My stepfather insisted that his first wife's gloves and bible remain where they were, on my mothers bedside table for many months after they were married. Of course we moved into his home. It was a much larger home in a more desirable neighborhood... the biggest home on the block. With a three car garage with six bedrooms, three bathrooms, two kitchens, and even a creepy bomb shelter to prepare for the zombie apocalypse or whatever may be. I remember that bomb shelter well, as that is where he insisted our Nintendo be located, as the gaming system was repugnant to him.
My grandfather referred to his children as thoroughbreds as they were the smartest, brightest, and best at practically everything. As compared to my brothers and I who were often found performing at the bottom of everything.
The devaluing began immediately for all of us as none of us were good enough. My brothers and I had to compete with the thoroughbreds, while my mother had to compete with the memory of his first wife. My stepfather didn't even feel comfortable with having sex with her as he felt like he was cheating on his first wife. Since she was gorgeous, I can only speculate as to the real reason why.
He was always hyper intense about sex. Hypervigilant about our masterbation habits. Terrifying me as a child over the subject by doing things like ripping the covers off of me to make sure I wasn't touching myself, or walking in on me in the shower on occasion. He would use the church's stance on sexual purity to justify his intensity on the matter. Teaching that sexual sin was next to murder. It was a mental warfare that I wasn't previously familiar with which had a deep negative impact on my psyche.
I can only speculate how my mother felt about the matter. I only had a small glimpse into their love life, but I can only assume that he used sex as a weapon with her, just as much as he did with me.
As is the case with every narcissist, there was a constant undertone of competition within the household. A low vibrating tone that made everyone restless in spite of any appearance of peace and perfection. A tone that kept you in a constant low level of fight or flight, on edge, with cortisol frequently pumping through the veins in attempt understand and navigate this new social jungle.
I can only imagine that my mother had a more delicate constitution to begin with after the accident, and there was no time to heal or feel safe in this new environment. So it's no wonder that her health slowly, yet surely declined. It didn't take long before we were frequenting doctors about her constant headaches, along with her other health concerns.
As her health declined, so did her business. So eventually, they cut their losses and shut her business down in favor of focusing on my stepfathers business. Between her failing business and failing health, it didn't take much of a spin to begin the family narrative that the Rasmussen's were the givers and the Thornock's were the takers.
My stepfather slowly but surely absorbed all of the family assets in the process as I'm fairly certain that my brothers and I were paid out less at the end of the marriage from her life insurance policy, than my mother brought into the marriage from my fathers life insurance and other assets. Which played a part in sustaining both business in the end at one point or another.
Keep in mind that six months after my mother died, he sold his business for $30,000,000. Which he divided solely amongst himself and the thoroughbreds. Of course any money my brothers and I did receive in the end through her life insurance policy was not owed to us, it was only given to us purely through his good graces. Thereby, illustrating that he viewed my mother as basically bankrupt at her death. Not only was she bankrupt, but she was crazy and not credible, as she was briefly admitted into a mental institution about a year before her death. Therefore, it wasn't hard for him to convince her to not create a Will and their prenup magically disappeared. Giving him ultimate control over everything. Which is exactly how he liked it.