This is probably the better spot - and L

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by witzend, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I meant to title this "and Long", not "and L". I just hit the "send" button too fast.

    I had posted about L instigating yet another hopeless reunion on the Watercooler, but in thinking about this over the weekend, I realize that for me this is at least as much about L interfering again as it is about the totally broken relationship between me and my parents. So, I suppose PE is the better place for me to write about it.

    Our big falling out was about my parents essentially seeking out L when they were angry at me and using her teenage angst to bolster a fight between us into a full blown failure.

    For a few years there were lots of tearful calls from L about "how can you be so mean to grandma and grandpa? They're so wonderful!" There were also a very few calls between my parents and I where I would ask them to stop interfering with L & M, and their responses that "I can't help it if they hate you. You're a lousy parent. Nobody likes you."

    As hard as it was, I cut them completely out of my life. L would try to interfere from time to time, particularly surrounding my dad's (He Who Must Be Obeyed) birthday, or holidays. Usually celebrations that I wasn't invited to and L was. Of course there were also weddings, births, anniversaries, etc. The times that L would turn it around into "Why don't you just make up with them?" were always times when L had some major failure in her life relationships. Such as getting beat up by her boyfriend after being caught with her pants down with her boyfriend's best friend.

    Anyway, enough of that. This time, it was my dad's birthday. What is apparent is that they asked L how I was. Clearly in the way of "making conversation." L suggested we should all get together for dinner. They said "That would be nice." L told my mom privately that I was hurt that when I asked to go to Thanksgiving dinner at their house after 8 years and they told me "no". My mom was surprised that I would take that badly. Let's just say of all the upset with my family that still has the power to bring me to tears for days. Who exactly is it that they assume we celebrate holidays with? They invite my children, all of my siblings and their families are there. Who is it I am supposedly having my happy holidays with? I told L on Friday that she should stay out of it. I felt good about that. I figured if they hadn't called before, they weren't going to call now. Instead, she calls my mom and tells her I want her to call me.

    My mom called Saturday while we were out in the yard, and asked me to call her back. I didn't. I was - and am - really angry. This is so orchestrated by L. An unhappy failure orchestrated by L so that she can feel superior to me and try to lord it over me. I mean, I get it that she may (although I don't think she has the empathy to do so) and probably some of you think that I am making a mistake in not making up with these people. But even if I am making a mistake this is my mistake to make. I shouldn't be forced to revisit it twice a year.

    Anyway, in response to my mom's call, I reiterated to L that she was asked to stay out of it, and while I wasn't angry before as I was giving her the benefit of the doubt, now I had no doubt that she was just manipulating people for her own entertainment, and I was really mad. So, my mom calls again yesterday. This time I unplugged the phone before she could leave a message. Throughout my life, and also in these few instances where someone has forced contact with us, I have asked my mom 'Why do you want to see me?' 'Why do you say you love me?' or whatever the case is. Her answer is always the same: "Because you're my daughter." Am I the only one who thinks that reason is not good enough? Don't we all want to be wanted and loved for some reason other than biology?

    There has never been any action anywhere in this that L didn't have her fingerprints all over. It always ends with "I get along with you even though you haven't always been the best parent, why can't you even try?" Hmmm... I think her boyfriend is a lout who is terrible for her and that she is wasting her life. Somehow I have managed to never say a word about what I think she should do. I hate that I have to put up with this. This was not an easy decision. I sure as heck don't care what L thinks of it. I should be allowed to live in peace with it. If I'm going to rot in Hades or come back with them as parents again, that's my burden. And if my mom really wants to see me, she can give me a call when she has genuinely given it some thought. Not when L has goaded her into it. No matter what, though, I come out of it stinking like an ungrateful brat who wouldn't even see my 81 year old mother when she called. Or if I went it would be "when are you coming next time, but not for any holiday because you know you're not welcome."
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2009
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I've had in the past, and still have issues with some family membes but I can't imagine being forced into the spot you are in. Hugs. I don't really have advice but I did want to comment on something. Please, keep in mind I realize I probably don't have the first clue of the interactions between you and your parents or the problems over the years. This is just strictly an observation on my part so take it how you will.

    You said that when asked why she wants to see you or says she loves you, your mother says "Because you're my daughter." My mom says that to me all the time. She does things for me, she calls me, she does whatever...because I'm her daughter. Granted, my mom and I have a good relationship and talk often so her way of saying it and your mother's way of saying it could be world's apart. But...I just wanted to say that it's said in good relationships too. judgement here, no opinion one way or the other....just an observation. You are's not up to L, it's up to you. Do what you feel is right for you.
  3. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Witz, I could have written your post myself. I had a similar experience as your Thanksgiving Day. It, too, still brings tears four years later.

    I am sorry you are hurting today. I completely understand your not taking your mother's calls.

    You need to do what is right for you without guilt or shame. There are some who will never understand the strife and conflict that ensues when an adult parent/adult child relationship is unhealthy and toxic. Follow your heart, set your boundaries, and be proud of who you are!

    This is your life to live, not L's. I hope she'll figure that out sometime soon.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    You know - I think when you finally decided in YOUR life that enough is enough - enough WAS enough and you dealt with it. I don't see the problem as you as a brat, or that you are ungrateful. What I see as the problem is that YOU have moved on and it's everyone ELSE now that is unable to understand.

    It was FINE when it WAS - Witz is the brat. But now that you aren't? THEY have nothing to complain about as you've given them NO ammunition and eventually every holiday, birthday, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Reunion - you know that they are sitting around and you know that you are mentioned but eventually I mean - COME ON - even THEY have to run out of Witz-:censored2: material. You can only complain about the same thing for several years for so many years before someone else becomes the object of their fancy (so-to-speak) and unless L keeps stirring the pot (so-to-speak) it would have died down long ago and someone else would have long taken your place. This I know.....(ex in laws et al)

    I've been gone 13 years - I was JUST about free and clear from being a mere mention at any reunion or phone conversation and Dude decided to call THEM and I'm sure I'm the object de' fancy once again - but the difference this go round is? I don't give a rats hiney. I'm done- I've moved on. I'm in a better place. So good for you - unplug, tune out...and just live your life on your terms. I think ya done good girl.

    Sending L a gigantic BUTT OUT.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm not dealing well at all with L on this. Other than I finally told her that if she didn't understand that "You shouldn't be the middleman" didn't mean "Call your grandma and tell her that she should call me" she's either an idiot or a liar, which I did do believe, I don't know how I can have been any more clear to her than I have been as to wanting her to butt out. I mean, foregoing the past dozen or so times we've told her in writing and in person and on the phone and in counseling...

    Stang, I get what you're saying about "because you're my daughter". But our conversations around this usually begin with "You've done nothing but complain about me and tell everyone we know what a terrible person you think I am, and lie about my character. What on earth makes you say "I love you, I want to see you." "Because you're my daughter." And I tell her it might mean something if she could find one good thing to say about me. Sometimes she comes up with "You're a good cook." Wow. L tells me the same thing. "They do think you're a good person. They said you were a good cook!" Well that should get my right past St. Peter when the time comes.
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I don't know exactly what happened or the details. But if your parents were toxic, continue to be toxic and have not offered a sincere apology that comes with changed behavior, so be it. You are an an adult and you have every right to move forward with your life and to do so in a healthy manner. If your decision means that they are not in your life, so be it. Family relationships does not give someone automatic rights. Loving relationships are not automatic and unconditional. They are to be earned. You do what you feel is the right thing for your good mental health. Good for you to have the strength to make this difficult decision.
  7. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Well, long story short, L made rude noises at me all day long in e-mails. Essentially, how can I be so awful to my poor poor parents who only want a relationship with me?

    I kept telling her that it was really about her, and it they didn't really like me, and she kept being more and more rude. I told her it was enough and I was done.

    When I got home from work, there was another message from my mom on the machine. I didn't listen to it, and had husband deal with it. He called L and left a message telling her to stop. He reminded her that she had agreed to stay out of it and he was holding her to it. He then called my mom, who answered.

    My mom said "We'd really like to get together with you all and L for lunch." husband told her, "That's fine, but not right now, and not with L." My mom said "But it's for L. She wants it so much." husband told her "You should know that each time this comes up with L, it is a big problem for the family. So if you would like to have lunch with Witzend, for Witzend, you should call her sometime and leave L out of it." I don't know what exactly she said. husband tells me that her response led him to believe that we won't be getting an invite for lunch. If she does call, and I don't get advance notice from L, and L is not also invited, I will know she'll want to see me. But I'm not holding my breath.

    I have to admit it does hurt that it's not something they would do because it's important to them or to me or that either they or we would want it. But, it's not a surprise, and I hurt a lot less knowing it's over. For now.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just want to say Im sorry. It hurts when things are this toxic with the very people who are supposed to love us unconditionally.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Janet, with all due respect, I don't totally believe in unconditional love. I do believe totally in removing ourselves from toxic relationships and do believe that parents have an obligation to be loving and caring to their children. Parents and children enjoy a special bond and a special relationship. Surely, there is more leeway and tons of forgiveness when things go wrong. And perhaps parents should love their young children unconditionally (I need to think about this). But things, surely do change when everyone in the picture is an adult. Special efforts should be made to preserve the parent-child relationship. All out efforts should be made. I also believe that we should always have a positive regard for fellow human being...and this also includes family. And like I said, family should actually be considered special...more efforts should be made. HOWEVER, I don't really see it as "unconditional." Example, mom tied you up in the basement for years and tortured you, well, you don't have to love mom anymore. And likewise, if you put mom in the basement and tortured her for years, mom doesn't have to love you anymore. A possible exception might be if the perpetrator rehabilitated and genuinely was forgiving and showed signs/actions of love down the road. However, this is only a possibility. Surely, "love" is a an action verb. I personally, don't see it as totally unconditional...even with our mother's and father's. Not even with our children. I think children have more leeway, but they need to show respect to their parents and it also goes the other way around. When these situations are badly broken, are toxic for years, no efforts are made to genuinely make a is possible that all bets are off. So, I think we have a right to expect our parents to love us and care for us and for us to respect them and more than likely, we will love them right back. If they (parents) are having difficulties for whatever reason, being loving and caring human beings, it is their responsibility to seek mental health guidance. If they don't do this, well, we have a right view them as something less than parents...perhaps more like distant relatives. Perhaps, it is just a matter of the word "unconditional."
    Lasted edited by : Aug 25, 2009
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thanks, you two. It always will feel like my mom is supposed to love me "unconditionally". And maybe that's what she means when the best she can come up with is "Because I love you", but the only good thing she can think of me is that I cook well.

    I think we all have conditions on relationships, if not on our love. We can always love our mom who kept us chained up in the basement, under the condition that we don't have to see our mom who did this and can still see no fault in her reasoning or behavior. For most of us there are limits to everything we will tolerate. Some have a higher tolerance level than others, and I think that everyone sees things differently.

    My tolerance level with my parents is that they don't seem to want to see me unless it's to put on a show for someone else, and there are certain people that they wouldn't be caught dead seeing me with. They don't seem to like me very much. I can't tolerate that. I don't know that I ever loved my dad, he was always someone we were taught to fear. I don't know what to say about how I feel about my mom. To me, the perfect example of love is me and husband. There's times I can't stand him, but I love him enough that I want to try to get back to the times he makes my heart spin. But that takes two. So far it's not there with my mom. No question it's not there with my dad.
  11. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't have anything to add except my support, so I wanted to let you know I was reading and thinking about you, Witz. It's a lousy situation to be in, and I can only imagine the pain it causes you.
  12. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Just wanted to add my support too, Witz. Coping with toxic parent relationships as an adult s**ks. You want a healthy relationship, you want to stay connected with extended family, and you want to be able to do the things for parents that become appropriate as parents age ... but it's impossible. If people have behaved abusively or in a toxic way all their lives, and don't make major changes in the way they deal with people, then they will still be toxic as seniors. It's so hard to come to terms with the idea that a healthy adult relationship with them may never be possible, without others interfering and judging.

    You've done what you need to do to keep yourself sane and healthy. Refusing to be hoovered back into toxic situations takes a lot of strength. I'm glad your husband is supportive on this. {{hugs}}
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Katya...Wonderfully said!

    I have been there done that with my father. When my children were little, I began limiting my association with him. It was not a pretty picture and not easy.

    In the end...I think we all have choices. He has a choice to get healthier and to be a more pleasant individual.

    I have a choice to refuse to be hoovered into toxic relationships. It wasn't ideal, but it was freeing for me.

    If he could have met me half way, I would have gone with that. We did this with one of DHs difficult relatives and it worked out very well.

    Especially with a difficult child in the picture, I just didn't have the time or desire to be preoccupied with unecessary drama trauma and in the end, I'm glad I made the decision to do it this way.

    I so agree with do what you need to do...hold your head up high, be a united front with your husband and move forward...
    Lasted edited by : Aug 29, 2009
  14. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Boy. I remember when easy child's father and I were together. He wouldn't move out, but he sure made my life miserable. That was the start of a serious panic/anxiety disorder for me.
    I remember asking him one day, through serious frustration :
    "You say you won't go. That you love me. When I ask why, you say because I am the mother of your child. Well lets move past that. Tell me something you actually admire or enjoy about me"

    His response I kid you not took deep thought (picture far away look of ponderance and wracking his pea sized flipping brain). After several drawn out minutes, he responded:
    "You're reliable".

    Don't let the door hit your butt on the way out was pretty much my nicey nice version of what kind of response that got from me!

    I'm sorry L is sticking her nose in this and stirring it all up for you again. I am another chiming in that you have worked to make peace with this in your life and she needs to butt out. I'm sorry she can't see the forest for the trees.

    Hang in there (((hugs)))
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am so sorry that your daughter continues to go out of her way to create more drama and pain for you.

    This is such a tough spot to be in for you. Seems like your mom is willing to put on a show for L - a show that looks like "all is well and we are a happy pretend family". It has to hurt even more that they would do this for your child and not even make an effort for YOU.

    Sadly it may come to the self-preservation point that you have to screen L's calls carefully also. She is getting a HUGE charge out of orchestrating all of this.she sure learned a LOT about manipulation watching her dad go through the system to destroy any chance you had of being a parent to her.

    I would let husband field ALL phone calls from L and any other family members. I am quite sure that they have all gotten enough mileage out of this to last at least until Christmas.

    I would be tempted to drop a line to L to say that when she wants to behave like a respectful daughter you would be happy to include her in your life, but until that point she can keep her drama trauma confined to your parents and her father.

    It is cold, maybe. But there just is SO MUCH water under this bridge that I fear you will really end up sick physically AND emotionally if you continue to allow her to do this to you. She is 26 now and is more than old enough to learn that this is NOT ABOUT HER. If she cannot grasp that, maybe she simply is not able to be a part of a healthy life for you.

    Please put YOUR needs above her drama. She is excellent at creating drama and if she gets you "back together" with your so-called family then she will create even MORE conflama to get you "kicked out" again.

    That is a tweenager game. NOT the kind of behavior and manipulation that one expects from an adult.

    Please take care to protect yourself and the parts of your life that work from her meddling. You can always block your parents numbers from your phone and email.
  16. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Thanks, all. I am just going to leave it be for now. I have no doubt in my mind that everyone in our family knows that L is not to intervene with my parents, and if she should forget I will have no trouble reminding her.

    I would be surprised if we hear from L for a while. I am going to keep to my word and not bring my parents up. If my mom or dad (or any of my brothers or sisters or their children - as if) contact me, I will deal with it individually. Non of those are things I am particularly sweating out right now. I think I had a pretty good read on this and this was, like Susie said "a show for Lauren."

    In reality, she only sees them once or twice a year. She really doesn't have a lot to brag about as far as her relationship with them goes. They don't even know where she lives, just her cell number. It seems pretty superficial to me.
  17. Lori4ever

    Lori4ever New Member

    I'm so sorry you're hurting this way. I do understand, my parents have been the way yours are with you. I know the pain it creates. I am thrilled you have husband to help you through it. Take care of you. okay? BIG BIG HUGS!!!