As I near the end of my association with my ex narc I am pondering what I’d like to say to his mother. Over the past 3 years there have been many a harsh word I would have loved to have shared with her. As I see the end on the horizon, I’ve come up with what I think says it all in one simple example.
Beverly & Jim,
Your behavior at your grandon John’s graduation party was nothing short of deplorable. You took what was to be his day, a day I graciously and lovingly invited you to partake in, and turned it into a blatant demonstration of your selfish, unloving character. You turned John’s 18 year accomplishment into a welcome home party for Amy – your daughter who had been gone less than a year on a temporary, 2 year assignment. To add insult to the wound, after celebrating Amy much louder than you did John, you left. You left your grandsons high school graduation party to celebrate your daughter. I try to imagine ways you could have slapped him harder and can not think of one. It would have been less offensive had you simply not come in the first place.
In retrospect I accept responsibility for this. I was well aware of who and what you are. I was the one who understood how hurtful and shameful it was to John to have his father abandon us for his adulterous paramour – whom you so readily accepted into your family, less than 2 months before his high school graduation. I alone understood the pain John felt when it was only me seeing him off on the senior class trip. I alone saw the pain when only I showed up for prom pictures. It was me, alone, that watched him traverse the milestones of this thrilling, yet terrifying time in one’s life – Senior week, College Orientation, College move-in day, without the father he thought loved him. I alone, did all of these things with him. I alone saw, in his face and body language, the pain he felt. I alone understood how deeply scaring it is for an 18 year old to be abandoned during what should be one of the happiest times of his life. For that I will forever hold myself accountable.
I will hold myself accountable because I had been part of your family for 25 years, and there was 1 thing I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt: you care nothing about anyone other than yourselves. Year after year after of holiday gatherings, during which all conversation was based on your “family”. Year after year of holiday gatherings during which not one in-law was pulled into the conversation. Year after year of holiday gatherings in which you, Beverly, insisted everyone be there by 12:30 and ready to eat by 1, regardless of how far some were coming, or what other commitments they might have. Year after year after year I sat at these gathering and played out silently in my head exactly what the conversation would be, because it was always the same. It was always about you, Jim, and events that happened while you were raising your children. Holiday after holiday I watched you deliver one clear message: there is nothing after us. In-laws, grandchildren, great grandchildren – you are nothing. And because you are nothing we will make little to no effort to get to know you, to engage with you, to be kind or loving or thoughtful. Because you simply don’t matter.
So yes, I hold myself accountable for the message you delivered John on that day. I pray that someday he will see your actions for what they were – a blatant demonstration of your lack of empathy for anyone other than yourselves. I fear he will then come to question the nature of church, which you immersed yourselves and your children in, pretending that attendance at Sunday School and bible study turned you into good people; acting as if this is all that is required for one to be considered “good”. I fear he will come to question church just as I did, when I realized it was nothing more than a platform that gave you two power, power you could not achieve in your day to day lives. I hope he will come to a different understanding, because he is involved in a church now, and it seems to be helpful to him. I know how difficult it is though, to realize that you two, the paragons of all things “holy”, used your church to pursue your own agendas; to promote yourselves incessantly, to fulfill your personal needs. This is an understanding that reveals church, and the people who use it, for what it is: a business.
I digress. What I want you to know is this: you will not be invited to Harrison’s graduation party. In fact, if tickets are sparse for his graduation ceremony, you will not be invited to that either. Why? Because it is my job as a mother to not knowingly place my children in situations that will cause them to doubt themselves. It is my job to make sure they understand that the inexcusable behavior demonstrated by you two and your son throughout the years has nothing to do with them, but everything to do with you. It is my job to make sure I have raised thoughtful. loving, generous sons, and I’ve done so. It is my job to make sure you don’t interfere with the good work that I have done turning my children into responsible, awesome adults, a job you failed.
What did you think your job was?
Thoughts? Too harsh? Not harsh enough?