Tag Archives: abuse

The Dark Parts of My Heart

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As positive and upbeat I may portray myself, there are still skeletons in my closet and deep dark secrets that I will probably never share. It’s ok. We all have those. Some of them might not even really be a secret but rather how you really feel about something or someone. One of those skeletons for me was how I really felt about my parents. Even though on the outside my relationship with them seemed to be normal but what I felt on the inside was far from it. Keeping in mind that I just came forward about my abuse and started this blog about two months ago, I am really having to face how I truly feel about these people. I sometimes felt bad for the way I felt. I never let anyone know about it because I didn’t want anyone to thing that I was lacking in ethical standards. The truth is, however, I always secretly hoped that my parents would just drive themselves off a cliff or something.

I feel terrible for having those thoughts because I am not a violent person nor do I wish death upon anyone but I had never really faced the pain within the deep, dark crevices of my heart. I suppose that I felt, in a way, that if they were deceased then my pain would magically disappear. I realize now that probably wouldn’t be the case. The one thing that would most likely disappear would be my mother’s drama but that has gone away… for now.

One of the fears that I had about disowning them was that they would get suicidal. My dad has always been depressed and had, in the past, mentioned very coyly people who couldn’t handle life anymore and just snapped. It’s also one of the reasons that I never pressed charges. I convinced myself that he was of no danger to the public and just didn’t think it was necessary. Truthfully, I just didn’t want to go through the drama of court appearances, my mother and the possibility of him committing suicide to avoid being raped in prison.

My fear of disowning my mother had more to do with her mental state. She always made it seem like I was her “savior” and that she couldn’t live without me. I hated this. She was almost co-dependent on me. I was not dependent on her, thank goodness! She felt like I needed to fill the gaps in her life that she couldn’t fill with legitimate friends and family. Well, they all hate her so I felt like I had no choice. I was scared and I still am a bit of what she is capable of. The woman is bat-shit crazy and is just a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.

I do live about a 7 hour drive away from her which is good. The other day I had a thought that crossed my mind that scared me. What if she went on an all-out lunatic crazy-spree and drove up here to try to kill or hurt my family or me? My heart sank. She has never been that violent or even close but there are a lot of factors in her life right now that could send her over the edge not including my situation. I think that she is too narcissistic to commit suicide but I don’t know if she is crazy enough to commit homicide. I feel myself beginning to cower in fear of her much like I did when I was little but this is much more serious. I don’t want to suggest that she is capable of it because I really don’t know.

I had a dream the other night that my husband and I were taking shelter from a bunch of tornadoes in a ditch. I think we came out of it fine. I’m not superstitious nor do I believe in the validity of dream interpretations but I do know that they could mean something psychologically. Perhaps I’m in the midst of my own tornado outbreak and maybe there is one heading my way. Either way, I know today that they are not my responsibility and what they chose to do with their lives, even if they end it, is not my problem. I have to be ok with that. I have to accept that it’s not my fault and not be conflicted with the other feelings that I have because my head and my heart are surely at war with one another.

Personal Responsibility

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One of the recurring themes in my mother’s life is that of personal responsibility. She has always had a hard time accepting it. When confronted about something that she did wrong, she would always blame someone or some situation instead of just admitting that she was wrong. When confronted about not taking responsibility, she would always blame the fact that she didn’t have a mother to teach her right and wrong therefore she has a hard time recognizing when she is wrong. Ok, that’s sweet but it’s still a cop-out.

Once my brother and I both became adults, we really started to confront her about these issues. Of course there was always some excuse. One of the big things that I would push is just her overall worldview. I am a huge proponent of living in the moment. I have always had the attitude that your life and your world are what you make it. When there are people living in 3rd world slums but are very happy and people who live in multimillion dollar mansions that are miserable, that tells me that money has little to do with it and attitude is everything. So, when I would talk to her about her life and she would go on and on about how miserable she was and how it was all Dave’s fault, I would be quick to answer “then leave him.” She would always agree that it was a good idea. I even went as far as to find a 2 bedroom condo that was affordable for her just to get the ball rolling. She would stop that ball in its tracks every time.

The truth is, my mother doesn’t want to take responsibility for her own life. She loves the drama. She feels justified in putting the blame on someone else. When it really came down to it, not only did she not want to be alone but she couldn’t live without cable, internet, a nice car, a nice neighborhood, her cats, etc. She was not willing to make any sacrifices to save her relationship with her children because she knew that she would have to give up a few things in order to make it on her own.

When money finally got tight enough (she’s unemployed), Dave and her had to move out of their nice suburban rental home because they couldn’t afford the payments anymore. My grandparents allowed them to live in their investment condo for almost 1/3 of what they were paying in rent for the house. It was very generous of them but they had a condition: they wanted to leave all of their furniture and fixtures. My parents would have to put all of their things in storage. Understandable. They are in their 80’s and don’t want to be moving furniture back and forth. They had nice furniture anyway. Was my mother grateful? Fuck no. Up until I finally cut it off with her, she bitched and complained about goddamn everything.

I am a problem solver by nature. It’s part of my biological makeup. Ok, I don’t know about that but I am definitely a problem solver. I’m good at math and computers and organizing and all of that. So, when a person comes to me complaining about a problem I immediately try to help them find a solution. What is the point of suffering when there are viable solutions, right? My mother complained about everything from their furniture to not being able to get cable right away. I suggested that perhaps she could spend some time outside getting in some exercise by walking. It was spring after all so the timing was perfect. The neighborhood wasn’t nice enough so scratch that. I suggested that perhaps she should listen to music and read books and rediscover her inner artist. Well, there was an excuse for that too. I gave up.

It’s not all about taking responsibility for one’s actions but also their own life. If you aren’t happy but yet you have shelter, food and clothing, then find out why. If it’s depression then get help for it. If it’s not then try to change your worldview. I always told her that nobody will be happy for her. Nobody will live her life for her. That goes for all of us.

She even tried to blame Dave for her abusing me as a kid. I did confront her a few years ago in as loving of a manner that I could. I told her that she wasn’t a good mother. Yes, she fed me and clothed me and bought presents but that was about where it ended. She blamed him and told me that he was always coercing her to beat me and spank me and that he would tell her that is how parenting is done. I tried to sympathize with her but this just never sat well with me. She was still trying to play me on the fact that she just didn’t know any better.  I still have a hard time accepting that.

What I have learned to accept is the fact that I am an autonomous, responsible human being myself. I am responsible for not only myself but also my children which is why I had to make the heartfelt decision to cut my parents off. The welfare of my children is of utmost importance. Also, I consider my own happiness and life to be my own responsibility. While my husband and I are working hard to get a college education, I have come to terms with the fact that things might not always work out as planned. Even if we end up living in a mobile home on food stamps, I still have to be able to find pleasure and enjoyment in the little things in life. I think that I have achieved that. I consider myself one to have a “silver linings” type of attitude. It drives my husband up the wall but I really do try to be positive and stay on the sunny side of things. If I don’t, I find myself becoming like my mother which I promised myself  I will never let happen.

I also have the responsibility of ending the abuse in its tracks. I don’t care if it’s been a generational thing. It ends with me. I have caught myself a few times getting full of anger and rage and have had to find a way to stop it and level my emotions out. It’s necessary. I never want my children to go through what I did, even on a small scale. I don’t want them to have to recover from their childhood when they are adults. I want them to look back at their childhood and remember all of the fun, love, mischief, family and all of the positive things that a child should remember.

I may have missed out on my childhood but I have an inner child emerging and a responsibility to ensure that my children always remember a beautiful childhood.

My happiness is my own. My pain belongs to me. My life is a reflection of all of those things and it is my choice to turn it all into something beautiful.

A Head Full of Regret

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Recovery from abuse is a process. It’s like grieving the death of a loved one. Right now, not only am I coming to terms with what happened to me but I am also having to face my own regrets surrounding the abuse and grieving the “death” of my parents. They aren’t really dead but in my heart they are. That part has been hard. When I first sent my mother the “break-up” letter I had regrets about it. It was difficult and took me almost 30 minutes to hit send. I cried and was sad for a couple of days after that until she went public denouncing my brother and I. Then I didn’t feel so sad about it and knew that I did the right thing. Now my regret is the fact that I waited so long to come forward about it. Those that are close to me know that I was molested by my step-father but most don’t know to what extent. I really didn’t talk about it other than just saying that it happened. Just like my mother, I was trying to paint the facade of a functional normal family but I couldn’t keep up the charade any more. This week I have been flooded with questions that I have asked myself. Some of them I disregard because I know that it wasn’t my fault while others I am beating myself up about them a little. Some of the questions are the “what if’s.”

What if I had not lied to DFS when I was little? My parents threatened me and told me that I would be taken away and put in foster care with families that wouldn’t love and would beat me more than I was already being beaten. I realize now that probably wouldn’t have happened. I know now that I have always had a family that loves me and given the opportunity they would have probably taken me in. I highly doubt that any of my grandparents or aunts and uncles would have let me go into the foster system without putting up a fight. So, if I would have just said something, would I have had a better life? Would my brother have had a better life? I don’t know. I was so young that making that kind of decision back then was 100% my mother’s responsibility. I had another opportunity when I was 11 or 12 and again, I was too afraid to say anything.

Why didn’t I cut them off when I was finally and independent? When I was 21, I was finally broken free from them and lived about 5 hours away. I didn’t really speak to them for about a year but it had more to do with my mother trying to control me than about the abuse as a child. I had the opportunity to just say “sayonara” and be on my merry way… but I didn’t. After a while I was still trying to maintain a relationship with them. I think this time it goes back to the fact that I was a Christian and was trying to do the right, Christian thing and that would have been forgiving and forgetting.

I left the confines of religion when I was about 27. At this point, Christianity wasn’t holding me back anymore but I still didn’t change my relationship with my parents. I think that I had just gotten used to what we had and at that point I was married and had our son. I always had that underlying guilt of letting my mother go. She would always ask me, “If I don’t have you, then who can I talk to?!” She always made me feel guilty for not being there for her even though I told her several times that I didn’t want to be her friend. She really had nobody. She had no parents or siblings. She did have a couple of cousins and her aunt and uncle but they were in California and Pennsylvania which wasn’t close enough, I guess. I was conflicted, there’s no doubt about that. I always felt uncomfortable being around Dave or allowing my son around him but I disregarded those feelings by trying to convince myself that he wasn’t a danger to anyone and that my mother deserved to be a grandmother. After writing almost 40 posts on this blog I now wonder what the fuck was wrong with me! Why did I find this relationship necessary? What took me so long to cut them off??

My main regret, right now, is that I allowed this relationship to go on long enough that they became a part of my son’s life. Luckily, my daughter is young enough that she will never remember them but my son is not. Every once in a while he asks when he can call his grandma or when we are going to visit. I just say “sometime” and change the subject. He’s only 7 so he is way too young to share with him. I feel bad for dragging my husband along when I should have been done with this before I got married.

The good thing is that I have so much support from family and friends. I am so grateful for that! I feel like that have spent a lifetime running a marathon, I’m at the last mile and here is all of my family coming out to support me. I guess I could say that I am lucky. I know that many victims of abuse get shunned by their entire family but that’s not the case for me. Instead the perpetrators are being shunned. Sometimes the support is overwhelming but it is what is getting me through. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have just shoved all of this back down and not gotten the healing that I deserve. The professionals are right when they say that it takes a good support system to heal. Everyone in my circle (and beyond) has been wonderful. I don’t think I have ever felt more loved than I do now! 🙂

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.

 

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.

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.

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.