Punching Judy

My parents don’t get along.

Well, I’ll take that back, a bit. My biological parents get along tolerably well when they’re in each other’s actual, physical presence, at least, since a few years after they divorced. They’re quite civil with each other, and I’ve never heard my father speak ill of my mother. When we talk on the phone, he asks after her wellbeing, and listens to my answers. He even asks after my half-brothers, because they’re my family. https://ericwedwards.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/punch-and-judy-1880.jpg?w=500

My mother is a different story. Once I was ‘old enough,’ however she defined that age (she never told me; I never asked), the words that she’d held back for so many years came tumbling out. Before then, her communications were limited to eye-rolls and sighs of disgust.

Now, it’s one thing for my best-friend-since-we-were-eleven and I to laugh bi-annually when I received my birthday and Christmas packages from my father; a quick summation of his gifting skills is secondhand, cheap, and/or quite odd. Not that secondhand is bad, necessarily, but when it comes to an address book or a calendar, it does subtract from the usefulness of the item in question. So. It’s one thing for us to do that, and we certainly do. My bestie awaits those packages as excitedly as I do.

But it’s another for my mother to tell me that my father, who always paid his child support the month it was due, if not generally the day it was due, who never struck me, who, as a creative artist, supports my own creative and artistic endeavors, is a sorry piece of shit. It’s worse than the pot calling the kettle black–I don’t know how many times she hit me, and she has often ridiculed my artistic ambitions.

The thing of it is, she’s proud of being that person. One of the (admittedly few) stories I’ve heard of when she and my father were married is about her shrewishness: once, my father simply stated boogers are salty. She promptly and furiously contradicted him: no they’re not! But when she tells this story, she can’t leave it at that; she has to boast that she’s so contradictory and argumentative that even an example like this is a source of pride to her.

My mother collects negativity and misfortune and hoards them, only to pass them out when she needs to one-up someone, anyone. She doesn’t feel the hurt of these things as everyone else does; they’re good things, to her, because she can use them as building blocks to raise herself up to martyrdom, above everyone else’s suffering.

She’s built up this cult of anger instead of personality, and my stepfather bears the brunt of it now. All four of her children have tried pointing this out to her, pointing out her pettiness and her belittlement of him, and all it’s done is make us notice more.

But sometimes, now, he gets angry back, and they will scream and fight and blister each other with insults until one of them gives up; not verbally, but physically leaving the room and locking the other out.

It’s uncomfortable, to say the least. And yes, tremendously awkward.

And I’m afraid it won’t end until one of them is institutionalized.

Tues Truthiness at TBP–from a few weeks ago


5 Comments on “Punching Judy”

  1. LRose says:

    Sorry to hear it but you seem to rise above it pretty well…and write about it very well.

    • April says:

      I was talking with a friend the other night about how it took me over 30 years to be able to step back enough to understand that I can still live my life no matter how she acts. Thank you.

  2. susieshy45 says:

    April, I know a couple of women – poking their noses in things that don’t concern them, interfering in financial matters of their children, taking to bed if children ( read son and daughter in law) plan for an activity with them not included and so on, And the worst is ” taunting” – indirectly criticising a person, while the person stands in front of them.
    All I can say is try not be like them and see where all this negativity comes from- perhaps they didn’t have that good a childhood or a love- life.
    Hugs and kisses,

  3. That’s a very hard situation! God bless you!

  4. abbiosbiston says:

    It’s terrible when parents put their children in the middle of their problems… doesn’t matter how old you are 😦

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s