Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Here We Go Again (1996)

I had such a hard year in 1996. I was working over 100 hours a week at times, and my social life was taking a toll because of it. I was offered a higher paying position half way across the country which would have been excellent move for my career. When I talked to my mother about this, the guilt trip spewed out of her mouth like diarrhea. Phrases such as 'how could you think of moving when your mother is so sick', 'you can't leave me', 'you would actually think of leaving when your mother is going through such a hard time?'. “The other person feels held back, dragged down, or pulled under, in response to the borderline’s message: ‘Don’t leave me.’ Borderlines can self-destruct as a result of their fear of abandonment and often use emotional blackmail to control others. Understandably, children of borderlines struggle to manage feelings of shame, guilt, anxiety, and rage” p 15 Lawson. I couldn't deal with the guilt and being the loyal daughter, I turned down the opportunity. And because I was limited to positions only in the vicinity of my mother, my career growth was drastically hindered.

When I would talk about my exhaustion from the hours I was putting in or the horrible work conditions I endured, my mother would simply say that's what you have to do. If I talked of changing jobs, she would state that running away from the position is not what I should do. She insisted that I should 'stick it out' and that things would turn around. No matter how tough my circumstances, she wouldn't offer any bit of support or encouragement-- just words that made me feel as if I was being a wimp for complaining.

In May of 1996, my great-grandmother passed away. My mother always claimed to be so close to her. My mother martyred herself, claiming that she did so much for her grandmother. My mother talked a big talk but when it came down to it, she didn't go to the funeral of her 104 year old grandmother. She insisted that I go, that I represent the family and sit by the casket, greeting family members. I was completely baffled as to why she didn't want to go. So, off I went to the funeral with my step-father. Getting the time off from my job was close to impossible, but I managed. The funeral was heart-warming and comforting to know that my great-grandmother had planned every last detail. Seeing family members from all over the country was comforting as well. But, I never did understand and never did accept that my mother decided not to go. This action truly shed some serious light on my mother's personality.

During these last two years my mother was taking out everything on my step-father, and honestly I was relieved it wasn't me. She verbally abused him. She talked about him like a dog. She was so rude to him and so hard on him. My step-father is the "Fisherman" who "relinquishes his will to the Witch" p 195 Lawson. The Fisherman is too insecure (in his relationship in this case) to stand up for himself. He even said that he didn't want to endure the lashing he would get if he tried to discuss these issues with her. "Although the Fisherman lives in fear of his wife, he also fears living without her. The Witch meets the emotional needs of the Fisherman who, without her, would feel lost" p 196 Lawson. Anyway, I shouldn't have counted on her isolating her abuse to just her husband. In an earlier post, I mentioned how my mother and I never talked about my Dad because he was such a sore subject, and she would turn into a different person if the topic were approached.

One day I was on the phone with her (in December of 1996) when the doorbell rang. The UPS man handed me a package, and as I opened it, I innocently described the contents. Strangely enough, my Dad had sent me some things he thought I might have as he moved to his new house. I hadn't talked to him for over two years so this package was surprise. My mother instantly started to get more and more intense. The contents were actually dishes from a mutual friend of theirs who passed away back in the early 1980's. During the divorce, this friend had taken my Dad's side, which infuriated my mother. At any rate, when she passed away, my Dad apparently ended up with her dishes, and when he moved over a decade later, he thought I'd like to have them, along with some other possessions of hers.

My mother FLIPPED out. She thought my Dad was being manipulative. She couldn't believe the audacity of him sending me these dishes. She was appalled that he would send me these things. All the time, I kept asking her if she was serious. I couldn't believe how emotional she got over me receiving DISHES in the mail, from a friend who had died over a decade ago, sent by my Dad who I hadn't talked to in over two years. My mother continued on her raging rampage, and I ended up saying that she needed to let all the hate and anger leave, that the divorce was over 16 years ago. That was the point where she turned all the anger at me, told me that I had no idea what I was talking about, and said that she couldn't believe that I was defending my Dad after all he did to me and to her. She also said that she was glad that my last name is Smith (remember when she said that to me in 1983!?) and hung up on me. See subsequent blog post: Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome

A few days later, I called to wish my step-father a Happy Birthday from work. We were talking some small talk when my mother took the phone from him. She told me I was a bitch and hung the phone up. We didn't talk again for years.


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  2. My step-dad is a fisherman too. I always used to defend him when she lashed out at him but he never did so I decided not to do so anymore. I was there, he wasn't, his loss.

  3. My dad is the Fisherman, it is like reading my life from someone else's perspective. It is comforting and crazy to think that most borderlines are the same and someone else's mother is JUST as crazy as mine!

  4. Ohhh, I could see this one coming! Mine would have *demanded* I destroy the dishes!
    Post NC, I mentioned the Stalking and Stalking by Proxy (PIs) but I didn't mention the on-going snail-mail avalanches. (Or the police beating down my door at all hrs. on "Wellness Checks.") Typically, I just dumped the letters (which had all kinds of nasty stuff written on the outsides of the envelopes so my rural postal person could see what a horrid daughter I was! ;) un-opened in the trash. No matter how frequently I moved, her snail mail practically beat me to my next address. The only time I opened any of the letters was if the pattern changed. This had been the advice given to me when I bought all my documentary evidence to a professional group who performed Risk Analysis Services, which my late DH and I discussed when he was dying. He felt it was imperative someone in a position of authority and credibility was aware of the situation least I have an "unfortunate accident."
    Anyway, the pattern changed a few years after DH's death and I started opening and doing a quick read through. The *exact same themes* continued: My father was denigrated profusely, although he had been dead for 10 years and they had been divorced for 25 yrs. I was the world's worst daughter although I had been NC for about 15 years at that point.
    I also learned through that particular avalanche of snail mail she had my very unlisted home phone tapped...which was verified a few days later by the phone company.
    Unlimited financial resources are a very, very dangerous weapon with a CB "Mother." They can purchase what.ever.service.they.wish.

    1. My mother loves blasting emails to anyone and everyone she can think of- telling them all sorts of lies, half-truths, and private information about me. She has no scruples with her actions-- and over-steps boundaries without a blink of an eye. Thankfully my work colleagues thought she was nuts as well as my friends. She did get through to a few people, but that's another story Have you ever read or seen "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood"? That mother is a piece of work like our mothers.

  5. Yes! Yes, I have seen that-read the book first and thought, "There's another one!"