Passive-aggressive notes

The topic of this post really opens up another world of concealed crap in my life. So forgive me if it gets off topic sometimes- I promise to reign in the rabbit trails and try to stick to the topic at hand- passive aggressiveness from my family.

I'm no rookie at experiencing this from my mother. She seems to be the person who does this the most in my family. And in no uncertain terms. Here are the facts and what happened yesterday to get my dander up. 

Brief story time to set the tone. Hubby's been working late. He has two jobs and has had them for a few months now taking him away on the weekends and sometimes into the evenings if he is called in (he's an academic tutor for specific tests and subjects). Yesterday someone cancelled and he was called in around lunch time to stay into the evening to cover this person's shift. Always looking to get more hours, hence more money for us with all the baby purchases, he took the shift and let me know he was coming home late. Lately we'll have an hour or two a day to see each other before he has to go to bed early. An hour or two to get out and get errands done or to work on the baby's room or other chores I need his help with now that I'm getting too pregnant to do it all myself. I don't often get him for an entire weekend or even full day in the weekend so we've made use of the time he's home at night to put to work on the projects that need to be done this month or next month before the baby arrives. 

Recently I've been really struggling with this pregnancy, more than usual. My sleeping is all off and often I don't get to sleep until the morning-nearly noonish. The rest of the day is plagued with hip and back pain and nausea that still prevents me from being productive. My only real time to get things done off our list is when hubby is home. 

Yesterday he didn't get home until around 7 or so. We only had a few hours to work on things before bed so I was eager to get going to get errands done. My mom had called me around lunchtime yesterday seeing how I was doing, more asking about today (tomorrow- at the time). She was going to be in the area for an errand for one of the pets and wondered if she and my little sister could stop over. I said probably not, as I hadn't been feeling well and may not even be up and about at the time. First- she laughed at me for still being in bed and second- she said that's fine and they can go somewhere else in the area and to let them know if there's anything I need. I kept the conversation short. I just woke up and getting breakfast/lunch when you're trying to hold off morning sickness is no easy feat. 

Incident avoided, right? I thought so. My husband comes home around 7 informing me that my mom wondered if we could go over to the library (closer to us than them) and pick up an item for her before the next day when the hold would be up. Still- 20ish minutes out of our way and we weren't going to be anywhere near there before they closed having errands to do ourselves in the opposite direction. DH tried to make a case to go run the errand for my mom, too but I told him no- we needed to get our own errands done and had only an hour or two to do them in. Plus I brought up I hadn't been feeling the best- my mom knew that- if I'm able to get out for even an hour a day I'll be spending that doing things we really need to get done for the baby. NOT running someone else's errands that didn't even make sense. (I'm not even sure the library would have let us check the item out- also I didn't WANT to see her today to give her said item so it was a total no-go for me regarding this favor she asked of us via hubby) If it was on the way I may have considered it- but it wasn't. She was heading there today anyway so I didn't feel too bad about saying no and focusing on the realistic errands we needed to do ourselves. 

So we go out and get paint and the like to finish the baby's room. Coming back around 9, I overdid it speed walking through the store and had to put my feet up to prevent those annoying mini contractions from happening. I decided to check my facebook as I was incapacitated at the moment and saw- lo and behold- my mother had posted a link to a mayo clinic page all about the health benefits of forgiving and forgetting for adults.

She did a similar thing less than a year ago when I invited her to spend a pool day with me at our condo's pool. Only then it was about how Christian women should not wear bikinis. It was my first time wearing one in front of her as a liberated woman of 22 with my own place, married to a guy who saw no problems with it, etc. I was never allowed to growing up but always wanted to. So I did. Big move for me from the girl who hid her femininity behind boy clothes during my teen and pre-teen years. To appeal to no one because I was taught my body was no more than a stumbling block for men. That it was my fault if a man lusted after me and couldn't control his actions. Mind you this was no sports illustrated combo- a fairly generous two piece that my husband approved as being still flattering but not openly so sexual that he'd be uncomfortable with me wearing it in public. Certainly no potato sack. My life- my decision. She posted the link to that lovely bit later the same day. Humorously my sister's boyfriend who was in no way a Christian saw it and commented on it as he saw no problems with two pieces either and didn't see them as the sexual stumbling block the guy preaching in the link did.

I digress. Point is- she's done this to me before. Not subtle. Not at all. So coming home to that yesterday made my heart sink. Really? Really?! What did I do now? The child in me felt chastised and as if I should be ashamed of something. My heart raced for what I did wrong and why I was being found fault with. Was this to do with me saying 'no' to her- to her perception of my not letting go the face she ruined our gender news and told the world? The fact I'm keeping her at arm's distance because I genuinely don't feel well enough to have visitors? Or the fact that I said no to doing her errand for her? OR- was it more. Was it because my husband and I are by no means ever going to have a relationship with his family again and she doesn't agree with that? Was it because she kept getting us to try to 'reconcile' with them when there was nothing to talk about between us? Why was she posting a link on the forgiveness and forget health benefits if she herself never did the same. If she herself would never welcome my in laws into her home?

The child in me went through this flow chart. The adult in me said- I did nothing to deserve this. I'm living my own life and of course, that's not going to coincide with what they think is best for me. I need to ignore this and move on and hope to god we can get our own utilities soon so as to not have to debate between my parent's house for this (free) or a laundromat.

The passive aggressive behavior doesn't stop here. As I said before it opens my eyes to a whole slew of other things I've been dealing with from her for years. Mostly in my relationship to my husband. But this post is long enough- I'll cover that in another post. This is what happened yesterday into today, though. I should add my mother never brings up the subjects to my face in any way. The only time I find out about her latest disapproval is with everyone else, on facebook. She hardly ever posts on it but when she does it's something similar. 


  1. I hear you, Ms. G. They don't come at you directly, they come at you side-ways just about every single time. As Chris says in "Harpy's Child," "It's about secret things, subtle cues" (para) so you really have to have lived this kind of crazy to get it.
    And they are always, always "probing" for an "opening." IMO, it's exhausting just thinking about some of their stuff never mind having to actively try to stay ahead of it. Who wouldn't be tired, yk?

  2. Hello Gracie,

    Trust your instinct because all you are observing is actually what you say it to be.

    One word of warning-- after my best friend got married, her passive-agressive mother started to become more controlling-- especially after the kids came along. For some reason, my best friend's mom thought she had a 'say' in where the kids went to school, on who the family socialized with in terms of her mom's extended family. My best friend went along with her mom for a while until she realized that she didn't agree with everything her mom wanted-- and so she started gently standing up to her mom. When she would stand up to her mom, her mom would give the big SIGHHHHH and say, "OH well I was just trying to recommend what is best for the kids..." in an attempt to induce guilt. When my friend wouldn't cave in to her mom's wishes, her mom would promptly just pick up the phone and call my best friend's husband and tell him what she thought was best for the kids. The DH of my friend did not realize his MIL was doing this and would usually be convinced by whatever thing it was his MIL wanted. So, he would make the decision to do such and such for the kids and then announce it to my friend. For a while, it became really bad in that when my friend's husband wanted something my friend didn't want, he would call her mom and they would gang up on her. And her mom would pair up with her daughter's husband when my friend's mom wanted something that her daughter said 'no' to. Things became bad for quite sometime and there was a big blow up where my friend temporarily left the marriage and also set boundaries with her mom. That was a hard time, but after the dust settled, she did come back to reconcile and this time of healthy terms. Plus she and her DH got therapy. The good thing is, their marriage continues to improve and appears to get better and better by the year. (The original blow up was quite some time ago). Her DH no longer 'triangulates' with my friend's mom, and my friend has become very firm in setting boundaries with her mom. Her mom is slowly backing off the bad behavior as well since her mom appears to have some insight and the ability to empathize. For several years things have been good and get better by the year. (Or so it seems).

    But, I wanted to share this story because I see the groundwork for that dynamic being laid down in your marriage. It was interesting that after you told you mom 'no' for the visit, she contacted your husband with the idea of him helping her run a needed errand. he probably did not know that you had said 'no' to your mom's visit earlier that day. And it was your mom's way of getting what she wanted ultimately (or rather her attempt at getting it). You need to possibly warn your husband that when your mom calls him, emails him, etc, that NO DECISIONS or promises are made without you. I can see your mom attempting to enlist your husband against you in order to get her way. Now, I do not believe your husband would do this knowingly or willingly-- but it still might be a good idea to talk with him about this. Otherwise, I see more of this type of behavior coming from your mom and this is stress that you absolutely DO NOT need right now-- or ever!!

    Bug hugs,


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

How to deal with flying monkeys


Why flying monkeys have to be out