Me: I wrote them a letter asking what I needed to do for them to like me.
Stephanie: You said that?
Me: Well, not in those words. I said I wanted to “repair the relationship” between us. Sly threatened to disinherit Primo if Primo didn’t “get me in line” a while ago – which Primo doesn’t care about, because it’s not his money and besides, he has a good job, but he cares that his dad thinks this is a weapon and is even talking about this – and Doris has been complaining about me, too. I said I would suck it up and write an apology letter for whatever it is I have done wrong, which I think is just being alive. They would be much happier if I didn’t exist because then Primo would be all theirs.
Stephanie: What did they say?
Me: Doris wrote back and told me why they didn’t like me, in detail, which you know I really appreciated, but then she said that she had had to do all the work with Sly’s relatives, implying that I needed to do all the work with them. I would maybe do it if I only knew what the work was. Maybe.
Stephanie: You need to send the letter to me.
Me: Let me read it to you.
Me: I think we need to start anew after I offer our read on how the tensions began. You should tell us your recollections.
The most significant factor in our initial qualms was reading your blog. We were probably too quick to form judgments before we even met you. Your likes, politics, and religious views seem so divergent from Primo's and ours. Plus we know that Primo is often an easy mark. His marriage to ex-wife (which we STRONGLY opposed) turned out to be what we had feared...
Sly, of course, wouldn't listen to advice on not marrying his first wife. He was but 19 and Melinda was 23...She even bought the engagement ring! It took me a long time to build a relationship with some of Sly's relatives and the initiative was all mine.
We would be happy to thaw the ice that has separated us and develop a friendlier relationship. We doubt that we could ever agree on what seem to be some of your world-views.
When we were together, you always appeared chilly, guarded, and rather judgmental. We don't know if you found us welcoming open, rigid, or just old fogies.
We've always felt that you were worried about Primo having responsibilities to us in our dotage.
Sly and Doris
Stephanie: “Cordially?” They sign off on a letter like this, “cordially?”
Me: I know! The essence of the letter is, “Bitch! You are a cold bitch who has lured our gullible child with your cold bitch ways. We hate everything about you and you are going to have to do all the work for us to accept you, which we won’t ever do because you eat bacon wrong. And hey! This is all super genteel and cordial! Kisses!”
Stephanie: That is what they are like! They have always super critical with me but it’s always in a way I can’t address directly.
Me: Exactly! It’s all this subtle mind game stuff. They never say anything directly to me so I can address it – they complain about me to Primo. How do you counter that? If they were directly nasty to me, I would have no problems standing up to them. But it’s all this weird passive aggressive shit that I don’t know how to handle.
Stephanie: They have no problems being nasty directly to me! I don’t do anything right. They send me lots of critical emails. But they are not as bad as Melinda, who told me I needed psychiatric help, in her professional opinion.
Me: Is she a psychiatrist?
Me: Is she a psychologist?
Me: Is she a medical professional of any kind?
Me: So her professional opinion is – not a professional opinion?
Stephanie: Nope. She is just mean and nasty and I have told her that if she cannot be nice to my children – this isn’t even about me anymore – she has written horrible things to Michael– that she will not see her grandchildren.
Me: I wish I had something Sly and Doris wanted so I could tell them to be nice to Primo. I mean, I have Primo, but he is not going to cut them out of his life. I wish he would, but he won’t.
Stephanie: No, he won’t. And really, he shouldn’t. I mean, he can cut Sly out because Sly has always been a jerk, but Doris really did used to be a nice person. Primo is not going to abandon her to Sly. She is his mother! I feel so bad for her. She has not been nice to you, but she is so much nicer than Jack’s mom. I remember how she used to be. Sly has just made her life hell. I don’t think she even thinks straight anymore. Remember how I told you that Sly forces her to give him blow jobs?
Me: Yes. She has COPD. She can barely breathe and has to use oxygen at night. And he is forcing her do that? What a jerk.
Stephanie: He’s always been a bully. Years ago, they were visiting us. I got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, which was by the guest room. I could hear her crying and saying, “No, no, no. I don’t want to” from the hall. I didn’t even know what to do. I stood there for a while, wondering if I should say something, but just went back to bed. What do you do?
Me: I don’t know.