The (Family) Ties that Bind

by | Jan 11, 2022 | Blog | 0 comments

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Break Ties

I was thirty-six years old when I stopped talking with my mother. That was ten years ago. And I have not spoken to her since. Are you surprised that I recently decided to stop communication and remove her from my life? If you are thinking yes, yeah, sometimes I am too.

I always have, and still do somewhere in the back of my mind, think (hope?) that she will, I don’t know, become a healthy person. That maybe she will get the help she so desperately needs. And in doing so, perhaps she will reach out to me. Perhaps I will have a mom.

The reality is that it won’t ever happen. Maybe on my mother’s death bed, she will gain some clarity in her final breath, and, what? I don’t know, realize that I am not the horrible child she thinks I am? I am NOT holding my breath on that.

Waiting for Confession

Just like when I got the opportunity a really long time ago to face my father (via email cause I wanted EVERYTHING in writing) and tell him how much he hurt me by sexually abusing me. Oh, he denied that, blamed my mother for turning me against him. And then it turned it on me.

I mean, how could I think that of him? All he did was love me, and he still loves me. Blah, blah, blah. Lies and more lies. I know this. From the very center of my soul, I know what I know. (this was the point that I severed that communication stream). I will never have that kind of closure.

I drank a lot around that time. I mean down and out blackout drunk. The conflict within me, wanting validation and not getting it, and feeling like I was a bad person. And the questioning of my truth. Wow, I wonder where my low self-worth comes from? Mm.

What Confession?

Do I need it? That most likely deathbed confession? I don’t know. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have that confession because a part of me still wonders. But only in rare moments when I am questioning that it wasn’t that bad. Maybe my father didn’t abuse me. Maybe my mother’s emotional abuse was in response to my rebellious teenage ways.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I could write that word a million times. It won’t erase the memories and the feelings of being abused. Not to mention all of the behaviors that I exhibited, some that I still show, that all point to growing up abused. Oh, and the physical repercussions. Evidence of the mind-body connection right here.

Rebel With A Cause

And yes, I was a rebellious teenager, and from the outside looking in, I was an asshole. But the one thing that no one thought to ask was, why? Why was I like that? What was happening that was causing me to be that way? No, it was simply to continue blaming me for my behavior.

Why couldn’t I be a good kid? Why couldn’t I be more helpful? Why couldn’t I listen to my mother? Isn’t my dad the greatest? The world saw that I had great parents, and I was an ungrateful kid. Shit, if only people knew.

Sure, my dad was a pedophile, rapist, and general womanizer, but besides all that, great guy. He was a pillar of the community. Even after leaving his family, destitute people were still willing to stand up for him. Yeah, a real standup guy.

My mom was clinically depressed, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically abusive with anger management issues. But, you know, besides all of that, she’s a great person, especially if you aren’t me.

But they are my parents, right? They love me, and I should be grateful for that love, right? I should love them, keep them in my life, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

Choose Wisely

I wish I could have chosen my family. But as a newly minted human being, I didn’t get that choice. Not until I became an adult could I choose who was in my life. By that time, the damage had been done by my parents. It wasn’t too late, so I still chose to remove them and keep myself. And I stand by that choice.

As I go through adulthood, newly sober, examining my past, working on healing myself, I continue to make that choice. It still isn’t an easy choice, but some toxic people are out there. Toxic for me, which is different than toxic for someone else. I have had to make the tough choices of who gets to continue to be in my life and who does not.

First and foremost, I will always choose myself. Depending on the situation, it might make me sad because maybe I am losing someone who meant something to me. Or that I know that future friendship will not work for me. But as I move forward on this journey, I want people around me who can walk this new path with me.

There is a quote by Maya Angelou that I have heard bits and pieces of over the years. I Googled and found the full quote. And so, I leave you with the immortally wise words of Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou

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