Saturday, November 08, 2008

You can't reason with crazy

This is a hard lesson for me to learn. I seem to think that everyone should have the ability to tap into some common sense or at least some logical reasoning in a discussion. Not everyone has that ability (or chooses to try, either) and it's maddening for me. Some people are so beyond this ability. And those "some people" happen to be related to us.

After the virus visit and the "accidental" email from Grandma L, Bill and I took some time to figure out how to move forward with this. I wanted to discuss a cut-off, but after meeting with our counselor about it, a cut-off should be the last resort (but it's not out of the question). We didn't want to continue to toe the line and pretend like nothing has happened, but we knew they weren't going to try to mend the situation, either. The only thing we could do was let them know how we feel. It's in situations like this where I seem to have hope that people can come to an understanding and resolve to move forward with open communication. What I really need to have drilled into my brain is that you can't reason with crazy.

Bill and I sent both Aunt Ju-Ju and Grandma L an email expressing our feelings after the last visit. We told them that we didn't want to ignore what happened, that the situation could have been easily prevented had there been complete honesty and we were given the chance to make a properly informed decision rather than being put in an uncomfortable situation. We set up a ground rule that if anyone is sick during visits, that we will not be around until they are symptom-free for 24 hours. We also expressed our feelings of hurt and mistrust from being lied to and the statements that were made afterward. We let them know that we don't want to walk on eggshells during the Christmas visit while the kids are opening their presents and hopefully we can all learn to have open and honest communication to make that happen.

Really, we didn't expect much knowing full well that we weren't going to get an apology. This was mostly for our peace of mind to make our feeling known. Deep down I hoped there would be some kind of change, but that's just not realistic. It's a pipe dream to think that anything is going to be different with them. We sent this email (or rather, it came from us with Bill writing it from his email) on Wednesday and hadn't heard anything back. Until today.

After the visit, Grandma L had been calling/emailing Bill on a daily basis to check in to see how he, Logan and Carter were feeling (she doesn't care about how I feel at all). What she was really doing was sucking up and making sure to stay on Bill's good side, trying to erase the past events. Since the email went out, not a single attempt to talk to him had been made. We thought they would go on ignoring the whole thing so that nothing would have been put to rest before Christmas. Then Aunt Ju-Ju tried to be super sneaky about it last night.

She sent Bill a text message asking him to come over to help make Grandma L a photobook with pictures of the kids for Christmas. Bill let her know that we would play it by ear since Carter still had some bad congestion from his cold. She wanted only him to come over since it would be "faster" that way. Yeah right. She wanted to corner him alone to berate him about sending the email, making me out to be the bad guy (why do you let Kristin do this to us, blah, blah, blah). Bill replied back letting her know that he doesn't get a whole lot of time to spend with us, so he would try to get with her some other day.

This morning she sent a reply to the email (or really, what she wanted to tell him last night as she tried to trap him rather than being honest and upfront about the attempted conversation):

"First of all, Bill was informed that (Cousin B) had been to the doctor and was diagnosed with a virus the day you came over. To imply that we were dishonest as to his symptoms/diagnosis is a hurtful allegation.

When (Cousin B) came into this world we realized that he would be exposed to many common colds/viruses. In speaking with our physician about our fears he educated us about the immune system. As (Cousin B) is exposed to many people in his life: family, preschool, friends, and daily life we have the understanding that if an individual had a sickness/illness or was contagious that they would inform us, just as Bill was informed.

Pertaining to eggshells, we feel that all of us are continually walking on them because we can never predict what will set you off, but we can consistently be sure that something will. Yet we regroup, go forward, and try to start with a clean slate every time we get together. We hope you are able to gain the closure that you need from the these horrific events.

P.S. In the future if you have a concern we would prefer to communicate in person, not via e-mail

This just goes to show that talking to them at any length is a waste of breath. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this came from both of them as Grandma L likes to make Aunt Ju-Ju the bad guy in these predicaments. A true flying monkey, she is. I'm betting a million bucks that Grandma L was Bcc'd on this. It's also a sad reality that they would rather rewrite history than repair relationships.

It's infuriating because we are supposed to interpret "Cousin B went to the Doctor this morning. He's fine, they said he has a virus but we think it's teething" as "Cousin B has a fever of 104 and an uncontrollable cough. He's been on a steady dose of Motrin all day, we should cancel plans so nobody else gets sick". Yeah, that's some honesty for you. I guess it's a "hurtful allegation" since the truth hurts. Then to say that they can never predict what will set us off? I guess it's hard to predict that exposing our kids to second-hand smoke, food allergens and contagious viruses will make us upset.

The part that pisses me off the most though, is the sarcastic remark about getting over these "horrific events". Like Logan almost losing consciousness at the kitchen table from his high fever wasn't horrific, or listening to Carter struggle to breath every night isn't scary for us. It's also funny how she talks about discussing concerns in person. The last time I did that, I got cut out of the family. When we brought these issues up during the virus visit, both Grandma L & Grandpa L lied to us saying that Cousin B was getting better and then shrugged their shoulders to pacify us. There's no communication at all in this family. These people are crazier than I ever thought.

So, it's pointless to respond and we can look forward to an uneasy Christmas with them. Grandma L has yet to call or email Bill and has no clue that Logan is potty trained. Bill said that he's not going to call her, the phone works both ways. We'll see how long this takes.

The good part in all of this is the difference in how little their antics are disrupting our family. Yes, I still get irritated about it all and have shed a couple of tears but it's remarkably different than before. I think the key is that we are very clear on how these family members function and how to keep our nuclear family separate from that.


Dawn B said...

Gosh they are really a piece of work.
It's nothing like letting people know how you feel from the heart (kudos to you guys for that) and you couldn't even get one tiny apology. Some people just can't ever apologize for things. Don't let that ever compromise the good that you and your husband do.
I gotta also tell you, with RSV and flu season going strong now, it's truly a shame that they're so lax with tiny infants getting sick. RSV and flu is no joke especially for a tiny baby.
Okay..sorry to add my opinion there..but it just really frustrates me because with me being on the outside of this, I can see how you guys have been (understandably) stressed.

Smurfett said...

Their email sounds reasonable. Unless you know the details and then it makes you mad. Mad because ultimately, they just don't care about your family. Being diagnosed with a virus is different from being really sick w/ a virus. And it's so obvious they're not thinking of you at all but rather think you guys are demanding. booooo! I'm so glad Bill is on board with you through all of this.

Mindseye said...

Wow. I don't think they will ever change. It's probably good you don't either.

I think email is a great way to talk about feelings that are deeply rooted in confrontation when communication is consistently counterfactual on one party's end.

I cannot fathom anybody not being upset by others who expose their children to viri, allergens, etc. I would be angry and much more verbal about it. However, I think it's great you and Bill are working together as a team to present as a united entity.

I hope that someday these situations lessen in their degree of drama for you all. I imagine that Logan and Carter will be able to pick up on the tension eventually (if not now) and it will only ruin relationships they have had no part in damaging. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Keep up the hope.

Your loving sister.

momto1 said...

Ugh! So sorry that it has to be that way for you. I don't know what I'd do in your situation.