Saturday, 7 February 2009


The PP - now to be known as the WSD (Wicked Step Daughter) replied to my letter, and the email was on the computer when I got up yesterday morning. Dr P had got to the computer before me, and had read it. He ignores my repeated telling him that my emails are private and he is not to read them. So he was shitty, and that makes 100 per cent of the inhabitants of our house. When I finish learning about the computer he won't be able to read my stuff any more. Really private stuff is through the other email address and I am certainly not communicating it to anyone in that family.

I don't blame Dr P all that much as I can't expect him to ignore or to favour me over his own flesh and blood. Even though I am the one who cares for him and does everything for him. I was pissed off, though, when he said that his daughter was a very intelligent woman and I was only a simple soul, so therefore...I have said my piece to him quite forthrightly, and that I acted in good faith, a quality conspicuously lacking in his daughter.

The end result is that all that agonising, all that effort to see whether we could improve the relationship was a complete waste of time and effort. It was something that I really thought I should try to do. I took such care with the letter, emphasising my desire to improve the relationship, and trying to soften it, while still stating that I could no longer tolerate her many discourtesies, and that these had been the cause of problems between us. She has not taken one step towards anything positive. I have put up with her for nigh on 20 years, acting as though I did not exist, ignoring my presence in my own home, countervailing my sleeping arrangements, answering my telephone, inviting others to stay, going through my cupboards, freezing me out of conversations, or flatly contradicting me.

She may be an eminent and learned person and a high flyer in international bureaucracy, but I reckon she is a total bitch, self-absorbed and self-righteous.

I am, according to her, resentful, insecure, frustrated, unhappy full of angst, and she cannot solve my problems for me, which are nothing to do with her! Well, I freely admit to resenting her behaviour, but tried all these years to tolerate her and to overcome my own shortcomings. Which I freely admit. I avoid conflict, and while I have done what I thought was right, it was difficult to do it in an ungrudging spirit.  All this time I have never tried to prevent her visits, I  have tried to make her welcome, have prepared accommodation for them, shopped, cooked food for them, given up my bedroom to them, put up with their constant use of my computer without asking, tried to get on with her husband and children (who are actually much nicer). It is not her father who gives up anything or does anything special during her visits. I think that is much truer courtesy than her smiling by-passing of me in my own home. In my defence, anyone to whom I have told the details of my  trials with her has been appalled by her rudeness, and friends who have known her since she was a baby say she was always a loner, and always self-absorbed and difficult. And she very evidently has problems getting on with her own mother, who has been very upset about this. My ground rules are 'fine if these reduce the perceived threats and disruption that our visits involve'. How gracious! Fancy having to specify these to a woman in her mid 40s. I 'should assume' that they won't ever stay here again.

Halleluia. If that is so, I have achieved something.

I have not yet decided whether to send any sort of reply. I am letting off steam here, and also writing various biting retorts, but I will consider very carefully what, if anything, to say or do. I don't know whether this will now spill over into my relationship with her sisters: I will have to wait and see, and handle those things if and when they arise. I am glad that I finally managed to tell her why I find her visits to be such a problem.

I understand full well that step-relationships are rarely easy and straight forward. In my case I have put a lot of effort and good will into getting on with the step-daughters (far more than Dr P has ever put into his relationship with my children - he really tries to prevent their visits). Dr P is not brilliant at human relationships and tries to avoid or ignore conflict, except of course if  he is the one who wishes to dish it out. He is an old style male. 

My father remarried, and there were problems with the marriage, although for the most part it worked well for them - but my father would not have tolerated from his children for one minute the sort of behaviour I have had to put up with - nor would any of us acted rudely to our stepmother. So I was aware of many of the pitfalls, but of course people go into new relationship optimistically and lovingly and assume that these qualities will overcome problems. They don't always work, more's the pity.


Pam said...

Oh Persiflage, I'm so sorry. How very sad. I'm sure you've done your very best and you just have to remember that it's not you- it's her. But hmmm. I think you've been a miracle of tolerance and deserve a medal.

(And if she never comes to stay again... well, maybe that's not so bad!)

Frogdancer said...

So you're a 'simple soul' eh?

I hope you 'simply' boxed his ears with a frying pan....

But like Isabelle said, if you never have to put up with her staying in the house again, then you win!

Zenom said...

Nice work, and mission accomplished. Perhaps you'll need to (pre-)prepare some communications to state the facts to the non-PP family members to confound any efforts to undermine your attempts at getting along.

I must comment though: Dr.P is behaving like a j*rk, he should be supporting you and coming to a realisation of his own intellectual under-performance regarding his (and his sibling's) lack of social and emotional intelligence. Being so learned, he must have some concept of what he does not know, as that is quite an important understanding to have in regards to intelligence. As such, perhaps he should engage in a course of self-learning to teach himself and his PP sibling the quite obvious lack of intelligence they are displaying.

Self-professing ones (and ones sibling's) intelligence and belittling those that they depend on, sounds quite... quite... stupid to me.

Regarding a response to PP: may I propose a 'thanks for your understanding and cooperation' type tone that smacks of assumptions along the lines of: her acknowledging she has a problem and that it shows good social and emotional intelligence for her to acknowledge them and her agreeing to work at bettering herself makes you and Dr.P very proud.

I share your annoyance and maybe it shows, but you can always delete my comment. :)

Relatively Retiring said...

I am so sorry.
It's good you have the blog for sounding off, and very soon you will be able to pass-word protect the whole computer. That'll fix 'em!
'Pratts' might be a good password, or 'twerps', or one of many much stronger terms of endearment.
There are many sympathetic readers out here.
You are not alone!

Stomper Girl said...

Frankly I'm still baffled as to why she kept coming to stay if it was really so ghastly for her. She is more than able to afford paying for her own accommodation and could have made relations so much more pleasant by staying nearby and coming for shorter visits.

She is also VERY immature. She (and DrP) seem to live by the motto attack is the best form of defence, it seems to be the preferred way of operating. Not always true, no matter how "intelligent" they think they are.

persiflage said...

Thanks for all your supportive comments, dear fellow bloggers. They have been a great help.

I'm toying with the idea of sending a very sweet reply saying I feel sorry for her as she does not understand the meaning of courtesy, consideration and empathy,and this was the reason it was necessary to spell out 'ground rules' - which mature and considerate people don't need, as they know how to behave appropriately. Whether it is worth it is another question.

What I have to do is free myself from the toxic effect she has had on me, and this will take time. I need it to wash through me so as to clean out all the infected matter.

I know she has learned much of her modus operandi from Dr P. I can cope with him better now, although not perfectly. They are both aggressive people and very selfish in many ways.

As for staying here again, my bedroom will no longer be available to them. Gone are the days when I was prepared to sleep on a mattress on the floor.