Open Letter to my former mother

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.


About proudlysensitive

I'm a gay male survivor of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
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23 Responses to Open Letter to my former mother

  1. Blair says:

    Wow! Can I use your letter to send to my crazy mother? It could have been written by me!!!

  2. Yay!…For taking your power back & building a life without mommy dearest holding the strings. I admire your fortitude & morality. What your family did was criminal & pathological!!

  3. coconutspeak says:

    I am so proud of you! I can feel your strength. God bless you, sweetie.

  4. Caden, this is so profoundly insightful. There is so much truth here and you shed so much light on exactly what happens; the typical ‘ways’ and tricks of the abuser are exposed in this letter. Kudo’s to you.
    Hugs, Darlene

  5. erin says:

    Caden, thank you for your thoughts. I too stopped talking to my mother 3 years ago. It’s been one of the hardest journies in my life due to the sick, twisted webs she weaves to try to get me back. I’m now in another country, and finally feeling the relief and freedom that you speak of! So glad you used your voice in this way. Wanted you to know you aren’t alone! In fact, our stories are very similar. May you continue to heal the hurts and wounds that the lies and manipulation dug so deep!

  6. Sherry says:

    WOW! Wonderfully written and I do understand!!! The manipulative, guilt ridden, everything’s your fault stuff-I related so much!!! Caden, you take care. Be who you are. I have not talked to the incubator(that is what I call her now)since Mother’s Day when I took the last call I’d ever take from her. She was deceptive in getting me to even answer that call. I changed my number and I won’t have anything more to do with her. I know the freedom you must feel!! Truly I, at 45, am having the freedom from bondage I’ve needed and I’m enjoying life! I’m healing from all the pain and I’m learning. No more fear of death for learning either. Thank you for your bravery in sharing!!

    • Thanks so much Sherry. I like that–an incubator, and it is so great to go through mothers day without being shamed into praising and complimenting a monster.

      good luck to you too,

  7. Hey Love,
    We are standing and creating a wonderful life with an awesome future. Creating our blueprints on this journey. I have also left behind, all the people, places and things that needed to be left behind. WE ARE FREE, FREE TO LIVE. KEEP LIVING, Proudly Sensitive always love teresa

  8. Mira says:


    I cried. How can someone write the sheer horrors that they experienced so eloquently? You’ve taken life in your hands and you’re exerting control in your doings – regaining a positive core. Wish you the best in all you do.

    So much strength, courage and truth in your words. I’m in awe.

    • Thanks for reading and leaving your lovely comments, Mira.
      take care,

    • Sherry says:

      I’m not Caden; however, I know what are you saying. I have cried many tears over what I’ve been through and still continue at time to cry. Sometimes people who haven’t endured what Caden or others like me have don’t understand and can’t comprehend it. It is too much for them. I understand that too. Sometimes these same people go away and I’ve experienced that as well. I’m so glad that there are people out there who care for us who have survived the horribleness of abusive childhoods. Thank you Mira.

      • Mira says:

        Hi Sherry

        Thank you for the comment, it amazes me just how much abuse occurs in the world, yet we either do not hear about it, or when we do, we try to block it out from our very existence. The tears, the pain, the guilt, the blame, they’re ways bodies / memories / minds try to speak and say there’s something wrong – You’d hope compassion of others would entail them to be near and close, and therefore it devastates me further when you mention that people leave. Its heart rendering. People not understanding I can see, but when people decide to leave, and walk from those doors, wow. that is profound. Sadly profound.

        If you ever want to talk further Sherry, let me know. All my love.

        • Sherry says:

          Sure Mira,
          I’d love to. How do we connect??
          As for people leaving-they leave us when we tell them about it and they can’t handle it. It is an abandonment all over again in a sense. You think they are your friends, but then you talk too much about your abusive background for them. Yes, Mira, it is sad, very sad and VERY painful. Sometimes it has just been so very hard for me and I couldn’t understand it at all. It hurts.

          I just thought-if you have facebook, what is your name? I can send you a message there maybe?
          Or your email?

          • Mira says:

            If you have an email or facebook, do you want to share it with me? That way I can find you – I don’t want to mention it on here – although I am currently blogging on here


            There may be a way to connect on there. Talking about it, and being aware of all that pain, its shitty, but it makes it real, it gives you scope to grow and to work on that pain though, but yes, it’s still so shitty.

            I look forward to hearing from you.

  9. Melissa Ulto says:

    i don’t what is wrong with these women. my mother has NDP and is an alcoholic. i haven’t spoken to her for over ten years. i’m finally now trying to pursue a case against her and all my abusers, because i found in Canada you COULD – no statute of limitations. what hurts is not just the abusive mother but the siblings who choose sides and ostracize you as the problem. i call those Junior Paternos. i have a blog here about my case and journey. its raw, but necessary. and holidays…so hard. so lonely. still hard to get used to after so long. my hear to yours, Caden, i know your monster is real cause my monster was a lot like it. heal however you can. xo Melissa

    • Melissa, thank you. It’s great that you’re going to press charges. The statute of limitations in the state where I grew up (Pennsylvania, the same generous law that was used to take down Sandusky) doesn’t expire until I turn 50, so I can also pursue that one day if I choose to. I love how you expose the hypocrisy and maliciousness of your brother throughout your blog. I’ve enjoyed reading it. Our stories are similar–I also had a much older sibling who betrayed me in order to coverup our parent’s crimes. It does hurt so much. I wish you luck in your case.

      take care,

  10. Alicia Danielle says:

    I am 43 and after a third psychologically and physically abusive as well as sexually exploitative husband that I left three years ago and 39 years as a misdiagnosed patient of the NC mental health system, I only just realized that I have been psychologically abused by my evil, lying, gaslighting mother who has painted me as bat shit crazy and abusive and her the loving tolerant victim to ALL of my extended family years ago and to my ignorant, neglectful and also psychologically abusive father who not only did not protect me from daily, hours long verbal attacks in high school, but would himself attack me for hours when he got home from work because he believed my mother when she said I attacked her. Eventually I did too and when a fucking obstetrician diagnosed me with bipolar because I asked for Xanax after my son was born with the only complaint that I had a hair trigger temper and I would get far angrier than situation warranted and I feared my ability to control it with a demanding newborn who had no way to tell me his needs in 2000, I was put on antipsychotics that ended up causing psychosis which landed me on a locked ward, my mom had hard evidence I was crazy and she was a victim and a saint. My children are now almost adults. My mom told me that no one had much memory of their childhood when I told her I don’t remember much of it. Well, my kids, who have had their share of trauma, but have been validated all of their lives and never were taught to even consider the things they see, hear, taste, smell, observe and experience are anything but truth and important to me whom’s version of reality I have often let them know is more true than mine, who can tell me if they don’t like the way I behave or respond sometimes and are asked how I could change my responses or behaviors so that they feel safe and welcome sharing anything with me, have memories like elephants. They remember things from 2 and 3 year olds, consistent memory by 4 and a linear narrative of memories and experiences up to present at ages 17 and 16. That’s when I realized how much I not only used to dissociate, but to this day lose days of my life to dislocation and that my mom has been banking on this lifetime of literal amnesia of what has been and still is being done to me as I am trying desperately to keep her at a distance while at the same time living in terror of her showing up on my doorstep if I block her number with my only recourse to threaten the police if she leaves only for her to leave and go straight to the magistrate and petition a civil warrant for my involuntary commit with lies so convincing in her petition, an ER doctor would never believe I was sane and would hold me for transfer to an open bed somewhere in the state for indefintnite detention without due process. She could do that to me over and over if I block her, so I keep contact to a minimum. I’ve been with a good therapist for a year and a half who actually believed what I remember suffering. I confronted my 4 year old brother by text 3 years ago for molesting me when I was little. I told him I know it happened to him too. I don’t remember any actual sexual contact between me and him, just two incidents of his and his friends voyeriusm. BUT! He admitted to my accusation that he molested me, and to almost anyone you ask, molestation is direct physical contact of genatlia. Who knows the extent of it because the only person I can remember spending time with from age 4 to age 9 was him and his friends. My mom was a stay at home mom, but I only have one memory of her in the house from age 9. She basically made my brother raise me from the time he was 8 to age 12. And if I cried when he beat me, I also was the one that got punished and told to not push his buttons – one parent or another would yell that from some other room without ever checking to see if I was hurt. Anyway, he said “You can’t change the past.” That’s the last contact he and I ever had. My dad won’t talk to me – I can’t freakin quit obsessing over the trauma I do rememeber from my mom for THREE years because she did a damn fine job of enmeshing herself with me around the time I tried to live independently as an adult. I am recently convinced my mom started sexually abusing me as an infant because she loves to tell me how I was compulsively masturbating before the age of 1 – I did it to the exclusion of seeking social, contact with my family or comfort from my mother and when company would come over, I would be humping my fists in the middle of the living room floor while the adults would socialize and eventually, she said she always had to remove me from the living room to take me to my room to do it privately because I just wouldn’t stop. I believe she did the same to my brother to at least the age of 8 and I do have a memory when he was 9 and I was 5. A 5 year old neighborhood boy had come to play with me. Tim saw an opportunity and told me to French kiss the boy. Then he told me to lay on top of him and unzip his pants and take his thing off. His body language was that of pride of me. that kid never came back – but I can’t help but think he learned that from my mom telling him to do things to me. Your blog has been so validating and eerily familiar to my family dynamic. I would love to know how you accessed your memories. I have been trying to for 22 years – I am currently disabled because of PTSD and I cannot move forward in my life and sustain work (never have been able to because of PTSD) until I know what was done to me and process it and hopefully resolve the trauma that OB should have diagnosed me with instead of bipolar. Thanks for sharing everything you have. It’s been very validating for me. People don’t believe anyone can actually be as evil as my family is so they assume I’m lying for pity, multiple counselors and psychiatrists haven’t believed me either. So isolating and lonely.

    • Hi Alicia, thank you for sharing some of your story with me. I’m so sorry for all the abuse you’ve experienced, and sadly I can relate to a lot in your story. I congratulate you for breaking the cycle with your own children. I was only able to recover my memories when I was at a safe distance from my abusers and had blocked off any chance of their ever contacting me, and I felt safe enough to start to remember; it happened spontaneously at that point. If you haven’t already, please forgive my advice, but I would strongly recommend consulting legal aid for strategies and advice on how to prevent your mother from ever being able to involuntarily commit you. After everything you’ve suffered through, you, it’s horrible to have to maintain contact with her against your will.

      take care,

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