Category Archives: My Story of Abuse

Making Connections

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I decided to make a solid effort to get back in touch with some family members that I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager. Recently, I called my other grandmother (Dave’s step-mom). I adore this woman. She is just a sweet, little country lady. I always remember how her and my grandpa (passed away) smoked and drank beer and just lived. They gave no shits of what other people thought of them but they were good sweet people. I know that she was expecting my call because my cousin told her that we had been in touch and that I would be calling. I really just expected the phone call to be me catching up and telling her about my life, etc. However, she wasted no time telling me all the things about my parents that she kept quiet for so long. It was no surprise to me that she couldn’t stand my mother. Most people can’t. She is an overwhelming, dramatic person who has a problem with lying. Gran told me that she always thought that my parents to were like two peas in a pod because they were both liars and couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it. Most people only see my mother as the one with the problems because she is more outward about it and has some serious bitch-face going on. I inherited it from her, hehe. Dave always gave off the impression that he was a “gentle giant” or a “big teddy bear.” He made himself seem like such a trustworthy, honest, hardworking person even though that wasn’t the reality. Unfortunately, people fell right into believing this about him and thus felt bad for him because he was married to such a horrible person. The truth is though, he isn’t any better than her. They are both deluded and have issues. So, this comment actually made me chuckle with relief because she was the first person to verbally acknowledge this fact.

She went on to tell me how she always thought my mother was abusive. When I was about 3, we were at her house for Christmas. I had finished opening all of my presents and wanted to sit with Gran and help her open hers. My mother screamed “bloody murder” at me and made me sit in a corner while everyone else finished opening their gifts. My mother always knew that she wasn’t liked on that side of the family but she couldn’t figure out why. Just this story alone explains why. They didn’t like the way she treated me. She went out of her way to humiliate me and viciously punish me in front of other people. After my brother was born, I was forced to eat his leftovers. I couldn’t remember if this happened repeatedly or not. I have one vivid memory of her making me eat his leftover, hour-old, soggy, slobbered in cereal… because I poured him too much. My parents were still asleep but all of us kids were up with the grandparents. My grandma didn’t have an issue with the cereal but for some reason my mother did. lt was embarrassing and I wanted to throw it up so bad but she threatened me not too. She normally wasn’t abusive in front of other people but for some reason she was in front of family. I’m not sure if she thought that she had to look like she was trying to be a good parent or what but she was definitely doing it wrong. Gran told me that the food thing actually happened on more that one occasion. My parents would also fill my plate up with food and force me to eat all of it. She said that they were beginning to get concerned for me because every year that I came to visit I was just getting bigger and bigger. She was absolutely correct.

I had never really thought to attach my weight problems to my abuse. I wasn’t real heavy when I was a kid but I wasn’t skinny either. Looking at pictures, I’d say I was probably at a healthy weight. I remember my mother always squeezing my thighs and telling me how skinny I was and how she wished she had skinny thighs like me. At the same time, Dave had me neck-deep in porn, Hustler magazines, and sexy women galore. I was being taught that the women in these magazines were beautiful and hot. My mother has been overweight for as long as I can remember. When she was a teenager, she was thin and attractive. I guess she put on weight when she got pregnant with me and my brother and never lost it. Dave would always make fun of her to me behind her back. He would say that she had cottage cheese thighs and too much blubber and that she was like a beached whale in the summer. As far as I was concerned, Dave was not attracted to her at all. He thought she was disgusting. My mother also ridiculed other women for their weight (behind their backs of course). She would make comments about how some woman should be wearing that because she was too fat. She also ridiculed skinny women that they should eat something. It was confusing as hell as a young girl. I became very self-conscious about my weight.

My 7th grade year was the year that I ballooned the most as a kid. The outfits that were bought for me at the beginning of the year couldn’t even be put on much less zipped or buttoned by the end of the year. I graduated in the late 90’s so being obese wasn’t as normal as it is now. I was referred to as “heavy-set.” I wasn’t quite fat but I wasn’t a healthy weight either. I wanted to be in sports like soccer or track but I wasn’t allowed to register. It was always about money and time, the two things that my parents never had enough of. They didn’t even want to try. It kills me when I hear stories of kids from the ghetto, whose parents went out of their way to get their kids in sports or arts or something. Not my parents, it was too much of an inconvenience. So, I was pretty sedentary when I was young which didn’t help my burgeoning weight problem. I was taught to “eat everything on your plate” so I probably over ate a lot. As I was beginning to be more self-aware of my weight and was exploring how to control it or lose it. I don’t think my parents liked this at all. When we would go out for fried chicken, I would peel off the fried part and only eat the vegetables as a side. Dave would ridicule me that I was ruining the meal. My mother always prided herself on the fact that she never used Hamburger Helper and she always used real butter not margarine. This wasn’t entirely true because I clearly remember there being tubs of Country Crock in our refrigerator BUT I never had the Hamburger Helper, canned vegetables, or Ramen Noodles until after I left home. That doesn’t mean that what we ate was healthy. She may have avoided that stuff for dinner but breakfast would consist of anything from cereal to pop-tarts or even cake. Now, some people might be reading this and wonder what the big deal is. I’ve studied a lot of nutrition in the last 8 years and this is what I have learned. Starting your day off with foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to spike and then plummet leaving the person not only hungry but feeling nearly sick and famished. I’m not saying that this was child-abuse but rather just pure ignorance. What it did cause was my metabolism to get even more fucked up than it already was.

I kept these eating habits well into adulthood. When I graduated high school, I was about 175 lbs. By the time I was 23 I was almost 200 lbs. I got up to 207 by the time I got married at 24 but that was because Todd and I ate out all the time and he really liked frozen custard (ok, I did too!). I wasn’t learning self-control and the overabundance of sugar and carbs in my diet left me feeling sick all the time. I’m pretty sure at a few times in my life I was pre-diabetic. After I got married, Dave was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so my parents changed their eating habits to better control it. When I was 29, Todd decided it was time to get active and lose weight. His father had also been diagnosed with diabetes because of his weight. There was also heart disease and high cholesterol that ran in his side of the family. At this point we had adopted a more organic way of eating but it still wasn’t healthy since it was still high sugar and empty carbs. Todd started running and I started eating more vegetables. One day he mentioned how he wished that we could be active together. I agreed. It was going to be hard for me since I was never active but it was necessary. Our son was turning 3 and I needed to set a good example for him. I also wanted to live long enough to watch him grow and flourish as an adult. I was also always in pain and never felt good so I was up for it. I started a regimen of eating better and working out and dropped about 15 lbs. I had already lost some weight just by leaving a high stress job and going to work for a natural market. My sister-in-law was getting married that year and I was one of her bridesmaids. She didn’t order the right size so the dress came in too small but it was from one of those companies that takes 4 months to make and there are absolutely no returns or exchanges and the wedding was 6 weeks away. Todd helped me find a diet that was proven to work quickly. It was the Scarsdale diet. Some might say that it’s an extreme diet but it worked. I lost 25 lbs in that 6 weeks and I learned more about healthy eating and such. The dress still didn’t fit but it wasn’t as big of a deal to get it taken out as it would have been before. I got down to 160 lbs and a solid size 10. I was smaller than I was in junior high and high school. I felt amazing! I looked great! This set me on track for a new lifestyle. I wasn’t going back.

Unfortunately, I never got below the 160 and I did put some weight back on but I was much more knowledgeable about nutrition and knew how to manage my weight even if I couldn’t lose it. That November, we went to my parents for Thanksgiving. I was pretty explicit with my mother that we were eating healthier and I had no intentions of gaining 5 pounds because she likes to cook like Paula Deen. She acted like she understood and was going to cook healthier because of her and Dave’s health too. The truth was that she had no intentions of slimming anything down. I was helping her cook and she seriously put a stick of butter in everything. When she got to the mashed potatoes I asked her to slow down with the butter and lighten it up a little. She got upset with me because this was a holiday and we should let lose and eat whatever we wanted. The truth was, I didn’t want to eat 5 lbs of butter. She just couldn’t comprehend this at all. I explained that I had to work very hard to lose the weight and i still had another 30 to go. I wasn’t about to get set back because of a holiday. She acted very offended and put off that I would be so judgmental of her cooking.  Damn straight I was getting judgmental. Dave was an obese diabetic and my mother was at least 100 lbs overweight and probably pre-diabetic. She never took responsibility for her weight. She always blamed it on a bad thyroid or whatever. It was obvious that she was very jealous at my weight loss. She made comments about how she wanted to lose weight so I offered my “expertise.” I would tell her that the first thing she needed to do was to start getting some physical activity, even if that meant just going for a walk. Her rebuttal would be that she either didn’t have the time or that her knees hurt. We it was pretty obvious why her knees hurt and she did have the time, she just didn’t want to move. Then I would tell her about the dietary changes that she needed to make by cutting out sugars and refined carbohydrates. Well, they were already doing that because of Dave’s diabetes. Hmmmm…. I found this interesting because Dave lost weight but my mother didn’t. I confronted her about this and told her that if she is eating like she says that she should be losing weight… at least some. Again, she would get angry and offended. She then started blaming her thyroid. Ok, I can understand if a person has a thyroid problem. She said that she would only eat a cup of yogurt and a banana all day and then a diabetic friendly dinner and still couldn’t drop a pound. What I learned about having an under-active thyroid is that it typically will only cause a person to be about 10-15 lbs overweight from the lack of hormone alone. I didn’t believer her when she said she barely ate anything. I know her and I know well enough that she was making a shit-load of excuses. She just wanted it to seem like she wanted to lose weight but the truth was that she didn’t. That was fine. I began to realize that there was no help for her. I was offering the help based off of my research and what worked for me and she would get offended over it because it required her to work. I eventually got tired of her shenanigans and just quit talking to her about it.

When I got pregnant with my daughter, I let go and gained all of my weight back. It was a delicious process. I ate a ton of cheese and cupcakes. I was a little depressed about it after she was born but I took responsibility that it was my fault and felt confident that I knew how to lose it again. As of writing this post, my daughter is 18 months and I am down to 175 but I have much more muscle than I have ever had. My husband and I are adopting an active and healthy lifestyle. I still have issues with food and I tend to mask it by saying that I just love it so much but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know what it is really. I don’t turn to food as comfort but I do tend to overeat. Sometimes I’m afraid of getting sick or a headache from low blood sugar even though I know that I’m eating foods that don’t cause that. I do have a fear of being hungry. I’m not really sure why.

 

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The Big Blowout

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My mother’s lying and negativity was really getting to me. She had been unemployed since the summer time. Her unemployment ran out and she couldn’t find a job. She had been in management for billing for hospitals for the last 10 years. She had also been “laid off” from several of those. My parents had also filed bankruptcy recently for the 3rd time. It’s no surprise to me that she couldn’t get the same $60-$80k/year job because of these factors and I have no doubt that she was let go because of her attitude. She will deny that to the grave. Since their money situation was getting pretty hairy  she decided to pursue a worker’s comp lawsuit against the last hospital that she worked for. She only worked there for 6 months but claimed that she was forced to work about 20 hours more per week than originally agreed upon and at a desk with bad ergonomics (the mouse was in an area below the keyboard). She didn’t start this claim until after she was let go (red flag #1). She has also suffered from carpal tunnel for at least a decade because she has always had a desk job (red flag #2). In the last couple of years, her spare time is usually spent attached to her iPhone or computer playing casino games (or bugging me. Red flag #3). I felt that the whole thing was a sham to get money. Money has always gotten the best of her and she never seems to have enough of it. After one of her appointments with the worker’s comp Dr. she called me to tell me that he said his findings were inconclusive. She was upset but her tone was more like she just thought the doctor was an idiot. I wasn’t being rude to her at all when I told her that it made sense because she had only been at that job for 6 months and he can’t pinpoint her injury to that specific job. It’s probably been a ticking time-bomb in which the company wouldn’t be responsible for. She got angry and talked over me and wouldn’t let me finish any of what I was trying to say. I tried to follow-up with, ‘it’s a shame that we don’t have a better healthcare system so that you can get your surgery and get back to work. It sucks that you have to jump all kinds of hoops and stay unemployed.” That really angered her. I didn’t think I was saying anything derogatory toward her at all but just having a conversation. She then yelled at me through the phone, “You mean to tell me that I don’t deserve compensation for all my time and the abuse that I endured?!?!”   Whoa, what? That’s not worker’s comp. That’s a worker’s rights lawsuit… two totally different things! It came out loud and clear that she was after money so she could keep sitting on her ass feeling sorry for herself. She didn’t want surgery or a job. She also hung up on me.

A couple of days later she texted me: Hello daughter, I am sorry I hung up on you the other day. I just didn’t want to say something very hurtful and ugly to you. Obamacare and politics should never enter into our conversation again. I see things tremendously different than you.

Obamacare? I NEVER mentioned that! FYI- she hates Obama. She especially hates Obamacare. I don’t. My son was able to get a much-needed surgery thanks to the Healthcare Act. She thinks that she knows so much more than anyone else because she does the billing for hospitals so that makes her an authority on health insurance. The truth is, she is from Oklahoma (a very red state) and is surrounded by Obama haters and believes every chain e-mail, meme, or Facebook post that is against him. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not. I actually look things up before believing them and that drives her crazy about me because she could never handle me telling her that she’s wrong. Anyhow, I never meant the conversation to be about that, I meant it to be about her getting better so she could get a job and not be financially struggling anymore.  At this point, I was tired of pussy-footing around her. I also felt that she was walking on eggshells with me for the last 9 years and rightfully so. She didn’t get it though and she got comfortable. She started to think that she could say whatever she wanted to me and I’d put up with it. I knew that after the blowup at my wedding, I didn’t think that I could handle much more. Since having my daughter, I have been going through a lot more junk from my abuse and she wasn’t helping. She was  pushing me further away.

I responded to her text: It had nothing to do with Obamacare. It had to do with getting you better so you can get on your feet. It would help if you listen. You didn’t let me finish my sentence. It was pretty childish.

My mother: There is a lot more than the physical going on. I’m trying to apologize to you.

No, she wasn’t. She was trying to get an excuse to treat me like shit. I wasn’t accepting her apology. I was pretty pissed at her and I felt that what she was doing was really pathetic. I didn’t speak to her for about a week. At the beginning of that week, after she hung up on me, I finally got sick of her shit on Facebook and unfriended her. I did it for 3 reasons: 1) I was curious what the public could see in terms of her worker’s comp case. It was public and very obvious that she played internet games a good chunk of her day. That’s not something that a person does when they are in pain and trying to win a case regarding that pain. 2) She was just so damn intense and attention hungry. Her posts were just crazy and downright rude. She posted an anti-Obama meme that pretty much dogged anyone that is or ever has taken welfare. If you want to make friends, then you would typically avoid that type of banter. 3) I couldn’t take her posts about Dave anymore. Enough was enough. The man stole my innocence was far from “wonderful.”

At the end of that week she texted me, “You’ve been awfully quiet.”

“So have you,” I replied. She thought I had been too busy to talk. I was, but not that busy. I got unpacked pretty quickly.

I texted her back, “Things are slowing down. I backed off from talking to you because you were pretty intense.”

That was me being nice. Intense was way too nice of a word. The better word would have been “bitch.” She texted me back a sad face. Here we go… let the guilt trip begin.

“You just have no idea and I don’t want to discuss this with you any more regarding my working and work comp issues. You don’t understand.”

“Apparently not, it’s a good idea that we don’t discuss that,” I replied. Unfortunately, she wouldn’t really have anything else to talk about other than Dave and gossiping about other people who I wasn’t going to do. She wrapped that up by telling me that she loved me very much. Over the course of the next week, I didn’t really speak to her much. I think we talked maybe once and it was just small talk. I really had nothing to say. I texted her a couple of pictures of the kids and that was about it. A couple of days before Mother’s Day I received a very elaborate card from her wishing me a happy Mother’s Day and thanking me for making her a grandma. I don’t think she has ever noticed, but I hadn’t sent her a card for Mother’s Day or Dave a Father’s Day card in at least 8 years. I didn’t think they were good parents and didn’t deserve it. I also am horrible at sending cards and remembering dates, but that’s beside the point.

The Saturday right before Mother’s Day she texted me, “Do you realize that I have been un-friended from you fb?” She didn’t even give me a chance to respond before calling me. I was very calm with her and tried to explain that A) I was curious about what a worker’s comp lawyer could see and sure enough they can see that she plays a bunch of games and B) she was intense and posting really crazy rants and I didn’t want to see them because they were embarrassing. I barely got my second point and never made it to the third before she ripped into me about how her worker’s comp was none of my business. I told her that I was just curious and that it’s something she should take into consideration. I also told her that her posts on Facebook were making her look like she was crazy and she should just stick to funny cat pictures because nobody gives a shit about how pathetic her life is. It was a bit harsh but the truth. Nobody ever liked her posts when she did that. She then went on ranting about her first amendment rights and how she doesn’t have to censor herself for no one. Sure, she doesn’t have to but when a person goes about life saying whatever they want to whoever, don’t expect them to stick around. A few minutes after she hung up on me she texted back not to worry about re-friending her. Good thing because I wasn’t planning on it.

About 30 minutes later I received this text:  “I don’t have to justify what I do or my opinions to you or anyone. I just went through my fb and there is nothing that should concern you.” Followed up with: “I’m extremely hurt and insulted by your actions. It’s an awful shame that you feel that you have to critique me on my opinions and thoughts. This is very sad. I’m happy for Todd for the process you have made (grad school I think?) but I will not allow neither of you to make me feel like this. This is truly a shame.”

I always knew that the next time she blew up at me and did this would be the last. I don’t need it and I certainly don’t need it around my kids. I would like to point out that I really wasn’t rude to her at all. I have been telling her for the last few years that I will always be honest with her and the reason is that she complains about not having anyone to talk to. This also means that nobody else is there to tell her when she is wrong. However, she doesn’t handle criticism well. I was simply informing her of what an outsider could see and how it might affect her worker’s comp case. I would think that is a favor. She was talking over me the whole time I tried to explain the rest so she didn’t hear anything that I said beyond that. My comment about her being intense and crazy wasn’t even heard. She has been pissed off at me for telling her the truth about her workers comp. That’s all. Seriously. This is what pissed her off. Has she ever been pissed like that at Dave for what he did? Nope. But she got mad at me for that.

The last text from her really got to me. I was so upset. I showed my husband and he looked me in the eye and said, “It’s time that you cut them off. You don’t deserve to be treated this way and you know that she will never get better.”  He was right. I really needed to cut it off. I wasn’t healing and so many things were coming up in my life that were holding me back. I just couldn’t shake it anymore. I couldn’t just go about life with the attitude that it’s in the past and move on. I realized that I had too much baggage to keep moving on. I had been waiting for her to leave Dave. She had pretty much set in stone recently that she had no intentions of leaving him. Between that and her new rekindling with her family, I felt that it was time. Todd suggested that I just call her but I knew better. She wouldn’t listen. She would yell and scream over me and only hear what she wanted to. That’s how she’s always been. She is right…. always. Everyone else is wrong and don’t dare try to tell her otherwise. I chose to write a letter and email it to her. I knew that I needed to tell her exactly how I felt. I was so hurt at the fact that she was shaming me and accusing me of hurting her when that wasn’t my intention at all. I was done.

Changes, Continued

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Something amazing happened to my mother soon after her visit. She called me one day in tears to tell me that she had sisters… and a brother. Turns out, her mother was still around too! My grandmother, Karen, had some old boxes or whatever in her attic that her youngest daughter, Veronica, was helping her clear out. Veronica came across some documents regarding my mother and her birth (a birth certificate maybe). She confronted Karen about it and she came clean at 71 years old. Veronica then took to the internet and found my mother on Facebook. She found out that she had two sisters and a brother. One of the sisters and the brother are twins and 5 years younger than my mother. The other sister is in her early 40’s. That’s Veronica. Veronica also has a set of boy/girl twins. I dodged a bullet with my kids! It’s very obvious that Karen is her mother. My mother is a spitting image of her.

So, what happened? From what I gather, Karen was an immigrant from Hungary in the 50’s and in a very abusive relationship with my grandfather. That’s not surprising because I have heard from several people that he was abusive. I don’ t know all of the details but apparently, she was forced to leave my mother behind at only two months old. Karen was only 18 at the time. She ended up changing her name and renouncing her Hungarian heritage. She met someone else and got remarried and had the twins. This husband was also abusive so she got another divorce. She married for a 3rd time and is still married to him. They had Veronica together. Karen had kept my mother a secret from everyone. The most ironic thing was that she lived only a few miles from where my mother grew up. I have so many questions regarding that.

I was happy for her. I would like to meet all of them but I don’t think that will happen. As the weeks progressed, I began to feel like I might be able to free myself. For so many years I had stuck around because I didn’t want to be one more person to abandon her. Her mother, my father, and my brother had all abandoned her. She made me feel guilty about this too. Who else would she have to talk to if not me? She would say this to me because she didn’t have a mother or siblings to talk to. She did have cousins that she spoke to occasionally and her aunt (who practically raised her… yeah, that came out later). She wasn’t totally alone but she sure did make me feel that way. This was one of the ways that she kept her claws sunk deep inside of me. I felt like I just couldn’t get out of her grip without feeling bad about it. So, when it came about that she had family (siblings and a mother) then I began to feel less attached because now she had other people to lean on.

I really needed an out because her attitude was becoming abusive again and she was really getting under my skin. I also was getting tired of waiting for Dave to die so that I could break my silence. I really needed to deal with my past.

Changes

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This whole process of healing and overcoming reminds me of a giant onion. That’s how my life has been since I was a teenager and I feel like I’m almost to the center most layers. The biggest change in my life concerning my abuse, was having my children.  After my son turned 4, I really began to distance myself from Dave. I thought so many times, “he is the age I was when it all started.” The thought made me sick. He was just a little boy so innocent and sweet. That’s what I was, but just a little girl. Why would anyone want to hurt such an innocent child? It wasn’t just the sexual abuse either. There were a few times that I felt like my mother came out of my mouth and personality. I hated it. I hated the feeling of losing my temper and hurting his feelings. I felt like I was turning into her and I vowed to never let that happen. I have made a personal vow to not be anything like her or treat my children in any way the way she treated me. It scared me. I didn’t want to put him through the hell that I lived through. I loved him too much. I also began to question the fact that she blamed not having good parents to teach her right from wrong as the reason why she didn’t know any better. I was raised by a pedophile and my mother (I don’t know what word to use for her) and I know how not to treat your kids. How could she do those things to me and not bat an eyelash? How could she let Dave get away with everything that he did? I didn’t understand it.

Having my daughter (Christmas 2011), I think was when things were beginning to spiral to where they are today.  My mother came and helped for a week after she was born which was really helpful and I was very appreciative. She didn’t rush up and sit for 3 days in the hospital… thank goodness! My daughter was a feisty and cranky baby. She hated her car seat so taking road trips anywhere was out of the question. We learned this the hard way because we did make a trip down when she was about 4 months old. It’s a 4 1/2 hour trip for us and she cried half the trip- both ways. We haven’t been back since. Instead, they came to visit recently. I really didn’t want Dave to come but my mother whined about he should get to see his grand kids too. The thing about Dave is that he is a pathetic lump of a man. I always tell my mother that he’s just a lump on a log.  I knew the trip would be a waste if he came and I was right. We had moved a couple of hours away so the drive changed from 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 hours. Just the drive alone wiped him out. He slept for 2 days. They were there for 3 and left the morning of the 4th. TWO days! When he did come out, he’d come out without a shirt on which was fucking gross anyway. He’s overweight and had that major surgery on his gut. Besides, this was my house not theirs. I would not walk around without pants on in their house. It was so damn annoying. When he finally was up and awake, he’d come out to the living room and play casino games on his phone or computer. When he finally decided to wake up enough to be a grandpa, my stomach just turned and turned. I had a hard time tolerating him holding my daughter. I was very uncomfortable. I was also pissed that he was acting so pathetic. Why even come? My son kept asking why grandpa was sleeping all day. It’s mind-blowing how a man could be in that much pain but yet can manage an entire grocery store meat department and mow lawns on the side. I really didn’t care what excuse he had, I had grown to despise him so much that I couldn’t stand to be around him. I was still sympathizing with my mother though but that was coming to an end.

A few years ago, I suggested that she get on Facebook that way she can see pictures of the kids and not feel so left out. I suggested this because she was starting to really harp on the fact that I didn’t live close to her. I reminded her several times that I moved a distance away for a reason and that I could never live near her. My mother has a horrible habit of only hearing what she wants to so when I say things like this, she thinks that I’m saying “I can’t live near you because of Dave.” But he is only half the problem. She honestly has no reason to think that she ever did anything wrong and we can and should have a very normal mother/daughter relationship. That was never going to happen. I could barely stand to have the long distance relationship that we had but I did it for her not me.

Facebook was the worst idea I could have given her. She took it to a whole new level. I wasn’t so bothered by the fact that she stalked every single one of my posts. She was my mother and overbearing but this was the internet so I tried not to let that get to me.  She didn’t have a best friend or really any family to be a sounding board for her when she wanted to bitch. She tried to make me be that person by guilting me but I wouldn’t do it especially when it pertained to Dave. When she lost her job she posted the most pathetic, giant scream for attention that I have ever seen a person put on Facebook. I wish I would have captured it before she deleted it. It was a whole paragraph of no matter how hard she works, it never pays off and no body appreciates her and blah, blah, blah. It was really sad. It made her look crazy. She took it down a couple of hours later. This wasn’t the first crazy-lady post she put either. At least most of the time she’d take them down but by then it’s too late. The other thing was that she was constantly posting pictures and memes about how wonderful her husband is. Yes, Dave, that guy. It was really pissing me off. Every time she posted something like that, it was like a punch to the gut. It was like she completely disregarded anything that happened to me and wanted to rub it in my face that she was never leaving him and wasn’t sorry for what happened to me. She also was posting things directed to my brother who is not on Facebook as well as memes about her daughter being her best friend. She just wasn’t getting it. I tried to tell her how I felt but it wasn’t getting through and if I was blunt enough then she’d lose her cool.

When things are rough for her, she doesn’t even try to be positive. Her negativity was really bringing me down and she was so relentless with contacting me that it stressed me out because I had to deal with it several times a week. After she lost her job and I became a stay at home mom, she thought this would be her opportunity to really get into my life. I tried to set boundaries for her a few times but she completely disregarded them. If I wasn’t talking to her everyday then she was texting me. It got to the point that she had nothing to say other than “hi.” This is a pet peeve of mine. I’m not a big fan of talking on the phone anyway but it really irks me when I get a call and the person who called me has nothing to say. When I tried setting those boundaries, I would tell her that everyday is too much, even texting. Sometimes she was put off by it and sometimes she didn’t even react. I was busy though. I’m a full-time student, I have a toddler (baby at the time), and I still do contract work for the company I used to work for so I’m busy. I don’t have time to text a person back and forth for hours or yap on the phone daily. It was really eating into valuable time. I felt like I had been just giving into her and letting her have her way. This wasn’t what I wanted. I really wanted to be in control of this and I felt that I had every right to be.

There wasn’t anymore talk of leaving Dave, either. They had downsized into a condo owned by my grandparents. They were renting it for pretty cheap so they could get on their feet since my mother wasn’t working. She was extremely ungrateful and very hateful toward them. She is a miserable and unhappy person and I honestly don’t know if there is anything in the world that could make her happy. I’m sure she has depression on top of whatever mental issue is going on. After I had my daughter, I had to get on a mild anti-anxiety medication because of stress. My husband was in his last semester of school before going into grad school, I was working full-time, he was working part-time as well as school, and we’d just had the baby. I was really stressed out. I needed it. When I told her that I was on it, her response was, “I don’t believe in that kind of medication. You shouldn’t be on that!” Well, that explained a lot. I don’t know why she didn’t like anti-anxiety pills but it sure does explain why she refuses to get help. I really didn’t want her negativity and hateful attitude around my children anymore, either. It was really wearing on me. She was just so hateful and made rude comments about all kinds of people behind their backs. I was really beginning to understand that she is a toxic person and that Dave was just as toxic.

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.

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.