Thursday, November 15, 2007

actually, not all that good

As a general rule, it's not a good idea to complain too much. One, it's unattractive. Two, it's unproductive. Three, in many cases, one can't help but have a sneaking suspicion that the complainer has, in some way, contributed to creating or maintaining the situation complained about. That said, I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway.

I thought I'd kinda sorta made up with* my mother -- at least to the extent that Thanksgiving was on. However. I just got an email, saying that, while I'm welcome to make the 4 1/2 hour drive to her house and have dinner with the family, she wants me to leave immediately after the meal.

And L isn't invited.


*Made up with may not be exactly the right term. I don't think that she's angry at me about anything in particular. My impression is that she just feels very uncomfortable and awkward being around me these days because I'm so sad and so sensitive.


Thanks for your sympathy, thoughts, and suggestions, everyone. Especially yours, Akeeyu. The whole thing is just so hard to understand. Last week, or whenever it was that my mother was visiting, I said something about how sad she must feel to have lost two of her grandchildren. She looked at me at said, "Y'know, you're the very first person to acknowledge that I've lost anything at all."

61 comments:

Elizabeth said...

wtf????

Sara said...

Oh god, that sucks so hard. I'm sorry.

Jenny F. Scientist said...

How perfectly charming of her.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

Wow -- that sucks. I wish things were getting more clearly better on that front.

S. said...

This strikes me as deeply dishonest, as well as cruel. She hasn't technically disinvited you, but she's forced you to disinvite yourself.

Tash said...

Well! How utterly family-like and delightful. I'd do a drive-by. I mean that literally. Drive by the house, roll down the window, and throw a pumpkin pie onto the lawn with a nasty-gram tacked to it. And what's with not inviting L to what would be an otherwise joyous celebration, what with you putting on your coat while the coffee's brewing? (I'm sure he's crushed.) You're still welcome to come down my way.

Emily R said...

That sounds like the kind of invitation MY family would issue. Very nice.

Amelie said...

I'm once again lost for words. She "invites" you to drive 9h on your own, just to be in the awkward position of getting turkey, torn between your feelings of re-connection and grief, and having to leave right away? I know far too little about her to tell, but with some people this might be a way of not formally keeping you away but making circumstances such that they are sure you won't come. Which would be very, very sad.
Also, though it is probably beyond the scope of this blog: is she taking it out on L because of him, or because she expects it to hurt you? Either way, I'm sorry.

Beruriah said...

I have no words. None at all.

Niobe, I can't imagine how much it would hurt, but is this really a relationship worth maintaining? I'm really sorry.

Clementine said...

What the HELL? I just started reading your blog last week and I've been appalled by your family's lack of compassion for your losses. Gotta love an invitation like that, huh?

Waiting Amy said...

I don't know whether to be insanely angry for you, or terribly sad.

It is incredibly passive aggressive of her to do this. Indeed, I wonder if it is really worth getting yourself hurt over and over again. Although, I know we all only have one mother (generally).

If I live closer, please come!

niobe said...

I know I sound like a broken record (do people say that anymore? a broken cd, perhaps?), but this whole thing is just mystifying.

My mother and I had a perfectly good relationship for years and years. The death of the twins seems to have changed everything

DD said...

Why would she make such a blatant judgement about how you "might" be on that day? Of course you have the sadness with you, but can't she once think of how good you might feel being "welcome", that you may feel like staying a little longer? I would think you would know when the welcome has worn out and to have her tell you that up front makes it quite clear it was never sincerely there.

I am so angry and I don't know if you are, but fuck...it chaps my hide.

Virginia said...

I'll repeat an earlier comment: WTF??? I want to do something terribly mean to her, like hold her down and pluck out her nose hairs. Actually, it would probably feel really good to hit her a few dozen times. I'm so sorry - no one deserves that, and if you want to go be terribly mean to her, please do - and let us know about it.

I know you can hear me... said...

That deserves more than just complaining -- that's terrible!

I can't imagine what goes through some people's minds...especially when she is saying that to her own daughter!

I am crossing my fingers that she realizes that she is totally in the wrong, and then begs for your forgiveness. Although truth be told, I don't think you're obligated to give it to her.

painted maypole said...

???!???!??!??!??!?

nutty.

so you'll be staying home, I take it.

Rachel said...

I haven't been reading your blog long, but still what is wrong with your mom?

I am sorry that on top of everything you have been through, you have to deal with this drama.

Magpie said...

Shite. And L. How did he get disinvited?

I'm sorry for all the angst.

Becky said...

Complain away, Niobe. You deserve to let it all out (besides, that's what blogs are for, right?).

Bon said...

this isn't complaining, Niobe.

this is just stating a very sad affair. sounds to me like your mother, in some way, put up walls around the twins' death that have come to exclude you as well, or have left you on the other side at least.

as a parent, it hurts to see your child hurt...sure. but given her profession i'm assuming she knows on some level that by denying your sadness she's not helping you, and by essentially excluding you from family events she's causing more hurt.

does she blame you? or L? is the person who shall not be named also not invited? i just don't get it.

i am terribly sorry. and there is no need to be cheerful. your hurt is real, and deserves acknowledgement.

LAS said...

I don't know what to say - except what everyone has said, WTF????? I just don't get people. I hate the way that people will "uninvite" you by telling you to come while at the same time making you feel so completely unwelcome and uncomfortable that you wouldn't want to go. This doesn't even compare at all - but my brother the other day (who I haven't seen since June) (who, as you may know, I am mad at over the holiday stuff) will be back in the country on December 6th - and he said, of course you are welcome to come down there when we get there, but we are going to be extremely tired and we really just want to relax. I said, uh, okay, I guess I'll just see you some other time then. Your thing about complaining too much, good description - that would be me. I prefer to say that I am just commenting - just offering commentary, it's not my fault if everyone else thinks it's a complaint!

LAS said...

Just to add - I wasn't implying at all that you are complaining - I don't think you are. You should definitely get it out and you have every right to feel upset.

Christine said...

wow.

i am speechless. sorry this happened.

and i never think of you as a complainer. this post was not complain sounding at all. just factual.

Now i am a whiny complainer, but i am just trying to embrace it. ;-p

thrice said...

Okay, I'm relatively new here. Who is L? Anyone?

thrice said...

You can always come to my apt. Always relatively entertaining. **eyeroll**

Sorry.

Ruby said...

Your mothers behavior has left me speechless (as I prefer not to use that kind of language.)

You can come to my house and bring your whole family. Well I actually don't do thanksgiving (I give thanks every day)but we can do black Friday.

Wabi said...

I bet if someone said to your mom in a different setting, "Oh, I got invited to this party, but only if my husband stays home and I leave immediately after dessert," your mother would agree that this is rude and urge that person to not attend. How she can think this is an ok way to treat FAMILY is beyond me.

What an asshole.

ms. G said...

This isn't a complaint, Niobe. I am almost speechless. I not only can't believe your mothers behavior in the general sense, but her profession being what it is, makes is all the more shocking and unacceptable. so, does she see patients, and if so, when something terribly traumatic happens to them, does she then become *uncomfortable* around them too? I imagine some her patients must also be "sad" and "sensitive".

What a passive-aggressive thing to do with dinner. I still vote for you to make your own very fun plans, let her think you intended that all along.

One thing I am curious about is you stating you had a good relationship before. In what way? Was it only because things were fine, and stable in your life? How has she responded to other bad times for you? Or didn't she know you ever had any, and now she can't avoid it? To me, her behavior here, calls into question the whole relationship. It obviously wasn't what it seemed, since she can't even seem to treat you with basic respect.

Marcelle Proust said...

I completely agree about complaining . . . but I just don't think those items apply here. Especially since it seems like your mother has more to do with creating and maintaining the situation than you do.

LawMommy said...

What amazing hospitality she has...or...not...what the hell?? Did you tell her she could suck it? (Sorry, feeling foul-mouthed this afternoon.)

G

nancy said...

Wow. That sucks. I'm so sorry.

Robyn said...

Oh Niobe, I'm so sorry. I commented on the wedding cake post about how my mum refused to come to my wedding. It was in a passing conversation years later that a tiny piece of family history filled in a gap and helped me understand why she did it. I guess what I'm trying to say is that this behaviour is most likely all about her issues. That doesn't make it any less painful though and, believe me, I speak from experience. And it's not complaining to put puzzling behaviour like this out there for discussion...it helps to see that you're not the only one who thinks this is just plain wrong.

Wishing you peace.

Ms. Planner said...

whaaa? You mention that you sort of *made up* with your mother, which would imply some sort of forgiveness on both sides. Only her request leaves me wondering if she'll only heal the relationship if it is on her terms. I am sorry about all of this for you (and L).

Rosepetal said...

I'm sorry Niobe. And for her not to invite L is very hurtful.

akeeyu said...

I say make the 4.5 hour drive with a carefully sealed paper bag o' dog doo in the trunk. Upon arrival, place bag on porch, light, ring doorbell, run like hell and be done with her, once and for all.

akeeyu said...

Alternate suggestion: Just go, take L, and don't leave until you damned well feel like it. If she calls you on it, say "Well, I didn't think you could possibly be serious about that. Who's that rude/inhumane/crazy?"

Emily said...

Sometimes, it sucks to have to waste perfectly good holidays on family.

Lori said...

Speechless. And sad.

This is totally out of left field, and I have no real basis for this question, but is there any possibility that your mother is envious of the grief you have felt (feel) over the loss of your twins? She appears to be behaving as though she feels you have slighted her in some way?

Cate said...

KFC is offering a whole deep fried turkey meal with all the fixings for $60. I say go with that. At least with KFC you know what you are getting..no pretenses. And no 9 hour round trip to bother with. Unless there isn't a KFC in your town, in that case I guess you're fucked. (poor attempt at humor)

susan said...

Um, wtf? that is insane.

thailandchani said...

Well, I must honestly say that I wouldn't drive ten minutes to visit with someone like that.

Not even ten minutes....

Aurelia said...

I've been looking at this post for hours, with tears in my eyes.

You know the epithets I want to hurl in your mother's direction.

I think she feels guilt over her actions after the twins died, and she can't admit what she did was wrong, or that she needs to ask forgiveness, so she is trying to avoid you.

She is a gutless coward, and as a member of the International Order of Motherhood, I'm tossing her ass out of the union. She's lost the right to EVER refer to herself as a mother, EVER EVER EVER.

As for you and L. and He Who Shall Not Be Named, I already asked Mr.Cotta, and you are invited up to our place for the weekend. I can cook a great turkey, you can stay here, and have a wonderful time.

Come please, I'm not joking.

ms. G said...

Mmmm...your addition makes for interesting thoughts. It's curious to me because she hasn't really acknowledged that YOU have lost anything. I'm sorry, Niobe, sorry that you have to deal with this, sorry that is seems you can't be yourself even with your family.

Angel Mom said...

Niobe, like many others, I just don't know what to say. I am so sorry.

slouching mom said...

I don't understand her AT ALL. And in theory I've been trained to understand people.

Julia said...

Your addition...
Interesting indeed. She wanted you to share in other people's happiness not a month out from your delivery. As if what you lost wasn't that important. But it is clearly important enough to her to notice that others have not acknowledged her loss. I think there is a lot of conflicting feeling happening with her, and she is purging them with hissy fits. Doesn't make it right or even ok, especially because it continues to hurt you, and she really should have more care for you than that.

Lori said...

Hmmmm.... well that plays into my "envy theory", or something along those lines. Even her strange invitation; it has the sound of someone who is afraid you are going to come along and steal her thunder, so to speak. What that thunder is, I of course have no idea.

Caro said...

speechless. just. speechless.

Rebecca said...

And what did he do to her, hmm?

Gosh, if you fancy a thanksgiving free November, get a transatlantic flight and we'll party Yorkshire style ;)

Furrow said...

There's not really anything left for me to say that someone else hasn't already said better.

I'm sorry that this keeps happening. There's clearly something broken in your mother, and one might even feel sympathy for her if one tried really, really hard. It's not your fault. Not that that makes it any easier.

Beruriah said...

Well now I really don't understand your mother. What on earth could she have meant by that?

Catherine said...

How horrible. What do you plan to do?

Virginia said...

I know she's some sort of a shrink, but have you considered sitting her down and saying, "Mother, until you get some professional counseling, I will not be allowing you to be involved in my life?"

Ok, I know that would be a slap in the face for her, but come on...she needs the help.

And my mother, after my son died, told me to use it as a learning and growing experience, then asked me to phone my pregnant cousin who was sure her baby would die too. Because I should think about other people other than myself. Yeah. Not. At which point I wanted to scream at her, "For once, mother, this is all about me!!" Maybe you should do that too.

I'm ranting, but this really pisses me off.

Anonymous said...

unbelievable. why?

My Reality said...

Wow. I am in shock. And I am sorry she could do this to you.

kate said...

Like someone else said, this sounds like something MY mother would do. In fact, she has done such things.

My relationship with my mother had been troubles before Nicolas died, but his death broke it entirely. There will never be emotional content on my side again. I am done with that. I am there for her now purely because it is mt duty to be so.

If this is a sudden change for your mother, though, could it be the beginning of dementia?

tipsymarie said...

I like Akeeyu's second idea.

I think the last time I replied on a post about your mother and the Thanksgiving Issue, I said I couldn't believe you weren't angry. At least, you don't appear angry in your writing. You seem confused.

The only thing that makes sense in this case is the death of your babies is just too much for her to deal with - both in the sense of your personal loss and in the sense of her loss; neither of which she wants to acknowledge for fear of becoming vulnerable to pain. Some people will do anything to avoid dealing with negative emotions; she certainly seems to qualify.
She appears genuinely incapable of dealing with this in any supportive and reasonable fashion.

T said...

Disengage, disengage! Seriously - can you sit her down and tell her how much she's hurting your friends inside the computer?

My sister never offers condolences on my losses. WTF is wrong with these people?

Sweet!

Maddie's Mom said...

I just don't understand your mom. I wouldn't give myself any more stress and grief by going to her house for Thanksgiving.

alice said...

Niobe,
Coming to this late, but I want to echo Virginia's comments. Your mother is cut off -- she does not deserve you. I realize that sounds harsh, however, it appears that she takes opportunities of communication as opportunites to hurt you. A calm, disinterested communication from you telling her that until she seeks counseling, you will no longer be available to her in any form (email, phone, etc.). Only then will she no longer have the power to hurt you. Letting go of those kinds of people in my life (family and former friends who would do and say horrible, horrible things) has made my burdens much easier to carry. Being with those for whom you are truly THANKFUL is needed on such difficult days.

missing_one said...

I don't understand this woman at all.
It sounds as though she is trying to punish you for something that is not your fault at all...
I say, go, eat, have a couple of glasses of wine and stay as long as you like.
oh did I mention WINE?!?!! Lots and lots of it..will make the bitterness go down a little easier, no?