Becoming a Mom

I never wanted to become a mom, nor a wife for that matter. I thought I was going to end up being that old scary woman who lived down the street in the run down house with about 20 cats. And I was ok with that.

Well I am old now and my house is pretty run down. I don’t have any cats though. There are too many coyotes here who love to munch on cats and I think it is cruel to keep cats indoors only. That is just me. Instead my son and I live together in this house that is quickly getting run down as the years pass and no money to pay for the maintenance.

During my free spirited single days, I avoided getting pregnant like the plague. I remember when friends would have babies and I had to go to the socially mandatory baby showers and “viewings”. I would watch all the women gather round the new baby or the pregnant mom and get all clucky. I would just sit in the background and smile silently. I felt absolutely vacant inside. I did not get it.

When I got pregnant with my son, I was terrified. I thought that I had nothing to offer a child, let alone provide for it. I also was terrified that I would become the same mother as my mother was to me.

In high school, I had been traumatized by something my sociology teacher said. After all of these years, I still can remember him saying that we end up pretty much parenting the same way our parents did. I carried that information with me until I got pregnant. It is amazing how much a piece of such insignificant information can have so much impact on some one’s life, but it did. I was horrified that I would verbally beat my child down the same way that it happened to me.

With the option of easily disposing of this “problem”, I would be a liar to say that I did not consider it. I was that scared and it would have been such an easy and quick solution to avoid that unknown road ahead.

I kept asking myself as to why I was so terrified? Women have been doing this since the beginning of time.  And why would I think that I am any less than all of those that went before me? Some women take pregnancy so casually and yet I was so serious and so scared.

There was no reason for my fears. I had a new husband, (he seemed like he liked children at least other people’s children) and a new home. I had finally gotten my B.A. (way too many years of intermittent school). Most of all, my biological clock was about to stop ticking, I was 41 years old.

If I could have postponed another 10 or 20 years, I may have. But probably not, and that is because I had already made that choice before.  I still silently mourn that. It is an ache in me that has never gone away.  Even now I am too ashamed to admit to the choice that I made (except for blogging here anonymously). Nobody ever warns you about it when you make that “right to choose”.

After giving birth to my son, I had the biggest epiphany of my entire life. So much love, that I never knew I had in me, gushed forth. I realized that I had discovered something so profound in my life that not even once had I considered that it ever existed. I finally got it. My life had taken on a whole new meaning. It was as though I had found the “missing link” in my life.

I found something that I did not even know I was looking for.

Those little arms reaching out to me completely changed how I saw life. I may have not felt worthy of this new found love, but I knew then, I would fight to my death to protect my child who had already given me so much.

I still feel the same.

Advertisements

If Only I Could Find A Job…

For the last few weeks, I feel like I have been drowning. It is as though I am barely treading water and I am continually sinking into the abyss exhausted from the struggle. Only occasionally, can I muster the strength to pull myself up to gasp for air.

I hate admitting to being so weak; I wanted this blog to be a story of survival and not of being a victim. Yet, here I wallow in my anxiety and despair.

November has become a difficult month since that is when the nightmare of my marriage escalated into the financial and emotional upheaval in 2011. This was when MSTBX had decided that he was no longer obligated to provide for his family. It had already started many months, (years even) of him withholding money but now he blatantly started to completely cut us off. Now his stark resentment about paying for the household expenses in the home that he was still living in became glaringly apparent.

I am now embarking on my 3 rd year into this mess. I am fighting a foreclosure on the house that my son and I reside in, we have nowhere to go and for whatever reason, I cannot seem to find a job.

My life is a big mess, and financial instability is at its peak. When MSTBX moved out in March 2012, he closed all bank accounts and left my son and I on our own. At first, I did not believe that he was really doing that and then I thought that this would all be settled in the courts soon. Wrong on both counts.

We BOTH started the business about 20 years ago and it was his and my only source of income and employment for the last 19 years, yet he reaps all of the benefits and hides his income through the veil of the corporation.

His tactic in the courts is that he pleads poverty and he knows he can get away with this because I have no money to prove otherwise. His other tactic is to drag this out in hopes that my attorney will eventually leave because he knows I have no source of income to pay her. Luckily, I have been blessed with an attorney that is an advocate and has still defended me in spite of the fact that she has not received any payment since January 2012. But even she has to pay her electric bill, and I have no idea how long this will last.

After MSTBX left, I borrowed money from my mother (she also loaned me the $5,000.00 retainer fee for the attorney) and from my brother just to survive. I naively thought that it would all be over in a few months and I would be on my feet again.

Herein lies the problem; it is now this long and I am still not on my feet. I have gone through county aid, food stamps, welfare to work program, WIA funded 6 month re-education and upgrade my skills program and I have written more that 60 cover letters since July applying for work. I cannot find a job.

I know it is a bad economy, and just turning 60 years old (I had my son when I was 42) and having no discernable work record for the last 20 years does not help. And really can I let them contact my former employer??? I have been doing some volunteer jobs just to get references.

I did find a job at the local department store for Christmas help, but even they are only scheduling me for only 8 hours a week.

I feel like such a loser because I cannot financially sustain myself. I do get on occasion some court ordered spousal support, but that is not enough to sustain my son and me.  I could not manage the mortgage and expenses on that alone. In addition, even in spite of the fact that the support is court ordered, he ignores the order and payments are only sporadic.  There is lots of back child support owed and Child Support Services is a joke. CSS is only functional for the easy targets and not for those like MSTBX because he hides the money.

If only I could find a job and show income then I have a shot at keeping the house. There is money in an escrow account from a property that we sold. I could pay back the money that is owed for the mortgage and be reinstated. Yet again, another court appearance is required to get a hold of that money. Some of that money is even my personal money. I generated a paper trail to prove that it was mine before the marriage.

If only I could find a job, then I would not have to frantically run to the mailbox daily to see if there is a check in there.

If only I could find a job, then I could put all of this divorce stuff on the back-burner and just move on with my life.

And most of all, if only I could find a job then I could inspire my son to go forth and leave his room. He stays up all night. I hear his friends dropping by in the early hours of the morning. I know they are smoking pot. I gave up that fight a year ago, yelling and “boundaries” never helped. I know it is a self-medication thing, but as I keep telling him: it is time to end the pity party. I have been trying to be strong for the both of us, but now, it is becoming more obvious that my strength is failing. He spends his days sleeping while I try to spend my days at home working on the computer searching for jobs. My days are filled with filing out paperwork for the IRS (more stuff to deal with and too much to write about now) retrieving paperwork for the attorney, and so many other things that I have to deal with due to the problems that destitution incurs. The only thing my son sees is his mom just spending endless hours in front of the computer.

I am at a complete loss at where to turn. I only have a few friends and they are far away. I had few local ones. Many have lost interest because my situation is so perpetually bleak and has been for so long. I still get comments like; You still haven’t pulled it together yet? Why isn’t your divorce over yet? I can only shrug my shoulders and I can feel their frustration that my situation is still not resolved. So I just avoid them now. If I do run into them by chance, I just camouflage my despair and angst with optimism and strength. Besides, I really never could afford the cost of those coffees anyway.

I joined a weekly meditation group. Their basic philosophy is that we attract the good and bad in our life. So my joke is that I must be a masochist. I have not gone any further in describing the sordid details of my life. It is supposed to be a positive outlet. The only thing that I know is that when the lights go down for the meditation is that I burst into uncontrollable tears. I quietly cry through the entire meditation. I have started bringing a hidden hanky to wipe the tears. It is literally soaked by the time the meditation is over. I do not think anyone has noticed it, because I do this quietly and I am much too embarrassed to let anyone know. What is weird is that this is the only place that I cry. I have felt like crying for the last 2 years, but I never did. When I started with this group, just a few months ago, it just happened when the lights were dimmed. I do not understand it, but I do find some relief in it.

And, as for my mother and brother, still no contact. It is a can of worms that I am not ready to open. Yet I struggle with the no contact because I have a son. I cannot and would not deny him access to his father. And I cannot deny him access to his grandmother or uncle either. I can only be there to talk to him about their transgressions after he has personally experienced them. For me, I think I can still just roll with the punches except when they target my son. Then I go nuts. The holidays are coming and I do not want this to end up lasting 20 years like what happened to my other brother. He has since passed away and that is another long story. I understand my vulnerabilities, but in my heart, I cannot do “no contact”. I still cannot ignore the fact that both my mother and brother financially provided for me during the first year of this mess. It is all so complicated and I am still so confused.

If only I could find a job….

Lost & Alone

My apologies for not posting sooner.

I had this blog all planned out and I even started a different post Family Secrets #2. But as life goes, my blog is also taking slight detour.

The last few weeks have been overwhelming with money issues, paperwork issues, and mostly family issues. And, sometimes when I get on overload the best way I know how to deal with it all is to just sit and stare out the window.  Not effective or efficient, but at times, can be my way.

In the last 2 weeks I have been scrambling for money just to survive, keep the lights on and put food on the table. My son just turned 18 so no child support. But I only have gotten a total of $1,000.00 for Child Support since MSTBX left in February 2011.

When MSTBX left, he left my son and I destitute. We both operated a business for the last 20 years and that was his and my only source of income. Somehow, MSTBX got away with taking all of the income of the business or at least temporarily (2 years temporarily) able to do so. All of that is still being fought out in the courts and who knows when that will end.

It has been interesting surviving since he left, but that is another long story. Luckily, I have always been a resourceful person.

My most devastating blows from the last few weeks came from my immediate family of narcissists. It is almost karmic that it happened

After posting Family Secrets 1, I felt so guilty even mentioning some of the few transgressions that I wrote regarding my immediate family.  I cannot understand why I would be so protective of those that perpetrated on me. I felt as though I was whining about nothing. As I have done for my entire life, I tried to reject my feelings for “the greater good” of protecting the family ways.

I try to dismiss their behavior to me because after all, compared to MSTBX, they are relatively harmless. At least that is what I try to tell myself, they are harmless.

Judgment is an odd thing. We should not judge because we may not understand, but then if we do not judge then bad behavior can proliferate without the restraints of judgment.

Then, I get even more confused. How do you judge bad behavior when it is compared to even worse behavior? After all nobody in my family is as bad as MSTBX, and he is not as bad as a serial killer. So are they all not that bad???

I sincerely struggle through this mess of narcissism and it’s effects on my son and me.

The solution that I have got from most books on Narcissism is to have “no contact”. That is easy if it is an X spouse or X relationship. Those ties are easier to sever.  If it is in your immediate family, what do you do? The interconnectivity of the blood and marriages of the entire family is so complex. Do you just walk away from everyone? And my son, what about him? Do I deny him access to the entire family because of the dysfunction of a few?

This new mess all started when my son returned from a 2 week vacation with his dad in Hawaii (probably why there was no $$$ for spousal support???). The suggestion of a vacation in itself was unbelievable since it was from a father who ignored his son for the last 2 years. Less than 10 days before they left for Hawaii, my son’s father called him and told him that he was taking him to Hawaii for 2 weeks. What 18 year old would not be excited?

I never got too many details about the trip, except that my son was ignored. My son is reluctant to share too much what goes on with his dad. I know he is trying to still figure it all out and he loves his dad. I try to keep him out of this mess as much as possible. My son still had a good time even though he was mostly on his own while dad golfed everyday. In spite of all the relatives that MSTBX has on the islands, they did not visit any. One can only speculate why.

After my son returned, it was about a week before he could no longer hold it in. Everything came out in a big screaming match between my son and I. He finally blurted out that his dad told him that it was my son’s fault as to why the marriage ended. MSTBX told my son that I had paid too much attention to my son and not enough to him!!!  I could feel all of the hurt and anguish coming from my son. I tried to alleviate it by telling him that his dad was married 2 times before and what his excuse for that??? I also mentioned that dad left because he thought he had something better. I may have eased some of the anguish but I knew he was still scarred.

I wish I could say that it ended there…

My son wanted to go visit his Grandma and an older cousin that lives near her. It is about a 7 hour car drive. That is an intentional geographic distance from her that I chose many years ago. I know some of you are wondering how I could send the lamb to the wolf in sheep’s clothing? Again my confusion as to where the boundaries of family need to be limited. My mother (Grandma) never played her manipulations on my son. I know she chooses her victims and I never thought he too would become one.

While visiting his Grandma, my son had to endure constant interrogation regarding his trip to Hawaii. Eventually my son confided in his Grandmother about how his dad said that he was responsible for the demise of the marriage. Can you imagine the devastation that my son felt when his own Grandmother, MY MOTHER, agreed with MSTBX that my son was responsible!!!!! This destroyed him and he was so broken about this when he came home and confided in me. How can I convince him now??? The wound just got deeper.

This whole divorce has really affected my son. This all started in Thanksgiving 2010, he was just starting his Junior year in High School. After his dad left, he went from a normal household to a welfare household in just a matter of 1 month.

My son lost all interest in attending school and he stayed home so much that he had to transfer to another school for a semester to catch up and then he could return to graduate with his class. That never happened. He even lost interest in the other school and just stayed home in his room and that is where he has spent 90% percent of his time for the last 2 years. Luckily he did sit for his GED and passed.

I was glad for him to at least go to Hawaii and I had hoped that it would help get him out of his room for a change. It did start to work and so I was glad he was going to see Grandma.

So it was 2 steps forward and then 3 steps back. My biggest motivation of getting through this mess is my son. That is the most difficult and devastating part of this journey. He is going through such a difficult time and I am the only one to guide him. No one else cares and he knows it. I want so much to protect him from the pain but I can’t.

My only hope is that this will make him stronger and he will learn from this horrible nightmare that we are living. He has watched all of his friends leave and go away to college and trade schools and he is so lost. I am lost too.

To complicate the issue further, I confided the incident about my mother to my sister-in-law. My sister-in-law one of the few voices of reason in the family, but she is married to my brother. My sister-in-law told the story to my brother and he decided to confront my mother.

Of course my mother denied everything and deflected everything on my son. She complained that my son slept in too late and she had to cook all the time for him (she told me she was worried about my son because he did not eat enough!).  .

My mother threw the bait for my brother and he took it. He called me and started to scold me about my son being so thoughtless. I was so shocked by his reaction that I did not tell him about the text I got from our nephew complementing my son on how attentive he was to his grandmother.

My brother also tried to tell me about how he was such a better person when he was my son’s age. At this point the only thing I could do was scream profanities on the phone to him. So many more family secrets about him, but as always, I just watched through the years and never uttered a word. It is as if he is oblivious to his own transgressions.

Right now, I feel so alone and I do not know where to turn. I only want to do right by my son. I chose to protect him from all of this. He does not know anything about his uncle. How could I ever tell him? How could I explain my brother, his uncle, to my son?

I know that things will get better, they always do. I just hope it happens soon.