Standing up to Dysfunctional Relationship Part 2By Darlene Ouimet
My last post (click here) was about standing up to my husband regarding our dysfunctional relationship, that I was mistreated and disrespected and how he was willing to listen to me. Unlike him, not everyone was willing to meet me half way with my desire to change and become my own person instead of a robot that existed to restore everyone else’s value.
I cancelled hosting a family reunion because my mother and my brother were up to their trouble making tricks, and I was just sick of being the one in the family that was never heard, never valued, always expected to just “take it” and always the one who was wrong.
My mother and my brother we up to their trouble making antics again; apparently, there was this big “family horror” going on behind the scenes because I had told my sister in law about some of my childhood, and some of the things that my mother did, and she told my brother who told my mother… and well as you can imagine the you know what hit the fan. Before anyone talked to me or asked me about it, the whole family ~ aunts, cousins ~ everyone had all been contacted, questioned and informed about my “talking”. It wasn’t even what I talked about that was the real problem, it was what I MIGHT have talked about that he was trying to find out.
Did I keep the family secrets, or was I revealing them to everyone? Of course, these kinds of people make sure that they discredit you with each conversation. It is all about control and making sure that the family member who is “talking” is painted as a psycho with issues right from the beginning of the conversation, just in case that family member really has revealed the family secrets. These phone calls were about damage control as well as investigating the damage itself. It would have gone something like this: “Darlene has been saying things about her childhood, that are not true, she has made up this story about (whatever) and I am trying to find out what else she is going around saying. Did Darlene say anything to you about me? I just want to know if she has said anything to you about it don’t believe her because it isn’t true, she is a bit crazy and has been on anti depressants and seeing a therapist you know.”
I didn’t know this was going on of course. My mother called one day and said that she had decided to tell me that she was worried about something I was doing and she told me about this conversation that I had had with my sister in law 6 or 8 months earlier and what a problem that I had caused. (I am assuming that they had been talking about this with each other for 6 or 8 months.)
There were a couple of things that struck me odd;
a) That she totally believed everything that she had been told, without even asking me.
b) And because several things she heard and was upset about were actually the truth.
To the things that I said to my sister in law that were true, I responded, yes, I did tell her that, so what? My mother seemed stunned and didn’t know what to say about my admission or my honest reaction. So the truth was ignored. The fight became about the false.
There were some things that had been exaggerated, and a few things that I had never said but when I told her that I had never said them, my mom said “Darlene, she wrote it down” and I said “that makes it true?” (that was ignored too)
The real fear behind the call was about the stuff I hadn’t told yet. I realized that later. She was actually calling to warn me to keep my mouth shut and to re-establish her control and power over me. She wanted to reprimand me but good, and I didn’t think so. I was finally sick of it.
So a few weeks later my brother called like nothing was going on, telling me all the dates they booked and their schedule for this family reunion that I had agreed to host. (Everyone in my family lives in a different Province or State from each other so arranging this was kind of a big deal.) I told him that I had heard that he was saying all kinds of things about me. He admitted it and told me about how he called everyone in the whole family. (It surprised me when he just told me he had done all that, but that is the degree to which he thought HE was right and that it was right for him to call everyone and he was right to discredit me ~again without ever talking to me first) and we got in the first real fight we had ever had. (I had never dared to stand up to him before) He was ranting and raving and yelling and bullying me so much I started to shake.
I stuck to my decision to cancel hosting or attending the family reunion ~ which stunned everyone! They thought it should be just family as usual, how dare I make a fuss. (How dare I stand up to him or my mother.) I caught him so off guard that he expressed his disappointment but at the same time insisted that the whole thing was my fault. No matter how many times I repeated that nothing I said to his wife was a lie and that I had a right to talk about MY childhood; those statements were NEVER addressed. Again, it was really all about what I MIGHT say. Don’t tell the family secrets. Be who we say you can be. Do what we say you can do.
If I was the problem, like I had been told for so long, then what the heck did they want to be around me for?
(Because I was the biggest servant of the whole family? Because I would do all the cooking? Because there is no real love lost between us? Because they wanted me to believe that they “loved me” enough to “accept me even with my problems”? Because I always complied in the past and never stood up to myself, and suddenly I realized that I had equal value?)
I thought they should be happy and celebrate that they didn’t have to spend a whole week with me! I thought they should have a party to celebrate getting RID of me!
But you know what? They didn’t really want to lose their victim now did they?
Please contribute to this post in any way that you would like to. I look forward to the conversations we have here at Emerging from Broken.
Exposing truth; one snapshot at a time,