Friday, October 12, 2012

The Vagabond Jonsi

Having said that, I think that NMIL and Co. would probably have a field day if they could get their hands on the points I've just made about how early on in my relationship with them I decided that their presence in my life was far too toxic to consider maintaining. I am certain that one of their favorite examples in their defamation of my character has been that I had a "closed mind" and worse, a "closed heart" right from the start of my relationship with them. But, while they are busy performing their character assassination to make themselves look good, I would say that all they've really managed to do is D&D the time, however short it was, that I actually gave them to see me, accept me, and treat me with any sort of respect and consideration.

One of the things I've learned by closely examining the mentally and emotionally disordered individuals I've already had in my life, is that it doesn't take more than one month, one day, one comment, one moment to make a pretty accurate assessment of another human being's character as well as their major motivations in life. And the self-esteem that I've worked very hard on, allows me to feel confident in those assessments. I well remember the feeling of "openness" that I had coming into my relationship with them, however short-lived it was, that would have given them a space in my life if they had shown me ANY inclination that they were interested in such a thing. In my heart-of-hearts, I dreamed of having a loving family to marry into, and for a very brief time, I fantasized that DH's family would welcome me, and that our love would just expand outward as we each married into our extended families. Before meeting DH's parents, I told him how important it was to me for his parents to accept me. I had enough self-esteem to make it if they didn't, but it was something that I wanted: to be seen as a loving and important piece of DH's adult life; and to be acknowledged as such; not with words but with action.

I walked in to a minefield, albeit unknowingly, bursting with my usual bubbly happiness, declaring, "Hello! I'm Jonsi! And I love your son!" And they just, well, they just shat all over THAT. I remember, during my first meeting with NMIL, when she asked me (in between long bouts of texting) what I liked about DH. Though I felt kind of like I was on a job interview, I gave my honest answers about what it was I saw in DH that I believed was special and that had attracted me to him: the fact that he was so marvelously kind, that he seemed patient and loving, that he was intelligent and well-spoken, that I believed he wanted to be an honest person and that he had a good heart, that I felt drawn to him in some inexplicable way and that was a feeling I had never had before. And I went on, offering up all the reasons to her why I loved her son, thinking that it might mean something to her.

And I remember sitting there, waiting. Waiting for her to turn to DH and ask him what he liked about me, what it was that drew him to Jonsi. And when she didn't ask, I waited for DH to offer. I give him a pass, as I did then, knowing that he had been groomed from the moment he was born for that very moment; the moment in which his NM could begin to set up her sabotage of the one relationship in DH's life that had any sort of real and loving foundation. I gave DH a pass for not stepping up to the plate at what was a crucial moment for me, what would be the first of many opportunities, but I did not give NMIL that same pass. I believe that her "oversight" was intentional. I believe that she did not care about me or about what I meant to DH, and that by not asking him, she was effectively saying that her son's feelings about me didn't matter. I believe that, right then and there, she wanted to make it be known that she was hoping our newly budded relationship wouldn't make it off the ground.

I don't think she "cared" about my answers any more than she "cared" about DH's feelings, and only asked because she was playing the part of "loving mother" for DH - whom she wanted to fool into believing that she had any interest in what I had to say. As she would many times after that, she got no further than asking the question. In the world that DH came from, it was "enough" to merely ask the question. Asking "How are you" was enough to prove how very much they cared about your well-being, even if there was then no follow-through to SHOW that they did, in fact, care. So, NMIL put on her one-act show, pretending to be interested in DH's new potential partner by playing the role of interviewer. I don't remember any other questions she asked me, or if she asked me any others at all; that particular interview was riding on the fact that none of us were on even grounds, and NMIL was probably hoping to derail us before we even got on the tracks.

I could share with you my letters to DH, or my journal entries from that time, in which I described to DH why it was important to me for his family to accept me (I used that phrase a lot - "accept") in the first few weeks that we were together, but I would just embarrass myself. I didn't want their acceptance badly enough to trade my emotional well-being for it, but I had wanted it. Which is why it did hurt when they took happy, bubbly Jonsi Pants, and threw her out on her ass in the cold, wintry night. They said, "Get out of here, you no good vagabond! We don't want your kind coming 'round here!" And sad Jonsi Pants had to get up, dust off her hurt feelings, and leave town. She left it up to DH to decide whether he was coming with her. And, though he looked back a few times along the way and a couple of times tried to head back, I don't think he ever really wanted to end up in that town where he started, and where no one cared about what he had to say.

3 comments:

  1. "In the world that DH came from, it was "enough" to merely ask the question. Asking "How are you" was enough to prove how very much they cared about your well-being, even if there was then no follow-through to SHOW that they did, in fact, care."

    Bingo! It was only when my sister and I were pulling away that NM even conjured the herculean effort to ask the how-are-you-doing question after 25 years of no questions into our well beings, and then of course absolutely no follow through! I'll never forget the time my aunts tried to force my mom to act interested in my life. Phone call:

    Me: Hi Mom
    Mom: *beat* What did you have for breakfast?
    Me: *shocked* Uh.... egg omelet.
    Mom: What did you do last night?
    Me: Went to the movies with friends *wait for her to ask me what movie*
    Mom: How is your cat?
    Me: He's going so great! Remember the time he brought home a live bunny?
    Mom: How is your job?
    Me: *catching on* Is aunty Shirley there?

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  2. After long years of indifference from my mother, it was strange to see how she reacted to any woman I brought to her house to meet her.
    I made the mistake of thinking she might start behaving like a human.
    But I was wrong.
    Her jealousy was the first real indicator of something rotten between the ears of my mother.

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    Replies
    1. My NMIL spent long hours with me in the beginning "selling me" about what a wonder her son was. She would get one little piece of information about me, and then run with it. I told her that I was into dance. "OH!! Did DH tell you he one a dance contest once!!" Then, on she would go about the damn dance contest. At the time, I thought she was trying to connect to me. But it got weird after awhile. I mean it was ONE FUCKING dance contest. It really was a side note to the years I'd studied dance. This happened over and over. She would go on and on and on about how wonderful DH was. I think, in the end, she was trying to prove to me that I needed to be worthy of him.
      I read an analogy one time about a child's spouse and the reception they SHOULD receive into the family. You have to think about it like the spouse is a guest, and the FOO is the home. It is the FOO job to make you feel welcome in their home. This is their comfort zone. It is their turf. As the guest, they should do all they can to make you feel welcome and comfortable. It is not YOUR job, as the spouse to make them feel comfortable in their own damn home. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect for them to reach out a little more to the poor stranger that is trying to come in.

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