Turkey With A Side Of Batshit Insane

Two of my family members have been circling each other in the ring for a few weeks, and it finally culminated in a huge fight on Monday. I’ve since heard from both of them and have tried to be as neutral as possible, which, I know, is totally annoying for the person who’s angry. You want the person that you’re venting to to sympathize and validate your feelings, but it’s awkward to be caught between two people who mean so much to me, and I’m not sure what to say to either of them. It doesn’t help that they’re accusing each other of acting the same way, even using some of the same words to describe each other. I’ve heard “unbalanced” and “sick” a few times, and they each think that the other one needs to be medicated. At this point I’d be happy to pick up prescriptions for both of them.

It reminds me of that scene in Scream when two of Neve Campbell’s guy friends run up to her, each of them shouting at the same time, trying to convince her that the other one is the actual killer, and she finally says “Fuck you both” and slams the door. (I just watched that movie on Sunday, if that helps you understand why the hell I referenced it.)

To a point, I can see where both of them are coming from because both of them have handled this whole thing poorly. Neither of them are very mature when it comes to managing conflict in general, although I feel bad saying that because managing conflict maturely is very difficult. It’s tough to rely on logic when you’re furious and hurt, and it’s easier for someone who isn’t directly involved to see the whole thing clearly. I get that.

I should clarify that one of the people involved isn’t technically in my family, but she’s been like family for a long time. The other person involved is my mom, who told me today that by continuing a relationship with the non-family person that I’m being disloyal. She wants me to end my relationship with a woman who’s been like a sister to me, her husband, and her two kids (both of whom, by the way, are my parents’ godchildren). Bam. Emotional blackmail, anyone?

Honestly, though, it’s been hard for me to get behind my mom, and I feel guilty for even saying that. I love her, of course, and there are lots of great things about her. But her issues have only gotten worse and more exagerrated over the years. I usually just back down from any kind of conflict with her because it’s never worth it. All it takes is a quick flip of the switch and she becomes completely unhinged.

Here’s an example that illustrates it pretty succinctly, I think: A few weeks ago she told me that I needed to cut my hair because I “need a real hairstyle” because I’m “not 21 anymore.” I chose my words carefully, because it takes very little to set her off. I told her that what she said hurt my feelings and that I did, indeed, have a real hairstyle, even if it wasn’t the one she wanted me to have. She proceeded to yell, hang up on me, and then send several emails telling me how cruel I am and that it’s a huge mistake for me to kick her out of my life. Yeah. So you can see why I avoid conflict with her at any cost.

So, now, an ultimatum of sorts. I can’t help but think that the person who makes you choose sides in a situation like this isn’t concerned with you at all; they’re just being selfish and childish. I’m not going to terminate any relationships, and I can already guess what adjectives my mom will throw at me when she finds that out. That’s not even really my concern. My concern is that she seems to be getting progressively more unstable, and her behavior has been steadily chipping away at our relationship. I already feel like I have to walk on eggshells around her, and now this. Part of the problem is that I’m not one to throw down the gauntlet; I’m much more in the “can’t we all just get along?” camp. But I’m probably like that because I’ve learned that any sort of conflict between my mom and I just leads to me ultimately being blamed, so what’s the point?

Wah wah wah, mother issues, how original. I guess I just want everything to go back to being normal, although maybe it never really was. There’s always some of that, in any family. You have to pick your battles, deal with the crazy, and try to focus on the good over the bad. At least that’s what I try to do. I’m okay with relationships with family members not being perfect, because that’s too much to expect and anyway I’m nowhere near perfect myself. I’m really sad that both of these people that I love have decided that they can’t be a part of each other’s lives anymore. It will have a huge impact on everyone involved, and I hope that somehow they’ll reconsider. But at the same time I need for that issue to be between them and not involve me. I guess I just feel like I’ve had a lot of crazy thrown at me lately and I’m getting tired of dealing with other people’s neuroses.

I mean, come on, my own neuroses are being neglected here; I’ve hardly had any time to ply them with alcohol and promiscuity.


9 Responses to “Turkey With A Side Of Batshit Insane”

  1. 1 Jen November 14, 2007 at 9:20 am

    Red, I am sorry to hear this. You sound like you are doing the best that you can in a very difficult situation. I don’t have any wise words of advice, but hang in there.

  2. 2 stefanie November 14, 2007 at 10:39 am

    That’s hard, and I wish I had some advice for you. Since I don’t have anything to offer that you don’t already know, though, I’m just going to ask why someone who’s as terrified of horror films as I am was watching “Scream”… First cheese, now this… Who are you, and what have you done with Red?

  3. 3 courtney November 14, 2007 at 11:25 am

    I think your mother and my mother may have been separated at birth. Mine acts the EXACT SAME WAY. Unfortunately, I’m still learning how to deal with her, so I’m not sure what to say here. Maybe you should just be super-nice to both of them and hope it all blows over? Maybe that’s an optimistic thought, but it could work.

  4. 4 -R- November 14, 2007 at 11:31 am

    I’m not going to offer you any advice because, obviously, I don’t know you or your family. I will just say that ultimatums suck.

  5. 5 mbbored November 14, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this, on top of all your own personal stuff. I suggest you spend Thanksgiving in your apartment with bad movies, a pumpkin pie and a can of Reddi-Whip. Your name is written all over that, literally. The whipped cream needs you to eat it.

  6. 6 d November 14, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    I sometimes feel like this blog is a cliff notes to redland.

  7. 7 abbersnail November 14, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Sometimes I think that our moms never had a shot at being “normal.” They had to define their roles as wives and mothers in a way that we don’t have to, and in a way that their moms didn’t have to. To a point, I think that made them lose their marbles a little bit. All I know is that this is a story I hear over and over from people in our age group, and it’s a story I live in, as well. Hugs to you! Keep holding your own moral and ethical compass. In the end, that’s what counts.

  8. 8 yeahsoanyway November 15, 2007 at 12:19 am

    Thank you, thank you guys. I appreciate all of your kind words very much.

  9. 9 Lara November 20, 2007 at 11:09 am

    Oh, man. What a pisser. Seriously. Of course, I am dying to know what this feud is all about.

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