A little bit of backstory:
I have previously documented the problems that I've had with my mother and her gossiping. It was the reason that we didn't tell anyone in the family about our infertility struggles, and it has succeeded in really poisoning our relationship. The disintegration of our relationship is largely my fault. My inability to deal with her gossiping has resulted in me pulling away from her and having an EXTREMELY short fuse when it comes to just about anything she does. I tend to speak to her condescendingly and disrespectfully, and I have really been trying to work on it.
Over Memorial Day weekend, we had a chance to talk about things. I explained where I was coming from, and generally mentioned that there are things in my life that I couldn't/wouldn't talk about, but that I was sorry for how I'd been treating her, and I would work on it. She acknowledged that she needed to stop talking about people, and said she'd work on it.
Separately, I can now tell all of you that my brother and SIL are pregnant. She's 36, and can you guess how long it took them to get pregnant? You guessed it, FIRST TRY. Of course. Anyway, they were super worried about genetic testing because of her family history, and so asked us not to tell anyone, so I've kept it quiet, even here in blog-land.
During Memorial day weekend, I decided to extend and olive branch to my mother, and share with her our list of names we are considering for our baby. After hearing the list (of about 10), she told us that one of the names was my SIL's name that she's picked for a girl. She told us what it was, and I took it off the list, because I don't want to get into ANYTHING ABOUT IT. We had a similar problem when both my sisters were pregnant at the same time, and it nearly tore them apart.
We found out that SIL is having a boy, (ours is a girl).
So, I called my dad on father's day to make sure he got the present, and chat with him. Mom made sure to steal the phone away from him to chat with me (which kind of drives me crazy cause I don't really like talking on the phone, which is why I called HIS CELL PHONE). We talked for awhile, and then she tells me that she talked to my SIL. That one of her friends used her name, so now she wasn't sure she wanted to use it. She told me that she told SIL that "Nixy and Sweets have a list of names, and yours was on it, so I told them, and they took it off, so if you aren't going to use it..."
At which point I interrupted her, exclaiming. "Why are you getting INVOLVED IN THIS?!"
And she freaked. Freaked. Completely decompensated. She flipped from yelling, to crying, to telling me that I didn't even let her finish. She personally attacked me, and in response I got more calm, and condescending and had to repeatedly threaten to hang up the phone if she didn't calm down. This only made things worse.
I told her that it didn't MATTER about the story, it mattered that we only talked about this WEEKS ago, and she was already talking about things I'd told her that she shouldn't be talking about. She didn't want to hear it. Told me that I was only going to the bottom line, and that after pressing SIL about the name, SIL said that she still liked the name and would probably use it if they have a girl next. The truth came out that she really WANTED us to use the name, because it was her grandmothers. This to me just showed that she was doing this for her own personal reasons. She said that she considered not saying anything, but in the end did anyway.
To Mom, the ends justify the means. To me, it does not. Especially after what we just talked about a few weeks ago and her promise to stop repeating the things I tell her.
And so it continued. Around and around.
Until my father took the phone from her and said (I paraphrase except for the first sentence):
THIS IS YOUR FATHER. I have been listening to you talk to your mother and it is unacceptable. Your mother deserves kindness and understanding. Over the past couple of years, I have been watching how you treat her, and haven't said anything. I've been waiting for a time when we could get over it, but you have irreparably damaged our relationship and I don't know if we'll be able to get over it. You have ruined my Father's Day.
I acknowledged that I don't speak to her respectfully, I also asked him how long he'd been listening to the conversation, and he admitted that it hadn't been that long. I told him she'd been personally attacking me, and I told him that what little respect I could muster was shown in the fact that I did not hang up on her despite the abuse that she had been throwing, and that my tone of voice was DIRECTLY related to that abuse. That I had refrained from using personal attacks, and at this point, that was all that could be expected of me. I apologized for ruining his Fathers day and asked to speak to my mother again. He repeated that I should be treating my mother with kindness and respect (I refrained from telling him that I did as well, and that gossiping about people was disrespectful).
She was much calmer, and we somewhat resolved things. I apologized for speaking to her in a disrespectful manner, but she REFUSED to admit she had done anything wrong. Which, in the long run is fine, because I can just stop telling her anything to prevent that.
What I have a SERIOUS problem with is my father thinking that after YEARS of this going on, that he feels he has the right to step in to the middle of a fight and "lay down the law" and "put me in my place." My father is the most non-communicative person on the planet. He stays out of everything, and always has. I have no idea if he's got the whole story, or even cares to.
We are supposed to be going on vacation with the whole family (except for my oldest sister, who my mother also has problems with and didn't invite) this Saturday for a week. Of course my mom will have called the rest of the family and cried and blubbered and tried to get them on her side. The only person who will not fall for this is my brother.
I don't know what to do. My father is never involved in ANYTHING with my life. He's like a silent partner in everything interpersonally related. Therefore, I tread into uncharted waters. I don't feel like talking to him. I feel like cutting him out of my life. I don't feel that he had the right to overtake a situation and then say such strong things that can't be taken back, and that will probably change our relationship forever.
He had no interest in hearing my side of anything, which is fine, except that he then chose to get involved.
Sweets listened to quite a lot of the conversation and (kind of) surprisingly came out on my side of everything. We have a relationship where we pretty much tell the other person if they are wrong, and he felt that while I was condescending and not respectful, that the situation definitely warranted it. And that my father was out of line. It makes me feel better that someone else thinks I'm being somewhat rational about the situation.
I could use any advice people might have. I know I'm going to have to deal with this in a few short days and I'm really dreading it. Ugh.