Well. Last week was a weird week. Definitely not the week I thought I was going to be having, which is a pity, because I was having so much fun with the book I was writing and it all went rather awry. So it goes, I guess.
It’s strange: I both want and don’t want to write about it. I told the troll that I would write about my feelings as I pleased, and nothing he could do would change that, but at the same time, I sort of dread opening my email now. He has not emailed again, and my last sentence to him was “Get a life and stop reading your estranged mother’s blog,” so maybe it’s over.
But in an email to my aunt, I summarized some of the highlights of the emails I’d received:
“According to him, I’m whiny, shallow, self-pitying, narcissistic, a bully, a wretched emotionally-stunted creep, hapless, self-serving, obsessed, undeserving of his time and energy, stupid, and a textbook emotional abuser, with a mask of sentimental superiority and a martyr complex that I mistake for a personality.”
I followed that up with, “And oddly enough, copying all that out just made me want to laugh. It’s so beyond anything that is remotely within the range of reason. In the middle of the night, night before last, I actually felt like I was letting go of a heavy weight. Because for almost two years, I wondered whether maybe I was condescending, maybe I did talk over him, maybe I didn’t listen. Maybe his attack on me was justified, even as hurtful as it was. But all that? Nope.”
It’s been almost two years since I’ve spoken to him, so basically all of his insults are based on things I’ve posted here, I believe. Well, or on whatever stories his brain is telling him. The “textbook emotional abuse” was apparently related to me trying to get his address to send him a “sad little suicide note.” Um, no? Not in the least? The actual letter that I wanted to mail him (back in June 2020, so a long, long time ago) went more like this:
I’ve reached out to you again and again, always with love, and you have made it abundantly clear that you don’t care. That my crimes — of being really smart, of challenging you, of not wanting to discuss politics — outweigh all of the Marvel movies, the hours spent reading aloud, the meals shared, the beach visits and Disney trips and camping. The twenty-five years of love.
For over three months, in a time of world crisis and fear, when everyone is stressed and scared and afraid, you have ignored me. And that’s not just rude or even simply unkind. It’s cruel.
You’ve treated me like I am worthless. You’ve thrown me away like I am nothing but trash.
And I let that be the story. I let that be my story. As I cried and grieved and worried, every single day, I let your actions define me, instead of seeing how they defined you.
I wanted so desperately for this story to have a happy ending — the kind where everyone is together and happy, and all conflicts were just misunderstandings — that I couldn’t look at the reality of your behavior.
I couldn’t stop and say to myself, Wait. A person who deliberately chooses to hurt you is abusive. A person who is treating you like trash is not someone you want in your life. A person who doesn’t care about you doesn’t deserve you.
But all those things are true, and all those things are part of this story.
Nothing suicidal about that. I am pretty sure no random bystander (preferably with a therapy degree) would call it “textbook emotional abuse,” either. Tough love, maybe. Hard truths for both of us, although good reminders for me now.
On December 30, 2012, I wrote on this blog: He is–okay, I’m a little biased–the most amazing kid ever. He’s never going to disappoint me. Not because of anything he needs to do, but because he is who he is. He could fail every class, and he would still be the gentlest sixteen-year-old you have ever met. He would still be a charm magnet for six-year-olds. He would still be himself. There is nothing he has to achieve to be wonderful. He simply is.
I’m so glad I couldn’t see the future back then.
Anyway, I assume that sharing all this opens me up to more nastygrams, but there’s a real push-pull. I don’t particularly want to be a punching bag and I definitely have no intention of being a doormat, but being quiet because I’m afraid of his reaction is anathema to me. If I’m not willing to stand up for my freedom to write about my own experience… well, it feels like a kind of cowardice to NOT speak up. To not say, holy shit, that was all really awful, and made for a really pretty crappy week.
But moving on, because I also have no intention of dwelling on it any more (my theme song needs to be either “Let It Go” from Frozen or perhaps “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, ha)… this week is probably not going to be a lot more productive, because Suzanne is away, enjoying a family vacation in the sun, which puts me on puppy & pet duty. Three dogs, three cats, and a lot of chickens adds up to a great many distractions. It’s hard to find the focus for story when a dog is trying to get in or out or convince someone to play with her and a cat is demanding food. And more food, and more food. I was literally five hours into pet-sitting duty when I first told a pet to fuck off. Not a good sign. (It was said to the cat, who was informing me — loudly and repetitively — that none of the multiple types of food available to her were acceptable.)
That said, I consider myself totally lucky to get to hang out with all these delightful animals. All three dogs are currently sleeping, which is why I can write that so cheerfully. Ha. Oh, shoot, that reminds me that I need to take care of the chickens, which means the dogs are going to have to be woken up. Oh, well, it wasn’t going to last, anyway. Nothing ever does. An important thing to remember for 2022!
My heart breaks for you. I feel so helpless being far away and unable to serve or to comfort.
*Hugs* I appreciate the thought. And I would so love to be in your kitchen with you, hanging out while you cook something delicious!
I had to laugh at the cat letting you know its food preferences–what a hoot! And I’m so sorry about your ‘troll’. I think you have a handle on it, however. Blessings to you … stay safe!! And watch those chickens! LOL
Gina’s definitely very opinionated! I’m usually a little gentler in my responses, LOL. I had to remind myself that she does better when I talk back to her. She’s a lot like a little kid in that way, if you don’t respond, she thinks you’re ignoring her, so she talks louder and says the same thing a bunch more times!
Wow…..So sorry for your sadness. It’s a cliché but also true that the ones we love can hurt us so much more than anyone else .
I also had to laugh about the cat. Such a typical cat behavior .
I hope some day you write the same description of your 30 year old son as you did of your 16 year old son.
I agree with Alice. From her lips to a deity’s ear.
That is a lovely hope! Thanks for the thought.
I add to the expressions of sympathy here. I know it must be really hard not to dwell. I think it might be a good thing that you have all the animals to take care of. Keeps your mind off other things. Take care.
They certainly do keep me busy! I think the interesting thing for me will be how this experience bleeds into the story I’m writing. I know who the villain is, but I suspect a secondary character is going to become a lot more of an asshole and perhaps without any redemption at all. Or not! I guess I’ll learn as I write it 🙂
Bobbie Carichner said:
Is it possible that he is projecting? Assigning to you qualities he sees in himself? I have no professional access to this idea – just wondering.
Honestly, I’ve got no idea what it’s about. The one that made me first laugh about the whole thing was being called “shallow.” I’m one of those people who can’t manage small talk to save my life, but is perfectly ready to deep dive into your childhood trauma after we’ve known one another for ten minutes. I’m incapable of talking sports or television shows; delighted to talk about spiritual belief systems and ethics. Shallow? Really? It’s just… well, he’s talking to an imaginary person in his head, I think, but blind to the real person over here. I’m super sad about it, but two years in, at least I’ve stopped being blind to the real person over there.