Back in June of this year, when I was struggling with a particularly nasty bout of severe depression... I wrote a blog in which I uncharacteristically laid bare the demons that I wrestle with, and have, for years now.
In reading over it tonight, as I sat at my computer, wishing that I were happily snoozing in my nice, warm, bed... I noticed that there were two comments on my blog post... which kind of surprised me. What surprised me even more was that they were from my mother-in-law.
The first comment was rather long, and very compassionate... gushy, even. I was actually becoming somewhat moved that my mother-in-law was showing so much concern, compassion and empathy for what I had been struggling with. But then when I reached the end, it became clear that she was confused, and thought that my wife had written the blog... most likely because my wife probably shared my blog on her own wall, where my mother-in-law saw it.
The second comment is what really grabbed my attention. She "walked back" her comments, saying "I think I have to back up here... " wondering if my wife or I had written the blog entry... and added that if it was ME, instead of her daughter, then she was "surprised because [she] would never have guessed [me] to be depressed." She added that I could "talk to her if I wanted to." End of comment.
Sometimes people around you... even family... especially family... can be so utterly clueless that you either have to laugh or cry.
This is a woman who has almost single-handedly destroyed my wife's life, treating her like she was garbage, like my wife was the family pariah, and like she was almost sorry that she ever had my wife as a child. I can't even count the number of devastatingly horrible, hurtful things she has said to my wife just since we've been married. Before we were married, when my wife's first husband was physically abusing her, my sweet mother-in-law once told my wife, "I can't believe that [her ex] didn't start beating you sooner," or something of that nature.
When Tracy and I married, my oldest step-daughter was 14, and had been acting as something of a pseudo-parent to the other kids while my wife struggled as a single mom with 5 kids... many of whom, we would learn later, had serious issues. When we married, she felt "replaced" when she was no longer needed in that role... and became deeply, sociopathically resentful. Over the next few years, she pulled apart from the family, and became more and more disruptive, to the point where we finally had to ask her to leave our home.
Over the next couple of decades, she would succeed in turning the entirety of just about all the family my wife had left against me... and then my wife for "staying with me." She decided to punish my wife for... well... being my wife by cutting off all communication with her, and forbidding her from ever seeing her children... my wife's only grandchildren.
She falsely accused me to being "inappropriate" with her... because, when her grandfather died (who she was very close to), and she was sobbing, my wife and I sat next to her on her bed, and I pulled her up onto my lap and held her while she sobbed, while her mother hugged her as well.
Desperate to garner sympathy with her peers and to lash out at us, she starting leveling false accusations. Behind our backs in a blog she wrote that she never thought we would see, that tender moment when her "papa" died suddenly turned that into a "strange middle-aged man forcing me on top of him," and she started calling herself a "survivor." Words can't describe our feelings of betrayal and hurt on reading the fabrications she wrote... which she quickly took down when she found out that we had seen it.
And, quite frankly, it would have been one thing to have a bitter, petulant child do this.
But my wife's brother, and my mother-in-law, both bought into these lies (after all, they said, why would she lie?), and were cruel beyond belief to both my wife and I. They constantly trashed us behind our backs to anyone that would listen. This very vindictive step-daughter even began actively trying to indoctrinate our other children and turn them against us as well, which she succeeded in doing with several of my other step-children.
In the midst of all of this, my mother-in-law steadfastly sided with step-daughter in condemning me, leaving my wife without a family, without any love and support from those who should have been there for her no matter what... and most hurtfully, without her own grandchildren. Her own mother cluelessly contributed to all of this mean-spirited, vindictive evil, apparently not even being cognizant of the consequences her actions were having.
It's been very difficult for me to wrap my arms around this emotionally, spiritually, and every other way. How can someone who is supposed to be there for you... your own family... be so unbelievably cold, callous, cruel and hurtful? I'll never understand it.
The reality is that much of the severity of my depression has been fueled by the events that occurred in my wife's family over the last 20-odd years. Seeing my mother-in-law's comment on my blog post just kinda triggered an avalanche of bitter feelings. And when my demons show up... as they do from time to time... this is one that quite often leads the pack.
This is not how it's supposed to be. This is not how any of this is supposed to be.