One golden rule I have tried to stick to throughout this website’s life is not to divulge any information that I’m not happy for the world to know.
So when there was a nasty answer-phone message from my mother-in-law a few days ago accusing me of writing nasty things on the internet I was surprised.
I mean, I try to respect the privacy of others – especially family – and particularly have steered clear of any issues which might cause upset to others, despite how relevant they are to me myself.
For example, I have never mentioned on here how Mike’s family have continuously insulted and mocked me for not being English. Every visit or meeting would involve several comments about how I come from a third world country, how Greeks are lazy and stupid, how I don’t have a real religion and how I’m a pagan, and how I should go back to my own country.
Even when we went to Disneyland my mother-in-law called Cait (yes, that’s Cait as in my own daughter), aside when the three of us stopped at the petrol station in France. ’You know the problem with this place, don’t you?’, she asked Cait.
‘It’s all these…’ then she paused, looked at me and narrowed her eyes and stressed the word, ‘…foreigners.‘
Apparently, it is ‘banter’.
Every time they see me. For twenty-odd years.
Now this could have been a useful catalyst and example for discussing issues of racism – but I have never mentioned it. So she couldn’t have been annoyed about this. (Edit for those who don’t know: my mum is Turkish and dad is Greek).
I could have mentioned how another member of their family – Mike’s brother, actually – tried making us illegally homeless – all in the name of protecting his then-quite-popular name from any negativity in the newspapers. This went on for two years, resulting in the break-up of our relationship, and two years of depression for me culminating in a breakdown and, on my children and I becoming homeless, a suicide attempt.
Now this could be useful in discussing with my however-many-thousand subscribers about how depression and despair can affect any of us. It could be a good way of making them know that someone does understand and, to see how I felt from the very depths of despair and darkness, we did recover everything and more and my life was worth living after all, despite how I didn’t feel it back then. (Edit: This was between the years of 2000 and 2002. My suicide attempt was in March 2002. We have had nothing to do with this family member since. Not only must the family have been annoyed that my attempt was unsuccessful, it must have really annoyed them when Mike and I decided to marry two months later).
But I have never mentioned that. So she couldn’t have been annoyed about that either.
Or, I could have mentioned how, only a few months ago, she tried to convince Mike that my children are better off without me. How he is ‘too close to see it. But I see their hearts. And they’re miserable cos of her!’, she shouted, whilst the children and I were in her front room listening to every word. She continued to reassure him that getting rid of me would be okay, ‘The Sullivans - your family – want to help you!’. I did leave for a few days. I thought about shutting down this site and not going back. I text her to say that my family was now all hers and that the stupid little foreigner had finally left and to round up the Sullivans. She immediately rang Mike to offer to go around.
Needless to say, I did go home and we did struggle through it and me, Mike and our family, that is our family, are fine and strong. But in my eyes, at that point, enough became enough. But it would have been a good story to share to reassure others that you can still have a good, strong relationship despite other peoples vindictiveness and spite – no matter how closely related they are.
Still, I never mentioned it here. So that can’t have been what she was annoyed about.
It turned out that she was annoyed about this post!
You see, she was mad that I wrote that Mike ate meals not around the table but on their laps. She told him I had called him a ‘lap boy’ and, pointed out that he didn’t always eat from his lap but did used to sit in his highchair. (Edit: During this phone message where she accused me of writing nasty things about her, she also demanded we return to her the money Mike’s dad had left him when he died. She’ll be getting that asap.)
So there you are – I must apologise.
Please note that Mike did used to eat at his highchair tray and not only from his lap, as this deeply offended my mother-in-law and, in an effort to correct this nasty thing I wrote, I need you to know this.
Now, what does puzzle me is that my mother-in-law is not online herself, so she would have been relayed any and all information that someone could possibly glean from my writing this blog. Obviously, as happens with Chinese Whispers (damn foreigners again, I’d imagine they’d say), this person who is running back to retell the contents is elaborating and exaggerating in order to, well to do what I’m not sure.
To make trouble?
To create problems?
Possibly, maybe, perhaps.
I’d suggest to this person that they go about trying to fill their own lonely life rather than trying to stir up trouble. But as, no doubt, you will run back to update the EMIL (evil-mother-in-law – I mean, what they hey, I’ve no reason to pretend all is fine and dandy now!), I’ve decided to make things easier for you. Just click on this link for a printable version you can run off and take over in minutes!
Enjoy your stirring!
Oh, and by the way, you might like to know that I can see who you are by my stats tracking .