First off, I’d like to announce that I’m going to be starting up a random Catholic Culture Of The Month, in which I’ll highlight any and all of the Catholic cultures of the world. Expect to see stuff on Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, China, India, and whatever other countries I can shove in (European ones too!) once a month. I figure it will add some variety to this blog, as well as hopefully spreading the word that orthodox Catholics can be found everywhere.
(I’d also like to take the opportunity to show cultures as they are, not as how they are through Western stereotypes…)
So, that’s the cultural part of my title done. What’s next?
Oh yes…Wargames and Engagement
As I’ve often mentioned, I’m getting married to Mr. Serrano, the most awesome of the awesome men on the planet for me. (Not including Jesus, because I’m so far from a nun its not even the least bit funny…)
However, there is a snag.
There’s a reason that I’ve literally told the world before telling my parents. It has to do with a dysfunctional functional family. Besides being the type of people that would probably force me onto the contraception pill (they tried when I was an adolescent) if I let them, and besides being utterly hostile to anything and everything Catholic…they’re just not nice people to me.
*To me*. Note that. They’re perfectly fine around other people. Funny, charming, and off-key, but perfectly fine. I have no idea why, but that stops around me. Around me, they are emotionally abusive. Dad excuses, Mom abuses used to be the motto, but I’ve begun to see that my Dad joined in as well, but in an entirely different way. Whereas my mother uses direct means to bring me down as well as emotional manipulation, my father duped me into believing he was “on my side” against my overbearing (sorry for the cliché) mother. I say duped because really, he was just not mature enough to handle himself and her at the same time, so he was just looking for someone to emotionally dump on. I can forgive him for that.
However, now that the perfect wife has been dangled in front of his nose by the Mormons, he’s abandoned “my side” for “her side” and is as well trained as any dog. I no longer really see any “sides” at all to this- I feel a lot of sadness and pity for my family. There are also siblings involved, and they’re internalizing what they’re learning.
As for me, I’ve been left with a lot of scars that will take a long time (or may never) to heal. Am I angry? Of course. But I don’t really want to dwell on it. Its enough to know that they screwed up, and that God has given me the gifts I need to rise above it.
However…I’ve got to announce my engagement. Mr. Serrano is well aware of my family troubles (I was always very open about it, because honestly it requires a lot of explanation) and he’s seen the effects of being covered in my taint.
My parents only respect him in that he might get rid of me for them…but they seem to be subconsciously resenting him as it becomes obvious that he’s a major reason for why I am less and less dependent upon them. They may even see me as dependent suddenly upon Mr. Serrrano, because they have never really been capable of understanding that I’m quite able to take care of myself.
Announcing my engagement might lead to me being ejected from the house, and ostrasized from the family. It doesn’t occur to them that I’m already well ostrasized, and that honestly I could deal with a good 5-10 years away from them. Just thinking that sends a tingling of hope through me.
I am financially dependent upon them, but if I have to live in a homeless shelter for a while, I can deal with it.
So, what are our plans? Mr. Serrano and I are trying to adhere to the KISS method- Keep It Simple Stupid.
- Be respectful: They probably won’t be, but I want to give Mr. Serrano the best foot forward he can possibly have.
- Be firm: They will try to walk all over us. They’ve done it for years to me, and there’s no reason to believe that will change.
- Have an escape plan: Not that my family is the type to throw things (though I wouldn’t put it past them) but the fact of the matter is it might be safe to avoid the house for a week. NO, really.
- Be honest: However, there are a few things that I don’t think we have to discuss.
- Invite the parents out to dinner. See if they actually come, or if they offer excuses why not. If they decide not to, hurrah, we just saved some money for the wedding!
- Lay out the ground rules- time must be allowed so that Mr. Serrano can speak, with me acting as interpreter.
- Do not allow parents to “talk” to us separately. Especially since Mr. Serrano’s English is limited, this would be a disaster, and would likely just be a way to “get us”.
- Interpret for Mr. Serrano, and firmly state that for this night only, in this one situation only, the parents are allowed to air any dirty, negative, nasty thing they want to. However, if they attempt to do this in the future, they will not be allowed to continue as Mr. Serrano or I will immediately turn our backs on them (literally) and walk out the nearest door. If they’ve got criticism, they have one chance to share it.
- Because there is one thing that is very sensitive, I will not directly state it here. All I will say that if a piece of information comes to light, and my parents think that they can threaten Mr. Serrano with it, I will consider my relationship to them completely terminated for other than what is necessary. I will make it clear that they will never know their grandkids should they maliciously act on the information. This isn’t a threat; it is a reality, as the information could put people into serious danger. We have already decided that the children that will hopefully come from our marriage should never be left alone with my parents, especially my mother.
- State our intentions, listen to criticism, be firm, and then LEAVE.
That is the plan for now. I wish I didn’t have to be so harsh, but I believe it will be necessary. I expect most of the fallout will happen a few days after we announce our engagement, and the actual speech or whatever will go over deceptively well.
Mr. Serrano wants us to use the phrase, “Please do not bring this up after this evening” but I refuse to use that word. Much as it would seem polite, it is only an excuse for them to believe that we’re asking for permission or approval. No, we are just informing. The approval would be nice, but given that apparently Mexican babies look like monkeys because of their olive complexion (no, really, her words) I’m guessing it is not forthcoming.
It is going to be a tough summer in many ways. I wish that my family could be happy for me and support me, but the best I can hope for is that they don’t try to find/seek ways to destroy me. As Mr. Serrano and I have become closer, and as he’s learned more English, they’ve tried to say quite a few nasty things about me to him.
And as he’s learned more English, he’s let them know that he’s not going to listen to it. He isn’t disrespectful in any way, but he isn’t open to bashing his future wife. I really respect him for that- he remains positive no matter what.