April 09, 2007

Another Promise, Another Lie

What to do?

I have written in other places about this dilemma, but I am no closer to finding a solution. In this space I can be a bit more forthcoming, however, and intend to do so to clear my own thoughts on the matter.

My mother is currently married to her fourth husband, much to my sincere horror. Frankly, should she choose to marry 8 or 9 times, I wouldn't care. I just want her to find a man that is deserving of her.

I have always held my mother up as a dynamo and an example of a strong woman. She married my father just after high school and became a housewife and mother. When that marriage fell apart, she became a working single mother, something that is very difficult even now. She went back to school and worked a job. As we grew up, she continued to provide these strong examples of capable womanhood. No shrinking violet was my mother, that's for certain.

And yet, I'm afraid that my good impression of her is suffering horribly these days. In fact, I'm not sure anymore that she's a very good role model at all.

The gory details can be found by clicking on the linky-doo.

Here's the thing. My mother knows me. She knows full well that I'm a Just Say No kid. So she kept from me her current husband's interest in illegal narcotics. When he was her fiance, she knew about his activities but he assured her was done with them.

Their wedding night, however, proved otherwise. Rather than being with my mother to celebrate their nuptials in any of a million drug-free ways, he chose instead to get coked-up and play poker with the boys. My mother spent her wedding night sleeping in a car.

One would have thought that a strong woman would have kicked his ass to the curb right then and there. But she didn't. It was about this time, after the wedding, that I found out about his drug using. I was not pleased. Not pleased in the least. For one thing, my teenage sister was going to be living under his roof with them. And this worried me.

But, my step-father assured my mother that he was going to quit. My mother took him at his word. Again. Keeping count? This is at least the second time he has claimed to quit.

One can almost predict what might happen next. My sister has some friends over and one of them finds some drug paraphernalia. My sister dutifully brought these items to my mother's attention. She also told me. I became unglued. This evidence seemed to suggest to me that he had not, in fact, quit his using. My mother seemed to take it in stride, perhaps because the step-father claimed that this was detritus from previous using, not current or new using.


So, we invite my mother and step-father up to our house for a little barbecue. In the afternoon, my mother and I pop out briefly to pick up some last minute groceries. When we return, the evening resumes and then finally ends with their departure. It is only after they leave that my husband informs me that step-father sparked up a doobie while we were gone.

My outrage was legion. To this day, I am astounded that I didn't have a heart attack on the spot. I'm still pissed off about this. Why in the world would anyone do drugs at their wife's child's house? I did not invite this. He didn't ask "would you mind if...". Nada.

So, naturally I let my mother know that this is unacceptable behavior in our home, where we will one day raise our children. I informed her, in fact, that her husband is persona non grata in our home, that she's not welcome either if he is in tow. I informed her further that I was a hairsbreadth away from calling DCFS on her ass as there is a minor child living in her home where, apparently, there is also drug use. Not. Even. Kidding.

She had words with him. I received a hastily scrawled note on white paper from him, an apology if you are incredibly generous with your characterizations, that pretty much wasn't an apology so much as it was a "I guess you aren't one of the cool kids, my bad." Which only served to piss me off further, as you might imagine.

So, for those keeping track at home, we are on our third broken promise and have a new promise to keep clean. But this one inevitably falls apart as well. And then he gets caught drinking and driving. And then he promises to quit the drinking and the drugs and these promises are also broken.

Finally, finally, my mother moves out and gets her own place. She begins talking about divorce. She is going to file after Thanksgiving. Then after Christmas. Then after he gets his bonus. She may have her own residence, but she is still spending her nights in his bed. Oh, and he hasn't quit using either. The divorce keeps getting postponed and he keeps issuing new promises. Nothing has changed except she's paying for utilities on two places.

He has broken his promise eight or nine times. And now, instead of leaving him, she has moved back into his home, the better for which to take the abuse, I guess. Over the last four years I have listened to her cry, listened to her rant, listened to her excuses. Not once has she followed through on any of her threats to him. She hasn't made him enter a program or submit to drug tests or anything. She now claims that he has quit because he goes with her to church every Sunday.

Her logic defies common sense! By her reasoning, good people go to church and good people do not do drugs, ergo: he does not do drugs. Nevermind the fact that she isn't actually testing this hypothesis. Idiot.

The SOB has manipulated her time and time again. He has lied repeatedly. And she justs laps it up like cream from a cold porcelain bowl. I am powerless. I get front row seats to the decline of my mother's welfare. I have no doubt that as he gets his teeth further and further into her it will be increasingly impossible to extract them. He will put her retirement through his nose at best, and end up getting her killed at worst.

My mother knows how I feel. It took her 2 months to admit to me that she was living with him again. And now she is actively lying to me. She told me she couldn't come see us for Easter because she had commitments at church. A week later she told me she went to Kansas for Easter. What she didn't say was that she went with him. And, she seems to have forgotten all about those pesky church commitments.

I am not about to back down on my embargo. I am not going to put our home and our child in jeopardy in order to make things easier for her. He has had multiple chances to clean up his act. I no more believe the promises this time than I do the notion that I will sprout a purple tail and wings. He is a druggie. A lying, manipulative druggie.

And, he is turning my once role model mother into an addict in her own right. Only, she's addicted to hearing only what she wants to hear.

Posted by Phoenix at April 9, 2007 10:45 AM

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Unbelievably tough situation for sure but I believe to my very core that you are doing the right thing, hard as it might be. I would absolutely stick to my guns and not have that around my children, even if it meant not seeing my mom. I'm sorry you're going through this but we all make choices (as I've been preaching to my son for the last few months) and have to live with them. Your children must come first. Hopefully YOUR strength will at some point inspire your mom to do what she needs to do.

Posted by: Chickie at April 9, 2007 12:30 PM

Holy crap!

What a huge burden to bear, my friend.

There is so much here.

First of all, we are all human, even our parents. I shudder to think what my daughters will think of me in twenty-five year's time. I make mistakes daily. I just hope when they become parents, they will understand we are all human.

Your mother is still the same person who cared for you, worked, and went to school.

She knows the difference between right and wrong, I have no doubt.

Maybe she is afraid of failing at another marriage or afraid of being alone. Maybe, he is the love of her life. We don't know.

Her husband's behavior is deplorable and *criminal*. I agree 100% with you.

However, your mother is an adult and responsible for the decisions she makes.

Fortunately, your sister had you to come live with and I understand she is now in college.

You have quite rightly voiced your opinions as to your household. It is up to you what kind of relationship you will have with your mother.

I wish I knew the answer. If you need me, I'm a phone call away.


Posted by: Christina at April 9, 2007 01:16 PM

It's hard to find out that your mom isn't Wonder Woman. You have a tough road ahead of you. You know that your mom just might not change. Are you ready for that?

Posted by: LeeAnn at April 9, 2007 04:30 PM

I'm sending you a big hug and an email.... Which, if I don't, remind me. I have some things I'd like to share in a slightly less public forum.

Posted by: caltechgirl at April 9, 2007 06:23 PM

Hang tough kiddo. Loneliness is a terrible thing but your mom will have to come to realize there are worse things. For your sister's sake, you might seriously consider dropping the hammer and let the authorities know because you'll never forgive yourself or your mom should something happen.

Posted by: Mike B at April 10, 2007 08:37 AM

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