What’s Fair is Fair

I am sure most of you have read my rants involving my mother in law.  During that situation you all gave me the feedback that I really needed to hear.  Thanks to you all, I knew that it wasn’t just me and that I am not crazy or overreacting.  That is what I am hoping for with this post also.  I know in my heart that I am not out of line with my thought process but since I consider you all my extended family, I value your opinions.

I won’t give you a ton of back story on this one because to be honest with you, we would be here all day.  I will say that I have never had a good relationship with my mother.  We have never gotten along.  When I was very young I do remember her being good to me.  I don’t remember much, but I do remember that there were good times.

I want to say I was around 9 when all that changed.  That is when I started to notice her drinking problem.  With her drinking came a negative attitude toward me and my father.  She hated that my father and I had friends.  I played every sport under the sun and my father being very athletic in his day, like most fathers, he coached me in everything.  At this point I was an only child and I bonded with my father very strongly.  My dad and I told each other everything and even now he is still my best friend.  He is the perfect combination of Father and friend.  You never wanted to disappoint him or get him angry, but you could go to him for ANYTHING.  He is just the kind of guy that you could tell anything.  My mother always resented that I was close with him.

As a matter of fact, the ONLY arguments I have ever had with my father were due to her.  I get it.  It is his wife and he has to back her no matter what.  So whenever I would lose patience with her and a big blow out would occur, he would come to her defense and punish me.  I will say that I do believe it was all for show.  I know I heard many times arguing coming from their room about her part of the fight.  He would never let me see him get on her about it, but I still knew he did.  My father is a good man.  Probably the best man.  If it wasn’t for him then I would probably be so screwed up that I would never have a decent relationship.  He was and still is my protector, even at 31 years old.

Don’t get me wrong, my mother didn’t have to drink to attack me mentally or sometimes physically.  All I had to do is catch her in the wrong mood.  I will admit, after years of seeing the kind of crap that I witnessed, I lost respect for her as a mother and as a person so I would talk back a lot to her or just question her wishes at any given moment.  More so than even the typical teen does.  I do however remember a time that we were at my friends house and she was in a mood and being snarky so I was snarky back and got her freshly done nails dug into the back of my neck.  She actually drew blood and it hurt.

Like I said, I could go on and on about all the humiliations I had to endure as a child thanks to my mother, including a time when in her drunken rage she humiliated me in front of my entire baseball team and their parents, but that really isn’t the point of this post.  This post is more about her behavior over the last 10 years.

My mother does still drink.  She has somehow convinced herself that it was only beer that brought out that side of her.  She believes that if she sticks to wine and margaritas then she is fine.  That has proven to be a cop out over the last 10 years.  She has had a handful of outbursts over the last 10 years, but they were all big ones.  I will now list a few.

1.  She accused my wife of breaking into her house (through a deadbolt) just to use her computer.
2. She got drunk on a family vacation and tried down beat down our hotel room door calling my wife every foul name you can possibly think of ( and I do mean EVERY name) because I took my teenage brother to Hooters for dinner.  All this with my children crying on the other side of the door.
3.  We were down on our luck and needed a place to stay for a few months and I couldn’t bare to live with my mother in law so we moved in with my parents.  My wife’s patience wore thin due to how my mother was treating our oldest daughter so they got into an argument (which my mother escalated) and my mother once again called my wife every name in the book and told me in front of my children that my wife was evil and I should leave her.

This is just a few of the many things she has done over the years.  Every time, without fail, we would separate ourselves for a few months and because of my father, we would let things go and we would all be around each other again.  I never worried too much about my children being over there because I know my father would never let anything get out of hand while the kids were there. It also sucked but they were the only ones who would keep our kids to give us any sort of break.  I almost felt like we had to have some sort of reconciliation just to ensure we had a break every once in a while.

Now lets fast forward a bit.  My parents have hit a rough spot over the last couple of years.  My dad is disabled and cannot work.  He has had to deal with a crazy person for almost 36 years so he is mentally drained too.  To top it all off, they have to live in a basement apartment at my uncles house.  This is beyond difficult for an independent man like my father.  For these reasons, I don’t ask my parents to take all of the kids at once anymore.  It would have to be a serious situation for that to happen.  I don’t even ask for them to take one or two either.  If my father calls and asks, then I send one or two over.

We had my parents and my brother over for Thanksgiving this year.  To my amazement, we actually had a pretty good day.  As the day came to an end my oldest daughter asked if she could go spend the night at my parents house and that the 5 year old would come too.  I told her that it was fine with me.  Before too long the 4 year old cried to my mother about wanting to go too and my mother gave in.  Chase (the 5 year old) and Shannon (the 12 year old) left with my mother around 4:30 pm and Haylie (the 4 year old) left with my father around 6 pm.

Let’s just say they were all finally together at my parents house at 6:30 pm.  They have 3 out of the 5 kids with them and it is nearly bedtime.  My wife and I kept Alyssa ( the 2 year old) home with us, which is fine because she is easy to deal with and probably the most fun right now.  We kept her up late playing with her because we knew she would sleep late and we would get some peace and quiet for the first time in a long time.

I received a phone call at 9:30 am the next day.  It was my mother telling me that it was time to pick up the children.  I was beyond pissed.  I had an angry tone to my voice but I didn’t yell.  Sensing my anger she said with attitude, “Well, is noon okay”.  I just said “yeah” and hung up.  I just laid in bed stewing in my anger.  I couldn’t believe he called me first thing in the morning to pick them up.  Let’s break this down.  They were there maybe 2 1/2 hours before bedtime.  Let’s also say that they got up at 7:30 am.  That is a total of 4 1/2 hours with her grandchildren.

This is how she always is.  She just can’t wait to get rid of them when she has them.  My wife and I are planning to move to Georgia in 2014 and when my wife reminded my mother of this and told her she should take all the opportunities she can to spend time with them, my mother acted as if she cared less.  The fact of the matter is, it is always my father who pushes to see his grandchildren.  He calls me and tells me that he really wants to come see them or for me to drop them off.  It is never her.  I am sure like everything else in her life, she will play the victim in all this but she really isn’t.  My mother has never taken responsibility for anything she has ever done in her life.  Whether it be quitting a job, her outbursts, or how she treats people.

Anyway, I ended up jumping out of bed and I got dressed.  I called her from the car and said to have them ready because it was best that I didn’t come in right now.  She started in on me and I exploded.  I told her she was a terrible Grandmother and I told her all the reasons why.  I pointed out how she had no reaction to us moving and she wouldn’t get to see the kids whenever she wanted and how she can’t even spend time with them without trying to get rid of them as fast as she can.  I really lost it.  I know it isn’t my fathers fault and I told him that when I got there.  I know who the selfish one is.  I know who’s feelings aren’t going to be hurt when we are gone.  If it doesn’t benefit my mother then she has no interested in doing anything.

Ladies and gentleman, I am done.  For 31 years I have put up with someone who doesn’t seem to have a soul.  I have seen the most hateful things come out of one person that was supposed to be my example.  I will never keep my children from my father or my brother.  I am however done with my mother.  I feel like if you aren’t a positive influence in a persons life then you just hold back good things from happening.  I know she is going to read this.  I pretty sure she reads everything I post.  I am sure it’s just to see if I ever write anything about her.  I never have.  Mostly for my father’s sake.  I know he gets the brunt of her abuse even if he has nothing to do with it.  For that, I am really sorry dad.  Just understand my point and remember how much more I really could have said.  I love you dad.

Am I wrong for feeling like this?  Please give me some feedback either here or on my Facebook page.

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2 Responses to “What’s Fair is Fair”

  1. myemptynest says:

    No! you are not wrong for feeling like that. My story is pretty similar to yours except for the fact that when I turned 18 and was tossed out on my own well that was the last of it for me and MY mother. My kids (now 23 and 25) Never got to know their grandmother because of the way she was….sad, but at the same time good that they did not witness her evil. It can really hurt at times still…knowing that she IS my mother and I know she is still alive…but I just have to live my life. Sounds like she is just like mine…only cares about herself.

  2. starflower1965 says:

    Oh Andy my heart breaks for you and your family! I too know the pain of hurtful words, abandonment, and indifference. I have been struggling with a similar situation – minus the alcohol – for many years. At one time it was my mil, but my husband finally told her if she wanted to see him and the grandchildren, whom she loves dearly, that she had to treat me with the same respect I have always shown her. It really made a huge difference in our relationship with her. He told her she didn’t have to love me or be my best friend and she didn’t even need to like me, but she had to respect me and my place as the mother of his children and his wife or we were all done. It worked and now we have developed a very comfortable family life with his family. I am so thankful for that.

    Unfortunately it’s up and down with my mother. She is not an addict nor does she abuse alcohol, but she grew up in a very dysfunctional family and it filters over into our relationship every few years. My sister and I got into a tiff recently that was caused by my mother’s manipulation. Unfortunately, I realized what was happening too late. I have been told multiple times I am not welcome at her house for this or that holiday celebration and this Thanksgiving was no different. It’s hurtful to say the least and crosses into abuse at times. I am sick of it to be quite frank with you. But I have come to realize that there are very few *normal* families out there. It’s simply a matter of how dysfunctional your family is. I also believe at some point you have to decide what you will accept and what you can’t accept. Set boundaries based on those decisions and stick to them. It can’t be good for the children to see the disrespect your mother shows her family and trust me, the kids know she wants them gone hours after they arrive in her home.

    So yes, I support you 100%. If she saw the errors of her ways or was willing to get help, it would be different; but since the dysfunction continues, you have to do what you feel in your heart is best for you and your children. You may have to find some other way of getting a break from the children. Go to meetup.com and find some parent groups who swap childcare or budget some childcare for nights out for you and your wife. Stop being at the mercy of your mother, because she knows you are at her mercy and she’s using it against you. She likes yanking your chain and you are letting her do it. You have to find a way to put a stop to the madness!

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