My mother used to talk badly about everybody in the family, no matter what they did. When I was a teenager, she focused her sights on my aunt, my uncle’s wife. It turns out my aunt is a natural leader, and my mother didn’t like this.
I remember them arguing in the kitchen years ago over my grandparent’s will. For years, I secretly believed my mother was jealous that my aunt was a friendly, loving, sensible woman who everyone liked. After all my grandparents passed on, my mother was hoping to be the head of the family, but that was not to be because my aunt’s personality drew in more people than my mother’s personality. It made my mother incredibly jealous, and the jealously leaked in the form of underhanded, passive-aggressive comments about my aunt.
But what my mother didn’t count on is that I would remember those little comments and stitch them all together years later to solve the puzzle that was this unstable mother of mine. My mother, who was manipulating all of her children, was a narcissistic bully who isolated us from the rest of the family with a clever fabric of lies that was very attentively pulled over our eyes for years. And now she’s moved onto the next generation – nieces and nephews.
I would love to try to save my siblings’ kids, but it would take a toll on my sanity, health, and the relationship with my child. So instead, I pray for them that God will show them the light as well. And while I don’t plug God much at all here, I do adamantly insist that this particular passage has indeed helped me tremendously:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change (my mother, and my sibling’s blindness), the courage to change the things I can (leaving the family and ignoring their painful ignorance and abandonment) and the wisdom to know the difference (that I was lied to and manipulated for years).
I’ve since altered the passage to:
God has granted me the serenity to accept the things I couldn’t change, the courage to change the things I could, and the wisdom – My God! thank you for the wisdom! – to know the difference.
What I learned from this extensive lesson is that I didn’t know what was going on in the family – I only knew my mother’s twisted lies. And sometimes, when you don’t know the entire story, it’s because the person telling you the story isn’t telling you the truth.