This weekend was to be about my step dad and his special birthday. Last few years have been tough – he was forced to retire, he got sick with prostate cancer, after surgery seemed to be doing a little better then he had a stroke … it has taken quite a toll on him and he has aged a lot and continues to be fragile. I try to spend as much time with him as possible and I find many little things to celebrate, keep him busy and smiling.
He is originally from Ecuador so today I wanted to take him to this great Ecuadoran restaurant but my selfish, narcissistic mother decides she is too sick to go out, and she goes on and on about how we don’t care about her – since we decided to go out without her. Mind you she is the healthiest 70+ aged person I know physically; but mentally is an entirely different story. She wants to stay in her room, feeling sorry for herself, lying to herself and anyone else willing to listen to her. I refused to allow my step dad to suffer in solitude any longer. Life is too short.
My step dad and my mother have been married for 34 years. Throughout their marriage, my mom has tried to control virtually every aspect of his life, including what he could say, what he should eat, what he should wear, who he could be friends with — the list goes on and on. She did the same to me throughout my childhood – is it any wonder that I moved out before I even finished HS?! She attempts to control me throughout my entire adult life, too.
She calls me many times a day to find out where I am, who I am with, what we are doing — and to reprimand me on my behavior. I help my mom every day, with almost every aspect of her life. She continues to criticize and reprimand. There is no one else who will help care for her, and she has no real friends – although she does talk, really tell tall tales – to her younger sisters living in Florida and Puerto Rico.
All my life, I have always yearned for a normal relationship with my mother and now especially I want us to peacefully and respectfully enjoy our few years together. I love and respect her very much, but I am ashamed to say, I don’t like my mother. I love my step father – especially for putting up with her all these years. But he does deserve to have some life of his own. Even if that means having to deal with my mother’s wrath afterwards. Life is way too short to stop living your life because someone else can’t deal with it.
I find my mother to be nasty, bitter, hateful, argumentative, un-supportive and the meanest person I know. She’s always been this way, but it’s getting worse as she gets older … or maybe my tolerance of her behavior has shifted. I can’t talk to her nicely or try to explain my point without her snapping at me and starting an argument. If you say to her “why are you arguing” she says, “You are, not me”. It’s always the other person, never her. You are damned if you talk to her, and damned if you don’t talk to her. It’s like walking on eggshells all the time. You never know when the venom is coming. She talks about people in a nasty manner. She lies and when you call her on it, she denies it. She starts trouble with my step dad, me – even my 12 year old terrier. My three older sisters barely have anything to do with her in the last ten years. No one wants to be around her because she is so nasty. Sadly, she is toxic and I have given up hope she will change or see the error in her ways.
So I count to ten, I write, I vent to my friends, I cry and I pray. I pray that God keeps giving me the strength to deal with her because on those rare moments when I can get her out of her room and she smiles – she makes me so happy. I cry, I pray, I keep moving forward … with grace in my step and hope in my heart.