I know there are different theories out there regarding how we become the people that we are. Some theories state that all of our qualities are innate, while others claim that our environment is the sole influence. It is the ever popular "nature vs. nurture" debate.
I tend to lean towards the most popular explanation, which is, that we are a combination of the two. When I think about D, and the person who he is, I cannot help but think that his upbringing had a great deal to do with the issues he's faced in his life. Never has this been more clear, than when I have run into issues when dealing with his mother.
I always had a fairly good relationship with D's mother. However, from the moment D and I separated, all of that changed. I felt as if I had been in the circle of trust, and once those divorce papers were signed, I was abruptly booted out. It did not matter that, at the time, I was still pregnant with her grandchild. It didn't matter that D had been almost the sole cause of the ruin of our relationship. And it certainly didn't matter that I had done nothing to her, personally. Our relationship, as I knew it, was over from that day forward.
Despite her frosty demeanor towards me, I have made multiple attempts to foster a relationship between D's mother and P. I have arranged get-togethers. I have left her messages. I even went so far as to invite her to P's baby shower, when he was one month old. In return I have gotten nothing more than a slap in the face every time I am around her. But worse than what she has done to me, is what she has ultimately done to P. I could easily count on both hands, the number of times that she has seen him in his almost two years. And of those times, D's mother has never once been the instigator of the meetings. It would appear, at least from my perspective, that she is letting her anger at D (and towards me, apparently) get in the way of being a grandmother to P.
I have made peace with the fact that P really only has one set of grandparents. I am fine with this. He has no lack of love in his life and he is very lucky to constantly be surrounded by people who mean so much to him. I do not spend time thinking about D's mother, or her unwillingness to let the past be just that: the past. I have come to terms with the fact that, in some way, (even though it does not make sense) she blames me for everything that happened.
While I have come to grips with the way that D's mother is, that isn't to say that I agree with her actions. And I certainly did not agree with a phone call I received from her just a few days ago. Apparently D had coerced his mother into calling me. He wanted her to call and attempt to "make the peace" with me. And even though that was the original guise for the call, "making the peace" was the last thing that was accomplished.
Without getting into details, I will just state that the call did not go well. It did not go well at all. While not a whole lot was accomplished, I have to say that I did stand up for myself. I wasn't prepared for the onslaught and attack that I received when I answered my phone. However, even though I was initially caught off guard, I am proud to say that I held my ground, if not my tongue. If D's mother thought that she was dealing with the meak, beaten, broken woman that I once was, she thought wrong. While she may have had some things to get off her chest, I, also had things that I wanted (and did) say to her. They were things that I had contemplated saying for too long, and I could no longer repress. Things that I had thought about, but never had enough courage or pent up anger, to actually say aloud.
I really never expected anything from D's mother, or from his family, for that matter. Even though she and she alone knew the true depths of our marital troubles, and what I went through with D, I never expected her to side with me. Blood is thicker than water and I always knew that her loyalties would lie with her son. I was, however, a bit surprised by her reluctance to form a relationship with P and be a grandmother to him, despite the less than ideal circumstances. Despite this fact, I had learned to deal with her choices and come to accept them. While it certainly would have been nice if she, just once, would have commended me for raising P and being the mother that I am, or offered to buy a package of diapers, knowing full well that D was offering no means of financial support, I knew never to expect that from her. I truly do not want or need anything from D's mother.
However, what I cannot and will not tolerate is abuse from her. When she crossed that line the other night on the phone, something snapped. Something deep down rose up inside of me and took over. Maybe it is because of everything I went through with D. I have grown strong over these past few years and vowed that I will never be mistreated again. By a man, or woman, for that matter. I have been through enough and I refuse to tolerate mistreatment. Especially not from the woman who raised D. And who likely contributed to most, if not all of his problems by enabling him, making excuses for his actions, and living in a constant state of denial.
As I was ending our conversation I couldn't help but make mention to her of the uncanny similarities that she and her son possessed. After all, as the saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.