Monday, 22 June 2009

The Mother

I have written about J's mother more extensively than I'd like to consider, in previous editions of this blog. However, never before have I had to endure her presence in my own house. This is largely because I have never owned my own home before, but also because we try to avoid her as much as possible.

This time, however, there was no mercy. I had snatched J away to a foreign land (as she would soon let me know), ruined his carreer and cruelly left her behind (as she would soon let him know), so we figured the least we could do was invite her over.

She wanted to come for ten days, but we managed to limit it to a week, and I also arranged to go and see my parents for the weekend, which cut back on the time I had to cope with her actually in my own home.

Of course, it was a disaster. For a closer description of J's mum, read either my previous posts on her, or the DSM-IV R diagnostic criteria for histrionic and OC personality disorders in a merry marriage.

When she landed, she was all smiles, saying how she loved my flat, the view from it, etc. etc. The next morning, however, her self-control had been stretched beyond its limits and the poison started seeping out from the crack of her tightly shut lips. Over the next few days she complained about:

The lack of comfort of our sofa bed
The fact that we didn't have a special piece of furniture for her suitcase to rest on
The price of food
The selection of vegetables in the shop
Quality of the town's museums and exhibitions
The fact that I wasted £13 on a wall decoration
That J and I speak English togehter, which impairs his language learning
Quality of the ice cream in the country (which she of course had not actually tasted)
The quality of the antiques displayed in a nearby shop
The bumpiness of the roads in the mountains
How her sightseeing tour was boring
Quality of the guiding on another tour

Before you think this was cancelled out by words of praise re. other things, this was not the case. She liked nothing. She did not want to eat out with us, she did not want to have coffee, and she actually didn't spend a penny on us the whole time she was here, until J pressed her to pay for a ticket to a sight she insisted we take her to see, so she could complain of how overrated it was. I am not saying that parents are money banks, but yes, actually they are.

My parents, in addition to kindly providing me with the funds to allow me to have a mortgage size compatible with full-time study, have also lovingly helped furnish my flat, and they have enjoyed being part of J and I building our home together, because they want us to be together, and this is one way of expressing that.

She brought some chocolate with her, though she probably knows perfectly well that I don't eat chocolate, but nothing for the house. She bought us not as much as a coaster, nor did she at any point express being happy because we are living together (when she arrived, it was the flat she liked, not how we have decorated it).

On top of this of course, she started several blazing rows with J, and I had to calm her down afterward, amid thinly veiled accusations that I have turned J against her. She called her son "a monster" and her young nieces "selfish and manipulative".

Of course, nothing is wrong with her, because, as she says, she did everything in his best interests. Unfortunately, doing one's best as a parent one can still damage a child beyond repair. I am of course hoping that J is at least partly repairable.

Then we travelled to see my parents. She first threatened not to come at all as J was being such a monster (his cardinal sin was to tell her that she was being very negative towards me), but I pointed out to her that my parents had made preparations and would be very sad not to see her (a total lie, but I wanted them to see what she is really like).

She then repeated her complaints there. My mother was gutted, convinced that they had been horrible hosts, as she doesn't have the expertise in dealing with personality disordered guests as I do. She asked me if she was being awful for not inviting J's mum back, as one normally does when a guest leaves. Naturally, I told her not.

So then it took me two weeks to piece J together after having been told he is a worthless monster who dares to oppose his mother. He is currently looking for a psychologist. I am tempted to write to her and ask that she covers the £70 per session bill. What does it help that he demonstrates being a loving partner, a dutiful and capable employee, a supportive friend, when those words ring in his ears every morning when he wakes.

But at least it is over for now, and we won't have to see her again for the foreseeable future.

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