Irreverent Mama

Thursday, October 08, 2009

My husband Matthew's ex is a woman of drama. She is large, loud and hearty. With her friends, she has a ready laugh, she's a bit coarse but a lot of fun. "Rough around the edges", I called her, with an affectionate smile.

I was a friend once, you see, until I experienced the darker side to that larger-than-life personality, the rage that, until she screamed at me on the street on day, loud and long, I hadn't realized was also part of her character. Insults, slurs on my character, confidences I had shared with her, twisted into weapons... all this poured out on a public street at maximum volume.

I didn't scream back. I am not a screamer. I'm not sure what provocation could make me scream on the street, beyond someone's imminent demise. "LOOK OUT FOR THE CAR!!" Certainly not a misunderstanding about when we were supposed to meet.

I didn't scream back, I didn't even talk back, but I did walk away, and I never walked back. Had any of her subsequent communications with me carried the faintest hint of an apology, I might have considered, but what I received were explanations of why I had made her behave that way.

I was married to an abusive man, once. A man who was always convinced that I had "made him" do whatever nasty thing had just happened. Righteously convinced. That's an abusive pattern, and I was not about to continue a friendship with someone who, I had just discovered, was abusive.

It was karma, of a sort, when Matthew and I fell in love. We had both been in abusive marriages, we two quiet, bookish people who, when faced with conflict, share an urge to talk, talk, talk. No bricks hurled, just bridges built.

It's lovely.

Matthew's ex married not too long ago, but, as per the plan, she and her new husband are not living together, but will continue living in their own homes until the children have left home. This has always struck Matthew and me as odd: the children are growing up and leaving home; at this point, they would have three kids between the two of them. Given that Matthew and his ex produced five of their own, one would hardly think three kids too much to manage. Two of these three are within a year or two of moving out. Odd.

We didn't say anything to anyone else, of course, but we couldn't see the logic.

It was the youngest who let us know that the reason is the inability of the two 17-year-old girls to get along that is at issue. They each have one, and, apparently, they "scream at each other. All they do is scream. They just can't get along. And mom is depressed because she just wants to live with New Husband and be normal."

A loud, angry woman whose idea of conflict management is to scream long and loud has produced a loud, angry daughter whose idea of dealing with a step-sister is to scream long and loud. So bad is it that she and the new husband don't feel they can cohabit until at least one of the girls leaves home.

Now that's karma.

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  • And I bet she's totally mystified as to where this screaming child learned her communication skills!

    By Blogger AverageMom, at 9:13 a.m.  

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