When I was first introduced to Mother’s boy-husband, Motherfucker, in my early teens, he was a chill dude. Pulled up in a Volkswagon van, followed The Grateful Dead. Earlier same day her and a co-worker of theirs – I think his name was Bernie or something, had a lazy eye – were tonguing their goodbyes as she had apparently settled on this one of many suitors. That’s how chill Motherfucker was. And, when he was stoned, he returned to that chill, half-decent state of human-beingness. It was almost nice.
But as the years with Mother progressed, he became an increasingly neurotic, insecure, extremely passive-aggressive rageaholic. Even when Mother visited with female friends, this guy would take a day off work to monitor her behavior. Her friends hated him. My friends hated him. In the mornings, he would just silently glare at me with this angry eye I could see through the crack between my partly opened bedroom door and the frame, clenching his jaw. Weird. My siblings and I would make ourselves scarce when he arrived home from work because we didn’t know what kind of mood he would be in but a bad mood was a safe bet. He didn’t like us and moved out once because he couldn’t stand us.
Prior to Mother dumping him, my father had become a similar scary, angry man. Something about her just chips away at people (and even animals) in close proximity to her, leaving them more and more needy and co-dependent. She reminds me of a horrifying cartoon character, Decompose, from the 1980s era show, Inhumanoids, who would change any good, benign thing he touched into terrifying, malevolent creatures. Except that, instead of appearing like a disgusting monster, Mother comes across as a bubbly, friendly, little blond woman people immediately drop their defenses for.
In the early 2000s, Mother calls to tell me in her “oh, sorry” tone that they’re selling their place that sits on a property my siblings and I grew up on. She didn’t care for my opinion (I don’t know what else she was expecting), called me judgmental and hung up on me. Sister was also upset by the news and had emailed her, Mother emailed both of us back, I again gave a response she didn’t like and she had Motherfucker fire back the following pissing contest.
Motherfucker’s been investing in developing the property my father bought that he married up into while the industry he works in (forestry) is receding. So much so that Mother, who worked in the same industry when she met Motherfucker, opted for worker retraining offered to her by the government (that recognized and took steps mitigating forestry jobs losses) to become a registered nurse (growth industry). So the only reason to develop a property one has diminishing means to pay for is to sell it — or Motherfucker’s inexcusable ignorance of the world closing in around him.
I don’t believe there was ever any plan to stay.
Now he’s telling me that things change. The message being, I don’t tell him shit.
I did do the math which is how I concluded the property was developed to be sold. And I was right.
kids grow up in the place
kids move on (but dont want the parents to sell the home of their childhood)
parents pass away
kids SELL the place and divide the assets
Only, the kids didn’t sell the place. He did and this is him – big, secure man that he is – rubbing that fact in the faces of his wife’s children. Or, more to the point, the children of another man who boned a younger, hotter version of the woman he settled for than he ever will.
This is more along the lines of revenge and waving his victorious dick around like a gorilla, as was him tearing down the [admittedly funky] house my father built to rebuild a garage on the spot so poorly that subsequent owners complained to me about how shitty it was — oh, and the junked cars he buried. I’m like, “Yeah, well some asshat with anger issues cursed his away through the construction so there’s that.”
When someone tells us how we’re supposed to feel, they’re telling us how they feel.
He hopes it hurts me to hear. Even though he just said there was no plan to ever leave? So, again, I was right that the property was, in fact, developed to be sold.
My father laughed when I told him this. Apparently, the “horses” dream was a long familiar one to him.
But this is Motherfucker’s role, his purpose, his function, to be Mother’s mouthpiece and relay how she thinks and feels, to take the heat for it and retaliate on her behalf. This discussion began between Mother and I. She passed it off to him for him to do her dirty work that he’s doing here. All the belittling, it’s all her. Motherfucker’s a puppet like the rest of us. Before him, my father was her hatchet man and, like Motherfucker, father was angry, on edge and doled out punishment for her so that we blamed him, not little, sweet, innocent her.
Some days after Motherfucker sent this email and me not responding (I was in the middle of finals testing for the quarter and was unwilling to spare anything for yet more, stupid family drama), Mother reached out to reel me in again with her “good cop” tone, seemingly concerned that I might be offended enough by her hatchet man to stop speaking to her. Because that’s what she does to people who offend her, what she just did to me mid-conversation.
To hear Mother tell it (and she did, there are no exceptions for those she spreads rumors about), Motherfucker’s abrasive personality (shocker!) cost him one job interview after another. And while he liked Sister, bought her cars that she kept falling asleep behind the wheel of and crashing, he hated Brother as much if not more than he hated me. We weren’t simply children, we were young men that he was competing with for the attention of a woman who just happened to be our mother. As we dressed ourselves in rags and foraged for scraps, this asshole Mother installed in our lives called us spoiled, rotten kids who didn’t appreciate our mother. Not like he did, being better than us and all. Providing for her like real man. A winner. Not losers like us.
Motherfucker is traditional in his belief that men should be breadwinners and women should be dependent housewives. He and Mother adopted a child that he could call his own – my siblings and I were annulled by the Catholic Church along with her previous marriage to our father before his own flinty-eyed mother would acknowledge their union – and did exactly that. People who knew and ask after Mother are aghast that she, a seemingly independent spirit, threw away her nursing career for him.
Now he’s telling me, again in my words, that I’m in a floundering industry (IT), not him (forestry). Again, the message is, I don’t tell him shit.
Motherfucker’s alluding to paying for a failing career is reference to Mother’s half of my student loans she agreed to in order to get me out of the house for him (remember, he hates me), that he married into, compelled her to leave her career so that she could care for his adopted daughter full time and thus destroyed her means to pay for any of her previously agreed to obligations. So his impotent bitching rings absolutely hollow.
Further, I was sending Mother money to cover her half of those loans because she asked for it and I thought I was doing right and being a good, responsible son. Even when I was unemployed (because of aforementioned DotCom bubble bursting, recession, etc.) and couldn’t afford to. The fact that Motherfucker saw little if any of my money pay into those loans is something he ought to take up with his lying cheat of a wife, not another of her victims. She rejected my offer to take over the loans and I stopped sending money because, much like the child support payments she received to buy fancy dinners just for her and Motherfucker while her children went without (my free school lunch was my only meal ofttimes), I was pretty sure she was not using the money for its intended purpose.
These student loans must’ve been a hot topic in ongoing conversations I was never part of nor privy to. Mother used to bring them up with me when she wanted money, nagging me about how she couldn’t afford to help Brother or Sister with college as though I were their parent failing them. I paid for my shit growing up. Phone bills, clothes, food, a shitty car, the gas, insurance and everything that went with that. It was never enough. Mother started demanding money for rent in the weeks leading up to me moving out because she said she would no longer be receiving child support for me after I turned 18. As it turns out, my father’s wages continued to be garnished for child support a year after I’d moved out. Meanwhile, my siblings who I was apparently failing by not sufficiently compensating Mother for were just given money and cars. And, after apparently listening to Mother complain to them about what an ingrate I am for several decades, all came to agree with each other that I’m selfish and bad and should be punished and no longer have anything to do with me.
In a rare moment of clarity, Motherfucker was right to call Family – the broken rabble of strangers he brought his own dysfunction to – a scam. And I subsequently relieved him and Family of any expectation to take me back, as though he was doing either one of us a favor in doing so. I keep my sanity. He keeps the woman who habitually lies to his face and poisons him against her own children, the good mother he charged with raising his own child. You’d think I’d serve as a warning, if nothing else.
Here he emphasizes my role, my purpose, my function as scapegoat — to take all the blame for everything off of everyone else, especially Mother. The hatchet man reminds me that I’m supposed to shut up, roll over and quietly take the abuse (that this is just a tiny taste of) wearing a smile as though it’s normal, as though what’s good for Family is good for me. And it might be had I a family who was good to me.
After the property mentioned here was sold, I lost what little desire was left to put up with these people as they no longer even afforded me the luxury of remembering a youthful golden age and, seeing as the current (and presumably future) age with them had me walking on eggshells, there was no point. I was never going to be good enough, never able able to sacrifice enough to earn a love they did not have for me, if they had it for anyone. Motherfucker (at Mother’s behest) underscored yet again in this message that I did not belong and I finally listened.
As it turned out, Motherfucker actually did do me a favor in moving Mother (and himself, loyal lapdog to the bitter end that he is) far far away and burning the bridges between us. No contact is just easier when the trash takes itself out and one’s just left with working through the loss, which is difficult enough. The further they drift away into the time fog and the more work I do to straighten out the mess they left in my head, the crazier their shit seems and the more relieved I am that they’re effectively gone.