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.
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.”
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.
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