My Novels

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Family Conflicts

So often it happens that when an abusive parent is homeless, few of the siblings want to take them in. Such is the case with my mother. But worse, she has a worthless younger brother (my uncle) who is homeless and seems to have decided he has "squatters' rights" on her own home. She is living with one of my sisters (who is furious and resentful and probably will pay with health problems eventually)...and this worthless uncle has literally taken over her home. In fact, he was a source of friction between my mother/father YEARS ago when I was a child of only six. He is a pain in the @ass. I told him so in no uncertain terms, and were it up to me, I'd have his @ss in jail for trespassing. Instead, I have simply withdrawn from the feud.

Yes, my SISTERS did help me after DH died. I kept apologizing to them that they had to help...although I think I would have managed without them. I'm a survivor. Still, I APPRECIATE what they did -- but you can believe I made sure they got PAID for all they did, in cash. There was NO charity involved.

Am I done yet? No.

It appears there will be no family gathering at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Which suits me fine. Without the crap of the holiday stuff, I can concentrate on my OWN life. I suggested they do the same.

Should you think I'm being unreasonable, just consider this scenario from my memoir:

One night after daddy had left on a long-distance trip, he suddenly reappeared at our backdoor. He whispered my name, and I came to him...and he asked where mother was. I said she was in the living room.

He showed me a gun. He said he was going to kill us all.

I begged him NOT to kill us, and cajoled, pleaded until he said..."Okay, but I want to know why your mother always lies."

(Truth is, she always did...for NO good reason.)

I had no idea what to say...but at the age of only eight, I got him calmed down a bit. I managed to persuade him to take us to my paternal grandmother's house, which he did. But he insisted he was going to kill mother. For once, she didn't escape to the neighbors; instead, she had to go with us in the car. (Most often, when this stuff happened, she would escape to a neighbors and leave us girls to suffer the consequences of daddy's rages.)

We were fortunate to be left with our grandparents, but he took mother with him. And she later said he made her stand in front of the headlights on a deserted country road while he aimed the gun at her.

Yet, she wouldn't leave him, or divorce him...until I FORCED the issue after I graduated high school. We had divorce proceedings in progress when she suddenly let him come back.

That is when I married DH. I simply could not take it any longer.

Today, in most courts, if a wife allows her children to be killed by an abusive husband/boyfriend, she is charged as an accomplice.

How glad I am that SOME laws have addressed this issue.

In some ways, I still feel my mother was a potential accomplice to our possible murder as children. That's not really a mother, is it? Just someone who got pregnant and gave birth, but NOT a parent.

Damn if I'll ever take her in NOW.

On the positive side, my fencing is finished; the dogs LOVE it, and so do I. For once I actually hired the RIGHT professional help. In fact, I think my problem with "hiring people" has been NOT hiring PROFESSIONALS. Sure, it costs a bit more...but you get what you pay for. 'Nuff said.


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog via The Southern Blog Ring. I was taking a break at work. This post hit me really hard. I had a "Leave It To Beaver" childhood. My parents were so self-sacrificing for us kids that now, as a 44 year old, I thank God daily.

I'm sorry that things are so tough in your family right now. My wife and I have to care for her mother, who is 70 and in really bad health, and my sister in law, who is handicapped and can't live alone. They have their own home one block from ours, so our situation is not too bad, we can disappear to our own house when things get emotionally out of hand over there.

Anyway, I just want to say, that I think what you are doing is right for you. The way it looks to me, is that your mother has way overdrawn her account with you, if you get my meaning. She sounds like a taker, and at a certain point, you have to say no to taking her in, to preserve your own sanity and life. Do not let your siblings pressure you into taking her, you have to watch out for yourself, even if it means a split in your relationships with them.

I hope this all works out for you, and if it means anything, I'll pray for you and your situation.

I'm glad you have Rambo, and now Oscar. I have a wonderful wife and two daughters I love very much, but I think the four poodles we have accumulated over the past 8 years has saved my sanity. I mean that with all sincerity. I have a good life, but have also suffered from major depression over much of that life. Those little critters have meant so much to me. The reception I get when I get home aggrivates my wife with all the barking, but many days, it's the first smile I can muster, and it's precious to me. Hug 'em and love 'em and let them help you carry the burden.

Just felt you needed to know someone was out here, who, though I didn't have that kind of messed up childhood, has empathy and is thinking about you.

Cara said...

Thank you so much for you compassion and understanding. I wish more people would respond to this post, particularly those who had abusive parents. So often though, many are still ashamed and/or in denial about the gritty reality and pain.

In my memoir, I am trying to be as honest and truthful as possible, though it is the most intense and painful writing I've ever done. However, in the long run, I believe it is necessary and WILL help a few people who grew up in abusive homes.

Anonymous said...

Just found this blog today and wanted to comment on this post as well. Giving birth to a child does not make one a parent. Even among well-rounded people in the society, I very often hear them say that one of the reason to have kids is so that they will look after you when you are old. And these people are indeed either a good parent or candidates to be a good parent, and yet, their reasoning and expectation is wrong. You cannot expect kids to look after you, "even" if you gave the best to them. I think I do not have to tell what I think about an abusing parent or a parent who just stood by and did nothing.. Just take care of yourself now! You owe nothing. It's your life, in which you have enough to go though already.