So.... Now What?
Okay, so that was the general gist of that whole icky saga. I saw N about a month later at my brother's funeral, and she was sad and sweet, and we did hug. She asked if we were okay and I said yes. Mauela, N didn't apologize in her letter to me, but she had sent an e-mail (the last one of the series) that did apologize. She said that she was so wrong to get involved and attack us the way she did. I have to summarize because Mr. R didn't save that e-mail. Mr. R is still not okay with the whole thing, but I think it's wrong to discount the apology. I really don't mind if Mr.R feels this way; he is, after all, pissed because someone was shitty to me, the person he holds most dear in his life. And you know? It's flattering to have someone look out for you that way. He's like my very own Super*man! Or at very least, my great white moth hunter.
I know I didn't deserve all that crap. I didn't, and it doesn't make it okay that it happened. It just gets so tiring being angry all the time. I don't want to hold onto anger for N - that would keep her front and center in my life and that's not her place. She's essentially a good person, and very passionate. She had been manipulated by my mother (even if she might never realize it), as I had been so many times before. So I can understand it. I'm not excusing what she wrote in her initial e-mail, but I do understand her motivation.
Which brings us to the real culprit here: my mother. Years ago, my therapist asked me why I kept trying to talk to my mother. "You keep trying to tell her what you think, you disagree with what she's saying... she never listens to you... What's the point? She'll never really hear you so why set yourself up for so much aggrivation? Keep it superficial. " I tried that. And you know what happened? My cousin L, who my mother and I are both close with, told me "Your mom said that your relationship with her is so much nicer now! What happened?"
What happened is I kept it light. Oh, I'm not saying this as, like, the solution to all my problems or anything, but I developed a goal a while ago, as to what I wanted from my mother. Want to know what it is? Here goes: I just wanted a civil relationship. A relationship where we weren't at each other's throats all the time. I knew she wasn't going to change so I had to, because I was at least capable of change.
So I stopped communicating. Piece of caake! My next therapist (I moved) asked me if it was hard keeping things from my mother. Oh, no! I replied. Simplicity itself: She never asks questions! Not really all that interested in me. Just my brother. What's really sad is that it truly is her loss: she doesn't know who I am as a person. I gather that she doesn't want to know, otherwise she'd be more interested in trying to find out more about me. (And I mean by asking questions of me). So that's my answer: keep it light, keep it simple. So it's not a real relationship. And that's fine by me, because truly seeing the person my mother is, she's not a person I want to have a REAL relationship with. She bad-mouths everyone, including those who are closest to her, those who have done so much for her over the years. The slightest insult, whether real or imagined, carries the same weight with my mother. It doesn't matter if you've been there for her over the years. Say one thing, the "wrong" thing, and it's all over. She's not a forgiving person. In preparation of our wedding, I got to see the person she really is. And I saw that her love, while she professed otherwise, was indeed conditional. That's not easy to realize, but it gets easier with time and acceptance.
Now, the harder questions... (from Manuela): "I want to ask you the same types of things people have asked me. Why do you want this toxic energy in your life?? Are you sure you want your son exposed to the influence of this woman?? Because as he gets older, he WILL see the dynamic, and I'm sure you don't want him to believe that it's ok to treat people like that!"
I don't want this toxic energy. It's not okay for her to treat me this way, or to expose the Bee to this kind of dynamic. Fortunately (I guess), I can be quite cold. I can keep things superficial and light. If she pulls this kind of crap, I will distance her not only from me, but also from Bee. And as Bee is her only grandchild and she's got pictures of him everywhere, apparently, I doubt that would sit well with her. My guess is that she'll be on her best behavior because I don't think she'll want to jepordize that communication. Because I will not expose my family to this crap.
(What's interesting is that my mother hated my father's mother. My grandmother was always on her best behavior around my mother because she was afraid my mother might keep my dad, my brother and I away from her. What's even more interesting is that my mother is actually a bit similar to my grandmother in some of their behaviors. Not that she could ever see that or anything).
The last day I saw my brother alive, I had a conversation with my mother. Okay, well, not so much a conversation as it was like trying to talk to a crazy person. I realized, and truly saw, that not matter what I say to her, she will never hear what I have to say; she will never be and can NEVER be wrong. EVER. I cried inside, not because I realized my mother was no mother, but because right before I saw her, I talked to my aunt. She told me how much she loved me, and how she wished she could be there to hold me. She said that if my mother started being difficult or giving me a hard time, to imagine that she was standing next to me, holding my hand, giving me her strength. And it dawned on me who was my true mother. My spiritual mother. The woman who has shown me time and again throughout my life, what it really means to be a mother. I call her aunt. I call her mom. But she's so much more than either of those titles. And with all the agita I have lived with from the woman who is my mother, I am grateful everyday that I have Cyna in my life.
So this is what makes it easier to deal with my mother. I can keep it superficial with her, because I have my "real" mom always standing my my side, holding my hand.
So why do I keep her in my life, you ask? The stupid phrase that keeps coming to my mind is "Because she's my mother." To which Cyna always says, "So what?" I suppose while she's being well behaved is fine. Since my brother died, it's like she has suddenly remembered she had another child. I haven't seen her this "happy and light" since... erm, ever, I don't think. (I know I vent here about all her machinations, but she was definitely not the world's worst mother. Far from it. Just a narcissistic personality/malignant narcissist disorder). I know most of her mood is because she no longer has to worry about my brother: he has moved on and is in a much better place, no longer trapped and in pain. He's fine.
I thought I would harden my heart after my brother died and shun her if she tried to reach out to me. But you know what? I don't want to stay angry with her, either. It keeps her too fresh, too much in the forefront. And that's not her place in my family. I know at this point what she's really like. I know I can't have a "real" conversation with her and fankly I feel so over it already. But again, I am extremely blessed to have the love and support from both my Cyna, and my father (who, everytime I tell him something my mother did from our childhood, it horrifies him and he cannot understand how his wife and my mother were ever the same person).
I know this doesn't answer everything; I'm still working it out, and I'll continue to do so for as long as it takes. Thank you once again for reading and all of your comments.