Fractured FamilyI currently have no contact with my mother, sister or any members of my mother's side of the family. This is not necessarily by choice, though I've learned to embrace the circumstances, seeing as how it's eliminated a great deal of stress and anxiety from my life.
My mother always had this idea that her daughters were going to live with her forever, take care of her. It was her and her girls against the world, to the extent that she made us sit down with her when she told our father she wanted a divorce.
Being the oldest daughter, she used me as her confidante, sharing her feelings about my father, men in general, other family members, etc. She put a lot of responsibility on me, expecting me to take care of the house, watch my younger sister and support her in everything she had to do.
When I started to exercise some independence, when I started thinking and talking about my future she became incensed. She would say to me, "I never got to do that, why do you think you should?" She was incredibly jealous and competitive. When I got my first boyfriend (my husband of 26 years now) she was outraged. She made all kinds of impossible demands on me, then nearly beat me to death in front of witnesses, breaking my eye socket and fracturing my skull. It was shortly thereafter that she kicked me out of the house.
I had tried to reconcile with her, to have a relationship with her twice after I left home, both times she decided to end the relationship. The first time it was because my father had made contact (after she'd prevented him from seeing us for 6 years) and I decided to go talk with him and the second time, I really don't understand, as I got a note saying she hoped I'd be happy using my dad for money (never even borrowed money from him) and that she was my mother for the last time. It has been 24 years since I saw or spoke to her last. I do know she's been revising history to anyone who would listen, painting me as the abuser and her as the rescuer.
When her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's she abandoned her, putting her sister, my aunt, into the position of having to take my grandmother in. When she was unable to handle caring for both my grandmother who'd had 2 strokes and was living with dementia and my uncle who'd had multiple severe strokes she called me to ask if I could help her make a decision about what to do for my grandmother. She and I managed my grandmother's care in a personal care home, until she needed to be transferred to a Nursing Home, where she passed away. My mother had completely removed herself from the family throughout this whole time.
She currently lives some distance away, by herself, isolated from the rest of the family.
My sister had discovered early in life that 'messing up' everything she was asked to do would get her out of responsibility. She never really applied herself to much of anything she did. She had problems at school, couldn't seem to follow directions, didn't want to learn to do anything, she avoided responsibility at any cost. She even retreated to our grandmother's home every evening after school for about a year, to 'hang out' with our older cousin Tom.
This wasn't the best course of action, because our mother was physically, verbally and emotionally abusive. When you 'failed' her, you endured her wrath. She demanded perfection. She wanted things done her way and done right every time, there was no room for mistakes because in her mind "mistakes" were really our way of making her life miserable, testing her, etc.
My mother compared my sister and I constantly. She would ask her "why can your sister do what I ask and you never can? what's the matter with you? are you trying to p*ss me off?" She would talk often about how 'the child who loves their parent helps out around the house, does their chores, makes a contribution to the family, but the child who finds excuses to avoid responsibility, won't help around the house, contributes to the clutter and work that needs done doesn't love their parent as much.'
She fostered the same competitive relationship between her own daughters that existed between she and her sister. As a result my sister resented me most of her life and that resentment set us up for problems as adults.
When I was asked to leave home, my sister felt as if she 'scored a victory', she no longer had someone to compete with. She ended up staying with our mother until she was 34 years old.
My father tried to reconnect with her countless times, she responded by threatening him with harassment charges, threatening to have him arrested. Even when he was diagnosed with cancer, she refused to visit him. In the hospital, before he passed we offered to leave the hospital so she could visit with him alone, but she refused. She didn't attend his viewing or his funeral. She allowed him to die without having had a relationship with him in more than 11 years.
I tried to reconcile with her three times over the last 27 years. Each time she needed me for a period of time, the second time she wanted to leave home and needed my help to do so, the last time she was fired from her job and my husband and I fed her, provided transportation, even got her a job working from my home with me until she asked if she could move in with us, told me I wasn't the best "Christian wife, mother or housekeeper" I could be, that my husband deserved. When I told her I didn't think moving in was going to work, she cut us off once again and set about gossiping horrible lies about us in the community, rewriting history to suit her own agenda.
She lives alone, has never had a serious relationship, never had a boyfriend. She changes jobs constantly because she can't get along with anyone. She's followed our mother's lead and isolated herself. She's 44 years old and literally has no one around her. Even our cousin doesn't meet her standards, doesn't meet her needs as she thinks he/family should, so a relationship with him has been all but abandoned.
As a result of all the gossip and head games, I haven't had contact with any of my mother's family for years now. My cousin likes to play my sister and I against one another, but we haven't spoken in years because I learned how he was playing head games, taking things back and forth to both of us and simply making things up, feeding the flames.
I have contact occasionally with my cousins on my father's side, though most of his family has passed on. I honestly feel like an orphan.
I've learned that family is whatever you make it. I've had friends who are more like family to me and I've made my own family, with my husband and my son. I'm happy and contented with my life, without all the constant drama and ugliness that is my childhood family members.