Tag Archives: hurt

Something to Think About

Standard

It is my hope that all you stepmom readers will learn something from my experience of losing both my husband and stepsons.  Some stepmoms may wonder why they should try to get along with the mother of the kids.  Why shouldn’t you is what I want to know?  I realize that some mothers are difficult to endure.  Some  are hostile, weird, crazy, jealous, insensitive, manipulative, beastly, petty—fill in the blank.  Eliza was all that and then some!  You might be thinking, Well you don’t know my husband’s ex!  While I might not know her personally, I do know the archetype.

Even though I know I tried my very best to smooth things over between she and I (in the last two years), she didn’t.  I could only control myself, and rightly focused on changing my attitude about her instead of trying to force  her to be different.

Therefore, I want to make sure that you are doing everything on your end to be peacable.  Please pick and choose your battles and think of your situation with the end in mind.  We all know that stepparents have no legal rights to their stepchildren.  Your husband is truly that connecting force between you two.  Unless, you have a stable relationship with the mother, that is (especially in the event of death and/or the children are not of age).  No him or her=no stepchildren.  You can’t force/demand/court order the biological parent to allow you to interact with their kids.   

As you see in my case, it is to your benefit to get along with the mother of the children.  I truly wish that Eliza would have honored my role and feelings.  There is no compelling reason that Nicholas and I should not have the boys in our lives.  It still hurts that she is punishing us in this manner.

If you are giving it the best that you’ve got, I heartily encourage you to keep up the good work!  Life offers few fairy tale endings and your efforts alone may not produce the desired outcome.  But speaking from experience, you won’t regret trying.

I do, however, wish that I would have had this attitude from the very inception.  While I wasn’t the one who started the fires and mostly ignored her combustive behavior, I wouldn’t have spit on her if she was on fire (as the old saying goes)!  I felt like it wasn’t my “job” to appease her (or get along with her) in any manner.  Afterall, it was her who was causing trouble, being difficult, and behaving in a bellicose manner!

So if you are holding onto grudges, insecurites, myths about the ex, things your stepchildren told you she said,  past hurts, or any other minute issues (and if it’s not life or death—IT IS SMALL!) stop while you still have time to regroup, reflect, and reposition yourself.  Like it or not, she will always be their mother.  You can’t “wish” her away or pretend she doesn’t exist.  Figure out exactly what you want your blended family life to be and go for it.  Wake up and change directions while you still can.  Most anything is possible because everyday is a new day.  Even if you can’t have peace with her because of her relunctance (or disinterest) you can have it within for trying.

With that being said,  if you still can’t think of any reason under the sun as to why it would be a good idea to be on stable ground with your husband’s ex; think about your stepchild(ren) and your life without them in it.

Advertisements

Twisted Sister

Standard

I vividly recall the day I first met my husband and his sister.  He was quiet and shy, but her, not so much.  It was obvious that he and I liked each other and she thought our crush was the cutest thing.  She wasn’t around a lot because she was too busy chasing boys.  I remember her as his wild big sister, the black sheep of the family.  Back in the day she liked me.  But that was then…

She was never rude to me directly because my husband wouldn’t tolerate it.  So she carefully veiled her animosity toward me in hopes that he wouldn’t notice.  He did.  She resented that I was number one in his life.  It was very clear how much he adored me. 

 The summer we spent looking for our first home we stayed in his grandparents house, who had both recently died.  The heat was sweltering!  I was quite surprised when my SIL came over to take our refridgerator!  She already had one so she kept it on her front porch!  The comment that she made to her brother said it all “Morocco can go and buy y’all  a new one.”   I assume she felt this way because I had just bought a new car.   

During our courtship she started to connect with Eliza because they had a mutual enemy in common: ME.  I asked my husband what exactly had I done to his sister.   He replied nothing, and that she never wanted him to be with anyone.  She always found a reason not to like whomever he was with.  She was iffy with Eliza , too when they were together.  Yet, Eliza tended to cater to her to be accepted so it wasn’t a major problem.  I, on the otherhand, ignored her once I realized that something wasn’t right.  I didn’t see any need to suck up.

When we got married and had Nicholas she was very upset and cried bitterly.  My other SIL told us this.  My husband just shook his head about his crazy sister’s reaction.

She did many other things throughout the years which caused him to stop interacting with her.  He loved his sister but did not like her ways.  We both felt she had a weird fixation with him.  It just wasn’t healthy.  In fact, we even compared her toTony Montana from the movie Scarface because of the questionable love he had for his sister. 

One time we stopped by her house and she took a shower while we were there.  She actually came into the living room with a very small towel wrapped around her body.  However, you could very clearly see all of her vagina and parts of her breasts.  I was very uncomfortable and appalled!  She simply said “excuse me y’all” as she sauntered on through!  My husband also said this freaked him out and was very disgusted by her indecent behavior.  He said she scared him.

And she blamed me that she did not have a relationship with him.  I guess it had nothing to do with:

  • Her smoking “funny smelling cigarettes” in front of the boys.  I’m sure you can guess what she was smoking!  My husband was livid! 
  • She had no control over her tongue and would say whatever came to mind–even in front of the children
  • My SIL told Eliza that she did not like me (Eliza was thrilled with this nugget of information and couldn’t wait to share it with us)
  • She told me that she liked Eliza because “she don’t want my brother.” Huh?…was all I could think
  • When Eliza refused to let my husband get the boys she still allowed my SIL to get them.  If she was mad at her brother for whatever reason, she would not let him pick up his own kids from her house.  Once he tried to do so anyway and she called Eliza on him!
  • She is very materialistic and jealous-hearted
  • She has tried to run his life over the years and is very overbearing
  • She wanted my husband to take care of her and her daughter.  She would often ask him for money and would get angry when he said no.  She also tried to force him to babysit a lot
  • She often badmouthed him to their friends and family and painted the picture that he was upset with her for no reason
  • She thought my husband was wrong for not continuing to interact with his former stepson and often made an issue of it.  She would assert that he was still her nephew and that he was always going to be his son.  I was blamed for this, too
  • Her opportunistic ways
  • She kept drama going with many other people

The night he died I had a sneaking suspicion that she would not handle it well and act crazy.  I braced myself before calling.  I attempted to reach her but couldn’t.  My BIL tried as well as his aunt to no avail.  I even waited at the hospital for close to seven hours in part for her to get there.  She never made it and I was blamed for this, too.  She claimed that I did not try to call her at all.

From the day he died (Saturday) until Tuesday, she behaved very poorly to say the least.  She was running around foaming at the mouth with her hatred of me.  She told several of her family members that “she manipulated him away from us.”  They countered her point of view because of course, I had not.  She managed to do that without my help because he interacted with everyone except for her.

It really bothered her that she was the only one with these feelings of rancor.  His aunt told me that one night after Nicholas and I left her house,  my SIL started crying saying to her “You love Morocco, don’t you!”

She assisted and encouraged Eliza’s family in taking the boys away from me.  She also stated that they should be with “family” and provided the name of the hospital in which Evan was located.

What blew my mind the most was that she called the coroner’s office and asked them NOT to release the body to me because we were ONLY related by law!  That crushed me more than anything!!!   She also thought I was going to have him cremated and wanted to prevent that from taking place.  I found out about the call from the funeral director.

Enough of my in-laws finally got fed up with her and chastised her callous, immature behavior.  I suppose they let her carry on as long as they did because she was grieving the loss of her brother–who knows?  On  Tuesday I went to make the funeral arrangements and she came along with my BIL (much to my dismay).  When the funeral director addressed me by my last name; guess who answered, too?!  Granted she had only been married for a week (she did not invite or call to tell her beloved brother about her small wedding), but still, she should have known that he was referring to me!

After I finished and was leaving out, she stopped me to apologize.  She then started to cry saying ”  Morocco, whatever it is I’ve done, I’m sorry.  But I should have never taught my brother how to live without me.”  I had no idea what she was talking about, but I replied “All he did was get married and have a family.  He was still your brother.” I had no fight left in me as I limply tried to comfort her. 

Since that day she has been full of praise for me.  Over the course of the last two months she has called many times saying what a wonderful wife I was to her brother, and mom and stepmom to her nephews.  She has left so many sickeningly sweet messages that half the time I can’t bear to listen to them. They are filled with phrases of love, admiration, and kinship.  It makes me soooo uncomfortable!  How can one change their heart so rapidly?!  I can only think of how she betrayed me with her Judas kiss.

But when the boys were in town two weeks ago and at her house, do you think she called me over for a visit?  I haven’t heard from her in almost three weeks.  And she knows that I am aware that they were in town.  Maybe she feels bad.

My husband would not be surprised by her behavior in the slightest.  He knew his sister well.  And he would be in a rage about the way she treated me.  If she thought he had disowned her then…

She is one of those people that I have a hard time loving.  I definitely struggle with forgiving her.  Do you see why?  During my time of deepest sorrow I had to deal with both her and Eliza’s crazy clan.  The state of shock I was in definitely preserved my sanity that they so desperately tried to break.

I Bet She’s Happy

Standard

Call me crazy, but I thought that Eliza would want the boys to stay with me for many reasons, namely because:

  1. They were in a stable environment
  2. They have been through a lot
  3. It is their home
  4. She knew that  I would continue escorting them to visit her
  5. I love them and have their best interests at heart
  6. I have treated her kindly and with respect
  7. I encouraged the kids to continue their relationship with her

So when they were taken from me, needless to say, I was very hurt and devastated.  I felt betrayed in a sense.  Every letter that she wrote in praise/support/encouragement of me must have been false.  She was only hugging me to find the best spot to stab me in the back.

She didn’t even have the courtesy to send her sympathies.

Why would she want them with her unstable siblings?  She and her sister do not have a good relationship and are quite jealous of one another.  In fact, at one visit she confided in me that she actually hates her sister.  Not to mention, her sister barely cares for her own two children.  I don’t see how she would be able to take them to visit Eliza on a regular basis considering that she lives many states away.

And her brother–forget about it!  The kids would be better off being raised by a pack of wolves than him.  That would be like appointing my brother, Jazmine’s father, to raise Nicholas if something happened to me!  This is too scary to even imagine.  Though my brother is my kin, I know emphatically that he would not be the best candidate to raise my son.  I’d much rather him be with a nonrelative than a relative with a lack of morals, human decency, and common sense.

Here’s why I think she would want her family to have them:

  1. She feels that they owe her as both were indirectly involved in her crime
  2. They are “family”
  3. I’m not “family” and she could care less about Nicholas
  4. Her sister will probably accept her collect calls
  5. She doesn’t have to deal with me i.e. via mail or in person, in other words, she won’t have to pretend to like me
  6. She is still nursing a grudge
  7. She never wanted them to have a relationship with me in the first place and does not want them to love me
  8. She doesn’t like to share
  9. She wants her family to keep any “benefits” (social security) in the family
  10. She is willing to sacrifice their wellbeing/happiness in order to punish me
  11. She doesn’t care about my feelings
  12. It’s hard to villify the person caring for your kids
  13. I am a reminder that her first marriage did not work
  14. She detested my husband
  15. She detests me

It seems that things have worked in her favor.  Eliza would have to know that my heart is broken into a million little pieces which I’m sure the very thought fills her with joy.  She does not have to fight for custody of the boys after she is released.  Nor does she have to pay the court-ordered child support that has been accumulating since her incarceration.  Finally she will have the kids all to herself!

I know I have to let it go because it is out of my control–something easier said than done.  I’m really having a hard time with everything.  However, I had the feeling last night that I should pray for them, Eliza and her siblings. You are supposed to pray for the people who persecute you. 

And I will continue to pray that God will protect Ethan and Evan from any harm.

Sister Act

Standard

Several days ago I was told by a couple of family members that my 21-year-old sister got married last week.  I felt so distressed hearing that! I assumed that my sister was playing a joke; but was shocked to find that she wasn’t.  I am bothered that she didn’t bother to call me.  Plain and simple my feelings are hurt!

I must begin by telling you all that I am the oldest of five siblings.  I have two sisters and three brothers.  Chloe, my youngest sister was born when I was nine. 

She was a gorgeous baby.  When I first saw the chubby bundle of cafe au lait that mother held in her arms, I was in love.  Her face was even shaped like a heart!  Chloe had dark, thick wurly (a mixture of waves and curls) hair with big doe-like brown eyes and a tiny button nose.  Her skin was soft and smooth.  She stared into my eyes as she sucked daintily on her petite thumb (a habit that she has not abandoned).  In a word she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.  Even to this day, there are not many babies that I would place on par with her.

Chloe was a good, quiet yet spoiled child.  My stepfather doted on her.  “Baby Girl,” as she was called by him, was the princess of the house.  She could do no wrong.

Shortly before she turned nine, I headed off to college. Therefore our time living under the same roof was brief.   I was also very involved in school activities, ballet class, and I worked part-time.  Plus, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house so I really wasn’t home much. 

But I still made it a priority to spend time and do things for her as she was growing up.  To highlight her 13th birthday, I gave her a slumber party at my house.  I wanted her to know that she was valued as my little sister.  I took her on many outings and even involved her in my volunteer efforts as a “sisterfriend” to pregnant teenagers at The Birthing Project

As the years progressed we grew distance.  I am not sure how or why because I certainly loved Chloe. However, the older she got, the less she would interact with me.  As a teenager she developed a wild streak.  I didn’t like a few of her boyfriends which didn’t go over well with her. 

For a while she was a student at the high school where I taught.  I let my colleagues know and asked them to get me abreast of her progress.  Chloe, however, seemed embarassed that her big sister was a teacher at her school.  She would barely speak to me in the halls and would try avoid being in the same vicinity as me.  I guess she didn’t want me keeping such a close eye on her (considering that she liked to cut).

I tried to keep her on the right track, but I think this only served to increase the distance between she and I.  Thankfully her wild days were fleeting.

Over the years I talked to my mother often about how four of my five siblings seemed to view me.  She summed it up by saying that they just didn’t understand my good intentions. My mother knew that I had pure motives.  She also reminded me that they did not like being admonished by anyone, including her or their dad.  While this was certainly understandable I was still at a loss.  What else was I to do?  I always thought that they were too lenient with them.  She was a lot stricter on me growing up.  So I took it upon myself to get the job done.

As the first born I always felt obligated to set examples for them.  I viewed it as my  sisterly duty to correct them when they were headed in what I felt was the wrong way.

It always rested heavy on my heart that it was “me” and “them.”  Not only were we seperated by time, we were also divided by blood.  My mother’s first husband was their dad.  I often wondered if this was  part of the reason I was so hard for them to swallow. I felt like the wicked, half-blood sister. 

I know this concerned my mother as well.  A year or so before she died I promised her that I would always look after them and would not let their attitudes about me get in the way.  I know it troubled her to see us so fractured.  

When she died I thought we would all magically grow closer.  Of course, this has not been the case.  Don’t get me wrong, when we see each other we are social and civil.  In fact, a few months ago my husband and I had lunch at the restaurant where Chloe works as a hostess.  She seemed genuinely happy to see me.  She ran and gave me a big hug and chatted with us for a spell.  But I didn’t hear from her after that.  I called her once or twice but she never returned my messages.

Sometimes I get the impression that Chloe (and probably my other siblings as well) thinks I will have “something to say,” about what, I don’t know.  Since they are now adults I don’t try to fix them anymore.  I haven’t “said” anything about how they chose to conduct their affairs in many moons.  Now when hear about something that I don’t necessarily agree with, I immediatedly send a prayer up for them.  I now know that God is much better suited to correct them than I am.

I have spent the week pouting about her selfishness.  But today I sucked it up and headed to the store to buy a gift for the newlyweds.  I am going to invite my sister and my brother-in-law (one of the boyfriends from her youth that I did not like) over for dinner as well. 

Afterall, I will always be their big sister and I have to continue acting as one.  I won’t give up on them!

Pray Back

Standard

Even though Rhonda wisely cautioned me not to open Pandora’s box, I did.  When writing the post Her Footstool, it wasn’t enough for me to recall the hurtful comments that Eliza had left on our voicemail three years ago in her “footstool” sermon.  And because I have quite a memory for detail, there was really no need for me to dig out the old tapes and listen to that message or any of the other ones that I did for that matter.  I guess in a way, it was a test.  I wanted to see if I was truly “over” the past.  Unfortunately I did not ace the test.  I only listened to five or so of the messages, but it was enough for the old wounds to fester and burn.

 

Listening to her biting lies and fanatical commentary really cut me.  It was like reliving the nightmare over again.  I recalled many of the things she did, not only to me and my husband, but her crazy attempts to involve Nicholas as well.  I contemplated how and why things got so bad.  I wondered how one person could have so much hatred for another.  I was indignant at her nasty, superior tone laden with accusations.  In her “footstool” sermon she declared “my kids don’t even like you.”  That instantly upped my ire.  She knew as well as I did that they were conditioned not to like me.  In short they were forbidden to like me.  I finally had to put the tapes away.  I had heard enough.

 

 This past Sunday when I took Ethan down to visit her; I was in a weird kind of mood.  After they chatted for a while I sent him to gather snacks for the three of us. I took that moment to share with her something that I thought she needed to hear.  In a sober tone I said “Recently I came across some of the old voicemails that you left for me.  Those tapes have further confirmed for me that it is only with the grace of God that we are sitting here today.  It has been nothing but God behind this.”  This wasn’t what she expected to hear.  I figured she would rapidly change the topic, but she responded by agreeing with my statement.  She also admitted that she probably has done some mean things to me due to my loyalty to her ex, my husband.  She also said that she did not know me back then.  Eliza finished by preaching about Matthew 7:5.  Touche, I stand corrected. 

 

For the rest of the visit we played our customary game of Scrabble.  I allowed her and Ethan to carry the conversation.  At the conclusion of the visit I gave her a heartfelt hug just to let her know that I did not hold anything against her.  She hugged me back tightly and told me for the first time in person “Morocco, thank you for bringing Ethan down, thanks for the snacks…I appreciate all you do.”

 

I was not expecting any grand revelations from her about what I said to her.  I knew she would be too proud to apologize.  Believe it or not, an apology is not what I wanted.  I think I wanted her to simply acknowledge the things that she did.  Once Eliza is released from prison I’m sure I will never have her ear again.  She won’t have to listen to me.

 

I experienced a lot of emotions on the drive home.  I felt so vexed that I had to email a good friend for her support and advice.  Stacy, formerly of the Perfect Blend, really helped put things into perspective for me.  She also suggested that I do an exercise creating a timeline of the events that transpired with Eliza.  With each event she suggested that I write about how each one made me feel.  I started working on it yesterday. 

 

I don’t know why it has been so hard for me to forgive Eliza, especially when Jesus so freely forgave us and still continues to do so.  There is no sin that can’t be forgiven…70X7 is what I believe he said.  With this in mind I have made up my mind to let go of the past once and for all.  I know that I don’t have the right not to forgive her. 

 

Initially after hearing the tapes I felt a surge of vengeance.  I could hear James Brown in my head singing his song about retaliation.  I wanted payback.  But after having the space to think about things I realized that I don’t really want to pay her back.  That would just keep the bitter cycle going.  Besides, she is already suffering enough and wanting her to hurt more is just cruel. 

 

 

Instead I am choosing to “pray her back.”  After my exercise is completed, I am going to pray her back for each incident on the timeline.  I am going to pray consistently that God change her heart.  I’m praying that she experiences the true glory of God. But I will be praying for myself as well.  I am going to pray that God gives me the strength and grace needed to be as quick as He is to forgive others.  I am praying that I am finally able to release the hurt that has caused me to have an unforgiving spirit once and for all.

 

Real Talk

Standard

            Monday I made the two hour drive down to see Eliza so that I could speak with her face to face regarding the voicemail she left.  I could detect the veiled hostility in her message that she attempted to cover up by concluding with and have a blessed day.  I wanted to give her a chance to talk about whatever it was that was obviously bothering her. 

It was a pretty intense visit in which we talked about a lot.  She was defensive (understandably so) and seriously in denial about Evan’s reason for being in residential treatment.  It was primarily her parenting, life, and motives that were being examined.  As I knew would happen sooner or later, events from the past surfaced.  But I was okay with that and was actually looking forward to an end of the pretense that all was well.  It was like a breath of fresh air to a collapsed lung.

 It was weird how the conversation flowed.  She jumped around from topic to topic and eventually landed in the past.  She began with the scarf story.  When CPS had removed the kids from her custody, we had them for a period of five weeks.  One day after visiting with her for a couple of hours, Evan came home with the scarf that she used to wrap her hair up at night.  She sent it to comfort him.  She continued to say that Evan told her that I had thrown the scarf away proclaiming, “Nothing that belongs to your mother will ever be allowed in this house.”  You’ll have to forgive me, but I started laughing at the absurdity of it all.  I would never do such a thing and I actually thought it was kind of cute that she had sent it with him.  I explained this to her and she burst out crying.  Apparently she believed this—though I have no idea why Evan would weave such a tale.  But then again, I do.  Sometimes when children know that their parents want to hear certain things, they will do anything to “feed” this need and begin to fabricate stories.  I’m sure she wanted to hear something “bad” about us, and because he wanted to please her, he came up with the scarf story.  She heard what she wanted to hear and used that among other tales to keep the animosity burning and the rift growing. 

She said that Ethan told her that I said that she would never be able to afford a house like ours.  Another lie.  One day Ethan asked me how much our house cost.  I thought it was a rather strange question coming from the mouth of a then ten-year-old boy.  I responded by saying that there are certain questions that you just don’t ask people and that the question he had just asked was one of them.  I knew that she sent him fishing for this particular information.

Eliza was also holding it against us that a friend of her middle son’s father, Carl, told him that my husband and I said that we did not want the kids at our house.  Carl, of course, relayed this misinformation to her.  I gently pointed out to her that immediately after the incident that landed her in prison, my husband made arrangements to get them.  Now mind you, Eliza is the one who did not want my husband to receive custody.  Before her husband went to prison, she had him call my husband asking him if he would terminate his parental rights! Not to mention, she fainted in jail upon learning that we had Ethan and Evan.

            I was a little shocked at how much she thrived on the whole “he say-she say” phenomenon.  But then again, she does have that drama seeking, immature personality.  It seems that she was expressing her own actual feelings through Ethan and Evan.  She didn’t want to come off as totally paranoid or as if she really cared what I thought about her.  These are her adult insecurities that she has bequeathed to her children.

  She also said that social worker involved in the CPS case told her that she felt I was too controlling.  Again, I had to laugh as I informed her that Shan, the caseworker, had told me that exact same thing about her!    

Eliza attempted to badmouth my husband but I stopped her by simply saying “I am not here to defend my husband—what for?  You had a past with him that I can’t speak on.  Your experience with him belongs to you and him alone.  I understand that he is not perfect and I’m sure that you both did things wrong that resulted in a failed marriage.  But I would like to remind you that he is not the same person that you married, as I’m sure you are not the same.”   She appeared to accept this.

I guess I have moved on because I didn’t once mention any of the problems that she caused for me.  My entire focus was on the kids and how we could continue to work together for the good of the whole.  And in case you’re wondering, Eliza did apologize twice for leaving that message.

            The kids were I teach have a term that they use to describe a serious moment of conversation known as “real talk.”  Yesterday, as tedious as it was, was our first “real talk.”  In the end I was glad that she had the opportunity to get some concerns off her chest.  Do I think there’s more? Yes.  Am I ready to throw in the towel? Kind of.  Am I sick of dealing with her and the whole ordeal? Absolutely!  Am I going to keep talking and working through this mess? Most likely.  Why?  Because I know that I can’t always give up or give in when the going gets tough.