I have a perfect family now. Like all proud parents, I have my mother to thank for everything. Unlike all proud parents, however, I have my mother to thank for showing me the perfect example of how not to be a parent. This “mother” that I refer to of course is not my birth mother but rather my stepmother. She was forever the bane in my life. She is, however, the reason why I am a good parent and why I have always strived to become a good parent.
Now that I have two children of my own, I realize just how important it is for their upbringing to have a solid family around to support them and parents who encourage instead of discourage. I like to think of my own family as a “can do” family and not a “don’t do or else” type of family. I show my children the same love and affection that I received from my father and my birth mother and perhaps, I may even show my two children more love and affection because I know what it feels like to live in fear and cower in terror.
As I lay here recovering from my latest battle with my terror of a stepmother, I recall how I sensed it from the moment that I met her that we were never going to get along with each other. While I did sense the animosity as our eyes met each other on that fateful day when I was but a child of six years old, I have never understood why my stepmother resented me so much. There seemed to be nothing that I could do right. This latest emotional battle that I and my stepmother had but a day ago has left me so drained. It was not even a big deal. It was only with regard to me wanting to speak to my father since I had not heard from him in a while and it soon heated up into full blown mud flinging.
I was never this brave, for lack of better term, towards my stepmother. I remember a time when I was six years old. This was the same moment that I met her and I saw how she pretended to be very nice and kind towards my father and his family, meaning me and my siblings. From her mouth spouted all sorts of sweet nothings and words of praise and admiration for how fine a parent my father was and how lucky we all were to have a dad like him. I heard from her the honeyed words of praise but saw deep in her eyes the petrifying glance of a medusa. I was correct in my assumption as soon after my father left to attend to an errand and the monster that was lurking beneath began to emerge.
The succubus who had seduced my father had now set her sights upon me, the only other woman in my father’s life and I was to be her next victim. She pounced upon me swiftly and caught me off guard. I was taken abrupt as she began to terrorize me and likening my appearance to that of various parts of the anatomy that I shall not mention. To top it all off, she even dared call my own birth mother a woman of ill repute to whom I would most likely turn into. Suffice it to say that from that moment on there would never be peace when my stepmother and I would meet.
That moment in my childhood changed my life not only because from that point on I had somebody there to terrorize me but also because of the fact that it taught me a valuable lesson about parenting; never leave your children in the hands of a stranger even if other people trust them. One can never be too cautious these days with all those veiled demons lurking and waiting for you to leave your children alone and then they pounce and harm and terrorize your children. While that experience did turn me into a stronger person and a better parent, I firmly believe that my children do not have to undergo the same mental and emotional torture that I encountered in order to learn their lesson.
It used to take me awhile to recover from the battles that me and my stepmother used to have. There were times when I would be in shock for an entire month and would spend several days just hiding in my room and refusing to speak to anyone. This type of experience is something best left in stories about monsters or evil stepmothers. This is the reason why I have asked God to make me strong for my children and to give me a long life so that I can be there for them always to ensure that nobody will ever make my two children suffer. I also ask that God make me a good mother so that I will always be able to provide for my children to keep them with me and keep them happy.
Being God fearing, I felt that I could change the way my stepmother treated me by doing what Jesus told the apostle Peter and turn the other cheek. Though my stepmother was a hypocrite, I tried my best to carry on a working, if not good, relationship with her. I thought that my efforts had finally paid off when I heard that my stepmother had spoken to my other asking her in a very nice and friendly manner if she would be amenable to letting me stay with her. She said that she would bring me to the United States and give me a life that was better than the one I currently had. She could declare me as her daughter and then, together with my father, we could all go to the “Land of the Free”. I will never forget those exact words because those were the ironic words that she chose to use when she was explaining all of this to my birth mother.
It did not take a lot of convincing to make my mom amenable to the idea and soon I found myself in my room preparing for that long trip to the “Land of the Free.” As I packed the last of my belongings I heard my father telling my birth mother that everything would be alright and that she had nothing to worry about regarding my safety. I was on my way to a better place and better life. The thought made me smile yet little did I know that I this day would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another one, a life of fear, terror but ultimately happiness.
My stepmother never intended for me to have that good life in the “Land of the Free.” She had ulterior motives at that time and simply wanted to punish my mother by taking me away from her. The reason for her vengeance was because I was born to my birth mother while my father was married to my stepmother. Since my stepmother could not directly go against my birth mother for fear of incurring my father’s wrath, she turned to making me suffer. She was convinced that I was to blame for all the trouble and anxiety that she was going through and she intended to make me feel what she was feeling and more.
Of course at that time, all of these ulterior motives and malicious plans were beyond my comprehension. As a little girl I always tried my best not to hate or resent her for anything that she did to me. I always tried to do my best to make her feel good and happy with me and to ultimately make her feel proud and happy of me. As I eventually learned, however, such a scenario was never meant to happen. Instead, with every act of good that I attempted, I was to be chastised and embarrassed in front of strangers and treated like I was the lowest life form on this planet.
If there is a lesson to be learned from all of this, it is probably that fear is a good teacher. If it were not for the fear that my stepmother instilled in my heart, I would not probably be the good mother that I am now. While it is arguably a terrible feeling that I always need to fear for the safety of my children, I always tell myself that one can never be too cautious.
Another lesson that I learned from all of this happened when I was around 18 years of age. Now, my father never had any idea of the abuses that I suffered at the hands of my stepmother. He always assumed that we were happy that way and I kept it that way since I did not want to tell on my stepmother for fear of making my life worse than it already actually was. It was early morning when one of life’s lessons hit me smack on the head. I awoke to the fists of my stepmother on my face as she berated me for not attending to some of my chores. Apparently I had neglected to make sure that the dishes in the kitchen were as clean and shiny as she wanted them to be. My stepmother was determined to make me pay for such an oversight and took justice in her own hands and began pummeling me with her fists.
For the first time in my life, I felt an intense hatred towards my stepmother. Nobody has ever laid a hand on me. Not in anger. Not in frustration. My father was never around to console me and help me cope with my situation since he had no idea that such an atrocity was being committed under the roof of his own house. It was that day, however, that I decided that I would no longer put up with any of this and I decided to leave home. It was the best decision to make at that time and the worst decision to make in hindsight as I left with some guy that I had recently just met.
Things soon turned bad as I fell into a string of failed relationships but just as quickly my fortunes began to improve as I met good people during the times that I needed it the most. These recollections pain me because as I traversed this journey called life and served my sentence I met other people; people who were good unlike my own stepmother.
I ask myself sometimes whether I had done anything to deserve the treatment that was receiving from my stepmother. I asked myself if I indeed was the cause of all her troubles. I realize that I never really asked to be born into this world. All children are supposed to come into this world as innocents but I entered this world pronounced guilty and destined to serve my sentence from the moment that I took my first breath.
My birth mother has no idea what I have been through and I don’t intend to tell her about it. I guess that it how things should be. As a mother, I do not want to know that my own children have suffered or been hurt. I guess the warmth and glow that overcomes a mother as she first hugs her child is the reason for that. I was born and I too have given birth. I was born into this world a slave, a victim of a vengeful demon. I have been emancipated by the birth of my own children and I know that when my time comes I will have enough good memories with my own children to last me till eternity.