Monthly Archives: May 2013

Ages 26-Current

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After I got married and had my son my mother really seemed to calm down toward me. I heard from my brother that this wasn’t so at home. He stayed living at home after high school and chose not to go to college. My relationship was really strained with him because of my mother. He didn’t help though. He always complained about her and how difficult it was to live with her and she complained about him. I am pretty sure she put him in a bad situation financially to where he was so dependent on her that he couldn’t move out. They kept telling me that he couldn’t afford to move out. I called bullshit because he was making as much money as I was and I owned a house and had a kid to support. My husband only worked part-time in those days because he was a student. He said that she kept borrowing money and not ever paying it back which left him broke. When he needed to pay a bill, she would “loan” the money back to him then when he got paid she had to “borrow” it back. It was a horrible mess and he couldn’t get out of it. This was one of the reasons I refused to move back home because I knew this would happen to me. She never kept track of anything she borrowed from us and then would have a terrible habit of buying unnecessary things for us and take it out of what she owed. In reality, those things should have been gifts since they were asked for. She did this to me once when I was in high school. She “borrowed” an entire paycheck of about $300. When she got paid, instead of paying me back, she bought $250 worth of dresses and purses because she didn’t like that I was dressing so grungy. It was the 90’s and it was more hippy than grunge, but whatever.

I got to the point that I was begging my brother to move out to save himself. His girlfriend was even living there with him. When that relationship ended he finally ventured out and moved into a house with a few other friends. The house was really old and run down. He had been spoiled in my parents newer house. That didn’t last long. He was back in with them a month later. I swore to them both that I didn’t and wouldn’t sympathize with either one of them. I also told Scotty that he needed to cut off all financial ties to her like getting his own cell phone plan and car insurance. He had a hard time doing it because it was all so expensive. He also raced his car so he put (wasted) a lot of money on it. This was an issue until he finally moved out at the age of 25 because he was engaged.

Even though my mother was on her best behavior with me didn’t mean that she was at home. Dave also wasn’t on his best behavior. One year we went to visit for Christmas. Our son was down for a nap so we decided to go do a little shopping and get out of the house while my mother stayed home to watch him (I had mixed feelings about my parents with my son but will explain later). I got a phone call about an hour after we left that we had to get back immediately. A man had showed up on my parents doorstep asking to speak to Dave. He was also laying down for a nap but got up to greet his visitor. The visitor was the husband of a woman that he worked with. Dave had been having an affair with this woman. When he stepped outside, this guy roughed him up. He was punched in the gut and the face and told that if he didn’t stay away he would be killed. My brother had come home just before this happened. He had bought a handgun a few months before and felt that this just might be the time to use it. Luckily, no one got shot, my son stayed asleep and maybe, just maybe, my mother had seen the light and would LEAVE HIS ASS. Now, Dave swore up and down that nothing really happened. According to him, he had only been sending her suggestive texts. Also according to him, she was in a strained marriage and was being neglected by her husband so Dave took it upon himself to offer her some “therapy.” Whatever you want to call it, it wasn’t something that a married man should have been doing. It was still an affair even if they didn’t have sex which I highly doubt they avoided.

That night, my brother, his girlfriend, my husband and I all sat down with her and tried to explain that he didn’t love her and never did and that it was time that she did the right thing and go her separate way. Their lease was supposed to be up in April and she had a steady job so this was the prime opportunity to high-tail it out of there. Did she do it? Of course not. Not even after bringing up all that he did to me. A few months later she told me that he promised to be a better husband and was sorry and they were going to work on their marriage. UGH!!

She had a bad habit of trying to make me her best friend. I had to tell her several times that I wasn’t nor did I want to be. She would get upset and say, “well, I have no one else to talk to. You are all I have.” She wanted somebody to bitch and complain to about Dave. I couldn’t take it. Every time she’d open her mouth, it was about him. If it wasn’t, then it was my brother to which I told her to kick him out. She wouldn’t do that either. It’s like she fed off of the drama. She also wasn’t getting the hint that I didn’t want to be her best friend. Anytime she would complain about Dave, I would just tell her to divorce him. She started getting just downright oblivious about how I felt and would proceed to tell me about her sex life with him and how he now has to take Viagra. I would stop her and tell her not to speak about her sex life with me. She just took it as I was offended because it was my parents and not once realizing that she is talking about having sex with the man that sexually abused me. It was becoming very painful.

I was confused for years about my relationship with them. Now that I had a child, I knew it was my utmost duty to protect him. I didn’t feel like Dave would be a threat to my son because he wasn’t a girl and I was certain that nothing would happen. (Don’t worry, nothing happened!) I wanted a relationship with my mother. Who doesn’t? I mean, I wanted a relationship with a mother who isn’t crazy. I knew that was never going to happen but I was trying my best to hold myself together. The disdain that I had toward Dave was becoming stronger. There was no forgiveness there and the older I got and the older my son got, I really started to see things differently. I matured. I was changing.

I had been very conflicted about my past. I had a decent relationship with my mother and things seemed to be going fine. For the last 7 years, or so, she would tell me a few times a year that she was going to leave Dave. She had so much against him beside what he did to me. She pretty much blamed all of her life problems on him: money, depression, her weight, her relationships, and the fact that she abused me. Yes, she said that. A few years ago I had a heart to heart talk with her because I needed to get some stuff off of my chest. At that time she was receptive and listened. Our relationship was good. She ended up blaming Dave for being behind all of the abuse that she bestowed upon me. I had a hard time accepting that. She said that he coerced her into spanking and yelling and being downright mean to me. I had a hard time believing that because he was actually a very gentle person and despite the sexual abuse, he never physically hurt me and never spanked me. She also said that she didn’t have a mother, or anyone, to teach her how to raise children or the difference between right and wrong. I was really shocked by her comments because once again, she was denying any responsibility. I took it though and didn’t call her out on anything. I have always felt that she is, and has always been, so delusional that she doesn’t even know when she is lying anymore. To her, she was speaking from her heart and being truthful. To me, she was saying that she had nothing to do with anything and don’t blame her for any wrongdoing. This was her fashion: always blaming someone else for her problems and playing the victim. I wanted to believe her but only because I didn’t want to hurt her. There had been many times that I wanted to turn my back on her to live my own life but I didn’t want to be just one more person to abandon her either. I was really beginning to have a tough time because I was having kids of my own and I could never do what she did to me or allow what she allowed to happen.

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Age 25

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We were a happily married couple. Age 25 was pretty uneventful with my mother. I honestly didn’t speak to her much after the wedding. While it was beautiful, I felt screwed because it wasn’t really what I wanted and I took on extra debt that I hadn’t planned on. The way I was treated over the guest list also left me disenchanted a bit. After the wedding, there was the looming attitude of “look what I did for you… you owe me everything… do as I say…” I just couldn’t deal with her and Todd wasn’t happy with her either and he was having a difficult time understanding why I even had a relationship with them considering what Dave did to me. Because of the tension and work/school schedules, we opted to not visit them for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We did, however, make a last minute decision to go to Chicago with a couple of friends for New Year’s Eve. Our friends that we met through were there visiting her parents. They had moved out to Wyoming soon after we got married. She was pregnant too, so I was anxious to see them.

We planned on waiting a couple of years to have kids so we could get out of debt and Todd could finish school. He had been in bible college studying to be a pastor. That is not where we are now, but that story is for another post. I was on the Depo shot as a means of birth control. In October, we had decided that I would quit Depo and get on something else because it made me very moody. I had also ballooned up to over 200lbs. The doctors tell you that if you quit Depo, don’t plan on getting pregnant right away so we figured that we had a little bit of time to get the hormones out of my system before getting on something else. What they don’t tell you is that if you are over 195, the dosage isn’t as effective. When we got up to Chicago, Ginger was a wretch. She did have enough energy to tease me about being pregnant. I kept telling her that I wasn’t. I still hadn’t had a period and I always felt like crap anyway so I had no idea (I just recently found out that I have celiac so that explains why I always felt horrible). We dropped our friends off at their homes after the trip. As soon as the last guy was out of the car, Todd turned to me and asked if I was pregnant. I assured him that I wasn’t. He wasn’t so sure so he made a bee-line to Walgreen’s and made me get a pregnancy test. They were ALL right. It was positive! Nine months into our marriage and we were expecting our first child.

I was already over 200lbs when I got pregnant and then I got even fatter. I craved whoppers and peanut butter all the time. Our son was born that August. We had been very specific with our family about the birth of our child. We told them (my parents and my in-laws) that we didn’t want anyone at the hospital until we welcomed people. I really wanted to spend time and nurse and all that. I also wanted to rest and clean up before anyone showed up. My water broke at 4am. We called my mother since she had a long drive (4 1/2 hours). She got there in 3 1/2 hours and showed up at 9am. My in-laws were in the waiting room by 7am. My son wasn’t born until almost 3pm. I was not very happy and barely got to spend the time that I wanted. To top that off, my mother sat in my room for hours and hours. I let her stay the night at my house over night. I know she meant well but I really didn’t need her help. I didn’t have other kids to care for and Todd was able to take ample time off. I didn’t want to be rude because she really wanted to see her new and first grand-baby and she wanted to help. It was just awkward because I was trying to rest, nurse and take care of myself. She was there… just watching… and sitting… the whole fucking time. I was in the hospital for three days. By the afternoon of the 2nd day (24 hours after birth), I had to ask her to leave. I really couldn’t take my mother (or anyone) just sitting there, watching me while I slept and nursed and dealt with my personal effects. I really got no privacy. Luckily, she wasn’t rude to me at all. It was one of the few times in her life that she acted understanding. I think she was getting bored too. She was on a low during this year. She wasn’t really very reactive and remained calm for the most part.

My Wedding, Continued

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A week after my mother’s trip, she found out that her father had passed away. It was really interesting how it happened. He was dying of bone cancer and didn’t tell a soul. He had disowned my mother years before and she returned the favor. The stories that I heard from others about him were that he was very abusive toward my mother.  He abandoned his apartment and checked himself into a nursing home and died a few weeks later. It took the state of Pennsylvania about two weeks to find her since she was the only next of kin. He had no wife or other children. She was hysterical. I wasn’t. I was pretty blunt about it too and maybe insensitive. I felt that since he was so abusive toward her and then disowned her, she should just acknowledge that he died and move on. Personally, I always felt that if my parents died I would probably grieve a little bit, but really, it would be a relief. She didn’t see it that way. She dropped everything and made a trip up to Philadelphia. I understand that she wanted to see if he left any information about her birth mother. She had no information about her so I understood that this was important to her but I think there could have been better ways to go about it. They county already cremated him because they couldn’t find any family in time. She came back with some stuff and then a few weeks later went back with Dave and his (shitty) truck to take care of the rest of the apartment. I think she ended up having to pay for the last month of rent since he abandoned it and then she had to pay to have the rest of the furniture and stuff hauled off. He didn’t put his affairs in order. He left quite a mess. If it was me, I would have let the apartment go but she didn’t do that. Because she dumped so much money in the back and forth from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, I had to confront her about my wedding details. She flipped out and yelled at me that we couldn’t discuss my wedding because she was still grieving. It was a month after the fact and she wasn’t close to him. I’ll be honest. I was pretty fucking rude to her at that point because I didn’t understand why she was dumping so much of her resources (that she didn’t have) into putting him and his things to rest. I told her that she needed to hurry up and get over it. I did later apologize and I admit that I was being insensitive but she wouldn’t talk to me about the wedding details and I needed to know. I really couldn’t afford to be stuck with this entire bill. I was already paying for the church, the flowers and our honeymoon. That’s about all that we could afford. We were wanting to go to the Florida keys or something but had to go a different route because we wouldn’t be able to afford it. So, we ended up booking a bed and breakfast in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She was livid with me for my comment so I just let things simmer down for a bit. She finally got in touch with me and let me know that things would be fine and she would still be able to pay for what she promised. I don’t know how, but she promised.

We had asked both of our mothers to provide us with a list of family and close family friends that they would like to be invited to our wedding so that we could get our invitations ordered. We needed to have them ordered by December in order to have enough time to address them and send them out. We picked a simple 4-fold invitation that didn’t require an envelope. The RSVP was a tear-off postcard. I loved the simplicity and they were cheap. Todd’s mother sent us a list that would have been about 45 invitations total. Between Todd and I, we had about 50 invitations. We received a list from my mother and she had almost 90 invitations. I called and told her that I wasn’t inviting all those people because this would end up being well over 150 people. Granted, most of the people on her list wouldn’t be coming because they were out-of-town. However, there was about two dozen people on that list that had no business getting an invite from me. She had people that she worked with a decade before. These people probably didn’t even know who I was. They weren’t close family friends, they were her old co-workers. I called again after taking a closer look at the list and told her that I absolutely wasn’t inviting these people and that it was an embarrassment to me that she was even suggesting that I should. In her infamous fashion, she went ape-shit on me over the phone. Keep in mind that my mother cannot communicate like a mature adult.  She chewed me out over the phone and reminded me who was footing the bill. She also told me, “well, duh, I know those people aren’t going to come!! I want you to send them invites so they will send you presents and money!!” Apparently, she wasn’t aware of the fact that people just don’t send a person that they barely know money and gifts for their wedding. I knew my invite would just end up in the trash and our budget was super tight so I didn’t want to have to bump up to the next level of invites. I would have been out an extra $50 to make that happen. I argued with her and told her that she was ridiculous and that I wasn’t after gifts and money. This was our special day and I wanted those that cared about me present and invited. She ended up threatening me that if I didn’t comply with her wishes that she wouldn’t pay for a damn thing. I was already screwed with a $1500 David’s Bridal credit card.

She hung up on. I was upset and crying. Todd was there with me. I told him what she said. That really pissed him off. He knew about my past with my parents and didn’t feel that I needed to endure any more abuse. He picked up the phone and called her back. In a very stern voice he told my parents that if my mother wants to act like a child and not pay for all of the things that she promised, then we would change our wedding plans and they would not be invited. She changed her tune real quick. A few days later, she told me that she was still upset about her father. I call bullshit because she hated her father but it was a good cop-out. Without her knowledge, I removed all of those co-workers from the list. She didn’t speak to those people any more and I knew she would never find out. I had to invite the people from the church. Partially, because she threw a wedding shower and most of those people showed up for us so it would be disrespectful not to. Also, she would probably find out if I didn’t invite them. We whittled her list down to about 65, knowing that most of those people weren’t going to come.

I got my first bill in February for the David’s Bridal account. When I opened the bill, I about lost my shit. She tacked on another $300 just for HER outfit. I didn’t give her authorization to put anything on my account but someone at David’s Bridal in Oklahoma didn’t think it would be a big deal. I thought she would have bought something at JC Penny or something like that and for a lot less than $300! At this point, we were putting all of our extra money into the honeymoon and pictures. Money was very tight! Todd and I already had several credit cards between the two of us and his student debt so we were trying to be smart and limit ourselves. I was livid with her. She hadn’t paid a dime toward this card so I felt that she had no business putting her outfit on there. I also thought that $300 for her stuff was just extravagant and unnecessary. I didn’t even confront her about this one because she swore she was paying me back for this.

Our wedding day came and everything went off without a hitch. We had good control over everything and everyone had a good time. My mother came through on the reception but that was it. We were forced to forgive the $1800 debt for the dresses because they were struggling financially because of my grandfather’s death. I was really surprised to see some people from my old church show up. It was about a 4 1/2 hour drive. I wasn’t surprised that many other family friends didn’t even send a card much less show up. She was so certain that I would get all of these presents and money but we didn’t really get anything from anyone on her list. She never found out that I didn’t send invites to her old co-workers so I’m happy that I made that decision. After the wedding, my parents treated me with more respect. I really think it’s because Todd stood up for me and they knew that they now had to go through him. I wasn’t fair game anymore.

Age 24 & My Wedding

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Todd and I made a visit to see my family for Labor Day. This would be Todd’s first time meeting them. He was nervous (and mad) after I told him about my abuse. My parents were excited to meet him. Nothing real special happened that weekend. When I was able to have a private moment with my mother, I asked her what she thought of him. “He’s not what I expected.” I still have no idea what she meant by that. What DID she expect? I was crushed! In my sick mind, I was still trying to appease and please her. She did warm up to him, though.

Later in September, Todd proposed to me. I said yes, of course. We originally decided on a June date but then decided to move it up (we didn’t want to wait that long). I wanted to set it in April when everything was blossoming. My mother was in school at the time and told me that wouldn’t work for her because of school. We ended up settling on a date in March to work around her spring break. I was excited to finally get to plan my own wedding. Todd really didn’t care how it went. He preferred that we just elope and spend our money on an amazing honeymoon. I couldn’t give in to that though. I had dreamed of a wedding since I was little. I didn’t want anything extravagant or expensive. I had planned on getting one of those $100 David’s Bridal dresses. They had one that was Greek styled and I loved it. I wanted to have sort of Greek theme. I also had planned on just doing cake and punch in the church’s gym. The only problem I was having was the church. The church that we went to had a really big sanctuary. I wasn’t going to have that many people. I was thinking probably 100 at the most and this church sat about 3,000. I couldn’t really find anything within a reasonable price range to have it at.

My relationship with my mother had been on the mend and was on the upswing. When I talked to her and mentioned some of the above she told me that she had planned on coming to visit and help me plan the wedding and not worry about the financial part because that was her job. She had looked forward to this day more than I did. She didn’t get a wedding. She and Dave eloped at a chapel in a shopping mall on a whim. She came up for a few days in October. My parents didn’t have money whatsoever, so I confronted her and asked how she was planning on paying. She said she was taking out extra student loans and could scrape up a little extra. I fell for it and I knew better. When it comes to my mother, if you don’t give in and “trust” her or call her out on things like this, she will come unglued and make you feel guilty about it. That’s what she did to me. We ended up booking the church for the wedding since it was only $200 but she was not going to do just cake and punch in the gym. She really thought that we were too good for that and we would have so many people from out of town. She did make remarks that she wished I was getting married back in my home town because that is tradition and my parents were paying for most of it. I didn’t want to do that because where I lived was my home. I built up my own life there and had all of my own friends and such. I also felt uneasy about her promise so I wanted to keep things as close to me as possible. It allowed me to have most of the control- not her.

We then booked about $1500 in flowers and candle holders and the atrium at the Holiday Inn down the road from the church. This worked for my mother because they gave her a deal on a block of hotel rooms. I think the reception was going to cost $3500-$4000. This was to feed 150 people. I really didn’t think that many people would come and I told her that this wasn’t that necessary but she insisted. She insisted not because it was a “gift” to me but because she had to look good to all of her family and friends that she thought were coming. It was beautiful and I loved it, don’t get me wrong, but entirely unnecessary considering that none of us really had the money to pay for it.  The next day we went shopping for the dress. I was very clear that I didn’t want to spend much. I also thought that I’d be footing the bill for my get up but again, she assured me that she would. Still, I didn’t want to pay more than $300 for the whole shebang: dress, shoes, tiara and veil. I also wanted to wear flip-flops and not dress shoes. I was all about comfort and anyone who knew me, knew that I wear flip-flops from March until November. I found the one that I wanted but she wasn’t impressed. She didn’t think that it was pretty enough. It was simple and kind of plain. I was ok with that but since she was paying… she had more say. They brought back others but they were more expensive. The dresses just kept getting pricier and pricier and my mother just had them keep coming. She kept assuring me not to worry about it. Then, they brought back a “princess” styled dress with the poofy bottom and a beaded, strapless top. It was gorgeous. It wasn’t even white. It was a pinkish, pearly, beige. I loved it but I still felt that it was too much. As soon as I put it on, she swooned. The drama queen came out and made a scene about how beautiful her daughter looked, blah, blah, blah. Yes, the dress was pretty but it was also $1200. I just felt that it was too much and it was very bulky. I was going to have a hard time dancing in it or sitting or anything really. I even mentioned, “I suppose I could buy a different dress for the reception.” She flipped and said absolutely not because everyone needed to see the dress up close. It looked good on me and was flattering. We went and picked the tiara and veil. They were about $150 and more expensive than the others because of the unique color. I also needed the petticoat- another $100. We were almost up to $1500. She did her best to assure me that everything would be ok. When we were about to check out the lady helping us said that I had to pay for the dress in full right then and there. Of course my mother didn’t have the money or credit. “You could open and line of credit with us,” the sales lady told us. My mother couldn’t do it because of her bad credit so I was put on the spot in front of everyone there. “This is your only wedding, your dream dress!!” Ugh. I knew better and I should have put my foot down. I didn’t though.  If I didn’t give in, she would have freaked out. She promised she would pay the bill later. I didn’t have any choice with her. She made me weak and submissive. I hated it. So I opened the credit and charged the whole thing. I also knew that one of my bridesmaids wouldn’t be able to afford her dress because she was a student so I would have to foot the bill for her. My mother also planned on making the jewelry for the bridesmaids and I would use that as their gift also. I was ok with that because she if very good at making beaded jewelry.

Her visit came to an end and she went home a happy mother. She was so ecstatic over my wedding. Next, I needed to pick out invitations and shoes.

Age 23

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I had a pretty good job selling appliances but I was getting frustrated with my future. Although I had built a relationship again with my family, I was still pissed at my mother for not helping me get into college. Now I had too much debt and bills to consider taking on anything else and just needed to work and make money. Most of my friends were getting married, having babies and buying houses. I lived in a little house with a roommate who was going to be graduating college in two years so I needed to think about being a full-grown adult. Even thought I had debt, it was good. It was getting my credit score up and I was making more money in sales so I knew being completely self-sufficient wouldn’t be a big deal.

23 wasn’t really exciting until right before I turned 24. My life pretty much consisted of work, church and friends. I went to visit my family at Christmas, Thanksgiving and once in the summer. My mother came to visit me once for a weekend. She was proud of me despite the fact that I didn’t do what she wanted. She seemed to warm up to the fact that I was trying to be a responsible adult. That year she was relatively pleasant and I didn’t have any major drama with her.

There was a guy at my work, Joel, that I had a crush on. He was hot, hot, hot. Ok, he was very handsome! He was such a gentleman, too. He was also a Baptist. As much of a crush I had on him, I knew that it wouldn’t work out with my pentecostal background. Crazy right? A mutual friend of our was getting married at the beginning of June. I had just accepted a job at a higher-end appliance company so we weren’t working together anymore. He got a hold of my phone number and called me out of the blue one day and asked if I wanted to go to the wedding with him. Of course I did! The wedding was outdoors and just beautiful. I was so nervous too! Truthfully, though, I was bored. He didn’t drink (which was fine because I wasn’t a big drinker either) and he didn’t want to dance. So, we left after the cake. I wore a girdle under my dress so I could look my best and I got super uncomfortable.  On the way home I had to have him pull over so I could go to the bathroom. I was in so much pain from that damn thing! I also didn’t bring a big enough purse to put it in so I came walking out of the bathroom with my girdle and had to explain that I was really uncomfortable. He chuckled. He didn’t call back again either. I’m pretty sure it was the girdle incident. As much as I had a crush on him, this ended up being ok. A week after my date with Joel, there was a knock on my door. I quickly looked out and noticed it was a hot guy. I didn’t recognize who it was at first. It was Todd! I couldn’t believe that I thought he was hot! I was a little embarrassed but it had been a while since I saw him last and he “blossomed!” The “reason” for his visit was because my roommate and I were moving into another house and he was there to take a look and ask how I liked it. I had seen him about a month before at church. I did notice that he was paying more attention to me but I was so caught up in other people who I didn’t really pay attention back. A few days after his visit, I went to Starbucks with a friend. I thought it would be funny to hit on him. I had a very co-ed group of friends and we all hit on each even though it didn’t always mean something. I told my friend, “hang on a sec. Watch this…” He didn’t notice that I was there. I sneaked behind him and grabbed a sugar packet that said “sugar” in big letters. I dropped it on the table in front of him and said, “hey, I think you lost your name tag!” He looked up at me a blushed a little. We chatted for a few minutes and then I went along with my friend. A few days after that, my friend Ginger told me that he asked if we could go on a double date. She was engaged to Todd’s roommate but her and I had also been friends for a while. We went on the double date and had a blast. I felt so comfortable around him. I had always been nervous when it came to dating. I really never dated until this point either. The sexual abuse always came up in my mind and made me feel awkward. Even though I had been asked out, I always turned guys down or I’d go on one date and then no more. I was nervous about sex, no doubt. My brain was so messed up that I felt I couldn’t function around guys unless we were just friends. I felt comfortable around Todd. That surprised me.

A week later, we went on our own official “date.” He asked to kiss me goodnight. That never happened before. All of the kisses I ever got were always forced and unexpected. He was a gentleman and polite. He was also very caring and deep. Within a few weeks, I opened up to him about Dave. I explained that it’s weird because I still talk to my parents and I really didn’t know what to do. I never got therapy or counseling. I was still confused. I told him mainly because when and if sex were to come into the picture, I wanted him to know that if I was weird about it, it wasn’t him. He was gracious and understanding of me. He was the one. The more I got to know him, the more I knew he was exactly what I needed and the man I wanted.

Ages 21 & 22

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I turned 21 soon after moving in and getting settled. I didn’t speak to my parents much after that big blow out. I was also pissed at Dave. He had told me in a phone call a few months before that he thought I would be making a good decision not to move back in with them. He was very familiar about my mother’s poor money management and knew that I wanted to get away from that and her of course. When it down to it, I put him in the hot seat about it because I needed a buffer between my mother and myself. He denied ever saying that and sided with my mother. He later told me that he had to shut her up because she would just rant about it all night. Any contact I had with her was pretty limited. I grew up a lot in those two years. I learned a lot also. My job was going well but the store was going out of business. It closed its doors right as my one year anniversary approached. I ended up taking a sales position at Lowe’s full-time. It was paying me a little more and working around my church schedule. I stayed pretty devoted to being a youth leader and deepening the friendships that I was making. When Christmas approached, I decided to open the doors of communication with my parents. I didn’t want to be alone for Christmas either.
I went to visit for a couple of days at Christmas. Nothing eventful happened. I think she was learning to keep her mouth shut around me. It was weird being back home though. I had to rent a car anytime that I went down so it was financially burdening on me as well. I only went to visit a couple of times a year.

I did try to enroll in college for the fall that I was 21. I found out that in order for me to fill out the FAFSA form without my parents information, I had to be at least 24, or married, or have a kid, or be a veteran, or be an orphan. I was neither. I asked my mother if they would do it but she refused because she wanted me to come home and go to school with her. It was very vindictive. That spring I paid out of pocket to take an English class at the community college just to see if I even wanted to pursue college. There was no way that I would be able to pay out of pocket for my education so I opted to keep working and do the best that I could.

It took everything within me warm back up to them but as a Christian, I felt that it was my duty to forgive any wrongdoing and try to be as pleasant as I could. I felt that we could get close again as long as she controlled her outbursts. As far as Dave was concerned, I was going to just have to let it go. There just wasn’t anything I could do at that point.

When I was 22, my mother was fed up with me only being able to come down a couple of times a year because of my car. She came to visit for a few days and decided to help me apply for a car loan. I pretty much had zero credit. The highest credit limit that I had was only $300 so getting a car loan was next to impossible on my own. This was sort of retribution for her not helping me get into college. She didn’t have very good credit either so we sat at the car dealership for 4 hours by the time they found a creditor that would finance me. She was only a co-signer so the note was still in my name. She also didn’t foot any of the financial burden. I ended up having to pay over $700 in taxes later for it that I had to borrow from a friend. Owning a newer car was completely foreign to me so this was a learning experience. It was a mini-suv, a Chevrolet Tracker with a convertible top. It was super cute and a lot of fun.

I was making a lot of friends and was busy being social quite a bit. I really wanted to date but everyone that I was interested wasn’t interested in me back so I got friend-listed several times. I did get asked out a few times but those guys weren’t Christians or not Christian enough for me. I was 21 when I met Todd, my husband. He was 18 and was roommates with a mutual friend. I was at their house frequently for get-togethers. He was 18 and seemed really immature to me but that’s because I was almost three years older than him. He also had just been kicked out of bible college for getting caught having sex with his then girlfriend. At that point, I had no interest in him but we were friendly and acquainted with on another. I had so many friends that were getting married and having babies in my early 20’s. I was bothered a lot about not having a boyfriend. I was also told by the youth pastor that I was desperate. He was a jerk. He also implied that I was fat. I wasn’t. I also wasn’t desperate. If I was I could have had a boyfriend but I had standards and wasn’t giving in for someone that wasn’t for me.

Age 20- Springfield

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I left for the Springfield Master’s Commission with a friend who also decided to go at the beginning of October. I won’t get into all of the details about the program because they are pretty mundane. I did however, call about mid-way through the year wanting to move home. I think I was starting to wake up the sham that this program was. We were constantly preached at to not compromise with the world and ‘be ye separate” and all of that bs. I was frustrated with the program because I was just free labor for the directors. I didn’t get any leadership “training.” These people really didn’t know what they were doing nor was their integrity really up to par. They set the program up with another gal that was in her 3rd or 4th year and was on staff in Phoenix. Between the cussing, gossiping and dating students that weren’t allowed to date, I just about lost it on them. I felt that it was very hypocritical to expect their students to be damn near perfect but yet they could just do whatever they wanted. The girl on staff that was dating the first year denied dating him but it was very obvious. They are now married and have been for a while. These people also gossip and trashed many of the church members which I thought was really shitty because the church was housing their stupid program. They were all fakes. I couldn’t stand it. Anyhow, I have a major problem with confrontation. I realize now that it’s because of the abuse from my mother. I had called home and told my parents to come get me because I couldn’t stand being there anymore. Instead of complying with my request, my mother went behind my back and called the directors and asked what the heck was going on. They had no idea anything was going on because I never confronted them about it. They called me into a meeting and asked me what was going on. I couldn’t really say what I needed to say so I let them talk me into staying. They promised that they would make an effort to be more Christ-like and we all carried on.

Throughout the rest of the year, my  mother and I had a few fights via the phone. I still wasn’t getting the funding that I needed and I desperately needed a car. I just kept getting the same run-around from her that she didn’t have it. I didn’t know what was going on back at home but both my parents were working so I felt that their money issues were just a complete lack of irresponsibility and I was getting the brunt of it.  She was constantly berating be over the phone and complaining about money problems. I was really fed up. The end of the year came and my parents came up for my graduation. I was going to stay the summer to help with youth camp and retreat and possibly come back for a 3rd year. My real plan was not only camp, but I needed to find a way to stay and not move back. I knew I wasn’t going back to Master’s Commission for a 3rd year. They never even approached me about it. I worked diligently trying to find a place and a job. The family that I lived with gave me until August. I thought I had a temporary place with a friend who lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with a friend. The rent was already cheap and then we would split it three ways. They backed out because they thought they were “enabling” me. WTF. They didn’t understand what I was trying to get away from, though and I think they were scared of the fact that I didn’t own anything. Another friend lent me her pickup over the summer while she was out of the country so I could get a job and on my feet. The month of June I spent helping with youth camp and applying for jobs. June came to a close and my roommate decided that she wasn’t going to move back to her home in Tennessee. She had a roommate for her little house but that fell through so she asked if I was interested. I had just got a job at a furniture store but hadn’t made a paycheck just yet but she was ok with that. So, I had a place, a job, but no car. Dana was going to be beck in a few weeks so I had to figure something out. It was going to work out, I really believed it and if it didn’t, there was always public transportation or I could get a bike. No big deal.

Since things were coming together so well, I felt that it was time to tell my mother that I wasn’t moving home. You would have thought that I murdered her cat or ended up in jail. She flipped out. I don’t know that I had seen her go that crazy in a long while and I was really glad that I was 5 hours away from her. Oh, I told her on her answering machine because she didn’t pick up the phone. She had already been so hateful to me that I just didn’t want to talk to her on the phone. She called the house and talked to the family I lived with and my roommate on two different phone calls. I’m sorry, she didn’t talk to them like a mature adult… she screamed and threatened. She told my roommate, “you tell her that I’m coming up there to move her shit home for her!! She is coming back whether she likes it or not!!” Kelly was pretty awesome with that phone call. “You do realize that she is a legal adult and you can’t do that. We could have you arrested,” she told her. So my mother never came up. She also called the church and chewed out the pastor and the Master’s Commission director. She was out to blame anyone and everyone. She finally got a hold of me. This was before cell phones and I had been busy working. I had picked up two jobs by then so I wasn’t home much. I informed her that I had two jobs and a place to stay. All that I needed was a car and some furniture and I was going to be fine. She assured me that I wouldn’t and couldn’t make it on my own and that I needed her. She didn’t say this nicely at all. In the midst of her freak out she revealed 3 of the reasons why she wanted me home: 1) she was losing a dependent on her taxes which meant less money in tax returns 2) she wanted me to go to college with her even thought I informed her the year before that I wasn’t interested in computer science anymore. 3) The church… what were the church people going to think? According to her, they sent me to this program so I would come home and be the youth pastor. I was never informed of this plan so I called bullshit. The couple that we lived with saw what I was trying to get away from and in no time offered to dip into savings and help me get a car. He bought be a 1982 Volvo 5-speed for $500. I would pay him back $100/month for five months. It was the greatest thing any one has ever done for me. I am forever grateful to them for that. Kelly and I moved into our little house at the beginning of August and I was on my way to being an independent adult.

Back in my hometown, my mother was just out of control. I still spoke to a couple of friends every now and then. I found out that she told people at the church that I had gotten mixed up in drugs and sex and had totally backsliden. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I was working two jobs and was a youth leader when I wasn’t working.  Luckily, nobody believed her. She still complains how people at the church turned their backs on her. Here was reason number 2.