2006-08-10 truth and secrets

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For many years – ever since I foolishly married her daughter, in fact – Rebekah has been criticizing me to other people, but would never say the same things directly to me.1 I have told Rebekah repeatedly that I had a problem with this (at least one of which was in writing), but to no apparent avail.

I was fortunately able to get out of that situation some number of years ago, and since that time I have been more or less ignoring the continuing reports I've been hearing – even as the number of reports began to escalate, and as the number of different people from which I was hearing them grew.

And now it appears that Anna has been added to the circle of those in whom Rebekah has chosen to confide her distaste for various actions of mine – not just in Anna's hearing, which would be bad enough, but directly to her.

I'm not sure if Rebekah is trying to suggest that Anna needs to be extra careful not to grow up like me, or if maybe she is hoping that Anna will be able to persuade me to change my ways (which assumes that Anna agrees with Rebekah, which she apparently does not). Either way, and quite aside from the fact that talking trash about someone to that person's own child seems a bit beyond the pale, Anna herself expressed a great deal of unhappiness about it when she was here visiting over the summer. It was after hearing many examples of such that I decided I had been too gracious in dealing with Rebekah, and needed to be quite firm and clear.

My immediate impulse, of course, was to send R an email explaining my position and asking her, kindly but firmly, to stop. However, experience has shown that this does not work with her. If I get any reply at all, my words are neatly deflected and turned around in a sort of verbal ju-jitsu which seems calculated to anger, to control, and to avoid any kind of honest response.

Talking to her directly, then, would not seem to be a productive option.2 I did suggest to Anna that Anna tell R to talk to me rather than to Anna, and even gave Anna some answers to the criticisms posed by R (it's difficult not to respond to these things), but this is just putting Anna in the middle – squeezing her from both sides.

My next thought was to try to make the issue public – to start posting some of the history of my relationship (if you can call it that) with Rebekah – so Anna and everyone else would know the context, and to clarify my position in everyone's mind.

Unfortunately, yet again I tried to be witty and gracious, biting yet subtle, in the hope that Rebekah would get the hint. Apparently she has not, and she now seems to be taking the view that I am obsessed with her and that this is possibly the reflection of some sort of mental illness.

On top of that, Rebekah has managed to convince my dad that I am posting too much personal information on this site; he seems to agree that this, at least, should be reduced.

What it comes down to3 is this: I have a right to write about my own life. If something bothers me, I tend to write about it. If Rebekah wants me to stop talking about her, then she should bloody well stop gratuitously trashing me to other people. If she has a problem with me, it is me to whom she needs to speak; otherwise I cannot even begin to address her issues.


Note 1

This was in fact quite a divisive thing between Livia and me, because a good portion of the time we would get into arguments about what R had said, with Livia feeling obliged to defend R's side to the best of her ability.

Note 2

One of the common definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.

Note 3

I originally wrote a lot of other stuff in this space, but later on realized that it wasn't really relevant.