And I use the word ‘FAMILY’ quite loosely. You are not my family. Once upon a time you were, but not anymore.
I just can’t bring myself to really think of you or feel about you like family. If you were truly family you would not have treated me like a doormat. You would not have dumped on me all the problems of the family.
How could the complete toxic family dynamic be all my fault?
I’ll tell you how.
It’s not! It never was!
Sure I have issues. I’ve done mean things and I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I have plenty of regrets. But the difference lies in my ability to see my fuck ups and apologize for them. To be willing to hear what someone has to say and validate their feelings, even if it’s a result of something I did or said…AS LONG AS IT’S DONE WITHOUT FINGER POINTING.
But everything wrong with our family somehow became all my fault.
Somewhere along the line…well I see now that it happened gradually…that I became the family scapegoat.
Mom, the rest of this letter is for you:
If you were a true mom that loved me, you would not have excused your son’s (my brother’s) rage against me calling it “just an emotional reaction.” Emotional reaction or not, it is unacceptable at least and abusive at worst. And with no sincere apology from him, it is unforgivable.
He is quite a bit bigger than me. I felt threatened as he bellowed at me as I sat in a chair, while he hovered over me. You would likely wave it away and say, “He’d never hit you.” But how the fuck do you know that in his blind rage that he is not capable of such a thing?
He didn’t hit me that time. But tell me, how do I trust that he wouldn’t lose control next time he had “an emotional reaction?”
He is emotionally unstable. In fact all of your kids have issues with controlling our emotions. But yeah, that’s my fuckin’ fault right?
When I tried to draw boundaries and say no, your other daughter would either whine to get me to do what she wanted. Or she’d pretend all was well to my face and then call you when I wasn’t around. Whine to you. Then you’d take her side and call me with guilt trips and shame me.
You never stood up to her for me though. Even after an agreement was made and the pressure was on for me to do something you wanted me to do. This after a nasty stressful couple of days. This after you agreed to go when I none of us kids could get there.
Read that again mom. When NONE of us kids could get there, you promised you’d go. But instead of just telling that to sis, you just let her spew her…what you called frustration, as to why I couldn’t just go.
No thought given to what I’d just been through the day before. Instead, sis kept texting me to go even after I said no. Even after I’d talked to her and told her the whole story of the awful day and to call you because YOU SAID YOU’D GO.
I stood my ground.
The text said it would be just for an hour, you know, for lunch. But that horrendous stressful day was only supposed to be for breakfast. But it turned into an infuriating situation, which included a grocery run on a fuckin’ Saturday afternoon, because the home health aid showed up with no car. And I was the only one who had a problem with this?
Of course, because guess who had to pick up her slack.
I caught up to you on Sunday, finally, on your cell, while you were en route to dad’s. I asked what was up and you said vaguely, “I’m driving.” I pushed further, “Where to?”
I felt the need to confirm that you were going since I’d heard nothing after my final text to sis the night before that I would not be going. I told you that it would likely not ONLY be an hour and you barked, “It will only be an hour.” Because apparently you forgot what I’d dealt with the day before. And you knew because I’d called and told you all about it.
I also asked if you’d reminded sis of the agreement…that I would have Sundays for myself. Your response? “I didn’t wanna go there?”
What. The. Actual Fuck. And I’m supposed to call you my mom?
Even more fucked up, is the note you left the next day for me in the kitchen at dad’s place. Not so much the note itself, but the last words before your signature. “I love you.”
Um…what? Scary that you expect me to believe that.
I am beyond hurt. You’ve asked me how you get me to forgive you for the damage you caused me as a child. Not only have you not apologized, but you are on the wrong track. I did not sever ties with you because of my shitty childhood. I cut ties with you because…well, I think the above paragraphs illustrating your blatant disregard of me and our agreement explains things quite well.
It is painfully obvious that you have no respect for what I feel, what I want or what I need.
You gave me no chance to grieve my dying father either, because the whole time we were caring for him I was in survival mode. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t part of this crap. He certainly was. He doesn’t get a pass because he was dying. That is no reason to be a shit to any of your kids. But I did deserve to not be on constant guard from you and my siblings.
Sister and her digs. I had to just ignore them because I was afraid that she might get violent. It’s happened in the past. I absorbed and internalized her digs. I feared for my safety.
Brother and the possibility of his rage if something didn’t go the way he wanted it to. If he felt he needed to control a situation…or more accurately, if he felt the need to control me.
Then there was the minimization of my experiences and feelings by all of you. And although the fingers pointed at me on the topic of walking on eggshells, I could practically see the eggshells around each one of you.
When dad died and we were clearing out his apartment, sis and her husband thought it was a good idea to bring the scooters for the kids to ride along the walk way we had to use to carry the furniture on to our cars. When one of them almost crashed into me, sis’s hub had been standing off to the side talking to the dude brother had recruited to help us, and said nothing to reprimand the kids to be careful or even say to stop riding the fucking scooters because they could cause injury to themselves and others. Your son-in-law is a douchebag.
It’s funny how clearly I see the disrespect had carried over to this brother-in-law. It makes me sick to think about how I was treated as if I was invisible, as if I didn’t count as a human being to you people. All of you…even you mom.
And you want me to come visit you. Can’t you see how ridiculous that is. And the fucked up thing is that if I told you someone else had treated me the way you all had in those last weeks, you’d tell me that I need to separate myself form that person. Or maybe you’d tell me I was being too sensitive and I should suck it up?
In my heart you are no longer family.
I am angry with myself that I have let what you think and what you have done, dictate my behavior and my life or lack thereof.
I am saddened by all the time I’ve wasted because I have believed what you drove into me by your actions and words. Although you never directly said that I’m worthless or a loser, your behavior and treatment of me, shouted it loud and clear. In addition it was all there, between the lines of much of what you said.
But you are wrong. I am not worthless. I deserve to be fought for, not against. I am worth overcoming this abuse you have imposed on me and do not deserve to be beaten into the ground and walked all over.
You might say, in fact it is likely you would say that I walked away, but that would not be accurate because what really happened, is you pushed me out.
And I have to accept that. Your behavior and treatment of me is unacceptable and unforgivable at this point. Certainly, if by some miracle you actually realized how you all treated me and wanted to truly work it out, then we’d have something to talk about. But I know that is not going to happen. Even if it did, I would not trust that your intentions were pure anyway, so it’s kind of a catch-22 isn’t it? Damage is done.
It’s especially sad, Mom, that you were part of the abuse and ganged up on me with the other two. A mom who loves all of her children does not participate in bullying with a couple of her kids against another one. That is truly sick. Even sicker and sadder, is that you don’t even see it.
I have been hanging on to this hurt, sadness and anger and it’s destroying me a little each day. I was already struggling with my life. I don’t have to tell you that I have never felt settled within myself. That depression has been a battle for 30+ years. That I had suffered a trauma a year before dad got sick and that my childhood was lived in survival mode.
But that shit I put up with for those last few months, well that just about finished me off. If I’m honest I’m still not recovered. I sunk into myself to hide from the world. I’ve self-isolated because I believed that your abuse of me was a reflection of me.
I have become afraid to live and although that had already become a problem, the situation among us made that much worse. I have felt scattered in my thinking and have not known where to start with my life or how. I hate to go out because I feel so small among the people and like I’m a target for assholes and the entitled douche bags. While at the same time I feel like a fat cow who sticks out like a sore thumb and have this target on me or a sign that says, “Doormat.” Like you left your mark on me.
But I’m not going to let you win. I feel like I’ve been muddled in all this sludge you threw on me, like the family garbage dump. Well how fuckin’ dare you!! How could you do that to one of your children?
Tell me please…how the fuck do you choose one to assault the way you did? No, I know it was not physical. There are other forms of assault and I was assaulted at every turn. I had it coming from all four directions. I was the one who had to ‘own’ all the shit that hit the fan.
Well I’m not your scapegoat any longer. I put an end to that, years ago now. At least in physical form. But emotionally, I’ve continued owning the garbage you tossed my way even when it wasn’t mine to own. I hate you for that. I have been loathing myself and now I’m just sick of owning all the muck that you were part of creating with your husband (my father) concerning the five of us.
I was your child! How could it have started with me?
When you told me that you didn’t think the eggshell walking was all me, I felt my heart begin to open. Your words were actually healing. But then you added, “I think it started with you, but I don’t think it’s all you now.”
I froze. I had nothing to say at that moment. Until the next day. But by then you didn’t want to hear it. You rejected me and my desire to address it. Well, fuck off then. Because to say that, just proves what you really think. And if you think I’m the sole problem, then why the fuck have you kept sending birthday and Xmas cards.
Oh, that’s right. You’re lost without your scapegoat. You have nothing or no one to dump your shit on, isn’t that correct? The guilt trips in the cards you’ve sent pretty much prove that. I’m just lucky that you are not deceitful enough to actually apologize and pretend that you’re sorry. I’m lucky that you are actually oblivious to how you all behaved. Because if you did know and acted like you were sorry then I’d be sucked in again.
Thank you for sparing me that much.
This has dragged out long enough. As I was saying, I am sick of letting what you did dictate the outcome of my life.
I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m still effected deeply by your abuse but I am committing to myself now. I am committing to taking care of me, of my body, mind and soul. I am committing to healing and getting to know me.
I know it won’t be easy. But I have to try. Because if I don’t it won’t be long before I die.