Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Family Affair

For the last few days, my mother has been in town along with my 7-year-old brother. I never know how to respond or react to my mother. We never got along when I was growing up, and even once I became an adult. Our relationship has greatly improved since I had children. I've always heard that grandchildren will do amazing thing to the attitude of one's parents, and this is true. My brother adds an extra level of required patience when my mother visits. He is a poorly disciplined boy being raised in a home of much strife and conflict. I pity him, but somehow still fail to have the necessary patience sometimes to demonstrate the love he so desperately craves. I did better with him until my own children came along, and I became concerned about the influence that both he and my mother were having on my children. While trying to love and guide my brother, I am trying to protect my children from following his poor example of open disrespect, disobedience, and dislike of my mother. These are behaviors that my father has instilled in him, and my mother has been left to endure and take care of. On the reverse side, my mother has never had the real patience or temperament for handling children, and as she's gotten older, her patience has thinned even more. Due to a lack of love, respect, and care being shown to her by the "men" in her life, she has lost the desire to love, respect, and care for them. It is a very sad and devastating circle to watch cycle. My home growing up was rarely a happy one, and for my brother those happy memories will be even more scarce. I long so frequently to make life better for him. I fear what he will be as a teenager, an adult, a husband, and a father. He has been taught that he can behave however he wants, treat people however he wants, and do whatever he wants, and that this is his right because he is male. He has been taught that violent behavior is acceptable and even expected because he is a boy. He has been trained to treat my mother like dirt on the floor who is there to wait on him hand and foot. He has been taught to tell my mother to shut-up and that he doesn't have to listen to her if he doesn't want to. If only my father would stop, understand, and care about what he was doing to the future women in my brother's life--that this behavior is just not extended to the wife that my father seemingly detests. I have had to closely monitor my brother with my own daughter because of this, in fear that he may (intentionally or not) harm her in some way.
I pity my mother. I am not trying to say that my father is the only bad person here. As the saying goes, "It takes two to tango." I'm not going to sit here and try to decide who started what and who's to blame, but I do know that my mother once loved my dad and did try to do what he wants, and now she dislikes and disrespects him as much as he does her. My mother grew up in an emotionally unstable atmosphere without the love of a man. She grew up being abused, both physically and emotionally, by the men in her life. When my dad said he loved her and asked her to marry him, she was so excited that she said, "Yes!" I have tried to come up with a way for my mother to get away from my dad, if even for a short time. Sadly, she has found her own escape. She has become addicted to Korean dramas online. She's obsessed. Her whole existance now revolves around her obsession with these dramas, and more with the men in these drama. She doesn't seem to really recognize how deep she is sinking into this obsession, but everyone else around her is concerned. The last two times she has been here to visit, we couldn't even carry on a conversation with her because she was so engrossed with these dramas. The grandbabies that she desperately wants to see and spend time with become a nuisance to her because they are interrupting her tweets, dramas, music videos, and whatever else she is involved in. These men have become a fantasy to her. My heart absolute breaks for my mother. All she's ever wanted was a man to truly love her.
It's scary how history could repeat itself. I sought the same thing when I chose to get married. My sisters and I grew up without the love of a man in our lives. All we have wanted is a man to love us. I know my husband really does love me, but that is by the grace of God that I met and married the right man. My youngest sister is now in a dating relationship, and as with each of us, her biggest fear is that she will marry a man like her father and will live the rest of her life in the same misery that we grew up surrounded by.
So all of this weight and burdened shared just for the sake of sharing, but also to ask for prayer for my family if and when anyone should think of it.

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