Sunday, September 01, 2013

Too many people are dead to me

I'm starting to wonder how weird it is that I don't talk to my mother or sister, and that I've razored several friends clean out of my life.

I cut out my mother because I finally realized what a destructive impact her degenerate pervert boyfriend had on my life. Now I feel like I'm approaching satisfied with my life. Do I let her back in, or keep her out?

She's still feeding, clothing, and sheltering him. It nauseates and infuriates me when I think of it. So I try not to think of her, which is easier when I don't talk or email with her. But she's my mother. Most of what she did for me was good. I was always fed and clothed. Went on decent vacations. Was put through an expensive private college. Braces on my teeth, even oral surgery to correct a snaggletooth.

So does all that good outweigh the extreme and negative influence her boyfriend's pornography had on my sexual and psychosocial development? I don't know.

With my sister Jerusha it's a little simpler: she cannot be nice to me, and I will no longer tolerate that. This became painfully clear during Shira's bat mitzvah, almost exactly a year ago.

Jerusha was rude and invalidating throughout the bat mitvah weekend. My dress was wrinkled; I borrowed her iron, not noticing there was some kind of crap seared onto its surface. It melted the polyester chiffon. Horrified, I showed it to her. She shrugged; I would obviously have to improvise. But she went out of her way to lend diamond and sapphire earrings to my cousin's 10-year-old daughter.

Basically, my sister is incredibly nice to everyone except me, and incredibly rude and hurtful to me. This was abundantly clear when I met her friends as they arrived to the party. They knew everything about my cousins Yaffa and Yonina, but had no idea who I was. Because Jerusha has repeatedly refused to be my friend on Facebook. I don't think they knew she had a sister.

I told my aunt that my sister was horrible to me all weekend and I didn't want to go out to dinner with everyone two nights after the bat mitzvah, especially since I was in a lot of pain after some sacroiliac injections. This prompted my sister to send me the following email:

I have heard that I upset you at the party. I assure you it wasn't intentional, not sure what I did, but I apologize if I hurt your feelings.

I was very glad you were there, and so were all the kids, especially (the batmitzvah girl). My kids really love you and want to see more of you.

I will have the kids for Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, you're welcome to join us. I don't plan on putting up a succah this year, too lazy, and the kids will be with their father for first days and Shabbat of Sukkot anyway.

This is after I took her older daughter for frozen yogurt to free up my sister's time, paid for my sister and nieces' mani-pedis so that we could get out of the salon quicker (Jerusha didn't even thank me), and prevented a major meltdown by helping my younger niece get marker ink off her hands before the party even started. And then was humiliated by having to explain to Jerusha's friend that she actually has a sister. But Jerusha has NO IDEA what she's done that is hurtful to me. Obviously it is all in MY head.

Note that she says "My kids really love you and want to see more of you." Obviously she doesn't love me, but she has to endure my presence, with the absolute worst grace you've ever seen.

I wrote back:

It's never intentional. You just can't bring yourself to be truly nice to me. You are nice to everyone except me. I totally get why your husband left you for his secretary. If it weren't for the kids I would cut you out of my life completely. At this point I'd rather go to their father to spend time with the kids, but I know that will never happen.

Actually, it has happened. Several times. Because her ex-husband's wife didn't refuse my friend request on Facebook. I just got back from another visit, to celebrate my nephew's birthday. We all went out to lunch -- Oedipus, Shira (Malka was at a birthday party), ex-BIL Bill, his new (and pregnant) wife, and her daughter from her previous marriage.

It's weird, but it's working. The kids are happy -- they get to see me, and I don't disparage their father and stepmother, whom they love. So there's no reason for me to let my sister back into my life. I can access the children without her, and she's never going to treat me with anything approaching respect. At this point, she can have one of my kidneys if she needs it, but nothing else. (I doubt she'd thank me if I gave her a kidney.)

I've cut a few friends out of my life over the past several years. But I don't feel as conflicted about shedding friends as I do with relatives. I have many, many amazing friends who support and comfort me; I don't need to hang on to those who let me down. Sometimes I wonder, though: is my let-me-down threshold too low?

I want to be a forgiving person. But I've been hurt and let down by so many people who essentially got away with it. I had no control over those situations. But I have control over whom I befriend and unfriend. Am I exerting it wisely?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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