You must be so proud of your mother, Fred. I grew up with the same situation. My father was extremely domineering. And no, we didn’t even call it abuse back then. My parents were not religious, so the words were different, but it had the same effect. My father would say, “Keep quiet, Sylvia. It’s not important” and “You have no idea what you’re talking about.” He taught my brother and me how to disrespect her, as well, just from watching him. We learned from the best.

You mentioned a dowry. When my mother’s parents died, she was left a lot of money. My father was already a successful attorney, so he just added this amount to his investments. Whenever my mother was really upset, she’d ask for her money. He would tell her she would get it when he was dead.

She wasn’t allowed to do anything on her own without asking him. They didn’t share a bank account. Instead, she had her own checking account with a small balance. He would transfer just enough into it each month for her to buy groceries and pay the housekeeper and gardener.

She was too weak to leave him and died four years before him never feeling free, and obviously never getting any of her money back.

Writer and copyeditor. “What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about” ~ J. Wright

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