The thing that triggered the phone call with Jerry’s mom is another example of his inability to process new information and assimilate it.
The weekend before Jerry got home I had visited what I consider to be the church of my heart, my home. I don’t get there as often as I’d like because I am reliant on public transportation and it’s at least two busses to get there. While there I found out there was a beach trip the following weekend, which would be during Jerry’s home time. Surprisingly, when I told LaLa about it, she wanted to go for several reasons. However, partially because Jerry has had mixed feelings and frequently feels uncomfortable there due to our personal history and partially because we don’t have our own vehicle, I didn’t think we would be able to make it. Much to my surprise, Jerry really wanted to go.
Here comes the part where he doesn’t process changed reality very well.
He usually borrows his mom’s car while he’s in town, unless she has other commitments. However, because it has some mechanical issues a 3 hour drive to the beach is not an option in her car. However, his dad had owned a large Expedition or similar vehicle. After he died at the end of February, there was some sibling maneuvering that happened and his oldest sister is now in possession of the vehicle and is making payments to their mom. For all intents and purposes the vehicle belongs to his sister, yet he still expected his mom to procure the use of the vehicle. He’s unable to process the fact the vehicle is his sister’s, not his mom’s
I didn’t realize his mom had called, until I heard him yell briefly, because he had isolated himself and was simmering in his frustration and anger over things not going the way he expected and wanted. Within a few minutes she called me and started asking me how much it would cost for us to rent a Zipcar for how long we would need to use it, which would basically be two nights. After she got the information she made arrangements for me to go out to her place and pick up the money to do this.
Less than six months ago, she lost her husband when Jerry lost his father, within a week of another family member (a brother in law) dying. Because of how much money they wound up spending on and giving to their various adult children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, as well as how the economic issues have affected everyone not in the 1%, his dad had gone back to work for a national convenience store chain. They had two mortgages on their home and now that she’s reduced to his pension and social security income, only because she can’t have both hers and his, she can’t afford to maintain the payments and the creditor for the smaller, 2nd mortgage was willing to renegotiate and work with her, but the other creditor won’t, she is going to lose her house, eventually.
Yet, Jerry and his sibs still get money from her or she winds up paying their way, one way or another. According to his oldest sister, no one ever visits or calls their mom unless they want something from her, this includes her other relatives as well. I did not want to take money from her, but she insisted and I went ahead and accepted the it.
When I got there to pick it up she looked stressed, but stoic. She said he needed to get his anger under control and that she didn’t appreciate being hung up on and being yelled at. The few things she said came across like she wanted me to address those issues with him. Without making excuses for him, I tried to explain what had gone on prior to her call, she didn’t want to hear anything, which was understandable. Later I discovered that she had gone to his sister’s house and was crying and saying that if he really wanted to go to the beach that bad, she would just give him the money to rent a car, even though she couldn’t really afford it. I also found out that after she pulled the money out she got an unexpectedly large bill that she couldn’t pay after giving us the money.
The biggest frustration that I have had regarding the relationship between her and Jerry over the years is that she always chooses to cater to his moods, especially his anger. Whenever there’s conflict between him and another, she placates and soothes him. I guess, on some level, I “blame” her and his dad for enabling all of their kids to stay dependent and immature . . . which means even as I point that finger at them, I’ve got three pointing back at myself for doing the same thing with him.
So, here is Jerry, so caught up in self-inflicted misery and wallowing in his anger induced by his victim mentality, unwilling and seemingly incapable of self-regulation. His mom calls to explain that the vehicle, which no longer belongs to her, is unavailable, for very good reason. Instead of hearing her out and accepting that he can’t have his way in this matter, he petulantly yells and hangs up in anger. Thereby, triggering her to resentfully give him what he wants despite the fact she can’t afford it.
The end result? He blames his sister, “I’m TIRED of her!” He was so invested in his world view and his role of being the victim in his life he refused to listen to his mom or me once I had the information to understand why he couldn’t have his way. He just had to play it out that he is still the being “picked on” by his oldest sister and believe that his mom was just letting it happen.
I can’t believe I’m doing this again . . . to be continued