Friday, October 12, 2012

If They Don't Talk About You, You Don't Exist

In an effort to purge myself of all of this shit, I'm going to post a few things that I've been holding on to but didn't really know what the hell to do with because my knowledge of them either didn't seem to drive our progress forward, or else I didn't want to add fuel to the fire of drama that's surrounded us at the time that I found them.

The Lovely Grey wrote a comment on this post that got me thinking about a piece of information I've tucked away in my back pocket that I've been wanting to share for some time now, but could never find the right moment to do so. On how her FOO have treated her husband, Grey wrote, "Like you, all DH wanted was to be accepted by my family. On our wedding day (You know, the happiest day of our lives...The day when everyone should say "Welcome to the family!"), all poor DH got was "You can't go running back to mommy anymore" from my Ngrandmother. Also, he was never called son-in-law. He was only ever referred to as "Grey's husband."" When I read that, I felt those familiar zings of déjà vu , and I responded to Grey, "Do you know that I have ruminated about how they refer to me for such a long time? I recently told DH, "I bet they don't even call me "daughter-in-law" because they don't want to acknowledge a connection to me at all. I bet that, if they absolutely have to, they say 'DH's wife.' Or they just avoid giving me a title at all and stick to referring to me as 'she' and 'her'."And I happened across this exchange on Facebook between NMIL and a friend whom she had obviously not seen or conversed with in years:

October 15, 2010 @ 7:09 AM
Old Acquaintance: I am assuming that this** is your daughter and son...You look fabulous!

October 15, 2010 @ 10:24 AM
NMIL: Yes - my daughter [NSIL] is 16 and my son [DH] is 25 and awaiting the birth of his second child...I'm a Grandma! How are you...Are you still a nurse? How many kids do you have? Guess it's hard to pack 25 years of info on facebook! :) 

** I could not see the photo these comments were referencing, probably due to whatever privacy settings NMIL had set at the time. But I have to assume it was either one single photo, or perhaps a batch of photos that NMIL had up of NSIL and DH.

Anything missing from her answer, dear friends? Or, should I say, anyone? So, naturally, NMIL was probably eating up the compliment from this woman who she obviously hadn't seen in quite some time, and therefore took the time to respond to her. Gotta keep up appearances and all that. But what is glaringly obvious to me in her response is that she fails to mention a very key component in her purposely "half-assed" attempt to share the "big news of the day." And that person she failed to mention was, of course, me. How, precisely is it that her son has one child and is "awaiting the birth of his second child" if there wasn't some mother around somewhere giving birth to them? She leaves my presence completely out of the equation as though I don't exist at all. To me, her briefest of brief synopsis of her life at the moment comes across sounding forced and robotic, though I doubt her friend noticed that. Here's what "normal" parents would say when asked about the status of their family by a friend they haven't seen in several years: "Yes, my daughter is sixteen and [insert something interesting about what she's currently doing in her life that's important to her; school, sports, whatever] and my son is twenty five, married, and they are expecting their second baby in a few months." Or something to that effect. Her son meeting me and getting married is, I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, kind of a big fucking deal. But she decides to leave that part out and the omission speaks volumes, in my opinion.

Thus, my response to Grey that, if they refer to me at all (which it doesn't look like they do) they probably do their very best to refer to me as "that girl DH married" or "she/her" or, if they can get it past their lips, "DH's wife." I think L referred to me as her "daughter-in-law" once when she was introducing me to someone but I'm pretty sure that was just for show and she didn't call me that when I wasn't around. I mean, how could she really consider me her "daughter-in-law" when DH and I both have our doubts about how much she really considered him her son.

And, as a side note, the other thing that struck me crazy about NMIL's little synopsis of her adult son's and daughter's lives was the date of this transaction. Dear friends, October 15, 2010 was the DAY BEFORE we went to visit her at her McMansion (the one and only time we would) after getting the cold shoulder from her for four months. She had only just called us a week or so before this brief conversation with her old friend occurred and had she had never bothered to ask DH about the status of my pregnancy over the phone. She knew nothing about DD's well-being at the time, knew even less about how I was doing, and for all she knew, I could have had a miscarriage or something could have gone terribly wrong in my pregnancy. Which is just one of the many things that bothered me about her announcement of being a "Grandma!" and her broadcast that DH was "awaiting the birth of his second child!" and all that. Because I could have lost DS, or have been having a difficult pregnancy and she didn't care enough about any of us to ask, or think about it, or keep her damn mouth shut. Not only that, but way to paint a rosy picture of what was quickly becoming a relationship (with her son and his family) headed towards major catastrophe. Granted, I know even emotionally healthy, honest people wouldn't necessarily talk about their family estrangements with someone they haven't seen in twenty-five years, but I can guarantee it also wouldn't look like NMIL's rosy little picture either.

And whatever kind of picture it was, it would certainly have included me.

But in the narc's world, both Grey's husband and Jonsi are nothing more than a plague. They think of us as the silent, invisible destroyers.

Projection at it's finest, no? 


  1. It's too bad her friend didn't go "OMG, your son is pregnant!? How on earth did THAT happen!?"

    It would have been hysterical.

    1. HAHA! Oh, that would have been fantastic. And having a sense of humor about it makes it a heck of a lot easier to examine.

  2. HAHAHAAA! Oh, good one! Thanks for that, AA!
    "....they think of us as the silent, invisible destroyers." Exactly. Again, because these NPs see their kids as extensions of themselves, props at best to their "All About MEEEE!"/"The Perfect(s)" internal constructs, anything that threatens that image is met with a huge backlash. And having your AC marry (anyone, actually) and move on with a significant Adult Right of Passage is threatening in that they now have to "share" their "toy" and that's not acceptable-ever. They MUST remain The Center of the Universe particularly in their offspring's world. Obviously when the AC marries, the NP(s) are no longer front and center and they know that: It's a major threat to their paradigm, their internal world. IMO, when you marry into one of these FOOs the *only* acceptable "position" for the new spouse is bow and scrape before the NIL, demonstrate you know your place in the "hierarchy:" The "One Down" (minimally) position to the reigning King or Queen of the FOO. Even if the AC has managed to individuate to some degree, the degree of individuation is constantly monitored by the NP. It's like being on a leash even as an adult: "You can get this far 'away' from me, but any further and I'm gonna jerk that leash with you on the other end of it back in line-MY line."
    In a normal family system, there's a great deal of elasticity, of autonomy among the members especially as the kids become adults. The parents recognize the AC is exactly that: An adult and is treated as an adult on equal footing as they would treat any other adult. In NFOOS (like any other screwed-up family) there is NO "elasticity." They are inordinately rigid and any "outsider" is viewed with suspicion if not thinly veiled hostility.
    So in their binary thinking, you're either all good (when you tow the NFOO ways of being/thinking) or you're banished as the "all bad" scourge vested upon The Perfects by their silly, stoopid etc. AC. Yes, you ARE "The Enemy" and here comes the Foo Gang-Bang. You'll be vested with all kinds of qualities (imagined, they don't know you, don't care to either) and nefarious "agendas." Your 'usefulness' to the FOO is contrived in a perverse manner to serve their purposes: Drama-inducing (they get off on this stuff), the NPs are the "poor, suffering, pitiful" ILs and it deflects everyone's attention from how screwed up the family really is. Even in your "Enemy" Role, you still provide a whole variety of useful functions to reinforce the image and dynamics of the NFOO.
    My heart really goes out to anyone who walks into one of there NPFOOS. It must feel (I'm speculating here) like you're fighting for the very soul of your spouse, while racking your brain thinking, "What did I ever do to these people to engender such intense dislike?"
    You didn't do "anything" other than threaten the status quo by your very presence. It really isn't about you, what you did or failed to do so much as what you represent to them: You're "Other" and therefore must be destroyed. The first target will be your relationship w/your spouse. I do believe their goal is to destroy the marriage and get their AC "back" where he/she "belongs." The NFOOs set up another binary/double bind situation for the AC: Pick your spouse or pick us-you can't have BOTH.
    Yeah, screwed up, eh?!

    1. Oh my god, makes PERFECT sense. "Pick your spouse or pick us, you can't have both."

      And that's what they've been saying I've been doing. All along. They've been saying that I'm the one who's asked DH to pick. And from the get-go it's been them.

    2. I think I might like to put this last comment from you up as a post, if it's all right with you TW?

  3. Sure-when I make a comment it "belongs" to the Blog and the Blogger ALWAYS.

  4. If I'd gotten an email like that from a long ago acquaintance, I would get the distinct impression that she was trying to put the best face she could on her son's behavior of randomly going around fathering children out of wedlock! --quartz