Preface: This got extremely long and emotional, but I’m not making it friends only because I’m sick to death of hiding and being embarrassed by this part of my past. There are some things in here that are very sensitive and some that are probably a little too blunt. Some parts of it will doubtlessly make me sound very self centered, but I really think all of it needs to be said.
I somehow ended up spending over 2 hours last night talking to a friend about my mother and my childhood. I so rarely have these conversations anymore, but when I do they come completely out of nowhere. She was so good though, just let me talk it out, agreed with me when I needed her to, but didn’t try to comfort me either. I’m at a place about all this, I think, wherein I don’t need to be comforted nearly as much as I need to be heard. And since she won’t listen in real life, here’s another of my open letters:
It’s not right. Our roles have always been so ass-backwards, I’m sick of feeling like your mother instead of the other way around. I don’t think any of my friends, as many times as they’ve heard me say it, believed me when I told them your emotional growth was stunted at about age 13. They believe me after the last couple of weeks. You didn’t get what you wanted, sometimes that happens when you treat people like shit for no reason. I wanted you to come out here, I wanted SO badly for you to come out here, but not at the risk of your health or sanity.
I found a way to save $1300 and not have you and C (my brother) have to sit in a hot, miserable U-Haul truck for 4 days while still getting my stuff out here. A way that I talked to you about, and you agreed with at least twice, before I made the arrangements. How, exactly, is that “unilaterally changing the plan without discussing it with anyone”?
And as far as not making this move on my own, no I absolutely did not. Paul drove with me, your sister (even after all the bad blood between the two of you) let me live with her for almost 6 months until the house opened up. Yes I had help, but I haven’t asked you for a damn thing since I moved out here, and you have done nothing but go around quietly undoing everything that I have tried to do to get my stuff out here. You’ve taken things that weren’t yours, you’ve unpacked and gone through the boxes that I left there.
Every suggestion that I’ve made, everything that I’ve tried has been unacceptable, but you’ve yet to come up with a workable solution. You’re holding my stuff hostage, but I will not be manipulated. I meant every word when I told you that for all I cared anymore you could just call Goodwill to come pick it up. It’s not worth it to me. It’s not worth the aggravation, not worth fighting with you over stuff I’ve lived without for a year. I’ve had so many people tell me recently that I’m one of the most independent, self-sufficient people they know.
I suppose I should thank you for making me fend for myself (and for you, and my siblings) for so many years. It kills me, though, that you seem to be the only one who doesn’t see that I really am trying (and succeeding a vast majority of the time) to stand up on my own two feet.
I told B (my college roommate) last night that it just makes me sad that the one person that I’m trying so hard to be enough for is the one person who I will never manage to please. She said that you were the one person who I shouldn’t have to do anything to be enough for, and she’s right.
I’m sick of trying to earn your love. Of working myself half to death and never making you happy. Love is supposed to be unconditional, especially maternal love. I am not a bad person, I was NOT a bad child, I did and said some stupid things sometimes, sure, but so have you.
I’ve been told this by so many people that I’ve actually started to believe it and now I’m going to tell you:
I deserved better from you.
I deserved to be put first sometimes. I deserved to be protected from the man you chose to marry. I deserved to be allowed to be a child without having to carry the weight and the fear of your unhappiness. I should not have had to be a co-parent to my younger siblings. I should not have had to protect you from him. I should not have had to hear you make excuses for him or tell that police officer what a hoodlum I was ( I had just been named student of the month a couple of days beforehand!). Do you know how hard it was to sit in that kitchen with the cop who was taking my statement and taking pictures of the bruises and hear you in the other room actually taking his side?
It’s not fair to expect me to have all the responsibility and none of the decision making power. It’s not right to, in one breath, tell me to act like an adult and in the very next say “I’m putting my foot down and this is what you are going to do.”
You don’t get to say that anymore. You just don’t. I’m 23 years old, I haven’t lived in your house for nearly a year, I pay all my own bills, and deal with the consequences of my own decisions. You don’t have to like those decisions, but if you would like to remain a part of my life you do have to accept them.
I had no option but to be treated this way as a child, but as a woman if I continue to allow you to do so – now it will be as much my fault as it is yours. I am making the conscious decision to no longer be a victim. I want to have a relationship with you, but I will not be manipulated and guilt-tripped and screamed at for no reason. I don’t need it, I don’t deserve it, and I will not tolerate it. I will speak to you when you can do so like a civilized adult, but I refuse to expose myself to you when you cannot do so.
I hope someday you’ll understand that this is not about not loving you, it’s about finally beginning to love me. It’s about realizing that I’m worth standing up for and understanding that I’m the only person I can count on to do so.
I truly hope that we can find a way to move past these wounds and have our relationship change without ending, but I’m afraid they may take a very long time to heal. I think I am going to seek counseling and I don’t think it would hurt you to get some, either.