Well, I started seeing a counselor and found one for the kids. We have our first family meeting tonight. Saw DH on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't much of a visit. Since it was in the hospital cafeteria, I thought I'd be able to buy lunch there. So we went straight up from church. Bad idea. We couldn't buy anything, the boys were starving, and between hunger, stress, and sitting for 2.5 hours already, they were pretty rammy. DH was coming down with the flu too. We left soon and hopefully this weekend will be better.
My MIL has been on a mission to prove that all his drug problems started AFTER he left home, and keeps talking to me about it. I am really sick of it. Ultimately I could give a rat's ass what she thinks, I know what I know. But it bothers me because I know it will have a major impact on his recovery, or lack thereof. She spent the first week he was away crying to me every day about how hard this is for her. I told her she should join a grief counseling group, trying to hint that I am not free to be her crutch now that he isn't leaning on me. It seemes to have escaped her. She spent the second week talking with me about his childhood (those conversations were mutual) and how we can get help for him at this point. But at some point she remembered that he was supposed to have had the perfect life with her, because she is the perfect mother, and that led to her lashing out at me on Sunday over the phone after my visit.
For anyone who started with this blog, she is another bipolar one. Or something of the sort. And she was very abusive to her children, particularly DH as her oldest, as well as to me and my brothers when we were growing up. She never physically abused me, although I remember a few instances of outrageous verbal abuse that my mother really should have put a stop to. She whipped at least one of my younger brothers severely, though, because he interrupted a brutal beating she was giving to her third son. He couldn't stand the cries any more. And she lashed out at my second brother once when he acted like a complete jackass at her house, and went on for DAYS (I kid you not) about how stupid and ill-mannered and worthless he was. So nothing will ever convince me that she was anything approaching a decent mother. Whatever.
But I bit my tongue while she ranted on about what a Negative Nancy I am, how I always focus on the bad, I can never see any good, DH was HAPPY!!! when he lived with her, HAAAAPPYYYYY do you hear me? and he loved going to work every day from 16 years old on and supporting his family and making a decent contribution to the household like a real man should, learning skills that would have been all he needed in life if he didn't throw it all away for that college education that put him into drugs and ruined his life. And SHE was THERE, you see, SHE was THERE when he came home from work and talked about all he was learning and was so enthusiastic about his work, I certainly wasn't there and have no idea what I'm talking about, I just keep ignoring the real issue which is DRUGS and SIN!
Sure, bitch. Except you forgot one very important thing, see. I WAS there. Oh, not at your dinner table. Nothing would have persuaded me to eat dinner with you once my mother wasn't there to force me. But I was there in the evenings, hanging out in the basement with him, listening to you nag him like that continual dropping on a rainy day about all the chores you needed done. Because it wasn't enough that he went to work all day to pay the mortgage on that house you wanted. He was supposed to do the laundry and mow the grass and clean the bathrooms too. I was there the night he hurt his back, so badly that he screamed when I tried to rub it while he laid on the floor. And all you did all evening was call down to see when the laundry would be done. Yeah. That's how much you cared. Unfortunately, YOU were THERE, and small wonder that he is now here.
I tried to keep my cool, even apologized for upsetting her, and tried to point out that this is what bipolar disorder does. He has a split personality. She and I saw opposing sides of the same coin. But it was hardest when she kept talking about the fact that he had dreams and goals when he left home, and what happened to all THAT? Drugs, that's what. And I bit my tongue harder, reminding myself how much the boys need her right now (and that she will take out her anger on them if I upset her). Because I know exactly what happened. I watched it happen, the night she called him on the phone and told him that she was leaving his stepdad. We had just started planning our wedding and set a date. And he laid on his bed and stared at the ceiling, and cried for a long time, and worried, and within a few weeks he had decided to move back home and keep holding everyone together like he always had. And I was heartbroken and horrified at the prospect, but I went along like a moron.
Yes, I know what happened to those dreams, and it wasn't drugs. His mother happened, as usual. With all her drama and selfishness and manipulation. And I meant it when I told her that she ruined my marriage before it ever got started. She ruined it when she allowed him to believe that he, not her, was responsible for the well-being of the family. And since her drama always happens when someone else is getting attention (like our wedding date being set), it's hard to believe that she didn't do it on purpose. But logic tells me that she didn't, not consciously. She just thinks that way. Always.
Still, after I hung up, I thought about the bipolar thing, and I started to really get upset. I hadn't thought about it before. But I remember all the times I tried to convince him to spend some of his "good days" with us, feeling so hurt that after all I gave up to help him through the depression and withdrawal, he would never give any of it back. As soon as he was over it (probably because he found some more drugs, looking back) he went off with friends or his brothers. I was never invited. When I started inviting myself, I felt deeply unwanted and awkward. He would look for ways to avoid me or point out my poor social skills. I have to wonder at this point if I really have any reason at all to believe that he wasn't cheating on me. Probably with random girls, not a relationship, but still. I did suspect a couple of times because of comments other people made.
Back to the issue, though. I had always assumed that the happiness he showed to his family was fake, and they were too ignorant to see through it. I had never thought that maybe both seemed equally real to him. And even if he couldn't help it, that still hurts. All those times I just wanted him to be happy, and did everything I could - even things I really didn't want to do - to make it happen. And he never was. Not with me. The happiness was for elsewhere.
Of course, the drugs have to have played a huge part in that too. I didn't participate, but I was aware he used them, and disapproving. And they were what made him happy (temporarily), so he couldn't be with me when he was happy because he was also high. But that brings us back to the original point, how long he has been using the drugs; and good luck convincing the Other Mother of that. If she won't believe it after he has repeatedly told her so, nothing I say will matter.
The more I remember what our marriage has been like, the less I feel justified in hoping for a future with him. I don't believe we are good for each other any more. I KNOW he isn't good for me. And I have serious questions about whether I should keep trying to prop up my MIL. I can look back and see the pattern he followed with me, which was the same pattern she followed with him; and I realized on Sunday that if I am not very careful, she will pick up the thread of abuse where he left off, and replace him as my burden to carry. I am not going to let that happen. She is back to giving the kids a bunch of stuff, and offering us a ride to visit this weekend, which I really can't think of a good reason to say no to since it's a long drive and we are both going anyway. But I am definitely on guard now. If I have to push her aside or away in order to be a good mother, I will. I have no emotional ties to her like I did to DH, that I should justify being her crutch instead. And I will be watching like a hawk to make sure she doesn't do it to the kids.