Saturday, March 21, 2009

Characteristics of Adults Shamed in Childhood

painful emotion caused by a strong sense of
guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace.

As an adult child of two parents with personality disorders, I knew when the abuse was actually going on that some after-effects would be experienced later in life. Although I was able to endure the abuse, I knew I deep-sixed some of the feelings. I remember thanking God for giving me a head on my shoulders to know that the abuse was my parents doing-- that what I was going through was a product of their manufacturing. Even so, I knew that somewhere down the line, feelings or results could emerge.

The following list are characteristics of adult children of shamed in childhood by Jane Middleton-Moz. Both my BPD mother and NPD father wielded shame well with their emotional abuse. My personal commentary is in purple, and brief discussion follows the list. If you are an adult child of abuse / shame, I would love to hear from you as well:

1. afraid of vulnerability and fear of exposure of the self. This statement doesn't describe me. I don't feel vulnerable and I don't fear exposing myself. I am actually quite the opposite, as I have always been "what you see is what you get", as well as I go after what I want, whether it's meeting a person in a social setting, introducing myself in a professional setting, or trying to get to know myself. In regard to rejection, I realize that everyone is not made for everyone, so if I meet someone that the fit doesn't work, I move on, as there are others out in that sea of life. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people, being in new situations, and experiencing new things. I am outgoing and gregarious as well.

2. may suffer extreme shyness, embarrassment and feelings of being inferior to others. They don't believe they make mistakes. Instead they believe they are mistakes. I am not shy-- I am very outgoing. I am not embarrassed or have inferiority feelings-- I actually am confident and feel like I do my best in whatever situation is presented. There are those that are better at certain things than me, and reciprocally, there are those that aren't as skilled as me in others. We all have our place in life, and I work to do my best in the situation at hand. I don't think I am a mistake as well.

3. fear intimacy and tend to avoid real commitment in relationships. These adults frequently express the feeling that one foot is out of the door prepared to run. The statements don't fit me. I put my effort into my relationships, as I am committed and loyal. If I experience a sour relationship or one that ends for one reason or another, I pick up and move on-- realizing that life goes on. I enter new relationships with optimism and hope (expect the best)-- rather than expecting the worst. I expect the best from others and my relationship with them, which I feel I do get the best from people.

4. may appear either grandiose and self-centered or seem selfless. I can say, from my own perspective, that these adjectives don't describe me. If anything, I put others needs before my own. I, do, at times, immerse myself too much into something, but I don't lose, neglect, or do a disservice to myself. I know limits.

5. feel that, "No matter what I do, it won't make a difference; I am and always will be worthless and unlovable." Completely not me. I am worthy. I am lovable.

6. frequently feel defensive when even a minor negative feedback is given. They suffer feelings of severe humiliation if forced to look at mistakes or imperfections. Being an "all good" child of a BPD mother, this is one of the points that fits me. I know that my mother didn't tolerate me being less than what she expected of me, and what she expected of me was always the very best-- especially when it came to school and grades. I remember her getting mad at me for bringing home straight A's and S's, except for one N (not satisfactory) in self-control ("talks too much"). I remember being so nervous bringing that report card home to her. Even when it came to cleaning something, I had to do a spotless and practically perfect job or else I had to go back and do it again.

To this day, I can be defensive, and I don't want to make mistakes. I am hard on myself, probably more than anyone else, and I strive to do the best that I can at my endeavors. I don't do things incomplete or sloppy-- I am thorough and meticulous.

7. frequently blame others before they can be blamed. I take the blame where I see the blame should be taken. I, however, expect others to take accountability for their actions if they are accountable. I am not a 'finger pointer' but I thoughtfully consider situations before drawing a conclusion, and if I feel like I am a part of the equation, I certainly will take my part and be accountable.

8. may suffer from debilitating guilt These individuals apologize constantly. They assume responsibility for the behavior of those around them. BINGO on this one. My mother and Dad are experts at flinging guilt-trips, and I have been on a guilt-trip practically my entire life (with family). My Dad creates these larger than life scenarios, the need to 'have a talk', and continues to grow the guilt trip larger. He always expects me to apologize. My mother, on the other hand, just wants me to take the blame for her bad behavior and take the burden off of her shoulders. She likes to play the victim and plays the 'poor pitiful me' to a "T"... and with that, she is the grand manipulator with guilt as a tool. I have recently been able to free myself of the guilt-- knowledge is a powerful defense. The more I know what makes my mother and Dad tick, the more I am able to understand that I am just the recipient of their toxic bi-products, one of which is guilt. I am no longer apologizing to them-- I am apologizing to myself for tolerating this treatment for too long (and not exiting out sooner).

9. feel like outsiders. They feel a pervasive sense of loneliness throughout their lives, even when surrounded with those who love and care. Yes, yes, yes. I have always felt like an outsider in my own family. I don't think I have ever felt like I fit. I feel like I fit with my friends, and interestingly, I have always considered my friends as my family. I haven't felt lonely in life... I have felt lonely in family life. I haven't had family support to cheer me on through tough times. I haven't had the family root me on during my achievements. I have had so many holidays alone and sad. I have had so many birthdays unrecognized. I have felt invisible. I have felt like a 2nd rate member of my family. I do feel the love of my daughter, husband, and friends. But in regard to the love from my mother and Dad, I haven't truly felt that since I was a little, little girl.

10.project their beliefs about themselves onto others. They engage in mind-reading that is not in their favor, consistently feeling judged by others. This doesn't apply to me.

11. often feel ugly, flawed and imperfect. These feelings regarding self may lead to focus on clothing and makeup in an attempt to hide flaws in personal appearance and self. This doesn't apply to me.

12. often feel angry and judgmental towards the qualities in others that they feel ashamed of in themselves. This can lead to shaming others. This doesn't apply to me.

13. often feel controlled from the outside as well as from within. Normal spontaneous expression is blocked. This doesn't apply to me.

14. feel they must do things perfectly or not at all. This internalized belief frequently leads to performance anxiety and procrastination. I do feel that I need to do things to the best of my abilities, and I think that I should consistently put my best out there. I don't feel that my best is 'perfect' by any means. I have experienced performance anxiety at times, but I am not a procrastinator AT ALL. I actually am quite the opposite. My performance anxiety popped up with one of my jobs in my professional life only-- and when removed from the high pressured position, that performance anxiety dissipated.

15. experience depression. I have had my ups and downs but I don't think I experience depression outside of the ordinary.

16. block their feelings of shame through compulsive behaviors like being a workaholic, having eating / shopping / substance abuse disorders, list-making or gambling. I don't have compulsive behaviors.

17. lie to themselves and others. I don't lie to myself nor others.

18. often have caseloads rather than friendships. This doesn't apply to me.

19. often involve themselves in compulsive processing of past interactions and events and intellectualization as a defense against pain. After thinking about the meaning of this statement, I take this to mean that the adult child shamed in childhood incessantly thinks about the past and tries to make sense of it all in order to deal with the painful experiences. I do think of the past and try to piece it all together; I also analyze and pick apart current / recent encounters that have been filled with friction in regard to my family. I do try to take the past and understand it so that I can come to peace with it and move on. I also try to understand my actions and reactions in these scenarios, trying to isolate my part in these frictions, so that I won't make the same mistakes or won't take unnecessary blame. I would venture to guess that I think about the past and its components a great deal more than the average person-- and I would venture to guess that I am like this because of the nature of my past. The past shapes the person who you are today-- and since nothing has been clear cut with either parent or what has happened as a result of my parents, compulsively processing and intellectualizing is a result.

20. have little sense of emotional boundaries. They feel constantly violated by others. They frequently build false boundaries through walls, rage, pleasing or isolation. Completely doesn't apply to me.

21. are stuck in dependency or counter-dependency. This doesn't apply to me.

So with this list, you can see I exhibit residual effects from the abuse I endure from my BPD mother and NPD father. I can trace how I realized that I was feeling after-effects:

Once I turned 18, I was out on my own and concentrating on getting a degree, working through college, and having a wonderful social life. I think my main issue at this time was trying to break free from the emotional control that my parents had over me-- guilt trips, manipulations, and conditional love. I wanted to (and always have wanted to) please them so much-- and if I pleased one, the other wasn't pleased... so I was constantly juggling. The juggling was so disconcerting.

Mid-way through college I went through a period of depression that I couldn't explain. I was making straight A's, running competitively, had wonderful friends, worked several jobs so money wasn't an issue, and I had my needs met being self-sufficient. I never did figure out what this depression was a result of, but one day I woke up and the weight was lifted off of my shoulders.

By the time I was out of college and in management, I realized that I was dealing with my boss a lot like I dealt with my Dad. This boss could put me on the defense identical to what my Dad would do to me. As a result, I reacted defensively-- feeling the need to explain to the nth degree. I did a great deal of soul searching, researching, and delving into spirituality at this time. I purchased books on how to deal with difficult people (difficult people like my Dad is difficult) and about believing in oneself and staying positive & happy.

I also struggled to find balance with work and private time as I worked up to 100 hours a week at times, and my mother didn't offer any support. She actually advocated staying in the position that I was overworked and underpaid AND miserable. I felt trapped and alone a lot of the time, and I felt as if life was unfolding around me, and I was only an observer. After an estrangement with my mother and a job change, I became peaceful and happy once again.

By the end of the 90's I was experiencing anxiety and starting having very bad problems with my stomach. I ended up diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and gall stones. The anxiety continued to accelerated during the time I reconciled with my estranged mother. Ultimately the anxiety subsided-- but I still have hints of it to this day. My stomach issues have also subsided.

During my entire life, I have not been good with confrontation. I do not greet distention or disagreement well. If any type of negatively stems from my family, my heart skips a beat, I feel the fight-or-flight kick in, and I shake. In regard to family challenges, I always prepare for the worst and realize I will be blamed for whatever is in question. I don't accept the blame, per se, but I realize that the situation will be manipulated one way or another to make it 'my fault'.

In my personal (friend / boyfriend / husband) and professional relationships, I do not analyze or intellectualize them; however, with my family, I am completely the opposite. And as the years have progressed, and the dysfunctional episodes continue to pop up, I tend to analyze and intellectualize more and more. Having a family that is so dysfunctional, keeping everything straight in your own head can be challenging. Having the support, love, and validation of trusted friends (and spouse) is vital. Being able to talk things through with people who have been there with you through thick & thin is worth more than any therapist can tell you. Having friends that have been through the same or similar situations is also more valuable than what any psychiatrist can give you. So, although I may think things through, I know that my processing is taking me to a place of acceptance and understanding-- a place where the pieces of the puzzle are fitting together.

My entire life I have always felt like an outsider in regard to my family. Whether it's with my birth father and his family, my Dad and his wife / kids, or my mother and her husband / kids, I have not felt like I fit in since my parents split in 1979. See subsequent blog entry: Feeling Like I Don't Belong to a Family. When that family unit was pulled apart by my mother's infidelities, my feeling like I belonged was also pulled apart:
  • My birth father and his family may have wanted to love me or to include me, but (1) getting to know them was too late (too much baggage had built up in my life that I couldn't handle another family added to the mix) (2) I didn't feel like I fit in (they had their own history, stories, and traditions that I was not a part of making) (3) they were just another group of 'nice' people... there are lots of 'nice' people out there, and trying to make them 'fit' into my confusing and whirlwind life was too much.
  • I was part of a family with Dad and his wife / children (my Dad had custody of my brother and me when he married his new wife); however, the family unit was brought together too soon after a tumultuous divorce between my mother and Dad. The situation seemed forced, and situations weren't handled with finesse or care. In fact, tensions were high from the beginning, and my step-mother managed to alienate me from the beginning. I left to move in with my mother.
  • My mother and step-father kept me as an outsider by making sure to remind me that my last name was different than theirs, reminding me that my brother is "JUST" my half-brother, and noting whenever possible that my mother is the "only" family that I've got (trying to keep me aligned with her but an outside to everyone else). My mother has tried to manipulate my family relationships my whole life.
As a result of a very disorderly, confusing, and cluttered upbringing, I have been very much a person who lives very orderly, clearly, and simply. I believe there's a place for everything and everything in its place. I wouldn't say I am a perfectionist, but I do believe in putting one's best foot forward every day. I feel as if I should treat everyone as I would want me to be treated... and I am acutely aware of the effects of my behavior / actions on others.

As brief as childhood is compared to one's entire life, the results are amazingly intense and enduring. Every day, I strive to overcome the results of my childhood and work on self-improvement. I also pray that I give my child the love, support, and safety that she needs to be a well adjusted and happy adult, ready to take on the world.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grandmother's Death | The Defining Moment

If there is one moment in my life that defines all the rest, a moment that changed the path of my life forever, and a moment that is pinnacle to my family's history, that moment is the death of my Grandmother-- the passing of her life. Today is the anniversary of my Grandmother's death, and although it's been 32 years, the news seems like it was delivered yesterday.

Before writing about her death, I want to write about her. She was the anchor that held the family together. She was a the strength and the glue that tied us all together. I remember her only from a child's perspective, but my Grandmother was one tough cookie. She was a loving, devoted, and loyal wife, a cherished mother, and an honored grandmother. She was a role model and a lady like Audrey Hepburn was a lady-- with impeccable taste, manicured style, and perfect manners.

With her death came the demise of my Grandfather who worshiped the ground she on which she walked. They had deep and affectionate relationship, and that love shone through to the end. My Grandfather was a lost soul without her on Earth with him, and although he struggled to continue with life, he wasn't the same. He joined her in heaven a little more than 19 months later.

With my Grandmother's death, my mother became unleashed. Her personality warped further into the dark abyss of her disorder. She inflicted her wrath onto my Grandfather, further spiraling him into depression, and, in my opinion, ultimately leading to his death. My mother further unleashed her wrath onto my immediate family-- cheating on my Dad with his friend and putting the family through a relentless divorce and emotional turmoil that lasted for years and years.

With my Grandmother's death, my brother and I never had another 'normal' holiday. We never had another experience with our Grandparents. We never had her unconditional, loyal, and devoted love that she lavished on us-- the type of love that my mother never truly showed us. My brother and I started on a journey with our parents, without my Grandparents' shield, that was riddled with criticism, judgment, confusion, mental & emotional abuse, and scars that would last a lifetime.

So this moment, the coming of the end of my Grandmother's life, is a moment that is pinnacle, life changing, and defining for my life. I can clearly reflect on how that specific moment in time changed the course of history for not only me, but also my intermediate family. Not only was the loss was profound, but the effect of the loss itself was profound. I have not had another moment that is so influential, intense, and impacting except the birth of my child.

And with my Grandmother's death, I experienced the feeling of deep loss-- a loss that I still feel to this day. I will always remember her style, I will always remember her laugh, I will always remember her cooking, and I will always remember her hugs. She touched my heart, and I am so blessed to have known her. How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to. I love you Grandma.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Seriously Demented | BPD Mother Replacing Daughter

What do you think of this?

First some facts:
  • My mother divorced my birth father in 1968 due to secretly reviving her relationship with her high-school sweetheart
  • My mother's 2nd husband adopted me and all evidence of my birth father was wiped clean (baby album, photos, birth certificate, etc)
  • My birth father remarried and had two kids (one boy and one girl)
  • My mother divorced my adopted dad in 1980, marrying my adopted dad's best friend with whom she had an affair
  • I don't have a relationship with my birth-father and his kids
  • My mother and I have had estrangements through the decades, and we are presently in an estrangement
Recently I discovered that my mother has struck-up a relationship with my half-sister (my birth father's daughter), and my step-father (my mother's present husband) just took my half-sister on a tour through his old job site this past weekend. I find this very odd, disturbing, and confusing.

More odd, disturbing, and confusing is that my half-sister is calling my mother "Gramma" and my step-father "Grampa"... and referring to each other as relatives. What!? To reiterate, my mother divorced my birth father in 1968, which he then remarried and had two children (one of which is my half-sister who was born in 1974). My birth father was erased from my life when I was only months old in 1968. When my mother divorced her 2nd husband (my adopted Dad) in 1979, my mother tried to push a relationship with my birth father in order to hurt my adopted Dad. I didn't peruse a relationship with my birth father, but my mother has always managed to stay in touch with them (my birth father and my half sister) in order to tell them all sorts of bad things about me when my mother and I are estranged.

At this point, with my half-sister calling my mother 'Gramma' and fostering a relationship as 'relatives', the relationship has crossed yet another dysfunctional line beyond all in the past. Even going to the point of taking her kids to see my mother, driving across states, and spending the night at my mother's house is simply ludicrous.

Replacing one person for another (my mother replacing me with my half-sister) has a psychiatric term but I haven't been able to find it. If you know to what I am referring, please let me know.

This whole circle of dysfunction is mind boggling... DEMENTED.

Monday, March 2, 2009

BPD Mother | Meddling with Our Lives (3)

Now that I have written about how my mother has meddled in my life since birth with my fathers... and how that meddling has now left me with shattered or splintered relationships with 3 father figures... I want to write about her present day meddling. This meddling is happening even though we've been estranged for almost 5 years.

My brother and mother have been estranged for almost 10 years at this point, and have only SEEN each other ONCE in 20 years. And like I just said, I've been estranged from her for almost 5 years. I posted a few posts back about how she all of the sudden popped up on Facebook (Rearing Their Ugly Heads), and although I blocked her, making myself invisible, my brother received an email from her and started to communicate with her. This was mid-February, and by the end of February, my brother ended up in jail for financial obligations he can't meet.

And all the sudden, my mother is this crusader, trying to rally people together to get my brother out of jail. I received an email from her the other day (my heart hit my feet), that was also sent to my step-brother (how in the world, he asks me, did she get his email!?), my brother's fiance (she had blocked my mother on Facebook, telling her she is not getting in the middle of anything), and my DAD (who says he wouldn't shed a tear if she died tomorrow)! In the email she says:

Dear Friends and Family, As we all know, xxxx is now in jail, and, is not doing well. I think he needs to get out because it is not helping his kids, nor his fiance, nor himself. I know that all of us have been "burned" over and over by xxxx, but in this case, I really think he needs help, psychiatrically and physically, and being in jail is only adding to his problems. It seems as though he will never dig himself out unless we help, AGAIN!!! As his Mom, I know that he needs to pay for his behavior, but this jail sentence of 90 days is punishing all of us and his kids, not just xxxx. So please, think it over. We all love xxxx and want to "straighten" him out, and helping him in the past has never worked. But please keep an open mind. If you have any other ideas, I would like to hear them. Thank you.

OH MY GOODNESS! How presumptuous to think you know what the heck is going on in his life! How presumptuous to think you even have an inkling of what he's been going through the last DECADE! How presumptuous to think you can just contact whoever you please and try to get them involved -- namely get them involved with YOUR CRUSADE. How inappropriate to talk about him in the way she did! How nervy she was to even think she could email and ask for an "open mind". BIZARRE. AGAIN.

I didn't respond. Neither did my step-brother. However, my brother's fiance responded. My brother's fiance said that my mother wanted everyone to pool money together to bail my brother out. AGAIN HOW PRESUMPTUOUS. Although my Dad has been selfish with his time, himself, and his love, he hasn't been selfish with his money in regard to my brother-- and my mother, of course, doesn't know this. After my mother emailed my brother's fiance a few times, she CALLS my Dad who tells her to not ever call again. So, my mother decides to bail my brother out and tells him she is going to do as such.

After a 24-hour period, my mother decides she's NOT going to bail him out but has my step-father speak to my brother and break the news. WHAT!? First of all, telling him you're going to bail him out, getting his hopes up, and then crashing them is uncalled for! Second of all, not having the kahunas to tell him yourself is despicable.

And if you read the post, Rearing Their Ugly Heads, about when she contacted my brother on Facebook around mid-February, you will read how she knocked him down pretty hard with harsh words and criticisms. Then when he's going through this tough time weeks later, she comes to his rescue as a crusader only to disappoint him. What a roller coaster ride.

Through all of this, she is still emailing my brother's fiance, adding comments about me here and there. My mother doesn't know that I have a good repore with my brother's fiance that dates back before my estrangement with my mother (my brother and her were estranged already so I kept news about him to myself), and so my brother's fiance knows better than to believe my mother's accusations, criticisms, and comments. I, however, am bothered that mother is still going after me... still willingly try to make her daughter look bad, trying to spread bad news about me, and trying to turn people against me. I know it's the BPD, but I still am baffled at her efforts to degrade and vilify me... and the lack of efforts to call me just prior to the estrangement.

So, here we are, almost 5 years into an estrangement, and she is still getting at me... I guess it will never end.

BPD Mother | Meddling with Our Lives (2)

I didn't mention in my last post about my step-father, and how he adds another element into the "I can't win" situation.

My step-father (my mother's husband) is my Dad's ex best-friend. He is the one that prescribed my mother Valium when my Grandmother passed away in 1977 (Fly to the Angels). My Dad and step-father (before he was my step-father of course) coached baseball together for years (his youngest son and my brother were on the same team year after year). Our families took trips together-- like to Disney World, to the lake, and so forth. Our families dined together, spent time at each others homes, and were integrated into each others lives for years and years.

During this time, my mother and this man started an affair with each other. And ultimately, he told his wife about the affair. My mother claims this is what 'forced' her to have to tell my Dad. She adds that she wouldn't have told him as she was not planning on leaving him or carrying on with the affair. Well, she did leave my Dad (You Dropped a Bomb on Me). She married this man VERY shortly thereafter (a little over a year later) and they are still married (1980 to present 2009).

My step-father was always pleasant, considerate, and helpful. He was the one that would sneak me home clothes for me to wear for my athletics when my mother expected me to buy all my clothes and toiletries with my $7 per week allowance (It's My Fault). He was the one that drove me to school. He was the one that came to my athletic events and took pictures. He was the one that cooked dinner and helped me with my homework. He was an attentive step-parent.

Now, if you have read the previous blogs, I have a Dad-- a Dad that I love. I also had just been through very turbulent times prior to the entry of my step-father into my life with my Grandparents dying in 1977 and 1978 (Fly to the Angels) then my parents going through a traumatic divorce in 1979 (You Dropped a Bomb on Me) leading to his marriage to my mother in 1980 (Home Sweet Home). So, the entry of a step-parent into my life was not during a time of clear head and stress free living.

I appreciated his efforts that he made for me. I thanked him when appropriate. I felt honored that he took interest in my life.

As far as 'replacing' my Dad, he was not a replacement. My mother was hoping and pushing for my step-father to be my Dad. She even mentioned having him adopt me and having me take on his last name (this was around the SAME time that she was pushing me to foster a relationship with my birth father). In all honesty, all of this was very confusing and disorienting if not kept in perspective: my birth father gave up his right to me to another man, for another man to raise me; my Dad is my Daddy, father, Dad and is the one who has invested his life into providing for me; my step-father is my mother's new husband, my Dad's ex best-friend. And I did keep it all in perspective.

Anyway, my mother always spoke about how much my step-father does for me and how much I should appreciate him... so much, to the point of protesting TOO MUCH. She pushed and pushed her points of what a good man he is (forgetting that HE is the one who betrayed his friend, cheated on his wife, and supposedly forced my mother into exposing the affair) and how much he loves me like his own daughter (he never said any of these things-- only she did up to the last day I spoke to her).

During the years, I had a copacetic and sometimes growing relationship with my step-father. During the mid 1990's, we was getting treated poorly by my mother (Here We Go Again). He and I talked on the phone often, even met for lunch here and there, speaking of her foul behavior toward him and how he should handle her. He was working his normal job AND running my mother's business at this point, as my mother felt too ill to work (she was in the process of being diagnosed with an auto-immune disease around this time). All the work was wearing him out, and she didn't express appreciation toward him-- only kept pushing him harder, criticizing him, and picking on everything he did. At one point he left her, and I always told him that I would support him if he wanted to confront her with her foul behavior (he never confronted her as she flies off the handle if anyone addresses her own behaviors with her. She can be quite scary).

Well, I ended up getting that package from my Dad from when he was moving (Here We Go Again). My Dad had some dishes from a dead mutual friend that my Dad and mother had back before the divorce, and my mother flew off the handle about the motives behind my Dad's package, ultimately saying I was siding with my Dad and called me a 'bitch' after I told my mother to get over it as she was divorced from him in 1979 (this was 1996). At this point, all the heat was taken off my step-father, and lo & behold, he did NOT assist me with my mother's foul behavior. He deserted me, and I ended up estranged from her for 3 years.

He was always such a push-over with my mother, taking her abuse. And this co-dependency didn't change once my mother and I started talking again in 1999 (In Through the Out Door), and I saw her back in action with him. She would talk so demeaning to his face and behind his back.

Before my beau ever asked me to marry him, I pondered how I was going to manage a wedding with such a cast of characters. I worried how I would ever be able to please my mother with how she pushed a relationship with my birth father and really pushed a relationship with my step-father, as well as demeaned and criticized my relationship with my Dad. I fretted over how I would be able to not hurt anyone's feelings, and how I would be able to include everyone and express my appreciation for them.

So, when my beau asked me to marry him, I knew I wanted my Dad to walk me down the aisle, but my mother, RIGHT OFF THE BAT, pushed how my step-father should walk me down the aisle (Little Women). She added right after that statement, that although he should walk me down the aisle, he should not have to PAY for anything in the wedding as he's not my father. WHAT!? Errr? My mother was so preoccupied with who was going to walk me down the aisle that she was forgetting that I hadn't even started to PLAN a wedding yet.

On that day that my mother and I had the falling out that lead to the present estrangement (Little Women), she started the whole discussion with a story of how my step-father was crying the night before because he wanted me to select him to walk me down the aisle. I remember being very puzzled as to (1) why my mother was telling me this (motive??) (2) how bizarre of a story this was. I didn't respond to her story, as I really didn't know what to say.

After all was said and done, she was yelling, "We're out!" and that she was going to call my birth father and tell him that he's not invited (even though no one was invited yet AS A WEDDING WASN'T EVEN PLANNED YET). Anyway, she really put me in a situation that was a no win. How in the world was I supposed to have a wedding where I had all of these 'father figures'?? And what an AWFUL situation for my Dad to have my birth father and his ex best-friend who had an affair with his wife at my wedding! What in the world is my mother thinking?

In the stream of emails that my mother shot off after she said she was 'out' of the wedding, she kept talking about all my step-father has done for me through the years, that he was more of a father to my than my own father. What my mother fails to recognize is that he is NOT my father. My step-father may be really nice, really sweet, and really good--but he is not my father. Period. My mother also decided in that stream of emails that she fired off to my friends, colleagues, fiance's family members, my Dad, and more, that I "kicked" her "out of the wedding". How can I kick her out when she wasn't even in!? Eh!? I only responded to one of her deranged emails, and in it, I asked her if she really was 'out' of the wedding as she repeated numerous times. She never addressed that.

The common theme that she has kept up since the beginning of the estrangement (which started after I called her twice, both times reaching my step-father, and asking to have her call me back, which she never did) has been that I broke her heart, that I am a liar, and that I kicked her out of my wedding. She also reiterates about how my step-father acted like my father and this is how I showed my appreciation for his years of support.

So... my step-father played a part in all of her meddling. And although my fiance called and cleared up the my mother's misstatements with my step-father, my step-father still didn't have anything to do with me once my mother went off the deep-end.

One wacky note: just before my wedding I get word that my mother contacted my birth-father's daughter (my half sister) and was trying to get a group of people together to 'crash my wedding (The Happiest Day of My Life). How crazy is that!? I had to have security watch over my wedding. How sad is that!?

My mother meddles... and keeps trying to meddle, using people around me as tools to get at me further. I keep trying to stay as far away as possible.