Today, I found myself wondering at which point NMIL and each one of her crazy cast of characters decided that they had to rid themselves of me? During which crucial moment, for them, did I become the enemy? What event, during the course of my relationship with any of them, led them to believe that I was a threat? When did NMIL begin to formulate her plan to destroy me and decimate her son's budding relationship with me? When did EFIL and L begin to entertain thoughts that I was the person, in all of this, who was looking for power and control by way of con games and manipulation?
And the reason I was wondering this is because I can pinpoint very specific moments in time; right down to seconds, when I determined that, if the decisions were up to me entirely, I would have chosen to walk away from these people and not allowed them further access to me, my loved ones, or my life. I knew precisely the moment when my suspicions about NMIL became concrete and irrefutable knowledge. I knew precisely the moment when I realized that Naunt was looking to decimate my relationship with DH. I knew precisely the moment when I came to accept that EFIL and L were simply spying on us for NMIL's purposes and reporting back to her the private details of our lives. And all of these moments, for me, represented the specific points in time where, if it were up to me, I would have cut them out of our lives and never looked back.
So I began wondering what their points of no return were. When did our joint relationships with DH became a zero-sum game? When did the promise of my life joined with DH's become a threat to their relationship with him? When did Jonsi's existence become the bane of their existences, because it seems pretty clear to me that it is.
For me, the moments are very specific, and I will outline them below. For DH's entire FOO and his base of friends-from-years-past, I don't know whether they have specific moments like these, and if they do, whether they would be even remotely capable of telling the truth about them, if pressed.
For me, the exact moments in which I would have completely and irreversibly cut these people out of my life were the following:
NMIL (May, 2009) - I was standing in my old bedroom at my mother's house. DH was standing in front of me, manning his cellphone, which was being blown up with texts from his Naunt and NM. After weeks of playing along with his NM's games, wherein she kept stringing us along about her apartment-for-rent, DH got a well-played email from his Naunt, sneakily informing him of NMIL's MAJOR deception: that NMIL was planning to charge us triple or quadruple the amount of rent money she told us she was going to charge, and, of course, letting DH know that he was still welcome to stay at HER apartment, if he felt he couldn't afford what NMIL was going to be charging. NMIL ended up confirming that we would be paying more than she had originally promised, but never once admitted to the lie. Instead, she chalked the whole thing up to a "misunderstanding" and never spoke of it again. But, just in case you are fooled into believing Naunt was just trying to "help a nephew out," wait 'til you see what SHE did with her bid for power, after she tried wrenching it away from her sister.
Naunt (June, 2009) - I was sitting in her kitchen with DH, attempting to have a dialog about the "terms and conditions" of renting from her; which she kept tightening and tightening and I couldn't understand why, until she blew me away with this line, "It's not like we want you to leave. [Pause for effect.] Well, we don't want YOU to leave, [DH's childhood nickname]." In other words, "Jonsi is not welcome here."
EFIL and L, who I see as a co-conspiring team (January, 2011) - DH was sitting on our family room sofa when he got a call from EFIL the night before he was supposed to come and pick DH up to bring him to the airport for a two week business trip. DH got off the phone with EFIL, telling him he would have to call him back, turned to me and said, "My dad told me he talks to my mother at least once a month. He suggested that my mother bring me to the airport tomorrow. He said, 'I have a great idea. Why don't you ask your mother to drive you to the airport.'" And I knew. I knew that the fifteen minute "visit" he'd had with us a few weeks before that phonecall was not about him wanting to spend quality time with us, or seeing his grandchildren; nor was it about him dropping off belated Christmas gifts for our children, as he had claimed when he'd called us out of the blue to ask if he could stop over. It was about him spying on us and reporting back to NMIL. I knew, in that moment, that when we had told him that we were pregnant with DS, he had gone behind our backs and informed NMIL; even though we had already asked him not to communicate with her about our lives. And I also knew, in that moment, that when he came to "visit" us, that he had been gathering information about us for the SOLE PURPOSE of turning around and feeding it to NMIL. And one of those bits of information was to tell her the details of DH's trip, including where he'd be going, when he'd be leaving, and when he'd be back. DH ended up being forced to call my mother to bring him to the airport because, after that phonecall with his father, (along with a subsequent voicemail from his father, in which his father asked him, "Why he hated his mother so much") we were afraid that EFIL and NMIL might show up together to pick up DH in an attempt to sabotage his trip and/or force him into a car ride with just the two of them. In one email that we did not save, but that I do remember (and have not previously discussed here), NMIL wrote to DH just ONE HOUR after he left our house for the airport, "Hi [DH's childhood nickname]. I just wanted to say that we love you and miss you. Have a safe trip." DH never talked to NMIL about that trip. The only way she found out was from EFIL. And I don't find it at all coincidental that she emailed him an hour after he left his home for two weeks. As with all communications from her, she was just hoping it could all be her and DH's "little secret." And, in the moment when DH relayed the information that EFIL suggested "NMIL pick him up to take him to the airport" EFIL nailed the final nail in his own coffin.
For me, moments. Seconds. Just a few words:
"Are you sure you want to live there, [DH's childhood nickname]? I'm surprised you want to, since you'd be paying SO MUCH MORE MONEY then you would if you'd just stay here."
"It's not like we want you to leave. [Pause for effect.] Well, we don't want YOU to leave, [DH's childhood nickname]."
"I have a great idea. Why don't you ask your mother to drive you to the airport?"
These moments, these words, represented deceit and malice; betrayal and selfishness. These were not the words of kind, open-minded individuals; nor were they the words of people who had either my, my husband's, or our childrens' best interests at heart. These were the words of people who wanted to crush my DH into submission and scare me into running away.
So I wonder, what were their moments? When did they decide that I had to be run-out? When did they decide that the only option available was to destroy the bond DH and I were forming? When did they decide that it was them, or me? When, Dear Reader? When?