Just another love story. Part four: meeting the parents

After the miscarriage in late October, I had settled in to a minimized class schedule and work as usual. Blue Eyes had a full load of classes. Fast approaching was Thanksgiving break. As it turns out, Thanksgiving is a big huge deal to Blue Eyes’ mother. I could have just as easily spent the holiday at school by myself, or with my roommate and her family, or out at my Dad’s house. My Dad and his large family lived about 20 minutes from my apartment. Although it would have been my first choice, flying home to my Mother and Father was just too expensive. After a stressful two months, I wanted to be home in that comfortable environment, but finances wouldn’t allow for it. Flight prices around Thanksgiving are always jacked up really high. Blue Eyes desperately wanted me to go to his house. His home town was only about an hour plane ride from school, and he would purchase my ticket. His parents would cover everything else. He wanted me to meet his family. He wanted to show me where he grew up, he wanted me to meet his friends. The thought was overwhelming, but he was so excited, I didn’t want to burst his bubble.

Blue Eyes had been building up his family to me. He talked about how loving they were, how much fun they were, how wonderful they were, how close his family was. I was a bit skeptical due to his response to the pregnancy and his concern of being disowned, but his parents knew nothing of the seriousness of our relationship or of the miscarriage. Maybe Blue Eyes had just been paranoid about that. Anyway, he was sure I was going to love them. We arrived at the large airport in his hometown. We waited a bit for his brother’s plane, which was coming from a different city within the same state. His brother met up with us and from the get go, I could tell he was a real little shit. Little only because he was younger and smaller than my husband. He was coming home for the first time since he had started university just three months before. He proceeded to pepper me with questions, and belittle and berate Blue Eyes. Making jokes at his expense and generally being disrespectful. I could not imagine any of my siblings talking to me in that way. Blue Eyes’ mother had booked a limousine for our transportation from the airport to their house, which is about 20 miles from the airport, and which could take 60 minutes in traffic. The parents didn’t want to have to fight the holiday traffic. My guess is, if little brother wasn’t with us, a taxi would have been in order. As it was, it was the three of us college students in a big huge gas guzzling limo. Blue Eyes and his brother bantered back and forth and talked about brother’s first few months of college. We arrived at their parent’s home and proceeded to bring our bags to the front door. The house that their parents lived in at the time (and still live in) was not Blue Eyes’ childhood home. The parents had moved closer to the Father’s work in their youngest child’s senior year of high school. So, Dad had commuted back and forth in traffic, sometimes up to two hours each way, for their entire childhood, and then as soon as the kids left home, Mom decided to move closer to town, so that Dad only had about a 20 minute commute. Yeah, that makes sense? Maybe it was the school system they were after out in the burbs… so much more important than having a Dad around. So Blue Eyes had not actually lived in this house except for the previous summer break. The boys did not even have their own room. They had to share a fold out sofa bed in the den. Not sure if I had mentioned this before, but these people are wealthy. They have lots of money. The parents’ bedroom suite, and I’m guessing here, is probably close to 800 square feet.

So we get our bags to the front door and they ring the doorbell? Yeah, they don’t have keys to the house they supposedly live in with their parents and the door is locked tight. Okay. In order to even get into the gated community, the limo driver had to call the house for authorization, so they knew we were within minutes of reaching the front door. Instead, we wait on the front stoop until Mom decides to grace us with her presence. And, wow, it is a loud presence. Mom is a very petite and attractive lady of 45 with dyed hair, which she likes to call strawberry blonde, but which is actually a very brassy orange-ish yellow color. she has a loud, kind of piercing voice and she YELLS out HIIIIIIII!!!!!!!, so loud I think it will shatter the windows. She hugs younger son first as he kind of bursts through the door, tossing his bags aside on his way to the kitchen to presumably get himself a drink. She smiles as she watches him go. Blue Eyes enters next and she gives Blue Eyes a hug while staring at me around his shoulder. She is a good 8 inches shorter than Blue Eyes and 4 inches shorter than me. She is tiny, maybe 110 pounds. She does not hug me. She just stares at me. I am not sure what she was expecting, but apparently I was not it. She waits for Blue Eyes to introduce me as she kind of narrows her eyes and winces. I have NEVER been greeted in such a way by any friend’s parent, ever, period. Or anyone for that matter. The first thing she says to me is, wait for it, not hello, not nice to meet you, not we’ve heard so much about you… she says, “we have some rules around this house and the first is, you are not allowed to step on the white stripe on the carpeting!” I look down and the carpeting is a plush flat pile carpet in a chocolate brown color, but there is a white stripe all around the outer perimeter of the room that is about 6 inches wide. I look down and say, “okay.” She then promptly shows me to the room where I will be sleeping, in the garage, with the maid. Now, to be fair, the garage was never a garage. They have purchased the model home for their neighborhood and the garage was the sales office, so it has a nice floor and french windows all around and two twin beds. She shows me to my bed and asks me to be careful with my luggage as to not scuff the floor and certainly don’t let my bags touch the walls and potentially mess up the paint. I tell her I am happy to meet her. She turns on her heel and marches away, but on her way out, she stops and she is standing near an etagiere of sorts. She picks up a framed photo from a shelf and asks me to come over. She points out Blue Eyes, who is wearing a gray tux and top hat and is with a girl at some kind of a dance. She tells me this is Blue Eyes at his prom, and doesn’t he look handsome. She then shows me all the pictures of Blue Eyes, framed, from various dances throughout his high school years. I thank her for showing me, WTF. What am I supposed to say. She is not kind or nurturing in any way. I have never met such a cold, hard bitch in all my life, and it seems everything she says and does has some evil ulterior motive. She tosses her hair a lot, and when people are around, she flashes this huge, fake smile with gums a glaring. She set me on edge right away. I am sure this was her intent all along.

Meanwhile, I have no idea where Blue Eyes is. I have been completely abandoned by him. I feel like this is some kind of a joke. Like maybe he took me to another house, where the people are mean for no apparent reason and he is going to say, ha, joke’s over, now let me take you to my real house with my real family. The one that is nice, and loving, and fun, and wonderful, and will not appear to hate you for no apparent reason.

I leave the maid’s quarters and set off in search of Blue Eyes, but I have not been given a tour of the house. It is not too large, maybe 3500 square feet with large rooms. No chance of getting lost. I hear Blue Eyes downstairs in the room he now shares with his brother. As I enter the room, he notices that I look distraught. He tries to comfort me while his brother just gives me a scornful look. I can tell this is going to be the longest Thanksgiving weekend of my life. I feel like these people are trying to tear me down and I don’t know why. I cannot wait to go home. I’ve been there for less than 20 minutes.

We had arrived the day before Thanksgiving in the late afternoon. Dad would not be home for hours. Mom made us dinner, younger brother’s favorites: steak, salad, garlic bread. I didn’t eat a lot of meat back then, but it was decent. Nothing gourmet, but Mom pranced around the kitchen as if she has just prepared us a King’s feast. The maid was busy prepping things for Thanksgiving the next day, so I was designated to do the dishes. Yes, me, the guest was the only one assigned clean up duty. I was not allowed to load the dishwasher, however. I was allowed to rinse the dishes and stack them near the dishwasher as I could not possibly understand all the rules for loading the dishwasher. Even more frustrating than being treated like a servant, was the fact that there was absolutely nowhere in the house for Blue Eyes and I to have any privacy. There was always someone in the kitchen. The living and dining room were off limits due to them already having been prepped for guests the next day. As soon as Dad got home and finished his dinner, he was in the family room. Brother was in and out of their bedroom. Parent’s suite was totally off limits, of course. The housekeeper did most of her work, i.e., polishing silver, ironing, etc… in and out of her room and the kitchen. That literally left the two guest bathrooms. The one in the “boys” room, and the powder room right outside the kitchen. Not exactly private or romantic. I was still not completely healthy from the miscarriage, and my anxiety was running on overdrive. I wished I could leave and never return.

On Thanksgiving day, we told Blue Eyes’ mother we were going to take a walk. She was perturbed as she had plans for me “helping around the house” all day. She was not nice or kind to me in any way. I honestly felt no obligation to help her. She was not appreciative or even thankful. We were lectured for 10 minutes on how to exit the property (through an unlocked gate?) and how to get back into the house (by ringing the bell and waiting for someone to get around to letting us back in). Their house is in a gated community but they do not leave the door unlocked for more than the minute it takes to take the garbage out. It was a beautiful, sunny, even warm day as we set out for our walk. We ended up in the community pool area near his parents home. We sat on lawn chairs near the pool and talked. I questioned him about his family. Was this the family he had talked about for months? Did he really feel love emanating from this crew? They belittled him and treated him disrespectfully all the time. Brother was constantly telling humiliating stories about Blue Eyes, most of which were based only loosely on facts, some of which were outright lies. The boys seemed ridiculously competitive with each other. Mom and Dad encourage this behavior. Dad ignored Mom, Sons ignored Mom, Mom preened around the house all day giving orders to which most went ignored, except by me and the paid housekeeper. I had a splitting headache from her screeching. Again, no place to run, no place to hide. I wanted to cry, and I did cry. Blue Eyes joined me on my lounge chair and hugged and kissed me and apologized for his family. I thought maybe I was just being over sensitive. We found our way into the pool changing room and had sex, which was the best part of the whole weekend. We headed back to the house of horrors.

Thanksgiving guests started arriving in the late afternoon. Mom had catered the appetizer portion of the dinner and some of the side dishes. She did not, however, cater the huge turkey, her “speciality.” I have never heard anyone brag more about a turkey in my life. She went on and on about what time she got up that morning, about how she prepped the bird, about her “special” spice herb blend she puts on the turkey… I had helped my mother with Thanksgiving for years. I could not believe what a big deal she was making it. I looked at her guests to see if they were as incredulous as I, but no, of course not. Mom knows how to pick a crowd. These were all people that worshiped her. I thought I would be sick. That first Thanksgiving with Blue Eyes’ family, I think there were 16 guests at the table. The only family that came was Blue Eyes’ grandfather (his mother’s father). Mom, Dad, Brother, Blue Eyes, and grandpa. Then there was me. The rest were all employees of Dad’s law firm and their families, or friends of Mom’s. I knew Blue Eyes had a sister that lived close by. I surreptitiously asked Blue Eyes where she and her husband were. He said his sister was not on speaking terms with their Mom, hadn’t been for a couple years. It was a long story…

All the guests seemed nice. Most ignored me as I was just a fly by night girlfriend, or that is what I assumed. As it turned out, I had Thanksgiving with these same people for years, but no one could have predicted that in 1984. I wasn’t much in the mood for talking to his Mom’s friends and his Dad’s employees anyway that first Thanksgiving and I stuck pretty close to Blue Eyes. At one point I excused myself to use the bathroom. While I was gone, Blue Eyes’ mother decided that was the best time to take a group photo of all her beloved Thanksgiving guests. The housekeeper took the photo. “Mom” later sent a copy of that picture to me at my apartment. I am not in it, of course, because I was in the restroom. She probably sent a copy to her estranged daughter as well. At exactly 8:00pm, brother jumped out of his chair and declared he was off to watch television. Blue Eyes and I joined him. Brother was addicted to the Cosby show, which at the time, was a new sitcom on NBC’s Thursday night lineup. Blue Eyes had told me almost from the day we met earlier that year, that he was not allowed to watch frivolous television in his house. As a child, he watched news shows and educational programming. I am not sure why he told me that lie, but I found out over the years, that Blue Eyes and his brother actually watched quite a lot of television. He can quote nearly every episode of Star Trek. What a strange thing to lie about?

After the TV show, Blue Eyes asked me if I wanted to take a drive out to the burbs and meet one of his friends (Smiley) and see their old neighborhood. Are you kidding me? A chance to get out of that house, I jumped at it. I went into the housekeeper’s room to get my coat and purse. As I was coming out of the room, I was accosted by Mom. She looked me dead in the eye and she said, “Blue Eyes has a curfew. If he arrives home past midnight, the door will be locked and we will not answer the door and you both will be left out in the cold.” Whoa. First, why is she telling ME this? Second, he has a curfew? I have not even lived at home for well over a year, so the thought of a curfew, for a 21-year old college student, on Thanksgiving, is just weird to me, but whatever.

Ironically, Blue Eyes is the night owl and I am NOT. Unless I took a nap during the day, I would be lucky to be able to keep my eyes open past 11:00pm. When we got out to the car, I tell him I cannot believe he has a curfew. He says he has no idea what I am talking about. He had not had a curfew for years.

The rest of the weekend went much the same. I spent a great deal of time with people that did not like me. They were cold, rude, and generally distasteful. The only thing I could figure, was they did not want their child dating me and they thought being horrible would surely turn me off and away from their son. As it turns out, they are just cold, rude, elitist, racist, narcissistic people. I have now known them for over 30 years. They have rarely ever treated me with kindness or respect. I loved Blue Eyes more than they hated me, and they have had a really tough time dealing with that. Fuck ‘em.

19 thoughts on “Just another love story. Part four: meeting the parents

  1. Fuck me, your monster-in-law sounds terrifying! What a horrible, unloving person for Blue Eyes to have grown up with. It explains so, so much. He spent his whole life looking for love, approval. And when he got it from you, he felt he wasn’t worthy of it : ( You have been so good to him. Instead of abandoning him, you accepted his ‘way of being’ was a sickness, a condition. You are a true star. Without you, he’d have crumbled. You saved him more than you may realise. SWxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much SW for your kind and encouraging words, as always. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. I know he agrees with you because he has said it. I just really hope he can recover now, for himself, and our marriage. For the rest of this journey, I want a partner who is there with me, especially emotionally. I really need it. He is working it. I have always loved this man so much. It still blows my mind sometimes when I look at him. I want to get to the day where I look at him and don’t think, who are you, really? I’m not sure if he realizes how difficult it is to reconcile who I thought he was with what he has done. Work in progress… ❤

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  2. Kat your in laws sound terrifying! Seriously scary. This story makes me want to run across the hall and hug my MIL and thank her for loving me! You’re a strong, strong, strong, strong, strong woman to enter in to a family like that and last 30 years. I’ve said it before, but its worth repeating — your husband is one lucky guy!

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    • I am so glad you have a wonderful MIL. My husband also has wonderful in laws. My parents love him so much even after what he has done. Obviously my husband is a product of his environment. No excuses, but there have been a number of ah ha moments over the past year. Thank you so much for your kind words. I know my husband agrees with you. He has said he would not have survived his addiction without me. I’m not sure I believe that, but I do feel like I have been the rock in our marriage. Our children needed that rock, so I am proud of myself, but it does come naturally to me. Unfortunately rocks can tumble with enough pushing. We have no contact with the in laws, and my husband has stopped pushing now, even if it was unintentional pushing. I am healing. 🙂

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  3. Fuck ’em is right.

    I can say with certainty that even if you were more like what they expected you never would have been good enough. It is too bad when we are so young we can’t grasp how much impact early experiences like this with the families of our boyfriends (and girlfriends) will impact us in the future if we choose to marry into the family.

    I married a guy my family completely disapproved of, not consciously to piss them off but I am sure it was an unconscious motivation. In addition to the unconscious belief that the kind of person they would approve of would not consider me worthy. It was a mistake that did not take long for me to recognize, and luckily I got out clean, before children and assets accumulated.

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    • My husband’s sister did the exact same thing. I’ll write a post about it here eventually as it will be part of the story. I literally could sit and write all day for days and not be able to get out all the shit this family has put me through. And I am actually not someone who sits around feeling sorry for myself. I don’t actually feel sorry for myself. People go through worse shit than me every day. Even with what I have gone through with my husband his family, I still consider myself lucky that I do not have addiction and borderline personality disorder like my sister. I am a perfectly functioning adult. It is what it is at this point, but seriously. It does lend itself to how quickly my world came crashing down on dday. I was beat down at that point. I did always have the inner strength and self esteem to build myself back up though. It still sucks.

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  4. Special. The word you use when you run out of superlatives. And people wonder how kids get fucked up! I see so much of this crap around me now. The OW in our case. Very special. Also from a dysfunctional family with all the outward appearances of middle class affluence and “normality.” Why did our lives intersect with these do you think? Must be some lesson the universe was trying to teach us. I could have done without the lesson!

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    • My MIL has insulted me in every way imaginable. I know I did nothing to deserve all that, but realizing that I had put up with those people for so many years because they were my husband’s parents, and now to find out he didn’t even have my back. Now that he realizes he is a sex addict, he disowns them. It is like he threw me under the bus twice. I dealt with them 75% of the time over the past 25 years. Now I have to deal with him. Last year, when I first let myself realize how much that family has hurt me (all of them), I had a huge anxiety attack. I wanted to run away from everything and change my name, but then, my kids. I would never leave them behind and they are too old and big to drag along with me now… obviously I haven’t gotten this far yet in the story, but there were two times when I almost broke things off with BE because I did not think I was strong enough to deal with his parents. But then, I thought, that is ridiculous… he is SO worth it. Well, we know how that turned out!

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      • Whilst mine are not in your league, Kat, I get it. I was the one who dealt with his parents – and my MIL couldn’t even give me a hug when I told her (to prevent OW from her promised ambush of them.) There I was, raw, humiliated and prostrate. And she just crossed her arms and at least asked if the kids were okay. Then if they knew. God forbid her precious only son be seen in an unfavourable light! Never a moment for me. That was when I emotionally unhitched my wagon from his family. I gave them everything and they didn’t care.

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        • I remember this maybe from one of your posts? It might even be worse to think people care about you and then to find out they do not, or do not have the capacity to–obviously it has nothing to do with you. I knew from the beginning that my husband’s parents did not like me. They never have. I honestly agree with what people say, his mother wouldn’t like anyone that is having sex with her son. She is that messed up, but she would not have been so overt about it with other girls. I know that for a fact. He had girlfriends before me. She did not treat them like me. She tried to set him up with other women for years while were were dating and even engaged. If we divorced tomorrow, even if their son wasn’t speaking to them, they would still take his side. Even he told them he is a sex addict and cheated on me, they would still say it is my fault. They would never admit that he is an addict. They would just say I did not give him enough sex. BE’s mother has always used her “sexuality” to keep her husband “in line” as she says, or so she believes. She is quite delusional. She has talked about sex as a tool openly with her children since they were young. She is just crazy.

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          • Dunno. Both situations are shit sandwiches! I hadn’t thought of it that way properly, but there has been a whole heap of loss over his cheating. Most of my friendships, his family, him, me, lol. And I have just cut one of my brothers out of my life, sadly. I just can’t deal with another narc who demands things from me when I have nothing left to give.

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            • It seems that once we realize people are sucking us dry, it gets easier cutting them out of our lives. Why be miserable at the hands of another if we don’t have to? Keep reminding me I said that, ha. Btw, is your little icon a cake… for some reason when I see a comment from you I crave cake. 🙂 Well, I guess I just crave cake all the time now. I have always heard that once you give up on sugar, you don’t crave it anymore. Why doesn’t that work for me? (Rhetorical question 🙂 )

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              • Lol Sure is cake. Not one of my major sugar weaknesses -sorry for triggering your sugar cravings! I don’t ever get to that point either. And I go without all added sugars as a kind of mindfulness about food several months a year.

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  5. Beautifully written Kat. With your character and setting description I feel I am almost looking over your shoulder when you were there. What a delightful MIL you have and what a horrid Thanksgiving. Imagine growing up with that woman! She is a rare piece of work. Xxx

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    • And that little snippet, was just the beginning. 🙂 She is horrifying. I cannot imagine growing up with her. Me and BE just had that conversation two nights ago while we were out on a long walk with the dogs. Honestly, even thinking about it makes me cry. I have this picture of my husband when he was one. At one point when she and my husband were in a little argument, she sent a bunch of his baby pictures with a note that said, “see, you were a happy baby, stop complaining.” (I am so happy she sent those pictures. She eventually asked for them back, but I wouldn’t send them) Now, it is quite ironic that she sent those pictures. Basically she was saying, you were a happy baby, why are you such a miserable adult. Little did she know… Anyway, in this one photo, he has this big smile on his face and big round blue eyes and it just breaks my heart that someone would abuse that sweet little innocent child, and then I think about all the abused children. It is overwhelming. In a way, I am glad she is out of our lives. Our children do still speak to their grandparents though. My kids have grown up with a lot of craziness. Thank goodness they are so smart, instinctive, and practical. They know when to cut them off and their self esteem is not affected by what their crazy grandparents say or do.

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      • My narcissist mother is giving my brother, his wife, and their 4 children the silent treatment now. Not the first time. Maybe the last. She has trashed my brother and SIL to those kids and they know I have nothing to do with her, and they are getting old enough to see her for who she is. My brother has gritted his teeth for many years to allow them to have a grandmother but true to her character she is alienating them and will eventually lose them for good.

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        • Narcissists do not stop until they destroy every familial relationship. My mother in law is arrogant enough to believe that no matter what she does, she is right, everyone else is wrong and eventually everyone will come back groveling. Then when they don’t, she pretends like she did not do anything and acts like everyone else is selfish and spoiled. She has written things in emails that she then later denies. Even though it is clearly in writing. She is quite delusional. When you Skype with her, she just cannot grasp the concept that people can see her. She thinks she can see everyone else, but they cannot see her. She makes faces and rolls her eyes when we say stuff. Blue Eyes has actually said to her, Mom, we can see you and everything you do. Then she just leaves the room. Of course this hasn’t happened in a while since we have had no contact for over a year. She only has her friends now because she can tell them anything and they will believe her. Generally, she makes up lies about all her children and grandchildren and exaggerates their accomplishments and how much everyone adores her. This was always so hurtful to her children because it was like they were not good enough just the way they were, she had to lie about them. She never tells her friends the truth, so they have no idea no one speaks to her. If she does say anything negative about her children/spouses, it is about how generally selfish we are and how everyone is jealous of her money. I could literally do an entire blog on my MIL. That is sad! I protected my kids from some of her most hurtful behavior, but not all, it was impossible to protect them from everything. I feel like giving them a good foundation of self worth is helping them now learn to manage their communications with her. They know for sure that she is elitist and racist and that she values money and looks over everything else. This does not set well with them, but they take it in stride. Thank goodness they have my parents so they know what grandparents can be.

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          • My SIL’s parents are awesome grandparents and extremely close with the kids. My mother stopped speaking to them years ago out of toxic envy. However she does
            try to compete with them on birthday and holiday gifts. It is ridiculous.

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            • My MIL does not talk badly about us to our kids (that I know of, who knows now), but she does to my parents. Many more long stories there. My mother won’t speak to them, but my step father is always kind and gracious even when people don’t deserve it. He has listened to her spew horrible things about us and then he tries to bring some reason to the conversation. There is no reasoning with a narcissist. I cannot believe he has not figured that out yet. She has always been jealous of my parents because they live in the same city with us and my parents went to every recital and ball game and birthday party for our children. I mean they were the best grandparents, still are. For that, I am grateful.

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