My Mother was a strong fighter. She fought a constant battle on the battle ground of doubt. How could she have known, how could she have accepted… That she was picked by her Sadomasochist mate because of her strong battle with doubt. She was already waging a war against doubt when he married her. But he picked her out of the prime of her life, out of her strongest most alive moment. He picked her to become his groomed doubtful victim. This was not a role she accepted easily. In-fact I believe he had so much more then he ever bargained for. My Mother was a fighter, she fought with great strength and will. Even as my father used gas-lighting and manipulations to corrode at my Mothers confidence she fought fiercely against doubt. I saw her fighting against the doubt and I admired her. But then my dad taught me to see her another way. He taught me to see her as a bad and neglectful wife. He taught me to view the fights as my Mothers problem. He taught me to resent and hate my Mother for defending herself against the constant attacks on her doubt.
My Mother was never stronger in her fight against doubt then she was when I was a young teen. Right after I tried to report my father. I was traumatized so I would disassociate and try to crawl in my skin when my mother was fiercely defending herself against my fathers war on her doubt. I just wanted the fighting to stop. I had already been broken. I viewed her resistance as wrong.
This is the brutal moment when my father took control of his daughters. We all stood firmly on his side of the war. We stood in unison blaming my Mother for my fathers attacks on her doubt. We stood in unison begging my Mother to be a good wife and stop fighting against my father. But her strength, and her fire, and her fight would not subside. She was always more then my dad bargained for. She held her ground and fought alone. She decided it might be prudent for her to get a divorce. As far as I know her church leaders recommended against it. I know the community she was surrounded in frowned on it greatly. But still she was bold enough to consider divorce as an option.
But my father would not be beaten so easily. He saw the workings in her mind, he saw her consider the option of divorce, and he attacked her with it. My dad declared he wanted a divorce. My dad went to his church leaders and regaled them with horrible stories about all the reasons he was justified in getting a divorce. My dad became the victim. But this was not his only weapon. Me and my sisters were brought into the battle.
My father had been manipulating us and grooming us until we were primed and ready to play like puppets in his parade. I followed my older sisters, because I needed my older sisters. They declared with confidence and fight that they would rather go with dad then with mom, in million years. My sisters stood on his side of the battle field and declared that my mother was an abuser. My sisters declared that my father was one of the best dads. My sisters declared that they would stand before the divorce court asking to be placed with our dad. My sisters were willing to tell of my mothers many abuses in order to get what they wanted, to live with dad.
My dads church leaders recommended that my father move out for a while, a temporary separation. This was so that all those involved could see if being separate suited them both.
My dad got an apartment in the ward next to ours. It was scandalous to us. Would dad go to Church at the ward next door, alone? Would everyone in the ward next door know that my parents might be getting a divorce? Would the kids at school know? So my dad was benevolent… Though the ward next door could see him going and coming from his own apartment, he did not go there. My dad went to our church. He came and sat at the back of the room, decisively apart from my mother. My mother sat at the front of the chapel on the right, the whole congregations eyes boring into the back of her head. My dad came in at last minuet before it started on the left and sat in the back. This is when it happened… This is when my sisters got up and went and sat with my dad.
I sat by my mother and felt the eyes of the congregation boring into the back of my head. Every week it became a conflict. Where are you going to sit Jeanine. Are you going to sit with your dad, or with your Mother? I regret to say that I remember sitting with my dad. I became one of the eyes behind my Mothers head, looking at her. Her vulnerability was easy to see. Her doubt, and aloneness, sat there with her. I felt strongly like I was betraying her. But I needed my sisters so much.
I found out in horror that we were suppose to go and stay with my dad at his apartment. To my sisters it was all an exciting adventure. They had some pocket money from dad. We walked across the busy street after school, went to the 7-11. We spent some pocket money and then walked up to that strange apartment building. I felt this pressing, haunting dread the closer we got to it. But my sisters did not dread, they laughed, joked, even rejoiced because we were “winning”.
The apartment was barren. Nothing was in the one bedroom apartment except for a mattress. A mattress on the floor in my dads one bedroom. We were suppose to stay with him but where would we stay? Surly not in his one bedroom? Where would we sleep? Surly not on his mattress? I felt fear clamping my lungs. My sisters looked in the fridge, nothing, that must be why dad gave us pocket money. I felt caged, I wanted to escape. I looked out the window and I could see horses at ease and peace in a farmers pasture next door. I longed to be with those horses. I longed to be out there and free.
My dad came home. Took me with him to the store to get some food, was kind and friendly and happy. I tried to get past my dread, I tried to feel comfortable. When we were checking out I saw him staring longingly at a photo of a beautiful fully dressed lady on the cover of a magazine. The checker was running our items across the scanner, which included ice-cream, I was excited about that. I looked up and said to my dad. “You wish mom was more like her don’t you? Maybe if you get a divorce you can marry someone beautiful like her.” My dad was startled and pulled out of his trance. The checker looked agape at my dad and me, she had heard what I said loud and clear. We quickly checkout and I could tell I had upset my father. Once in the car he said “You should not say such things around people we know.” He did not deny what I said. He did not say my impression was wrong. He just told me I should not tell others that is what he thought.
We slept that night in the middle of the front room, on sleeping bags. I was so afraid. I insisted that I sleep in the middle between my two sisters. When the ravenous wolves came in the middle of the night they would attack them first. Maybe even my sisters could defend me against such attacks, they were good defenders. No, it was not wolves I was afraid of, but that was the level of my fear. My sisters slept. But I did not. I kept up a strong vigil as long as I could manage. I listened to my fathers every move, every breath. He got up to go to the bathroom, and I believe he sensed that I was not asleep, that I was on strong guard. I was not attacked that night, and my sisters stayed safely by my side. I do not remember ever sleeping there again, though my sisters did.
At some point the manipulation worked. My mother gave into the battle of doubt. I believe she came to the conclusion that being separate did not suite her, my dad made it too miserable. The fighting subsided, dad came home, and we became the perfect happy family…. From the outside.