How My Family Betrayed Me: Part 1

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Spoiled dog getting his teeth brushed

I mentioned two posts back that something terrible (not life threatening or anything though) had happened to me in my personal life, and in this post I’m going to explain what that was.

As many of you know, a few months back (September to be exact) I had a three year relationship end. I’ve since moved out on my own, and even though our relationship didn’t seem to work, my ex and I are still really good friends. We see each other on a regular basis and we do hang out.

Anyhow, I began to date and in October my mom invited me down for Thanksgiving (this is October since I’m in Canada) and asked if I wanted to bring anyone. I said I sure would, and I brought a woman I had been seeing for a bit.

During our visit, they (my date, my mom, my sister and a female family friend) decided to go for a walk. During this walk, my family decided it was okay to tell my date all about my past relationships, including how long they had lasted and the names of the people I had relationships with.

My date didn’t tell me till a few days later, because she understandably didn’t want to rock the boat.

For my part, I mostly let it slide. I told my sister and mother that I was a private person and didn’t want details of my life given out willy-nilly. If someone wanted to know something about me, they could ask and I would tell them if I wanted them to know.

My family assured me that they knew this and wouldn’t divulge any personal information about me in the future.

I let it drop. I didn’t need the hassle and I figured that since I told them how I felt (without divulging that I knew they had already breached my privacy) this would be enough to deter them from flapping their gums in the future.

Fool that I am…

The next time I visited my mom, she had her best friend over. She’s an out-of-towner and so I don’t see her often. She kept asking about Dexter (my dog) and making small prods at me. For example, our conversations went a bit like this:

Friend: So GC, how’s Dexter doing? Everything okay?

Me: Oh yeah, Dexter is doing wonderfully.

Friend: That’s not what I hear.

And so forth.

Again…I let the matter drop. I didn’t want to argue and I just found the questioning weird. But I was a guest in my mothers home and causing an issue wasn’t something I aspired to.

A few days later, my ex sends me an email. She says my mother had contacted her and said that she didn’t think I was looking after Dexter properly. She said that my mother worried that because I was dating, Dexter would not be my main priority. She worried for his safety and had supposedly told my ex that she feared I would sell him.

I assured my Ex that Dexter was fine and I urged her to come see for herself.

She did. She checked his ears (Dexter suffers from allergies and is on a strict diet) and looked him over. She said he looked great. I showed her his food, medicines etc. My ex admitted that my mom had been completely wrong and that she thought Dexter looked great.

At this point I was fairly angry. Not at my ex, but at my mother who thought I would actually harm my best friend, Dexter. Since my breakup, I’ve had some rough days, and let me tell you guys and gals, Dexter has seen me through many of them. He’s sat with me and snuggled when I was down. He’s made me laugh when I wanted to rage or cry. I wouldn’t harm a hair on his head.

Again, I approached my mother calmly and asked why she had told my ex these things.

My mother said my ex had misunderstood and she hadn’t meant any of it.

Again I let it drop. I didn’t want to argue and I thought (again) that she would learn her lesson and not talk behind my back.

I would be sorely disappointed once more.

I will leave the ending for Part 2 of this post. If you’ve managed to make it this far, thank you for reading.

 

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42 Comments

  1. Family dynamics can be a terrible mess. The people in mine don’t know how to respect boundaries or rules. No matter how clear I made it, they didn’t get it.
    That’s why they’ve never met, nor will ever meet my partner. Keeping them at a distance was/is the only way to protect my own household from damage.

  2. Boundary issues are always a challenge. It sounds like you feel your boundaries are being ignored and this can’t help but breed understandable resentment which can lead to very unfortunate and even unintended results. Nowhere are boundary issues more challenging than within families… especially when ‘outsiders’ are included. So because you can’t control what others do, you can only control what you do. That means the change here has to come from you.

    One partial solution is to recognize problem boundaries that others seem to cross time and again and make a necessary change without rancor or ultimatums but just as reality presents itself to you: stop providing information in those areas altogether. If asked, deflect… over and over and over so that the other person has to ask why you’re not forthcoming and then simply state why (“Because I feel you don’t respect my boundary when I provide you with information I have asked you to keep between only us.).

    What can the other person say? I think you have examples you could use.

    It seems to me that your Mom likes to emotionally manipulate you (for whatever reasons or rewards she gets in return) and whatever you have been doing seems to keep her interested in continuing it. It may be because it provides her with a means to engage others to be ‘on her side’ so to speak (or be involved in ‘her’ life by talking about you) but I’m just guessing because of the number of ‘outsiders’ that seem to be involved.

    So…. take care of your own business and engage with other family members on your terms and be very judicious about providing any personally sensitive information. Keep it civil and concerned but (I can’t stress this enough) engage only on your terms. If that’s insufficient for others, then that’s their problem. You can only control what you have the power to change. If you can’t change it, then it’s not your problem. You’re just in charge of you os set your boundaries and stick to them.

  3. Gosh, that is quite a betrayal, and it speaks volumes about how little your mother knows, and dare I say, respects you. Blood matters not to me. If a family member continues to cross boundaries I’ve clearly established, then they will be very limited to my life. I’m so sorry this happened to you. *hug*

  4. What the f*ck?? I’m so sorry. Why would your mom do that? Was she upset that you broke up with your ex and maybe that’s what this was about? Ugh!

    Well, on the positive front that’s great that you are dating.👍 And that you’ve got such an adorable lovable best bud (Hi Dexter!)

  5. oh you dear man. Your mother is my mother and you have my sympathy. The only way I ever found to deal with that sort of undercutting was to keep a distance (both emotional and physical) between me and my mom. Mine was meaner. She’d do the undercutting in front of me, leaving me open mouthed and gasping, while everyone looked puzzled about my ‘behavior”.
    My first thought was, she wants to back with your ex. My second thought was, she wants to run you. You are, after all, her boy.

    Since this only happened since your dad died Im wondering if she didnt dare pull this stuff while he was around because he wouldnt stand for it, or he was the one she manipulated, and you’re next in line.

    afterthought: she wants you to get back with your ex, and has dragged her into it, getting her together with you to “make sure the dog is okay” and other thinly veiled shenanigans.

    You don’t need this.

  6. GC, I’m sorry your family has crossed boundaries, apparently at will and without thinking of or respecting you as an adult. My mom used to do that all the time after my dad passed in 2010. Really ticked me off too. Of Course, she gone now too and my offense has been mitigated by missing her little jabs and eye rolls. Hope you can get thru to them, but you may not be able to. They’re still family and you may just have to find a way to minimize the damage to your heart.

  7. Whatever happens try not to get of side with family because it will really hurt if you do not see them again. Just do not take your dates around to dinner with your mother, and use little white lies if required. As parents become older and have little to do they want to nurture and truly believe they are doing the right thing, similar to a religious nut I suppose, however you just have to adapt the best you can because life is to short to have a permanent falling out.

  8. Pingback: How My Family Betrayed Me: Part 2 | Godless Cranium

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