I had a very disturbing conversation with my mother Friday evening. It brought back a flood of emotions from my childhood. Her jealousy and contempt was laid bare, and she wasn’t even talking about me.
I have a very beautiful, vivacious, intelligent niece. She excels at most everything she does, and is in accelerated classes in school. She is a pleasure to be around, sincere, sensitive and sweet, not a malicious bone in her beautiful presence. She was the target of my mother’s vitriol during dinner Friday night.
Our Friday evening dinner consisted of the usual, meat, carbohydrate and vegetable. The vegetable was broccoli. My mother did something I had never seen before: she dumped blue cheese salad dressing all over her broccoli. I made the comment that the blue cheese on the vegetable was something new. She told me that my niece, A, had introduced her to it, and she LOVED it.
She then said, that after the first time she had it, she sent A a thank you email for telling her about it. She angrily said that A had never responded to the email. My mother was beyond angry that she didn’t get a thank-you for the thank-you. (This is the same person who will send you a card, and if you don’t immediately call and thank her for it, she gets extremely annoyed.)
At this point, the diatribe that my mother launched into has disturbed me since.
She told me that she had asked A if she had gotten her email about the dressing. A said that she does not use email, she uses Instagram and Snapchat. Nevertheless, she thanked my mother for sending the email.
My mother then sneered, and with a perverse smile on her face, she informed me that she likes to DIG at A about the email.
“I like to DIG her, I DIG at her every time I see her. I ask her about it every time I see her, just so I can get to her.” DIRECT QUOTE.
I was stunned beyond speech. I scrambled around in my brain for a response, yet came up completely empty. HOW does one respond to something so disturbing?
As I tried to go to sleep that night, the conversation kept swirling around in my brain. I couldn’t reconcile the contempt, hostility, and malicious hatefulness that I had witnessed emanating from my mother
All of the feelings from my childhood came flooding back. Her contempt when my father paid any type of attention to me. My confusion as a young girl as to why my mother would be SO angry with me, when I had done nothing but try to have a normal father daughter relationship.
The longer I thought about it, the pieces began to fall into place.
My mother had begun to refer to my brother, A’s father, as her HUSBAND. Therefore, A was the competition that I had been. A was no longer a niece that she should lavish love on, she was the rival for the affection that my mother felt should be showered on her by my brother, her husband replacement.
I know what I think.