It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Mommy Issues’ Girlfriend,” the woman whose boyfriend of a few months had expressed fantasies of killing his mother and was regularly mean to her in public. “There is absolutely nothing else in his personality that would indicate this kind of severe hate and loathing,” she wrote. “I find it psychologically scary and creepy. I just don’t think normal people loathe their parents that much in absence of direct abuse or toxicity. Is this dump-worthy?” Keep reading to see whether she decided to dump him or not.
He DID (to my utter shock and surprise) end up going to a therapist after his buddies assured him this would be a good idea. They also reminded him that if, God forbid, someday my kids heard him speaking about his mom the way he was, it could really freak THEM out, and so he agreed to go to one session . . . which turned into more.
First, those of you who suspected that he and his siblings were also in the path of their mother’s rage? You were right. I have no idea why that took him so long to admit (admit, as if it’s his “fault”? What an odd phrase we use there) but he did admit it. I have a similar crappy background and he asked me how I could forgive either of my parents, either the abuser or the one who did not protect me. I explained I did not forgive my abuser exactly, but I understood why it happened, and yet that doesn’t mean I choose to have her in my life. Meanwhile, I don’t exactly forgive my neglector either, but I decided at one point I could either have a relationship with this adult, responsible man I did happen to like now and who was an attentive loving father, or I could be pissed off and lose out on that for decades. He was, ironically, more surprised I could forgive my neglector. I asked him how he could forgive his father. He said he feels his dad was “too weak” to do anything or he would have. I didn’t say anything, but I thought that sounded like some straight up mental gymnastic bullshit–but whatever.
It also came out that he and his mother share a medical condition for which the medications are notorious for side effects, including irritability and mood swings. And this explained a lot of her behavior. I was baffled as to how he could not have at least compassion or understanding for this, but he was having none of it. His rationale is that his condition is why he did not have children — because he knew he wasn’t patient enough, wasn’t suited to it, and would be a tyrannical jackass to them (despite his complete non-jackassery with my kids). So, therefore, his mom should have simply not had kids had she not wanted them. I point out this is a rather simplistic analysis of a choice for a woman who was the child of Holocaust survivors in the late 50s, but, hey, that’s his story and he’s stickin’ to it.
But . . . but . . . he’s giving her more grace, and I haven’t had to listen to a raging rant about her in months. He’s been decent in public with her, and even kind in conversation. We even invited them over for Thanksgiving and it was fun and friendly. (He had never invited his family over, for anything, ever. No, really, not in his entire nearly 30 years of living on his own, he’s never, ever invited them over before). The tension is markedly less and he keeps seeing the therapist, so I’m happy thus far.
Thanks for sharing! I hope things continue to move to a more accepting and compassionate atmosphere between your boyfriend and his family and that your relationship with him continues moving in a positive direction.
If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.