Monday, March 21, 2011

Conversation with NM

In the fall of 2009 I emailed my NM and told her that she was bullying me and a few other honest observations including that the kids would not be visiting her alone.  She responded that my email hurt her and that “she was letting go.”  We didn’t speak until April 2010 at which time she asked again for the kids to visit her that summer because she deserved it because she was getting older but still young enough.  I replied in email that I could visit with them or she could visit here.  I have not spoken to her on the phone, nor have the kids seen her in 24 months.

I was upset to see an email from her last week that my grandma had had a heart attack as a result of her elective surgery.  She sent the email many days after the heart attack happened.  (Note: the email gave that fact about GM and continued on with 2 sentences about what she has been up to regarding trying to sell her house). 

So after I spoke to my GM I called my NM and she proceeded to give me an update on GM and what she had learned from her docs and how she should be moved soon to a rehab center but not sure what day that would happen.

As usual she tried to dominate the conversation.  Once again she tells me how she sees all these other grandparents in her resort town that have their grandkids visit but not her.    Once again she mentions how they are getting older.  Once again I tell her that there have been times when I have asked her to come visit for a long weekend and she said she is busy working, and then we observe her managing to go with friends on a vacation.  My NM is pretty quick with her excuses.  She says, “I was working then.  Now I am retired.”  I tell her that I have worked for the past 25 years since I was 22 and have managed to take long weekends to visit her and take one week’s vacation several times to drive with the kids to visit…and then I see her lose patience after 36 hours.  She tells me that she made a point to have my brother and I see our paternal grandparents often even though she and my dad were divorced.  “I didn’t keep them from you,” she says.  (My grandparents conveniently helped her out watching us for weeks at a time when needed.  They were 2 hours away and she never drove us—she had no relationship with them.  As young as ages 6 and 8 she put us on a Greyhound bus which had 3 stops in between and took 4 hours).

She tells me, “You were my princess.  I have always done everything for you.”  I told her I have been an adult for a long time and she has not done much for me as an adult.  As far as the childhood goes, I tell her that I did get food, shelter and those things.  She tells me that I got a lot more than that. She continued on, “Until you got married and someone else was responsible for you.”  (Note this is a really oddball thing to say.  I married my DH who is same age as me.  We have worked hard—I would never say that anyone was responsible for me).

I told her that it is the realization of many things over the past couple of years and her comments in front of me and behind my back that have made me realize that there is not like for me or love or respect.


There was no reaction or dispute to that.  I’m sure she wasn’t listening to me.  But she knows what I am talking about.  I stated a couple times that there was no respect for me.

I continue and tell her what she said in front of the kids summer of 2008 made me realize these things.  Note: after a weekend visit to her in summer of 2008 with me/the kids and her bitching at them for not playing certain sports that make a lot of money (golf), and bitching at them for walking in front of a glass door that scared a cat outside, and telling them that they need to visit her without me as they would have more fun…….she also told them something else as we were getting ready to leave. 

The story about my ex-step-father is a long one.  But pivotal to where I am today. 

I continued and told her that what she said in front of the kids and me has really made things clear.  What she said to the kids that day in 2008 after I told her I didn’t appreciate having ex-step-father drop by un-announced: “The ex-step-father is a nice man.  Your mother is the one with the problem.”

Back to our conversation….She said, “If that is the worst thing I ever said to you, then my mom (GM) has said much worse things to me.”

I told her we were going to have to agree that we are never going to see eye to eye and that we will disagree.  I also said a couple times during the conversation that I did not cause this situation.

She tells me that we should do one of two things.  Either (1) see a counselor together, or (2) go on a vacation together for a few days and talk it out (I almost LOL’d). 

Years and years ago I thought to myself that she and I should do counseling.  I thought she was the way she was as an adult child of an alcoholic and got books on it and felt bad for her childhood.  But now I know what my DH has always told me—that she will never change and can’t be reasoned with and all I can do is change how I want to deal with her.

I said, “Well, option 2 is not going to happen.”

Toward the end she mentioned how she wants to hear from the kids once in a while and how hard can it be to make some calls on Sunday night and also to call GM, and she says, “She is leaving them money (in her will) so the least they can do is call her on a Sunday.”

And then her cell phone died.  She must have plugged it in because pretty soon she left me a vm: “I did not hang up, my phone died.  I just wanted to say that you only have one mother, so remember that.  Give it some thought.”

At no time in our conversation did she ask me one word about what I am up to.  At no time did she ask one word about how her grandkids are.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Should Have Been More Prepared

Two weeks ago my grandmother (GM)  had an elective surgery--I don't think she should have but she is a tough one.  We (the 5 of us) had a really good visit with her last summer.  She lives 10 hours away.  My NM lives 15 miles from her during the months of Nov-April.  They have always had a volatile relationship.  My NM bosses her around but my NM has always asked to borrow $$ from my GM.  During the last few years, my NM lives in another state during the months of May-Oct. in a house with her "fiance".  My NM had told my GM that if she wanted to visit NM then she would have to put in 1/3 (cash) of the house they were buying.  And then my GM lived there with them during the summer (she can't drive and uses a cane or walker but can cook for herself).  The summer of 2009 my NM was so verbally abusive that DH and I drove up to get her (my NM left for the day) and get her back home.  Fortunately my GM is a very smart lady and years ago took out long term insurance so that she would have a home health care person come over.  So she lives alone but has a lady come over for 5 hours 5 days a week to drive her to doctors, grocery store, etc.

GM mailed me a key to her home right before her surgery and made sure I knew the name of the hospital.  During the past couple of years GM knows that I keep to myself regarding my NM and she has of course seen for herself my NM's abusive words and her rages and her using people.  I believe that my GM has some sort of version of NPD.    My NM (only child) never felt loved by my GM.  I am 100% certain that my GM never felt loved by her mom (I knew my great GM--the women in my family UNTIL ME had a girl baby at age 21 so there were many generations until I broke that chain).  In fact, my Great GM had my GM and then later had 2 boys and made it obvious she loved those boys more--she sent my GM away to Europe to live in a convent from ages 9 - 12).

My GM knew that she needed my NM's help during the surgery and rehab time.  I believe that my NM has been doing quite the number on my GM as far as saying things about me.  GM has always confirmed this in the years past with examples that turn my blood cold and made me realize these last 2 years that my NM does not love me the way I know love is.

So, my GM had her surgery.  Note to self: even though the plane tickets were $500and even though I could not get much vacation time, I should have driven the 10 hours as I have a decent car to spend a long weekend because anything could have happened.  The day after her surgery--I could not believe it--I got an email from my NM, "GM had her surgery.  It was 3.5 hours long.  She is OK.  I will be moving her to a skilled nursing center (note: this was always the plan for her rehab) in a few days.  Not sure which one--it depends on the availability."

I replied back "That was a very long time to be under.  Thanks for letting me know how she did."

And then I had to fly across the country for work for a couple of days.  On my way back home I called the hospital but couldn't reach GM.  I called the skilled nursing facility nearby--she wasn't there.  I emailed my NM asking which facility GM is at.  She emailed me back the next day, "GM had a heart attack a couple days after her surgery and so she has been in ICU but she is in a regular room at the hospital now." (freak out and panic).

I called the hospital and spoke to GM.  I hate that a doc did her surgery at her age.  She was still herself (note to self: she could have had a stroke and not be able to speak.  I should have driven to see her and screw my job).  So she was still herself (the heart attack was mild) but the anesthesia is of course horrendous on a body--esp. an 89 yr old body, and her surgery on her leg left her with an incision.  And we talked for about 20 mins and she even asked about her great grandkids (my kids).  I know she was hurt that I hadn't called sooner.  She has mentioned several times that my NM has been good about visiting her and taking her to the hospital.  She mentions sometimes how my NM is her only daughter.  She then told me she doesn't like it that NM and I aren't talking to each other.  I have told her many times previously that I don't want her to worry about that.  I have also told her that she says mean things and doesn't respect me and says ugly things about me in front of the kids, which was the final straw.  So there in the hospital she comes out and says, "What did she do?"  Well, I am not about to tell my sore, recuperating 89 yr old GM everything.  But for the first time from her (and I don't begrudge her--she is old and in pain) I am hearing that she doesn't like how it is with me and NM and by telling me that she only has one daughter, she is telling me that I only have one mother. 

It always in the end comes back to me.  And then I called my NM.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Grandma (the Kids' Great Grandma) is our only link

One of my kids had a birthday last month and my NM is resorting to trying to buy attention with a gift.  Rather than ever ask my kids what they would like for a b-day she often will send something that was pricey but not anything they want.  Or she is inconsistent.  Last summer she was mad because I was not changing my mind about having the kids visit her without me.  My child that had a summer b-day received $10.

The child who had the birthday a few weeks ago received $50.  \Written on the birthday card was a note that stated to all the kids, "Kids, it takes two to have a relationship.  Grandma desires a relationship.  So call me or email me, let's say every two weeks."  My youngest looked at the card and said, "She never even wrote Happy Birthday in it."

The kids' other Grandma (normal) has many grandchildren and to keep things equitable always sends a check for $20 (with a note asking them how they are doing, etc.).  To be real, I have to say that the kids certainly don't wake up any given day and call this grandma.  But this grandma is normal and knows that is not usually what many kids do.

Obviously, my kids get nothing out of calling my NM.  But my middle child called her to say thanks for the check.  He told me she lectured about the lack of calling her.  He told me he actually put the phone down during this.

In the meantime I don't contact her at all and have not had a phone conversation in 11 months.  She also sent them Valentine gifts.  They are from Target so perhaps we can take them back.  One item was a pocket knife.  What if I had rules about pocket knives?  Another was a game for the Wii.  She is having money issues and does not need to be sending things they don't want.

In my NM's mind I am the reason that the kids have no interest in speaking with her.  I got a brief email the other day, "Why am I not hearing from the kids?  As a daughter you are very hurtful to me."

I practically laughed out loud.  Me hurting her?  She has hurt me so bad that I am not interested in ever speaking again.  I could have answered and outlined again the horrible things she has said.

But she is getting back at me in a big way.  She lives near my grandmother  (they are a 10 hour drive from me), whom she verbally abused--in fact so badly one summer that I had to drive and get grandma and drive her home to her permanent house.  My NM and grandma bought a summer home together--my NM wanted it and my G'ma is the one with cash so my NM told her that she couldn't visit this summer home unless she put up her share of the cost to buy the house... To give you more info, that summer my NM tells me in front of G'ma, "I never dreamed I'd still be having to make arrangements with her at my age (meaning why the hell is she still kicking at age 89?).

But now grandma is having surgery in a few days and my NM has told her that if my NM is to take her to hospital and then help her with her affairs while she is recuping, then my NM needs to be guaranteed of a few things.  So off to grandma's attorney they went so that my grandma could assure her that she is getting just about everything.  A couple years ago my grandma was hurt so bad she swore she was changing her will, etc.  My NM has counted on inheriting grandma's properties and is frankly not pleased that grandma is now 90 years old.  My grandma is not "perfect", in fact she may have her own N-ness.

Grandma is our connecting link.  If Grandma's surgery does not go well I am sure that my nm "will fix me" by not keeping me informed.  It will be up to me to contact the hospital and then stay connected afterwards by calling her at the convalescent home.  Grandma gave me just a week's notice about her impending surgery and the flights were almost $500; I am not happy that I didn't visit her now, but will be visiting in April.

Grandma's assets have been coveted by my NM for ....forever.  When grandma passes away and my NM gets just about everything (which is fine with me--I am used to no accolades for my ability to have a good, 23 year marriage and maintain a career and have three nice children and do fine).....I hope she uses everything she inherits wisely because we will no longer have a link and there will be no reason for us to ever have a conversation.  There is no need for us to have a conversation now, but in my mind that is when I can officially cut her off.  I learned over the past week or so that I have a lot of hatred and disgust.