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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

When I Was 18.....

A lot of  things changed for me.

I broke up with boyfriend #1 (serious boyfriend #1) and had my second romance with a man too old for me with way too much going on.  That's when I met Jamie and we had our whirlwind romance.

When we met, I was still living at home, working during the night, attending school during the day. By this this time I was old hat at burning the candle at both ends.  For nearly two years I was working 9-5 in an office and then 12-6 am doing a paper route.  Not much time to do much but work, sleep, eat and look forward to the weekends when I only worked nights.

I was in my first week of massage school when IT happened....I moved out of my mother's house in secret.  You see, I always knew I'd never get out of there.  There was something very wrong happening in that house.  My mother never wanted anyone to leave and if they did, it wasn't this happy "go fly little bird" moment.  It was always this huge fight, blow-up, screaming and slamming, things left behind for my mother to go through for "clues" as to how much more she could hold over the person's head.  Oh I remember this well.  At this writing I've been out of the house for 16+ years and everyday since, one of my siblings has lived under that roof.  My mom loves to "help" people like that.  Anyhoo, I remember clearly having these big dreams to get out and make something of myself.  Everytime I tried, she blocked me.  I wanted to go to college.  She took me (I had no car at the time) to take the entrance exam and I got in to a community college when I was 16. Then she refused to take me to sign up for classes or help in any way whatsoever.  So I started working.  She again, drove me, but pretty much every morning threatened she wouldn't because I had done something or the other to tick her off.  One day, I simply stopped begging her to take me and walked to work.  It was a LONG, long trek. My boss was pissed until she actually saw me and found out what happened.  She  knew my mother well.  She was not a fan.  So I was working and going to school and she seemed very supportive of this (which was odd because any other attempt she completely said NO...)  I walk into my house, my arms LOADED with books around 4 pm.  I have a ton of homework to do before I can go to sleep to be ready for work at midnight.  My mother, having been home all day, was sitting at the table in her bathrobe, smoking a cigarette in our trashed kitchen and declares that I must have the kitchen cleaned right NOW, so that she could make dinner.  I knew then..I wasn't going to graduate...I wasn't going to finish school.  I apparently liked it too much...something, but I knew, as I explained how much homework I had and her reply...something about being a selfish bitch (I got told that a lot) I realized she simply didn't care.  I remember something being said that if I couldn't handle school without complaining about chores, I should maybe quit.  Oy.  (Or maybe people in that house could you know, pick up after themselves instead of trashing the kitchen in my absence...there's a thought, no?)

I called Jamie, after dutifully cleaning up the kitchen while my Mom sat and smoked...I am sure after all that she just ordered pizza...a common occurrence....crying, crushed, explaining to him how I would never, ever get out of that house. No one had for any length of time and I would never be able to finish anything.  She'd stop me....He told me "Okay...come live here..." What?? LIVE WITH YOU?  No way. You are my BOYFRIEND.  I have more class than that...He told me I worked nights...he worked nights..I went to school in the day...we'd barely see each other, but that I could stay there as long as I needed.  Once he framed it like that...like a break from my mom and not a co=habitation sort of thing, I agreed.  I snuck out of my bedroom window, pulled my SUV up to the window and started gingerly loading everything I owned into that vehicle.  In my house, you didn't leave through the front door without a lot of drama and I wanted to avoid it.  I locked my bedroom door, got all my belongings...and drove away.  My mother never knew until she had to unlock my door that night to make sure I'd go to work (for her...there was ALWAYS a job available with Captain Mom and always a threat of being fired.  Fun times)  She came up to me in a total huff.  She had been worked around and she didn't know what to think.  "You could have at least said good-bye..." is what she said.  "You wouldn't have let me leave and you know it.." was my reply.  I was strong and sassy on the outside, weak and shaky on the inside.  I half expected  her to throw me down right there, but I forgot...there were people around.  My mom around people was a much different version than my Mom alone.  Something I would have done well to utilize more often during my childhood, but never really thought about until much later.

Well, Jamie and I ended up getting married, truth be known, so we could get housing together.  The couple we shared an apartment with seemed on the verge of decline, which meant Jamie would have to move back to the barracks and I'd have to move back home.  This wasn't an option at all.  If I had moved back to that house, I wouldn't be allowed to see Jamie again and it would have been a nightmare.  I was less scared of getting married to this guy I  barely knew than going back home.  Jamie knows this.  It's not a secret at all ;)  Just glad it worked out!

About three weeks after our rushed vows, we found out that the next phase was upon us.  We were going to be parents!  Yay!!  I was SO sick....Oh man, I was SO sick. Doing papers, smelling the icky newsprint, making all those turns...I couldn't do it anymore.  I just couldn't.  I gave my mom notice.  She was PIIIIISSEEED, but even she had to admit this wasn't working.  I was spending so much time on the side of the road throwing up I couldn't make deadline.  For eight weeks, I reminded her I couldn't do this anymore. There was a lot of drama, a lot of manipulating....it was not a fun time.  Finally, she found a guy who wanted to take my route.  She got him set up and had me take him out with me (strange guy...sent out in your daughter's car into the rural parts of your town for hours...what the hell was she THINKING???) and I trained him.  I was going to be FREE.  I was SO excited.  My last day was to be Sunday morning papers.  My mother called me Saturday, shortly before I needed to be there for my LAST DAY (sooooo happy) to tell me I couldn't quit now.  New guy's car was having trouble and so I would still be doing papers indefinitely until they could figure something out.  I should have known.  I was never, ever getting out of this.  Jamie was like "So what?  We'll leave YOUR car there, he can drive it..."  Oy.  My mother was furious, which I never did understand.  She was livid, but I (through Jamie's encouragement) stuck to my guns and left my vehicle at my mom's for the new guy to use.  The next morning, I get a very nasty voicemail "I hope you're happy.  You've really F**KED me over you little B****!!!"  How???  How did I do this?  I gave EIGHT weeks notice, trained a guy and gave him a vehicle?  What she lying about this guy?  Did he never intend to take it on?  Still don't know.  Never did find this out.

Apparently something worked out because I got my car back.  I still had a payment to make on it, so the plan was to use my last paycheck (I was paid two weeks behind by my mom, like everyone else in the world) to make my insurance payment for the month and start filling out day job applications.  Then the calls started "You need to pay your insurance..."  And me saying, "Uhm you have DOUBLE the amount of that payment that you still owe me.  I am going to use my last paycheck to pay my insurance and save the other half back for the car payment."  Well, according to my mother, since I quit my job with her (with EIGHT weeks) notice, she owed me nothing.  My paycheck was HERS now.  What?? Seriously??  And yep, she kept it....I went job hunting. Got a job at Target.  The day I was supposed to start this job, I get another lovely Mom call "Well, I have cancelled the insurance....you better not be driving. I"ll call the cops..." She KNEW I need to be at work.  She HAD the money to pay and she cancelled the insurance. The kicker was, I couldn't even get new insurance without HER.  Her name was in the car (as it always is, she LOOOVES helping people get cars...guess what she does then???)  And she wasn't going to do anything about this. I was stuck with this SUV, a payment and no job because I lost it because she cancelled my car insurance...

And if that wasn't enough...she called almost daily saying if I didn't pay her for the car payment and insurance, she was coming to take my car away from me.  I was in absolute misery.  Jamie....was pissed.  Here is his new wife, stuck at home, with a car he can't afford...and no job because his mother in law is crazy.  After one such 'I'm coming to take her car" voicemail, he said "Done.  She wants it...she can have it.  I'm sick of this shit...she's insane."  I was like "NO, you cannot DO that.  Not to MY mom.  She'll kill me...she'll kill you..you don't do things like this.  She must always have the upperhand if you want to survive."  He explained it logically...she was threatening me, she had put me in a position where I couldn't support myself or do for myself and would NOT budge or help me...and that this burden had to go.  This constant threat, for my own mental health, needed to be dealt with.  And so, one night, he took the SUV, without insurance, down to my mother's house....his buddy followed him.  They parked it outside my mom's house, put the keys and the payment book in the seat and drove away.  I stayed curled up in my bed until he arrived, scared out of my mind...wondering if he'd pull it off and if he did....what the consequences would be. Didn't take too long to find out...

Lots of angry voicemails.  I was called every name in the book.  I was told to call her IMMEDIATELY.  Then...I was DEAD TO HER!!

For my 19th birthday, Jamie came home with a toaster oven, then promptly called the telephone company and got our phone number changed....and unlisted.  Did that stop her?  No.  She had Jamie's pager number.  It was a pretty fancy thing back then to have a pager with a voicemail, but he did and my mom used it.

That's when more calls came in.  Oh...that I stole all her jewelry and she was calling the cops...

And MY personal favorite....'And just so you  know Jamie...that baby probably isn't even yours...you might want to call me to find out who's it is.." (And seriously y'all...that was just STUPID.  I had a boyfriend before Jamie but he was not a contender for fatherhood and if that guy was, he wouldn't tell my MOM.  He would have run away and left me high and dry. He wasn't a stand up type of guy...)

All of this because my mother lost total control of me.  For years and years....I didn't KNOW (I do now) how completely messed up this was.  I'd tell the story thinking that person listening would tell me how horrible I was to do this...but all I've ever gotten was a silent stare or maybe a "Wow, she is INSANE."  One therapist told me that it wasn't often she recommended walking away from such an important relationship, but that until my  mother received mental help, it was in my best interest to remove her from my life.

I spend the entire pregnancy with my first child somewhat afraid....I didn't know what would happen.  I did let my sister know he was coming and while I was still being stitched up, my mother calls.  Because it's all okay now.  I refused to talk to her.  She later told me that "hurt her feelings..." Seriously???  Wow.  She ended up coming over later that week.  It was awful.  Uncomfortable, but I was young, a new mom and thought I needed MY mom to help guide me.  I was also confident she could no longer do anything to me because we would be moving out of state.  Little did I know what the next few months would bring.  Another story for another day....

I tell this story often, just to recheck myself...Was this normal behavior or is my mother mentally ill?  See, she hasn't gotten any better.  She still pulls this shit.  We had another round similar to this and yet, she's never apologized.  She acknowledged this situation just recently.  She tried to tell me I had "screwed her" (actually my older brother reminded her of this, he loves reminding her of how much better HE is) and I was like 'Oh yeah...how?"  She said "That time you left me with that Explorer..." and I finally could say "Yeah... I left it there after you cancelled the insurance, threatened to take it back daily, said I stole your jewelry and told Jamie that Kyle wasn't his baby...."  She went silent.  She whispered "I had forgotten about that.."  I said, loud and clear, "Well I haven't..."  Her reply was "I was an idiot, a total idiot..."  Ya think?

How about that apology?

Never came....

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