Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It's not Mother's Day

I have to warn you in advance that this is ridiculously long, and really dark. Pass on it if you need to, this is not a humor only blog.

The nightmares started again last night. I think it might have something to do with talking on the phone with my mother last night and realizing she had manipulated me into letting her stay with me for 10 days over Christmas. And I didn't even realize what she had done until I awoke from a nightmare literally kicking "my attacker" who turned out to be a fat cat at the foot of the bed. At 4:30 in the morning I counted the dates on my fingers, and realized with a sense of panic and dread that I had agreed to 10 days.

Her summer visit turned out so badly this year that when she tried to manipulate me by saying, "oh, I guess I've overstayed my welcome". I didn't disagree. "Oh, maybe I should leave early", to which I also didn't disagree. So, she left early, with the vague threat that if she even did come back for Christmas, she would be staying in a hotel. I did not try to dissuade her.

I am not one to hold a grudge, and have remained on friendly terms with her, from 1500 miles away. When she told me in October that she would be coming for Christmas, but would be staying with my niece, KM, I agreed to help her book her flight. She, and my sister Shouf, are coming in on 12/21. Although she wanted to go back before the new year, there were literally no flights on Southwest except for New Year's Eve, late in the evening. Her 85 year old boyfriend understandably did not want to be out on the roads then to pick them up. Also, if they waited to go home until January 3rd, she'd save $100 a ticket. So that was what I booked.

I was grateful to my niece for offering to put my mother up at all, so when my mother asked if she could stay with me for a couple of days since she had prolonged the trip and didn't want to be a burden on KM for all that time, I said okay. I can handle a couple of days. I may have to hide in the basement so I can smoke and stay away from her, and I won't have access to my computer as it will be in my bedroom where I let her stay, I can handle a couple of days.

Let me take a brief interlude in the story to tell you about my mother. I don't think she's ever been properly diagnosed. Mental illness runs in our family with a mean streak, and I think she's got a combination of things going on. She's definitely been diagnosed with depression, but she also suffers from delusions of grandeur and possibly borderline personality disorder. I thought she was getting better over the years, being away from us kids and the stress we cause her, but this past summer made me think she's actually getting worse. Having been a psych nurse for many years, she knows how to fool people into hearing what they want to hear so she's on meds for depression only.

When she first shows up, everything is sunshine and happiness, but the more she stays, the more she warms up, the more she takes over. It's a control thing. The little zingers start. Then she starts to spread her stuff out all over every available space. Every surface in my bedroom where I let her sleep is covered, then the bathroom, then the dining room table and buffet, then the counters of my highly counterless kitchen.

Then the advice and lectures start. She never stops talking for a minute, so you never get a minute of peace anyway. In start the suggestions, then the critisisms of everything I do from what I buy at the grocery store to what I eat, how I raise my child, how I clean my house, how I spend my "money" (ha-ha). Then the crazy starts to come out, "those landlords of yours are no good evil Germans, I could tell the first time I laid eyes on her that her parents are probably Nazis. And Him. He's not a man of his word. How could he let you live in this dump telling you he's going to fix this place up". Said out loud on my back porch while the no-good-evil-Nazi landlords were outside, right next door in our shared driveway.

One night, about six long weeks into her visit this past summer, I was sitting on the back porch smoking and she cornered me. I don't know what had crawled up her ass and died that day, but she started laying in to me about everything under the sun that she could think of to criticize me about. Other than getting in the car and leaving, I had no where to go. She was already occupying my bedroom, she had me cornered on the back porch and the living room I was sleeping in doesn't have a door on it. What was I going to do, lock myself in the bathroom? While I had tears rolling down my face, I very calmly asked her to stop, stop now. She kept going, holding me emotionally hostage, and seemed to be enjoying the attack mode. I don't like being unkind, and she knows it.

I finally told her she needed to go to bed, NOW. When she kept going, I said through clenched teeth, "You Need To Get The Fuck Away From Me, NOW, Mom!". She looked at me like I had slapped her in the face, and she went in.

I didn't really sleep that night. She had the temerity to call me at work the next day, all sunshine, "Hi, Honey! How are you?" I replied with a flat, "fine". "Oh, I see, nevermind". And the bitch hung up on me.

When I got home from work, I couldn't even look at her, nevermind talk to her. I made sure everyone had dinner, and went outside to my back porch. After a while, she walked down the stairs and went out to my little table and chair set at the end of the driveway to call her boyfriend. I could hear her gaily conversing with him, but after a while it sounded like the conversation had taken a turn for the worse as she was angrily yelling things, and then it sounded like she was sobbing. I know for a fact she doesn't pull this side out for her boyfriend, so I peeked around the hedge, and sure enough the phone was down on the table and she was angrily muttering and sobbing to herself, theatrically holding her drink up to her forehead every couple of minutes or so. In full view of all of my neighbors including the landlords.

She finally decided she had milked that scene for all it was worth, and came up the back porch with snot dripping down her face, "uh-huh, gasp, uh-huh, gasp, uh-huh" sobbing up each of the six back stairs. "Mom, are you okay?" "I'm fiiiiiiine." Oy, flash backs to childhood. So much fun.

I waited as long as I could before going back inside, but I finally had to pee. As soon as I opened the door, I saw the empty bottle of Adivan strategically placed on the kitchen counter. I knew she had had a couple of gin and tonics, and didn't know whether the bottle was truly empty or whether she had tried to overdose. As I walked through the dining room, she came flitting down the stairs in one of her see-through little nighties. Not a pretty sight to see from an overweight 70 year woman with knockers down to her knees.

I asked her where her slippers and robe were. She replied, "who cares, Who Cares, WHO CARES?" in this loud sing-songy voice. Keep in mind she is a diabetic who should never have her feet exposed, also the image above should never be exposed. I pointed my finger right in her face and said, "Knock it off Right Now. I will NOT have you traumatize My Child!".

I made sure she hadn't overdosed, and she went to bed, finally. Again, I didn't sleep that night.

Again, she called me at work the next day, knowing I couldn't respond, and told me she was so sorry, she didn't know what had happened. She must have "lost her mind" or something, she couldn't believe how she had acted and was there any way I could forgive her. All I could come up with was, "I can't talk about this right now, but we need to talk about this later." When I got home, and again made sure everyone had dinner, I pulled her out back and straight out said to her that her mental instability was affecting my mental stability and I would not have this in my house any longer. Period. I asked her about her meds, which she seemed to be taking, and I flat out told her they needed to be adjusted.

On top of that, she started some weird shit were she pretended to flinch everytime I came into the room after that. Like I was going to HIT her or something. It was totally demented. I've never hit anyone in my life.

Then she started the shit about leaving early. Okay, bye-bye. I'm done, I've had enough. When you start to fuck with my ability to take care of my kid, nevermind. I'm already a bad enough mother, I don't need YOUR help.

So, where were we?

My mother called over the weekend, but I didn't have time to talk to her. I literally have to carve out a chunk of time because she never stops for a breath, and I really hate talking on the phone. I called her back last night only because I needed to tell her something important, which I was finally able to do after 15 minutes of her rambling.

We talked about this and that, and I asked about the scheduling for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Just so I can have an idea in my head as obviously everything is going to revolve around her as usual. She actually said, I shit you not, "Well, Christmas might be frugal this year, but my present to all of you is that I'm actually going to be there". I almost threw up in my mouth. But again, I don't like to be unkind, so I started saying, "uh-huh, uh-huh", trying to wrap up her self-absorbed show so I could get the fuck off the phone. Before I knew it, she had suggested that when my niece KM brings her over for Christmas she should just stay at my house. "After all, it's just a couple of days...". I agreed, blah, blah, blah. Set Me Free From This Phone Call, Please, Lord...

I awoke at 4:30am this morning counting my fucking fingers. December 25 to January 3 is 10 fucking days. I don't know how I am going to survive.


carolyn said...

Get that woman a hotel room. I'm getting anxious just thinking about you spending 10 days with her in your house.

Gwen said...

Eerily familiar but on a much higher level. I feel for you. Maybe you could bribe the local CDC and get a quarantine sign for your front door.

Vodka Mom said...

get your ass over here. You're staying with me. (just bring some vodka)

Memarie Lane said...

my mil is like that too, minus the crazy bits. the first couple days are great, and she always brings lots of awesome presents and such. but if the stay extends any longer she gets more and more critical and finds fault with everything i do. she no longer stays for more than two days. i really hope something changes so you don't have to deal with this!

~E said...

I'm sorry Fancy. :(

Greta said...

OMG fancy! You're freakin me out! Believe me when I say we ALL have mommy and daddy issues!

You will survive the holidays!!! I promise you! Lol!

That damn expat said...

Oh this is really sad. I know it's hard with family, but try not to let her get to you too much. Keep telling yourself it's only 10 days out of 365.

LYDIA said...

I liked this post because I learned a lot about you in it :) I still need to write my depression post - when I do, I want your input. You will make it through the holidays! You will!

kate said...

Ok...you need to say NO. Just no. It's not healthy for you or your mom (not to mention your son) for her to be in your house. If you can handle it, tell her is welcome to stay Christmas night ONLY. Not to be mean, but just because she gave birth to you does NOT give her license to invade your home and terrorize you.

JoJo said...

Oh dear lord Fancy, she must be MY mom's long lost sister. Girl, I hear you LOUD & CLEAR. I could have written a good portion of that tirade. Whenever I arrive in Hyannis, the countdown clock in my head starts. "5 days, 5 hours till I get back on that bus for Logan Airport". After the initial pleasantries, the picking starts. I eat too fast. I eat too much. That's fattening. You need new clothes. You're driving too fast. You're tailgating him. Let's go get you some new clothes. Your hair is so messy. Comb your hair. You should get a haircut b/c long hair is not becoming on older women. Ad nauseum.

By the time I leave, I am that scared, desperate, depressed teenager that doesn't understand why mommy doesn't love her the way she is and why I can't measure up.

All my life, for as far back as I can remember, I longed for the day when I could put a lot of distance b/t us. Although I loved my dad and would miss him, I had to flee to the west coast.

Before I hijack your blog comments, I'm gonna send you a message via FB.

chaos37 said...

Ya know, if you want to tag-team her, we could insist she stay with KM as originally planned, only allowing her to stay with you a limited # of days. Sorry, as you know she won't stay with me... Love you. Sorry!! [You may recall she's done the exact same song & dance routine to me in the past...]

Aunt Becky said...

Hotel room. STAT. No need to relive all that garbage.

I'm so sorry, my friend. I understand how you feel.

Whiskeymarie said...

To a slightly lesser degree, I feel the same way whenever my younger sister makes an appearance.
The dread sets in, I imagine the worst will happen...

Then she somehow manages to live up to my low expectations and make my life so much more difficult than before she walked through the door.

Argh. I feel your pain. I'm lucky in that my sister just went back home for a good long while. Amen, thank you baby Jeebus.

mike said...

This is the first post of yours I have read. You write really well.

I hope it works out with your mother... I think that is the same feeling my parents get when they see ME. Oh well.