Friday, May 13, 2011

Guilty As Charged

If there were a "Mom Olympics" and one of the events was The Guilt Trip, my mom would be the gold medal winner for the past 30 years.  I am convinced that there is no other mom on the planet that has mastered this skill quite like my own.  Oh, she's good, that's for sure.  Sometimes I just have to sit back in awe of what she is able to do with her skills.
She has this incredible way of taking a benign issue and turning it into the end of the world.  Suddenly all of her problems and hang-ups have morphed into MY problems and hang-ups, and she sneeks by unscathed.  The amount of people that I have seen be sucked into her scams before they even realize it is far too many to count.  The reason why we fight so much is that I am not, nor have I ever been, willingly sucked in.  But I have been sucked in.   
I see what she is doing.  I call her out on it.  This results in the fury within boiling over (when I witness this in person, I swear steam comes out her ears), much like a rabbid animal backed into a corner, she begins spewing insults in a last ditch attempt to once again undermine rational thought and make her problems someone elses.  It works brilliantly. 
The real shitty thing about this?  I'm probably the only one that can beat her at her own game, and that is a really ugly thing to have in my arsenal.  Its my least favorite part about myself, and probably the most self-destructive.  Its also the number one reason I won't have a kid.  I would never subject them to those kinds of forces.  I don't think I could overcome the instinct to raise them as I was raised, and in some of the most important phases of their lives, guilt them as I was guilted.  I would selfishly rob them of moments that belong to them because of what I wanted.  Just as I was robbed, just as my mom was robbed. 
So how did this start?  How did I get here?  I don't know.  I'd like to say it was just a simple announcement that I plan on having a destination wedding, but I know that's not it.  It runs deeper- into family history, hurt feelings, competition, stubborness, and everyone thinking they know what is best for someone else (in this case me).  Oh, god how my family can go on and ON about what I "should do" yet there are 5 different people saying 5 different can they all be right? 
They can't.  So when I decide what I want, and refuse to listen to the "should do's" I get called selfish.  I get accused of not being considerate.  When those basic tactics do nothing to change my mind, the guilt rolls in:
"You have a grandmother that is still living, she won't attend" (um, she's just as unlikely to fly 6 hours to the west coast as she is Mexico)
"lots of your extended family don't have the means to travel" (not my problem, they will still get an invite, and perhaps that was intentional?)
"why can't we just give you money and you do what you want" (money is very impersonal)
"how about you have a wedding in the totally OPPOSITE place of where you want so more people can attend" (NO.)
"your dad doesn't want to go to your wedding" (I asked him directly, and he said he would go wherever.  He won't like it, but he'll go.)
At this point I'm in full on fight mode, tallons out.  I will not be sucked in to the crazy!  Next comes the personal attacks:
"this is not all about you" (Yes, it most absolutely is)
"why are you giving so much credit to your friends? are they even going to show up?  they are not your family, they will not stick by you through everything that your family will" (my friends keep me sane when having to deal with a crazy family like this, my friends have been there everytime my family pulls this crap, if they can show up, they will)
"insults about my boyfriend deluxe's family that I rather not re-type" (silence...utter and total disbelief that my own 63 year old mother has resulted to playground insults because I want to have a wedding in Mexico)
So now I am basically left with two choices.  Continue to fight which will not be pretty, and endure more creative ways of guilting and insulting, but have the wedding Dave and I want- or realize the attacks will just get more frequent and more hurtful and do whatever my mom thinks I should do. 
Now I know watching from the sidelines its easy to say "eff your mom" "do what you want" "go to Mexico" but I wonder just how many people in my situation would actually do that.  My own dad (they are divorced) is chanting these things right along with y'all, and he is the one that started this whole debacle by adamantly saying he wasn't going to go!  Oh sure, he's talking all tough to my mom one day, getting her all fired up.  She then feels justified in pushing her ideas on me.  Then, I talk to him and ask him directly what the deal is, and get a different story ("I'll go wherever you want") but he would rather just give me money and not do anything - not fly anywhere, not attend any party, because weddings are a waste of money.  After all that, he has the audacity to ask me why I give a shit what my mom says, because its not her wedding.  So I tell her this...and here we are. 
Perhaps I should just be happy that I found someone willing to marry me after meeting my family?


  1. Growing up I would always get the comment from my stepdad that I needed to think about somebody other than myself for a change. I finally told him that when he said that he really meant I needed to think about HIS needs or wants and that that was just as selfish as what he was accusing me of. Logic never works on those kinds of people, does it??

    I would guess your friends are the more likely ones to come to a destination wedding and it sounds like they would be the people you prefer to be there. If your family could attend but choose not to, then that is their choice and it shouldn't be your problem. Easy to say, I know, but your feelings and wishes are the priority in all of this. Some people are pissy just to be pissy. Let them be pissy by themselves while you're in beautiful Mexico!

  2. How many people would actually do this? Me.

    I didn't have a destination wedding, but I refused to let my parents be involved in the slightest.

    This is absolutely about you, your memories of your wedding day.

    You get to choose your own happiness. You can choose detachment to any degree you wish. You can choose to not even fight. Just do it.