I lived within a dysfunctional family. I was once engaged to a woman who had a mother with many problems. Her mom would stay with us for extended periods of time. She was addicted to opiates, and had a plastic pill container full of the daily doses of her medications. Way too many to count. I remember the Tupperware containers full of her prescriptions that would sit beside the bed in our spare bedroom. I’d watch her lay around and smoke a million cigarettes, talk about how depressing life was, and listen to her talk about how miserable everything and everyone made her feel. I know that the cocktail of drugs and her mental state played a big part in the events that were taking place.
She was a hoarder. She would collect many things, including cats. Her house was full of filth, clutter, feces and junk. Our house was just a stone’s throw from hers, so she would escape her mess by staying with us. Her marriage was always on the rocks, and her demeanor was always questionable. We could not figure her out at times? She was very unpredictable, and very sketchy. I really never knew what kind of problems she had, but knew that there was always something wrong, according to her. Suspecting her to be a hypochondriac, I would just shake my head as I watched her carry on. Her husband would work a lot, and quarantine himself in a clean bedroom, away from the nightmare that had taken over the rest of the house.
I also had a lot of problems. Unlike her, I would self-medicate. There were a few choice street drugs that her daughter and I would use to alleviate our own aches and pains. As you can imagine, our environment was very unhealthy. It was far from ideal, and full of crazy conditions.
Her daughter and I were living with her mother and her husband, as well as my fiancé’s step-sister for a number of years prior to getting our own place. We were all stuffed in their small house, and it was slowly beginning to be filled with miscellaneous items, cats, and the many problems that accompanied the unhealthy living conditions. A great deal of pressure and rage would manifest in every direction, on many different occasions. I know that the cocktails of drugs that her mother was using, the street drugs that myself and her daughter were abusing and the constant filth that I, usually solely, was trying to keep up with had a lot to do with why there was so much frustration throughout the house. It was awful. That was seventeen years ago, and it still bothers me. The situations only fueled the ongoing pressure that was building inside of me. I could not get my fiancé to see how much of a problem these things were becoming. She would just stay silent when I addressed the issues at hand, or would defend her mother. Her mother’s husband would just isolate, and take care of himself. Her step-sister would stay gone, and eventually moved away. It was really getting very old; taking care of a house that was going to the pits because of our individual messes. I didn’t like filth, and being covered in it was really starting to take its toll on my patience, and putting extra pressure on my already unstable mental health.
I remember a period where my fiancé and I had volunteered to start cleaning up some of the things that were out of control. We agreed to start relocating items, moving them out into a detached garage so her mother could sort through them. We were starting to make a little progress with her hoarding problem. Little by little, we started cleaning up. We took steps to make the cat conditions more manageable by moving them outside to shelters on the property. We were trying to work together. As time went by, the clutter was minimal within the living room. We asked her mother if we could paint the room, and she thought it was a great idea. I vividly remember moving things around, covering things, painting the ceiling, then the walls, moving everything back and cleaning as we went. Dusting. Organizing. We were exhausted after putting in many hours of work. We had told her mother to wait until we were finished until she saw the finished room, and she agreed to do so. We wanted to suprise her! She seemed to be excited as she passed by without looking into the room as we worked. Finally, we had it all done, and she came in to see the finished product.
I will never forget what happened next. Ever.
“It looks like s%$t.” I could not believe what I had just heard her say. She started pointing out spots we had not covered to her satisfaction on the ceiling, and on the walls. She started making disrespectul comments with a disgusted look on her face, and I was turning as red as a fire engine! I remember throwing a fit! Cussing. Raging mad! I was in her face screaming and running down the hall after her! Really? I clean up their house, I put up with the constant ridiculous situations within their cluttered nightmare of a home, and volunteer to clean it up, and she says that?!
The next part is something that has stayed with me for many years. My brush with death.
As I entered the bedroom that she had ran to as I was following her down the hall, I found her and myself standing on top of her bed. We were screaming and cussing at each other. Suddenly, I had a loaded 9mm aiming at and touching my forehead. Her husband always had a loaded gun next to his bed, and she had picked it up as she entered the room. I was so far into the rage that consumed me, that I pressed my head into the end of the gun, and was screaming “Do it!” I will never forget that crazed look in her eyes as she was gnashing her teeth and shaking. She was so close to squeezing the trigger.
I really cannot remember what happened immediately after that. I think my life became blurry. I didn’t get shot, and the times passed as we continued to live there before my fiancé and I bought our own place. The bitter attitude I had towards that woman continued for many more years as she took up a longer than welcomed stay at our house, laid around in her self-pity of unknown origin, while taking the cocktails of drugs and smoking us all out of the house. She would disrespect me to my face, and her daughter would too. I would do it right back to both of them. The pain and anger came and went for years after we had moved, but there were no more guns involved within the arguments and raging fits I had participated in with those toxic people. I stuck it out for a total of nine and a half years with the fiancé, the mother who had many issues, and with myself.
I cannot blame my rage on the life that I was living back then. I was ignorant. I had problems that needed to be addressed, and I made absolutely no effort to change anything. I do blame my anger and rage on myself. I chose to stay. I chose to put up with the people who were only using me. I chose to let the woman whom I became very close to marrying, run my life. There was no cooperation, no real love, and no hope. It was a constant circle of hurts, and no one was willing to get help. Nobody believed that they needed help. Unfortunately, everything fell apart within that circle. The mother and her husband split. I and my fiancé split, their house was lost, and I voluntarily left our house to her daughter. I had to move on, away from the torment. I had to eventually get ahold of myself. I had to learn better ways, begin a relationship with God, get clean, and become a man. It was a time in my life that brought on many hurtful things that are instilled within my memories. It was a time that took years for myself, and I’m sure all involved, to heal from.
I don’t know where those people are now, but I sure pray that they are better. I hope that God has taken them away from the hell that we all once shared. I pray that if someone who is reading this has anger issues, unaddressed mental conditions, drug addictions or is in a toxic situation, that you get it fixed. Take care of it. It would not be a comforting moment if you were standing with a gun to your head because of your negligent decision to let your issues keep you in a miserable place.