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I'm afraid of my girlfriend's mom


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About 4 months ago, my girlfriend's parents got into a horrible fight which put the final nail in the coffin of their marriage, and they are now in the process of getting a divorce. My girlfriend's mom "Diane" is what I would call very abusive. To name a few examples, she's hit her husband "Carl" on multiple occasions and once even went as far as putting her hands around his neck. She's threatened to kick my girlfriend "Heather" out of the house multiple times (even when Heather was little, Diane would say she wished Heather was adopted, because then she could send her back). She sometimes throws things at people when she's angry. She has screamed at me at the top of her lungs over very small things. Heather and I had to call the police on her back in April when she and Carl got into their fight (and this wasn't even the first time! We'd called the police before in January).


My girlfriend (fiancee, actually) and I have been together for a year and a half, and dated on and off for a year prior to that. (I'm also a girl if that makes any difference, and we're both only 20 right now so we're still pretty young.) Anyway, before "the Fight," I'd been spending two nights a week at Heather's house, and she'd been staying two nights a week at mine, so when the Fight happened, she came to stay at my house for a while. Before she was ready to move back home with her mother (her dad was in the process of finding an apartment), her mother found out that Carl wasn't coming back home like she'd assumed he was going to, and found out that Heather had found out before her. She was incensed that Heather had "betrayed her" by not telling her that Carl was "plotting to abandon her," etc., and screamed at Heather (over the phone) to get all of her stuff out of the house. Well, this was the third time Diane had seriously tried to kick Heather out, and after time number two, Heather had said that if she ever did it again, she really would leave. So, we started moving her things out. Twenty-four hours later, Diane took it back, but Heather stuck to her guns (which I think was the right decision, honestly).


So Heather's been living with my family and me for the last four months. (Carl has a place to stay, but all he can really afford is a rented room in an apartment. Real estate is expensive here.) During that time, Diane has essentially disowned Heather two or three times, all for completely ludicrous reasons. Of course, she's always bluffing, and Heather desperately wants her mother in her life because she wants to have a mom, so she always cautiously lets her back into her life.


Last night was especially bad. Heather had her wisdom teeth pulled a few days ago and then developed dry socket (basically, a clot didn't form so the bone is exposed). Miraculously, Diane had actually been acting very sweet and motherly, so Heather wanted to see her, but didn't feel well enough to leave our house. As you can imagine, my parents are none too comfortable having Diane come over, especially because I have a 15-year-old brother who none of us want to get dragged into this. But, I convinced my mom to go out to dinner with my brother and me (my dad was out of town) to let Diane come over to see Heather. I had assumed it was understood that Diane was to be gone by the time we got back because I had told Heather that my mom didn't want to see her mom, but Heather and I didn't communicate clearly enough so when we returned, Diane was still there, and Diane refused to leave when I asked her to and then when my mother came in and told her to. She said she was invited here by Heather, and she wasn't done visiting her. Things quickly degenerated to the point where my mom said this was her house, Heather was a guest, and she would call the police if Diane didn't leave.


Now, Heather is upset because my mom used the word "guest," because as you can imagine she has some insecurities about feeling secure in the place in which she's living, thanks to her mother dearest. She feels like my mom doesn't want her here. My mom has said she'll apologize for that; that she was just trying to illustrate that she (and my father) are the ones in control of who comes into the house, not Heather, not my brother, not me and certainly not Diane. I'm just frustrated because I feel like Diane is causing strain on our relationship, and now on my mom's relationship with Heather. I don't want Heather to wind up feeling the same way about my mom that I feel about hers, because my mom's not perfect but she is nowhere near comparable to Diane. But Diane has left Heather with a lot of sensitive emotional wounds. Heather's therapist suggested she make a diagram of all the "buttons" Diane has installed in her to help understand why she has strong reactions to certain things, which I think is a good idea, but I wish there was something more I could do. I'm not sure what specific advise I was looking for, I just needed to vent somewhere. Heather's joined a support group for children of divorced parents and suggested I do something similar, which I thought was an excellent idea, so I've been brought back to this board once again.

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When I read that Diane put her hands around Carls throat I reached a decision about this woman, based on the experiences that I had with another friend with the same diagnosis. I think Diane is homicidal It might sound silly of me to say it, but there's something just over the edge and crazy about using your hands around someone's throat. My friend, I'll call her Sheila, she lost custody and visitation for her two children. As adults she still in not in contact with her son. I have extreme reservations about my friend Shelia, and I rarely have her over to my home. I do not trust her, nor if I were you would I ever trust Diane.


I think it's clear you have to contrast Heathers need for a mom with her demand for personal safety. This safety is likely to be violated, even if just emotionally by a melt down mother. I would stay completely away from Diane until her rages and violent behaviors are under control. No way should Heather go back to her moms.



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So, after all that you and your family has done for Heather, your Mom calling her a "guest", was enough to set her off? She's shaping up to be just like Diane, IMO. Heather tweaking over your Mom's comment is something SHE should own. Diane was not responsible, nor was your Mom. And shame on you for making your Mom feel badly after taking this girl in, and going so far as to threaten Diane while protecting Heather!


Tell me - how did Heather want your Mom to describe her?


Regardless, when we hit 18, we need to start taking responsibility for our own lives, and our own actions. Yes, Diane is a horrible Mother - no argument. But, continuing to blame her for what comes next will always prevent Heather (and by default, you) from moving forward and becoming a grownup.


Everyone has crap in their past, and many, many people have stories of how their parents messed them up. But you take ownership of it, and stop blaming someone else.

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