June 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm #30015
theattack, I do that sometimes, but have started to do it less. While it does make people feel uncomfortable, I used to say stuff that was really personal (as are you) and I figured, that hey, that´s really none of their business, even if it get´s me a short-term victory. Now, I either ignore stuff like that or say something about how they shouldn´t judge, because they´re not walking in my shoes.
The only time I still do that is when someone does “your mom” jokes repeatedly and doesn´t get the hint when I tell them to shut up, or when someone makes suicide jokes. They get the ” My mom is dead. She commited suicide.” Bam! (awkward) silence.June 15, 2012 at 8:48 am #30104
@Theattack, I do happen to know I was an unplanned baby – I was the reason my parents got married, my mom was already a few months pregnant with me at her wedding. I think ElanieMay and Zepp are right, Mom probably skimmed over that part or didn’t stop to give it more thought. Which is a relief to some extent, but doesn’t change much about how I feel about her snooping. (Although I still think it’s possible that maybe she does know and is lying about it.)
I am normally not a confrontational person – I tend more towards doormat than champion. And I can be a coward when fighting, using cowardly tactics like harsh spiteful words and refusing to answer questions and often trying very much to get far far away instead of focusing on resolving the issue. (Guess who I learned those tactics from?) One thing I realized in therapy is that I’m not going to change her, she’s 52 and set in her ways, and the only thing I can control is how I choose to engage with her and how I react. So instead of laying into her aggressively, which I know only provokes her to retaliate, I’m giving her calm cool reason that she can’t fight against with hot angry words.
Without detailing the whole email exchange we went through yesterday, I did lay the hammer down with my most recent message. In one of her replies, she had offered her opinion/commentary on a personal reflection I had written in that journal entry, which is of course totally out of line. So I wrote back to her (late last night, so there’s no response yet):
“You have said what you felt you needed to say about Grandma, but I do not feel you have any right whatsoever to comment on the personal thoughts, questions and sentiments expressed in my journal, as those were expected to remain private and so are not up for discussion. It’s bad enough that you read it; I will not tolerate you commenting on it. Sorry to be firm but it is clear I need to establish a boundary here.”
I also lectured her a little bit about the fact that I did not volunteer the “information” I got from Omi because I felt it would do more harm than good to do so (which has proven to be true), and that we could have gotten through all of this without any hurt feelings or damaged relationships had she not insisted on knowing what Omi told me, let alone that she’s done so by snooping. I had no intentions for this to affect my relationships with anyone on my dad’s side of the family and was ready to close the book on everything. Nothing bad had to come of this, and nothing bad would have come of this, if she had not snooped.
That’s the last reply I’m going to give her, even if she writes back, and I’m cutting off contact for a while. I don’t want to punish her but I do want it to sink in. I can eventually forgive this because her intentions were basically good (setting the story straight) but she just went about it all wrong. But in this case, I can forgive, but not forget. This is a setback in our relationship and it will take a long time to recover, if at all. I’m letting it be my reminder to not get too cozy with her again, even if things seem to be going well and I’m tempted.June 15, 2012 at 10:05 am #30154
Well I know my opinion on this is likely to not be well received, but I’m going to say it anyway.
I’m going to have to disgree with the notion of “I’m an adult, not a child, and I shouldn’t have to hide my things.” I get where you’re coming from, I really do, but I think that’s idealistic thinking at best and not practical/realistic for the real world. I agree that you “should” be able to leave it unattended. I also think that we “should” be able to leave the doors of our houses unlocked and not have to worry about having our stuff stolen. We “should” be able to leave our car running unlocked for a few minutes without expecting it to get taken. We “shouldn’t” need a password to protect all of our computer accounts. But unfortunately we live in the real world where not everyone does what they “should” do. This is why things like passwords and locks were created. The simple fact is we need safeguards to protect us from the people who decide not to follow the rules or chose to be immoral.
Now I’m not trying to sound condesending or tell you that it’s your fault that your journal was read, but I think that it’s unrealistic to expect your journal to never be read if it’s left out in the open. I think this event should serve as a warning for the future. If you (or anyone else) doesn’t want their journal read I think you should take steps to hide it/protect it. If you don’t want your car stolen then you sould leave it locked and don’t park it some place sketchy. If you don’t want your house broken into you should leave it locked at all times. They won’t stop a truly determined individual, but they should prevent those casual ‘crime of opportunity’ types (like your mother in this example). I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt that her crime wasn’t premeditated and assume she didn’t go out specifically hunting for it. She failed to resist temptation when presented with it after learning you’d recently been talking to someone known to twist the truth and knowing that you record everything down in your journal. The only way to keep your private thoughts/secrets private is to keep them in your head.
So if you (or anyone else) feel the need to transcribe them to paper (for the record I have no problem with this practice even though it probably sounds like I do) I think you should take steps to safeguard them. It’s probably a good idea to keep it out of plain sight and maybe even get one of those locking kinds. As this event has demonstrated, it’s important to you that people respect that your journal is private and off limits (as it should be), so I think that you could help them with this by removing as many temptations as possible.June 15, 2012 at 10:08 am #30156
Oh, and @theattack, believe me, I did have a legitimate freakout on Wednesday night when I re-read my journal and found out what she could have been reading. Not calm at all – I called my best friend and blew off most of my steam that way, going over all the OMG/WTF-ness of the situation and how fucking angry I was. It’s only in my communications with her that I have put on the Calm Face and hid how much I was boiling – only because I know she’ll just match her anger to mine if I come across aggressively. Been there done that. But I understand your perspective and approach too, and it would probably be good advice for a different relationship.
As they say, Keep Calm and Carry On.June 15, 2012 at 10:11 am #30158
@KKZ, Every relationship requires a different approach for sure. And I’m really glad to hear that you had an explosive moment. I think that’s very healthy.June 15, 2012 at 11:51 am #30218
Brad, I understand and appreciate where you’re coming from – that by assuming the rules about who is allowed access to my journal were understood clearly by all parties involved, I left myself open and vulnerable to something like this. Honestly it didn’t even occur to me, at the time, that my journal was at risk – I assumed, without questioning it, that no one was interested in the journal whatsoever. I left it on the nightstand purely out of habit. My nightly routine is usually brush teeth, put on PJs, sit in bed and write down whatever’s on my mind (or do a creative writing exercise), and when I’m too tired to write anymore, put the journal down, take off my glasses and konk out. Because my journal usually never leaves my *own* nightstand and the only other person who even knew about it was my husband, who I’ve never had an issue with privacy-wise, it wasn’t on my mind to do anything different. (That and as I said above, it was a relatively new journal with only a few pages written, mostly things from my vacation or creative writing exercises I did on the plane, I didn’t remember that I’d written something really personal/private in it already.)
I still stand by the fact that even if I did make it more accessible to her than I perhaps could have, she is entirely to blame for the snooping and everything that has resulted. Even if I had put it in my suitcase she could have still gone after it – and judging by how desperately she seemed to want to know what Omi told me, I wouldn’t put it past her. That said, I think from now on, if I do take my journal out of my own house, I won’t let it out of my sight.
On a lighter note – I did have a pretty bad cold while I was staying there, no doubt picked up at one of the various airports I hit during my trip. Maybe if I’d left a few more snot-filled tissues around the notebook, that would have been its own deterrent.
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