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Fed_Up2's avatar

My step-mother won't leave me alone and I need some answers, can you help?

Asked by Fed_Up2 (4points) July 28th, 2010

This all started since childhood so I moved to live with my mother: She physically and mentally abused me, ie: Told me I was ugly and no boy would ever take me out. Told me her figure was better than mine. I was using the sewing machine to repair a pair of pants and she ripped them out of the machine breaking off the needle and proceeded to hit me with the pants with the needle in it. She made me dress in out of style clothes. She grounded me for a whole year. She also wrapped a metal coat hanger around my neck and tried to strangle me with it and my full brother say it. She lied to my father several times about what she was doing to me and he told me he failed his first marriage, and couldn’t fail this one (ego I believe), so no support there. Thought things were fine after becoming an adult, as my father and half-brother had told me she felt bad for the things she has done to me. We were fine for several years then decided to move back (my husband and myself) and join the family business, of which she in not involved in. After 3 years, her antics started again. It has been another long 7 years now. We were in the family business and that made matters worse, as she would have her daughter open the shop while no one was around and go through the books. I have been followed by her, treated very rudely on the business telephone. She has conviscated my father’s cell phone so I can not call him, they have no land line now. She has taken me to family court and forced my father to testify against me which he did not do so she did not win and my husband and myself decided to leave the business; I have done nothing to her, not physically, but did call her the “B” word as I was pretty much fed up and she told the judge I tried to hit her which was not true and my father comfirmed that on the stand; when they did have a land line while trying to have a conversation with my father, she was listening in and asked her to PLEASE get off the phone and my father did so as well. She bullys him…he is not allowed to say my name in front of her, and he has to sneak out to visit me while she is out of town or at church. If he happens to mention my name at family functions, she won’t cook for him or wash his clothes for several weeks. He is so miserable, it’s affecting his health and she is telling anyone who will listen that it’s all my fault and this is aging him very quickly…recently had two strokes; and I have to hear second-hand usually 10 days to 3 weeks later if my father has been hospitalized or had these strokes. He just turned 74. Isn’t this against the law? He has told me he hides in his little room at the back of the house and crawls into his little shell to get away from her. She has spent all his money…he found that out when he finally got the guts to leave her and found out he had no money or credit so he was pretty much stuck with her. She has told family and friends that we are trying to bankrupt the business. Her own family members feel sorry for me as they know how she operates and have told me so. I recently joined Facebook because I have a school reunion coming up and it is out of state and it’s the best way to keep up-to-date on who is coming. Recently my half-brother got married and she told him she was not coming to his wedding and would make sure his half-sister and half-brother would not be attending either. She has also told him he was a mistake, and that hurt him very much. She did go and my father came with her, with a couple of my family members. He tried to give me a big hug and hold me and she literally tore him out of my arms. My brothers best friend said “Boy, that was ugly!” and some of his other friends wanted to know what that was all about. My half-brother has tried to stick up for me by standing up to her and has given him much grief. She keeps her money separate thinking my full brother and myself will try to get our hands on her money, and my father as well. I do not want any of her money!!! She has a safe deposit box in her name only and hides alot of things from my father. Anyway, she has made friends with all my friends on Facebook, and comments after every comment I make just to annoy me and my friends are sick of her antics. She doesn’t say anything bad online, but when they post wonderful quotes (referring to her…she doesn’t get it), she comments things like…too bad somebody doesn’t take this advice, etc. I don’t want to cancel my Facebook due to my friends and the reunion updates, and it has taken me so long to build it with pics, friends, etc. I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea. This woman is about 13 years older than me and I am 55. Through the past 7 years it has affected my health tremendously and am working with my doctor to get better. I now have fibromylasia and adrenal fatigue and can not sleep. I have been able to copy and paste some of her conversations in Facebook and my friends comments about her to My Documents and am building it daily for proof. After the court thing my attorney told me to stay as far away from her as possible and do not communicate with her. This I have done and have missed alot of my family functions, so they don’t feel like they are being put in the middle or feel uncomfortable. Is this called abuse and/or cyberharassment? I would love to move away and leave this all behind me, but is not possible for at least another 5 years, and need to stay near my father due to his withering health. Is there anything I can do about this matter???

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10 Answers

john65pennington's avatar

It appears you have lived a life of torture from this woman. you have used the courts and that also appears not have helped your situation. i assume that since your dad is in his 70s, that you are an adult. my first thought was…...why didn’t you run away many years ago? your dad was trapped with this woman, but not you. most other people would have simply run away from home. thats past, so lets see your future. its time for you to break the chain of torture for yourself. your only answer, in order to avoid a homocide with this woman, is to move. i understand that this is not a choice for you, because of your dad. but, in all honesty, i believe your dad would want it this way. at least one of you could remain living in a normal life. i see moving as your only option and never tell anyone, where you are moving to. move somewhere across the country, completly out of your town and out of your state. she will find you, if you do not.

poofandmook's avatar

About the Facebook: You can block her specifically from being able to even see your page. If she were to search for you, it would say you’re not on Facebook. Very easy to do.

I have to ask… can you sort of “rescue” your father from her? Are you in any sort of position to set him up someplace or even have him stay with you for a while?

janbb's avatar

You need to get yourself totally away from this toxic situation.

MissAusten's avatar

Two words: No contact.

I suggest you also read the book Understanding the Borderline Mother. My own mother, while nowhere near as toxic as what you described, has issues that led me to read this book and I found it very helpful. What you described sounds like it came directly out of this book.

I’d also suggest you seek counseling, because cutting off contact, or limiting contact, can be very difficult. You may feel like you’re abandoning you father or other family members, or worry about what this woman will say about you/do to you if you refuse to put up with her drama or have anything to do with her.

I hate to say it, but your father staying in that situation is enabling her to continue the mistreatment. Both of you need to firmly set boundaries with your mom and consistently enforce those boundaries. It’s not easy, and if your father isn’t willing to do that, his relationship with her will never change.

Finally, if you can’t afford a counselor but would like to “talk” to other people who have family members that display the kind of behavior you described, try the Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group message board. It is free to join and simple to use. There are regular contributors who have been through the same situation and you may be able to learn from their experiences and advice.

Good luck, and I hope you find the help and resources you need.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

In most states, there are laws stating it is a felony to mistreat anyone over 65 years old. This woman, according to your statements, would be a candidate for a very long prison sentence in the state of Florida.

Your father made a mistake long ago. You have been paying for that mistake all your adult life. Time to either have this woman removed from your father’s home, or for you to move on with your life, even if that means saying goodbye to your dad. Or both.

If you can get this woman incarcerated for just violating your fathers civil rights, much less elderly abuse (yes, elders can be charged with this as well) you will have her out of both your lives and you will have your dad back, eventually. But be prepared for his resistance, he suffers from “beaten wife syndrome” from years of emotional abuse and most likely will be a lousy witness. You will need to gather physical evidence, photos, videos of her rages, documentation of weight loss, skin tears, bruises, diminished capacity, whatever.

Tell his physician about your suspicions and ask him to be on watch for the signs of emotional and physical abuse. He can’t give info to you, but he/she can create documentation that can be useful under subpoena. I would consult with both elderly services in your state and with a women’s shelter as to what you need to do. Then, I would contact a lawyer.

Or you can just leave and have a life of your own and stop paying for his mistakes for which he has had plenty of chances to fix. In the end, we all make our beds in which we have to sleep. And, regardless of who is at that bedside in the end, we always die alone.

YARNLADY's avatar

You need to stand on your own two feet and get completely away from this situation. Get off facebook. Move into an apartment with your Dad, and apply find out from the Department on Aging what you need to do to get his benefits in order.

Fed_Up2's avatar

Thank you all for all your great comments. However, I am married and can not just pick up and move. My father is in denial, of course. And is always making excuses for her. I understand completely what your saying, but since we were in the family business (my husband, my Dad, and my brother-in-law (with her daughter), my husband now hates my father for not standing up to his wife and putting her in her place. I think my father feels the same way about him. My husband will always stick up for me and has through this whole mess. I have stayed away from all my family for 7 years now, excepting the one day at the family business.

YARNLADY's avatar

Unfortunately, if you won’t take the necessary steps to change the situation, as described above, then you will have to find a different way to deal with it. You are making your own choice to stay in a situation you don’t like, and you can’t blame your mother in law or anyone else.

poofandmook's avatar

@YARNLADY: Well, I do think the MIL is to blame just a bit, considering she IS the situation.

YARNLADY's avatar

That reminds me of the old joke “Why do you keep banging your head against that wall? Because it feels so good when I stop”.

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