Sunday, December 06, 2009

For Him

Posted by Anonymous.

I'm 20. I'm a full time student, training to be a teacher, working part time as a tutor. I'm living at home with my parents since it works out better for me financially, and my parents enjoy having a babysitter/chief cook and bottle washer, and I think it's a pretty low price to pay considering I live here rent and bill free.

Well. It was, until recently.

It is my mother's second marriage, and he is my step father. I have known him since I was 2, and I call him 'Dad'. I would call him my father. I noticed when they argued, but it didn't happen often. My mum had a few friends from her time at university and saw them occassionally - but since my dad got us to move when she graduated, she very rarely got to see them. My dad had no friends, and never went out at all unless it was with us, or to go to work. My mother was stuck in a new area, with no means of transport, two children under the age of 10 (myself and my older brother) and a newborn baby (my little brother, J) and a husband who refused to take her to meet people or show her around the area. At the time, she dealt with it because she knew leaving with a newborn in a new city and two school aged children was impossible. And of course, they'd just got married so there was a chance of it improving.

It never did.

Things limped on. My dad had some debts that she knew of, from before they'd met, but he refused to let her see the bank statements. One day she'd had enough, took the statements and had a confrontation. He owed (owes) an obscene amount of money. That will take the rest of his life to pay off. And he had continued spending, booking holidays, getting new credit cards to cover costs. The marriage fell apart.

And since then, it's been hell. He is insanely jealous that she has joined a gym, got fit, and made new friends and that she now goes out several nights a week. He waits up, looking out of the window, waiting to see who will give her a lift home. He constantly interrogates her about where she is going and who with and why and to do what and why is she wearing that and when did she buy that and when will she be home and how will she get home and who will drive her home. She has told him, multiple times, that she wants a divorce, that it cannot carry on, that she no longer loves him and that he needs to move out. But legally, it is half his house. She cannot make him move. And he refuses.

More than once he has just decided on a whim at the very last minute to go out to a bar, and only tells us by leaving a message on the answerphone. This happened once after my mother had already left to go for a run, expecting him home and leaving me to babysit, when he left a message. I was forced to give up my plans for the evening because I couldn't get in touch with either of them and couldn't leave my brother on his own (he has a serious heart condition which means he needs someone in the house with him at all times and regular medication). Not only that, but his beta blockers (which I can't give, since I don't know the quantities) ended up being an hour late - which could be life threatening. Because my dad was trying to stop my mother going out. He has also refused to go and pick up the beta blockers from the chemist when we'd nearly run out because, "Why should I always do it", despite the fact that he has always done it when he picks up his own medication for asthma and so on.

She has repeatedly told him not to touch her, that she is only still there because she will not move out of the house and leave my brother. His behaviour is becoming more and more erratic, whether it's from putting my brother's health at risk, or snooping through my mother's underwear drawer and her desk, or spotting my older brother in town and following him for ten minutes without actually saying hello because, "I just wanted to see what he was up to."

Tonight, my mother came home from work and went to get changed. She immediately called me upstairs to show me something. He had bought several sex books ("Foreplay Tips", "How To Please A Woman In Bed") and left them displayed on his bedside table, along with a box of chocolates that said, "GORGEOUS!" on the label. She was, understandably, very freaked out and upset since she has made it extremely clear she does not want him to be near her. She phoned my older brother, who is a police officer, for advice and she's now keeping a log of every inappropriate behaviour he displays. His behaviour isn't erratic enough to get him sectioned, he refuses to admit he is in any way creepy or inappropriate, he will not move out so that divorce proceedings can start properly. In short, he will not do anything that will make anyone's life, including his own, any easier.

My mother has started looking for houses to rent with my older brother, who has said he will move in with her and pay part of the rent. I will go with her, and possibly J, and we will fight for custody. It seems likely that we will get it, since my grandfather (my mother's father) is the one who looks after J most of the time and he has said he will not help my father look after J if there is a divorce because he does not believe he is a fit father.

My mother is feeling intimidated in her own home. My older brother and I are concerned for her well-being. And my heart breaks for my younger brother, who already has so much to deal with.

But sometimes, I just want to be selfish. I am only 20 and I am being more of a parent to J than either of my parents are right now, as well as studying, and working, and attempting to keep my 18 month relationship going. My boyfriend is very supportive (to the point of offering to rent a place and us moving in together just so I can get out of the house), but there are only so many times I can cancel plans, or say, "I'm sorry, I can't see you this week, I need to babysit" without causing tension. I am desperate for a life of my own and the more limited responsibilities of the rest of my friends.

And then I look at J and I remember losing touch with my biological father when I was his age. I remember feeling abandoned, and unloved, and worthless, and how useless must I be for my own parent to not want me. He is tall and gangling, but he is still my little brother, and he needs stability, and for someone to want his company and to laugh at his jokes, and to sometimes make him smile. So when he hugs me goodnight and I can feel his unsteady heart beat, I know that I will make my sacrifices, and I will not move out, and I will help my mother get custody, and if I need to I will live with my father so that J is not on his own. I will do it. For him.


Anonymous said...

This is an amazing post. To have that amount of strength and understanding at such a young age is fantastic. the world should have more people like you.

I hope that all works out well for all concerned.

Terri said...

Wow. I'm mighty impressed with you young lady. Right or wrong, your parents are very self absorbed right now. That will change but it is soooo good for you to recognize your brothers needs right now. It's a worthy sacrifice and I hope it all blows over soon and well.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there. This has got to be tough. If possible, have your mom seek legal counsel. There has got to be a way for her to get him out of the house rather than leaving herself, especially where there is a minor with health issues involved. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

Seems to me to be another case of a woman marrying a guy without really knowing who he was/is. Your stepdad didn't change overnight... he had all these characteristics before your mom married him & she probably refused to look them square in the eye because she was "in love".

A woman expects to stay married to a guy and not have sex with him? I mean, what's the deal with that? Also, your mom doesn't seem too intimidated to me, to be quite honest, if she's going to the gym and going out to bars and that whole bit. She seems quite uninhibited, in my view.

The marriage is clearly in the toilet and everybody should move on. I don't think your stepdad is any more of the guilty party than your mom is. Both of them sound like they have some growing up to do, if you ask me. I hope both have the common sense to not get involved with another mate until they've both sorted & straightened themselves out.

In the meantime, you and your grandfather have to raise the little one. Pretty sad situation, if you ask me. :-(

Good luck with this whole mess, honey. My thoughts will be with you.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, read it again! She doesn't expect to stay married to him; she's asked him for a divorce several times. It's just that a divorce requires one of them to move out first (for the separation), and neither of them is willing to do so. What a mess.

Original poster, you are amazing. Keep on going!

ewe are here said...

I'm amazed at how mature the poster is considering how incredibly immature both her parents are. Yes, both.

Her father is being an *ss and playing games. If her mother truly wants a divorce, she'd have moved out long ago and found a way to make it work. Instead, she's playing games, too.

I wish the poster and her older brother much luck ... as the only responsible-sounding adults, they're going to be under a lot of pressure.

Anonymous said...

Amen, ewe! Exactly!

Anonymous said...

"Oh the parents are sooooo immature!"

Like being a parent means you stop being human. How many many many many times are we going to hear stories like this before we accept that this is a part of being a human being who is hijacked by bad emotions? We can fix it without finger-pointing and holy-art-thou-ness. Andrea et. al. are just as immature by trying VERY HARD to place blame on the mother. It's like you're reaching into the bottom of shame-land to make yourselves feel better about your own martyrdom. Sad.

And for the poster, great job! You know you're doing the right thing and I hope you get the best out of life. I really do.

Stone Fox said...

you, anonymous poster, are a wonderful, caring person. your parents are *both* making bad decisions. has your stepdad ever been diagnosed with a mental illness? a lot of what you have described is beyond "eccentric." i understand that your mom has had only you and your older brother for companionship for many years; do you think that maybe the parent/child line has blurred into a best-friends relationship? i think it's really not appropriate for your mother to be telling you things about her marriage.

why is your mother still living there? why doesn't she move out and file for divorce? if her name is on the deed to the house, she can force a sale as part of the divorce.

you are only 20, and you have the right to have your own life. taking care of your whole mixed up family is NOT your responsibility, even though it may feel like if you don't do it, nobody will.

your mother is not making the best choices if she chooses to live with your stepdad simply to avoid giving up the house. a house is a building with walls and a roof. she can get a new house.

unfortunately, you have two choices: stay, or go. if you go, you have to give up feeling responsible for everyone else. if you stay, how long before you get really bitter?