Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘harassment’ Category

The Scene:  Harried working mom on her way home after a 12+ hour day, about an hour longer than she planned with.  The mom is wrought with guilt, feeling the pressure of months of a heavy work load.  She is concerned that her family is starting to get sick of it.  At the same time, said Mom is kinda tickled over her new iPhone, and is fussing with it in the backseat of the taxicab when she receives a text from her daughter:

E:  When are you coming home?

M:  I should be there by 7:30. Why?

E:  I just wanted to know.

M: Are you mad?

E:  No.

M:  Sorry that I’m running late.  It was a busy day.

E:  It’s okay.

M:  Are you sure?

E:  MOM!  I’m watching Heroes!  Stop texting me!

M:  So, here I am, feeling guilty that you’re missing me because I’m working too much, and in reality, you just want me to stay gone long enough for you to finish your television show?

E:  That about sums it up.  Now can you stop texting me?

Harumph.

Read Full Post »

I stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home tonight.  I needed laundry quarters (even though I didn’t do the laundry after all), and so I picked up a bottle of Rose, and I was enjoying a slow walk home on a pretty spring evening. When all of a sudden my vision focused on a scene a block and a half in front of me.

And my stomach fell to the sidewalk.  I so didn’t want to see that person right now.  The person who is throwing so many nasty punches into my family’s well-being; causing so much stress – so many changes.  Such sadness and despondence in the life of one of my favorite people.

She was glaring at me.  Face all squinched up, disgust in her shoulders.

It was her.

The ExBFF.

I could not believe the reaction that I had to a 10 year old (well, 9 for another 3 weeks – she was born on J’s due date in 1998) child.

But she is the source of such anguish.  Such misery.

Another attempt at going to her mom last weekend.  Result was interesting.

I was told that the entire situation is MY fault.

In some ways, I was very relieved by this response.  I live in constant awareness of the fact that as much as J comes home with stories of Ex-BFF’s eviltude, BFF is likely going home with similar stories.

Turns out, not so much. Her mom was clueless.  She thought “everything was normal.”  But when she approached her child with my concerns, she was met with the allegation that I – Zuska – have sabotaged their friendship.  That I have “pulled them apart” and that if it weren’t for me, they could have worked everything out on their own.

i.e., J would have accepted the fact that she would be treated like shit forever – given “tests” wherein she is expected to be forever conscious of Ex-BFF’s moods and quirks and whims so that she can be sure to behave correctly and stave off her Wrath.

It was horrible of me to talk to my daughter about her self worth.  To teach her that friendship is not a pure sacrifice of self, and that self-respect is just as important as respect for others.

it IS all my fault.

“please be sure to tell J that this is not what I want, and this is not what [my daughter] wants, but rather what YOU want.”

Yah.  Okay.

_____________________

For the past 2.5 weeks, for the first time in my life, I’m dealing with consistent pain in my neck, back and shoulders.  Today it’s also in my right arm.  The pain is on the verge of debilitating.  People ask me what I did.  What I lifted.  Nothing.  Nothing.  Perhaps it was because I slept on my stomach?  And whipped my head up? (Similar actions hurt now)  Others say it’s where people hold stress.  Am I stressed?  No!  I said!  Work has been mellow.  My husband and I haven’t fought in ages (well, we sort of fought last night – he’s mad at me for increasing my responsibilities in the girls’ drama program at school –  but the question came before last night), my kids are doing well …. except that J is always sad.  And she’s waking in the night.  And her confidence is shattered.  And when I see Ex-BFF’s mom in public, I spend most of my energy swallowing my vomit.

I’m just so sick of it.

We have a meeting with the principal and guidance counselor next week.  I want to talk about the impact of this situation on the other girls in the class – about the way they all feel torn.  I would speak directly with the other parents if it wouldn’t make me seem like I was trying to collect allies in a fucking war.  I am not willing to take on that appearance.  To make the Ex-BFF’s mom find fault with me when I’ve tried so-so hard for both J and I and to take the high road – to not sink into the games.  But the other girls are also struggling.  They don’t know what to do.  They’re scared of being put in J’s position by Ex-BFF if they speak to J – they’re scared of J not wanting to be their friend because they’re siding with Ex-BFF out of fear.  They’re unhappy.

Everybody is unhappy.

I want this crap to go away.

I want to stop hating this child.

I want her to go away.  I want them to move.  Far, far away.

On Thursday – J and Ex-BFF had soccer practice together.  I was there.  Ex-BFF managed to pull every.single.girl. into her orbit with casual and carefree “come over heres!”  J was beaten down, wary, tired.  She ended up alone.  Two of the girls came to me to ask if J was okay – not to J.  They were scared.  Intimidated.  J was alone for the entire hour.  Her coach was perplexed.  The girls were skittish.  J. was lonely and sad.  She cried the whole way home.

Then Ex-BFF went away for the weekend.

Our phone rang off the hook.

The soccer game was lovely.

The girl scout meeting was fun and social and happy – J at the center; kids happy and good natured.

J had a sleepover with a friend on Sat. eve; she went to another friend’s house on Sunday afternoon; had another with her at E’s play on Sunday night.

Everyone felt safe for the weekend.

Read Full Post »

I spoke with the other mom.  I was clear about my goals – I was careful not to spew accusations.

J sort of changed the landscape, because at school today – she got up the guts to say “I don’t want to be your BFF anymore.”

The reaction was tearful silence.

instead of calling the mom to say “your daughter is mean to my daughter” I had to call and say “I think my daughter hurt your daughter’s feelings.”

I tried to explain my hopes that our involvement – as loving and involved parents – can prevent our children from devolving into she-devils.

I think I’m optimistic.

I made it clear that if I am 100% wrong (I don’t think I am, and as of right now, either does the other mom) and my daughter is actually a meany-butt, I want to know, and I will deal with it.  I received similar promises in exchange.

I plan to organize a group outing for Saturday – several girls – including J and the ex-BFF – to go to the pool or to a movie or something.

I have to believe that kids are not evil, and that with a little support and encouragement, and a little bit of reinforcement that we are good people – we respect each other – they will follow suit.  They can watch their mothers talk, and they can watch us push aside our instincts – not our good instincts, but our mean-nasty-rip-her-throat-out-instincts — they can, too.  They can take deep breaths and realize that compromise and cooperation serve our interests more than do domination and castration.

Oh wait – we’re girls.

We can’t be castrated.

But whatever.

I want a KIND child.  I want a respectful child.

But a kind, respectful child who is no-one’s doormat.

——————————————————-

(and certainly not the doormat of her nasty-ass politician husband – Jesus, Sue – did you have to be so damned inflammatory?)

Read Full Post »

We had a nice morning.  I went to see the house (man, does that thing need to be ripped down and built from scratch), and then the bank, to move things around to cover our security deposit and first month’s rent, and then to both girls’ basketball games where I got my day’s fill of socializing.

But when we got home, J was instantly antsy.  She wanted to go somewhere with a friend.  But I am going out tonight, and didn’t want to go out morning afternoon and evening.  I’m not that kind of person.  But she was unhappy with me.  She was irritable, and quick to cry.  Which isn’t so typical.

I went to find out what was wrong, and the floodgates opened.

I have known that she’s been having trouble with her BFF this year.  It’s been pretty bad.  J shared in the past that feels like she “gets in trouble” when she plays with other friends, and that she spends most of her time this year worrying that BFF is mad at her, and not knowing what to expect when she walks through the door of the school.

Today she shared a lot more of mean behavior.  MEAN, I tell you.  BFF has been gathering troops against J and whenever J even looks at her in a way she doesn’t like, BFF instructs all the others not to speak to J for the rest of the day.  They often don’t listen, but J is afraid of the day they do.

She told me of several days where they go out to recess, and BFF ignores J, so J goes and plays with other kids.  At the end of recess, BFF will come up to J and say “you failed.”  And J says, “what do you mean?”  BFF answers, “You didn’t play with me, so you failed.”  J inquires further, and BFF says, “It was a test to see if you would come play with me, and you FAILED.”  And then spends the day ignoring J.

It’s really horrid, some of the stories.

I am at a wee bit of a loss as to how to counsel J.  Because when BFF ignores her, she tells everyone ELSE to ignore J, and they’re scared that if they don’t do what BFF says, she’ll be mean to them, too, so they all listen.

But just until BFF is out of earshot.  Then they run over to J and play.

So I am of course telling J she needs to stand up to this girl (who I have really always adored —  but yet, I always knew she had this in her.  I just never saw it happening).  But I know that at the same time, I’m telling J to deal with being on the outs for a little while.

We happen to have a parent/teacher conference on Tuesday, and I’m thinking of asking for some intervention.  They right now share a “desk cluster” with each other and 2 other girls.  J feels that she can’t address this when she’s sitting on top of the child every day.  I’m thinking of asking for her teacher to move her desk.

But first, I may talk to BFF’s mom.  Since we’re supposedly friends.  I am trying to think of the right tact to take.  I think it has to be about J’s feelings only – and not accusations about BFF’s behavior.  At least at first.

It all sucks.

Read Full Post »

I have been sad about the tiger incident since the first time I read about it, at post-Christmas day 3 a.m., while suffering from insomnia.  I used to visit those tigers.  I’ve seen Tatiana in person.My first sadness was over the re-realization that no matter how much tigers seem like the world’s biggest, cuddliest kitty cat, they really want to rip my throat out.   I love those animals.  Tigers and lions and leopards.  I always have.  When I go to the zoo, I could sit there and watch the cats forever.Once, in Oakland, a tiger peed on my shoe.  That zoo had a fence, not a moat.  Apparently, the fence allows visitors to get within pee-ing distance of the tigers, without endangering their lives.I am upset that a tiger got shot.  Not in relation to anything else about the story – it’s just SAD.I am upset that people think it’s fun to torment animals – even if that is not what happened here (although I believe it is, despite the lack of hard evidence) – there are accounts of it being a new “fun afternoon” for teens.  “Hey, Dudes!  Let’s go to the zoo and give the gorilla hell!”  Apparently, the gorilla at the SF Zoo now gives visitors the finger when they bother him.  Unless they bother him too much, then he starts to pace and shake and get really agitated. Poor little kitty.

Read Full Post »