The folks in my family don’t exactly bring a legacy of tolerance and good communication skills. It’s no secret that my mom doesn’t like Z, but she has been making an effort to not treat him like crap since we have been living together for the last three years. Still… ugh.

The fundamental problem, I think, really likes with her insistence that I am helpless and in need of her protection. We had a very irritating phone call, when I asked why she had given us such a frosty reception at breakfast this morning. I had planned the gathering to please them and to build a reasonable relationship with them, but it really didn’t go well. The reason for the frosty reception, according to my mom, was that Z didn’t offer to pay, which is such superficial bullshit. We can afford to pay for meals, but haven’t insisted because it was our impression that my parents have insisted, but, goddess, we’ll fucking pay for meals. It’s not an issue. Couldn’t they have just asked us about it instead of playing insulting mind games? In my parents’ world, it’s Z who needs to pay, because they refuse to recognize that he is supporting me right now, preferring to believe that I am living on air and he is squandering all his wages on video games.

Having opened this can of worms, I was then subjected to the usual diatribe of all the things that are wrong with Z, and, conversely, perfect about me. He brags too much about his success at work; his work his passion, it’s true – is that really the worst vice? He sits around, apparently, while I do housework – this complaint is pretty special coming from my mom, and stems from her observation of me doing chores alone while she has been here in the mornings. I have explained several times that we have an agreement whereby I do morning chores and he does evening chores – a system that we set up specifically to divide household labour equally. Also, my dad does absolutely nothing around the house – he’s not capable of cooking or cleaning, as far as I know – and while I wouldn’t get all up in their relationship about it, it hardly seems reasonable to critique my division of chores. Finally, my least favourite of my mom’s arguments is that my (her) entire extended family can see how I am being taken advantage of in this relationship, and they all adore me but don’t care much for him. Now, this poisoning of my extended family against me wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that they all have only met Z once or twice, and otherwise hear from my mom on the phone once a week how miserable my relationship must be, would it? He wasn’t invited to my aunt and uncle’s 50th wedding anniversary earlier this summer, ostensibly because we aren’t legally married, although other unmarried cousins’ partners were invited. Oh, one more piece of awesome, she also suggested that maybe I stay with him because I don’t have any of my own friends. Glad you think I’m so smart and well adjusted, mom!

I know this is really about mom’s/ my parents’ relationship with me because my adult life has been one long string of disapproval from them. She/they have disapproved this vigorously about everyone I have ever dated, about my refusal to follow the career path she picked for me, about my former roommates and friends. It has been a giant pain in the butt, and it is very tempting to distance myself from them. That would be such a shame. They are elderly, have no other children. I love my family – including said extended family who apparently judge me through my mothers’ eyes. But good goddess, why the neverending drama? My mom spends so much unwanted time and money on me and I would rather just be casually accepted as a good and smart person! I could give them the deed for this fucking apartment which they helped me buy. Money is not love. But I suppose these things are not obvious. She definitely thinks that I am beholden because of their financial support. The most batshit-crazy part of the conversation I can’t even formulate here in words. Each of us is terribly flawed and needs infinite forgiveness.

WIth all the sighs that weigh on me in life, I turn to Z and he hugs them away and puts things in perspective for me. But I need to stop telling him about this family bullshit, because I need him to Jesuslike tolerate my hostile parents. He has been treated like a subhuman for a few years now and his patience is starting to wear thin. I might have to intervene in some upcoming bullshit and spend more time making excuses for everybody. If I had medical coverage for counseling, I’d consider it more, but it’s not really an option, I don’t think. Did I mention that just disappearing and cutting ties is kind of tempting?

As for strategies – man. I don’t even know. A unrelenting united front to my parents? An emotional talk with my favourite aunt & uncle, which would naturally get back to my mom and stir up more shit? All these relationships are so fragile.

In the longish term, I’m wondering if I should maybe rethink how much I wanted us to stay here to be close to my parents. It brings me a lot of stress. I believe strongly that it is my duty to be around, and support them in their old age, but I really do get why so many people don’t have a relationship with their parents. We’ll see, I guess, when the time comes to pick a job somewhere, but I can’t imagine the disapproving headaches are going to get better. It might be pretty liberating to move somewhere else.