Saturday, July 12, 2008

Part Three: Wherein we question, "Who is the Rock?"

Ah, the drama of this week.

I remember living like this all the time. One more phone call. One more dissection of "What did she mean when she said that to him? Why didn't she tell him that other thing when she was saying this thing over here?" You can spend decades parsing one tale and the twelve conversations it sprouted from its twisted trunk. I know. I have.

A few months after I moved away from my family to California I said to Dear Butcher, "I have this weird feeling in my stomach, and I've been trying to figure out what's going on. I finally realized what it must be. It's the absence of a stomachache. I've had one every day for so long that I forgot what it felt like to not have one."

We fall now into the predictable pattern. My mother sends me a terse email with PROOF that she is correct in thinking that her former daughter-in-law is a creep. (And by extension that her son is not really that bad.) Ha! That'll convince you!

Which causes me to send her back an email saying "I love you; I'm not interested in abandoning all ties with you; I'm not trying to hurt you, but cut the crap already. I"m not reading confidential letters between patients and therapists even if they do prove your point. Shame on your son for giving them to you anyway."

Which causes my father to email me back saying that he agrees with me, but really, won't I just be that sympathetic ear my mother needs? You don't need to agree with her, but won't you just listen to her pain? For me? Hmm?

Which causes me to write....No. Wait. Back off. Shut up. Go away. Tell the chamber orchestra playing that ever so familiar waltz in the corner to pack up their instruments. Now is not the time to dance with these wackos.

On different days in different ways this has been going on all week.

I decided finally to try to get the other side of the story by calling my ex-sister-in-law. (I long ago decided to shorten all that crap to just "sister". I'm old enough; I get to choose my relatives.) Well, that was enlightening -- the best part being that she had no idea that DSS had been called, after my mother had been gloating "that now that the social worker has been in touch with Steph the shit will really hit the fan." We kibitzed, we laughed, we agreed that this is a whole truckload of crazy. Then she called back and things started getting weird with her, which I regret.

I sat on my conversation with her for a few hours (that's when I started writing all these posts, to try to process some of this stuff) and then decided that I had to call my Dad. I don't know who is telling the truth, and I can't spend time ferreting out the conflicting details, but I felt as if he deserved to know that in at least two stories that I had heard this week, he was being lied to.

I got him on the phone and told him that. When he tried to find out what I knew and when, I told him I wasn't playing that game. I only called him to warn him to look out, because either my mother or my brother, or both were lying. The sequence of events (whose gory details I won't bore you all with) simply do not add up.

Steph may not be telling the truth in all things, but I absolutely believe her reactions to shocking news. Being asked about a social worker sent her right over the edge. Therefore, she hadn't heard about it before, and either mom was lying to me, or brother was lying to mom when he said that there had been contact and the investigation was well under way.

At which point my mother, in all of her five foot three inches of blue flaming rage, stormed into my dad's office. He's trying to pretend that I'm not on the phone, but all the while trying to tell me what she's saying.

"Give it up Dad. Put me on the extension."

Much yelling and scuffling ensues.

My mother huffs, "What did you DO?"

"Excuse me?"

"What DID YOU DO?!"

"Hey. I'm not going to be spoken to that way. Calm down. I called Dad to say--"


"To whom? What?"


"Enough. I'll talk to you when you're calmer." Click.

We went through three rounds of this. "Screech!" Click. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

In a rather sick way, it was a little fun. "Oh, here she is again trying to yell at me." Click. "Ahhh."

Upshot of the whole fiasco is that apparently the social worker HADN'T yet contacted Steph, so my telling Steph that I was sorry to hear that she was having such a difficult time, and then my having to explain to her what I had heard (in very limited detail) was enough, in my mother's eyes, to ruin the entire investigation. "Your brother had DOCTORS lined up." And the role of the DSS is what, exactly? "Now she'll KNOW what to say." Like she wasn't going to know what to say beforehand? The social worker has to SET AN APPOINTMENT with you for the interview. Duh. It's not like the police: "OPEN UP! It's a social worker!!"

All of which left me saying, "You told me in your email that the social worker had already spoken to her. I went off your email."

"Well, that's only what I believed."

"Exactly. Which is why I called Dad to say that somewhere someone is being lied to."

"All I want to know is, why do you hate us so?"

Huge guffaws of laughter. And freedom. Finally. Peace in my chest.



That was last night. Since then. Nothing. No emails. No phone calls. And FINALLY for the first time in a week, I'm not spinning on this crap in my head. I'm not preparing for the next phone call, I'm not trying to figure out where my boundaries are.

Because I'm done. She's too much for me. And I feel no guilt whatsoever. I haven't ever felt this solid regarding her and her insanity.

I admit to feeling a little bad for my Dad. I think I'm hoping that he'll still find a way to, I dunno, think well of me? Respect me? I hope all this drama doesn't give him a heart attack either. But that's all that I've got left for those fruitcakes. Curiosity and a mild concern over their well-being. Sort of like when I walk past that koi fountain in the lobby of the old medical building. "Isn't that an awfully small place for them? Don't they get bored swimming in the same circles?" And the concern passes as I turn to read the directory by the elevators.


Megan Frampton said...

Thank goodness. That's too much crazy for you to deal with. I am proud of you for refusing to play the game any longer. I hope your nephews can get the help they obviously need.

Beth said...

Brava. :-)

Suisan said...

Thanks, ladies.

I feel so very terrible for my nephews. But realistically, I know that I can't do very much for them. That's a hard piece.

Considering what me and my husband went though in our own families, I predict they'll be pretty much lost in this quagmire until they are in their mid-thirties, at which point they'll either make a turn towards sanity or towards continued craziness.

If it were a novel, I'd hop on a bus and be the crazy Auntie who takes them on a cross-country trip while introducing them to roadhouses, truck stops, leathery-faced Indians, the powerful beauty of the American West, self-love, and knowing how to say "no". But unfortunately, I'm not in that book.

Beth said...

Well, speaking as an aunt to some children of truly fucked up families, I understand the helplessness. But I try to make myself available to them, and make sure they know they don't have to say nice things about their parents around me. If you can manage to keep contact with them, you might be able to do them some good simply by existing in their lives as a relatively sane adult.

Of course I'd love to load up a van with the lot of em, as you say, and give them a taste of a different life for themselves. But we do what we can.

CindyS said...

Isn't it horrible how we can be pulled into other people's drama. I hope you can keep your peace about you but you might want to change your phone number and your e-mail ;)