On Christmas Eve, I got the following comment on my 2011 Ketchup post :
"I accidentally found your page on the net. I have read
it and I think YOU are the sociopath. I think you just want to take
your husband away from his family so he will have no one but you. It
can't be that ALL the other people are crazy and under the control of
your mother in law. Seriously you need some psychological help
yourself. I see grandparents who want to have a relationship with their
grandchildren and their son and you who won't allow it. I truly pitty
you. I doubt if my comment will make it to your page, but I'm sure
others who read the crazynessin your posts can see this as well. Hope
your husband comes to his senses some day and apologizes to his family
for his behavior. I know you won't ever apologize and it's funny that
you complain about how your MIL won't apologize and basically bow down
to you which seems to be what you secretly want."
I'm really glad that I got this comment because Anon has hit on some key arguments that have been thrown out against me before, and they are ones I'd like to address. These arguments are - 1. That I am a sociopath. 2. That I want to "take my husband away from his family so he will have no one but me." 3. That I couldn't possibly be correct in my assessment of the scope of crazy and general assholeishness of DH's FOO, or in my belief that there are many people acting under NMIL's heavy-handed control. 4. That I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with our children. 5. That I won't apologize. [And my personal favorite] 6. That I [secretly] want NMIL to "bow down to me."
It's been a while since I've seen some of these accusations, and I'm not sure that I've ever seen them so clearly posted from one source before. Now seems like the perfect time to acknowledge, and in some cases, dispute them.
On the accusation that I am a sociopath: As always, I have to consider the source of such a statement and in this case, it did appear to be largely baseless, as the person saying it was anonymous and I did not recognize the IP address from which it came. It seems likely that the person saying it did not spend much time on my blog and made his/her assessment based on very little evidence. However, since I have been accused of being a sociopath by passersby in the blogging world before, and of being "controlling" by members of DH's FOO, I still feel the need to examine it. Most often when I see this particular accusation being lobbed at me from afar, I imagine that it comes from people who are themselves controlling, sociopathic, or otherwise character disordered. It was always so ironic to me that NMIL and EFIL and L (among others from DH's past) called ME manipulative and controlling. I have discussed my control issues before, as I feel that it is not entirely inaccurate to describe myself in such a way. I have and continue to, at times, struggle with a sometimes obsessive need to micromanage and control the people that I love and care most about. True facts. The argument that I am a sociopath or a manipulator, however, does not hold water. Those that know me, know that I strive, even under the most difficult of situations, to tell the truth and to live genuinely. Sociopaths are either incapable or completely unwilling to do these things. They do not live in truth and they do not want to see truth. The responses of my DH and I to the various goings-on from 2009-2012 were largely acts of self-preservation, not acts of manipulation, selfishness, or greed. The anonymous commenter above, like some others before, seems to be attributing characteristics to me based on projection. I'm not one to claim that it takes a long time to get a handle on someone [I believe that if we know what to look for, and where to look for it, we can accurately assess an individual in a matter of minutes or even seconds] and so I don't think it impossible for someone to figure out my M.O. after reading one or two of my blog posts. I also think it's reasonable that an individual can come to my blog and dislike either my writing, me, or both. But I don't think it's reasonable, or particularly astute to label me a sociopath.
On the argument that I want to 'take my husband away from his family so that he will have no one but me.': First of all, if it were true that I want my husband to "have no one but me," I sure as hell wouldn't have had kids with him because I well knew before having them that for each child we added to our FOC, we would lose time with each other and we would forevermore have beings that rely on both of us, both together and individually AND whose well-being we would be solely responsible for. It's what happens, it's just inevitable - especially in the early years. The fact that DH and I have children together has automatically made this claim stupid. Fucking stupid. But what I think this anon really meant to say is that he/she thinks that I want my husband to have no one else to rely on, no support system, and possibly no one else who relies on him (so that I can have him at my beck-and-call, I presume). Once again, this accusation is shaky, at best. For one, I don't believe that anyone can be "taken away" from any person, place, or object that they sincerely and strongly do not wish to leave behind. If DH wanted his FOO in his life, he would have fought and be fighting still, to keep them there. I have never had the power to "take my husband away" from anything. What is the nugget of truth that this anon hit on? That I wanted my husband's FOO gone: gone from his life, gone from ours, and gone from our children's. Irrevocably and forever. But not, as anon so viciously charged, because I selfishly and impractically, wanted to ex-communicate an entire support system. (If I wanted to do that, I'd have cut off my side of the family.) I wanted DH's past ripped away, with the full acknowledgment, eventual understanding, and strength of will of DH because his entire (yes, entire) base of prior relationships consisted of nothing but users, abusers, assholes, and manipulators. It makes absolutely zero sense to say that I would ever have envisioned, upon meeting DH, that I would have any interest in taking away my future husband's support system (if one was available) - a support system that, if it had existed, would have been mine too. I STILL, several years after having cut off DH's family, imagine what it might have been like to have HEALTHY relationships with his sister and step-siblings. It's only because I recognized very early in my relationship with DH, just how toxic his FOO is, that I don't and didn't have a stronger pull to try harder to fit in with them. I think it is an absurd and childish assessment of my character to say that I "want DH all to myself."
On the argument that 'it can't be that ALL the other people are crazy and under the control of my MIL': Yes, it can. People like NMIL, in other words, narcissists and abusers, surround themselves by people who are easily targeted, manipulated, and controlled. They make sure not to spend too much time with people like me because I have a strong sense of self, I have high expectations for how I'd like to be treated, I am intelligent, and I communicate clearly and well. I have never believed in "picking my battles." I fight them all. Narcissists don't like people like me on principle, just as I don't like narcissists - on principle and because I've been in relationships with them before. I understand them in a way that only victims do. And I'm observant. Why is it that NMIL is no longer lucky enough to have us in her life? Because she chose to behave in such a way that would ensure our departure from it. It's that simple. The people who choose to continue to have relationships with her are either working for her, or are too stupid to realize they are being used. I don't throw the term "crazy" around lightly and I don't think it's fair to say that it's a fit description for the majority of her minions. And, while she is largely to blame for controlling much of the game, NMIL is not the sole power house from DH's past. Several of his "friends" and members from his FOO acted outside of NMIL's influence, reaching completely around her to slap DH on their own accord. I feel that this would be a more accurate description of the situation: "Most of the people from DH's FOO (on his NM's side) or those who had a willing relationship with her, acted under the control, agency, or subtle and negative influence of NMIL during nearly every interaction he or I had with them; while most of the people from DH's FOO (on his EF's side) either were working in conjunction with NMIL with the shared desire to tag-team him, were still blindly under her influence, or else could not effectively deal with their own dysfunctions enough to have a healthy relationship with DH, myself, or our children."
On the argument that I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with our children: Uh. Yeah. That about sums it up. Here's the why and how of it - My husband's parents were assholes to me, and for the extremely tiny amount of time they had with my children, were assholes to them too. They were assholes both directly and by proxy. They treated my husband like a doormat, as evidenced by their brief scuffle over "losing" him and then hasty retreat when they realized he wouldn't be placing himself under their feet again. I would be asking for my children to be abused if I allowed these known and recognized asshole abusers into their lives. The last time we were supposed to see NMIL was a few weeks after DS was born in 2010 - one of the things she said to DH on the phone that day, when she called up just a few hours before she was scheduled to show up, was that it "didn't take a rocket scientist to realize that we were limiting her time with our babies." If I had been talking to her on the phone that day, I would have said, "You're right." And she lost even the limited time she could have had because she is a willfully ignorant, abusive, manipulator with no regard for anyone except insofar as their capacity to serve her. So fuck that shit. You're damn right I won't allow my husband's parents to have a relationship with the beings that I love most in the world. Furthermore, anon observed that he/she saw "grandparents that want to have a relationship with their grandchildren and son." But not me, right? Because that's really fucking seriously a huge problem. Anyone who thinks they can have a relationship with my children without also having a HEALTHY relationship with me is going to be walking the plank. The same can be said for anyone who thinks they can have a secret relationship with my husband, or a relationship where there is intent to hurt our marriage in any way.
On the argument that I won't apologize: As with most anons who leave comments like the one above, I doubt this one will come back. But if he/she did, I'd like to know what it is they had imagined I should be apologizing for. I believe in the power of a genuine apology. I have asked for apologies in my life before, and I have offered up apologies of my own as well. I learned, a long time ago, the importance of a sincere apology - my parents taught me how and when to do it. I know, on a most basic level, that when you hurt someone you love, respect, or care about, an apology is a most important follow-up. Sometimes I expect them. Sometimes I am responsible for them. In the case of DH's FOO, there is nothing I should apologize for. I am absolutely unapologetic in every choice I have made in regards to DH's FOO, every word I have spoken either to or about DH's FOO, and every expectation I had for how I should have been welcomed and respected, if not loved, by DH's FOO. So the argument that I will not apologize is inaccurate; I will apologize when I have hurt someone. I will not apologize for protecting my FOC, I will not apologize for choosing to step away from relationships that are unhealthy, and I will absolutely not apologize to anyone who tries to make the claim that protecting my FOC or going NC with abusers is hurtful to the abusers. Intended prey doesn't apologize to a predator. A target doesn't apologize to the huntsman. One can say the opposite is true in both these cases as well. Though I will always expect an apology from NMIL, EFIL and L, and the entire rest of DH's past relationships, both chosen and familial, I know that none will ever be issued. And I have accepted that.
And finally, on the argument that I "secretly want NMIL to bow down to me." This one is funny and sort of a new one, though I don't doubt that some of my other haters have thought this about me as well. If I was ever interested in playing NMIL's game, then I could see some possible truth in this accusation. And if I was a ruthlessly manipulative, emotionally weak, needy, and hypocritical individual, like NMIL, then I could see some possible truth in this accusation as well. If I was so interested in having "NMIL bow down to me," than I'd still be working on that shit, probably obsessively, attempting to come up with endless methods to accomplish such a goal. She'd likely still be around because I imagine it would be a constant and exhausting never-ending battle to get anyone, let alone my husband's mother to grovel at my feet and such. I'm not even sure what it looks like to have someone "bow down to me." And for the record, if I wanted NMIL to do such a thing, it wouldn't be a secret.