Monday, September 17, 2007

The following rant (in italics) was written about me by my ex-best friend (on her blog). I'll add my comments as we go along.

Let's see, went to a funeral home last night for a visitation. The granddaughter (Shelly) of the woman who died? Didn't show at all. We think because someone had to actually call her father - ex-husband of the woman who died's daughter - and tell him that it would be in very poor taste if he showed up. Which it would have been, as he got to see the dead woman three weeks ago when he, his daughter and his granddaughter showed up to visit her at the nursing home and told her own daughter, Shelly's mother, his ex, to leave the room.

She's right - I didn't go to the visitation. She's wrong about the reason, though. The issue about my dad was fairly simple. He always thought very highly of my grandma (as I said in my last post, she was really sweet and nice) and he wanted to attend the visitation to pay his last respects. I tried to entice my mother into letting him attend by offering to bring my children, whom she never sees. Still no dice. (Never mind that Mother attended the visitation when my dad's mother died, to which she was distinctly not invited. Hypocrite much?) And since we had just recently visited Grandma, he agreed not to go to the visitation. (For the record, we politely asked Mother if we could have a few minutes to visit Grandma alone, we did not tell her to leave the room.) The real reasons I didn't attend the visitation were really very complicated. I agonized until the absolute last second, then loaded the whole family in the car, dropped Supergirl off at the grandparents', and said we were going. Then got about 2 miles down the road and changed my mind and turned around and got Supergirl and went out to dinner. (Rock was an angel throughout all of this, by the way. He let me make the decision, helped me get the kids ready, asked his parents to watch Supergirl, and then turned the car around to go back home - all without one single word of complaint.) The reasons I didn't go? In part, I'm still scared of my mother. She's physically and emotionally abusive. This is the reason I don't talk to her. Walking into a situation where she's got her brothers and all her friends around her and I'm basically alone scares the hell out of me. No one knows that she's abusive, mainly because my dad and I never told anyone. My dad was just happy to escape that marriage with his life (literally) and he let her keep all their mutual friends. When I stopped talking to her, my goal was not to cost her any of her friends. I just want away from her, and I don't care who understands why and who doesn't. But still being that cowardly makes me ashamed. I seriously did not go to my grandmother's visitation because inside I'm still a scared little kid. And that makes me furious! Why can't I just get over this already?! I'm an adult. There's very little my mother can do to hurt me now. But I still cower and avoid her whenever I can. Also, Thursday was Supergirl's fifth birthday. I hated the thought of dragging her to a depressing visitation or not doing anything to celebrate her birthday on the actual day. In addition to that, all the talk about death and my mother and her bad behavior had really upset Supergirl and she was feeling pretty fragile that night. In fact, she was already crying for us by the time we got turned around and went back to pick her up. Since I knew that I would be attending the funeral the next day, I decided to spend that night with my daughter.

Anyway, proving that sometimes people are entirely too malicious for their own good (and the sad thing is, it'll come back to haunt her one day - karma kind of does that to ya), Shelly showed up at the funeral today. She hasn't spoken to her mother except about her grandmother in...4 years? I think? With her significant other, their daughter, and their son. Oh, it might be important to mention that no one told the mother that she had a 10-month-old grandson. One uncle (son of the deceased woman) got to see Shelly last fall about this time and was suspicious and told Mom (Shelly's mom) that he thought Shelly was pregnant. But she wears really baggy clothing and carries her weight in her torso, plus he's a man and not sure about those kinds of things. I'm very glad that the call was made to the ex-husband now, since he knew all this and at no point had the presence of mind to realize that some things trump an acrimonious divorce.

So let's see....first I'm horrible for not attending the visitation, then I'm horrible for attending the funeral? Or am I just horrible for bringing the children? The detail she leaves out is that Rock and Wildman (She's mistaken - Supergirl wasn't there.) stayed outside and I attended the funeral alone. And no, I hadn't told Mother about Wildman. Isn't that an integral part of not talking to someone? Protecting my happiness and the things that are important to me are a significant part of not talking to my mother. Seriously, do I, as a mother, not have a duty to protect my children from people whom I know to be dangerous? A person who abused me as a child is not someone to whom I want to expose my children. I don't care if she is their grandmother. If Vlad the Impaler is your father, does that mean your kids must hang out with him? If she still scares me this badly after 3 years of no contact with her, I am damn sure not going to let her be around my sweet, innocent, defenseless children.

And here I want to point out one of my mother's lies. She did know about Wildman. She knows someone who is a nurse in the hospital where he was born, and my uncle magically managed to call me about three days after Wildman was born. Definitely not a coincidence. And he told everyone in the family, because they all called to congratulate me. So Mother definitely knew. Just an example of how she lies to her friends to appear more sympathetic.

What's stupid is, it all stems from childhood resentment over the divorce. Mom and Dad were both passive people and never talked about things. And then they'd blow up and fight instead of working things through. Mom got Shelly (as Dad was a minister and moved around every four years - they wanted Shelly to finish up school in one place). Thing is, Dad sucked as a father (he's very self-centered) and Shelly was spoiled. Royally spoiled. She's in many ways very unlike her parents, because she's very confrontational. Anyway, she's such buddy buddies with her dad, even though he's continuously not been there for her (although he is now, at least). And thinks her mom is evil.
Never mind that only two people hate her mother - her and her dad.
Because Shelly's never wrong.

This whole paragraph just pisses me off to no end. Who the hell does she think she is, dismissing my feelings as "stupid" and saying my dad sucked as a father?! Yes, she was my best friend as a child, but she has no idea what went on in my house! My parents were not "passive people and never talked about things". My mother would set ridiculous rules and punish my father with physical abuse if they weren't followed. She would demand that he do something and if he didn't do it immediately, she would hit him, usually with some object. She controlled the money so tightly that if he bought anything for himself, he was punished. She constantly belittled everything he did and put him down every day. Eventually, she turned that "attention" on me. And yes, my dad is self-centered. And in some ways, he wasn't there for me when I was a child. But as I grew up, I realized that he was just trying to get through and he had to focus on keeping her happy (or trying to, there's no way to succeed at that task) and keeping himself in one piece. I have forgiven him for the ways in which he wasn't there for me and for leaving me there with her when he left. We've had a lot of very cathartic conversations about Mother and her ways and how we both dealt it - then and since we've left her. He's apologized for his failings and I have accepted him as he is, flaws and all. We now have a very good relationship and are very supportive of one another. As for my mother, not only has she never apologized for one single thing that she's done, she still plays the same manipulative games and was still physically aggressive one of the last times I saw her. So on one hand, I have a parent who acknowledges his mistakes and is trying to be better. On the other hand, I have a parent who is still playing her same games and up to her same tricks. Is it any wonder that I talk to one of them and not the other? I tried way too hard for way too long to get my mother to love me and to quit hurting me emotionally and physically and I've just simply given up. She'll never change and I can't have the relationship I wanted with her by myself.

And I love that she just dismisses the fact that my dad and I don't interact with Mother. Hmmmm....let's see, the two people who have lived with this woman don't like her and will not have anything to do with her. Given that one of those people is a mild mannered minister, wouldn't you start to ask questions? Maybe there's more to the story than anyone outside the family saw?

And if anyone actually read this far, I sincerely thank you. It was tremendously cathartic to write this.


Alice said...

are you going to slip your ex-friend the link to this post? i'd certainly be tempted to...

Shelly said...

Alice - Yes, I'm definitely tempted to. And I about had to tie my hands to resist the temptation to comment on her blog. But see, she doesn't know I read her blog and it's such a great window into what she's thinking in situations like this that I don't want to tip her off and cause her to quit writing stuff like that.

MrsGrumpy said...

Wow. It's amazing how much more one's "friends" know about one's life than one does themself. I am so sorry you have to deal with all of this. It's amazing how the people you once felt so close to can end up like that. I am so sorry for the loss of your grandma. I am so sorry for the pain your mom caused you. And I wanted to thank you so very much for stopping by. My mother has spent the last month driving me crazy. My parents divorced recently after 40 years of marriage and she used my loss as an instrument to try and keep my dad away from me. Many hugs to you.

Shelly said...

Thank you for the visit. Thank you for understanding why I'm so hurt by her words. She and I were friends for 21 years and she doesn't know me at all. Thank you for your condolences on the loss of my grandma. Once again, my condolences to you. Your loss must seem staggering. Thank you for this lovely and heartwarming comment on my blog. You are such a sweet person. Your mother sounds very difficult. Good luck with her. Many, many hugs to you, too. Please come back to visit often.

Lys said...

Shelly, this post you wrote just blew me away. Seriously, I'm sitting here fighting back the tears because reading your story was like reading about my mother.

Long story short, my mother is similar to your mom and was emotionally abusive. This year I decided to tell her to bite me - just 20 years in the making. What you said about your grandmother is how I feel about mine. My grandmother is still alive thankfully but we had a recent hospital scare and my mother used it to perpetuate her drama to the nurses, docs, etc. Anywayz - before I bore you to tears, stay strong and kudos to you for your strength. Your kids are blessed with a wonderful mom. You broke the cycle! Your mom will get hers in the long run. Karma's a ***** (and the ex buddy will get hers too, that's for sure).

Shelly said...


Thank you so much for the visit and for your words of encouragement. I'm sorry that you had a mom like mine. They are certainly no fun. Good for you for telling her to bite you. The day I stopped talking to my mother was one of the happiest days of my life. And my life and my home have had so much less drama since she isn't involved in our lives. I'm really trying to break the cycle and give my kids the mother I wish I'd had. Thank you again for the encouragement. Please come back and visit soon!