Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother, Dearest?

Posted by Anonymous.

My mother. How do I describe my mother?

I am nearing 25, happily married to a wonderful man and a new mother to a baby girl that is the center of my world. I have a 16 year old sister who still lives with our mother, alone. The two of them live together in the charming small town I graduated high school from, while my sister attends a Christian private high school - totally different from my own upbringing.

My mother is someone that I can no longer recognize. The last time we spoke was December 24th, 2004, when I told her on the phone that I was engaged. She told me that I was stupid, irresponsible, she wanted nothing to do with this, and that I had no business getting married. Granted, I was only 20 years old, but I was responsible, being as I had been on my own since two weeks after I turned 18; self-sufficient and still in college.

She has never had a successful, happy relationship, and I think she was jealous. She suffers from severe depression, is bipolar, and I believe an alcoholic. She divorced my stepfather, my sister's father, in 2001, and he died in 2002. Their marriage was certainly never the stuff of romance novels - he was a cocaine addict, consistently had affairs throughout their nine-year marriage, and lived with us probably only for a total of a year during that time. Thusly, she was damaged, angry, and broken.

She is an angry, violent, bitter person. She took out her wrath on me during my childhood with belts, fists, and words. I spent at least a third of my life either recovering from bruises or "you are so worthless, I never should have kept you". I spent years in therapy, with the idea that I would be able to recover from the damage my mother and stepfather's marriage had inflicted on me, but we always seemed to spend the time discussing my mother's dysfunction instead.

My sister is now caught in the crossfire. She is nearing her 17th birthday, and does not acknowledge publicly that she has a sister. I believe she is brainwashed to say these things to the people around her; that if my mother ever heard her admit my existence, she would suffer the same fate as I. Recently, I received a phone call from one of my mother's brothers, a dear man that I don't know well as a result of his estranged relationship with her. He told me, reluctantly, that my sister had gone to a party with some friends from school, decided to experiment with alcohol, and had gotten drunk. A male friend from school attacked and raped her.

She is a Type 1 diabetic, and ended up in intensive care after the attack from diabetic ketoacidosis, in and out of a comatose state. My mother is enraged. She has called my sister every name she can think of, and has told her repeatedly that it was her fault. My sister is on virtual lockdown and does not even think without permission.

Consequently, I am thisclose to purchasing a plane ticket and flying out to my home state to see her. My husband and I want custody of her, but it will be difficult securing and paying for an attorney five states away, plus, my mother will undoubtedly pull out all the stops to fight me every step of the way.

I do not know how to deal with this woman any longer. I had every intention of calling her, finally, after the birth of my daughter six weeks ago, to share the wonderful news with her that she had a grandchild. But that same day was the day I recieved this news, and my heart has grown colder towards her. I no longer believe I can ever have a positive relationship with this woman ever again, particularly not as long as she tries to not only keep my beloved sister from me, but that she works to damage her as she did me.

I've wanted for years to have an intact family unit and to have not brought this darkness down on my husband's family, but thankfully they are wonderful, forgiving, lovely people who do not judge me based on my familial background. They are my family now, and I love them wholeheartedly.

My question is, is it even feasible or realistic to ever hope to have a relationship with my mother ever again, and is it even more unrealistic, if not, to fight for my sister's life? I am willing to sacrifice my relationship permanently with my mother to save my baby sister and bring her here to me.

I welcome any and all advice.


Joy said...

Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter.

I think that it is totally unrealistic to expect any type of normal relationship with your mother. Given her past with you, and what she's doing to your sister, she is not likely to ever change. And besides, do you want your daughter to experience that behavior and attitude, even in a passive way?

I don't know about your sister. Is it even possible to save someone? Does she want saving? Could she accept salvation from you, given your mother's attitude and years of brainwashing?

Not to be too negative, but I would talk carefully with my partner, my therapist, about the potential impact of such a decision on your daughter, and your family life. Your daughter has to come first, and you need to take care of yourself, in order to take care of her, and possibly your sister, if that is what you need to do.

Please be cautious, and careful. I wish you all the strength you need in the days ahead.

Anonymous said...

Your sister is nearing age 17. Any court battle you instigated now would take TIME, not just money. As I see it, best thing to do there is to make sure your sister has an open line to find you when she is of age, and can make that choice on her own.

As for your Mom, I see little hope for reconciliation there.

Karen said...

Oh sweetheart I am so sorry you had to grow up with a mother like that.

If you do try to reconnect with her, please make sure to be careful where your daughter is concerned. It is your job now as her mother to protect her. You sound like you are a loving and caring person and wonderful mother, no thanks to your own mother.

I agree that since your sister is 17, there is not alot you can do to get custody. All you can do is try and make sure she knows you are there for her when she is ready. It may take some time, but hopefully she will see you are a very strong woman with a good heart. You were strong enough to break away from your mother and break the cycle.

It sounds like you have a loving and supportive family now and have found some peace. Hold on tight and love that sweet baby girl of yours.

Good luck and good thought going out to you.

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll get in touch with your sister and let her know you will be there for her if or when she is ready.

She sounds like she's got an awful lot of people exerting damaging control over her life. If you can offer a meaningful alternative--support, respect and help but without taking away her own agency--she may be more likely to see for herself that you care about her and want the best for her.

I wish you both all good things.

Anonymous said...

Original poster here.

Thank you all, for your warm advice and supportiveness. And thank you, Catherine, for posting it. I got your email last night, everything is just fine.

Currently the only person exerting control over my sister's life is my mother - she has no one else right now besides her coworkers at her VERY part time job, if she's even been allowed to keep that. My mom has completely cut her off from the rest of the world outside of school, and I am quite certain she is driven to and from each day, so as to not be able to have any amount of freedom at all.

She will be 17 in four weeks now. I am starting to agree that a custody battle would take months as well as money that I certainly do not have, and even if I did, I think I have something even more precious to think about. I am still considering taking a quiet flight to my hometown, without letting anyone know first but my husband, and tracking her down either through our next door neighbor or at her workplace, provided my mother is not there watching, of course. I would not put anything past her.

I could just scream at the years I have missed with my sister, for what we went through together, and for what I am quite sure she is enduring now.

Anonymous said...

I'm also a type I diabetic, and if for no other reason than the fact that she is not receiving appropriate medical care your mother should be turned over to child welfare. Your sister is still a minor and clearly needs medical and psychological care desperately.

I'm so sorry you're having to go through this. Please take care of yourself and your new baby. What an awful time.


Connect with your sister immediately, and let her know (without your mom's knowledge) that you are there for her to come to. Your sister is old enough to make the legal choice to live with you..and it won't cost anything but time in family court...At seventeen, she is old enough to be out of that house anyway.

Please contact your sister asap and reach out!!!!!! Please give her an option. She does NOT have to live with that woman. YOU CAN make a difference! You have to make a difference!!!

Anonymous said...

I know it seems like a huge deal to cut off a parent, even an abusive one, but I did it with my father and I am not sorry and I would do it again. This is not to say that I don't miss having a "normal" family - I do - but the truth is, I am missing a thing I never had in the first place.

You are not a bad person for not wanting to take her abuse anymore. She is CHOOSING to endanger her relationship with you, again and again. She is making that choice. If she were to CHOOSE to treat you with the respect a human being deserved - if she were to choose to admit her mistakes and apologize, for example - you could choose to have a relationship with her once again. But she is not choosing that. So it is not your fault if you need to stop talking to her. That is her choice, to push you to that point. It's not your job to shield your mother from the consequences of the bad choices she is making in her relationship with you.

You sister certainly needs help, and it's very good of you to want to help her, and it's the right thing to do. But she might not want you to help her. She is nearly an adult now. You will have to let her choose. I think you should go to her, and ask her what she wants.

PaciMama said...

Original poster here again. I'm throwing anonymity to the wind since my blog is unknown to family and most friends anyway.

Anon 7:56, you brought tears to my eyes with "It's not your job to shield your mother from the consequences of the bad choices she is making in her relationship with you." I am suffering so much guilt with, even as much as I want to hate her and nearly do, the fact that I have to choose to stay away from a mother I once loved more than anything else in the entire world; and worse, keep my own sweet daughter away from her.

The problem with being able to go to my sister and ask her what she wants is that she lives five states away, I can't pick up and leave anytime I want (huz works 100+ hours a week and I am a SAHM), and cannot contact her via letter, phone, or online. (Mom monitors all her activity). I've tried getting neighbors to reach her for me, to no avail. They have their own lives, and can't make this as much a priority as I would need.

The only person I have to contact her for me is my uncle, who is the person that called me the day I wrote of to tell me she was attacked, and my mother has shut him out of her life recently - AGAIN. So he can't even contact her for me.

I am just so f*cking frustrated and worried for my sister. I know she is trapped, and needs me.

Beth said...

Wow, I admire your courage and your love. Wish I had great easy advice for you, but I'm sending prayers your way.

When you can go, if you can go, then go to her and let her know you're there for her. And for your own protection, I would take someone else, and maybe not your daughter? Your mom strikes me as someone who could be dangerous in the right (or wrong) set of circumstances. If you go, I would try to enlist someone at her school to help you. Chances are, they recognize your mother's negative influences and may be receptive to finding a way to help your sister.

What about a letter/e-mail to your sister's work to establish contact? Part of me wonders if you should call child protective services, if for no other reason than the diabetes...but I know that can create as many problems as it solves. Crap, no easy answers, huh?

It may take her years (away from your mom) and lots of therapy to truly be able to accept help and love from you. But I sense that your sister-love is so true, that she will, in fact, come around, come back to you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I just want to wish you well with this problem. You deserved a better mother, so does your sister, but keep her away from your daughter because emtional manipulators do untold damage.

Anonymous said...

Call her school and leave your contact info there for her to reach you. Good luck xo.

Kendra said...

Wishing you the best...this is a horrible situation. Your mother sounds like a big ball o' toxic and I'm not sure there's much there to salvage.

As for your sister, I agree with the other diabetic who posted above that outside intervention may be needed to prevent another hospitalization. I too have Type I and I am extremely concerned that your sister is not receiving appropriate medical care. Type I requires nearly constant monitoring and many teenagers are not yet up to the task...they need help. If your mother can't take care of herself, how can she help your sister? Her emotional welfare is an entire other issue, but at this point it appears to be secondary to the most immediate threat on her life: medical neglect by her mother.

PaciMama said...

I agree with the diabetic posters and those who discussed calling some form of CPS. I hadn't thought about it before, but hell, I called CPS on her myself when I was 14 and got her arrested. The charges were later dropped (I refused to make an additional statement due to pressure from her) but I'm concerned that if I do that, she's worse off in the system with some foster family that could beat her or molest her. I don't know if the authorities would give her to me since i'm ten hours away. Does anyone have any experience with this sort of thing?

PaciMama said...

Anon 5:24, I'm not sure if they would give her my message. I would not put it past my mother to have told them about me to keep such a thing from happening. But it's a good idea. I do have her work number, but I'm disinclined to call her there - too emotional, and I don't want to get her fired from her only escape from home.

Angela said...

Perhaps calling the high school counselor and discussing this with her would help? I know the diabetes is frightening, but what about the rape? She needs help with that, and talking with the high school counselor might open a window for that.

Best of luck with your sister.

And as for your mother. I dare say if she didn't have the family tie to you you would never even consider having her a part of your life. Well, she does have that tie, but should that really change anything? Just because someone is family doesn't mean they have the right to treat you poorly. Instead they should treat you BETTER than a stranger. It's hard, but I'd cut her off completely. Maybe someday she'll realize what she's done and you might be open to having a guarded relationship with her later. But I wouldn't hold out much hope. You can forgive her for what she's done eventually, but you don't need to leave yourself or your daughter and husband open to take her abuse anymore.