After 4 or so years in the army, I’d gotten over all my implanted hangups, become quite self confident, been promoted twice, ran a small communications repair team, I’d done 2 tours of duty, first a nice cushy UN tour in Cyprus and just returned from bandit country in Northern Ireland, where it’d been a bit stressful . I’d also just split from my first serious girlfrend. I had a week free so I took the chance to visit my parents.
First evening , dinner, present were NM, enabler Dad, passive Grandad and golden sister with new enabler boyfriend. My expectation, to relax, have a nice dinner, catch up with family goings on.
NM’s expectation, to show everyone that she hasn’t lost her magical powers of control.
Conversation, something like this...
NM- I found these really funny old photo’s of David the other day, who wants to see them? (screech screech)( She has tried this trick about 4 times.)
Asshole boyfriend with porn star moustache- That’s a good idea (bray bray)
Me- I’m not in the mood for this nonsense, you don’t want to see the cricket trophy I won?
NM- Maybe later, I don’t understand cricket.
Asshole boyfriend then launches into a story about funny cricket players that has everybody honking, braying and screeching. He then starts on me, which everybody honks and screeches to again. I remember my head spinning, feeling somehow betrayed, angry and totally off balance.
Me- What the hell’s going on here?
NM- OH David, you silly goose, you always did take yourself so seriously.
More screeching and braying.
Me- Well I’m only staying until tomorrow and I’ve been invited out tonight.
NM- Stop it David, you’re so puffed up and over confident these days, you really do need taking down a peg or two.
Me- Strangely Mother, the army says something completely different.
NM- They don’t know you as well as I do.
Me- Better actually. Look, I’m not staying here to be insulted by some creep I’ve never met before.
NM- (aged 48, overweight, started wearing a miniskirt)- No, he’s really WUUUUNDERFUL! It’s a pity you can’t be more like him.
Me- You kidding?
Result, everyone upset and confused, NM’s pale watery eyes are searching around for support. Enablers are all looking down, even creep won’t look at me. I go out, but feel like a loser, it only happens when I’m here I think. So, I never slept under that roof again and I realized that confrontation didn’t work, she still had the upper hand. Sister married the creep. Creep would go on to make a pass at ex wife, ex girlfriend and current partner. Creep
Move forward to present day, first evening of week long visit, (she wanted a month), location, our restaurant in Germany.
Present at dinner, long term partner, partners mother, father and uncle, our daughter upstairs in flat finishing homework or something. We’re all prepared for visit, we know all about NM, girlfriends uncle looks a bit worried. I wink at him, he smiles, we’re a team.
We’re all sat at a table, NM is out of comfort zone, she’s not only in a public place but in our public domain, she’s at the other end of a long table from enabler Dad, he’s right next to me.
Girlfriend to my Dad – So how was the flight?
Parents, almost at the same time- Dad- it was fine (he’s trained not to complain). NM, well the service was a bit unfriendly. And.....
Our team- Laughs
Partners father- Were you on the same flight?
Everyone but NM –Laughs again.
NM, looks around furtively, knows something is wrong.
NM- why isn’t granddaughter joining us.
Me- She’s got an exam coming up, she’ll be down soon.
NM- (sarcastically) Well it must be VERY important. (Nothing is more important than her)
All our team including Uncle- OHH YES (nodding at the same time) NM senses danger of exalted position.
NM quickly to Uncle- So, what subject is she studying? (singling him out, he’s the weakest link, recently widowed)
Uncle (shrugging shoulders) - I don’t know, just something important I think.
Everyone including enabler Dad- Laughs (NM knows there is a problem)
NM to Grandaughter- What were you studying? It must be difficult.
Grandaughter- No Gran, I was skyping my friend, she’s got a new boyfriend.
Everyone except NM- laughs and laughs
Partners mother- It’s so nice that we can all sit down and laugh together. Team agrees.
NM completely out of her depth, pale watery eyes look round again.
OK, so NM managed to get our waiter to do lots of explaining about the menu, some fuss between the English and the German version. Her pocket dictionary was even out. She’s really just testing his patience. But that’s his job, his English is quite good and he was warned in advance. I can feel myself getting angry, but my partner puts her hand on my arm.
Partner- He’s a really good waiter, his wife just had a baby and he needs the extra money, we’re lucky to have him. (All our team nod and smile)
NM (trying to cast doubt) - Well, if you really think so. (She hates him, it was her chance to show him up, to make us and the restaurant look bad)
End of meal, I invite waiter to sit down, introduce him to parents, partners mother asks him about baby. Team do lots of OOOHs and AAAHs.
Partner to waiter- you must bring baby sometime soon so we can see her.
Partners Dad and surprisingly my Dad give waiter a big tip. NM smiles uncertainly, wonders why my Dad tipped the waiter. She now guesses she won’t rule the roost for the next 6 days, self pity is written all over face. Yes, we’ve taken some time off to show them round, but NM will never have us alone and cornered. No, we won’t try to make her feel unwelcome, but we’ll keep her at arms length. She’s played mind games 3 times on the first day and we are all on amber alert.
All her enablers are hundreds of miles away and enabler Dad will sense a bit of freedom, hide behind me and granddaughter a bit and play deaf to NM, she’ll have to repeat everything 3 or 4 times. This is bad for her, she can’t do ridicule and laugh alone.
So, did she enjoy the holiday to Germany? I asked, but only my Father answered, he thought it was a great time. We did all the right things, went to lots of interesting places, took hundreds of photo’s and sent them to enabler sister. They’ll go home and give enabler sister 2 completely different versions of the same situation, sister will look at the photo’s and continue living in her fuzzy gaslit strange world.