Note; I’ve had no contact with my mother for six years, but I felt a desire to write this entry in the form of a letter, that won’t be sent anywhere because she isn’t the point anymore.
Eight years ago you approached me to say that you had spoken with the counselor I saw at college before withdrawing to seek treatment for my eating disorder and history of sexual abuse. The phone call was only supposed to be about confirming whether she saw clients that were not current students, but you went further then that, you made it about you. You said to me afterwards, in a highly critical aside that, “she agreed with me that you need to take responsibility!” It was important to you to make sure that I would feel that someone who had empathized with and helped me was in fact on your side. I don’t take your word for quoting people, but I can imagine what you must have said in order to goad her into making such a response. You unloaded all of your feelings of guilt to her, and made it seem like I was the cause of them, that I was somehow “putting it all onto you.” I wasn’t.
You had guilt because you were guilty. You spent this entire period living in your own personal paranoia because you were afraid I had remembered or was about to remember that you had sexually abused me. When I saw the counselor at college, she told me how impressed she was with me, that I was doing the right thing, being open about my problems and trying to change them. She said I was brave to make the step of taking a semester off of college to deal with them. She validated my problems. You conveniently left out that part, that this person who worked with eating disorder patients for decades validated that yes, I did have a serious eating disorder that she recommended I receive inpatient treatment for. Yet, years later you were still putting it into highly doubtful and speculative terms, wondering aloud to other people about whether I had a “real” eating disorder.
From the very beginning of my process all those years ago, I’ve been in control of my healing, I was researching, reading books, feeling out what worked for me and what didn’t. I’ve never had a therapist (for longer then one session…) or anyone I could rely on with this let alone was I somehow expecting someone else to do it for me. I did not and do not need cheap and hypocritical lowest-common-denominator moralizing by the likes of you; someone who NEVER spent a day of real healing or doing anything other then running from your own emotions and the reality of your childhood. You never gave up what you perceived as an opportunity to lash out at me with undue and unnecessary criticism designed to take away my confidence, motivation, and ultimately, my life.
I have to ask, when are YOU going to take responsibility for your crimes? You sexually abused me from when I was a toddler, you took me into your bed and assaulted me alongside your husband, and you laughed about it. You hit me whenever it suited you, neglected my physical and emotional needs, and screamed at me nearly every day that I knew you. You allowed others to do the same or worse to me when you weren’t around, or when you were right there but so self-involved that all you could think about was opening your next beer and unloading all of your problems onto me as if I was your therapist. You are a criminal. Your abuse, your mental instability, your hate had real effects on my life, and nothing I could have said or written to you while I was living in that house and still in your thrall could have even begun to provide the amount of payback that you deserve for what you did.
You are not and were not a victim of your children. Despite your lack of boundaries and desire to use your children as trophies/symbols of your status, nothing was done to you. All you were forced to do is watch the logical results of your neglect, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse on my life and those of my ex-siblings. That isn’t enough, you deserved far worse. You exclaimed to me many a time, “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life!” But you were never embarrassed on account of yourself, it was always blamed on me because you had to be seen in public when I had done or said the “wrong thing,” gotten in trouble at school, etc. You cared a great deal about what random strangers thought of you, but your social propriety never led to a consideration of my feelings. You weren’t embarrassed when you took off your clothes in front of me and made an eleven year old boy sexually service you. You never thought of how I must have felt having to watch your disgusting drunken scenes on a regular basis. You have never been publicly confronted with your real crimes of child abuse and pedophilia, you do not know embarrassment yet.
You had the nerve, years afterwards, to write to me putting the events of this period in the context that you had done everything you could to ‘help me’ while I refused it. That is not what happened. I asked you to help me get a therapist, but each time you made it about you. I didn’t realize until later that you were calling these people telling them all about your issues. When I finally saw someone, at the first session you stepped between us, handed me the letter I had written to you explaining why I needed to take time off from college to seek treatment, and said loudly “here’s the letter if you want to show it to him!” That was a very personal letter written to you, with things that other people wouldn’t be able to understand the context of. Yet you showed it to many people, and here, you wanted to not only sow distrust into any potential relationship I could have had with this therapist, but to in effect ‘give me away’ again. You were saying that you didn’t want my letter, my feelings, my honesty, but that I should give it to someone else instead, and that it was your choice to make me do so.
You could have brought up the letter, which you photocopied without my permission, at any time in the preceding car ride before we arrived at the office. But you blindsided me, on the spot in front of him, and sabotaged the entire first session as a result. If I wanted to communicate with him through writing, I certainly could have prepared something on my own that would have been more appropriate. As it was, he scoffed at the idea that I was unsure who sexually abused me and said that he wanted to be able to communicate with you as part of my treatment. How could I tell him that you were the problem? He was a dead end, and yet when I failed to show up to a session due to my anxiety in the face of this knowledge, you insisted yet again that you had never been so embarrassed in your life and proceeded to try and have me institutionalized. To do so, you had to maintain simultaneously that my problems were not real but that I was so mentally ill that you could take over my life. This indicates your own insanity, not mine. None of this was help, it was a desperate attempt to cover up your crimes and keep me in the dark.
You failed. Today I remember, not everything yet but enough to see you for what you really are. I’m no longer afraid of you in the slightest, I’ve renounced the false guilt you pinned onto me and today there is nothing that I look to you for. I know you still think the status quo stands, that you will find out where I am and start up the same old relationship where you scream insults at me and I take it. I’m well aware that you fraudulently make accounts in my (old) name online in order to monitor them and pounce at anyone who thinks they are messaging me in order to find out where I am. But that too has obviously failed. The fact is, I’m no longer living in your narrative. I’m not in hiding anymore, and soon enough I’m going to have those accounts pulled, and remove the strings you tied to financially blackmail me with as well. I’ve managed to find the world beyond you and your petty, ugly little life, and I’m not going back.