Tag Archives: controlling mother

My Body… It Belongs to Me.

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I have always had issues with my body. It’s no wonder why. As a teenager, I was really embarrassed about my body. I wasn’t obese but I was a little on the heavy side. I wouldn’t ever change in front of other girls or anyone so when we had to start dressing out for gym, I would go change in a bathroom stall. When I couldn’t, I would figure out how to change without ever exposing myself. I was always afraid of someone looking at me without clothes on. I would even have nightmares of being naked in front of other people. These weren’t just normal naked dreams but terrifying nightmares. I would panic and wake myself up. Other times I would try not to wake up because, in my dream, I thought I was naked under my covers and there were people in my room watching me sleep. I was probably in that in between state of sleep and awake. This also happened to me well into adulthood. It’s possible that Dave was in my room watching me sleep but I never woke up and caught him but I definitely sensed it.

My body issues didn’t just end with the nudity stemmed from sexual abuse. My mother had a few obsessions regarding my body as well. She had (and still has) this weird obsession with my hair. It is naturally blonde and fine, but thick. I’ll admit it… I have really great hair. Well, I did when I was younger. It’s not as great anymore now that I’m older. It’s one thing to think that someone has really pretty hair but it’s another to get all pentecostal holiness on their hair. After I turned 14, I never cut it. It was perfectly straight and didn’t need to be blow dried or straightened. It was pretty convenient considering that I identified as a hippy. She would just gloat over it. It got annoying after a while.

When I was a preteen I was left home alone a lot so I was pretty bored. One day, I found a pair of scissors and would make little cuts that weren’t noticeable but one day I accidentally made a cut that was more noticeable. It wasn’t much and I didn’t ruin my hair. At this point, it wasn’t real long but it did fall a few inches below my shoulders. I didn’t think it was a big deal and went about my day. Later that night my mother noticed the cut and questioned me. She asked what I did and what I was thinking. I think that I told her that I was bored and cut my hair and oh well. It wasn’t “oh well” for her. She went on a ballistic tirade and chopped my hair off into a disgusting bob. Now, remember that this was the early 90’s. Big hair was still in and I was like 11 or 12 with a “mom bob.” I really didn’t think that taking a little snippet of my hair would be a big deal but she was so obsessed with my hair and treated it as if it didn’t belong to be. It was hers. She yelled and screamed and I don’t even know what all she said but all I could think about was how embarrassed I was going to be at school the next day. She thought that was good. She liked it when I was embarrassed in front of my peers, especially when it was because I got in trouble. I think it made her feel powerful.

She didn’t stop her stupid obsession with my hair during my teen years. When I turned 30, I decided to let loose. I worked at a very carefree job so I could do what I wanted. I chopped my hair off, died chunks of it hot pink and got my first tattoo. It was freaking awesome. I still don’t regret it and want more tattoos and pink hair! This wasn’t the first time that I cut my hair off but this was by far the shortest. The few times that I did it, she would make remarks that she didn’t like it and “why would you cut off your beautiful hair?” After 30 my hair texture just wasn’t the same. It wasn’t as straight and required a lot of attention and product to make it look good. Also, being pregnant in the hot summer with long hair was no fun so it had to go. The point is, at 30 my hair wasn’t the same as it was when I was 17. She didn’t quite get this so I would tell her to grow her own damn hair out if she wanted long hair. She thought I was being funny but I was actually really pissed. I cut my hair about 3 or 4 times in my adulthood and every time she gave me the same song and dance. It was one of the few things that I wouldn’t tolerate from her. I would tell her A) it’s my hair and I will do with it as I please, B) mind your own damn hair and C) it just doesn’t look the same as it did when I was younger. The last time that I cut it, we went to visit her shortly after and she went off with her remarks. I immediately told her to can it or I was packing the car up and leaving. That seemed to worked.

Her weird body obsession didn’t end there. As a teenager I had acne, probably like most kids. I wasn’t extremely pimply but pimply enough for my insane mother to notice. When the pimples began to surface, she would hold me down and pop my pimples. This was no act of love for a daughter’s complexion. This was torture. My mother has extremely long and strong fingernails. She was trying to get zits to pop that weren’t ready to pop. She left me bloody and scarred. She always told me that it was for my own good and I shouldn’t let the zits and blackheads fester. She didn’t really give me a choice. I always felt like I had to give in to her wishes just to keep the peace or she would go on a crazy, screaming rant. She would try to pop them on my back as well. She was at least 250 lbs and would sit on my behind to hold me down. It was so painful when she did this and I would beg her to stop but there was always one more and “hold still!! This HAS to come out!!!” I realize now that it was likely just another antic for control and her own appeasement. Like I said, I wasn’t that pimply but she made me feel that way. Now I was totally self-conscious about my skin. I really hated my body for a long time.

Now, I do what I can to take care of myself. I eat right, exercise, wash my face, moisturize, sun block, etc. One of the perks of being an adult is that I get to call the shots on my body.

My Wedding, Continued

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

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

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

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

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

Age 24 & My Wedding

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

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

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

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

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