Thursday, 24 January 2013

Where would disney movies be if it weren't for real life evil Step-Mothers?

Okat this is my first ever blog...and I thought I'd try it out to vent my frustration over a particular problem

My current problem is of the evil-stepmother persuasion. I shouldn’t say evil.. she doesn’t eat small children..but she’s painful at best and often behaves inappropriately, is jealous, petty, and manipulative. And although she somewhat tainted my childhood, I forgave her a few years ago and we’ve been getting along...until recently when she blew it at Gran’s funeral. Final straw.

On days where I'd go to school particularly upset my freinds would ask me what had ahppened and they didn't really believe most of the things I told them...until they started coming to my palce for sleep-overs and realised I was actually telling the truth - they saw for themselves what kind of person she was...needless to say the sleep-overs soon ceased to exist.

My Dad’s been with “Deb” for 18 years. I was 9 when they got together, I’ve a sister and Deb has 3 boys (none of whom think very highly of her). I love them as if they were my real siblings. I moved out of my Mum’s to live with Dad and Deb when I was 13 to attend a high-school that I’d chosen. Although Deb and I didn’t get along and my youngest step brother had  behavioural problems at the time, I was prepared to give it a go because I really wanted to go to school there.

The day I moved in she made me feel very unwelcome and that’s the way it stayed for two years until I really couldn’t deal with it anymore, she’d convinced me I was stupid and ugly, I was beaten by my step-brother, and Deb had a thousand ridiculous rules...all fairly trivial on their own, but we couldn’t have fun or just be kids and it was exhausting trying to remember all of her rules. By the time I moved out I was spending as much time at school with the boarders as possible, including evenings and weekends, because I dreaded going home. She was also violent with me on one occasion and threw me against a wall. but that's another story all on it's own...oh the stories I could tell you!

So when Mum moved to Australia I went too. This upset Dad and I felt awful but I couldn’t stay the way things were - Dad’s way of dealing with things is to NOT deal with them. He hates confrontation, he’s generally a calm, quiet person and If he was ever to take a side and tell her to pull her head in there’d have been hell to pay. So to an extent I can understand why. That doesn’t mean he’s doing the right thing by his kids though.

A few years ago Deb and I made up. On my wedding day she handed me a paper crane I’d made her when I was a kid that she’d kept all those years, and had written a lovely note on it to tell me she had always cared about me. That day I forgave her, because I thought it must have taken a lot for her to do that and was touched that she’d kept the crane. My step-brother who’d beaten and bullied me had apologised to me years before and now we are quite close. I don’t blame him for what happened – he was a kid.

But now Deb’s blown it. I feel stupid for letting my guard down, thinking she’d changed. I’m also a little angry with Dad and I don’t know what to do about it. So what happened was this:

A few weeks ago my Gran passed away. She spent 5 of the last 6 years living with Dad, but Deb made her feel so unwelcome she decided to live alone again for the past year though she was 88. The family met back in NZ to attend the funeral, we were sad to let Gran go but it was nice to have everyone together, we had a good laugh, told stories about Gran and enjoyed time together. Then Mum arrived. I’d asked Dad before if it’d be okay if Mum attended. Dad had no problem with it whatsoever. (Please note that Mum kicked Dad out all those years ago...not the other way around, also that my Mum is in her 60’s, is quite frail due to a disease she has and, much as I love her, really couldn’t be considered a threat.)

The day before the funeral Deb started to make inappropriate comments about my Mother within earshot of me. I pretended not to notice, Dad was under enough stress already. Mum arrived at her motel, Dad invited her for dinner with the family, they were keen to catch up, and he thought it nice to include her for our sake. Mum turned up and was her usual friendly, quiet self. One of Dad’s sisters told Mum that rather than spend money on a hotel she could stay with her. Deb didn’t think that was appropriate and said so to a family member.

After dinner my uncle suggested a family photo and Mum stayed where she was on the couch with a family friend. After the first photos the friend and Mum were called in to join in and Deb says loud enough for people near her to hear “Oh you’ve got to be f'ing kidding me” before storming out to the kitchen where she proceeded to berate Dad while another Aunty tried to reason with her. I only heard “but it’s been nearly 20 years, there’s no threat there!” from my Aunty, and at that point I left the room and stayed away from Deb until she came up to me at 10:30 PM and said “You do know it’s 10:30 don’t you?” implying that my Mother had out-stayed her welcome...even though everyone else was still there. If my mother heard any of this she didn’t let on.

The morning of the funeral Mum had come to get a ride to the church with us because she didn’t know the town and couldn’t drive. Deb threw another tantrum when I offered for Mum to get changed in my room. Perhaps in hindsight I should have asked first, but given the circumstances of the visit I didn’t think that would be necessary. I briefly caught Dad by himself and told him if she didn’t pull her head in I’d pull it in for her. That was selfish of me and Dad didn’t deserve that. I upset him, but I was angry. We drove to afternoon tea at my Aunt’s, where Deb sat sulking on the couch for the entire afternoon. Dad sat with her and was left out of the socialising because no-body wanted to go near Deb.

We’d booked dinner too and Mum was invited. At the restaurant my cousin’s partner took photos. He asked would I like a photo with my sister and parents. I say “NO”. He looks confused. I say I don’t think that’s a good idea but thanks and I’ll explain later. He gets up and pulls the four of us up for a photo anyway and before we had a chance to stop him, he’s got Dad up from the table and Deb’s trying to pull Dad back. Dad comes up anyway because he doesn’t want to upset us but in all three photos he’s looking in her direction with this expression of utter dread. As soon as Dad got up Deb had thrown something angrily down on the table. I was so embarrassed for Dad.

I couldn’t face riding home with them so I left my poor sister to listen to the ensuing argument while I sit in my Aunt’s car listening how appalled she is by Deb’s behaviour and how childish and inappropriate it is to behave that way the day they bury their Mother, while my sister sends me texts "I can't believe you left me alone with them!" and "Now she's picking a fight with him"

The conversation for the rest of the weekend once away from Dad’s, revolved around Deb’s and how we should perhaps blow up the photo of the four of us and frame it to give to Dad for Christmas (which of course we wouldn’t!) and what could have happened had wife number 1 turned up as well! I’m glad everyone else could laugh at it after and I’m glad Mum took it light-heartedly, but when I’d tried to apologise to Dad Deb had clung to him and I couldn’t get him alone so I still felt bad. The best I could do was send a text from home, apologising for retaliating but to say that to be honest I was still quite angry for the way she carried on. Dad said he really just wanted it forgotten and then went on to say how much he loves Deb and how important she is to him.

What about your kids and the rest of your family, Dad? Our Mother has every right to be at the funeral. Aren’t we just as important...if not more so because we’re YOUR KIDS! We’ve never asked him to choose...but one’s children should always come first. And this is one time he needed to step in.

My step-mother owes both Dad and my Mum an apology. Gran would be devastated to know that had gone on at her funeral. And my step-father would never have treated my Dad that way. I’m so mad and I want to have a good relationship with my Dad, but I don’t know how many more times we can put up with her doing things like this and it’s hard because he won’t discuss things and he’s always refused to acknowledge what went on while I lived with them. Should I be angry with him? Should he step-up? Or should he just let it rest and hope that we don’t resent him for it, so that he can have some peace? Or am I just making a big deal out of nothing?

Is my step-mother right to be jealous of my Motner from whom my father has been apart for almost 20 years?!

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