As I started typing this entry, I realized the title might insinuate I am going to talk about that dreaded phone call from the other woman. Well, I’m not going to talk about her or that phone call because I have already talked enough about it. I started this blog with it, and she doesn’t fucking deserve one more ounce of my energy or space on my blog, or space in my life or in the life of anyone I know. Totally not worth it.
No, this post is a continuation of the letting go posts. As I read and replied to comments on those posts, about the no contact situation with my in-laws, I felt a desire to continue writing on the subject. To pick up where part two left off. To talk about what happens to Blue Eyes when he is in the presence of his parents or any of their negative energy.
After The Peacemaker’s Bar Mitzvah, things settled down quite a bit. There were no lingering arguments or backstabbing incidents. Everyone went pretty quiet. Mil continued to try and get her sons to further reconcile, most efforts being ignored from both sides. Eventually, brother decided he was going to make the first move towards making amends. We had no idea what his motive was, so both Blue Eyes and I remained cautious. We did find out through the grapevine that Blue Eyes’ brother and sister were thick as thieves. The two had never been close (indeed at one point, in college, the brother had denied having a sister at all), but now it seemed they were the best of friends. They were traveling together, as couples, brother having been married the summer after the Bar Mitzvah to his bride from China, and the brother was paying for fun trips for them to Las Vegas, and to the mountains skiing, and it was all supposed to be a big secret from me and Blue Eyes. Who the fuck cares? We were just happy they weren’t bothering us.
Brother was an over the top partier, often throwing catered parties at his house and it was also rumored that he held a yearly bash that cost upwards of $30,000. I eventually saw the receipts for the last party he threw, and it was more like $50,000. We had never been invited, until we received a last minute invitation in 2007. We had other plans for that weekend, so we couldn’t have made it to the party if we wanted to. The brother considered our decline as a personal affront, even though he gave us a week’s notice. During the next year, small concessions were made on all sides and although things weren’t exactly mended, people were talking to each other. We then received an invitation to visit brother and his wife for the 4th of July holiday. The whole family would be there. During that trip, we all attended a party at one of brother’s friend’s houses and brother got drunk and proceeded to trash Blue Eyes in front of a group of friends. Blue Eyes’ brother had some serious issues with alcohol, and as it would turn out, drugs (something I discovered while cleaning his house after his death). We had wanted to leave town early, but brother begged us to stay as he had a big announcement at brunch the next morning. His wife was expecting.
Somehow, bringing an innocent child into that mess was supposed to fix everything. Brother seemed high on life and the in-laws were ecstatic. Hard to really know how the Chinese wife felt as her English skills were nominal. I had a very uneasy feeling about the whole thing. Blue Eyes seemed disinterested. The next few months the family seemed to turn all their attention to the impending birth and away from bickering and fighting. At one point Blue Eyes was feeling good about the family dynamics and wanted to try and reconnect with his father. Things the past few years had been really rough between them with fil taking sides with the brother and behaving pretty poorly towards Blue Eyes. There was one email between father and son regarding business where the father and brother had ganged up on Blue Eyes, even though our business is completely separate from theirs and had very little to do with them. Fil’s email said “he would fucking sue Blue Eyes if he had to.” There is a very long story behind all this, but suffice it to say, it all revolved around brother trying to take possession of something that didn’t belong to him. Father and brother had always tried to take credit for any success Blue Eyes enjoyed, and I think it actually angered them that Blue Eyes was doing fine without them. Blue Eyes had always been the weak, incompetent one to them. Fil had acted the fool and took the wrong side. Hoping all that nonsense was behind them, Blue Eyes invited his father to come to town for a visit and to take in a basketball game. His father’s response went a little like this: “There is no way I am coming up there to the cold and the rain for a basketball game. Why would I? I will be at your brother’s house for his baby shower next month. If you are there for that. I will see you.” At that point, I think Blue Eyes just gave up. Except he didn’t give up on his addiction as that was the timeframe he invited the other woman on their very first out of town business trip together, to Japan.
We were there for the baby shower. We were there for the bris. We played the game. We visited the following year for 4th of July, although the routine was getting old. It was not ever fun to be around that family. Blue Eyes had to leave “the party” early that year because he had a business trip to London planned. I was left there with his family, at least I had my boys. On the last morning we all had an elaborate brunch together. Remembering the bitterness of the past, at one point I quietly asked brother if we could pay for the brunch, since he was covering so much. He had been paying for everything. He looked at me with pure hate in his eyes and spit out, “what the fuck is wrong with you?” I knew then and there that nothing had changed. Nothing was better. No baby was going to fix him.
We continued to keep the charade going, talking to the family when necessary, but keeping contact distant and detached. In 2009, things started to fall apart again. Brother was struggling with his wife, with parenthood, with life. He was spiraling into depression again, it was very obvious except to the “denial family.” Blue Eyes and I took an amazing family trip to Italy and Greece for our 20th wedding anniversary and were thrilled that our boys, my mother and step father, my brother GQ and his wife all joined us. So amazing! Unfortunately, on the last couple days of the trip, I contracted an upper respiratory infection and pneumonia. I was struggling with it as we celebrated our actual wedding anniversary at the same hotel where we spent our wedding night, the amazing Bel Air Hotel in Los Angeles. At the same time I was sick, Blue Eyes’ brother was also sick. Blue Eyes called and tried to reach him to see how he was feeling. Since I had no real relationship with him, I sent him a message through Facebook. A couple weeks later, we all showed up at the sister’s oldest daughter’s wedding out in the San Fernando Valley of California. We were treated poorly by sister and her friends and yet brother was treated like a Prince. It was all very confusing once again, you would think we could have figured this whole game out by now. There must be an “odd sib out.” At one point, at the Sunday barbecue after the wedding, after our boys had already flown back home for school functions, Blue Eyes was cornered by his mother. She was really upset we had decided not to stay at the same hotel with her (even though they fucking live in Brentwood, just an hour’s drive from the wedding) because she had wanted to show us around the lovely grounds of the Westlake Four Seasons. We have stayed at the hotel. We didn’t need her giving us a tour. She is fucking looney tunes. It is all about control, and when she doesn’t have it, she is a bitch, which is most of the time. Anyway, brother was staying at the hotel with them, he had a suite with two lavish bedrooms because the Chinese nanny, who slept with the baby every night, was there with them to watch the kid during the wedding festivities. Obviously the brother was falling fast and mil was ready, once again, to turn the whole fucking world upside down and blame Blue Eyes. I know, this sounds crazy because it just is crazy.
So, mil confronts Blue Eyes at the barbecue and asks him how he could be so cruel and unfeeling. That his brother had been horribly ill (but well enough to come to this wedding) and Blue Eyes hadn’t even called him, which of course he had. Remember, I had pneumonia at this same time, but no one was racing to have my back. Anyway, Blue Eyes said he had called his brother a few times, but no return phone call and plus mil was calling Blue Eyes every day with reports. She hadn’t felt the need to go visit her son, but apparently Blue Eyes was supposed to drop everything, his family, his business, his own sick wife to run to a brother that for all intents and purposes appeared to hate him. I could hear what was going on, so I walked over to Blue Eyes, took his arm, and said “we are leaving now.” Blue Eyes was just standing there basically doing and saying nothing, letting the poison splatter all over him. I could actually see him disconnecting. It was time to leave.
I now know that all this negative energy from his family would precipitate the most intense acting out period Blue Eyes ever experienced. All within the next five months, Blue Eyes would travel to Chicago, Silicon Valley, twice, and Asia (for the second time, and over Valentine’s Day) with the other woman. It sounds simple, but took a boat load of planning and lying and hiding and erasing email accounts, texts, phone calls, etc… He would try, but was unable to stop the madness. He was seeking out his addiction, being blackmailed and abused by his sex partner, and he was hospitalized and nearly had to have surgery, all over a relatively short period of time, and I had no idea. The Shrink has explained that most likely Blue Eyes felt like he was getting what he deserved, not wonderful, glorious, carefree, and hot sex, but punishment for being the horrible person his family had convinced him he was. Nothing I said or did would make a bit of difference. The whole thing blows my mind.
In May 2010, Blue Eyes’ brother took his own life (Everybody hurts… sometimes). This changed everything, for a while. The family was in shock since they had been in denial about the true nature of the brother’s illness. There were no longer three siblings to play against each other for mil. Her world was rocked to its core. For a while, she was knocked to her knees and didn’t know what to say or do. She stopped most of her outward negative and abusive behaviors towards her own children and merely focused on “how could he do this to me?” and also on the fact that she felt like the death of her son was the Chinese wife’s fault. This attitude was very short lived. After about a year, she went back to her old tricks and realized she could still bad mouth and play the two siblings against each other and continue to hate and berate the widow, and disown the child. The sister was still a VERY willing participant in the mother’s games. In the meantime, Blue Eyes started exhibiting a much higher level of anxiety. At one point, we were traveling by car to visit the in-laws at their second home, and Blue Eyes fell apart. He became anxious and a bit hysterical and had to pull over numerous times to vomit.
When The Peacemaker graduated from high school in 2012, two years after the suicide, we were having a casual dinner with the in-laws after dropping the new graduate at his all night party. Mil was going on and on about something we weren’t doing correctly, and Blue Eyes excused himself from the table. He didn’t return for nearly 30 minutes. His parents seemed not to notice at all, but I did, mainly because I was worried about him, and also in the meantime I was being verbally pummeled by my mil so it was obvious how much time was passing. Not that it is important, what she was going on and on about, but as it turned out, our son was going on a month long trip to Europe with two of his good buddies and they had it all planned out. I was not part of it. My mil was on the one hand accusing me of not caring about my son’s safety as I refused to tell her any details of the trip (that would be my son’s choice, whether to tell her anything) and on the other telling me how I need to go about getting him “special tour tickets” to see the David while he is in Florence. I remember it vividly because the longer Blue Eyes was away from the table, the more I felt an out of body experience. I knew things weren’t right. Eventually Blue Eyes returned, his face ashen and his demeanor melancholy. They didn’t notice. Eventually I would learn that Blue Eyes had sought out refuge in the men’s bathroom and had proceeded to have a full blown anxiety attack. Between shaking and vomiting, he laid himself down on the filthy bathroom floor and wept.
Eventually Blue Eyes was diagnosed with severe ulcers in his esophagus and has now been treated. We again cut back communication with his family. Things were moving along, everyone was mostly in denial about what miserable people they were and how all of them fill their lives with material possessions and “fake” friends to fill the void, including Blue Eyes. As we neared the end of 2012, Blue Eyes was planning a fun trip to California for his 30 year high school reunion. It was really cute, actually, how he was taking such good care of himself, losing weight, deciding what to wear and what activities he would participate in. He would be in Los Angeles for business anyway on that Friday, so he would attend the football game that night and the class was also planning to hang out at a bar in the area. I would fly in on Saturday morning, we would have lunch with one of his old friends and her husband, and I would attend the reunion dinner & party with him. Sunday was open and Blue Eyes’ sister was begging us to come out to her (a little further out in the valley) so her husband could show off his new wine making business. Blue Eyes’ mother had caught wind of the reunion a couple weeks before and had made a big push for him to visit them. Blue Eyes made no promises because he really wanted to attend the events he had scheduled and there wasn’t a lot of extra time. The in-laws weren’t available on Sunday. When Blue Eyes was on his way out to the valley from the city, he knew he would be passing right by his parents house, so he called them to ask if they were available for a quick afternoon visit. They didn’t answer. He left a quick message and off he went to have some fun. He had a blast! I have never seen anyone enjoy a high school reunion more. I hung out with his friend’s husband as we knew nobody but our spouses. We watched a football game in the lounge and watched Blue Eyes work the crowd. We dubbed him the “mayor of his high school reunion.” I was so thrilled to see him having so much fun. I wished my reunion had brought me such joy.
On Sunday we went out to the sisters and had a great time with them as the brother in law explained his whole wine making set up with temperature controlled rooms, barrels from France, etc… and then we went to a Mexican restaurant before heading to the airport. All in all, the weekend was amazing and Blue Eyes was flying high. That is until a couple days later when his mother called him. She was livid. She had found out from the daughter (it was no secret) that we had been out to the sister’s house on Sunday and everyone had gotten along fine. She hates it when people have fun without her. She was also upset that Blue Eyes hadn’t made any time for her. Frankly, the truth is, he didn’t want to see them. He didn’t want them to ruin his good mood. He was tired of them ruining his life. The phone call from his mom was torture. A week later, he decided to call her to apologize for not making time for her (do not ask me why… remember this is a fucked up mess and we can both admit it now, that we were ignorant fools, me more so than Blue Eyes because I hadn’t been brainwashed as a child to believe I was a piece of shit). It was the evening of election day, the second Tuesday in November. He said, “hey Mom, I wanted to talk with you about last month… ” She said, “I don’t have time for you.” And hung up on him.
Exactly one week later, my step father, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 12 years earlier and who had had his prostate removed, had now been given the ominous news that the cancer was back and was now in his spine. Truth be told, it was news we were expecting, it’s just the longer he went without it showing up, the more optimistic we became that he would live out his life without dying from that cancer. Both Blue Eyes and I freaked out a little. At this point, my step father was the healthiest 73 year old you would ever meet. Blue Eyes decided he wanted to contact a doctor friend of his parents to discuss the diagnosis. Instead of looking up the doctor’s phone number online, Blue Eyes called fil. He asked for the doc friend’s number, someone Blue Eye’s has known for decades. He was at our wedding, and at the one Bar Mitzvah he was invited to. He is an awesome man. Blue Eyes’ father would not give the phone number without knowing why Blue Eyes wanted it. I am sure Blue Eyes calling his father had something to do with reaching out to him in this time of need, and pain, and wanting him to actually be there for him. Instead fil was belligerent and demanding. Blue Eyes told him why he wanted the number. About an hour later, I got a text from my sil telling me how sorry she was to hear about my father and was there anything she could do? At that point I did not even realize Blue Eyes had spoken with fil. I texted my sil asking her to please keep the news to herself. No one knew but me and Blue Eyes and my mother, and now, of course, the evil family. I was pretty upset. My real concern was that either the mil or sil would contact our boys and we didn’t want to worry them (they were both off at college at this point) until we had more facts. We didn’t know if he had 6 months or 6 years to live.
I didn’t make a big fuss. I talked to Blue Eyes and he felt so awful that his dad had told his mom and his mom had told his sister, all within one hour. We decided not to talk with the in-laws about it anymore especially since my father had not given permission for anyone to know. He was still in shock, devastated really. My mother in law then took it upon herself to call my father. She went on and on about all the friends she has down in LA that can help him. That he must get his care down there as our city is so small and most likely has no proper medical care. Coincidentally, my parents had booked a week with their timeshare company in Palm Springs and it just so happened that my in-laws would be at their second home during that time. My mil was scheduling dinner and golf plans with my parents and trying to get my father to talk with her friends. Now, these friends are merely wealthy women who serve on boards of charitable organizations and raise money for cancer research, etc… They are not specialists, or even doctors. She refused to even acknowledge the doctor Blue Eyes had originally called, because she didn’t consider him qualified. What a mess. I talked with my parents and I could hear the anxiety in their voices, but they kept making excuses for mil saying she was just trying to help. I said, “no, she is a narcissist and you have seen what she has done to us. She is in this for her own selfish reasons, for recognition, to meddle, to manipulate people.” Obviously my parents are grown adults and can fend for themselves, I just merely reminded them that if it was getting stressful, they must cut her off. Stress was the last thing they needed. Eventually, my father did tell mil that they weren’t going to be able to see them in Palm Springs and that their doctors at home were perfectly competent at handling the situation. Naturally, mil was pissed off and blamed me.
A couple weeks after the flurry of communication, and things had died down a bit, mil called me. This would be the phone call that changed everything for me, at least everything about my future with these horrifying people. She explained to me that I was being spoiled and selfish and that my not allowing my father to have contact with her (WTF) was just going to shorten his life. That she knew all the right people to help him. I told her that my father was in charge of his own affairs and that she shouldn’t have really even known about the diagnosis in the first place. That Blue Eyes had not given fil permission to share with anyone and that I was most concerned that someone was going to tell the boys before father was ready for them to know. She proceeded to yell at me, “you and your family are lucky to even have someone like me in your life. You are lucky I am even taking time out of my busy schedule to help you people.” By this point she was yelling hysterically at me. I thought about hanging up, but I held my tongue as I really wanted the whole fiasco to end here, but I had to get up the nerve to tell her never to call or attempt to talk with me again (out loud, not just in my head). She just kept going on and on about how great she is and how horrible I am and then, THEN, she started in on my boys. She started blasting them…. saying “they are just as spoiled, self serving, and rude as their mother.” That “no matter what she does for them, no matter what she gives them, they never thank her, they are unappreciative BRATS!” Everything that was coming out of her mouth was unreal. In between her yelling, I said to her, “don’t ever speak to me again.” And I hung up. I don’t know if she even heard me.
At this point, any positive feelings I had ever had for her, any feelings of guilt, or obligation, they were gone. Ten minutes later my mobile phone was ringing and it was my sil. I had no interest in speaking with her either. She then texted me asking if I was okay. That her mother had just called her to say I had gone off the deep end. That she was just pleasantly calling me to see how my father was doing and I went crazy, calling her names and saying she wasn’t allowed to speak to anyone in my family. I just didn’t want to deal with it. I texted her back asking her to please not talk about me with her mother at all.
I did not speak to my mil from November 2012 to August 2013. She continued sending me emails as if nothing had happened. I ignored them. They continued trying to contact Blue Eyes and on rare occasions he spoke with them briefly. In August 2013, we visited Los Angeles for business and to celebrate our 24th wedding anniversary. We also planned to attend the 2nd birthday party of sil’s granddaughter. The in-laws knew we were in town and mil sent an email asking if we would meet them for brunch at a deli they enjoy. Blue Eyes and I talked about it and decided we would do it. I think we were actually expecting a miracle. We were expecting them to be nice. They weren’t. Blue Eyes went to hug his dad and his dad pulled away. They were rude and mil went on and on about how busy her life is, how great she is, how great (rich) her friends are. I brought them some pictures of the boys. She shoved them in her purse without looking at them. It was the shortest brunch ever. When we left, I could see the hurt and pain Blue Eyes was feeling from their physical rejection of him. I told him I was done. After everything we had been through with them, I didn’t see it ever getting better. I didn’t see any good coming from contact with them, at all. He agreed.
Two weeks after that Los Angeles trip, Blue Eyes broke off his relationship with the other woman, for good. I don’t know where the strength came from, but he was ready to try and fix what was wrong in him. I believe that now. The last correspondence Blue Eyes had with his parents was in regards to a conversation he had with his sister in February 2014. His sister asked him to please tell their parents to stop asking questions of her about us, our children, our lives because it was stressful for her to have to tell them everything we are doing. We were in Hawaii and Blue Eyes sent an email to his parents asking them to please contact him if they had any questions about him or his life. He did not throw his sister under the bus, or even mention her at all. The father emailed back saying how dare Blue Eyes dictate who they can talk to and what they can say??? He said many other not so nice things, insinuated I was controlling all his bad behavior and they said if he couldn’t be a better son, to not contact them anymore. Then they said they would take his name away from him if they could. He didn’t deserve it.
That is the last communication between Blue Eyes and his parents. I have not had contact with them since August 2013. We broke contact with the sister in June 2014. It still feels weird. Perhaps, like healing from adultery and finding out my husband is a sex addict, time will help with the weirdness. I sure hope so.