|Emotional Mastery Emotional intelligence, addiction and recovery, grieving, loss, fear, anger, guilt, resentment, frustration, anxiety, depression, happiness, joy, love, kindness, forgiveness, self-acceptance, confidence, escaping the pit of despair, EFT|
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|09-02-2007, 10:02 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
"Him or me" ultimatums
My mother is in a marriage of over a decade with my verbally and emotionally abusive step-father that I know is making her miserable. What's worse, I see signs that my younger half-brother is going through the same torment with him that I did when I was living at home, the torment that came dangerously close to my suicide. I am a senior in college now, and am finally financially independent of home. I have decided that now that my step-father has no power over me, and my mother has no worries about supporting me, I can finally do something about this situation.
For background, I have tried to convince my mother to leave him for her and her son's sake before, using logical and reasonable arguments, but she has had over 10 years to rationalize this marriage and I am afraid that it will take me 10 more to convince her to finally get out of it. She believes that she is too old to start over, and that since she has made the mistake of marrying the wrong person twice that she is destined to do it again if she leaves him. Also, she has convinced herself that she loves him, or at least the parts of him that don't scream at her and call her a bad mother and person. I have also tried confronting my step-father on this, but he as much as said that he doesn't care about his son, and that he basically blames everyone but himself for the misery that the family is going through. He has a classical anger-management issue where he believes that the would "should" be a certain way, and if anybody in any way violates his rules about the way the world should be he blows up. He has refused to go to marriage counseling as well. In light of all of this, I see no option but to separate myself from the issue. I am going to give my mother a "him or me" ultimatum, in which she has to decide whether she wants to stay in a relationship that is squashing her and her son's creativity and life, or to have her first-born son. I have thought about it, and I am taking nothing away from her, she is free to choose to stay with the marriage if that is what she wants. I have accepted the possibility that she won't have the courage to divorce him, so that is not an issue.
I am not posting this because I am angry or depressed or sad about this. In fact, I am as happy as I have been in a long time, because I am finally doing something about a wrong that I have seen in the world but have never had the courage to fully confront. I simply want some feedback as to how effective this has been for anybody that has tried it before, and perhaps some advice on how better go about it.
|09-03-2007, 01:23 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Give her open rain check
I can appreciate your need to separate yourself from this situation. It is so difficult to watch someone self-destruct in such a way. I applaud you in your own ability to move on. I would only suggest two things:
1) Be sure that your mother knows that if she chooses him, you will be withdrawing yourself from their lives--not for spite or anger--but because you love her too much to watch her throw her life away. You could even explain that you feel complicit being a bystander unable to help her, and you won't participate in this abuse by even watching it--you love her too much.
2) Make sure that she knows (if she chooses him) that if she ever changes her mind and works up the courage to leave him, you will be there for her. Make sure to leave forwarding contact information or a "trail of breadcrumbs," or perhaps designate a third party she can contact you through, in case she comes around someday down the road.
I hope neither is necessary. I hope she will be jolted into reality by the seriousness of your ultimatum, and gain courage from you to help her free herself of this toxic relationship. Good luck to you all. I wish you well.
|09-03-2007, 05:35 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Los Angeles, CA, USA
i have a somewhat similar situation in my life. check out my posts from a month or two ago. the advice i got and used from my fellow members was to separate myself and let her be as she is not yet my responsibility and I am not her keeper. things are more complicated for you because of the child still in the house but judging by the way your issue was written, it seems that you are a very intelligent young guy and very thoughtful and concerned. i guess my only advise is to be careful and remember not to ask a question if you are not ready to hear the answer. i say this because i did in fact give my mother the ultimatum, twice actually, and both times I got shut down; something I was not expecting. it can be rough on your self esteem and that is what brought me to this forum. i watch her self destruct and it pains me greatly but at the same time i take comfort in knowing that i did everything i could and more than i should.
|09-03-2007, 10:13 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2007
My mother was married to my emotionally abusive step-dad for 12 years, before he called it quits, claiming he "never really loved [her] in the first place". Supposedly, he just felt sorry for her being a single mother of 2 sons.
She went through a pretty bad spell of depression, as you might guess. Finally, she started dating some guys again (at 38 y/o). I think the 3rd guy she dated in that first year, she is still with (10 years now). She is incredibly happy, and this man is very good to her. I even look to him as a father figure more than my own biological father.
Perhaps you can give your mother encouragement that age doesn't matter and neither does 2 failed marraige attempts. My mother can testify to that.
I am concerned that by giving your mother an ultimatum, and she leaves him, she will resent you for forcing her to make such a decision. Perhaps you should talk to him. Ask him if he truly loves your mom, or if he just gets off on keeping everyone around him miserable. Perhaps you can give him the ultimatum. To either leave your mom, or force her son out of her life. Let him carry the burden. Although, that may seem like going behind your mom's back to sabotage her marriage to her. Maybe time and patience that things will eventually work themselves out is the way to go. Just be careful when meddling in other peoples relationships, even when you are envolved. Things can get even messier. Good luck to you and your mother.
Last edited by Soul Vibe; 09-03-2007 at 10:19 PM. Reason: typo
|09-04-2007, 08:07 AM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
I did it
I did it. I gave her the ultimatum. As I expected, she first said that it was bad of me to do so. Then she started crying when she realized the seriousness of the situation. It was hard, but I said what I needed to say. I told her how I cannot tolerate seeing her in this situation anymore and that I am here for her if and only if she chooses to leave her husband. I made sure that she knows that I love her, and am doing this because I don't want to see her value being crushed by this man. I even gave her the option of convincing me that he was a good person that would make her and her son happy, and she didn't even bother responding to the challenge. I knew that this was the right thing to do, but right after I did it I felt as if my mother had just died, as if I had killed her. The enormity of the possibility that I may never speak to her again hit me hard. Then I went into a state of emotional shock, unable to really feel anything for a while, the whole time knowing that something inside me was wrong. I finally realized that my problem was that I was holding my mother to a different standard that I hold most other people around me to. Normally, I morally would choose not to encourage behavior that is against my values. Yet I was expecting myself to unconditionally support my mother, no matter what values of life, growth, and the pursuit of happiness that she was violating. I realized that I must expect my mother to live up to the values I hold dear if I am to associate with her at all. I would rather never see my mother again than see her live a life without knowing the value of courage and integrity of self. I hold her to an even stricter standard than the average person, because she is the person that raised me, a person that I always looked up to and hope that one day I can once again look up to. And so I resolve any emotional issues I had, so that I can face the issue without fear or guilt, knowing that I am encouraging all those around me to live a life of value and happiness.
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|"Stand By Me" Synchronicity||songwriter||Erin Pavlina||2||08-26-2007 11:06 PM|
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