I hate my mother.
She called me this evening while I was watching Felicity Season 3, and she immediately started asking me if I have a cough or a fever. I was like, “Why would I have a cough or a fever?” And she launched into some sort of fearmongering response about the virus.
She then spent about five or ten minutes asking how we’ll cope if they don’t let people go outside to take walks–how my dad will deal with it. She became more and more pathos-minded. I started to tune her out.
Then, she dropped a bomb. “Your cousin Andy’s been sick, and so has his little girl.”
“With what?” I asked right away.
“They keep getting recurring flus, and the little girl has a weak immune system, apparently.”
“Right,” I said. “Her immune system has been compromised by her mother, Stacy, who has Munchausen’s and Munchausen’s by proxy.”
My mom got all huffy and angry and told me I shouldn’t go around saying such things; that it’s terrible of me to throw out such horrid accusations with no proof.
I told her it’s not about criminalizing her; it’s about keeping the little girl safe. I’ve been the family pariah ever since I reported Stacy to CPS back in (I think) 2014. I’d been in email touch with Andy at the time. He told me about how Stacy was having her gall bladder removed, even though the doctors found nothing wrong with Stacy’s gall bladder. And during recovery from her surgery, Stacy sought out attention at every turn. Andy even told me to email her a photo of my vintage Care Bears to cheer her up.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against being supported during stressful times. It’s just that I don’t think her gall bladder had anything wrong with it. Stacy faked the symptoms that would lead to the surgery she wanted.
Stacy met Andy at blood pathogens class. They were both hematologists. Stacy knows how to induce or fake a fever.
Their baby was born in spring of 2013. A year later, Baby had been in the hospital at least five times for random stuff. When my mom told me the baby had a fever of 105-degrees, that was the last thing I needed to hear. The rest is history.
Agitated by my mom’s phone call, I just now emailed Andy and said:
You might not care about me, and I might not care about you, but when your daughter is apparently stricken down with a weak immune system, I’m disgusted. Really? I saved your daughter’s life for you once, but you’re on your own from here on out. I would ask, though, that you not regale your mother, who then regales my mother, who then regales me, with tales of your wife’s Munchausen’s disorder. Go to hell.
Not one of my finer moments. But the image of all of my maternal family members joking around about how paranoid I am really vexes me, especially since I know I’m right; and not only that, but Baby is still in danger despite what I went through (and am still going through!) to protect her. I pretty much turned all of them against me because I knew Andy loves his little girl more than life itself. Yeah, Andy, you’re welcome.
I’m glad I worded my email that way. It should let him know that it’s not my fault or even his fault. It’s MY MOTHER’S fault. Although when I told my dad that, he said, “Don’t discount Stacy.” Good point. The email should also let him know that I’m not doing anymore reporting to CPS. That one act of mine was the only blessing I have to give the little girl.
Hmm… what set it off? On the phone, my mom said, “Your aunt [Andy’s mom] said she thinks about you a lot. She said hello.”
“No,” I said right away.
“She misses you.”
This particular aunt has extreme alcoholism, and I found out why a few years ago, and I feel deeply sorry for her, because the reason’s as legit as you’ll ever hear. I can’t even type it here. Let’s put it that way. Regardless, she’d rather think I’m a raging paranoiac (which, okay, I am) than accept the fact that her daughter-in-law has Munchausen’s. And now, that aunt’s husband (who I don’t think I’ve met) is going to lose his other leg due to health complications. It’s nothing short of tragic.
So, then, after that part of the conversation, I think that was when my mom told me that Andy and his daughter have been sick. Anyone else’s first thought would be the scary virus, right? Not mine. Apparently, Baby has been sick off and on for a long while now. The last time I went to Stacy’s social media page, she was going on and on about deep-vein thrombosis, and how it can cause complications if you don’t acknowledge it. She had a huge bruise on her leg, and I remember thinking, How hard did she have to hit herself to get that injury?
I got agitated, talking to my mom. She refused to listen to my accusations against Stacy. So, after I emailed Andy, I called my mom back and said, “I just sent an angry email to Andy.”
Sure enough, she had a “woe is me” reaction. “No, how could you do that? He’s already going through so much.”
“Isn’t it what you wanted?” I asked.
“No, no, of course not! How could you say that?”
“How could you tell me about Baby?” I asked. “You knew nothing good would come from it.”
“I told you hoping you could have some compassion for them! They’re your family.”
“I don’t have any compassion for them,” I lied. “I couldn’t care less about their problems, and I hope they don’t care about mine, because they’re nothing to me. Why should I have compassion for people who joke around about how mentally ill I am? Oh, and I told Andy in the email that you’re behind all this. Remember how innocent you acted when I reported Stacy to CPS, as if you had NOTHING to do with it, and they all bought it and fingered me as the crazy person? You love drama.”
“No!” she wailed. “Oh, I can’t cope. I can’t take it. My poor heart. I hate drama. It’s my least favorite thing.”
“Then why do you keep creating it? You’re such a victim,” I accused.
“No, no, no. I’m not a victim. You’re wrong. You’re wrong.”
“Victim! Victim! This is all your creation, victim!”
Our second phone call ended shortly after that.
I’m not sure who’s to blame–her, or me. I’ve been a bit paranoid and unhinged lately. (Duh.) But my mom kept trying to find a way into my psyche until she succeeded. I see that now. It’s why she started by acting alarmed about the virus, and when that got her nowhere, she appealed to my paranoid side. The woman has skill. I can’t sit here and deny it.
It occurs to me that I need to avoid my mother at all costs. She’s not good for me under normal circumstances, and these aren’t normal circumstances. But at least now my mom can call my aunt and sob about the angry email I sent, even though Andy probably won’t even get the email. (I doubt he has the same email address after all these years.)
Stacy’s playing with fire. If her little girl gets the coronavirus, then I think that’d make Stacy a murderer. The thought makes me sick. But that’s what my mom was hoping for.