Continuing family dysfunction and passive aggression, with some love somewhere in between

My mom told me over the phone earlier this week that she sent me a letter, and she wanted me to let her know when I received it. She said, “you know I don’t celebrate Christmas or birthdays, but you still get something.” That’s her way of saying…. it’s still a Christmas or birthday gift, but we’re not calling it that, simply because the gift wasn’t given on those days. Okay, whatever you say. I’m not sure what Jehovah Witness loopholes exist, but she certainly takes advantage of all of them, and then some.

So my mom sent me a little note with two checks, one for Kaia and one for me. Kaia’s check was double my amount, not that I really care, but I thought it was funny. And the note began: “Dear Yvonne: How are you and Kaia?”

The note said a few other things, had some good wishes, etc. But for whatever reason, even though she does this all the time, it annoyed me for a second that she asks how Kaia and I are doing, but she doesn’t bother asking how Chris is. What, am I suddenly a single mom now? Why doesn’t she ask about her son-in-law? It reminded me of how whenever we’re in Australia or we come back from Australia, she insists on asking how Chris’s uncle and aunt are doing, but never asks about how Chris’s actual parents are doing. She does this deliberately, and it’s so passive aggressive and petty. Once, she even overtly said, “You know what I say and don’t say, so you can take the hint.”

The truth is: I don’t really care about her hints. I don’t care about who she likes and doesn’t like for whatever irrational reasons she has. I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to care or even ask anymore. I just let it go because the effort is not worth it anymore. It took decades for me to finally grasp this, and now, I truly just do not care. She’s never going to change no matter what I do or say, so I’ve just given up. And that actually has lifted a lot of weight off my chest because finally, I feel okay about it. It’s not ideal, but she just is who she is. And I need to accept her… in the small doses I expose myself to her.

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