsibility. Like, seriously dude, go eat a slice of some humble fucking pie.

I keep seeing the phrase, "I'll talk to you later" or "I'll see you later" in these messages from the dark side. We heard it twice in Toast's birthday message to DH. I can't help but feel that these people really think DH is going to take the bait. They really think that their weak and pitiful messages to him are going to entice him back into their arms. I know that those phrases tend to be overused, that people often use them even when they have no intention of talking with or seeing a person again any time soon. But in cases such as these, I think they are being used deliberately. I think EFIL left his voice mail yesterday believing that all his "thank yous" and "I'm so sorrys" are all it will take to make a difference.

And what does he mean when he says, "Thank you?" DH and I both agree that it shows nothing but demeaning disregard of the letter that DH sent him. Apparently, the use of gratuitous phrases like "thank you" can be manipulated the same way that apologies can. A real thank you would act much the same way as a real apology. It would look something like this: "DH, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, because now I know that I must accept responsibility for the damage I have caused. I want to thank you because now I know that, in order to have a happy and healthy relationship with you, there are boundaries I must respect. I want to thank you by showing you that I can and will work with you to make the changes required for our relationship to bloom, instead of wither and die, as it has been doing all your life." Etc. Etc. A genuine "thank you" would have been as meaningful and as necessary as a genuine "sorry."

DH got neither of those. Instead, he got a non-apology, which placed the blame entirely on DH and his "bad feelings," and a non-thank you. Honestly, Dear Reader, I hadn't known a false thank you could exist under such constraints, but apparently I was wrong. I knew of the sarcastic ones: Wow, thanks for sitting on my sandwich today, sis. But I had not been previously aware that a "thank you" could sound so genuine and yet be so degrading. If he was more honest, EFIL would have just said this:

I'm just going to say thank you for sending that letter to me, even though I don't really mean it. In reality, your letter means nothing to me and I'm going to pretend that you didn't say any of those things since you're just an insignificant person and, as such, don't deserve my time, respect, or love. I'm just going to say "thank you" so that I can feign interest in what you have to say, when really, I just don't care. I've got better things to do with my time than read your letter or respond to it. So, the best I can do is pretend to be appreciative that you took the time to write and send that letter. The best I can do is leave you voice mails and pretend like I give a shit about your FOC. The best I can do is sit here on my high horse and continue to think that I am right about everything. The best I can do is make blanket, worthless statements like 'I hope everything is okay' because I'm not willing to talk about the details of things that aren't okay. The best I can do is ignore your letter because you wouldn't go out of your way to send it to me in an email in order to make responding easier for me. The best I can do is make fake apologies and continue to blame you for abandoning your family, because I'm not willing to see that it might have been US who abandoned YOU. The best I can do is refuse to hear you out. The best I can do is wait for you to give up on your truth-campaign. The best I can do is whatever I've already done for you, because I'm not willing to entertain the thought that it wasn't enough.

You want to know how we are, EFIL? The truth is that life is just peachy without you around. There's no familial drama, no backstabbing, no guilt-tripping, no manipulation. There's no one around who will lie to us, cheat us, or steal away our precious time. There's no bullshit, no mockery, no narcissism or triangulation. Things are okay without you around EFIL. Because as long as you are who you are, it's healthier for us if you stay on your side of the line and we stay on ours. So long as you continue to make blanket statements about how everything should be "okay" in spite of what you have done, then you can stay on your side and we'll stay on ours. So long as you continue to bury the truth with all the shit you can shovel, then you can keep on burying it on your side of the line.

The truth is that life's just peachy without you around.

Life's just peachy.

**Credit to Upsi, where I linked to her poem, "Triangles."

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I woke up this morning with a dream still fresh in my mind.

In it, our therapist was telling us that NMIL had contacted her and asked to meet with her. Our therapist obliged, without telling NMIL that she was just going to turn around and tell us how the interaction went.

When our therapist began relating the story to us, I was transported to an empty room, and I knew that I was going to get to watch the story unfold as an invisible omnipresent observer. I watched as NMIL walked into the room, and when she came in, the room was empty of people and barren of objects, except for a lone wooden table. The table reminded me of the kinds of tables I used to eat my lunch on in elementary school. It was long and had bench seating.

When NMIL came in, she made a big deal out of setting up this birthday card that she had bought for someone. It was a really big card that sort of had to be set up like a box, except it only had four sides, instead of six, so the top and bottom were open. As she stood there unfolding it, I could see that the outside was mostly purple and it had tons of generic messages on it like, "Happy Graduation!" and "Happy Birthday!" and "Congratulations!" and "Get well soon!" Every time she turned the card, there was a different message on it. The inside of the card was completely blank. She hadn't written any message of her own on it.

So, NMIL propped it in the middle of the one table, looked at it for a moment, and then left the room. When the door closed, I found myself back in the room with the therapist and I asked her why she talked to NMIL. I don't remember what her answer was, but I do remember that we discussed, at length, what NMIL had been up to and why everything she did was wrong.

The therapist told us that NMIL had been trying to stage a birthday party for DH, as a way to see him again. I was horrified that the empty room was her version of a birthday party venue. Then she told us that NMIL had lied about the time in which she wanted to meet with her, because she was hoping that we would somehow be tricked into going to the event. In dream world, it made total sense that our therapist knew this without NMIL ever having told her the truth about what she was doing.

After talking about it for some time, I was transported back into that empty room. This time, the only thing that had changed was the presence of one lone red balloon, floating in the far corner of the room. I couldn't figure out why NMIL would have put one balloon there, except that it was the best she could do to feign a party. One lonely balloon.

Like in real life, her "birthday party" didn't have any cake or presents. And there was no one there to wish DH well. The room was just empty, except for the table, the balloon, and the strange card. When NMIL walked into the room again, she looked sad but I had a lot of trouble feeling badly for her, knowing that the party was just a ruse to trick DH.

When I woke up, I was most disturbed by NMIL's version of a birthday card. On the outside, it was an eclectic "well-wishes" kind of card, that did not apply to just a birthday. It represented NMIL's superficiality and lack of understanding about her own son. She was using a card to say the one thing she could not say genuinely: I am happy for your happiness. In the dream, as I looked at that card on the table, all I could think was that it was empty inside. That it paralleled NMIL's superficial exterior, which was being used to box in the void. I think the birthday card was NMIL.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Crummy Gift

It's been two weeks since NMIL's best friend, Toast, left her rambling Happy Birthday voice mail for DH, in which she promised to mail us a gift she'd been holding on to for six months.

Let's review, shall we? Concerning a gift for our DS, this is what she had to say:

"I have a gift for baby DS and um I just never sent it cause I was hoping I would see you...I’ll actually get the address from your mom and just send it to you...And just look for that present in the mail within a week or so."

I am not surprised that no gift ever came. I am not surprised that, once again, these people have proven that their love is conditional. I am not surprised that they are only willing to take, and never to give. I am not surprised that love, for them, is a measure of quantity and not quality. I am not surprised that their promises are always a loaded gun, and that if you take the bait, they'll shoot you every time. I am not surprised that the "prize" they offer for good behavior is never equivalent to what they are expecting in return. I am not surprised that they are full of lies.

In reality, Toast was saying that in order to receive her crummy gift, DH had to jump through hoops and, inevitably, come back into the fold. In this, it is so apparent how much they are asking of my husband and how little they are willing to give in return. The shipment of her gift was contingent on the following conditions:

1. DH was expected to call Toast back, thereby cementing his loyalties to her and indirectly to his NM.
2. DH was expected to accept Toast as a trusted confidant and talk to her about what is going on between he and his mother, thereby allowing her to further defend her best friend.
3. DH was expected to take their words at face-value and believe their lies.
4. DH was expected to recognize that he is wrong and that they are right.
5. DH was expected to give up the fight for his rights and SEE these people, on their terms, thereby forgetting about his own.
6. And, ultimately, DH was expected to divorce his wife and abandon his children because his relationship with a FOC cannot exist alongside his NM's overpowering presence. More specifically, his relationship with THIS FOC cannot exist alongside his NM's overpowering, demanding, controlling, and ever-pitiful presence.

So you see, Dear Reader, there is no fair and equal balance in this game, no way for DH to win because the rules they've created automatically favor NMIL.

One thing that strikes me as funny about this scenario is that Toast is such a non-player that I can easily see the real source of all this drama. Toast is merely a fallen pawn so it's easy to look past her and see that it's the Queen of Hearts running the show. Between the lines of her message, as seen above, one can make out the lines, whispered in a hushed tone, "Off with their heads!" They haven't yet gotten to shouting it because NMIL still thinks she's going to win.

No crummy gift is worth what they want. Toast's effort at tempting DH was transparent and pathetic. One would have to be awfully unintelligent to accept the terms of such a contract: DH, in exchange for your hope, free-will, undying devotion, loyalties, undivided attention, unconditional love, trust, and at the expense of your marriage and children, I offer you one possibly-non-existent, strings-attached, cheap and useless gift.

I'm betting we aren't going to see any such gift from Toast, because DH didn't respond to her bargain pleas. It's not that far-fetched a thought either, when you consider that NMIL never sent any Christmas gifts for our children and at this late stage, she's not going to. I highly doubt NMIL will direct her Toasted Pawn to send us a gift, when NMIL herself never sent the ones she promised.

The only thing these people are proving is that they have nothing to offer us but lies and conditions.

We won't accept either.

Monday, July 4, 2011

This Shark, Swallow You Whole

I had a dream a couple months ago, about DH and I being in a plane crash and being the sole survivors in the middle of the ocean. It was night time and the waves were chopping at us angrily from all sides. All we could do was try to keep our heads above the water and hold on to each other and hope that we would survive somehow. And then, all of a sudden, I knew that there was a shark underneath us. I couldn't really see it but I knew it was there and I knew it was a great white. Every once in a while, I'd catch a glimpse of it beneath the waves, a glimmer of gray or a flash of white beneath the water as it swam by. I HATE sharks. They are cold-blooded, literally and figuratively. They have those disgusting jagged rows of razor sharp teeth. They kill their own young and have no parental instincts. They are not meant to, that is not their nature. In fact, they are natural born killers. In the womb, shark babies will eat their smaller brethren. Once born, they are never nurtured or protected by their mothers. Instead, they instantly become the predators they are meant to be, circling the waters searching for a meal. They are fast and dangerous and sneaky.

In the dream, the shark was just circling underneath us in the water, playing with us. Every few moments, I could feel it's rubbery skin rubbing up against my leg or my foot. It never really attacked us, but the threat was there - and if it attacked, we knew we'd be dead in seconds. It was terrifying. Oddly enough, I somehow knew that shark was female. When I woke up, I knew that shark was NMIL.

The parallels are not lost on me.

**Title credit: Jaws (1975)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hope It's Happy

Yesterday, DH put a birthday card in the mail for his sister.

I asked him recently if he wanted to send her a card and he said yes. We talked about how, given that his sister and two cousins are still kids, we think it appropriate to continue sending holiday and birthday cards to them for the time being. A couple weeks ago, we sent a congratulation card to his older cousin for graduating high school.

I picked out the card yesterday, and it was a simple one. The outside read, "It's Your Birthday!" in fun shapes and colors. The inside read, "Hope it's happy." And I added, "Wishing you the best on your birthday." I signed it with a dash followed by "The Jonsi Family."

We decided not to send her a gift, mostly because in the past two years, she has never acknowledged or shown appreciation for the gifts we have given her. Last year, since we did not attend her birthday party, we sent her a gift card to some trendy clothing store in the mail. She never acknowledged that she received it and certainly never thanked us for it.

One of my pet peeves is people who lack basic manners. Please and thank you goes a long way for me. And while I understand that it is most likely the case that SIL has just never been versed in the ways of etiquette (a most unfortunate circumstance for her, as it's difficult to navigate in the world without basic manners) there is no excuse good enough for me to let her off very easy. I have three theories: 1. That NMIL, either overtly or covertly, suggested that SIL not thank us 2. That SIL pays so little attention to the details of the world around her, that she's never picked up on the fact that SOCIETY, if not her mother, says you should say thank you when someone gives you something. And 3. SIL so hates me and is so blinded by her anger, that she OPTED to forgo her manners in all capacities.

Regarding my first assertion, it would not at all be surprising to me that NMIL pre-calculated the result of such a faux pas and maneuvered SIL accordingly. Regarding the second, DH somehow managed to observe from his surroundings that manners are a necessary life skill to develop. He did so, with or without the help from his parents. If SIL came from the same place and was surrounded by the same people, and was of the same intellectual stock, one would think she could glean manners by studying, even on a basic level, her environment. And finally, I feel SIL's feelings must be taken in to account, because I know she has them, though they are so far buried and overtaken by her NM. It is a distinct possibility that SIL decided, on every occasion, to be as rude as possible to DH and to me, in the hopes of exerting whatever pinch of power she has left in her own life. Clearly, SIL has a deep and overwhelming fear of that which takes power away from her NM, because whosoever takes the wind out of NMIL's sails, has the power to upset the balance of their very fragile world. In short, my presence in SIL's life, however small, has greatly impacted her precarious position in the power dynamic upheld by her mother. In that final respect, it is not surprising that SIL might choose to ignore us completely. After all, you don't have to thank someone who doesn't exist.

But regardless of SIL's skill-set when it comes to manners, DH and I genuinely wish her the very best for her birthday, and all days. I know that DH is still hoping his sister will escape their mother's grasp someday and join us on the side of truth and light. I wish that for her as well.

I wouldn't be surprised however, Dear Reader, if SIL openly rejects our birthday wishes. I have entertained thoughts that SIL will contact DH to inform him that she doesn't want his birthday cards and to stop sending them to her. I can just see it now, the hastily written email, sent only to DH: Hi DH. You can keep your birthday cards. I don't want them. You are nothing to me anymore. It wouldn't be surprising because we've seen it before: "I miss my brother. #Waitwhatbrother" (Her status on Twitter just a few months back.) And "As my brother, I guess I just assumed that you would come to your sister's birthday that has taken place every single year. Who knows, maybe I'm just crazy for thinking that. So don't bother coming to my birthday. I don't want you there." (Her email to DH in 2010 regarding his attendance at her birthday party).

I wouldn't be surprised, Dear Reader, if we saw more of the same in the days to come. I'll keep you updated if we hear any word.