Toxic People

We went retro this year and used The Peacemaker’s first Hanukkiah. Night 6.

I am so incredibly blessed to have both my boys home for the holiday season. I absolutely hate that I feel like I need to write this post, on Christmas. I try to write about the happy stuff too, but like Yelp reviews, I feel more compelled to write down the bad stuff. I am thankful for this space, to write out my frustrations. It helps me release some of the stress.

We, as a family embrace so many religions. I grew up Christian, baptized Episcopalian while also attending the LDS church every other weekend. I converted to Judaism at 25 years old. Blue Eyes is Jewish, and also embraces Buddhism. My boys consider themselves Jewish, but they have a lot of experience with Christianity through their four Christian grandparents, and I believe the Pragmatist’s girlfriend grew up Hindu. We don’t talk about it much as none of us are terribly religious at this point, but we all have a spiritual connection.

The night before last, as we were sitting around the dinner table while our oldest, The Pragmatist, finished off the Hanukah dinner of brisket, latkes and salad that he and his girlfriend were making for us, Blue Eyes started talking about his parents. I don’t even remember how the conversation started. His father turned 88 last week. His mother had sent an email to three people with a picture of BE’s dad on his birthday. She’d sent the email to The Pragmatist (our oldest), J, the grandson from their deceased son (the child we have not seen for years and who is now nearly 14 years old), and that grandson’s step father. BE’s parents have become quite close with the woman who they originally blamed for “killing” their son (he committed suicide in 2010) and her new partner as well as the child those people now have together, J’s little sister. It’s almost like they have adopted these people as their own children/grandchild. My guess is because these people don’t carry the baggage of being raised by these horrible people, and they are hoping to inherit money from them. At the time of the brother’s death, the grandson was 15 months old. I’ve written about this situation. The in-laws claimed they would never have a relationship with that child, but I begged them to… a link to their deceased son. Due to the fact that Blue Eyes cut contact with his family back in 2014, he does not have a relationship with his nephew. Blue Eyes has since reconnected with his parents and his sister, and that leads us to today.

Blue Eyes’ mother then, after the fact, decided to forward the email with the birthday photo of his dad, to Blue Eyes. Blue Eyes thanked her and mentioned that our younger son, The Peacemaker, might like to be on the email chain too. Blue Eyes’ mother sent back a scathing email saying she would not send anything to our son as he has never reached out to them and they don’t care to have a relationship with him. Truth be told, they have always been rude and disrespectful to our younger son. Really, it is absolutely due to no fault of our son. He was just born second. He is disposable to them. They adore our older son. It’s crazy and cruel and of course our older son will never understand what it feels like to be his brother, however, as their mother, I feel the pain of rejection that my younger son feels. My mentally ill sister also treated him second best. She has since tried to mend her ways, but the scars are still there. My son is an adult now, and I can’t fight his battles for him, but I encourage him NOT to have a relationship with Blue Eyes’ parents. They are horrid people. Toxic doesn’t even begin to describe them. It is not his fault they don’t have a relationship with him, and he is, frankly, lucky he doesn’t. But Blue Eyes keeps poking the beast. I’m really not sure of his motives, to be honest. His mother also went on and on about what a horrible son and uncle Blue Eyes is, blah, blah, blah… she’s actually worse than ever.

I still do not fully understand why Blue Eyes reconnected with his abusive parents. I have written so many entries about how getting them out of his life was crucial to healing from all the wounds they perpetrated on him. I didn’t think he was ready to reconnect, and I have not spoken with these people for a decade. I tried to encourage a more positive relationship by sending her flowers in his name, etc… but she was incredibly ungrateful. I wrote about the time she spent more time talking with the florist that I purchased the flowers from, while sending her son a brief thank you.

My bigger issue, however, is when writing back to his mother after her scathing email belittling both Blue Eyes and our son, he wrote her an email back saying SHE WAS RIGHT! That he shouldn’t have even asked and that he was sorry to have caused HER stress. And this is exactly why I never believed he was ready to have a relationship with them. It is completely unhealthy to have a relationship with an abusive narcissist if you are just going to feed their abuse. It’s flipping crazy. He read the email in front of the kids. Basically, he was saying to her that she was correct in being abusive to our younger son. This is where I draw the line.

It’s now me or them. I won’t have it both ways. If he wants to continue on with this incredibly toxic situation, I am out. I actually don’t need any excuses to call it quits. He’s done enough damage on his own and continues to fumble along in our relationship, one that is about to hit 39 years!

Yesterday Blue Eyes’ sister called him to ask if he had said something bad about her to their parents. OH MY FUCKING GOD!!! So not only are they continuing to verbally abuse Blue Eyes and through him, our son, but they are also pulling the same trick on their daughter. Now, the sister is not my favorite person in the world (and which I have written about that), but she spent most of covid lockdown taking care of them… bringing them food and groceries, picking up their prescriptions, anything they needed or asked for. Well, now that things have somewhat gone back to normal, they have completely forgotten about what she did for them. CLASSIC! But the bigger issue is that she is asking her brother if he stabbed her in the back. He has LITERALLY NEVER stabbed her in the back. He has never said anything derogatory about his sister to his parents. Ever. Why she just can’t believe that they are evil and that is why they are treating her badly, I just don’t know.

So, I am done. I wrote the following letter to my in-laws, but like the letter to my husband’s whore all those years ago, I will probably never send it. My guess is Blue Eyes will not send anything more to his parents and will just in fact stop communicating with them, like he did before. Not sure that totally works for me, but they won’t listen to a word either of us says (or writes anyway), so who knows.

The Letter.

To: S&L

I have been silent long enough. I frankly just don’t understand the level of hate perpetuated by you. I am speaking to the email you recently wrote to Blue Eyes, your one surviving son who has tried so desperately to understand you. You have been terrible to him. You have been downright mean with your words. Why? After six years of intense therapy, he has tried to have a relationship with you and you have once again treated him so badly.

You have a wonderful son and TWO amazing grandsons. The Peacemaker has never done anything wrong. You have created a fabrication in your mind filled with lies you have concocted in your own twisted brain that somehow The Peacemaker has wronged you. He hasn’t. You have never been nice to him (even when he was young you treated him disrespectfully) and you have NEVER reached out to him. You claim you called him, you didn’t. We have phone records going back 15 years. He is a sweet, kind, gentle young man who carries a lot of S’s traits and it is sad, for you, that you don’t know him at all. We tried to plan a trip down to LA for last December so you and The Peacemaker could be together and you rejected the idea outright. Frankly, since you are so mean and disrespectful, I did not advocate for it, but Blue Eyes and The Peacemaker wanted it. I doubt they want it anymore.

I have known for years that you try and manipulate people because of your desire for control. Once children reach adulthood, you lose some of your control (unless they are solely driven by the thought of your money?) and that must make you angry. 

Due to the level of manipulation and deceit perpetrated by J’s mother years ago (she accused me of wanting to steal J after your son died, which is insanity) I have personally chosen not to have a relationship with her. Blue Eyes chose his own path. Years ago S and S dropped J at our house for convenience so they could go to a party in Portland. He was very ill and it took hours of coaxing before he would even speak to us. It was very selfish on S’s part. Prior to that, since S had such a horrible relationship with you and your daughter (mostly due to your son’s will and legal battles), she would reach out to us whenever something bad happened to her, like when an internet boyfriend stole her wedding ring and a bunch of cash from her. She wanted us to track him down. I don’t want a relationship with someone of her character. Unfortunately J belongs to her.

I find it ironic that you verbally beat Blue Eyes up for not having a relationship with J. After your son died you blamed S for his death and said you would never have a relationship with J. I begged you to reconsider as he was your one link back to your son. Now you want to punish Blue Eyes. So strange. And wrong. J doesn’t know Blue Eyes. That is his mother’s doing. The thing is though, just like J, The Peacemaker is your innocent grandson, caught up in your lies and hate. It makes me sad, for you, that you don’t know him. I raised him with love and he is an incredibly loving person.

I know you think I somehow turned Blue Eyes against you, but I did not. No matter how mean or disrespectful you were to me, I would never try and turn someone away from their family. Blue Eyes had a nervous breakdown in 2014. He spent years trying to figure out what had happened and how he could have a less stressful life. He made a lot of changes and is on a much better path than he was before. Unfortunately, you are not making things any better. I’m not sure what your end goal is with your son, but from my point of view, you are trying to destroy any relationship that was there. No one is in competition with you. No one wants to be treated badly.

Sincerely,

Kat

I’m hoping for a more peaceful 2023. I will be making some changes in my life to help reduce some of the stress that is threatening to take me down. I won’t let it happen.

Beach House Christmas Tree, 2022

Merry Christmas to those who celebrate. We had planned a trip to a fun town not far from Portland, with a lavish multi-course dinner at a local winery there, but all that went by the wayside when an ice storm hit Portland Thursday night. We were lucky not to lose power and we have had a cozy weekend with just our little family. It should have been perfect.

Cheers!

19 thoughts on “Toxic People

  1. Just catching up here. I will make the following (obvious) points:

    Neither of you will ever get what you want from them—he, their love and approval; you, an acknowledgment of any of your points in the (draft) letter or validation of your humanity and love for their son.

    I deeply understand both of you and will leave it at that.

    xo
    B

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kat—I know you know this but you know what the best thing to do? Completely ignore them! In fact no do not send that letter. You’d be feeding the beast. They don’t get it and they never will. If BE wants to continue his relationship with them for whatever personal reason we’ll that’s his hair shirt he’s chosen to wear.

    I had in laws very much like yours. My MIL was a complete Narc and hugely toxic person. She’s dead now thank God and no one has shed a tear nor misses her nor speaks of her. It’s as if she never existed. Just gone! My FIL was a codependent and “nice guy” who let her run him over. He’s 92 and has had a girlfriend at the retirement place he lives.

    I know it seems like a complete betrayal to both you and Peacemaker BEs response but bless his heart he’s been totally conditioned by these toxic people his whole life and either doesn’t want to change it or has no idea how to change it. And unfortunately it’s just who he is now.

    Do t waste another moment worrying about him or them. They are miserable people and any of your goodness is simply casting your pearls to swine. For sure the smart move on yours and Peacemakers part is to walk away from all of them. Sister included. You don’t need that shit. And it is SHIT!!!

    Happy Holidays to you. Hang in there

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the practical advice, TH. It would be much easier to take if he hadn’t been reading her scathing email right in the middle of a holiday dinner with our children. This is not really about his abusive narcissistic mother. I find her easy to ignore as I have zero relationship with her. It’s my husband that is the problem. BE has indeed been conditioned by these people, however, handling that and not casting the poison all over us is something that he must do to keep our relationship in tact. He is deeply affected by their words and it’s simply not healthy. He struggles enough with his demons on the daily… why make it worse? No contact is the answer. He knows that. Happy New Year to you and yours! xo

      Like

      • Don’t get me wrong Cat. BE handled this ALL wrong. When’s he goi g to realize you and his boys come first??? He’s not 13 anymore and he doesn’t need their approval. Get over it BE your parents are sick and they’re dragging you down with them.

        My comment was in regards to your letter to them. But I’ll be honest I’m not sure children of these toxic narcs ever recover enough to do the right thing. Their brains just aren’t wired that way and they have terrible coping skills. It’s really sad.

        Hugs to you

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree. If the relationship is truly toxic we have to completely walk away from it. Otherwise it will continually shape and influence who we are, and stop us being in a healthy relationship with our own partner and children. There isn’t any other way. Those toxic people are never going to change, and offer anything close to a healthy relationship. It may be hard to face up to, but it’s the truth.
    And, as a mother of 2 daughters, I have seen the same thing happen where the first daughter is seen, and made a lot of, and the other is treated as if she doesn’t exist. It’s so painful. Thinking of you Kat. Take care of yourself!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is so incredibly unfair, the dynamics of families and birth order etc… why can’t people just be compassionate for all people. I am the oldest of 11 siblings (due to divorce and 2nd marriages). My sister is 5+ years younger. My Dad’s twins are 18+ years younger. I was the first for everything and you would think that would be great! However, I am also the pillar of strength in everyone’s minds. Nothing can topple me, which is so unfair. My youngest brother always says he loves being the youngest… nobody expects anything of him. Hmmm. It’s fairly simple, and fairly complicated all these family dynamics, but other than my borderline sister, the family is mostly mentally healthy. Unlike my husband’s family. They are just so messed up, and really, the epitome of money doesn’t buy happiness. Dealing with a raging narcissistic mother is just no joke. But when her narcissism is destroying lives, it’s time to cut her off. Apparently losing one son to suicide wasn’t enough. She’s determined to destroy all her children and grandchildren. I’m tired, and it is painful. It’s our job to protect our children from what we know is hurtful and cruel. I feel I’m in this alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am so sorry you feel alone in this. It sounds like you want someone to stand by you in protecting your kids? Validate this is harmful to them? Many HUGS to you.

        And re: mothers putting children first, comments about family dynamics, birth order… may I add another? Family / mother dynamics around the sex of the child. In my family, and even now, my mother prefers males openly. And to take it further – she prefers white males. My family has other races like many families now. It hurts me and it’s wrong to the females in her family.

        So, I have a mother who in some ways is like BE’s mother, and I sought help for FOO stuff as soon and I was able to move to a city / college, and didn’t hesitate to seek counsel when I needed it into adulthood just like physical health. Yet, I still struggle, It just doesn’t make sense or “sit” with me; I knew in my gut that my family shouldn’t have treated me that way; children are to be loved and protected.

        Just saying this to say I can relate to what you are talking about. The hard part is that BE can’t seem to “contain” it, so it sprays onto your family. Ouch.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s so difficult to understand abusive people. It just feels and is wrong, especially abusive mothers. My instincts have always been to nurture and protect my children, not hurt them.

          BE had created such a fantasy world in his mind about his family, he actually believed they were wonderful. He told me they were. But they just aren’t. It took almost 50 years of abuse for him to even admit to a therapist that they hurt him. When the therapists dug deep, he was devastated by his own reality. Crazy, but his parents really did a number on him. Now is the time for BE to step up and take responsibility for his own culpability.

          Cheers! xo

          Like

          • After I learned about inter-generational trauma, I understood abuse more. The good part of that is that some people, for whatever reason, look at it and change the cycle, get help, do better… and others don’t. And there’s anywhere in-between, vacillating between better, worse, the same.

            Abuse DOES feel wrong. Somehow, the young version of me saw things she accepted as reality and realized were wrong, but they just WERE. She could do nothing about it, but just survive. And eventually, actually thrive – on her own – when she did. I always knew what my mother, especially, did — was wrong. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but in many ways I can’t believe that woman is MY mother. So – that’s part of my insight.

            You’re right, Kat. Smart, aware people choose to see it, at least in early adulthood, and they desperately want to change it, so they don’t want to repeat the pattern. That’s the ideal situation.

            One sister has two estranged daughters and she chose to “divorce our family” – estrange herself – when my father was dying. Ugly behavior. Another sister has had quite a bit of success loving her children and nurturing a loving family. She was my sister-protector who was safe when I was a kid.

            At some point, it does help to step up and examine FOO stuff. For REAL. Hope that happens for BE.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry that these miserable people have reared their ugly heads at the holidays. I remember when BE was trying to reconnect with them and everyone here in the Blogosphere was thinking “Noooooooo…!” It seems like BE felt that he could manage them. But he clearly can’t. They are utterly unmanageable. Any connection that BE has with them causes direct harm to you and your youngest son. That BE sanctions it seems absurd. If a stranger was that awful, he wouldn’t tolerate it, but it’s somehow ok because the perpetrators are his parents?
    I absolutely understand the ultimatum. Someone has to step up to end the generational trauma and protect your mental health and that of your youngest. These people are never going to change and all they can do is cause a lot of pain and anguish before they eventually die. It’s a shame that BE is unlikely to achieve the idyllic relationship he wants with them, but it’s no excuse to bring pain upon those he should be protecting.

    Stay strong. Sending hugs and support. 💓

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the hugs, I need them. I agree that BE thought he could manage the relationship, and I was also one of the people saying, NO! He makes me feel so stupid in that I thought for so long that he would outgrow or heal from the toxicity of his parents and he would choose to do the right thing by me and our children by not having a relationship with them. Or at the very least, manage his side of the relationship better. He truly believes that being kind to them will help when all they see is weakness. They have always been abusive and controlling. There has never been a time when they weren’t. They were cruel to me, and he let it happen. He never had my back, or went to bat for me. Instead he had a secret sex life to help him cope, which in turn also hurt me desperately.

      So now that he is managing his SA demons, he still is completely unable to understand the pain he causes us by letting his parents abuse us, and him. I’m at my wit’s end. Love can only go so far. I need to put my needs first. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in days. It’s time to take a stand! xo

      Liked by 2 people

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