Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Hi Abandoning Eden,

Perhaps we had a misunderstanding. I sent the info about the wedding because you two are part of the family, not to make you feel bad. Just the opposite.

Thanks for the invitation.


I don't even know what to do with this response. On the one hand, yay he just said B is part of his family!!!! That's the first time that ever happened!

On the other hand, well, I still have only talked to my mom once in the last year. And my dad is married to my mom and all. So I feel like this response is just a way of avoiding talking about our issues in the hopes they will go away. Which they clearly arn't.

Maybe I should be emailing my mom, not my dad. But I don't know. I feel like emailing her would be like begging to be let back in the family. The last time we had a *real* conversation was in November 2008, when she told me if I wanted to talk to her I can never mention B and I told her if that's the case than I can't call her anymore. That was the last time I called her. Then she sent me that nasty email in early 2009 about how if I marry B I can't have a relationship with her and I responded with an equally nasty email which she told my dad she thought was an "overreaction" (what's the appropriate reaction to your mom telling you if you get married to someone you love you can never talk to her again?). Since then we've only spoken 5 times- twice at family weddings (both times very awkwardly and not very much) once at my graduation (they came for the ceremony and left immediately afterward so I didn't talk to her much then since most of the ceremony I was busy ceremonizing), once when my grandfather died last year and I called my dad and she picked up the phone, and once this past April when I called my dad back from his twice-a-year phone call on erev pesach (and she got off the phone within two minutes).

So anyway, with all that, I feel like emailing her would be like I am "apologizing" for getting married. Which I most definitely am not. And I don't want to beg to be let into the family.

Plus, there's this other thing- I always end up feeling bad about myself when I talk to my mom. Or at least I did in the past (it's been so long I can hardly remember, ha!). When my mom disowned me, I didn't make a big deal about trying to change her mind and was more like "WELL FUCK YOU TOO" (in not so many words). And that was partially because for years we had a contentious relationship- pretty much ever since I decided to go to grad school in college.

And in 3 years of not talking to her, I feel great! It's like my self confidence has improved 1000%. And I think some of that is..well, when I did talk to her she was always talking about my weight and how I should diet more, and always completely in denial about me not being religious and saying things like "where are you going for shabbas?" And she never wanted to talk about anything other than religion or how well I was doing at school. Even before B- for instance before I moved down south to a musical wasteland, I used to go to concerts almost every weekend. And she never wanted to hear about that because she disapproved of me going to concerts (since it's not a torah lifestyle type thing). And having someone a) always talking about how I need to go on a diet b) acts like my life choices don't even exist, and is so disapproving of my lifestyle she pretends like I'm living a different one she would approve of and c) making me feel like I must not talk about any aspect of my life other than school/going to the gym..well all these things is not good for ye olde self esteem.

So I don't know if I'm ready to reach out to my mom and start having a relationship with her again. I do miss having a mom. But as someone said in a comment in my last post- I don't miss my parents as THEY are, I miss having parents I wish I could have. My mom was at one point one of those parents- we were very close until I became openly not religious. But based on evidence thus far, she's not going to be that mom that I want, ever again. Then again, we basically haven't talked in 3 years, so maybe she's changed? Probably not though.

Meanwhile, things ARE still awkward with my dad, or at least that's how it seems to me. He never visits, he sort of giggles whenever he says anything about B, and he's only met B once- at my graduation- for about an hour. That's not normal, right?

And while he's thanking me for the invitation, he's not taking me up on it either.

So what do I do, do I write back and say basically what I just said here minus the part about my feelings about my mom (and also that it's not about the wedding invitation in particular, it's about the general awkwardness of everything always and I want to get past that), do I just count this as a victory and leave it at that and move on with my life pretending to have a normal relationship with my dad while continuing to not openly speak about this underlying awkwardness and oh, the fact that I never talk to my mom? Do I email my mom and attempt to "make up" with her, perhaps while simultaneously addressing some other long standing issues (like that this won't work if she continues being in complete denial about me and my life- but in a nicer way of saying it)?


  1. I'm glad your father sounds like he's welcoming you now, but it's a bit disingenuous for him to imply that he didn't mean to exclude you when he specifically wrote, "I'm not sure if [family] includes you or not."

  2. This isn't only hard on you. It's hard on them as well. So he is taking baby steps. Just be glad for the mean time.

  3. If it's so hard on them... why don't they just drop it?

  4. AE,

    Your father seems like he trying to reach out, but its really hard for him to accept. I know many people who view kids OTD as total failures (even if they are awesome people) and marrying out is like the ultimate embarrassment.

    Not that it excuses him. I think he is trying to go against what he has been told he has to do.

    What I would do? Avoid direct controversy and try to rebuild a relationship. Start with your father, as he does reach out to you. Once you are more comfortable in your exchanges, then maybe attempt your mother.

    The reason your mother was able to knock you down so much probably has more to do with you than her. You are now an adult who is happy with her life and choices. Its harder to knock someone down than when they are a teenager and still trying to establish themselves.

  5. I'm not a major blogger, but this guy Jewish Philosopher keeps popping up with nasty, awful comments.

    WTF is his problem and why does he do this?

  6. Shira & Joey,

    JP has some major psychological issues. Best to ignore him, if possible.

  7. >If it's so hard on them... why don't they just drop it?

    Why don't you think about it.

  8. There's a saying that you should never ask two questions in an email because your correspondant will likely choose to answer only one of them.

    HH: Waaaah. They're the ones with their heads up their asses.

  9. I've forgotten the details about the wedding. Is it around Thanksgiving, and then you haven't been invited to have T-Day with your parents?
    You have a number of issues to resolve. (I'm always the practical one.)
    1. Do you want to go to the wedding?
    2. Does B want to go to the wedding?
    3. If not, I wouldn't go without him, as that would be sending a mixed message to your family.
    4. What will you and B do on Thanksgiving, if your'e not at your parents?
    5. Can you handle the awkwardness of being at another event with your parents?
    6. WTF is the matter with your mother??? I had a bad relationship with my mother, which was never resolved, I left home at 17 and never went back except for brief visits and she died without us having forgived each other. I'm at peace with that. Would you be at peace with yourself, if your mother passes without you two making up? If so, let her go.
    7. Have you tried to call your father at times you pick - perhaps his birthday? And, if so, what were the results.
    Well, good luck to you and to B.

  10. the wedding is the wednesday night before thanksgiving, and yeah, we have not been invited to my parent's for thanksgiving. So, although I do know this cousin fairly well and would like to go to his wedding, instead we are going to go where we are welcome and wanted-my in laws :)


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