Mark: Family Support

Eight years ago, Mark's father, Gene, divorced Mark’s mother, Janet, because he wanted to be with another woman. However, that relationship ended when he assaulted the woman. Mark views his mother as a strong person who worked hard to be a support to his mentally ill father. Janet is now engaged to be married and is moving on with her life.

My mom’s been really strong throughout this. If she hadn’t been there, I don’t know what our lives would have been. She made sure that we had everything we needed in life even if it wasn’t a lot. My mother’s my rock. I don’t know how to explain it really. I know she’s got shortcomings as any human would. It’s pretty much up on a pedestal is what I think of her. I don’t think a lot of other mothers or women would be able to handle such a thing.

Mark is close to his younger siblings and communicates with them frequently. He wishes he could have been more of a brother to them but as the oldest, feels like he was more of a father figure. He wanted to protect his siblings from having to “experience the shit that I went through when he (their father) was home with us.”

Since his father’s side of the family placed the blame for Gene’s behavior and problems on Mark’s immediate family, he rarely connects with Gene’s side of the extended family. Janet’s family does not hold Gene’s behavior against them; however, they distanced themselves, which Mark described as painful.

More of the Story: Friend and Work Connections