Editor’s note: Lovefraud received the following story from a reader whom we’ll call “Margo.”
My abusers were my mother and father. It began when I was about fifteen. My mother and father never really got on, would hardly speak to each other. Father went to work, came home and stared at the television all of the time. The only interest he had was making his own beer and wine, he was often drunk. He had no friends and lost his temper often. He never spoke to my sister or myself as if we were humans. He would either ignore us or tell us off.
When I was fifteen he found out my mother was seeing another man on the side. She had not been seeing him long and he meant nothing to her. I think she was bored with being stuck in the house on her own all day and being ignored evenings and weekends. She had no friends either. Father never took her out anywhere. He didn’t drive. His world was his television, his drinking and his shouting and bullying.
When he found out about this other man he threw my mother out. She took my sister who was eleven and myself fifteen with her. Yet she had nowhere to go and no money. She immediately latched onto the man she had been having a casual fling with. He lived in a rented room and could barely read and write, he was much older than her.
For a while we lived in his car. Then at his sister’s small rented place.
Eventually they started to buy a very small house together. But he did not know that she had been ringing my dad and meeting up with him secretly begging him to take her back. Not because she loved him, she did not love him or the other man, but he had more money and a much nicer bigger house.
So as he would not take her back she made the most of it with this new man. She had often told me things along the lines of that all women need a man, every woman needs a man to take care of her.
She looked upon a single woman as inferior to one with a man.
I would take my younger sister to visit my father once a week and he was always totally drunk. He could never be bothered to come to see us. He told us that he had found a lady friend and was moving a long way away with her and would marry her. But he made it clear that he never ever wanted to see us again, hear from us again, or for us to know his new phone number or address or come to the wedding.
New man made advances
I made the most of life with mother and this new man – Chris.
He seemed nice enough until he started buying me boxes of chocolates and naughty underwear and trying to give it to me sneakily telling me not to tell my mum. Then he would pay my sister to go out and try to get me into bed telling me he loved me. He was by now engaged to my mother and planning their wedding day and about twenty years older than her. I would fend off his advances and there was an atmosphere. No I could not tell my mother. She was cold and self serving and I knew she would shout at me and throw me out.
And I had nowhere to go.
I left school with no education and tried to get a job so that I could leave him. But it would not pay enough.
Mother started to show her true colours towards me. She was always expecting me to do the housework, me to run the errands, me to pay for everything. And she spoke to me as though I was a turd on her shoe. She was nice to my sister.
She started to bring much older men home, married men. Introducing them to me. I found out that she had told them that if they paid her thousands of pounds she would let them come around and say hello to me and spend time with me. A decent normal mother would be warning her 16 year old daughter to avoid married men and men three times her age. I asked her why she was doing this and her answer was that she wanted to buy a nice caravan and needed the money for that! One of the guys wanted to take nude photos of me, she was all for it. I said no.
Mother and Chris had a lot of young students as lodgers as they were near a college. Every one of the young students was female and all of them left in a hurry, one of them told my mother it was because of Chris trying to molest her all the time. Mother’s response was to shout and rave at the poor young girl and call her names. She never said anything to Chris.
I met a man and got engaged and left home. Moving into a place a few miles away. Chris continued to pester me for sex, he would turn up on my doorstep nagging me. He said he could not understand why I said no. Just because he was very old and marrying my mother soon! According to him he was only asking me for sex, what was the big deal.
Buying a house
The house I had started to buy cost £12,500. It was badly run down and desperately needed new windows, new carpets, decorating etc. I was struggling to pay the mortgage and only able to by working sixteen hours a day seven days a week and taking in lodgers. Yet mum would keep coming to me nagging me for thousands of pounds.
She would not visit me I had to visit her and before a visit she always told me that I must bring her flowers, chocolates and presents or I could not go. She knew I was skint and she knew I worked very long hours to pay the bills.
My sister married a man who had lots of money. They moved into a huge house about twenty miles from me. They bought a boat, a timeshare and a flashy car. She did not have to work and was a lady of leisure. My mother rang me and told me she had decided that I must go around to my sister’s house every week to clean it for her.
As though I was Cinderella, just a scivvy. She had plenty of time to clean her own house and she had plenty of money to pay a cleaner.
If I went around there I would have been spending money I cannot afford to get there and back and taking time off of work I could not afford. I was by now a qualified therapist and trying to build up my practice. I would not have been interested in working as a cleaner if it was just around the corner and paid.
Mother’s fiancee arrested
The police came to see my mother telling her that her husband to be, Chris, had molested and tried to rape a girl of eight. He had to go to court and was found guilty and fined. She paid his fine. She continued to plan to marry him because it was that or being single, although she was only about forty then.
Mother cottoned on to how Chris was pestering me for sex and refused to speak to me. She cut me out of her life and then decided to move a long way away with him. Off they went. It was as though it was all my fault that he had been pestering me and he had done nothing wrong.
Even after the moved a long way away Chris would try to phone me nagging me to let him talk sexy to me on the phone. Nagging me to move down to where they were. He said she was always dominating him and bullying him and he hated her, if I moved nearer to them she could bully me instead and he could have sex with me.
For decades they lived a long way away and we did not speak much.
Mother never bothered to come to visit me even though she had a car and lots of time. I was struggling with money and had to work seven days a week and had no car. Everything that had happened up to then became too much for me and I had a breakdown. I was at home but unable to function or work or do anything. Just sitting there in my dressing gown crying all of the time, unable to sleep or eat. She knew this but never once did she ask me how I was or come to see me.
Then Chris died.
My dad popped up. His second wife was ill and he was upset. He came to visit me. He told me that he had decided that he would never bother to visit me again as when I had given him a cup of tea he did not like the milk I used. He started to demand that I go to visit him every day. He never once said sorry for years of no Christmas cards, no birthday cards, not a phone call, nothing. He talked as if I was put on this earth to serve him. I refused. He said if I did not serve him and visit him every day and always be available to him he would stop speaking to me. I said fine. And we stopped speaking.
Mum wants to talk
For the first time in decades mum wanted to talk to me. She rang me to say he had died and demanded I go to the funeral. She knew that I had to work seven days a week, she knew I had no money and she knew I had no car. She also knew I had a lot of pets to take care of and nobody to do it for me if I went. She said that it worried her that if I did not go people would talk about why not, and get suspicious about Chris.
Now she was widowed she would travel all over the place on her own, by coach or train, visiting various penfriends, even going abroad to visit them. But she never came to visit me. I was much nearer than some of them. If I asked why she would say OH NO. DAUGHTERS SHOULD VISIT THEIR MOTHER. I SHOULD NEVER HAVE TO VISIT YOU. Likewise she should never phone me it should always be me that phones her. She started nagging me to visits her and being nasty about it when I pointed out I don’t drive, I work seven days a week, I have the pets to take care of. She waved all of this aside because if she wanted something that was all that mattered. It was not that she wanted to see me, it was that she wanted to make demands and have me obey orders.
She nagged me to promise her that when she gets older and has a struggle she can move in with me. I said no. Why on earth not, she said? I am your mother. No, I said. But it is a big house. So what, I said.
Then she arranged to visits me by coach for a few hours. I was gob smacked. This was totally unlike her. But when she got here she said to me she had only come to see if I was ill. Because unless I look pale and pasty and am ill I have no excuse for not going to see her when it suits her and she spent the whole time castigating me for not going to see her.
When she was here she complained because my dogs barked at her. She said that if I tell my dogs she is my mother and the most important person in the World they would be more respectful and realise they should never bark at her. They bark at anyone they do not know and they had never seen her before. She said that if I was tired then knowing she is visiting and her presence should cure me of all tiredness and all illness. I should be so pleased she is coming that any illness or tiredness just disappears.
She remarked on how lucky I was to have such a nice big house now. I reminded her it was because I had studied and worked hard and saved. She waved all of that aside and said it must have been because a man gave me the money.
Dad has died. I refused to go to his funeral. Mother is now nearly eighty. She has dementia. She has trouble with walking and shouts at me when I ring her. She always wants more and more and always criticises everything I say and do. Going on and on about how I should be grateful she gave birth to me and how I owe her.
So I am taking a step back. I phone her a lot less. I go to visit her a lot less. If she starts on me I say oi. Don’t talk to me like that. Just as I would with anyone else. She is not going to insult me or make demands simply because she is my mother. That is all one sided.