During the initial weeks of Ian’s return from prison, I began to feel the rising tension between him and Mom as each of them reached for power within the home. Caleb and I had been so use to looking to Mom for everything, that we continued to do so even in his presence.
In our eyes, she was still the head of the house. She had been doing everything on her own for the past 4 years and earned that respect. I had watched her mow the lawns in the hot blistering summer, trim the hedges, plant a garden and shovel the snow in the freezing, five foot snowy winters. Every day she slept short naps in the afternoons and woke up at night to work a double shift. She had been responsible for all the bills and was still somehow able to provide Christmas presents as well as host our birthday parties. On top of it all, she maintained us 3 children, each with hot tempers, as well as our golden retriever.
Whether he was jealous, resentful or inferior; who knows. But he tried to take back his control by adding some new rules; no food in the rooms, no clothes on the floor, no eating past 8:30, no loud music, etc. He was trying to control us by any means possible. But I had grown so accustomed to Mom’s relaxed parenting approach that I couldn’t handle his strict orders any more. This only caused him to reach harder for that power and control.
He didn’t like that Mom had a voice now. He also didn’t like Mom’s new found interest in going out with her friends. He questioned her about where she had been, what she was doing and who she was with almost every waking minute. When she would defend herself in reminding him that she was in fact a grown woman, capable of doing what she pleased, his rage only spiraled. I took no chance in these moments, for I knew what he was capable of. I kept close to my phone and called the police anytime I needed to.
When it was necessary, the police would arrive with lights flashing at our driveway and assess their dispute. Ian would instantly put on his mask and chat up the old men about the days when he was an officer too. Their presence was only helpful in deescalating the situation. They left when they decided everything was calm and there was nothing else they could do, but I was fearful Ian would only be triggered when they left. “