Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Part #25

I felt very confused on Sunday evening. Confused by my conflicting emotions and how I was going to cope through the rest of the night.

I tend to get more morose and low, late evening, as the nights draw in earlier. I am not one who is scared of the dark, but that blackness appears to enhance my moods at times and so if any arguments are going to occur within the family, it is generally at this time of the day.

I have been making a concerted effort to eat at least one healthy meal each day and keep it in/down. And I am not referring to one dry crispbread as a meal here! I am attempting to eat a small piece of baked fish with steamed vegetables every day, or a home-made vegetable soup, or a seafood salad (I no longer eat meat other than fish as it screws my digestion up terribly - I am not a tree-hugging, animal liberator...but my colon is!). I am actually, quietly, very proud of myself. For the last 7-10 days, I have managed it. With success. OK...possibly during the day I may have binged or simply starved, but there has been some nutrition going into me. Although I still lose weight daily.

Ian and I hadn't been out together of an evening for a long time and we decided to visit a restaurant which is close to our hearts as it is where we announced our engagement and forthcoming wedding to the girls. It is a small family-run Italian restaurant in a neighbouring village and the staff know us very well as we celebrate every special occasion there. As the weekends around Bonfire Night (November 5th) have people out at firework displays, the restaurant was suprisingly empty - only one other couple occupied a table. And I was able to order off the menu and asked for a seafood salad. It was out of this world. No heavy, 'threatening' dressings - just citrus juice - no carbs, just succulent, beautiful squid, prawns, octopus and mussels with fantastically colourful leaves. Delicious!

I left this house somewhat perturbed. Shortly before we left, I had called the girls at their father's house where they were staying for the weekend, to see how things were for them. Beth advised me that my mother had written them a letter.

The letter stated that they missed them immensely, the girls were always in their thoughts and just because she and I weren't talking any more, it didn't mean that they couldn't still speak.

I listened very hard to Beth and then asked her if she intended to respond, and how she felt. She was very dismissive - blasé, almost. Nope, not replying, she told me. If she can't make friends with you, why should I? 

Rosemary's tone this evening was exactly the same.

Rosemary asked me in a tentative way, if it was wrong of her to feel that her Nanna was playing games with her feelings and emotionally blackmailing her. That was a very difficult question to answer. Thing is, without even seeing that letter, I can almost hear the tone of voice in it. The smell of burning martyr is strong once that envelope is opened. I explained that I couldn't fairly comment as I hadn't read the letter for myself but that her feelings were as valid as anyone's. And that was it, basically.

I was torn between two trains of thought: how awful; how sad, that a grandmother does not feel able to speak to her grand-daughters and imposes that restriction upon them by snail mail. How would I feel? I'd feel empty, saddened, depleted and desperate to sort things out.
The flip-side was, You stupid, ignorant woman. You have been told by four people to sort this out as it is ridiculous and you are cutting off your own nose to spite your face, but still you will not get down from your high pedestal of omniscience and self-righteousness.

I don't want to get involved with her ever again - and Ian supports me 100% on this, having been on the receiving end of her poison himself. But, I don't particularly want to sully a grandparent relationship when it is not necessary. Ian had a totally different take on it all. He explained how he was in the first-hand position of seeing how her control had affected me and the last thing he wanted was for the girls to succumb to it, too. I had to agree. His stance was that if the girls wanted to respond to her letter, they would; if not, he wouldn't push it.

So I have agreed as that is sensible.

If she weren't my mother, I would still feel that pang of pity for her. It's a person destroying themselves for their own arrogant pride and ignorance. What a life?


Karen ^..^ said...

I still haven't answered my mother's letter. I think Ian is totally correct in his concerns for the girls. You are being WAY too generous to a woman who did everything in her power to fuck you up forever. Thank God she did not succeed in that. Keep her away from your kids at all costs, as she will surely get her hooks into them and attempt to deliver them a mind fuck the likes of which you have never seen. I'd sit the girls down, and tell them that your mother is a very, very sick woman, with issues none of you can fully understand. That every single one of your insecurities and hangups and issues is due to her abuse of you. Tell them that you and you alone have made the choice not to have anything further to do with her, for your own mental well being, and that is YOUR choice. Tell them (as thier mother and thier guide) that you do not feel it would be in their best interest to see or speak to her, but that it is ultimately their choice. If they choose to see or speak to her, take EVERYTHING she says with a grain of salt, that she is a very sick woman, and will try to ensnare them into her drama.

Sorry, the thought of those darling girls being poisoned by someone who did such monumental damage with such apparent glee, makes me cringe.

And I think you are doing a beautiful job controlling your ED these days. One meal a day is a fantastic start. Your body is probably in haywire mode, your metabolism is going crazy, now having the energy and working off the food to burn calories even more effectively. It will all even out in time.

As far as your moods, well it will take a while for all of that to level off too.

I'm proud of you, you are doing so beautifully, Annie. Good for you, and keep up the good work!!

Poetikat said...

I have a motto: "You have to love them because they're your parents, but you don't have to LIKE them."

The "love" is a very ethereal kind of intangible that basically exists because of the bond of birthing, but the "like" is much harder. We like so many people we come in contact with, we have to "like" our partners/spouses in order to really "love" them, but "liking" and respecting one's parents is tough. I love both of mine, but lost true respect for who my dad was a long time ago. I "love" my mother, but their are times when I dislike her with all the intensity I have within me.
Emotional blackmail is not pretty or fair - especially when children are involved. I can see why you are not talking to your mother. Just "love" her in spite of this and pray that maybe she will see the light. There's always hope. You don't EVER have to like her.


Poetikat said...

P.S. I thought I was already "following" you. Sorry about that. I lose track.


Bob J said...

Your mother must have a deep fear of....something.

A fear that has shaped her behaviors toward the important people in her life. A fear that she feels she must emotionally defend herself against, no matter what the cost.

What, at it's very root, that fear may be, and how it came about...well....those are questions that can fuel endless speculation. Both my parents have passed away and I am still trying to figure out what made them the people they were.

There may be good answers to these questions, but for the time being the most important thing is to try and understand the effects they have had on the way we envision ourselves and the way that we in turn treat ourselves. And then to see what we can possibly do to heal ourselves, and finally give ourselves the unconditional (and there's the rub) love we deserved but never received.

I can tell you are working at it.



Mars said...

i know how you feel about the mood dropping at night.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Karen: I did mean to ask what action you had taken regarding your own mother. You'll have to tell me more...
The girls are very independent people and generally make their own minds up about things. It would definitely appear that a meeting is unlikely to take place between them and my parents in the near future. I think they are both fed up of her manipulation and have always found it very difficult over the years. Over the past, it has reduced them to tears on occasion and both the ex and I have had to 'have words' with her about it. Which didn't go down well in the slightest as you can imagine...
If my mother made the girls happy, I would be sure they would still visit her. Their reluctance to have any contact says it all, really.

Kat: There is no love at all. None whatsoever. I find it impossible to feel that emotion where she is concerned now. Yes, there is pity, but I would feel that about anyone in this situation. I think my motto is: You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family! And thanks for the 'follow'.

Bob: Yes, there are fundamental and superficial fears in her. She has always expressed fear in so many mundane things - which thankfully, my brother and I were able to ignore. I think it's the fundamental fears which have settled in to my psyche - and these are the ones which I am working through with the counsellor. And yes, I am trying much harder these days, and I do feel a shift for the better!

Mars: It's a strange sensation, isn't it? My oldest is exactly the same. Although she actually expresses fear of the dark and sleeps with a bedside lamp on through the night.

MelissaS said...

sounds like you're making the right choices -- you're putting your children first. its great how independent-minded they are AND your respect for your daughters is beautiful. your mother is once removed from them -- i can't imagine she can do very much damage either way. good luck.

Linda and her Twaddle said...

My father does not speak to any of his children and has not for years now. Initially it was hurtful, but now I am kind of thankful because there was always some underlying drama going on when he was around.

I told my son that anytime he wanted to speak to my dad, have a relationship with him or anything that I was happy with that and would never stop him from getting to know my father.

My son said "why would I want to see your dad? He is not interested in you. He treats you badly so why would I want to know a father who does not love his own daughter?.

So, children have their own mind irrespective of what you choose to say or not say. By keeping out of it the way you have it helps your daughter feel confident that any choice she makes is hers and hers alone.

I used to always make excuses for my dad and the way he was. Now I realise that some people are just not particularly nice. They really don't care that much about others and are very into their own feelings and no one elses.

In the end, you just have to live life the best that you can.

Keli said...

First, I'm very proud of you. You're taking little steps, and that's a solid start.
I felt this way about a completely hurtful relative for years - conflicted. I'd hate her, curse her, etc. and yet I'd still spend time with her at family gatherings out of some sense of familial obligation and thinking that maybe there was something wrong with me. That I was somehow at fault.
Your mother, most unfortunately, seems to be carrying around tons of baggage and has become so accustomed to this way of living that she doesn't even notice the pain it causes her and those around her.
Ian's advice is certainly sound. Meanwhile, distance can be very healing.

may_be said...

Annie, sorry I haven't responded yet - I've been enjoying not being attached to my computer since submission!

I'm glad you managed to have a lovely night out - and that seafood salad sounds heavenly!

I think other people have already given you sound advice concerning your mother. And, it sounds like your girls have a lot of common sense and can pick up that 'vibe'.

Sending love as always.

Annie T AKA Agnes Mildew said...

Melissa: The girls have to come first, in almost everything - both Ian and I agree on that. I am very glad that I have him as a sounding board, as it is always best to get a second opinion on these things. Despite him not being the girls' father from birth, I feel he has more of a handle on their feelings than their own father - much more intuitive.

Linda: You quite patently have a very switched-on son. I wonder how that made you feel, to have that utter loyalty from him? Yes, allowing the girls to make their own decisions is a good thing. I tell them what I have done, but say they are MY choices and mine alone. They are free to make theirs, too. And they do. And as long as they are making them to please themselves and not me, Ian, their father, whomever...that is fine by me.

Keli: Thank you for those kind words. I have a wee suspicion that I know who the relative is from the last HME post! To be honest, I've also got that side to contend with, too. The in-laws aren't the most helpful. Indeed, I wouldn't even know I had any. Perhaps that is better? Distance can be a healer, I agree - when I moved to Oman, I made up so many excuses not allowing my parents to visit us due to visas, space etc, that I managed a whole 18 months without seeing them. The strength I engendered was incredible at the time.

May: Thank you for your comment - it's good to still see you in the blogging world and I am glad that you have got your submission over and done with - good luck for that. Yes, the girls are very down to earth. With the amount of wind-ups that go on in this house, one has to develop a thick skin to a certain extent!