Are you ready for more redundancy? If you are boarded I'm sorry, but you cannot say I didn't warn you.
Now, sure there are plenty of people that have treated me like shit in my life. People that were my friends, and then stabbed me in the back, but none quite like the toxic people I have spoken of in other posts.
The main reason I keep coming back to this family is not because I was hurt so badly, I can get over that, but because my entire family was hurt so badly. Down to my 6 year old son, who could not understand why he would yell "hi" across the street and get nothing but a nasty glare from his so called "friend", a 9 year old being lead by the actions of her parents.
It's one thing if you hurt me, I am a big girl, and no matter how bad it hurts I will eventually put my big girl panties on and deal with it, but when you hurt my family, you cross the line! The worst part is that they were repeat offenders. They hurt us over and over again and I kept going back. I kept putting my family in a position to get hurt over and over again.
We couldn't get away no matter how hard we tried. They were in every aspect of our lives. Curt worked directly with him, I work for the same company as her, we live across the street, so even when we come home there was no getting away. We'd see them at the grocery store, when we were out to dinner, at Walmart, no place was safe from their glares and loud whispers of disgust. Only they had no reason to be disgusted, they were the ones that were causing the pain, not us.
During the 4+ years they were in our lives, she often talked down to and about my husband. She did the same to me, but not in such an obvious way. She made me think that what she was telling me was because she "loved" me and she was doing what was "best" for me. If I didn't know better I would swear I was brainwashed.
What it came down to is that I was scared of her. I was scared because she had so much control over my life, our lives. If I didn't do what she wanted, when she wanted, there would be repercussions. Sometimes the repercussions involved me, sometimes they fell on Curt. She ruled the roost, so if she didn't like something all it took was a call to her husband to make Curt's life a living hell. This was one of the most common things she did.
That and because she "helped" with our finances off and on over the 4+ years, she OFTEN held OUR money over our heads. If we didn't do exactly as she wanted we couldn't use our own money. She also frequently allowed me to spend money on frivolous things but would not allow Curt to buy basic needs like work boots. I was blind to it for so long. I did what she wanted to keep the peace, or what I thought was keeping the peace. What I didn't realize was the toll it was taking on my marriage and my child.
You see, this whole family was toxic, and it was turning us toxic. The little girl is the meanest, most intentionally horrible child I have ever met, and she would constantly degrade Gunnar and try to get him in trouble, or blame him for things she did. She is the spitting image of her mother. Normally I would never talk about a child in this manner, but this child is damaged beyond repair. You can see evil in her eyes.
The husband went from being Curt's friend to his worst nightmare, hoovering over him at work, trying, however unsuccessfully to get him in trouble. He did manage to make the schedule though, and made sure that Curt was on call for any and all major or minor family event, holidays, anything you can think of. One minute Curt's hours were being cut to less than 40 per week, the next he's working 60+ and we never see him.
She made me mean, there is no way around it. When I was with her, I became like her. I stood like her, I ate like her, I dressed like her, I spent money like her, I treated my family like she treated her family....like SHIT! I hated who I had become, but I didn't know how to get away. Everything was so intertwined with them. We live across the street, worked with each other, did nearly everything together. I couldn't sneeze without her knowing. I had to take back control of our lives!
It started with our decision for Curt to join the Army, but even that was excitement that had to be kept under wraps. he enlisted in June but wasn't shipping out until November and he needed his job until then, so we couldn't say anything to his work, or them, which meant having to be VERY careful who we told anything to since our worlds were so connected. The good thing was, this was the perfect opportunity to start sliding out from under their grasp.
So we did. It started kind of gradually, we weren't hanging out with them as much, then it was a wave from across the street instead of sprinting across to talk and dropping everything else around me. Before I knew it, she wasn't speaking to me. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I had done, but I suddenly realized I was glad I had done it (whatever it was).
Other than the awkward moments when we saw each other across the street or in public, life was really starting to get so much better for us. Curt and I were moving forward with our new adventure, although very few people knew, we did and we were so excited. It meant a whole new world of possibilities for us. The best day came when Curt gave his notice and this huge weight was lifted. we didn't have to hide anymore. Better yet was that his last day was the day before my birthday, just 1 less day they could try to take away from us.
As of our last encounter, she still tried to put the dissolve of our "friendship" on me. If that's what makes her sleep at night, than so be it. Truth be told, I am the one that backed off, I needed to find out who I was apart from her toxic persona. I needed to find me, a me that was not attached at the hip to someone who spewed vile every time she opened her mouth. So if that makes me that bad guy in her eyes, so be it. In the end, I saved my marriage and my family. I saved myself from turning into a hate filled, spiteful person that thrives on other peoples misery. In my eyes that means I win!