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Just fyi there is a troller/abusive poster in the Kids want to go to Dad's house thread.

1 comment posted: Thursday, June 9th, 2022

Family of origin Issues

Sorry if this thread meanders. It's partially a vent thread, and partially a need for solidarity thread, from anyone who's experienced anything similar.

One current stressor for me is that since leaving my FW, I've had to purchase a new house in the midst of the housing boom, and my area has skyrocketed in price over the past years, and I can't leave (my hometown, custody rules, good job). House shopping last summer was extremely stressful but I was fortunate enough to buy a very small but cute house, exorbitantly priced for what it is, but fairly priced for the market. I'm glad to have it, as any kind of renting situation would have been about as expensive and much less satisfactory. It is very expensive, however, and as a teacher I don't earn much. I invited my mother to live with my chronically ill teenage son and me, as she was selling her home, and I knew her rent would help me financially, and it does. That's the good part.

The bad part is that I hate living with her. I used to get along better with her prior to moving in, but something has snapped with me and now I viscerally dislike having her around. I am usually at work, and when I am home, spend most of my time in my upstairs room (my son's room is down the hall from me, so we can communicate well upstairs). We don't eat as a family because I couldn't stand it. I mostly eat take-out because I'm gone so much and don't like hanging out in the kitchen, where she might try to chat with me.

Why did this change occur in me? I suspect it's something to do with the extreme stress of the breakup, feeling frightened of having no home until I lucked into this place, and then having to have my mother move in, so that I feel almost like a teenager again, after 30 painful years of adulthood, with not much to show for it. I'm also irritated by some things she does. For example, I told both her and my sister (who is my mother's favorite and has the perfect husband and kids and everything has to be all about her), that I wanted to first show the house to my sister and her family at Christmas, after I'd really finished moving in and had it looking great and decorated. Well, both mom and sister ignored that clear request and my mom had my sister over while the house was still a mess and unfinished, ruining my pride in showing off my new home to them. So I've been cool to my sister since then, and that might have been the specific trigger for the irritation I feel toward my mother, who has always blatantly favored my sister in both word and deed. Never mind the fact that my sister would never in a million years let my mother live in her perfect house...

Then there's the time she poured grease down the kitchen drain. I did freak out and yell a bit, not excessively at all, just in shock, like "No! Don't!" and she got very offended. I was horrified because I know from living in other homes what ruined pipes can cost to fix, and I DON'T have the money. It also irritated me again because I know that if it were my sister's house, she would not have dared pour grease down the drain, and if my sister had got angry, she would have apologized rather than got offended. She never apologizes to me, no matter what she screws up. She just shrugs and says, "I broke this," etc.

Backstory on this is that I was angry at my mother for years as a teen and young adult for not being a good mother to me for most of my childhood. She and my father divorced when I was around 10, and were screaming at each other for quite a while before that. For years afterwards, she checked out of parenting, slept all day (she was a night nurse), and left us to get through life on our own. I wore the same two outfits to school for several weeks at one point because no clothes were washed, and would eat jars of frosting or microwave popcorn for dinner because there was nothing to eat. My brother and I suffered a lot from this, my older sister not as much because she was more independent already. Socially, I was an awkward child and got no guidance from home, so I had to learn all of "the rules" the hard, painful way. My grades suffered and she never commented or intervened, so nothing on that front improved and despite high intelligence, the chance to get a well-paying career was closed to me, too. I did go to college and managed to scrape through to becoming a schoolteacher.

My father was sexually inappropriate with me as a child (left porn around which was a bad influence, would shower with me, etc.) While my sister was my mother's favorite, I was my father's favorite, but it didn't last. He left for another state across the country when I was in high school and I never saw him but a couple of times after that, and he made no effort to stay involved. He wasn't a good father when he was home, anyway. Once he purposefully bumped my sister with his car because she wasn't getting ready for school fast enough. I remember him yelling a lot. That, and him being sexually suggestive with me, is my main impression of him. He called me once, a year or two after he'd taken off, annoyed that I hadn't called him on Father's Day. Like I was supposed to boost his ego for a job that he never properly did. Neither me nor my siblings saw him for a few decades, then he tried to get in touch as he neared death a few years ago. My younger brother was into it and reestablished a relationship with him, but I ignored him, and ignored his death when it happened. My younger brother has never really forgiven me for that. Why he thinks I owe my father anything, I don't know.

While my father was a dropout from our lives, I had gone through multiple bad relationships with men, had a child in a stressful situation because his father was verbally abusive and also threatening (he literally tore the kitchen apart when I was 8 months pregnant with his son, due to me meekly expressing disappointment with not getting a real birthday present (or even a "happy birthday") after spending the whole day entertaining his family over Thanksgiving. I coped with that and much more, including my son's autism (which is not his current illness) without a father's help. Why would I go to his funeral many years later? I wish I'd had different parents.

My sister is self-centered and controlling. When my brother dared post a picture to Facebook of her daughter when she was born, she wouldn't speak to him for almost 3 years, and we had to have 2 separate Christmases, one for her, one for him, etc. two separate Thanksgivings, etc., for years, due to her attitude. I do love my nieces, though. I've tutored the older one in math, for free, of course. I've babysat, and waited for her to come home hours past the promised return time. Always get a thanks for this, but not much reciprocation in terms of action or real concern about my son. The stress of his illness is getting to me, too, of course. It's such a tragedy that I can't even stand to write about it in detail. Suffice it to say that it's a major stressor.

After the breakup I enrolled in graduate school so that I can eventually become an administrator and earn more money. In the meantime, I have to let my mother live here for as long as she's willing to stay. I'm partly worried that she'll move out because I'm not being her friend, but frankly I'm just not mentally able to be her friend now. I wish she wouldn't act so obtuse, like nothing's wrong and I should want to cheerfully chat. She knows my son is sick, that I was financially soaked by this home purchase, that I was kicked out of the home I shared with my ex, despite how I'd tried to make it work with him. But she doesn't really seem to comprehend that I'm under extreme stress and just want to be left alone. That any energy I have has to go to my son, my job, my graduate program. Not making nice with someone who has been disrespectful to me and has always ignored my pain. Where the hell was she when my father was showering with me? Why didn't she say anything in response when I was pregnant and told her I was being cheated on and verbally abused? Why can't she see what I'm going through now? If she sees, why doesn't she understand that it's hard? She acts like the problem is with me.

She acts like a very mild, pleasant person, and in practical terms she can be helpful, such as making dinner for my son on weeknights, but at an interpersonal level, I haven't ever felt she's been there for me. After the break-up, I've been thinking more about standards and boundaries in relationships, to avoid being mistreated again, so perhaps that's led to this, too. I have felt a lot lately that I'd rather not spend time with anyone who doesn't treat me well. And this is new for me. I used to accept sub-standard treatment.

Anyone had a similar experience?

5 comments posted: Monday, May 9th, 2022

Conservative Dating?

Before responding to this post, I request that I receive no put-downs or criticism of my sexual/relationship choices. I don't go onto polyamory threads and post my honest opinions about that lifestyle, so please do the same courtesy and simply ignore this post if you think I'm misguided about wanting to only have sex within marriage.

Does anyone have any tips about dating conservatively? Specifically, I'm referring to not having sex before marriage, and I'm referring to adult dating, because I'm in my late 40's.

To give some background, I have been abused/cheated on by two different men and am so done with giving men chances and giving in to have "relationships" outside of marriage. Men always expect this, but I can no longer bring myself to share my body with a man without a commitment. And by "commitment" I mean a real commitment, marriage, not just lofty words. I've learned the hard way that "I love you, am exclusive with you and am committed to you" mean nothing when said by some men. I don't think it would be healthy for me or in my best interest to have non-marital physical romantic relationships again. I just finished my second round of STD testing after DD2 of cheater ex, and feel very protective of my body.

I'm a Christian but in a liberal congregation, and I don't want to change churches, so it's not like I can just meet like-minded men at church. Interestingly, I've only had two interactions with men at a church (my old, not current, church) that were related to romance, and they were both awful. One was a man who was married and tried to befriend me, at first I thought it was innocent, but over time it became clear that he wanted our acquaintanceship to turn to something more. I ignored his remarks until finally I just couldn't anymore. He wanted to "stop by" my then-new house to give me a housewarming gift, and I told him that would give people the wrong idea. He responded talking about divorce and I couldn't believe it. I was disgusted that he would be willing to discard his wife so callously and without any encouragement. We had no romantic relationship at all, firstly because I would never, EVER, commit adultery, secondly, I didn't find him attractive (mostly because he was a cheater type, he was okay physically), and thirdly, I was his son's Sunday school teacher. How on Earth could he have been willing to hurt his nice son like that??? Finally he got the message and stopped bothering me, though. The other man was a recently divorced younger man who I briefly dated and he then ghosted me. It had never gotten physical beyond kissing but it still hurt a lot because I was falling for him. Ending things I can understand, but ghosting? That's just mean and I hadn't done anything to hurt him. So yeah, those experiences with men at church weren't good at all, and they didn't act the way I expected a good Christian man to act. I eventually had to leave that church (where I'd spent 13 years) because of how uncomfortable I felt with those experiences. So I'm not eager to meet a man through church anyway, because I like my current church and don't want to start feeling bad about being there like happened at the other one.

Sorry for rambling on. I'm processing trauma and starting a new life, so I have a lot to vent about, I guess. I'm adjusting to my post-cheater single life with a new home, invited my elderly mother to live with me as her rent helps me pay the huge mortgage that I had to take on in the midst of the housing price boom, and I have a teenage son who is chronically ill. I'm also now in graduate school, getting a degree that should help me earn more in my field, as I'll need more money if I ever want to be able to retire. I'd like to get married someday, but am not counting on it and am doing everything required to take care of myself and my son (his father is an abusive deadbeat).

Anyway, if any of you have any supportive tips, from either a man's or woman's perspective, for proceeding back into the dating world, with the knowledge that I won't have sex outside of marriage, please share them. I'm not a tease and won't lead a man on sexually, but at the same time I'm not going to declare "no sex before marriage" on an early date, as that would make me sound crazy, like I expected or wanted marriage from him after a few dates or something. See my predicament? Any advice? I'm prepared to spend the rest of my life single, which might happen. But I'd like to try to meet someone, and am unsure how to proceed through this minefield. TIA.

23 comments posted: Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

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