Monday, June 11, 2012

They Live In A Jar And Think The Lid's The Sky

I asked DH yesterday if there is anything about his FOO that he misses, anything at all. He thought, and he thought, and he thought some more, and after a few minutes he said, "Well, when we were at [our niece's] birthday party today and I saw [my brother's wife aka my best friend] with her sister and family all there, I thought that it would have been nice if I could have had that too...a family like that." I replied, "That's not so much evidence that you 'miss' them, so much as it is a longing for what never was." He agreed and we got to talking about how it's kind of ironic how I've been painted as the bad guy, the one who has "destroyed" his FOO and "changed him" and "taken him away from them," when that was never even remotely what I anticipated, wanted, or dreamed-up.

I told DH that, during all the times I fantasized about having a husband and kids, what his extended family would be like or how they'd treat me never really crossed my mind. Maybe I just sort of assumed that the man I would marry would come from a normal, loving family. (I mean, most people probably don't assume that they'll be marrying into the family from hell, right?) And then I met DH and, shortly thereafter, realized that his family was neither of those things. But I think the irony lies in the fact that I envisioned our married life being blessed with happy relationships on both sides: mine and his. I had (for a very short time) imagined up holidays we'd spend together with extended family members; birthday parties for our children and our nieces and nephews; events planned with our kid's in mind...all of them, not just ours. In that dreamscape, we'd have had lunch dates with DH's step-siblings and their toddlers; we'd have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas with ALL the families; we'd have created new traditions that included everyone.

But I walked into a family that lives in a jar and thinks the lid's the sky. They didn't want me in their damn jar, and after a short while, I realized I didn't want to be in their damn jar either. Who the hell wants to live in a jar, anyway? I sure as hell don't. I much prefer my freedom.

It's all so god-damn funny to me because, all the while they are blaming me for their ultimate demise, it was they who set out to destroy everything. While I sat there dreaming up happy family-get-togethers and envisioning everyone's happiness, they plotted their little emotional death-threats. While DH and I got ready to start our lives together and welcome our first child into the world, they imagined up ways to hurt us. They were moderately good at feigning happiness for our good-fortune, but in reality they were secretly plotting the best method to put a halt to it.

I'm glad I'm not trapped in that jar with them. They can have their delusions. I'll keep my reality, thank you.

7 comments:

  1. I love the title of this post! It's a fantastic description.

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    1. I wish I could take credit for it! I saw the phrase (or something like it) used somewhere once a while back. I tried googling it to find the origin without much luck. Whoever said it is brilliant! It really does sum up the narcissist rather well.

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  2. They seem to forget it was their SON who actually broke the seal and climbed out of it; you just gave him the "opener" and he used it.
    TW

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    1. I think that's truly what changed everything. So awesome.

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  3. Jars. I like that. After all, they do live in their own little world, so living in a jar is a perfect description!

    At least I know my NM will never blame my DH for any changes she perceives as negative. She loves him. In fact, I think she's jealous because he's so romantic and my father isn't. All problems she and I have are by default, my fault, usually because of my "depression".

    Because clearly, if I'm not behaving as she desires there MUST be something WRONG with me psychologically.

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  4. "one who has "destroyed" his FOO and "changed him" and "taken him away from them," " this is such a familiar set of words for me. In the beginning, I was always described like this. Especially that I "changed him". And any new thing he does, or way he behaves, is due to me.
    I'm not sure if I've written it in my blog, but NMIL has a SIL (D) she's branded the devil. I heard many stories when I first met DH's family about how she "took BIL away" and how she "never lets (M) and family see his mother and family". She repeatedly told me this story, and in fact the whole family often described D as a manipulative shrew who stole away BIL. It was always all D's fault. Never mind that BIL also must have agreed to this decision. Never mind that NMIL also is not a fan of her own MIL (R) (whom I love by the way). NMIL often has nothing good to say about her MIL, has told me that she parks her in the living room and goes to the kitchen so she won't have to deal with her, and often is bitter and spiteful towards her. Now, I don't know what happened, but I found this little story to be more of a cautionary tale told to me. NMIL often told the story and said "I don't ever want to do anything to make my sons not be around me." This was long before DH and I were even serious. She was already laying down groundwork. Already branding and labeling me and projecting before she knew me. Letting me know that she had laid a trap, should I ever decide to go against her. Never mind that she didn't ask me what SHE could do to be a good MIL, or tell me to always let her know if there was something we could work on or just have a normal fricking relationship with me. She pays a lot of lip service to not being "that MIL" but then doesn't back any of it up and actually does everything she can to BE that MIL.

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  5. Oops, got carried away with my comment and forgot my point. I never dreamed of destroying my husband's FOO either. I did dream, more than anything, of having a family after all the crap my family had been through and how I'd been left with nothing for a family. I tried, desperately, to fit in and BE a family with them. But, the price of being in their family has just gotten so high. I would love a close family relationship. I'm jealous of all those family trips and close siblings. I wish DH and I had that kind of support and love. I wish my kids had it too. But we don't. And it is certainly not because I haven't tried. It's because I wasn't willing to sacrifice all that I am, step in line, and follow the party line. There is no room for me as a person in their family, just a place holder.

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