Author Topic: The story of "Tiffany"  (Read 44385 times)

jordanspeeps

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The story of "Tiffany"
« on: March 04, 2008, 09:00:38 PM »
My childhood was marked by loneliness, neglect, and self-sufficiency.

Very much a latchkey kid by age 7, I had to figure out how to prepare meals (when there was food in the fridge), clean/maintain a house, wake myself up in the morning, dress myself, and catch the schoolbus every day.  By age 12, I had figured out haphazardly what my menstrual cycle was and somehow snooped around in my mother's locked bedroom to locate feminine products and teach myself how to mange my womanhood.  Not allowed school friends, I had to be extremely observant in order to pick up on acceptable social behavior, I'm sure unwittingly making an ass out of myself regularly.  I didn't get fitted for much needed prescription eyeglasses until I was in the 5th grade.  (The school nurse and teachers were furious, I recall).

Childhood Fantasy:

I often imagined/fantasized that I was adopted, despite the fact that I am the spitting image of my mother: high cheekbones, large smile, reddish skin undertones.  I would fantasize about my “birth mother”.  I would dream of the day I was to meet “her”. I would anticipate longingly her proud, reactive response to me. I would ask her if she thought I was pretty.  My fantasy Mom, instead of replying grouchily, “Well, you’re smart… “ would simply say to me on Easter morning all decked out in my frocks, “Sweetie, you are the prettiest little thing, I’ve ever seen.”  I overachieved in school, (after I got the much needed eye-glasses, and could see the blackboard, of course), because when I met my “birth mother” I wanted her to be so proud of me and what I’d accomplished in my years. 

When I knew something was wrong:

I figured out that my parents were "off" when I was in Jr. high school.  So, in order to avoid them, I became engulfed in social/ extra-curricular activities at school.  Anything to stay away from them, I attended a plethora of summer enrichment programs.  For me, school and home life had to be separate.  There were times when my accomplishments would make the local newspaper, say Young Author’s Contest, Spelling Bee, or like the time when I was featured for singing the National Anthem at various school athletic events.  Neighbors and churchfolks would say to my mom and dad, “You must be so proud of her.”  Sheepish because they hardly ever knew what the person was talking about, my parent would come to me with tons of questions, “Why didn’t you tell me you were representing the city at so and so? Who’s been taking you to the events? How are you preparing for them?, etc. And eventually in semi-frustrated tone, “Well, I’m taking you the next time…” I now imagine for the wonderful Nsupply it would provide to them.  Without fail, these rare parental “appearances” would become fiascoes for me.  I had sang the National Anthem about 30 times before my parents decided to make an appearance to hear my buzzed-about rendition.  It was also the State Basketball Semi-Finals, so packed house, basically. Everyone there just knew that I was getting ready to DELIVER with this song as I had so many nights before. But on this night, without any forewarning, I just froze solid, I forgot the words.  It was sooooo shockingly humiliating, not before my friends and visitors so much: the crowd just joined hands, swayed and sang the rest of the song altogether, but for my father and mother to see me so unprepared and vulnerable was horrifying.  And they offered me no emotional support.  That night at home, after a long, strange silence, my father was like, “I thought you were going to bring the house down, what happened to ya?”  I was so outdone.

During a Spelling Bee when I was in 6th grade representing our city at the Regional Bee, someone from church, a newspaper reader obviously, offered my dad the ol’ “good luck to your daughter” which led to his unexpected “appearance” at the Spelling Bee auditorium.  After months of my correctly spelling these ridiculous words far beyond my years and grade level, the sight of my father in the audience with this dark faithless look of fear, (which I now know to be chronic Low Self Esteem), caused me to flipping lose my composure once again.  I bombed on the word “forty.” My mind went blank. I was sooo outdone. Gee, thanks Dad.  From there on, I managed my academic successes very secretly.  I quickly learned to drop the need to impress my parents with my grades and activities and to succeed for my own sake.  Conversely, due to the embarrassment they suffered when I flubbed in their presence, they just learned to feign knowledge of my busy itinerary to the neighbors and co-workers when they spoke of my activities, and they would say, “Oh, yeah, where do you think she gets her talent from!!.

Maternal Jealousy

When I attempted to find joy my little life, there would be these moments where my mother would appear to take an interest in me.  And usually it was when a new talent of mine was emerging.

When my father was a young aspiring minister speaking at various churches during his early years, it was a common practice for the minister to have his wife or mother to come and sing a special inspirational selection prior to the delivery of his message.  Aware of the tradition in this newly joined church, my mother refused to participate despite her solid singing voice.  When I was five, to spite my mother I believe, my father asked me to put together a little song to sing prior to his message at a highly anticipated regional event, the church was overflowing.  It didn’t occur to me to be afraid.  I sang the only song I knew.  “Jesus Loves Me.” I remember this event so vividly.  People were at first, tickled by this tyke’s tiny voice and confidence.  Before the song was finished, I delivered some unexpected embellishments towards the end, tears were rolling down the cheeks of old ladies and people were on their feet in ovation.  I took it all in stride.  My father boasted for weeks. The church members would give me candy and smile at me.  My mother, who chose not to even attend the all- important service was quiet and unacknowledgeing for some time during the days that followed. However, for the next few years whether she was angry at my father or not, she would not be denied this moment of Nsupply. She would sing as if she LOVED to sing and she would close her eyes and belt out his pre-message songs with all the feigned sincerity of a loving, supportive, Christian wife. I never really got to feel that wonderful feeling of applause and praise again during those years, but I had tasted it and I didn’t forget the sweetness of acceptance and applause from relative strangers.

As I mentioned before I was a leader in school and church activities.  I was the youngest youth president our church had ever had and I was very active in school leadership.  My mother, who for years refused to commit to women’s and minister’s wives groups, mostly to stymie my dad’s progress as a young minister, began to not just join groups, but went for the highest leadership positions available.  My father was astounded.  I would hear them argue about this at night beyond my bedroom walls.  Sometimes he was shouting at her that she didn’t really do those things because she wanted to support him as a young minister, but for the recognition and attention it brought to her. 

When I began writing as a youngster, I was entered into a few local Young Author’s Contests and began to place in them.  One year, I won first place, a trophy, a huge dictionary, newspaper article and all.  My mother, known by all to be THE worst speller, and just an overall hater of having to write things, ignored my accomplishments while secretly signing up for a local Community College writing course. This pass/fail course produced one five-pager, a story about the significance of a gift her father gave her.  It was an okay story.  Lots of plot holes and kind of dry, but because it had been grammatically and spelling corrected, it was her greatest masterpiece!  My four bound blue-ribbon stories went into a steamer trunk, her short story stayed displayed prominently in various places in the home for months.  I stopped writing.
 
When I was about 14, I performed an oration called “Thou Art There”  based on a Psalm given to us by the judges of the First Annual Church Oratorical Contest.  It was a spiritual oration with hand gestures and vocal intonations meant to inspire and move the listeners.  It was a hit.  I was being asked to perform it on a local, regional, and national level within my organization.  It was at a regional event at this huuuuge church where I was to give this speech for this 10th or so time.  I was sitting next to my mother in the pews when I told her I needed to go the bathroom prior to my performance. Initially she ignored me.  Then as I would tap her on the arm to ask again, she covertly pinched the smallest piece of flesh on my thigh, OUUUCHH!  and told me to be quiet.  45 minutes later, as I am watching dozens of people traipse back and forth to the bathroom, my knees are bouncing and tears are rolling down my face in discomfort.  With bladder about to burst, I could not hide to the surrounding onlookers, my delimma.  I was begging her to let me go pee.  She finally could not pretend to be so caught up in the spirit that she couldn’t tell what was up with me.  She allowed me to go.  I could barely walk.  I made it outside of the chapel and to the back bathroom, but there was a line 20 people long.  I pissed myself, before I had the chance to give my speech.  She tsk-tsked and grinned, “Too much soda…”  I still hate her for that. Shortly thereafter she made the declaration that she was meant to deliver God’s word before people. And though female ministers were not allowed in the organization, she would go on to spend a considerable amount of energy proving to others that her spiritual musings were worthy of people’s attention.

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 09:03:06 PM »
Mommie Dearest
I saw “Mommie Dearest”  when I was a child.  That movie really haunted me throughout my life.  I didn't know my own mother was an Nmom as yet, but I knew there were some odd similarities between my mom and Joan Crawford.  Mostly that whole dynamic that she was such a sugary, over-the-top actress with the outside world and was a miserable, grumpy, yelling, over-reactor at home. I, like Christina had the Christmas where we received all these gifts, which were then taken and given away to needy children. (To boot, one Thanksgiving she, in an extremely rare act of motherhood, prepared a full table spread, and feuled by some in-sensitive comment made by father, chucked the entire dinner outside into the back yard onto a fresh blanket of tall ice-hardened snow. I can still see and smell the steaming food settling into the cold pristine white-covered back yard. I, 7 or 8 was so shattered. Later, that night she “testified” in Thanksgiving church services that God had laid it on her heart to feed the birds because, get this, “How else were his precious creatures going to be able to get to their food in the rock hard ground underneath all that icy snow?”  Was she for real? No one was allowed to give it away, that we, her human family members did not taste a drop of that immaculate smelling meal and were left to fend each for himself that night, much like the birds would have been I suppose.) 

The scene in Mommie Dearest with the clothes hanger  (No more WIRE HANGERS!!!) terrorized my dreams for some odd reason.  In my recurring dream, I could feel my mother beating me with the wire hanger as I fell into the small closet.  I saw the movie for the second time several months ago and I was just as disturbed, however watching the movie this time really empowered me.  I watched it during a time that I was worried about the end of my mother's life and being the executor of her Estate, (my mom was at one time EXTREMELY financially successful).  Seeing the way Joan Crawford left her daughter with nothing, especially after her daughter spoke so highly of her at the Academy Awards Ceremony, I was convinced that if I didn't let go of this drama with my mother and try to move on with my life, then I was going to be sick with regret and bitterness.

Speaking of beatings:
When I was five, my parents would fight constantly.  I have distinct memories of a scenario when my mom came home from work furious that my father had allowed the children to make sandwiches on her new dining room table leaving behind scratches from the knife on the table.  She was furious, he was calm, apathetic, she flipped her lid and grabbed the knife and wielded it towards him.  He used a frying pan to ward her off and hit her square in the cheeks.  She pressed charges.  They separated for a time and mother took the children to live near her dysfunctional Family of Origin.  This is the summer I was molested by my drunkened, porno-obsessed teenaged cousins who lived in the same duplex we rented. I do recall making a huge deal out of my private parts burning.  I told my parents about my cousins being on top of me.  I was ignored. My father and mother did not get back together until he had served out his penance sleeping in the broom closet of the small apartment for a few weeks.

As children, my brothers, and sister and I endured what are known as ritualistic beatings, where my father, under the assumption that no matter what state we were in when he arrived home for work, we had probably done something wrong and deserved a beating.  He would come home, line us up and beat us nightly.  Sometimes we knew why were getting the beating other times, not so clear.  I now, at age 33, have all of these unexplained scars on my body.  My knowledge of anatomy tells me that one’s epidermis, top layer of skin, is replaced about every seven years.  If that is the case then these scars, a paramecium-shaped one on my left arm, a poorly-healed one on my right hand, and a huge gash across my eyebrows from which hair has never regrown.  I get the feeling I was probably beat bad enough to need stiches a few times and never received them.  I can remember nursing scrapes, hematomas, and whelps from a very, very young age.  My dad’s last beating came when I was 17 and had a vehicle.  He tried to take my keys in order to keep me at home.  I was class president and needed to be out a lot and he was fuming at the idea of me being so free to go places with my new car.  When he raised his hand to backhand my face, the rage of 17 years welled up in me and I grabbed the nearest thing I could, later I realized it was a spray bottle of Armour-All tire cleaner, and I raised it high in the air with the look of pure fury.  I saw something in his eyes, something wild and crazy and deadly.  But I think what he saw in my eyes was a reflection, one that was just as crazy at that moment.  I’m not sure what damage I could have done with that little spray bottle but I think he got the idea what time it was. 

Adolescence
Despite living an extremely sheltered life up until high school, I had become quite the social butterfly by 10th grade.  I was class president twice, nominated for Most Popular and was the prom queen.  In college, more of the same.  I worked really hard at maintaining my friendships and learned many of the caveats of keeping people happy.  I didn't just have one group of friends, or a major clique.  I was a floating member of many, many cliques from the athletes to the pretty girls to the nerds.  I pledged a sorority in college and tacked on about 100,000 more "friends."   

Two years ago, I was proud and amazed at what I was able to accomplish as a child, but recently my spirit had begun to break as I mourned and felt sorry for the child in me. When I was 12, a sick, backwoods, farming family took an interest in me.  Because my parents didn’t give a hoot in whose company I remained, they allowed this family (18 year-old daugter, 16 year old son, quietly weird mom and apathetic dad) to take me home with them after church on Sundays and some days in the summer.  I wouldn’t/couldn’t protest this, and loved the nature and beauty of the countryside, so I looked forward to leaving my boring home.  I read a lot, too, so a lot of the times, my head was buried in a book. (I was reading Tiger Eye  by Judy Blume at the time.  I had no idea, what sadistic plans this isolated family had for me on thier very isolated farm, but it felt to be too late once I was 3 months pregnant after only my second period. I remember those days when I was 12, the horrific feeling of being alone in this, hours and hours of crying alone while my siblings were in school. 

And when I went into the abortion clinic alone to complete the paperwork and have the procedure, I remember having to take the clipboard with the paperwork which needed signing back out to the car, hidden under a large tree in the shade where my parents were parked together, talking.  I didn’t think of it then, but I break up now, thinking, “they had each other to talk to, lean on."  I had no one. Once the decision was made, I managed the entire process without my parents, save the 35 mile ride to the clinic.  They were convinced the farm family was out to get them personally, because of jealousies within the church.   Mom thought I should have known better than to let them trick me in such a way and told me NEVER to speak of the incident or to any of the farm family members again, ever.

That same week, at my mother’s insistence, she had a total hysterectomy at the age of 42 and against medical advice.  She was going through the beginning stages of menopause and wanting nothing to do with losing control over her body, I imagine.  The “change” would take place under her own terms.  My father was against the surgery as he knew it would obliterate their sex life, or at least be used as an excuse to.  He thought she insisted on the hysterectomy to spite him.  During the first post-op days, I alone was summoned to sit at her bedside.  Initially, I thought that this would be good, that maybe we would have the opportunity to talk about our emotional/gynecological dilemmas.  I was at a complete lost for what was happening to my body.  It still had not occurred to me that I wasn’t a virgin or that I had been violated. I was waiting for a conversation about what happened to me and how I came to be pregnant and why I was bleeding so much.   But once I was left alone with her in the private hospital room, I was told to sit in a chair at the foot of the bed and just stay there.  She was solemn and stone-faced.  I was not allowed to speak.  Instinctively I began to cry.  I was told to SHUT UP!!  When I sniffled and the tears rolled down my cheeks I was told to wipe my face and STOP IT!! I was to just sit quietly at her bedside as she steamed in silence.  This is where I learned to squelch my emotions.  I eventually returned home, my post-abortion pads soaked through from the uninterrupted sitting.  I was not allowed to leave her bedside for even that one thing.  It was horrible.  21 years later, I feel sick when I think about it.


jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 09:06:03 PM »
The Kindness of Strangers
There were kind people in my life, but often when I became too attached to someone as a child, the parents simply removed me from them.  There was Mrs. Martha, my childhood neighborhood baby-sitter who watched a lot of the neighborhood kids.  I LOVED her.  We bonded as I sat between her legs having my hair braided.  She loved to watch soap operas, and was a renowned cook, and she let us get away with extra visits to the “cookie monster” cookie jar without punishment.  I followed her around like a puppy and she didn’t seem to mind. I was about five to six and I remember having such a good feeling when I was at her house.  I also had teachers, principals, and other members of the community rooting for me.  They knew what was going on in my crazy life, even when I had no idea.  My parents were despised by some, both as a couple and individually and I could sense the hostility as a child.  But I could also sense a desire to help me.  I believe now, they could sense my naivete and sheltered/isolated circumstances.  Quite a few narrow escapes in my childhood, probably due to unwitting helpers, (heroes) showed me my way of escape

My half-brother
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to be needed or even regarded by my oldest brother.  He is nine years older and was very popular and handsome, smart as any man I knew until I met my husband.  He was always in trouble, but he was by far, the "favored child."  He was the first child born to her, by a much older man who wooed my mother when she was a teenager fresh from "the country" in a major metropolitan city. He taught her how to dress, talk, and behave for the city.  He put her up while she went to LPN school and only asked for sex in return goes the story.  When my brother was born, out of wedlock, my mother sent him, an infant, back to her town of origin to be raised by her own mother, our grandmother as my mother worked and finished her education without  the stigma of being an unwed mother.  Three years later, she met my father, whom according to her, she married because he was "really into"  my brother and more importantly, they looked alike.  So when she came to start her career with her son and new husband, who gave him his last name, no one knew that my father was not my brother's father.  As a matter of fact, I didn't know until less than a decade ago, when someone at church let it leak during gossip.  Anyway, I have a feeling that after a time, my father was not so kind to my brother and that there was jealousy between them.  I also have a suspicion that my father may have been sexually abusive to my brother when he was a tot.  My brother, has always been troubled and he would never say what it is that bothers him so. He will not admit what makes him try to kill himself with drugs and mistreat his children and their mothers so badly.  Recently, when news of my own molestation by my older male cousins came to light, he admitted to me that he, too endured sexual misconduct by our family as a nine year old when two uncles forced him to watch as they masturbated themselves. This, he assumed was a punishment  for some sexual misconduct perpertrated by my father to the alleged uncle’s wife. Convoluted, feuled by drugs and alcohol and sexual deviance.
   
Anyway, by the time their final three children came along, stairstepping in ages, me in the middle, my parents had denounced our family's past and had become "born again" holy rollers.  My brother suffered a lot of abuse there, too.  The church, according to my brother, changed my father and made him cold towards him.  He no longer showed him any attention and he yelled at him and tried to beat him when he did.  My mother and my father fought endlessly about my brother. She spoiled him with multiple bikes for Christmas and expensive clothes, toys, and eventually cars and gadgets. My father resented not being able to have a say in my brother’s child-rearing. My parents could never agree on what to do with him when he was getting in so much trouble in school.  But each time, he went to jail, my mother, would bail him out, or keep lots of money on his jail account, or "put him up" completely equipped once he got out. She would give him position in her company.  He would excel. She would become jealous and wield her CEO power to undo what he typically had done so well.  He would be left to repair the carnage.  She would prove the point that he would never be as smart than her.  He would lose interest in the project.  Depressed, he would re-connect with the old gang, they would use "old, familiar" ways to deal with problems.  He began to steal from her to support his binges.  She would become embarrassed, rage at him with awful tirades about his shortcomings, which would lead him to some big ACT, generally, of crime that would lead him back to jail, where she would begin the process all over again. It was cyclic, it was sick. He’s since been diagnosed BPD and most recently sent to the State Mental Facility to be evaluated for Severe Mentally Impaired status.

How I deal with pain
I have a very high threshold for physical pain.  I recall the labor nurse constantly telling me I did not HAVE to pretend to endure the pain of childbirth contractions with my daughter, that I could have the epidural placed at any moment.  I remember feeling pressured to get the epidural at the last moments of the childbirth, having had endured the worst of the discomfort, without meds. 

I have been raped twice in my life, the first took my virginity and led to a pregnancy and subsequent abortion, the other at aged 15 was an anal rape by a neighborhood 20 year old where there was blood. I never experienced or recalled the visceral pain they must have caused.  I think this quite odd to this day.

I have always been a crybaby.  My siblings teased me for crying so much as a kid, at all the little holiday cartoon specials and Disney movies as a kid.  Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special, each year on cue, despite my personal promises to hold it together, I would rain buckets of tears uncontrollably. The ridicule made me quite self-conscious about crying as an adult.  I am a master at camafloging my emotions, but quite emotional nonetheless. I’m what you call a closet crybaby. And it’s often acts of kindness that make me cry.  Inappropriately, I tend to snicker when I hear something uncharacteristically awful.   

From my parents I received the message that dealing with painful things makes you worse, not better.   I was programmed to think there was no use in drudging up, or enduring pain, best to avoid it completely.  We lived an extremely sheltered and boring life.  Ironically, as a child, I would beg my father to help me explain the bible verse beatitude that goes, “Blessed are the longsuffering, for they shall see God.”

The role of God in my childhood
Most of my help has come through my strong ties to God.  I came to know Him as a 10-11 year old child in a cult-like Fundamentalist religious group.  Really out there, church 6 days a week, 5 hours at a time, holiness facade but worst-case scenario abuse behind the scenes. But still, I could see God’s nature in the Sunday School lessons and Vacation Bible School and Church Plays and Pageants.  I strayed away from God/church during my college years, when, not suprisingly, I exhibited a lot of the Nish traits I grew up on.   I've recently rekindled the relationship as His teachings and Bible promises now have SO much more relevance to me.  There are actually scriptures that refer to God's setting parents and their offspring at variance with one another for some higher reason/calling.  So to all you creative, beautiful, special spirits out there maybe you ought to see yourself and your past as somewhat preparing you for a greater good.  If you can detect and recognize evil in your own parents (who, if NPDs were probably trying to cover it up), imagine how you could be protective to other unsuspecting innocents before the damage you suffered happens to them.  It's the stuff of superheroes.

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 08:08:51 PM »
Current drama
Six months ago, I graduated from nursing school.  My mother, a nurse of 35 years whose comments upon my telling her I’d gotten into nursing school were, “Well, look I can hardly ever get you on the telephone, let me bring you up to speed on what’s going on here before I’m unable to get in touch with you again!” In other words, a complete non-acknowledgement of my success or even attempting to follow in her footsteps.  So I shouldn’t have been surprised that she did not come to either of my graduation ceremonies.  Her excuse was that she ‘felt ill’.  And since she was not able to come the entire 7-member clan was also unavailable to represent for me during graduation.  It’s odd because I was certainly ambivalent about her being there.  I was positive that she’d have found a way to steal the spotlight or to make the event a boring, uncomfortable fiasco but I still felt she of all people should have found a way to be there or to show some display of support or to even ‘allow’ some of the other family members who said they would be there to come.  Well naturally, she did not.  My N sister however, sent me textpages to say that she would take me out to dinner to celebrate at some later date (this will be a significant and ironic point later on).  Fine, just as well, I had my hubby and little one, Jordan there to support me and I was happy.  The day went on beautifully without incident.  My father in law was the third guest and I’ll love him forever for that.  If it weren’t for God sending me my hubby and his family I’m pretty sure I would be much more crazy by now!

Anyway, fast forward four months to April of this year when my mother decided to plan her own birthday/retirement party.  A grand gala with fancy RSVP invitations, a prestigious gathering hall, and plans for 70-125 guests.  When I received my invitation, naturally I was leary about going.  Mostly because any event in honor of my mother, and there have been many such self-planned celebrations down through the years turns into a “line-up-and\-spew-all-the-compliments-and-glorious-facts-you-know-about-me-and-only-me-for-four-hours” event.  It can be grueling and often one cannot decide whether or not they want the figurative “finger gun” to be aimed at his/her own temple or at the big Narci’s.

Personally, I was dreading the party, but like a beautiful sign from above, in the mail came another invitation set for the same date to my husband’s grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration.  Without a second thought I praised God for his small miracles and never gave a second thought about RSVPing yes to hubby’s grandma and no to Nmom, afterall, she is the woman who enveloped me into her family with open arms, keeps a loving eye on my daughter when hubby and I need a date night, taught me how to cook, not just decent but darn-good meals for my family, the list goes on.  There was no question in my mind, it was the easiest choice in the world for me to make.

My own grandmother has never acknowledged me in a positive way.  Months earlier, in one of our few and definitely our last conversation my own mother’s mother, a witch of an N, told me she hated me.  It was in the context of a convoluted business situation that had gone terribly awry.  But she said it with such calm and purpose, I believed it and decided the emotionally toxic levels were far too high for me to tolerate and that it’d be best if I never see or speak to her again.  Mind you, my mother, N grandma’s daughter, said nothing to console me or even attempt to justify why her mother would speak in such a way to her own daughter.

Needless to say, I would prefer the good time guaranteed at my hubby’s grandma’s 80th celebration.  And it was indeed a wonderfully normal event chock full of fun and appreciation and interesting people.  My daughter did a lovely poem for her Big Mama while I helped served food to the guests and my husband took pictures to commemorate the affair. It was time and energy well spent. My mother on the other hand, just HAD to call me after her event and whine.  She chose not to address me directly: she went on and on, however about how aforementioned Ngrandma, of all people, did not show up to her retirement party and how badly it looked to everyone that her own mother was not at her retirement party.  She refused to address me directly as she knew through the grapevine that I had RSVPed early, giving the honest reason to the ‘alleged party planners’ for why I wouldn’t be there. I say alleged because we all know who was really planning the party no matter how many middlemen she strategically placed and labeled ‘planners.’ She opined for about an hour about how grandma’s absence ruined the event.  What’s weird is that her and Ngrandma had been on the “outs” for the last several months and were not even really on speaking terms. So she was definitely sending not-so-subliminal messages to me by proxy.  I, however, had on my ‘emotional insulation,’ super-tight and was not giving her any extra feul for her controlled but furious fire. I would occasionally break her tirade with questions like, “Well, did you have a nice showing?”  She said, “Of course! And there were many who telephoned upset because they wanted to be invited and we had to turn them away because we only had enough space and food servings for 100 people.  And your sister (Nsister) really stepped up in the planning and the presentations and she spoke so well of me and made me so very proud!!” 

My mother’s talk of my sister, whom I believe to have many of the characteristics and background criteria for NPD, wavers between golden child and scapegoat as she deems manipulate-appropriate.  When my sister and I compare notes, to her I am the golden child and to me I am the family scapegoat. Paradoxically, whenever it suits my mother, especially when I am stepping ‘out of line’ and need a verbal flogging, my sister develops wings and incredibly becomes the ‘chosen one’.   My mother, on most occasions, considers my sister a grand screw-up.  She complains that she is an embarrassment because of the men she prefers to date (emotionally abusive, drug abusing, criminal, borderline types) and due to the fact that my sister steals money from my mother’s bank accounts, a habit she got from my oldest brother whose getting too old and recognizable to get away with local check cashing con games these days.  (Aside: I believe this is a way, be it conscious or not, for my siblings to get back at Mom for a lifetime of manipulating them with money and objects).

Of course, these roles [scapegoat and golden child] have been interchangeable, but to each of us they’ve been all types of damaging because of course, Mom never brags about the golden child TO the golden child, only to the scapegoat.  It does the double-duty of keeping the siblings alienated from one another while making us feel like crap when we are forced to be alone with her. It’s a no-win scenario when she’s deniably berating us while superficially giving kudos to the kid who was the very bane of her own existence some short time prior. 

Despite this, she spends a lot of time supporting my sister financially, setting her up in business, paying her biweekly, paying her fees and wardrobe and covering any and other gaps in her personal finances.  She sent my sister to business school immediately following the news of my getting into nursing school in an attempt I believe to both belittle my recent re-entry into academia while setting my sister up to be able to run her businesses for her, the original plan she had for me, that failed horribly due to my “ornery ways and inability to just do what she wanted without question.”  My sister was due to graduate five months after me this May. 

More to follow...

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2008, 08:37:08 PM »
Current Drama continued…

My missing the retirement party was a real source of narcissistic injury to my mom.  She made it clear that by certain family members missing the event, it made her look bad.  Why wouldn’t the daughter who helped run the businesses for several years and as far as the general public was concerned, benefited in every way possible from her generous mother’s showering of blessings and opportunity, not come to support her mother’s retirement?  For one thing, if I thought she was really retiring per se, I may take it more seriously.  I know she will never give over the reigns to any person(s) and just enjoy her golden years in peace.  Her life is about havoc and all consuming power and control. Also, if the general public only knew what I knew, they would understand perfectly why I would not want to show my face in an event celebrating her business prowess. My mother while never formally instructing me on the ways of the business and how to actually run the business, expected me to anticipate her daily needs and to do all the gruntwork, both on the  executive and the “worker bee” levels.  She poured all her problems on me, mostly run-ins with the federal and state vendors, IRS, employment commission, state tax department, etc. about being late on bills. She would have me call the vendors and explain to them that I was speaking on her behalf when asking them for extensions and other “breaks” to her because she was so ill and feeble.  She, a nurse, mind you has the ability to create these Maunchausen-type illnesses by throwing her body into varied crises like hyperglycemia (high blood sugar; usually by drinking an extra large sweetened iced tea) or hypertensive crisis (high blood pressure; normally by gorging on a Chinese food dinner) spending hours in the Emergency Dept. summoning children, ex-husband, and minions from far and wide to her final hours on Earth.  After the first two, I stopped showing up.  You can rehearse for someone’s death but so many times for their own folly before it got old.

Vendors would feel sorry for her and they would cut her breaks with a promise that she would catch up on her payment schedule and begin paying on time.  It was quite fascinating actually to watch they way officials would melt and subdue to her charms.  I, the faithful, capable daughter was usually just the ‘insurance’ the agencies needed to feel confident that we would re-gain control over the finances and get back in good standing. 

Being delinquent on bills was a longstanding problem stemming from lavishing business income on new “toys” like electronics, cars, and multiple apartments with new furnishings and personal assistants.  The people she bought, or more delicately placed on her payrolls to do things like drive her everywhere, be personal shoppers, clean her home, wash her underwear, keep her company were often members of the extended family or her church family, or former employees who were in a pinch for income and would do whatever they could to earn a paycheck. At first they never minded the menial work, lack of appreciation for extra efforts, and increasing dissatisfactory work conditions- mom tends to drive you harder and harder with each paycheck.  Eventually they one by one came to either despise her for her wanton folly with their feelings and/or time. Or they were not quite sure why they just didn’t enjoy being around her anymore. She has a charming way of seeming needy but capable and a way of having you help her seem more than worth your while.  She baits you with your own greed or need.  She will drive herself broke trying to maintain this need to control people with money.  She often complains “With all I’ve done for so and so, you would have thought that he would have done better than…” She believes that it is the great privlege of the many nameless “boys and girls” under her employ to work and learn and eat from her table scraps.

Well it’s May and time for my sister’s graduation and I am more than happy to attend my sister’s graduation. I text her to clarify the date so that I can assure I have the date off.  It’s Mother’s Day, lovely coincidence, I think with sarcasm, but I’m not going to let that ruin the day.  I tell my sister to expect me and she’s excited.  She gives the heads up to my mother, I’m not so sure why because what it does is rekindle the previous month’s resentment for my not coming to mom’s party and begins a series of random calls to my cell phone.  This is problematic because sometime after the last conversation with mom, the one where she found every way to make me feel like crap, I’d decided that I was going to initiate “No Contact” with her in an attempt to get my own stuff together and to break free from her games.  She sensed this lack, I supposed and subsequent to my sister’s news of my attempts at communication with her, followed through with a series of calls to my cellphone all of which I ignored.

So Graduation/Mother’s Day comes and to my economic surprise, my car needs four new tires, and some other work to be roadworthy.  I get the work done and have some ridiculously small amount of money left in the bank.  I still think I’m going to make every effort to go.  I don’t even consider the fact that this is the third 12-hour night shift for me at the hospital.  When I get home from work at 8:00 am the morning of the graduation, I can barely keep my eyes open.  I promise myself one to two hours of shut eye before I get up, get dressed, eat and prepare to drive the two hour trip (I may have to borrow gas money to come home once I get there, I’m thinking as I drift off to sleep) to my sister’s graduation.  Well, no grand surprise here, I overslept.  When I awakened the first thing I did was call my sister, she was in the processional line in her cap and gown.  I was so sorry.  I felt really bad.  I didn’t know what to say to her and I could hear my mother and niece in the background. It was so Freudian. Somehow, the phone was suddenly given to my niece who attempted to strike up a conversation with me. I felt like a dweeb.   I asked my niece where the after festivities would be, she gave me weird sound and we lost connection, both figuratively and physically.  My sister took no more calls from me for the rest of the night and the next day.  Mom did call my phone, however, leaving a message in a chipper tone about returning the call to “them” when I could.  Once again the puppetmaster was in control of who gets to talk to whom, and how each was perceived.  Now, I was the selfish sister and daughter who continually failed to come through for this family.  My sister failed to return any of my calls for several days.

Two weeks ago, I sent sister a final textpage saying that I loved her and that I was really sorry for missing her graduation and that I wanted to take her out to celebrate whenever it was good for her.  She failed to return the page. Like before, my mother followed-up instead with an immediate callback.  She called to say that she needed my help with something.  That the state employment commission was on her back again and this time she would need my help in dealing with the mean “Ms. Bradshaw, because she knew that I knew how to deal with her and people like her.”  Translation: I know you want to talk to your sister and be accepted by the family, but it will be under my terms and for my benefit exclusively.  You do not have the choice to have a relationship with your siblings and none with me.  If you want to come to this family it must be by me, the grand all-knowing chief Narci. Now return my call, lest I summons you! 

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 08:39:31 PM »
A moment for introspection:

I’ve had to ask myself about the role I’ve played in maintaining this dynamic between my mother and me. Is it possible that I didn’t go to mom’s retirement knowing that it was in retaliation for her failure to come to my own graduation? Might I have then wanted her to feel the sadness and anger I felt from having no one from the family to support me? Did I further piss her off by intentionally seeking out my sister to make her feel special? Were my attempts to support my sister against-all-odds driven by a desire to show Mom what lengths I was willing to go to for those I cared about, even despite my sister’s own lack of effort to come to my graduation ceremony? It’s convoluted and I’ve struggled with guilt and shame and anxiety about all of it and I have began to have physical manifestations like vertigo and fatigue and stomach pain all of which I associate with depression and anxiety over it all.

So thus begins my third attempt at a long period of No Contact with not just Nmom but with all who fall under her reign. I read somewhere that it is selfish of a person to think his/her presence/input/advice in a situation is always to the benefit of those s/he wishes to help/benefit/change.  That in fact sometimes your input and desire to see people in another light or a better situation is in fact participating in the same manipulation you profess to abhor. That the mission is self-awareness and realizing your own purpose in this life is my most recent lesson with all this.  I know if I absolutely need to talk to mom I’ll use my old tools, indifference, disappearing and emotional insulation, but the goal for me now is No Contact for as long as possible.  I deserve some peace, I think.  Wish me luck!

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2008, 07:18:50 PM »
Mother's response to NC

I have not been returning my mothers calls for about six weeks now.  It is probably better not to listen to the voicemails either, however I have been.  The last message was today:  (in really sad, thoughtful, guilt-inducing tone she says) “Yeah, this is your Mom, I’ve been trying to get in touch for a few weeks now and I guess you haven’t been checking your voicemail messages or you’ve been busy but I miss you and I’ve been thinking about you.  I guess I’m going to have to wait for you to check your messages or for you to think about me and call.  I just want you to know that I love you and I’m waiting to hear from you.”

Now, she’s pulling out the heavy artillery.  Tossing the “L” word around.  Things must be really stressful for her now, if she’s resorting to such strong measures as to say I love you.  She knows exactly how to dish out the things I always longed for when she’s desperate. A transparent attempt to placate me.  It only happens rarely and it always amazes me how much it smarts to hear her say it.  I expect she’ll ask how my husband and daughter are doing next.  I just needed to acknowledge this moment.  Not a huge biggie. The urge to return the call only lasted about one minute. That minute was followed by 20 minutes of anger (while typing) and now I’m okay.  Looks like I’ll live to fight another day.  In the meantime, not being engrossed in her problems has given me the time to go on a few dates with hubby, schedule my vacation time in August and to begin the writing framework for a nonprofit project I’m trying to start with my best friend.  No contact has its benefits that is for sure. 

Later

Tiffany

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2008, 09:58:53 AM »
The last weeks were difficult for me.  There were times when I thought I might break down and call someone from the FOO to connect in some way. I miss them honestly and resent the fact that I have to do so much work NOT to connect with them.   The latest pang was three days ago when I had the impulse to text message my sister with the very cryptic and paranoid message, “Don’t believe all that you hear, some of it is lies.”  I had just re-read some literature on Nmothers and became re-infuriated at what I’m missing out on in life being the victim of her manipulative folly.  Anyhow, I “counted to 10” and got over that feeling, glad that I didn’t reveal my frustrations and make a fool of myself.

 It had been about 2 or 3 weeks since Nmom’s last attempt to contact me and I had made a decision a week ago that whenever she called next, I would answer and have a brief, indifferent conversation.  My thinking was that it takes so much energy to AVOID someone and that indifference is the better way to handle the No Contact lifestyle. If an Nparent knows you’re taking efforts to ignore him/her, he/she may be able to manipulate the scenario to others and portray you as cruel or inhumane for the act of ignoring or for unfairly holding a grudge. Worse, in my opinion, she may gain an intense personal satisfaction in having irritated/molested me to such a degree I would have to go to great lengths just to avoid her.  It may not be positive attention but it does, in fact, constitute attention and in my case, I believe my mom would take any attention she could get at this juncture. After deciding that I wouldn’t put so much effort into being upset or resenting, the phone stopped ringing and I was resign to a having a brief, nonchalant conversation whenever Nmom called me next. 

An Unexpected Event

Fast forward to two days ago.  I was at the hospital (oncology unit) working when I recognized the name of an old family friend and former fellow churchgoer.  I hadn’t been to this church in a decade or so, I considered it to be a cult when I left for college after high school and never looked back.  Most of the pain I’ve endured in this world has in some significant way been connected via this church, and I made a personal pact to flee and never return to this organization after my last service 16 years ago. I guess it shouldn’t be a major deal to me that this man was a patient on our unit, however when I saw his name, I had an instantaneous reaction in my gut.  I knew my Nfather was one of this man’s closest comrades and that by the end of the week I would be dealing with my family in some way.  First, I ran into my old pastor, surprisingly spry for 85 years old, who had stopped by for a visit to the patient.  I thought he might not recognize me but he did, and he seemed glad to see me. He said with a quizzical turn of the head, “You look good…” He mentioned that he had just seen my entire family (they had been estranged from the church as well, only my father was attending the old family church), the previous two Sundays as visitors to the church.  I was a little surprised by that, and considered it a “heads up” on the fact that he would probably see someone from my family again soon.  I went home that day with dread.  After seeing the patient’s wife, who too mentioned that my entire family sans me had visited the old church and that she would be sure and tell everyone that she saw me.  The next day, I had the patient in the bed next to the family friend.  I was there on a quick four hour fill in shift, I thought I would be “in and out” and that maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t have to worry about making a trip down memory lane with a bunch of chatty, curious, church-folk visitors, when I heard, “Pssst”

I was in the middle of an urgent phone call about my patient when I turned and saw my father and sister’s daughter, yes the sister who is currently not speaking to me for not coming to her graduation.  They both had full cheesy grins when I approached them with hugs.  My father says, “So this is where you work?”  I had told them which hospital but never which floor, or maybe I did once and he forgot. I promptly told both that I was in the middle of trouble-shooting a situation: I had a post-operative patient, still groggy from anesthesia, who was in an enormous amount of pain and delirium, and needed my undivided attention. After hearing the question by my father, “You sure you know what you’re doing? Do you need to get some help?” I gave him a sarcastic smile, (such a typical expression from my doubt-inducing dad) and led the two of them to the patient’s room, also the room of the patient with whom I was working.  My father gave a quick acknowledgement and a quickie 6-second prayer to the church-friend and then returned his attention to me, I was currently trying to keep my delirious, tubing-laden, nearly nude patient from trying to exit his bed in a stupor.  My father stood there staring, while my niece pulled out her camera phone to snap a shot of me at work.  A lot going on there in the moment and I was quite perturbed.  A quick goodbye and they were off. 

I thought, okay, news travels fast.  Maybe they will leave well enough alone and consider this an inevitable coincidence of sorts.  Later that day, my mother calls.  I had already made this pact to answer the next call she gave and I was also in the middle of a nap, so a little disoriented when I saw her name on caller id.  She was surprised that I called right back. I could hear this in her voice.  She was, however instantaneously polite sounding.  (I later listened to the voicemail she left in the minute between my callback to her: she sounded annoyed and mean). She asked if I liked my job, as if she couldn’t believe I could.  She also wanted me to know immediately that she had been going to the old cult church again.  I believe she’s embarrassed in some ways to be going back to something she made such great efforts to leave.  You see, this organization does not believe in female ministers/clergy and when she left the organization, (a few months following my unprecedented decision to leave that church for good), she, too went back to college, to obtain a degree in divinity. She always felt the churchfolks were jealous of her spiritual abilities and of her lifestyle as a business owner and millionaire (in the 90s).  And, although it seemed she was well liked and respected, she harbored a notion that the folks were envious and oppressive towards her.  In actuality, I believe I bore the brunt of many of the ill feelings the church people allegedly had towards her.  I was persecuted in this church.  I was treated with such mean-ness and oppression by various factions in the church.  Petty things like my style of dress (I am a clothes-horse and love cutting edge design and color; this church encouraged bland sameness) and issues like my popularity at school (this church believes that we “saints” are to be IN this world but not OF it). The youth groups would bring me up on official charges (punishable by banishment to the back bench of the church, an old fashion method of shunning members without the messy exile process) of disobeying the church’s laws and would design punishments to make my life miserable.  This is the same church where I was raped at 12, stripped of my ability to express my individuality and gifts, and where I was told losing weight was pure vanity and that I would need to stop it immediately before I became too thin (gimme a break I was age 17, 5’6”, 145 lbs, size 10, nowhere near too thin). They discouraged high schoolers from going to college, as it was a bevy of sin, of course.

Back to the issue, despite my intentions to just be on the telephone with my mother for maybe 12 minutes and then politely excuse myself, I could not get a word in edgewise and was forced to listen as my mother went into the routine litany of her current life events.  I can get really upset at the end of one of these diatribes because she tends to be frank about her feelings regarding the various people she’s abusing.  My brother for instance:  My mother has been unable to easily “scare off” his current girlfriend, whom my mother sees as a pure embarrassment (she has 11 children, she’s 35).  My mother goes through these horrible cycles with my brother.  There is definitely a Munchausen by proxy syndrome situation there.  Mother provides all his physical needs, except sex of course—hence, the love of his girlfriend I suppose.  His housing, food, health/pharmacy expenses, etc. are paid by my mother and in exchange, she must know his whereabouts at all times.  Her primary complaint with my brother is that he is not adequately attentive to her.  She requires a daily call, on-demand visitation as needed, and free and open access to all his thoughts and intentions.  He was, historically happy to oblige until he met the new girlfriend, whom indeed has a few “issues” of her own.  She drinks to excess daily and she has a scathing tongue.  She’s had major verbal “blowups” with my father, my aunt, and some neighbors to boot.  I kind of wish I had her brash verbal abilities, at times.  I fantasize about what it would feel like to cuss out some of the crazy outlandish personalities in my family.  But then I look at the corner she’s painted herself into being labeled mentally unstable and unfit and I think, ‘Probably better to keep the non-confrontational approach with my family’ Poor girl, though I believe she’s using the only instincts she has to deal with dysfunction of this family. Even if she does have some dysfunctional behaviors of her own, she couldn’t have had a clue what she was signing on for when she decided to be my brother’s live-in girlfriend. 

More to follow...

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2008, 10:00:32 AM »
My brother

To the point, my mother was speaking of how my brother, whom she now has on her payroll to be the primary caregiver/ 24 hour sitter for my great aunt who has Alzheimer’s disease, now has a means to help foot the house expenses, (11 kids, could you imagine the water and electric bills?!!).  I think it also serves the purpose to attempt to keep him inside his home and his girlfriend and her kids (all of whom “live” in one of my mother’s rentals, currently without electricity) out of his (my Nmom’s) home. My father also keeps a room in my brother’s house, as my mother and father, although divorced still live together but have these “blow ups” that often end in my mother sending my father somewhere to lick his wounds while they both calm down only to resume the fight again in several weeks.  They fight mostly about, get this, “childrearing” and the mistakes each made with the “children” that can be corrected now via direct intervention in their 30-40 something year old lives.  Between arguments, my father has agreed, by my mother’s prodding I am sure, to pop-in, daily, on my brother, to 1) monitor the care for our lovely but challenging great-aunt and 2) bear witness to the comings and goings of the girlfriend and her children all while 3) report and confirm to my mother the proof of my brother’s lascivious ways. They of course, tell my brother that the reason my father needs to stay with my brother is because he needs someone to look after him since he unexpectedly has grand mal seizures due to his epilepsy. The latest issue with my brother’s illness is that although he has told my mother his anti-seizure meds are running low, she has not seen to it to refill the prescription, yet.  She said during our conversation, “He needs to call me and come and get me and take me to the drugstore if he wants me to help him with his prescriptions.” NTranslation: I know I said I would cover this expense for him as needed, but it was SUPPOSED to be in exchange for time and attention and validation towards me.  My brother obviously would rather go without his meds and risk having a seizure than to spend some quality time with his mother.  Sounds like chaos right? My Nmother wouldn’t have it any other way.  She has to get up pretty early in the morning to pontificate on all the puppets she has in play and the best way to keep all the complicated strings from entangling. All the while, the marionette causes the puppets to play their parts, smoothly, with no control over their own actions.

Besides being a major feature in my brother’s life, my mother was placing her mental energies into finding a way to start all over again with her own current life situation.  She expressed major disappointment with all facets of her life, her dwindling financial resources mostly and the belief that the old church family will consider her ‘defeated’ if she returns like a prodigal daughter back to fellowship again after all these years. She regrets having to be seen coming down the aisle to her pew leaning on a cane, and she is extremely annoyed at having to stand and sit and stand and sit so repeatedly throughout this church’s services. She also talks of having a “body makeover,” (she loves to tell the story of how sexy she was when she first came to that church 40 years ago during the era of the short short mini skirt.  She’s 6’1.  She considered herself a stallion, “the (self-proclaimed) Body Beautiful”). She considered it a major downer to have to attend this church again, of which she apparently is in serious consideration.  This was further supported by her request of me to consider going on a one week vacation to the Church’s National Convention in Atlanta, GA the last week in July. She told me not to rush my response to think about it.  It took great reserve and intestinal fortitude for me not to blurt out, “Are you crazy?! Heckie no! If I my vacation request is honored I’m going to spend that week doing something romantic with my hubby and something fun with my daughter and new puppy.  The LAST thing I would want to do with my spare time is go on an 8 hour road trip with Controlling Annie.  I’d prefer water torture. She didn’t even give a thought to what I might want to do with my own little family if I had time off from work. For that matter, during this entire conversation, there was no inquiry in any way about her granddaughter or son-in-law. 

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2008, 10:03:17 AM »
An Attempt to Break “No Contact”

So, today, I’m checking my voicemail and I hear a day old message from my brother who’s saying, “Hey, there I’m just calling from [your Hospital].  I’m down at the information desk and I thought I’d see if I could visit with you.  I’m here to get Financial Screening, finally.  [Quick note, this is something my mother has put off doing for about four years.  She, the Munchausen mom I believe her to be, keeps my brother at the local, barely par medical treatment facilities and is normally reactionary in her approach to his healthcare seeking, taking him to the ED when he inevitably has a breakthrough seizure after lapsing on his meds, usually. Her reason for putting off the screening process at this particular hospital was that it was too far to come during a seizure or for clinic visits.  This was before I was employed there, or before anybody knew that I was employed there.  I believe this resumption of that screening process to be related to the latest, despite my best efforts, ‘me’ sightings.   I’m sure my mother was standing there as my brother fumbled through this voice message trying to sound matter-of-factly about coming to see his sister at her job.  If he really was clueless as to why there was a sudden change in heart regarding this screening process he’s been begging to complete for the past several years, he probably figured out why once my mother dragged him all the way to the hospital, a feat for her so early in the day, and had him call me on my cell phone immediately upon arriving in the hospital lobby.  I wonder if they even got the screening done that day…

Now What?

I’ve gotta set some boundaries here.  I think I need to return the call to my bro and say, “Look, stopping by the job to visit me, not cool.”  It’s unprofessional, it’s inappropriate, it’s downright tacky. Normally, in a hospital, groups of weird-looking folks who all look alike, are there to see a patient, not an employee.  When I’m at work, I’m working.  We can do lunch some other time.  I’m feeling a little violated here. 

When it comes to my mother, I feel she’s behind all the actions of my brothers, sister and father.  I believe she cuts them off from my communication as she likes and she mobilizes them to interact with me as she wishes.   I am the wild card.  I am the one out there trying to live my life and be happy.  I am the one defying all of her tales of the horror that await you when you attempt to cut the strings from the Grand Puppetmaster.  I believe her invitation to travel for a week to Atlanta with the old church is an attempt to bring me back into the drama that is her life. She gleans and sucks energy from me and it has, in the past, left me lethargic and just a drag to be around.  How is it that she is not even considering my family and how they would like to spend our summer vacation? Why would she want me to re-join that cult of an organization? Does she not remember what life was like for me when I was a member there? Does she not believe there a reason despite an annual invitation, someone would not return to the church of their youth for a decade or more? Does she even want to have that conversation or does she just want me to, like every other horror of my life, get over it?  Gosh, I thought I had and I believed I was busy trying to…

‘Normal-functioning-myself’ flies in the face of the ‘Nmom Program’, which dictates, “Through me you find all happiness and satisfaction in life. There is no joy in working a traditional job, there is no happiness in relationships outside the FOO, there is no way to survive without my support.”  I guess spotting me on the job sent a bunch of people into a tizzy, old church personalities and the immediate FOO.  And I think the overall theme is, “ Hey N, you gave me the impression that Tiffany was doing no better than a lump on a log, She looks okay to me!”

I am okay.

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2008, 08:56:00 AM »
The Trip to Atlanta

Since the last entry I’ve been trying to play it cool with the FOO and laying low on the whole trip to Atlanta, GA idea.  My mother called a week ago to say that she was just about ready for travel. She had gone to several doctor’s appointments, tweaked her prescriptions, and updated her care regimen.  She was pretty excited.  She asked again if I thought I might want to travel with her.  I did not immediately call her back. And the reason I didn’t come right out to my mother and say, “not interested,” is because in the back of my mind I thought it would be great if Jordan could ride back to Virginia from Atlanta with my parents.  I thought it great because we are so financially strapped and gas is soooo expensive.  It was just an idea though and I was torn with whether I could actually trust my parents to bring her back without any drama.  I knew how capable they were of creating a lot of drama in a little time (it’s an 8 hour drive).  I was worried about them interrogating her about her and her parents’ lives, habits, etc.  I feared she would be used to get to me. 

At one point, I thought Jordan might not be able to go on her visit because we could not work out the logistics as smoothly as I thought it should be.  Another consideration was that my husband’s sister, with whom my daughter would be spending about half of her time there, was involved in some stressful doctor’s visits with several consultations about some lumps she had in her breast.  She insisted that Jordan should come down and that she would not be any burden or distraction to her.  She works from home so I agreed to allow Jordan to go see her folks.  How she was to get home was up in the air.  I decided to hold on speaking to my parents about it. If she were to ride back with them, it would be better, I thought, to provide that information on a need to basis, like maybe the day before they leave GA to come back home.  I’ve found that while they (Nmom and Ndad) are quite the opportunists, things work out best when they are caught off guard.

I received a voice mail from mother days after the previous call saying, “Hey, It’s a beautiful day, today and I was just thinking of you, I love you, kiss Jordan, and how’s hubby.”  What did I tell you before?  When she throws that statement about hubby and child she thinks she;’s really getting to me.  She thinks that is just the maximum in consideration to me, to say I Love you, how’s your kid and husband in the same sentence, she’s really pushing for some Nsupply.  She really wants a callback.  She’s desperate.  She’s being tooo nice.  Over the years, I’ve learn to distrust nice behavior in people because of this lady.  What’s odd is that instead of getting that warm, fuzzy feeling you are supposed to get when someone says those things, I got super suspicious and decided not to call right back just yet. 


jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2008, 08:57:04 AM »
A call from Father

A day turned into a week and as I awaited her next move, I received a voicemail from my father, saying “Call me, it’s important.”  I had a decision to make, now.  Do I, knowing that father is probably doing mother’s bidding in some way, continue to try to hold fast to my No Contact attempts or do I call back, besides it’s “important.” So I call him.  It’s my niece’s birthday and the family (mother, sister-who is still not speaking to me, and father) is out to dinner and a go-kart recreational place.  It’s unusual for someone to be allowed to have a cell phone conversation while in the presence of my mother as she has to have constant and undivided attention, but my father is allowed to have this 30 minute telephone conversation with me.  First, I should note that he, too is all sweetness and lights.  He calls me “baby” (very weird) and he speaks in a very fake sing-song voice as if he were speaking to a toddler or a puppy.  I wonder if my parents know just how transparent they’ve become.  I think they believe they are still “slick” and cunning with their manipulations but it’s almost comical the way they come off to me these days. 

Anyway, my father made chit-chat and small talk to which I remained aloof in private anticipation of his “important” issue.  He spoke of his friend about whom I wrote earlier who was on my unit prior to his surgery to resect his cancer. He apparently was back in my hospital for some post surgery complications. He also spoke of his own brother who was currently undergoing chemotherapy for recurrent colon cancer. He was not able to visit his brother, father complained, because he so busy dealing with family problems here on the homefront.  Problems like my mother’s health, my brother’s drug recovery which calls for daily chauferuring to  and my other brother’s personal problems with aforementioned “town whore.”  My sister, was doing okay, per dad, she was losing a good deal of weight on her diet and “looking good.”

He then cut to the chase.  “The other night I had a dream….” I think to myself, ‘Oh, here we go, dream time.” Quick aside re: my father’s dreams.  Throughout my life, my father and mother have believed that they have the power to dream prophetic dreams.  My mother’s dreams of foreboding danger generally involve a snake of some type.  When I was growing up, it would not be unusual for her to say, “I had a dream last night about a small white snake and I thought of you, so no, you can’t go to this (whatever) tonight, something could happen to you.”  Or she would say, “I had a dream of 10 big black snakes, something terrible is going to happen.”  Many major decisions rested upon the snake dreams of my mother.  My father’s dreams tend to be less dramatic, but the significance he places on them when he gets a certain feeling can be just as dramatic as mother’s.  So I have grown up with the sense that dreams have supernatural significance.  As I became older and a lover Psychology, I began to research dream phenomena and now feel comfortable about what dreams really are and why we have them and where they come from.  Have you ever asked your favorite N what they dream of?  It can be quite telling.  My father’s dream as he described it to me:

“There was a woman I didn’t know standing before me with her back turned and she was in silhouette or a shadow.  I could see from the back that she had a large growth on her neck and shoulder area.  I wondered who the woman was and something said it’s [my name].” From there he says, “I know you looked like the picture of health when I saw you the other day, but I would like for you to get yourself checked out by a doctor, okay? I debated long and hard about whether I should come to you or not, but I think you should see someone.” I told him I already had several appointments to follow up on various aspects of my health now that I have great medical coverage with my new job. There was a little more chit-chat.  I did not ask to speak to mother or sister and I sent a “Happy Birthday” to my niece via Dad. We hung up.


jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2008, 08:59:15 AM »
Dream Fallout

Immediately, I regressed to childhood.  A quick flash of all the interactions between my father and I came before my eyes and years of resentment returned in an instant.  How dare he do this to me?!  It has been so typical for him to take a perfectly nice scenario/event/conversation and turn into a Debbie-Downer situation.  He won’t call me to say Happy Birthday, or I love you, or how are you, or just thinking of you.  The only reason I’m in his thoughts now, I believe is because his favorite person in the world, his pastor, laid eyes on me while at work.  I think all the hubbub surrounding seeing me at work (honestly, I think my family was in denial about my existence, definitely about the fact that I completed school and am in the working world making without the support of my mother), caused him to begin to regard me again.  This dream, I think is indicative of years of inducing doubt and fear into his children.  It can be a tool of manipulation if one puts credence in other’s dreams.  It can also drive you to accept the seeds of doubt and worry and begin to fertilize and water that seed therefore bringing to manifest the very thing someone has wished upon you.  The power of suggestion can indeed be very powerful.

After my initial flare-up of anger, I pulled myself together and with the working knowledge that dreams are manifestations of our own fears and subconscious thoughts, I pulled out a dream dictionary to research the symbols in his dream. 

Daughter (Sick)
One’s relationship with the daughter, might show the feelings in the relationship being “ill.” The daughter can represent what happens in a marrriage between husband and wife.  The child is what has arisen from the bonding, howver momentary of two people.  Indreams the child therefore is sometimes used to depict how the relationship is faring.   

Illness
If one has painful memories which are never cleared, or feelings of anger or resentment which are held within, these will often be shown in a dream ans an illness or infection; a collapse of one’s confidence, or the uprising of fears and depression can also be shown as illness.  Also occasionally depicts the way we attempt to get love or attention, by being ill, sometimes relates to our actual physical body, but quite rarely, also may show our intuitions about the physical condition of someone else.

Cancer
Fear of  this illness, a part of our personality or being which is out of harmony with our wholeness, expression of how we feel about other people’s--especially our mother’s-- emotional influence.  This influence might be eating away at our own sense of well being.  Occasionally awareness of illness in part of body suggested.

Neck
Connection between body (feelings and sexuality) and head (thinking and willing), weak point.  Often refers to attitudes, as in idioms; breaking one’s neck; up to his neck; risk one’s neck; stick one’s neck out; dead from the neck down.

Shoulder
Ability to bear or carry what life brings.  Idioms: have broad shoulders; put one shoulder to the wheel; a shoulder to cry on; rubs shoulders with; chip on the shoulder.

Shade,Shadow/Sillhouette/Shadowy figure
feeling ‘put in the shade’; feelings still overshadowing one from past experiences or relationships; feeling inferior; protection;  occasionally a sense of the dead or fear of the unknown.  Idioms: afraid of one’s shadow; shades of, shadow of one’s former self; worn to a shadow. meeting one’s own feelingof fear.  This is obvious because the shadowy figures are our own rejected emotions or potentials. The Shadow is any part of ourself which we reject, and so do not allow expression in our life.  We may so dislike aspects of our nature we fail to see them altogether and instead see them in other people and criticize them.

With what I found there, it made good sense to me why he would be dreaming this dream. And given the not-so-small talk surrounding the telling of his dream to me, I would say, he definitely has cancer on the brain right now.  My being a cancer nurse has to also play some kind of role in this train of thoughts.

Initially, I wanted to call and share what I found with him and to possibly encourage him not to worry and to help him with the interpretation of his dream.  I got all up on my hind legs and thought, ‘here’s a chance for me to minister to the minister.’  Well, I went from rage to pity to sadness in about twenty-four hours.  My husband, who watched this cycling of emotions as he has many times in our past together, quietly observed before giving input.  He eventually said something that brought back things back into perspective for me.  He mentioned that my father, if he is the N I believe him to be, might not appreciate the turning of the tables towards him.  He would, in fact appreciate that I obsessed over the issue in this way and that I in fact, shouldered (dream reference here) the onus and responsibility for this dream.  I would be playing into his manipulations if I forced a response/reaction on him and this would bring him Nsatisfaction to see me flailing for an explanation and deflecting the meaning from me to him.  He would also be offended that I was using psychology to explain something he considered supernatural.

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2008, 09:02:45 AM »
What to do with all this…

I decided to hold what I had for myself and to drop the matter of calling my father with his dream interpretation. This was July the 17th.  It took about two days for me to get myself together from this.  Part of putting my mind at ease involved using rational reasoning re: what cancer is all about. I know from both my public health and nursing training that when one is worried about cancer, s/he should screen based upon risk factors.  Sad to say, there are soooo many risk factors out there that expose us: genetic predisposition, harmful radiation, chemical/environmental exposures, certain viruses, medications, treatments for other illnesses, having had cancer before, But in order to feel one has done due diligence to screen based on risk factors one also has to maintain a vitamin-nutrient enriched diet, lower intake of free-radicals and other gene mutating factors and to have a reasonable exercise and bowel regimen for good waste elimination.

Personally, I know I’m at risk for cervical cancer.  I was exposed to HPV when I was molested prior to age 16. (there were three incidents, I am unable to isolate which caused me to contract HPV, however, I was more susceptible to it prior to puberty when the tip of my cervix was still in a convex shape rather than the concave shape it takes on after adulthood)  There was no Gardisil vaccine to protect me, then. I have been going to the OB doctor every six months for the last ten years to keep a close watch on the cells of my cervix so that I may catch any mutations early and be able to treat accordingly.  I am also at risk for colon cancer because of the paternal uncle who has it and because I have IBS which when it flares puts me at risk of being in the inflammatory process which if it happens often enough exposes my gut to potential mutations.  I also screen for that every few years or so.  I had to process through these things in order to truly feel better following my father’s dream.  There is no shoulder, back of neck physician to consult and I have no pimples or lesions there to speak of.  What would I say to the PCP, “Uh, yeah, my father had a dream I had a growth on my shoulder, could you do a work up on me?”  I guess the resentment is still very much there.

Anyway, I’ve calmed down a lot since the 17th.  We got Jordan down to Atlanta on the 19th and, based on the dream drama and the reminder of the emotional baggage that comes along with any interaction with my FOO, I decided not to ask my parents to bring her back from Atlanta.  I also decided to re-initiate No Contact with them and to leave well enough alone. 

jordanspeeps

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Re: The story of "Tiffany"
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2008, 09:04:59 AM »
Eerie Follow-up

I called to check on Jordan on her second night in Atlanta and her aunt picked up the receiver, this was my sister- in-law, 35, mother of four, whom I mentioned earlier.  I asked how her last doctor’s appointment went.  She told me she had just returned home only an hour earlier and that in fact she does have breast cancer. 

All I can say right now is, Whoa.