shiraphant: (rainbow eye)
[personal profile] shiraphant
James' mum. *shakes head*

Basically I'm using large chunks of a conversation I had with [livejournal.com profile] apiphile shortly after this all happened, because there's so much to type. There'll be some background in there also.

Over the past few years, she's insulted me in many ways - almost always when James was not in the room, though that didn't mean he couldn't hear it. She has:

1) Accused me of being a golddigger: "I don't like people taking James for a financial ride, you know" (after she heard that he had - as a complete surprise for me - bought me some art supplies). I mean really now. As James' dad said "If you were after a man with money you wouldn't have married James!"

2) Demanded explanations and justifications for things and then when I've started to answer, immediately made it clear she wasn't listening - usually by reading her book and going "Hmm, hmmm" at random intervals.

3) Cross-examined me on where I got the money to go to Edinburgh and buy James' Christmas presents (money I had earned by painting a commission for someone, not that it was her business), and accused me of "trying to buy love"

4) Told me repeatedly "Don't push James into having children. He's never wanted them" which a) rude b) he had never discussed it with her and was baffled that she would say that, when I told him about it after the third occasion. When we told her we'd had ICSI treatment and that I was possibly pregnant, she was singularly underwhelmed and showed no pleasure, just said with a tight smile "Thank you for telling me". James was quite hurt by the lack of enthusiasm, and I was not at all surprised when she didn't seem at all bothered by my miscarriage. We're pretty sure she just didn't want me to have his child.

5) Demanded that I explain to her how I thought I could have a child when I'm unable to have a job (and was unsatisfied when I explained that my unemployability was as much to do with the nature of employers and the job market as it is to do with my illness)

6) Told me "well you'll just have to put up with it" when I expressed worry last year about being upset at spending Boxing Day in the presence of my sister-in-law and her six-week-old baby

7) Repeatedly invited herself to come and stay at our house several times a year - most recently, she had planned to come and stay only four weeks after we'd moved to a different country, which itself was only a few weeks after losing our baby

8) Said (in a very dismissive tone) "Oh I can't keep up with all your illnesses, you've got a new one every time I see you, you've got about nine now, haven't you?"

9) Accused my dad of telling her my mum was a whore, except she pronounced it "war". My dad was gobsmacked that she would say that, as he didn't say anything of the sort, and even my mum - who doesn't like or talk to my dad - said he would never say that, let alone about her.

10) Expressed "shock" that my mum shared a hotel room with my ex-stepdad the night before my wedding. They shared a room, not a bed, for budget reasons, and it was none of her business anyway

11) Went on at me about how boring and fat and lazy and sluggish James' brother is and always has been, and made subtle little digs about my weight and exercise levels

12) Insisted (with much emotional blackmail) on James' cousins being invited to the wedding when none of my cousins had been, for budget reasons - this despite the fact that James never speaks to any of them, he barely even talks to his siblings. Several of my family are now not speaking to me because they weren't invited and James' cousins were.

13) Told me repeatedly that I couldn't be autistic because I'm nothing like this one other girl she's met who is autistic

14) Told me "it's just as well you can't have children because you wouldn't be able to look after them properly"

15) Repeatedly made a point of praising the (thin cats) Ruffy and Lula, and referring to my (very fat, but just as active and eating no differently) cat Bessie as "fatty" and "the big fat thing" EVEN AFTER I ASKED HER NOT TO DO IT

16) Told me I have no right to complain about mine and James' financial situation as I don't earn any money.

17) Said to me and Melissa "Gays think differently to us!"

18) On the first night of her stay, the other three had pasta, which I can't have. I was too spoonless to cook for myself but because she'd been going on all day about how poor James has to do everything, I was buggered if I was going to ask anyone to cook for me, so I didn't eat and of course went hypo, which she thought was attention-seeking, despite nobody having mentioned my not eating.The next night, James cooked for us all and he was right there with his bowl of food in his hand and she was all OH JAMES AREN'T YOU HAVING ANYTHING? He looked really baffled and said "I've...got my dinner right here, same as yours."
She kept going on about how she was worried he didn't eat enough because he's so thin - with the obvious corollary to that being that I obviously eat far too much because I'm so fat, and so does Melissa. You've never known a man with a bigger appetite than James. He is Mr Two Pub Lunches Then Finishes Someone Else's.
When James said he was going to make dinner one night, Melissa said it was ok, she'd eaten - which, yeah, she'd eaten one meal all day - and Kathy went "SHE'S ALREADY EATEN!" as if Melissa was the one who got through a dozen eggs, a block of cheese, three packs of gammon cubes, a packet of Toffypops and almost a whole large loaf of bread in 3 days (this just being for lunches and snacks during the day). But of course it's ok for her, because she's not OMG FAT, despite her proud proclamations of never having dieted in her life.


And all this while acting all sweetness and light when other people were around. There's been other stuff, but that list is more than long enough. I tolerated this shit for James' sake but eventually I had had enough, and he agreed that I shouldn't have to put up with it. I'd never have taken that behaviour from anyone else for so long.


Basically after all her insults and continued rudeness, James (who was upset because a) it's his mum and who likes to acknowledge that they were born to a fucking delusional rude nasty bitch b) he does not do confrontation or strong emotion) said he wasn't happy with how she's been speaking to and treating me. To our utter gobsmackedness, she started shouting at me "I've been SO ANGRY these past three days! Why are you ALWAYS SO HORRIBLE! You're SO SELFISH, you never think about anyone or anything but YOURSELF!" Apparently I am constantly making her justify herself to me, I'm an attention seeker who is "conveniently not well enough" to do some things but then "suddenly ok again", I'm a mercenary gold-digger, I ruined her mum's funeral (by having a migraine, apparently) - on and on. Basically she did a lot of projection and denied everything she'd ever said to me, even when Melissa and/or James had heard it too. Either she hadn't said it at all, or I was wilfully misinterpreting it.

After that initial opening James was too shocked to say anything much and it was mostly her shouting at me and me shouting back, having realised no amount of reasoning was going to work, and lost my temper quite some way.
At one point she got up to walk away and I got literally two inches from her face and bellowed in a sort of deathmetal growl which later hurt my throat: "YOU WILL SIT DOWN, BITCH, I HAVE GOT THINGS TO SAY TO YOU AND YOU WILL FUCKING LISTEN SO SIT. DOWN. NOW!" She did, but only after I had agreed not to swear any more. You can imagine how long that lasted.

James did point out that she *had* said the things she was denying/saying I had deliberately misinterpreted because he heard her. Unsurprisingly, she just insisted that I had chosen to read things into her words because I am "SO DEFENSIVE!" to which I said "yes, because you keep attacking me!"
She was telling me I have such a negative attitude insisting I am in pain and can't work because "SOME PEOPLE ARE IN WHEELCHAIRS!" I said "WHOOP-DE-FUCKING DOO!", because I am mature and not at all prone to using sarcasm in a fight. I use a wheelchair myself sometimes, and really, most people in wheelchairs have the one. static. non-variable. disability which does not cause them constant and unpredictable pain and exhaustion, and nobody questions them because it's visible. Obviously, though, being in a wheelchair trumps any other disability.
She also told me "I think it's attention seeking, really I do" which surprised me about this much: >< (I don't suppose it ever occurs to people who accuse me of attention-seeking that if I really wanted attention I could get it in ways which didn't involve pretending to be ill my entire life, stopping myself earning money, denying myself any kind of social life or dignity, and causing people to think badly of me, but we can't go bringing earth logic into it, can we?)

She insisted my dad had called my mum a whore (again pronouncing it WAR), and I said "the word is WHORE, learn to pronounce it, and my father is a literate man. He didn't say it. Even my mum who doesn't like him said he wouldn't have said it. You're a shit-stirrer and a liar."
I called her a fucking bitch a lot, because when I have decided to dispense with restraint I really do just stop bothering with it.
Anyway, she kept shouting unbelievable bollocks and eventually I said "Get the fuck out of my house, now. I never want to see you again" and she shouted "FINE! I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU!"

Then she started saying "I'm not the only one who thinks this, the whole family has been saying it for years!" re: me being a selfish, lazy, lying bitch who uses James and could work if I wanted. This is interesting because when I said the other day that people think that, she said "Who says that? Pin it down! Name names! None of our family have ever said it!"

Then when I called her a bigoted fucking bitch she denied saying "Gays think differently to us", so Melissa backed me up. By this point I was beyond any semblance of reasonable behaviour so when she tried to walk away from me I followed the bitch down the hall to the spare room where she was packing and shouted "YOU'RE A BIGOTED FUCKING BITCH! DO YOU KNOW I'M QUEER?" Which she does as I have never made a secret of it. James went in to tell her he was sorry and he loved her but he agreed with me, and she was all "Oh, don't worry about it, I'm sure it'll sort itself out" which I have no idea what that means.

As she was leaving I said "You don't give your son much credit if you think he's been taken in by me pretending to be ill, and is being manipulated by me. He's a lot more intelligent than you seem to think he is." She, of course, ignored me.

We ordered a cab for €105 to take her to Dublin - she'd gone outside by this point - and James went out to tell her he was appalled by her response and that the cab was on its way.
He came back in saying she wasn't there, so he and Melissa went out in the car to find her - she'd so obviously done that deliberately to frighten and guilt-trip him.
Ten minutes later they were back, and James had to give the cab-driver a tenner and apologise for calling him out for nothing - it turned out she had gone next door, to the neighbours none of us have ever met, at 10pm on a Sunday, and taken her massive family drama to complete strangers who have three young children, and asked to stay the night. That speaks of absolutely massive entitlement issues and narcissism. Being lovely people, they said of course she could stay, and James left another €110 for the cab to take her to the airport in the morning, and went in the house to talk to her. Mr Next Door came to tell me what was going on, we swapped phone numbers, and I apologised profusely. (we took round a big box of chocolates to thank them a few nights later)


I phoned them half an hour or so later to see if he was still there. They said *she* was but he had left five or ten minutes before, so I went out to look for him and he was huddled in a corner by our front door.


Fuck knows what the bitch said to him but he was crying and gibbering and his mouth was slack and his nose was running and he was drooling and not responding to me. His arms and legs were all floppy and he was making sounds like he was trying to sing some kids' song. All I could do was keep wiping his nose and talking to him and trying to help him to stand up so we could get him indoors.

Eventually Melissa and I got him in. I put him on the bed and he spent the next few hours gibbering and crying and laughing to himself and only responding with "I don't believe in boots" or "I don't believe in Ruffy" when I asked him if he wanted me to take his boots off and when I said "look, Ruffy is here". Anything I mentioned, he just grinned and said "I don't believe in *thing*". I have never been so frightened in my fucking life. He was totally, totally gone. I will never forgive that fucking evil bitch for doing that to my intelligent, well-balanced, rational, sweet husband.

I emailed his boss to say there'd been a major family crisis and wouldn't be in, which turned out to be ok because they're good like that where he works. Thankfully he was mostly back to normal after 12 hours of sleep, and he went back to work on the Tuesday, but he lost a block of time in the evening - he spoke to me at 7.30 and said he was about to leave the office, but then didn't get in until 10.30. Apparently he has no recollection of 7.30-9pm.


His mum sent him the money for the cab the other day. I said I didn't want her fucking money but James pointed out it was our money anyway. He's said he doesn't know if he will ever want to speak to her again, and he definitely doesn't want to right now. He's just amazed that she showed herself to be such a nasty, bigoted, hypocritical, lying, wilfully ignorant bitch. I am very very glad he had the strength of mind to overcome his conditioning and realise that she isn't the person he always believed she was. He was already believing it intellectually, but I don't think he would have got it on a visceral level without witnessing her attack on me, where he was left thinking something like "I don't know who the hell this awful person is that you're talking about but it's certainly not my wife, she is none of these things."


We spoke to his sister Fiona to try and let her know our version of things, she was mainly neutral but basically said her mum has only ever said good things about me, everyone thought I was the favoured inlaw, she's never seen her mum so upset, and etc blah blah. She said she's not taking sides but of course she will, it's only natural - she doesn't know me, she barely knows her own brother, and she's a police officer, so she's going to be highly sceptical of what I say.

She was all "well the most important thing now James, is to rebuild your relationship with Mum." I carefully did not tell her how her sainted mother was telling me all about how she can understand how Fiona's husband cheated on her, humiliated her and left her essentially homeless with a year-old baby. I mean really, what kind of mother defends the man who does that to her daughter?

I did, however, tell her that James' brother Nigel has an arrangement whereby his mum can't stay at his house and can only visit him there when his wife is out because she can't stand Kathy. I also told her that if I had never met Nigel and only knew what Kathy had told me about him, I'd think he's nothing but a fat lazy boring man who does nothing but sit in front of the TV watching sport all the time, since that is all Kathy ever says about him. Fiona said "well she's never said anything like that to me," and I said "of course she hasn't! You're slim!"

I pointed out that her mum operates from a position of always having enjoyed excellent health with no effort, and like most people like that she thinks it's because she does all the right things and has a positive attitude, rather than because of genetics and good luck, so when people like me are ill all the time it's obviously because we're doing the wrong things and have a bad attitude - we could totally be well enough if we wanted to put in the effort, according to her and plenty of people like her.


The aggravating thing is, she has never displayed this behaviour except in tiny, non-noticeable-if-you're-not-wise-to-the-tricks-of-abusers ways, to anyone else. My sister, mum and some friends who have been in abusive situations spotted what she was up to very early on, but people in general think I must be making it up, which is of course what abusers want everyone to think.

I can handle being hated by his whole family because of lies. What I am worried about is the years it will take to fix my husband from the damage she's done. I am grateful that he's realised and accepted what a toxic bitch his mum is, but it's a hell of a thing to realise and it'll take him a long time to process it and really be ok. Thank god we never have to deal with her shit again. I am so relieved he's chosen to stand up for me, but I hate that he's been put in this position.
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shiraphant

December 2010

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