Truth is stranger than fiction
I heard a radio announcer ask the question: What was the best gift you ever got for Mothers Day?” Frankly, I can’t remember, but I can certainly remember the worst Mothers Day I ever had. It was my very first one as a new mother.
My then-husband had really wanted our baby. He had begged for us to have a baby as soon as we were married. I was the one who wanted to wait until we were settled and more financially secure, and I had graduated from college. But as fate would have it, our little Junior was born about 10½ months after our wedding. The following year was my first Mothers Day. His father named him after himself, and we called him by that same name. Here he is appropriately called "Junior" because he really is a Junior.
I don’t know what I expected: a small gift, maybe going out to eat, at least a card, but most of all, respect and recognition as the mother of our son. We lived 800 miles from our families, and we would not get to spend the day with our own mothers, but I did expect a small celebration of our own. After all, he had wanted this son so badly. Here’s what I got instead.
Joy quickly faded
I was rudely awakened by my husband, George, shaking me and telling me to get up. I told him that I wanted to sleep in, but he kept on shaking me and telling me to get up. Finally, I asked why. He said to get up and fix his breakfast. That was odd because he never ate breakfast. It was always just a cup of coffee on the run.
“Well, it’s Mothers Day,” he said. “That means it’s mother’s day to do more work!”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, still thinking that he had a surprise for me. He had a surprise for me all right. Then the baby awoke and needed changing and his bottle. George had no problem with my giving attention to Junior, but as soon as I placed the baby back into his crib, he started again.
Mothers Day is mothers day to do more work
He kept shaking me and telling me to get up. He poked and prodded me all day long and would not let me rest.
Why are you doing this?
“Why are you doing this?” I asked, still thinking it was some kind of a joke.
“It’s Mother’s Day to do more work, now get my breakfast.” He shoved me into the kitchen. I could not believe what was going on. Was he really serious? Nobody in his right mind would be serious about this, but I cooked breakfast and we ate. He got up from his chair and began to shake my shoulders again. “Now do the dishes, it’s mother’s day to do more work!”
By now no gift or pleasant surprise appeared, and I was beginning to realize that he really was serious. What kind of mean-spirited joke was this? I tried to reason with him, but there was no reasoning. Here was a man that I did not know. The only answer I got in return was the same sarcastic repetition, “its mother’s day to do more work,” and more poking and shoving.
THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF A TORTUOUS DAY!
We had no dishwasher, so I washed the dishes and left them drying in the rack. Then I went into the living room and sat down. He came in and started shaking and poking me again, telling me to get up and work. I answered that there wasn’t any work for me to do. His answer was to “find some. “Get up, it’s mother’s day to do more work.” He told me to go start dinner if I didn’t have anything else to do. He would not allow me to sit.
I cooked our dinner. For Southerners, dinner is the main meal of the day and in many homes, especially on Sunday, is the noon meal. I did my usual chores and cared for baby Junior. George did not bother me anytime I was taking care of Junior, like feeding, diapering, bottling, or feeding him his baby food. However, any time I put Junior down for a nap, the hassling by shaking, shoving and telling me it was mother’s day to do more work started again.
This emotional torture did not let up all day. By late afternoon, I was in tears, but he was laughing. This was sooo funny! This went on into the evening hours until bedtime. I went to bed and cried while he laughed and thought himself so clever. The ugly phrase "it's mothers day to do more work" still rings in my ears.
Why did I put up with this...
Why did I put up with this abuse all day long? Most older readers will understand; the younger reader needs to know that this was an entirely different era, the 1960s. Women then were taught that we were obligated to put up with our husbands’ bullshit. However, what I endured on Mothers Day went beyond the usual male BS; it was sadistic. I had never been emotionally bombarded before, and I had no idea how to handle it.
As I stated earlier, we lived far away from our families. Had we been in the same town, I would have gone to my mother with the tale. She would have called my mother-in-law immediately and told her what was going on. That sweet little mild-mannered lady harbored quite a temper. She would have been at our door right after breakfast and, in no uncertain terms, put the fear of God and motherhood into her son. Under our circumstances, I did not have that option.
That was before I learned to drive, so I could not leave the house unless I walked. I came from a family whose father was unreasonably opposed to his children learning to drive a car. When I was 15, my mother gave me one driving lesson and made the mistake of telling my father. After that, the lessons stopped, and anytime I asked for more, her answers were always evasive. Daddy did teach my brother to drive a car, but it was only after driver services refused to renew his motorcycle license at age 16. My brother depended on his motorcycle for his paper route, and Daddy grudgingly made an exception for him. Except for shoe-leather express, I was stuck.
Even if I had left, I had nowhere to go. I was too stressed out to think of an alternative, the truth be told.
The next morning, George was back to his old self, except for feeling pretty smug for the “cute” joke he had played on me. I was not. I had a big deep hole of hurt in my heart and a new attitude of distrust toward him. I hoped that day while we both had cooler heads, I could talk to him about how he had made me feel. I explained how hurt I was, but he just laughed and said, “well, it was mother’s day to do more work.” He could not put himself into my place. He had no empathy. I have since learned that the term for that type of personality disorder is "malignant narcissist."
I was still hurt, and I was not going to let him get away with it. Father’s Day was coming up in the next month and he was looking forward to it. Believe it or not, he actually thought he was going to get special treatment on Fathers Day. He was a Father! He had begat a son! He deserved special treatment! He got my best all right.
Don't get mad, get even!
I awoke early on Fathers Day and shook him awake. “Get up, I said, it’s Fathers Day.”
“Yes, I know,” he answered smiling, still expecting the royal treatment. I began to give him the same treatment that he had given to me.
“It’s father’s day to do more work,” I said, shaking and poking him. I told him to cook our breakfast. He acted surprised, but I kept shaking and poking him until he got up.
“I don’t know how. I can’t cook,” he said, which was true.
“Then go take care of Junior. Change his diaper and feed him his bottle.” I went into the living room and sat down. I didn’t budge even when he came in and asked when I was going to pick up Junior from his crib and take care of him. “You do it, it’s father’s day to do more work,” I spewed.
It must have dawned on his little pea brain that I was getting him back for what he had done to me on Mothers Day because I stood my ground. He was still adamant that he didn’t know how to cook, and that I would have to cook breakfast. I went to the kitchen, and seeing that I was not going to take care of the baby, he went to take care of Junior.
He came in later, bringing Junior, to find me eating my eggs and toast. Where’s mine?” he asked looking at the empty range.
“Fix your own damned breakfast if you want some, it’s father’s day to do more work,” I retorted and continued eating. I did not budge toward the stove. He was bewildered. I do not remember whether he fixed a bowl of cold cereal or contented himself with coffee. Frankly my dear, I didn't give a damn. He was beginning to get the picture, but I don't think he thought I would keep it up all day long like he had done to me.
Any time he sat down all day long, I poked him or shook him and told him to get up, it was father’s day to do more work. Whether or not he got up, I gave him the same hell he gave me. There were few, if any, peaceful moments in that day for him. By the time the day was over, he looked as disappointed and hurt as I had felt on Mothers Day. He did not like receiving the same contemptuous treatment that he had dished out to me on my day.
When he mentioned how I was making him feel, I merely told him that he’d started the tradition, so he had nothing to complain about. He got no sympathy from me.
Now some of you do-gooders reading this will say to me that I lowered myself to his level. I say “good, that is what I intended to do.” A malignant narcissist doesn’t have the capacity to empathize with others. They do not understand the Golden Rule. They cannot or will not put themselves into another person’s place and feel what that person feels. The person cannot be told, this type of malignant narcissist has to be shown. Then if you are lucky, he or she will know how it feels when the shoe is on the other foot. In this particular instance, it worked.
I don’t remember much about the next Mothers Day except that he treated me with the respect and dignity that the mother of his child deserved. It was a very nice day for me. After that, all the Mothers Days and Fathers Days of our 10-year marriage were normal.
As I said at the beginning, this is my story, and it is the truth. I don't think I could have made this one up.
I really want to thank everyone who has responded so favorably to this hub. Not one of you, yet anyway, has chastised me for turning the tables on him. I had actually expected for some (do-gooders, as I call them) to tell me that I was behaving badly myself, and that forgiveness was the order of the day. Thank you all so much for your support.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on May 11, 2020:
Allison, something went wrong on HP and my comment wasn't entered as an author comment. I'm going to try to correct that and delete the first one. Here's what I posted 5 weeks ago: "Thank you, Alison. That wasn't the first, nor the last of 10 years of having to stand up to him. Thank God and Greyhound, he's gone. (paraphrasing an old country and western song.) I appreciate your reading and commenting."
Alison Graham from UK on April 06, 2020:
Oh my goodness! That's a powerful story. I'm so glad you stood up to him.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on May 12, 2019:
Patricia, thanks for coming back and reading this article again. I think it should be required reading for all couples contemplating marriage. Hopefully, they could recognize real abuse when they see it. I really didn't. Took me years. And thank you for commenting again. I hope all is well with you and your family. Happy Mother's Day to you.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 12, 2019:
Sometimes we nail it by telling the story as it really happened It can be tough love for adults maybe I appreciate your candor---I believe I read it some time ago but felt today was a good day to revisit thank you for sharing Hope today is a lovely day for you Angels are headed your way this afternoon ps
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on July 11, 2018:
Thank you sooo Much, Shannon. I was so afraid I would get a lot of "well, you just lowered yourself to his level." So far nobody has said that to me. While that may be true, sometimes that's what it takes to teach a lesson. I appreciate your reading and commenting.
Shannon Henry from Texas on July 10, 2018:
That's a really cruel idea of a joke. You know, those who know me well. .. I'm all about forgiveness, but even I can't fault you for turning the tables!
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on July 10, 2018:
Thank you, Patricia. Sometimes people just can't relate to the hurt they inflict upon others unless they experience it for themselves. They are just "too cute" to ever do anything wrong. I hope things are getting better for you and your family. Thanks for the angels.
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on July 10, 2018:
Sometimes you just have to turn the tables....it was a powerful lesson he learned for sure. I know someone who thinks everything is funny...this something that person would do....sad...not everything is funny for sure. I never can understand why someone would think it would be okay to treat another the way you were treated. Angels are headed your way this evening ps
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on January 14, 2018:
Thank you Audrey for your astute comment. I feel like he set the tone for our family, a tone that finally ended in the death of our youngest son. I just wish I'd gotten away years sooner. He remarried, and from some of the comments he's made, he's gotten his Karma in this life. I appreciate your reading and commenting.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on January 14, 2018:
@Nadine May. I duplicated a reply to your comment, and when I deleted mine, for some reason yours went with it. I loved your comment and did not delete it intentionally. Yours is the kind of comment that I love. Thank you for it, and I certainly wish it had not gone with mine. This particular niche site has given me problems from day one. Feel free to put yours back on if you wish.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on January 13, 2018:
Well, I'd like to give old George a swift kick where the sun don't shine! Your 'pay-back' on Father's Day was brilliant!
Yes, those days women were expected to "know their place" which is why I've been divorced for ever. :)
This was a good read and this man certainly didn't deserve you. Glad you moved on.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on December 14, 2017:
Chris, thank you. I'm sure that one of us, probably me, would not be alive today if I had not gotten free of that bondage.
Chris Mills from Traverse City, MI on December 13, 2017:
Enabling this kind of inexcusable behavior, even if it is the result of mental illness, accomplishes nothing positive and a lot that is negative. Boundaries have to be constructed to tip off the poor, sick soul that he is entering forbidden territory. I'm glad you are free of that bondage. Thanks for sharing a snapshot of your life.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on November 26, 2017:
Thank you, Jackie. I'm still having trouble with this niche site, and my previous comment to you may eventually show up. But in the event it doesn't, I said that he is still a jerk and I'm relieved that I don't have to deal with him anymore.
Mizbejabbers on November 26, 2017:
Thank you, Jackie. I'm sorry to report that to this day he is still a real jerk. I'm just glad I don't have to deal with him anymore.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on November 24, 2017:
I'd say you did exactly as you should have. Glad it it brought you a few good Mother's Days!
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on October 06, 2017:
Kari, I'm sorry that your daughter's father is also an unloveable person. We married so young that I didn't have the chance to really fall in love with this narcissistic jerk. The divorce didn't hurt me very much because I'd wanted out for years. It bruised his ego so badly that he went from a grinning Pollyanna ape to a very hate-filled person who rarely ever smiles, at least not in my presence whenever I have to be around him. Thanks for your comment.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on October 05, 2017:
The father of my daughter is like that. It has taken me several years to come to the understanding that he could not love me as I loved him. I bet he could be sooo charming when it suited him.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on October 04, 2017:
Kari, I'm so sorry that my reply to your comment didn't post. I sometimes have trouble with this niche site. I used to think he loved his family in his own narcissistic selfish way, but after the death of our youngest son, I changed my mind. I think he was just using us.
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on September 06, 2017:
I cannot believe how he treated you and I am glad that you turned the tables on him. I also would have been in tears by the end, wondering if this man actually loved me.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on August 05, 2017:
Kathy, apparently it takes awhile for it to register on a malignant narcisisst that the world is not in love with him. Can you imagine his surprise when I actually divorced him after he abandoned me with two kids and $10 in my purse? I'm too embarrassed to write that story. Thanks for reading and commenting.
KathyH from Waukesha, Wisconsin on August 01, 2017:
Incredible! Especially that it took him so long to realize that the exact same thing was being done to him. So glad you got out of that relationship!
Growing up with a mother who didn't drive, I know exactly what you were dealing with. I made sure that I learned to drive at 17 so if I ever needed to get out of a terrible situation I could do that! The 1960s and 1970s when I grew up was a very different time for sure!
I really do hope you've had many nice Mother's Days since this one!
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on June 22, 2017:
Nadine, you may have read it when I first published it for Mother's Day 2016. HP moved it to this niche site later. I don't know if the original comments move when a hub is moved. Anyway, thank you for reading it again and commenting. I treasure my readers like you.
Nadine May on June 22, 2017:
I seem to recall reading this story of yours before and loved the way you made him pay back on his turn on Father's day.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on June 01, 2017:
Savvy, I hate to say this, but I think that if there was anything worse than having to go through a divorce and supporting my children almost by myself, it would have been listening to my mother nagging me to go back to him. Her favorite expression was, "you made your bed, not lie in it." Sure enough, after the divorce, I had to go through that nagging from her. Our mothers helped to brainwash us.
Yves on May 31, 2017:
I am so sorry to hear that. But I understand that, back then, women usually stayed. It was humiliating to be divorced in the 60's. You did the best you knew how.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on May 31, 2017:
Savvy, I'm glad some good laughs came out of this article. Unfortunately, the jerk interfered with and ruined my relationship with one of my children in later years. I hate it that I stayed with him for 10 years. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Yves on May 31, 2017:
What a jerk. Thank goodness you've moved on. I think many of us have had to deal with a narcissist at one time or another, but to have to live with one, day in and day out, had to be torture. Really, narcissists are the most horrid people. But you figured that out and you sure showed him. Ha! I got a laugh out of that! Thanks for sharing your story.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on May 28, 2017:
Jean, my dad wouldn't allow any of us kids to learn to drive. Mother learned when daddy was stationed in Hawaii during WWII because she had to be able to drive. The one thing this emotionally abusing husband did was teach me to drive and insist that I get my license. Kind of an oxymoron kind of thinking for that kind of moron, wasn't it? And I agree with you. This kind of behavior is coming back. I'm a legal editor, and I see it in the laws they are passing in my state, and even some of the younger women legislators are joining in. Why? I certainly don't know. Thanks for reading and your comment.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on May 28, 2017:
Exactly what happened, Theskha, but we weren't taught to recognize abuse in those days unless it was extreme. While that was extremely emotional, he did stop, but then other things happened. Thank you for reading and commenting.
Jean Bakula from New Jersey on May 28, 2017:
Good for you MsB, I'm glad you gave him what he deserved, and finally divorced him. My Dad and most of the men I knew growing up didn't encourage their wives to drive, they needed a way to keep women dependent on them for some odd reason, even if she was the smarter one (as was often the case). I fear I see a lot of this kind of behavior getting allowed again now that we have Trump in charge. I'm sure Melania stays in NY just to get away from him. She knows how he is and it's a way not to involve herself.
Sissi Ravano on May 11, 2017:
The problem is that, most people with that kind of character will only get worse as they get older. I have witness a lot around me, among family and friends.
Nice and original hub written. Im sorry that you have experience that situation. Hope it will make you a stronger woman and mother and not the other way around.
Doris James MizBejabbers (author) from Beautiful South on April 19, 2017:
Thank you, Shyron, he's gotten his in more ways than one. It's ironic that if we had not had the child to consider, our marriage might have ended that day. I appreciate your coming back and reading and commenting.