Choosing Sides. Amnesia?

My last post made me think. I was thinking about it all day, thinking about that and more.

That was not the first time I had encountered my stepfather when he was angry, nor would it be the last. What it made me realize, though, is that every time something like that happened… I moved out. He was not kicked out. My mother did not leave him. I was the one who left; I was the one who, essentially, was told she was in the wrong. At least, that’s how it feels now.

I spoke with my mother that day. I asked her several things, mostly about my childhood, before and after that specific incident. I fibbed to her a little bit, not stating that I awoke in the middle of the night nearly screaming because of the memory of it happening appearing in my dream. No, I didn’t want that to haunt her, knowing that she put her oldest child and only daughter at risk; I didn’t want that. I did call her that day with a purpose that day.

Throughout the whole day I had been thinking, going through my memories of the incidences and there are only three specific times that I can remember living at my mother’s while she was with my stepfather and then having to move back in with my Grandparents after something happened. Two of which have to do with my stepfather. One of them, there is a 2-3 week blank in my memory, starting with my last day of school when I lived with my mother and stepfather & beginning again with my first day back after winter break at a new school and living with my Grandparents again. Somewhere in-between that timeframe of 2-3 weeks something happened and I moved out.

I was in fifth grade. It was exactly a year before I had my seizure, leading to my diagnosis of epilepsy.

My mother could remember the incident of my stepfather chasing me through the house in a rage and me running to my room in fright, closing the door behind me and locking the door and him bursting it open, breaking the lock then hovering over me cowering on my bed, with his fist above his head; she could remember that clearly. That was the summer before I advanced to third grade.

My mother could remember the incident in ninth grade, the incident from the previous post. All of these were at least 10 years ago.

So how does she not remember the incident from the winter of my fifth grade year? I had called my aunt, her sister, before I called my mother to ask about it because, honestly, I was afraid of asking my mother. But my aunt didn’t have an answer; she didn’t know.

I can’t even give you a straight answer on what my mother told me. She was vague and tried to stay away from the topic of what happened. In the end, though, she did blame it on the fact of “that might have been when your absence seizures started”.  Absence seizures being basically when I space out. That’s the only outward sign and then I have no recollection of what happened during said time period of the seizure. They normally last 3-5 SECONDS.

How do I tell my mother, who definitely knows all the information about my epilepsy & the types of seizures I have, that there’s no way it could have erased 2-3 weeks of my memory and that I have AMNESIA. How do I tell her that she’s lying and it’s so obvious it’s ridiculous? How? What could have happened to me?

My husband thinks that there’s a possibility that something severe happened to me and she’s covering up for my stepfather. Honestly, I don’t doubt it. It just makes me worried because nobody will tell me, even more-so because she is still with my stepfather.

I’m scared.

 

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[Bad] Dream of a Memory

Do you know anyone that’s ever been abused? Any sort of abused? I do. I have. I was. Many forms, by different people at different times in my life. Most of the time, though, it was on repeat by one person: my stepfather.

For the most part I’ve gotten over it. While my mother is still, unfortunately, married to the man that treated me so badly throughout my childhood and adolescent years (and even now he bad mouths and talks down to me, but I’ve grown more of a back bone and will talk back to him despite fear of retribution), most of my communication with my mother is via telephone as she lives over an hour away and she works over 8 hours a day, every day, every week with the [very] occasional day off; she’s the main “breadwinner” of their household as my stepdad is (surprise-surprise!) a convicted felon & although he could find work at, the very least, a manufacturing plant, he refuses to work anything other than odd jobs that he runs himself.

Therefore, my communication with that entire household is limited.

And my mother.

I love her. I do. I may not always agree with everything she says. I may not agree with everything she does, especially the fact that she’s still with my stepdad, but I love her nonetheless. I will acknowledge her faults, though most of the time not to her face because she won’t most of the time. She confides in me and I, her. We understand each other because of, oddly enough, my stepfather. We have a mutual understanding between us and I’m thankful to her that, although she’s my mother, my Mom, she chose to have me live apart from her.

And that’s where everything comes full circle as to why I’m writing this tonight.

I woke up around three this morning, my eyes wide and in a panic. I knew I was in bed and if it wasn’t for the fact that my husband’s arms were still around me I probably would have screamed.

I dreamt of a memory of days long since past. It was nearly 9 years ago – the winter of 2005 – and I was living with my mother in the home she lives in now. It’s a small, technically one-bedroom, house that at the time housed my Mom & stepdad in what is now a closet; my two younger brothers, who were then 6 & 8 years old in what is now a combined living room/Mom & stepdad’s room; and me, in what is now my youngest brother’s room, that back then was right next to my mother and stepfather’s “room” and only separated by a sheet. There was no privacy whatsoever. It was Hell on Earth.

Normally I wouldn’t be living with them; I abhor my stepfather and nearly always have, but my Grandmother, whom I had been staying with, gave me an ultimatum that pushed me and I took it. I wasn’t going to give up a friendship for her old-fashioned ideals, but that’s a different topic altogether. So I found myself moving 45 minutes away and switching schools in the middle of the fall semester my first year of high school. My mother was happy that I was finally coming to live with her, but she wasn’t happy about the circumstances behind it. Honestly, everything was going well until the last day of school before winter break.

One of my friends, specifically a male friend, asked if he could come over and hang out for a bit after school. I told him I’d ask. I was more than naïve back then, I guess; he purposely left information out to me and I didn’t see the signs. Either way, we both got permission for him to come over and he rode the bus home with me. I’m going to point this out now: I never thought of him as anything more than a friend; he was JUST a friend to me in my mind. Well, apparently everybody else thought otherwise – including him.

He ended up eating dinner with my family because his mom hadn’t picked him up yet. When I asked him why she hadn’t shown up yet, he said that she wouldn’t be there till around 9PM. I was pissed! He never told me that and I knew, at that moment, I was going to get hell from my stepdad as soon as he left.

I was right.

After he left and my brothers were firmly asleep my stepdad started in on me and it just kept coming. I don’t remember everything he said; he asked me so many questions – accusing me of lying when I hadn’t and every time I denied lying he just got angrier.

What I haven’t said yet is that my stepfather is an alcoholic. I know by that time he was drunk for sure, but I couldn’t tell you how long he’d been drinking that day.

Finally, at one point, I was sent to bed. I think it was around 11-11:30 that evening. I was tired. I’d had a long day at school and then I’d been grilled and yelled at and intimidated by my stepfather. Nobody likes that. I fell asleep listening to him yell at my Mom, but the words were a blur to me, even then.

I was woken up again around 1AM, being dragged – literally – out of bed by my arm by my stepfather. He was pissed, and that’s an understatement. I don’t remember what the discussion at that point was about. I was being questioned again about my actions that evening and why I did what and several other co-existing categories. I remember answering something honestly and it must have been the wrong answer, and something that he disliked extremely or considered a “smart-ass remark” because the next thing I knew I was dodging a glass plate being thrown at me. If I hadn’t moved it would have hit my upper left shoulder near my neck. I don’t remember much after that other than crying and being scared.

I moved back to my Grandmother’s within days after that. I don’t think anyone would question why. It was my Mom’s decision to move me back.

The thing is, this is only one of the instances of something abusive happening to me but for some reason it’s the one that pops up the most in my memory, in my dreams; it’s the one that troubles me the most and I don’t understand why.

I was scared then and it scarred me enough mentally and emotionally that it still bothers me to this day, enough to keep me awake at night. The abuse I’ve suffer throughout my life from my stepfather, and inadvertently from my mother, is probably the one thing that I haven’t completely gotten over and I’m not sure that I ever will. I think that’s what scares me.

Now it’s not the terror of being physically dragged away from my bed in the middle of the night by someone else; now it’s the terror of waking up and having to drag myself from my own bed because of someone else… because I’m afraid to face what might be in my dreams.

My Mother and I

I have a complicated relationship with my mother. That’s putting it lightly.

At this point I’ve put the past in the past, where it belongs. There are times when I have start dwelling on what has happened and who to believe: the rest of my family or her? Then I realize that it doesn’t matter because it’s over and done with. What matters is what she and every other person in my life chooses to do now – how to handle their own life and how much they want to be involved in mine, whether they truly want to help me or they don’t. I can’t make those decisions for them.

But it all comes back to my mother.

From the time I moved out with my [now] ex-husband, she was one of the few people to support me even if she wasn’t fond of him. I was happy about that. She told me how she felt and she was honest; she didn’t hide from me the fact that she didn’t like him. It’s the fact that she still helped me when I was pregnant and inbetween homes, when everyone else was proven right that he was an a**hole and they wanted to shove it in my face.

She helped me. Then.

Two years later I’m living on my own an hour away from her and she’s still the one that I talk to the most out of my family and still the one that I see the most out of my family. She’s still the one that is most willing to help me when times get tough and something comes up suddenly. She’s my mother; mother’s do that kind of thing.

But she didn’t when I was growing up. She was never there. Ever.

She’s told me that she’s trying to make up for it. It honestly seems like she is. There’s just one problem.

My mother’s letting me stepfather influence her too much. I’m not sure if it’s consciously or subconsciously or if it’s because she’s been with him for so many years, but it’s happening. I have proof. It’s this proof that hurt me the most.

Those months ago, earlier this year, when my ex took my children for three weeks and I panicked because I had no idea where they were, just a vague idea, and he wasn’t allowing contact? That’s when it happened. On the second day after he finally fessed up that he wasn’t bringing them back like he said he would I finally told my mother. She told me to calm down and basically go through every thing that I already had. She said she would wait a day or two to tell my stepfather. My mom was on my side. She thought that what I was doing was right, especially since I had already spoken to my lawyer and was calling him everyday to try and get something done. She was proud of me, though not half as anxious.

Those two days went by fast. I kept my mother up-to-date with what was going on. One day, mid-afternoon, my cell phone rang. It was my mother. She told me that she’d told my stepfather the night before and then she started in on me about how I needed to “get something done to get your kids back”.

Because I wasn’t trying to do that?! Seriously?!

She kept yelling and ranting at me through the phone. She had switched sides, from being completely on my side to completely agreeing with whatever my stepfather said. What’s sad is that within the past night and earlier in the day I had just been discussing that I thought my mother would do that.

It hurt. It hurt a lot.

It was bad enough that I was so anxious that I couldn’t be in the house by myself, I was restless so I was constantly walking, I’d had multiple panic/anxiety attacks and I wasn’t able to even GLANCE at children without bursting into tears.

And she had the nerve to tell me, as a message from my stepfather, that what I was doing wasn’t enough, was wrong, and I needed to do more and not to listen to my lawyer?!

I love my mother, but F*CK THAT!

It was the first and only time it had happened in my life, but I just lost it. I started yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs into my phone at my mother. I don’t remember everything I said. I couldn’t control what I said. Every word that came out of my mouth was exactly what was on my mind and how I was feeling. I had snapped.

That had never happened to me before. Nobody previously and nobody since then has gotten me that worked up.

I know this: I told her that my stepfather was just that – my stepfather, and that he had no right to tell me what to do. That I was an adult and I didn’t care if she was my mother she couldn’t make my decisions for me. He wasn’t my father, he’s never been my father, and he’s never tried to act like my father so he needed to just shut the f*ck up.

And that was just the part that I can remember. I ranted at my mother for a good five minutes. And then I hung up on her without letting her say anything. And didn’t answer any calls from her house for a week. The only communication would be if something came up having to do with my children, and even then I was emotionless and stayed on the phone for as short a period as possible.

And I don’t think she realizes what she’s doing. What she did. I don’t think she realized how much she hurt me.

Unfortunately, nothing about this changes the fact that I love my mother. No matter how shitty she may treat me. It’s like I’m in an abusive relationship and I just keep coming back for more. I don’t understand why I do even though I know how I’m going to be treated and that I’ll never reach any sort of approval in her eyes.

I’m the child she didn’t want. At least, that’s my assumption.

When I was pregnant, right after I left my ex-husband, my mother and stepfather asked me two questions: “Is it yours?” and “Are you going to keep it?”

My mother was in almost the exact situation with me and she kept me.

That hurt too.

I don’t think she realizes that, unlike the rest of my family, I don’t hold grudges. I just keep memories. I will remember. I will never forget. Ever.

But I won’t hold it against her. I love my mother.