Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Few Days Before Christmas

I have been in and out of stores many times this past month shopping for the kids and found myself sometimes seeing an item that my NM would really like as a Christmas gift.  I saw her favorite perfume...I saw some warm pajamas...I heard of a new book she'd like.

I think the card and note she sent a couple of weeks ago to the kids was just a test to see if they would reply to her.  She has always taken it very personally when they don't write or call her, even telling my oldest "how would he like it if I never called you."

In prior months/years I used to ask the kids to call her but I don't any more.  I did feel a pang of guilt thinking of her not hearing anything from them this Christmas, and have just today mailed her a C-mas card with a letter from each of them in it, PLUS a couple of photos of the three of them.  The photo will stop her in her tracks because from some past communications I know she still thinks of them as younger than they are.  Just picture how much kids change physically when they are 12 and 14.  Even I, who see them every day, feel as if they have grown an inch overnight when they come into the kitchen for breakfast in the a.m.  She hasn't seen any of us in 20 months and I have not sent any photos.

Last November is when I emailed my true feelings to my NM and she wrote back that "she is letting go" and so we did not communicate at C-mas and I can't remember how the kids communicated.

I know that my NM is having some hard times financially like so many others, and like we were 5 years ago (of which I shared none of that with her).  I know that she is busy and trying to sell a home, which is futile these days.  But I also know how much better I have felt this season knowing there wouldn't be a horrible, awful conversation about Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday plans.  And I know there is no upcoming visit to my house to agonize over.  We have had a Christmas at our house ruined and it won't happen again.

I am so grateful and excited over the traditions that we have made in our house with the 5 of us.  I have had to travel lots this month for work and have had much work stress, and after tomorrow I will have the rest of the year off--I could jump for joy.

I have a lot I'd like to still explain.  Hardly a day goes by in which I remind myself what my NM deliberately said to me two years ago that was so pivotal and it's a focus point for me to remember why I have no need for her N-ness anymore. It is not so simple, though.  I have a GM who lives 15 miles from her, who will be leaving pretty much all her assets to my NM, and who is ailing, and who is "in the middle" of us, and I guarantee that if something happens to GM, my NM will not tell me.  At that time the word Turning Point" will not even describe it.

But for now I am so ready to hang out at home and cook and see some movies and read and enjoy my family of five and our traditions.  One of the three of them still Believes and has feet smaller than mine.

However you like to celebrate, I wish you much joy and strength and good times this season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How I Learned To Not Be Homesick

I have previously blogged about a time when I was 15 years old and my NM and worthless SF left my brother and I home alone for four weeks while they went to Europe on a vacation that was convenient timing for them (slow work time).  Now that I know my NM has NPD, the memories of childhood are coming back to me and I am viewing them from the NPD perspective and also from a parent's perspective.  I feel my NM had a completely different set of feelings for her children (my brother and I) than what I consider normal.  Completely different from how I feel about my children. 

Previously I have felt bad that my NM did not have a good childhood.  She had an abusive, alcoholic father who left home forever when she was 16.  Then she married at 18 and had my brother and then two years later had me.  I see now that her NPD was the result of much shame and insecurity in her early past.  Her high school senior year love interest dumped her for a former flame.  My bio dad was rebound guy—a weak man (and the beginning of a life-long pattern of my NM needing to be the Boss of her man). 

A few years after I was born, my NM wanted to move from our home state and find jobs in another state thousands of miles away.  My dad was not into this, but agreed.  When I was 4 yrs old we moved with hardly any goods at all to another state.  My NM was the worker bee, waitressing (which took care of the bills plus she'd bring leftover food home), and my dad was shy and unmotivated.  I have heard this story my whole life.  One night my NM came home late as usual from waitressing to find me (age 4), my brother (age 6) and father gone with all of our clothes gone too.  Apparently my father had planned to take us back to our home state without telling my NM, doing so while she was at work.  We took a train back and apparently (I have no memory of this) stayed with my paternal grandparents for three months.  My NM told me that she knew her marriage was over and stayed in this new state, working double shifts so that she saved enough money to be able to fly back to us, have a return ticket for her, plus to have a returning plane ticket for my brother and me so that when she arrived and took care of divorce proceedings, we three would return back to the new state.  Which is what happened.  When my NM would tell me this story sometimes she'd add that men would give her a ride home after her waitressing shift (we had no car) and that my dad would not be happy about that.  I am sure that my NM got attention--she was absolutely gorgeous.

My NM is a survivor.  She will work for something to get it.  I always thought she was the champion to save us from a life of being poor with a “loser” dad, in an "unglamorous" city where generations had always lived.  But now, 40+ years later, and as the mother of children……my heart would absolutely ache and break if I had to be away from my kids even a fraction of the three or so months she was away from us.  So now…..I feel she did what was best for her.  Because I am looking at event after event since I was 4 and I see that all of her actions toward her children were about what was best for her.

Years ago I recall speaking with my brother about some mom things.  He says he is grateful that she did not have an abortion and had him instead.  True.  And I am grateful that she wanted another child (me) so that her firstborn was not an only child as she was.  And I know that I am who I am because of my past experiences.  I am independent.  I am flexible.  I can be very strong.

I was sent to camp for two weeks when I was 8 yrs old and I learned about the word homesick, which is what happened to many other kids.  But I was never homesick.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Card

Review of the communication with my NM over the past couple of months:  my NM had requested in August that she visit during a certain weekend in Sept which wasn't good for us, and then she and her "fiance" traveled back to their winter home in Nov.  This traveling takes place very near to our home but she never stops (said in past she doesn't like the busy roads near us).  They are now about a 10 hour drive away.

Then Thanksgiving arrived and there was no phone call made by either of us.

Yesterday a card arrived in the mail addressed to the kids and I opened it.  It was a Christmas card with this note written in it:

"Between December 20 and January 3rd, I will buy 1, 2 or 3 round trip plane tickets from (your town) to (my town).  Let me know asap."


Now, in the past she has asked for the kids to be put on a plane to visit here.  I have always said no.  I think she has always previously thought what I meant is that they are too young (they're now ages 14, 12 and 9).  Also, you may find it interesting that in the past she has asked for 1 or 2 kids to visit during the summer or whenever (as in 3 kids is too many). 

However, over the past 18 months or so, I have let her know via 2 emails that the kids will not be visiting her alone and why.  So she is writing to them directly in a Christmas card.  As if they are going to read that note and then say YES!--Mom I want to go!

My kids are getting older.  They work hard in school and want to hang out at home.  We won't even get into how hard I have been working and the week between C-mas and New Years will be my time off with them to do things.  The kids have been extremely busy the past two days with friends and events--when they see the card they'll say, Um, no.

I showed the card to DH.  He shook his head and we talked about crazy this was.  I am finally aware of how wrong it is to try and address minor kids without acknowledging me.  I've been wanting to have a family meeting with the kids to address the elephant together.  We're gonna have a family meeting tonight about the card and NM.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Thanksgiving

Until fairly recently, the approaching holiday times brought much anxiousness and guilt.  Most of these feelings have been removed now that I know there won’t be any invites to get together (we live 10 hours apart) nor will there be a horrid phone call conversation on Thanksgiving Day.

A long, long time ago when DH and I were first married we drove after work the day before Thanksgiving to my NM’s and we arrived at 3:00 a.m.  We went to a lot of effort to be there for us two, young, poor newlyweds.  Thanksgiving Day was fine—it was just us and NM, stepfather and grandmother.  The day after Thanksgiving we saw a friend of mine and then after dinner that night we wanted to go to a sports bar to watch some college football.

It is a pattern of my NM’s to throw a fit if we have any plans of our own while we are visiting her for a few days.  This particular Thanksgiving was one of the first times, but they are numerous, and occur around holidays when we’ve visited.  We went out and she pouted and was mad.  I had always done what she wanted and learned from my DH (who is from a normal family) that this was unreasonable and crazy behavior.  My DH doesn’t have the best memory, but he always remembers this visit and how she threw a fit because we wanted to hang out with some young people like us for four hours instead of sitting at home with her.  If DH were to tell you a story about my NM he’d sum it up as “there’s a 24-hour of visitation, and then it all goes downhill fast after that”.

Ever since we had children (ages 13 and under now) we’ve wanted to drive the 6 hours  to my in-laws and have good Thanksgiving times with his large family, including lots of cousins for them to play with.  You can imagine the exclamations ahead of time from NM:  “Why do you always go there!” (and it is not always the parents-in-law—the Thanksgiving Day dinner alternates between my in-law relatives’ homes every year within the general vicinity).

Once there, it is always heavy on my mind that I need to make the phone call to NM to say “Happy Thanksgiving”.  About six years ago, right before our dinner, I phoned my NM and after I wished her a Happy Thanksgiving she said with venom, “Well what’s so happy about it?  Everyone else in this town is out and about with their grandkids and families.  Maybe we’ll just move away to another country.”  I quickly got off the phone, relayed it to my DH in private, cried, and he pretty much said Fuck ‘em—you have this family here, and then I got over it. I am very lucky to have married into a family that of course isn’t perfect, but does not have these kinds of issues. 

One year ago this month I had finally emailed my mother and addressed her bullying tactics and that my kids would not visit her without me there and that is when she replied back that “she is letting go”.  That was the first Thanksgiving that I felt no dread and obligation to call.  She did contact me this past April to ask again about having the kids visit her but we did not and although she suggested visiting us on a particular weekend a couple months ago, that weekend was not good for me (luckily because I don’t feel like seeing her).

In a couple of days I will be with my in-law family including about 10 brother and sister-in-laws and many nieces and nephews, and enjoying my time off of work with my DH and our kids.

When my NM’s NPD came to light for me a couple years ago I was filled with despair that this situation was a part of my life for the past  40+ years and for as long as I live in the future.  That was an overwhelming, depressing, helpless feeling.  But I have now realized this year, that because I feel no obligation to call and deal with the aftermath, and because I did not receive an inquiry as to my holiday plans, I feel free to enjoy the people I am with, free to enjoy Thanksgiving. 

It feels good to think about what I do have in my life, and not what I don’t have.

One of the good things I have is your strength you share in your stories of similar situations.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 18, 2010

She Won't Take a Hint -- Need Advice

I was getting ready to post about the status of any communications between NM and me from this past May (after she called out of the blue asking for the kids to visit her after 5 months of NC) to present, but I have rec’d an email from NM today so I am going to jump to the present, as I need some advice.

NM had emailed me in July to ask if she and her “fiancée” (they have been together for many years) could visit for a certain weekend in August but I said no because that was right before back to school.  I should have addressed with her then that it is appalling that she keeps trying to pick up without acknowledging what I wrote to her last Nov.  She then emailed me in August suggesting we get together in my area for her b-day weekend or a later weekend of my Youngest’s b-day.  I ignored that email.  Since she didn’t acknowledge my b-day in May I thought that was pretty nervy (and humorous actually) that she would suggest we get together for hers.  At this time she is in her summer home which is about 3 hours away from me.  It was interesting that she is no longer asking for the kids to visit her, but to instead come to me.  Except that I cannot even now stomach the thought of her being in my house.

I asked my youngest child about her visiting that weekend.  He said no way, he was planning a sleepover and didn’t want her there with all his friends there (I wasn't considering it but I was open with him that she was inquiring).  As his b-day got closer she emailed me again and I did respond that he was having a sleepover so that weekend wouldn’t work.  She wrote back mad saying, “You knew we were planning that weekend.”  Turns out she only wants to visit when her fiancée can have off of work every few weeks so he can drive and also be her moral support (she now hates driving).

That was news to me that we were actually planning something.  And Readers, she has no concept of what my weekends/week/life is like with three kids, enrolled in 4 sport teams, activities, etc.  In between a Fri night and a Sat a.m. and p.m., DH and I are tag teaming to get it all done, around town, not to mention the food shopping, meal making, etc., etc. on the weekend since I am at work during the day (and she is a retired person). 

Then she sent a gift that was of no interest to my child (as is often the case).  The price tag of $30.00 was left on it, from a small, local store.  Other Grandma sends each kid a $20 check which thrills my kids to no end as they know what they’d like to buy at Target, etc.

I have had my child write thank you notes to several relatives and I was just thinking about reminding him about a letter to her to be done with it and I just got this email today:

“I have not heard back from you in 5 weeks since you wrote about the sleepover party.  I called on the actual birthday night and spoke to (other child) and asked for you to call me.  I do not know if my birthday gift was received.”

She had called on that actual b-day, about an hour before I even got home from work and b-day boy wasn’t home yet either.

So…since this woman cannot take a hint, do I:

A).  Reply back on email that my child rec’d the gift.
B).  Ask child to send thank you note in mail (I’m torn between manners vs. encouraging correspondence with the kids. Although I should not care about manners any more with her).
C).  Take this opportunity to point out that we won’t have any normal correspondence with each other since there has been no response from her to my email from last Nov., no apologies for things she has said.
D).  Other?

I’m stressed.  I’m busy at work.  I can’t deal with her.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Five Months After "Letting Go" She Called

It has been just about a year since I emailed my NM and finally told her what I thought of her and included that due to her behavior and what she says to the kids in front of me and behind me that they would not be visiting her.  And then she replied that "she was letting go".  That is when I Googled around and found websites about NPD and realized that was her.

For once I enjoyed Thanksgiving with my in-laws without feeling obligated to call her that day and hear how mad she was that we choose to see them for T-giving...for once on Christmas in our own home I did not have to deal with her offers of flying me and the kids (she likes to pretend I do not have a DH of 22 years) to visit, or hear her moan about how everywhere she goes she sees families together for the holidays.  I believe that we sent a card from the kids.

I had stated in that email that she could call the kids on the home phone (which is virtually their phone since DH and I never answer that phone).  So every couple of weeks she would call and then for one of their birthdays she sent a card and a check.  Her calls to them consist of her not really knowing what they are into, and they know that, and in addition she tells the oldest (age 13) "You can call me too; how would it make you feel if I never called you?"  The kids fill me in on how they feel about her calls, what she says, etc. and to that comment my Eldest told me, "I felt like saying that I wouldn't mind that at all!"

I had talked to the kids about how my NM and I were not speaking as I told my NM how I felt and it didn't go well, and in addition I am really not that interested after her behavior two summers ago (at which they were present).  I'm pretty open with them about things, although they are not aware of the truly evil things my NM has said to her mom--their 88 yr old great grandma (GM).  I have also not told them many other reasons as to why I cannot trust her or like her.  I don't need to because they have seen and heard things for themselves.  I will perhaps tell them more in the future.

My NM lives in one state in the winter months and has a mountain home in another state for the other 7 months.  This past Spring when she went back to the summer home, she pretty much passes near where we live.  It has been this way the kids' entire lives--she may stop by just for lunch but prefers to try to have us visit her at her place.  When the kids were little we lived in a smaller house and her excuse is that we didn't have a guest room for her.  (what we had was easily converted into a guest room--we had an office room!)  The nutjob even wrote a letter addressed to my Oldest when he was 6 yrs old about how "Grandma doesn't stay to visit because there is no guestroom for her".  The poor kid was so puzzled.  Of course we read the letter first, but he saw that we had a letter so we did show him.  I did tell her that that was not appropriate and very oddball.  Several years ago we moved to a much larger home and she stops by for lunch even less so I had confirmation that the small house excuse was just an excuse.

This past April I had heard from my GM that my NM was back at her summer home.  One night one of the kids handed me the phone and said that my NM wanted to talk to me.  WTF?  I was caught off guard.  I am not good at speaking on the fly to her.  She says, "I'd like to make arrangements to have the kids visit me for a week this summer.  They are old enough now and I would like to spend time with them while I am still young enough and able to.  We would have so much fun".  So there I am, not believing this and I told her that nothing for me had changed since we last emailed, and that the kids do not want to.  And she tells me that I could come too but the deal is that she and they may want to do something that I wouldn't want to do (she has tried to tell the boys that they'd have more fun without me).  Then she told me to think about it and let her know and I wimped out for not speaking clearly--I was in shock from hearing from her.

My DH is great at knowing just the words to say and without ever reading about NPD things like "we" do, he zero'd right in on saying to me, "What has she done to show she is working on anything or apologized for anything?"  It is so hard for me to deal with her.  My life is so swamped as it is.  I chose to not put in the time or energy.  I just ignored her again.  I figured she could read my email from last Nov. again.  And I ignored her and did not email her. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Home Alone

I have a memory from when I was 15 that has emerged in the past 18 months.  Part of my having to deal more seriously with my NM is because of my children getting older.  Thinking about my children has brought back loads of memories of when I was their ages.

My oldest child has started high school.  You remember all the activities right?   It’s a new, exciting world with sports, clubs, new teachers, lots of homework as usual, and needing rides and carpools to get home from after-school and weekend activities.  My DH and I are the parents of three--one in high school, middle school and elementary school.  They each play sports—in fact the oldest plays two sports.  My DH and I (and the children) were invited to a family wedding next month which would involve 2 days of travel and 2 days of events, but we are choosing to stay home rather than try to farm them out for two days of school and sports games, etc.

I am truly shocked at something my NM and Ex-Step-Father did when I was 15 and my brother was 17.  They left us alone at home while they went on a vacation.  I’m not talking about something like the movie Risky Business, or like my DH’s stories of parents leaving for the weekend and they had a party.

My folks went to Europe for 4 weeks and left us alone.  This was in the time before cell phones.  Making a regular phone call from Europe was a big deal.  There were no neighbors (we’d moved to this new part of town 4 months prior), no friends and no family checking in on us.  I have no idea how they could have been reached if something had happened.  I believe she called us a couple times.

My NM had decided that November was a good time to go to Europe (less crowded).  She had never been.  So the two of them went to all the typical countries for a pleasure trip.   During the school year.  

She left food in the refrigerator and $200 for groceries and gasoline.  My brother didn’t have his own car so he used hers for getting to school.  He went to a public school located in our old neighborhood about 25 miles away (not allowed but I guess she broke the rules).  I do recall that my NM told my brother before they left, that she knew what the mileage was on the car and she would find out if he drove more than the expected amount for him taking it to and from school, plus a little for grocery store errands.  I believe he had his friends pick him up and take him out on weekends, but he did his share of driving on the weekend (what did she expect??).  There was  a bruhaha upon their  return on the mileage.

I was 15 and had been going to the same private school for years—my folks moved a lot around a large, metro area, buying, renovating and reselling our homes.  Luckily for me, changing zip codes did not mean I had to change schools every couple years.  When we had moved to this new n’hood four month’s prior, my NM had found a senior at my school who would drive me to and from school for a fee (many seniors did this to earn gas money for their own new cars).  

Well.  I got dressed in my uniform each morning and was picked up and taken back home each day by a senior classmate (hardly knew her) , and made my lunch every day.  I did my homework each day and studied for tests/did projects.  Who knows what we did for dinner (my NM reminded us and laughed for years at how the salad stuff she left in the fridge had turned to “green soup” while she was gone).  All of my friends from school lived spread-out over miles of this metro area so no friends nearby.  And obviously we had no outside activities such as sports or clubs.

It may be accurate to say that at the time, my brother (and maybe me?) did not have a problem at all with them being out of our hair for FOUR WEEKS.

But I’m a parent and I cannot imagine anything that would take me away voluntarily from my kids for 4 weeks…..with no one checking in and no way to be reached!  My NM puts her wants first.  We are all lucky that my brother and I were pretty good kids and nothing happened.  As I have just only recently recalled this event, I have shared it with my DH and some friends.  I mentioned it last year to my brother and he only vaguely remembered and thought it was for 2 weeks (believe me, they went all over Europe and bought furniture and brought back jewelry and clothes).  If I ever get into a conversation about stuff with my NM, I am going to mention it.  I can imagine that she will come up with some Narc-like reason or make up something about how it happened differently.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How I Went NC for Five Months...Sort Of

In my last post I described the escalating emails and calls from my NM, wanting to see if she could have her grandkids visit her for 2 nights during either Nov. or Dec. of 2009.  I felt she was getting extra ugly, demanding that I’d better return her calls, and I felt she was lucky that I had even offered that past summer to visit with the kids.  Going deeper, she should feel lucky that I even visited her even in the years before I had children.  And the kids had never stayed with her without me (we’ve had the “benefit” of living in different states)—she must have been out of her mind to think that I’d leave them with her for even a night, knowing how she is volatile and obviously disrespectful of me.

In Nov. 2009 I emailed her this:

I heard your voice mail today, and your words are very much bullying.  Just like your email below is very threatening and bullying.  I did not know that we have a business relationship so I do not know what exactly you mean by "bad business".

As I wrote to you in my email I sent you on 7/21/09 I stated that the boys do not want to visit you alone but that I can go with them or that you can visit us here.  You wrote me a mean-spirited email back and did not take me up on a visit.  The way you acted in front of them last summer is basis enough, besides everything else, to not even want to visit you again and yet I still offered. 

What you said in front of them, "Ex-Step-Father is a nice man, your mother is the one with the problem" is unacceptable.  Telling them it will be more fun to visit without me there, is disrespectful to me.  All the mean-spirited things that you say about me is unacceptable.  I cannot imagine what you have expected to accomplish.

The way you speak to Grandmother (and yes, I am aware that she is not perfect) is disturbing--the way you called her caregiver and went ballistic, the way you are nice one day to people and then mean the next, and even the way you lose your patience after being with the boys for just a day--it is very worrisome and I think you need some help by speaking to someone.

As I told you on the phone last time we talked, that this winter or whenever the time comes, I can come to FL and assist with moving Grandmother to a new place, or whatever the need may be.  If you want to talk or visit here, we can talk about safe topics such as TV shows, cooking, or what we've been up to.  Your lack of acknowledgment of my feelings after all these years of Ex-Step-Father, and other items add up to a lack of trust. 

You have had opportunities in which we've visited you in your two different homes, and you have been invited to our home to fly up and visit and you've said you were too busy.  After seeing the words that you have written to me this summer and the things you've said last summer, it is apparent how you feel about me.  You can call the boys on the home phone but a visit to your home is not going to happen.
--(My Name)

Whew, that felt good.  Then 4 days later I received this email from her:

My Dear (My Name),

I always wanted for you to have nice relationships with your relatives, including me.

I found your letter very hurtful.  In fact, you and your husband have treated me very poorly for fifteen to twenty years. I can not deal with it any more.  I am letting go.

I feel very sad, it is your sons who lose, and they had no choice.

Love your mom
P.S. I do not need help with Grandmother this winter.

That was a rare thing for her to sign off using the word Love.  “Letting go”?  Readers, I was relieved.  My DH was perplexed.  “What does that mean”, he asked?  That peeved him.  I was a little sad at first.  But Thanksgiving was coming and we always have fun with my in-laws.  DH told me I always had his mom and his family.  At Thanksgiving I told a little bit of this to one of my many SILs (who knows no details, only that my mom is a nutcase and our visiting DH's family at Thanksgiving speaks volumes) and she told me that I have lots of family who love me (the in-laws).  That felt good and made me cry. It helps so much having that. 

Readers, a few months before this when I drove my grandmother home and we spent 11 hours together in the car, plus three more days together, I heard many ugly things my NM had to say about me and about my GM.  I realized that my NM didn’t like me.  My NM was so mad that she couldn’t tell me what to do, mad that I married a strong man who knew her BS from day one, mad that her summer neighbors probably wonder why her daughter and 3 grandkids don’t visit.  And mad that I was getting buddy-buddy with Grandma, who has a little inheritance for my NM.

Right after that email from her, I Googled, “Daughters Who Don’t Speak to their Mothers” and found websites about NPD.  Eureka!  Wow!  I finally had a label.  I read websites for about a week or more, and then life went on and I slept really well.  It was so easy to push any bad thoughts out of my head and go off to dreamland at bedtime.

But I see now that although I was strong enough to write her that email, I did not think everything through.  I realize I did not want to be accused of, or create a scene of preventing the grandkids from speaking to her.  I didn’t address at that time that it is also not right to disrespect me, their mother, and still call them on the phone. 

Next, I will blog about how she would then call the kids every couple weeks, how they deal with it, what I say about everything to them, and why didn’t I realize that when a few months had passed, she’d get me on the phone this past Spring unexpectedly and ask again for the kids to visit her. (!!!)  Still learning, still learning, learning lots from your stories, and gaining strength from your stories.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Summer of 2009

After I described in my last post about how I emailed my NM that the kids would not be visiting her that summer of 2009, based on things I observed and concluded in the prior 12 months, things escalated. My grandmother (GM) was visiting my NM and her live-in partner (P) in their summer house, actually not visiting, but staying there in the house that she helped buy. In the summer of 2009 my NM drove my GM to this summer house for 4 months...way, way too long to be together.

My GM has always been very frugal (and therefore has the means to always help my NM when she needed a downpayment). Almost 2 yrs ago at age 87 she fell and broke her hip and can no longer drive, though she did up till then, and she can walk with a cane. Fortunately my GM had the foresight to pay for home health care insurance in case she ever needed it. My GM can have a home health care aid attend to her in whichever residence she happens to be so she had a woman assist her 6 days/week to drive her to the doc, therapy, the store, make her lunch, etc.

My NM has discussed with me for 20 yrs how my NM is getting to inherit the bulk from GM so you can imagine my NM’s frustration that GM is still kicking at age 89, and that my NM still has to deal with her. My NM has asked my GM to be in charge of all her assets but my GM has refused except for a checking acct.

That summer of 2009 the awful things my NM would say to my GM got worse. My NM’s partner (P) was ugly to her too. In Aug/2009 my NM overheard my GM ending a phone call with me saying “I love you.” My NM went ballistic to my GM and even called her home health care person on her day off ranting about my GM. More evidence of why my kids won’t be subjected to my NM.

I then made plans to get my GM from this summer house, drive her back to my house, and then next day drive her back home (an all-day drive). There were a few emails to me from my NM in which she told me she thought it was crazy for me to take off time from work, that it would be a long drive because my GM has to take a bathroom break less than every 2 hours and instead my NM was wanting to put her on a plane for a 2 hour flight, alone, and then alone in her hometown with no one to get her from airport and into her own home. My NM also tried to tell me things about my GM such as this email on 8/22/09:

“Remember this, GM is a user, you are only good if you are giving to her or doing for her. She lacks appreciation. While she is getting what she wants, she will butter you up. Your brother and certainly I, know her better than you do. After all I've done she has NOT told me "I Love You", in years. She takes All and gives Nothing in return! Both she and you have treated me with no love or respect. Shame on both of you. Remember, your children watch and listen. What goes around, comes around.
Your mother, who gave her all to you for years.”

In the meantime, my NM was telling my GM tales about how I am not perfect. About how I once took the family car when I was 17 when NM was out of town and my lame SF was still sleeping and I sneaked out and skipped school to be with a boyfriend. (Well, hell yeah I did. One of the best days of my life at that time …..Reader, are you laughing? I am. That was THIRTY years ago).

End of August 2009 DH and I drove to get my GM and my NM was not at home and I successfully got my GM back home after a long, long drive in which I heard everything my NM had said about me and at which time I realized I would never, ever have feelings for my NM. After all these years I realized that she does not like me, let alone love me. The previous summer I realized she has no respect for me and no regard to what I have to say.

My kids would get a call from her now and then on our home phone to hear about back-to-school. Earlier in the summer I emailed her about how they won’t be visiting her, but that she was welcome to come to our house.

Then I get this email on October 11, 2009:

“I want to entertain the boys for two days/one night, either Thanksgiving or Christmas week. Respond ASAP. Mom. Also, time for the boys to phone me.”

Do you see how bossy she is? As if she had the right to tell me what to do? I also rec’d vm’s with that same message to have the kids call her. I ignored all calls. I was processing….. But she kept calling.

On Nov 6, 2009 she emails this:

“Call me that we may discuss the holidays. (My Name), attempting to keep the boys from me is bad business. It will backfire. Let's make a logical plan. Mom”

And then the next day I rec'd a vm from NM:

“If you are not going to take my calls, I am going to show up in your driveway and you are going to have to deal with me then.”

I had finally had it. I wrote her back 4 days later.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My NM is Very, Very Mean

The good news in the short term is that we don't see my NM very often. My NM is just about retired and has a summer home in a different state than her other home. My NM has used my grandmother (GM), over the years to help her with a downpayment on a home about 12 years ago, and a business (that failed and my 88 yr old GM is still trying to sell this property now). For this summer home, my NM told my GM that she won't be allowed to stay in this summer home unless she (GM) paid for half of it. In another post I will describe how mean, so horribly mean you won't believe it, my NM is to my GM. And how I cannot stand meanness to an 88 yr old woman (who is not perfect, but doesn't deserve the wrath of my NM).

In the summer of 2008 the kids and I visited my NM at this summer house and I saw again how my NM picks at my kids and picks at me and the visit did not go well. There was a lot of meanness said to me and my issue is that I do not react immediately. I tried to ignore her for a few months and then on the phone I told her how I felt about how she treats my GM (and my NM has a common-law partner who is awful to my GM as well) and that did not go well and we rarely spoke on the phone afterwards. I wish I had clearly written to her at that time how there'd be no contact.

In Dec. 2008 my GM got sick and had to stay in a convelescent home alone for 3 months. My NM visited her about every 1.5 weeks (my NM lived 10 miles away). I flew for a Fri-Sun and visited her each day and stayed with a girlfriend. My NM wanted me to stay with her BUT only visit my GM on Sat which was my NM's "day" to visit her. I declined, rented a car and say my GM each day. My NM went ballistic and later said horrible things to my GM (who was trying to recoop) about how I really just wanted to visit my friend and only saw my GM for a cover-up.

Then in April 2009 on the way to the summer house, with my GM in tow, they stopped by for a 2.5 hour visit. My NM announced that she nefver thought that at age 88 my GM would still be around and my NM would have to mesh her in with my NM's plans at her own retirement age. Mt NM also threw a hissy fit over our choice of summer plans--that the Nat'l park we chose was not worth it compared to another Nat'l park SHE had been to. We all laughed about it for days later.

For years she has been saying she wants the kids to visit her without me--like for a week over the summer. This has never happened. Even when they were younger she asks if "one or two" can visit. Or maybe I can "put one on a plane to see her and she'd pay." Readers, my kids are the type who get compliments when we go out to eat. They are quiet, respectful, and stay outside to play all day. She'll say to the kids on the phone and in person that summer of 2008 "we'll have FUN without your mom here!"

After our family road trip which was FANTASTIC, I finally emailed her that they would not be visiting her alone, and that they actually do not want to visit her. (She visited us twice when the kids were very young. They are now 14, 12 and 9 Other visits have been me taking vacay time and doing a 10 hour drive. DH would rather have 4 root canals than visit her). I am always polite in my emails. I have been respectful to my NM for way, way longer than deserved. Here is what I emailed in July 2009:

"Hi Mom,
The kids returned a couple days ago from a trip on since July 7th. They went with me to a meeting then we all visited a brother in law at the beach. Then I flew home and they continued on for a visit to the Keys with DH.

I have to tell you that I can visit with the boys for a weekend such as the weekend of Aug 1st and 2nd, or the weekend of Aug 16th, or a later weekend. They do not want to spend a week there. And frankly, I have issues with some things that happened last summer as well as in the past so I am not keen on them staying there without me. Sorry to have to put this into writing. We can rehash the past if you want, or we can acknowledge that there are issues.

Again, I am able to come for a weekend, and you are always welcome to visit us here as well.

I do have to go out this evening but I will have the boys call to chat..

Love, Me"

(I realize I should have cut things off--why did I offer visits? A HUGE part of me felt like I should not tell her she can't see the kids).

Then she wrote this back:

Dear Daughter,
I have realized for the past decade, it is not the kids lack of desire to visit but your refusal to allow them. If I were an angel , you or your husband would have an excuse as to why they couldn't spend time with me. Bonding time has expired. You should be ashamed of yourself for these actions or lack of; Face it, you cut off (stepfather), your brother and when did you last call your GM, let alone me.
I gave my all for you, my princess. For what? To be treated with NO priority. Well missy, it's time you woke-up, forget yourself and realize what the kids have to lose. Tell them the truth why they have been denied grandmothering, plane trips, Disneyland and more. A disappointed mom and grandmother. I loathe to tell you that you and your spouse are not perfect. Most relatives try to overlook short comings and dwell on the good of each one. "

(BTW, my NM rarely signs anything to me or the kids as Love, Mom. Also, my name or nickname is not missy. That is what she wrote to me, a 46-yr old woman who has never needed a dime since the day I graduated college 25 years ago).

August 2009 got even worse. I will fill in more, there was a lot more meanness and there was NC from Oct 2009 till April 2010. I should have nipped this properly in the summer of 2009 (or even 2008!). Because.....she's baaacccckkkk! More very soon.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One Christmas Eve

When I was about 30 years old and DH and I had been married for over 5 years, we bought our first home a month before Christmas.  We didn’t have children yet, and like many young couples we felt obligated to see both sets of parents during our few days off over  Christmas holiday.  My NM and step-father (SF) at the time lived about 3.5 hours away.  That year we’d planned to drive to see my folks after work on 12/23, go back home the 26th and then drive in the opposite direction on the 27th for a couple days.  We had planned an “After the Holidays” party at our house on 12/30 to meet new neighbors and invite old friends.  For some reason, I can’t remember why, my NM wanted to be there—she didn’t visit often.

My DH used to always say with humor that a visit to or from my NM had a 24-hour time limit.  After that, things always went downhill.  On this visit there was a big situation just after the 24-hour mark.

Their home was on a mountain with not much to do except hang out or cook and eat.  My NM loves to have a big greeting and show everything in the house and show all the cooking she had done.  She doesn’t get it that how you treat and respect people makes a family feel warm, not the gourmet food, or the décor.  You can’t have a normal conversation.  Unless you talk about a recipe or a TV show—those trivial topics are fine.  DH and I sat together a lot with his arm around me.  I remember my mom saying, “I haven’t seen you in a while—why don’t you fix up a little and make your hair all gorgeous like you can do.”  I had to remind her I was on a mountain, in a house with the 4 of us and didn't think I needed to be dolled up.  And I don’t think my SF liked seeing me cuddling with DH (the SF was a pervert--more on him later).

The big situation happened on Christmas Eve when my NM told us that she was bringing her dog to our house with her when she would stay with us for a few days for our party—but my SF would be staying at home.  Her dog was a real nervous Nellie, and not trained (not even house-trained) that pees when it meets people, jumps on everyone, and barks like crazy.  We told her it wasn’t a good idea for this visit as there’d be music, people coming in and out, and us showing our new home to friends and the dog would have to be crated and wouldn’t do well with that. (BTW she made a point of not training her dog saying that “she was done with any rules”, i.e. if the dog jumped on my lap when I was eating she’d say “Your problem is that you are not scooted into the table far enough.”).

Well.  She went ballistic.  Cried like a three-year old.  Told me how she paid for my schools, my wedding, did everything for me, and look what she gets in return.  “A slap in the face to her.”  SF chimed in too with the same comments (he was always mad at me and evil and followed her suit.  He was uneducated and originally from another country—a pattern so that my NM feels super smart and in charge).  I don’t remember what I said, but I do recall that since DH was there he was vocal and rational and stuck to the point such as, “This is our new house, and a house-warming party and this is about a dog."  Well, she retired to her bedroom for the night.

So, DH and I retired to our room too and then we left at dawn.  On the drive back home I cried a little and DH said, “Sorry you have to go through this.”  And I said, “You know what?  It sort of feels good.  It feels good knowing I won’t talk to her.  I’m kind of glad that this happened. I feel some relief.”

And then the next day we schlepped for hours and hours to another state to spend a few days with DH’s family (normal, nice people, but we were worn out and went back to work exhausted).  We made a vow to not do this traveling the next year--we needed a peaceful Christmas.  The next year we went away to a couple of bed and b’fast places and made some wonderful memories, and 17 years later we still talk about those memories.

After that fiasco I think we went for maybe 5 or 6 weeks without talking.  My NM sent me a letter about how she had always done everything for me, how hurt she was, etc.  I saw her again over Mother’s Day weekend. Time went on and it was never addressed, regular phone calls ensued and she occasionally visited when there was a conference in town, or on her way passing through for a day.  There used to be strong bond and I held on.  When I was 4 years old and my brother (BPB) was 6, my parents were divorced and my NM worked hard as a single mom.  She remarried when I was 7 and divorced again 2 years later and we lived in several different states and I started my fifth different school when I was in the middle of 4th grade (she always did what she wanted and never seemed to wait till summer to move!). 

All these years later, seeing her only maybe once a year, perhaps prolonged hanging onto that bond, prolonged it till it was just a thread, and now these last couple of years I reached the end of the rope.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I hardly know where to begin.  Start at the present?  Go back 40+ years ago and describe my young mother and her journey with my brother and me and her three marriages and divorces and moves back and forth across the U.S.?  Or do I describe how I always thought it would be more convenient to find a label for my mother like a friend whose mother is Bipolar and in and out of the hospital?

Should I jump in and relay how last fall I went NC with my mother and soon found a description online of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and realized I finally had a label for my mother. 

Perhaps I could create an outline of all the memories that have flooded back recently of my childhood, or maybe recount the times she has shown her colors during my marriage.   Or perhaps I should cut to the chase of how more recently there have been incidents with my children that led to going NC.

Last fall I Googled "Daughters Who Don't Speak to their Mothers" and that is how I found some websites and blogs and articles.  What a revelation to read that my NM had just about every bullet point covered. 

Life often gets in the way for me with a full time job, three active, healthy children, and a hard-working, smart and patient husband.  Reading other blogs has been freeing and my therapy.  I'm glad to have finally started my blog to help me work through where I have been to get me to the next steps, and to hopefully touch others with my experiences.

I hope to cover all of the above.  Things are going to get difficult.  Because my NM has never apologized for some horrific things she has said, and because of some things that happened two years ago, we no longer visit.  And she seems to think it is her right to see the kids.  And she hardly acknowledges that I have had a DH for 22 years.  And after 18 months of only email communication and then 6 months of NC, she called me and caught me off-guard.  I'm really good at ignoring her.  But I feel that an interaction is imminent.  And Reader, I know I'll need your help. 

I hope to break all of this down soon.  In the meantime, thanks to all of you who share your stories.