So I had a little outburst earlier, eh? I stand by every word! Y'all know I don't talk that way very often, but occasionally I do let some f-bombs fly around here and let my temper get the best of me. I'm not apologizing for it at all, but I do recognize that it was said in anger, and I try not to post when I'm angry. It just doesn't work sometimes! You all know it isn't just because of the silly pattern thing, right? No? Well...
I come by it honestly. (That seems to be one of my favorite things to say lately.) I get it from my mother. I'm just like her in that regard. I have a mouth like a sailor and I'm not afraid to use it. We girls (I have two older sisters; no brothers) grew up with the anger and the yelling and the cussing and terrible name-calling by my mother. She'd have a look of serious disgust on her face as she yelled and screamed about inconsequential things. Maybe we didn't do the dishes to her liking, or we slept too late, or we chewed our gum the wrong way in church. In the case of not cleaning the kitchen to her liking, we were "lazy and half-assed everything." In the case of the gum-chewing, "I was watching you and you were chewing like and old cow chewing her cud." And it wasn't said to be funny. She was serious and completely disgusted. You'd swear she hated you in those moments. And the cuss words were her specialty. It was a regular thing around our house with her. She was always angry.
My father was not a screamer, a talker, or a cusser. He'd just beat the holy shit out of us, usually for something that didn't even involve him. It would be something my mother told him we did while he was at work, usually snapping back at her when we got tired of her screaming and demeaning and hurtful words. Or it would be that we dared to show emotion. Emotions were not allowed at our house, at least not for us girls. We couldn't show anger, or frustration, or even happiness at times. I can't tell you how many times we got repeatedly slapped in the head for giggling too much. We couldn't laugh at the dinner table without annoying one of my parents.
I remember one time my sister and I were in my sister's bedroom with the door closed playing. I was 10 years old and my sister was 14. This was the last time I remember my mother physically punishing me. She kept coming in the room and tell us to quit making noise and laughing. We were playing with a tape recorder and making silly recordings of ourselves giving the weather report like on the TV or the radio. We couldn't control ourselves from laughing. It's not like we were screaming or squealing or anything like that...just two little girls giggling and playing.
She finally burst into the room and starting swinging one of my dad's Air Force uniform belts wildly while she screamed at us for making too much noise. As she was hitting me, one end of the belt came loose from her grip and the belt buckle hit me on my bare thigh. She just kept on swinging. I had a big, bleeding, open gash on my leg along with the bruises left from her beating. That was the last time she "spanked" me -- that's what they called it -- and I use that term loosely. Make no mistake...they were beatings.
Neither of my parents EVER apologized for anything they did or said. It was all in the name of punishing us and giving us discipline. "Spare the rod and spoil the child" was an often quoted scripture. Yes, they were at church every time the doors opened professing to be Christians with their perfect little family.
I remember telling my daddy that we all feared him, and I told him this more than once. His response was always the same. "It's not fear. Its respect!." How wrong he was! It WAS fear. Fear of physical and verbal abuse.
My oldest sister, and the one who suffered most at the hands of my parents because she had a very strong personality and was unwilling to accept their treatment, left home at 17 years old before graduating from high school. She ended up graduating, she said because she knew my mom and dad didn't think she would do it and she wanted to prove them wrong. My oldest sister is 6 years older than me, so I never really knew her growing up. Mostly all I remember is her fights with my mother and the beatings she would endure once my father got home. I was 11 when she left home for the last time.
My other sister, who was the one I feel suffered the least at the hands of our parents (except for my mom's verbal abuse), also left home very soon after graduating at 18 years old. She married a guy she knew she didn't love and, within a few months, moved to Italy. (Her husband was in the Air Force.)
That left me at home as the only child beginning at 14 years of age. I was 15 or 16 years old the last time my daddy beat me with a belt. I pissed in my pants while he swung the belt. He beat me because I got mad because my mother told me I couldn't go to my girlfriend's house "just because she said so." I went into my room and slammed something down on a table and my father heard it. He burst into the room and started swinging that belt. I always thought he enjoyed it a little too much. I always felt he got something out of it...some kind of pleasure or feeling of control or dominance or something. He claims he was severely abused as a child by his father, and I don't doubt that, but you'd think he wouldn't want to duplicate that behavior with his own children, but he did. We never did anything serious enough to justify a beating like he doled out. What could be THAT bad? Maybe hurting a child or stealing from an old woman or getting arrested for something? That was never the case. It was always for "talking back" or not minding or leaving the house without permission -- nothing that warranted the beatings and shaming we received.
I also remember that after a lot of the beatings, my mother would come into my bedroom after a few hours with a glass of water and some aspirin for me to take to help with the pain. She'd act all remorseful, but she'd never outright say anything. Just the act of trying to help after the fact made her feel better, I guess. I have no idea. I always thought that was weird...so she did have some kind of conscience and realization that it was wrong.
Weirdly, except for a few years after my oldest sister left home, we all still loved our parents and wanted their approval. We still do. Me and my other sister that had children (two boys each) did not ever even consider keeping our children away from them because we knew they would never hurt our children. Being a grandparent is MUCH different than being a parent.
All of this is to say when my son told me he "was not comfortable with me keeping his daughter because of the way he was brought up," AFTER she was born and they had accepted gifts and money from me the entire time his girlfriend was pregnant knowing full well what he was going to do to me, I was totally floored. Neither of my boys had ever once mentioned anything about their childhood to me, NEVER. I had never treated either of my children as I had been treated as a child. Yes, I cussed and yelled sometimes, like nearly every parent, but it wasn't over the top or anywhere close to being abusive. And they NEVER received beatings. They were swatted on the behind with our hand or a hairbrush, but that was it. The time I used the hairbrush was when my son took a rock and scratched all over the side of my brand-new Camaro in the driveway. I think I swatted him twice and the handle broke off the cheap-o hairbrush I had used, you know, one of those paddle-type brushes.
I believe that most of my sons' problems with me is because I left their father AND THEM when they were 6 and 8 years old. I had begun drinking after I told my husband I wanted a divorce almost two years earlier. He begged me to stay, so I did. Nothing changed except that we rarely saw each other because we worked opposite shifts, he during the day and me at night. I was aware that he had girlfriend(s). It was brought to my attention by my sons that after I would leave for work at night, my husband would take the boys and go meet his girlfriend at a park or an apartment or wherever. Can you imagine being told that by your four-year-old? Also, a lifeguard at the pool I'd always take them to asked me if I was the boys' mother because their father was always there with another woman. I'd come home from work early and find a woman in my house, and I'd show up at his softballs games only to find one of his girlfriends there. It goes on and on. We both lived separate lives and had relationships outside of our marriage during those last two years. It was no way to live and certainly no environment in which to raise two children.
I left with only a suitcase of clothes and my car on December 23, 1988. I filed for divorce and had joint custody with him as managing conservator at my request. In essence, I left my husband AND my children. I felt it was the best decision FOR THEM at the time. It was the most painful experience in my life the night I left my children and told them goodbye. My heart felt as if it were ripped from my body. My alcohol consumption gradually got worse and worse. I was a high-functioning alcoholic. I was a police offer working the night shift with no possibility of getting a day shift. (I never drank before or during work in case you're wondering!) I didn't feel I could properly take care of my children during the day and get enough sleep to do my job safely, get them to school and everything else that goes along with raising two kids, and also be gone to my job at night. I had my kids every other weekend when I was able and also on certain holidays. Working at night 5 days a week and having Thursday and Friday nights off did not allow me much time with them, especially when they were in school during the week days. There were also times that I cancelled my weekend with them altogether because I needed the sleep or I was sick or, honestly, I just wanted to drink and not feel anything.
I eventually quit my job and moved to Boise, Idaho, basically trying to run away from my problems and guilt over my children. This was the worst time as far as the alcoholism. I drank heavily when I was off work, but I still was able to work at my job at the Sheriff's Office as a police and fire dispatcher. You had to work two years in that position or in the jail before you could become an officer there. That lasted six months, and I wanted to come home. (During that six months, I had flown my children out to visit for a week.)
Once I got back "home" to Texas, I immediately moved in with The Captain, who I had previously dated. He was so good to take me in after I had dropped him and married someone else and moved away! I had nowhere else to go, no job, and no money. My drinking was completely out of control. I made a couple of suicide attempts with prescription medicine and alcohol. I was a mess. The Captain saved my life more than once and stood by me while I got myself straightened out, which took about two years total -- relapsing and getting sober, relapsing again, getting sober again, etc.
With my husband's support and by the Grace of God, I was finally clean. I lost all taste and desire for alcohol, which remains still today. I drink alcohol maybe once or twice a year now, and then it's not but one or two drinks or beers max, no problem. I probably shouldn't even do that if I stuck strictly to the rules of being sober, but I do.
Anyway, my children have taken it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and punishers with me by not allowing me to have my grandchildren (now two little girls) or have any kind of relationship with them. My son with the two girls has told many lies about me to his baby-momma and her family (why you would even need to make it sound worse, I have no idea). We had a good relationship, the best it had ever been, in the couple of years leading up to his relationship with this girl and during her pregnancy, and then BAM! He lays all this shit on me and blames his bad behavior (a family violence arrest and God knows what else) on ME. Everything is my fault. I cannot be trusted with a child. He has embarrassed and shamed me and outright lied about me. I know this because I spoke to his girlfriend's mother on the phone and she told me things he had said about me. On top of all that, he used me for what he could get knowing all along that he was going to pull this shit on me after his child was born.
I take full responsibility for not being the parent I should have been and not being there for my sons when they were children. I have apologized more than a few times. I have tried to talk to both of them about it all, but I never get the truth about how they feel from their own mouths.
I don't know what else I can do but live my life well, as I have for the past 20 years. TWENTY YEARS, but I still must be judged and pay for my mistakes when I was 24 years old? I have lived with the guilt and the regrets for long enough. I refuse to live that way any longer. It's not up to my sons to punish me. God will deal with me when the time comes about all that.
On top of all that, I have now become estranged from my entire immediately family over this. After explaining how my sons have behaved and knowing what they are doing to me, my sisters and parents say they support me, but they continue to have relationships with my sons and granddaughters against my wishes. My mother and father invite them over for dinners and have relationships with MY granddaughters while I do not. How am I supposed to react to that? What message is that sending my boys? At best, it's tacitly saying that what they are doing to me is okay. They will stand by and let my children treat me like total shit as if nothing has happened.
My parents are old. My mother is 79, and my father is 81. When I ask my mother why they refuse to stand behind me, my mother says they are too old and they don't want to live what little time they have left without seeing their grandsons and great-granddaughters. What about me, their daughter?
The last time I talked to my sister that lives here on the phone, she made it a point to tell me that she "talks to my kids all the time." What am I supposed to say to that when it's exactly the opposite of what I want?
The last time I communicated with my other sister was via email, and she proceeded to tell me how my family thinks I'm mentally ill and need professional help! OH MY GOD. Seriously? And she said it was wrong of me to ask them not to have relationships with my sons just because we had "a disagreement." OH MY GOD AGAIN! A disagreement? Really? She says my reaction is not normal. What is a "normal" reaction when your son tells you that you are not trusted with your own grandchildren?
What do I expect from my family? I'll tell you EXACTLY what. This is what I expected they would say to my sons, or something along these lines:
"You're my grandsons and I love you with all my heart, but I will never love anybody more than I love my very own daughter. My loyalty lies with her. It always has and it always will. I hope the two of you work out your differences soon. Until that happens you and I won't be able to have as close a relationship as I'd like us to have."
Is that wrong of me? Would you not expect your parents to stand with you and support you in this way?
Sometimes I feel like I can't take all of this emotional torment one more day, one more hour, or one more minute! It's too much! And besides, it's too late. If my family didn't have the response I wanted and didn't even consider it, what is left? It says a lot about how they feel....no, it says it all.
This is my opinion, my life as I saw it, and absolutely the truth. There are plenty of details and events that have yet to be told, but it just wasn't feasible to put every detail here. I have tried to be fair and tell you the truth about my own transgressions, faults, flaws, or whatever you want to call them. I realize there may be people who saw these events in a different way from a different perspective. I've just told them as I remember them and as they affected me.
I would like to add that my parents provided very well for us girls. We didn't want for anything materially, and there were moments when my parents were loving and normal people. I know there are much worse stories and experiences people have had growing up. I'm not whining. I'm simply stating what portions of my life were like...MY experience.
I'm all talked out. I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about comments or advice or opinions or anything else in regard to this post. I will publish your comments and read them all, but please don't expect a response from me. I'm not even sure how I'm going to feel about putting all this "out there" when I wake up tomorrow. But here it is, and I will not remove it.