«<SEX ABUSE/MOLESTATION TRIGGER WARNING»>
i am writing this letter to you because my therapist has suggested it, but also because it’s something that i need to do anyway. it is no secret that i have spent the majority of my life in a love/hate relationship with you. i once stated that i don’t feel like i “belong” to you, but i will go further and state that i feel my entire existence, for which you and my father are responsible, is an afterthought to both of you — like, i wasn’t really part of what you wanted in life and so you applied only the bare minimums, only what it took to keep me alive. i am alive, but definitely, absolutely not well. i don’t ever remember being well, happy, and positive about who i am, what i want, what i need, where i am going, etc.
i have no identity, no clue who i really am. i have become a reflection of what everyone else needs me to be, what everyone else thinks i should be, what everyone else wants me to be. beneath it all, i can not release the feeling that i am nothing, that i don’t matter and that my life is a sham. when someone says to me that self-esteem is important, i don’t know what they mean. when people say they love themselves, i think they’re being flaky and ridiculous because it is impossible to love yourself.
but hating myself seems to be very easy. i have no problem feeling dirty, used, stupid, rejected, abused, filthy, disgusting, dumb, and un-deserving of anything nice or positive — not even of being happy. this didn’t happen over night, i spent years being made to feel dirty, used, stupid, rejected, abused, filthy, disgusting, dumb, un-deserving of anything nice or positive, happiness, and love.
this letter isn’t about wanting an apology, i know you’ve done that. this is about making you understand the hurt i’ve experienced in my life — how your actions and the actions of others continue to bring me hurt. this is about exposing my resentment regarding how i feel my sexual abuse has been trivialized and minimalized in its severity, and how it has affected me. it has destroyed my life — it has been the cause of everything i do. even the :good: that i do is cloaked in the need to not feel evil and dirty because others made me feel that way about myself. doing good has been a marker to prove that i am good enough.
i am SICK of my life being about recovering from sexual abuse. it is unfair that i have to spend the rest of my life working through this. this makes me furious — to know that it could have been prevented. it enrages me to have the “martyr syndrome” all the time because i don’t think anyone understands — nor do y’all care — why i do things that benefit everyone else.
yes, i am resentful — i resent that E. gets to sit on his ass and pretend to be something that he isn’t to some woman online in south-fucking-africa, while you take care of his responsibilities and his children. i resent that i had demands put on me to be responsible for them. i resent that they are protected, spoiled, doted on, loved in ways that i never was. i resent that when i tried/try to talk to you privately, i was brushed off because either they were around and i couldn’t talk, or you were too busy with them to break away from them. i resent that the only time you and i “get along” is when i am forking over huge sums of money. do you not recognize this pattern — how i’ve been spending my adult life trying to buy your love, how getting you expensive gifts that i hardly ever can afford is my way of trying to endear myself to you?
no. i don’t feel like i am loved by you. you may tell me so from time to time, but love is not what i feel from you. i don’t feel like anything i have done has made you proud of me. i don’t feel like i am beautiful to you, when i know that most mothers feel that way abut their daughters no matter what. i feel like i am an embarrassment to you, if anything — especially now that i have come out about not believing in god. i have never felt like i belong to you, so always picking up the tab, buying things or a & a on your behalf, giving you cash, etc., has been a coping method. whenever i am in your presence i can expect to spend money.
and it’s all really so very ridiculous because i feel guilty for spending money on myself! i have guilt because for a long time after i became independent of you, you would size me up or look at things i bought for myself and snidely comment, ” oh, you’ve been spending money huh?” or, ” you’ve been buying clothes, huh?” these remarks from you made me feel shamed for my purchases and enforced the idea that i don’t deserve anything nice for myself, only that i should be spending my money on others.
i feel that you have always been critical of me. do you remember when i was in school in 2003 and was proud of my 4.0 gpa? do you remember how you later mocked and ridiculed me because i had been telling people how well i had done that semester? you have no idea how much that hurt me. i had done something good and you found a way to make me feel like shit for it. i have never understood why it seems like a chore for you to praise me, and so easy for you to flagellate me. do you remember when i told you that i stood up to my boss about not being made to work in the basement? do you remember how you later made it seem like i was stating that i’m “too good” to work in the basement? why do you do these things to me? why do you always want to knock the wind out of my sails? why do you live an “i told you so” mentality toward me? and that is how you appear to me. this is why i’ve limited my disclosure about things i’ve done well — i’ve come to expect nothing but a lukewarm initial response from you, only to be followed up months later with a right hook to my confidence. it’s like you’re always on a mission to let me be proud of myself for a while, only to then yank the stool from under me. i imagine that your cold, calculated attacks on my confidence hurt worse than if you displayed zero indifference from the beginning. why can’t you be proud of me and ecstatic about things that obviously excite me?
why don’t you like me? no, i don’t like you either but is it any wonder why? from as early as i can remember, i have been a burden to you.
“GO PLAY!” you’d scream at me when all i was trying to do was bond with and talk to you. why wasn’t i ever worthy of your attention? why am i still not worthy of it unless you will benefit? you say that i go weeks/months without contacting you and then “pop up” and that you leave me alone because you believe that’s how i want it. did it ever occur to you that what you do is alienate me? you probably think it’s easier to blame me, make me the cause of distance between us, but do you not realize that you are still very hurtful toward me and that it’s painful to be around you and to try to interact with you? i call you, you ignore me. i text you, you answer days later if at all. you only respond immediately if money is involved (walmart/dinner). you have held me at a distance for my entire life! i am an adult now but i do not feel cared for. i never have — from being made to sleep in a freezing cold garage on a broken down bed in mcalmont because you wanted to be with a boyfriend instead of letting me sleep in the warm bed in the duplex provided by your job, to passively telling me to “call when you’re ready” from the EMERGENCY ROOM after i passed out in the middle of the street from heat exhaustion and had to be taken there by ambulance.
i feel like you have no innate desire or ability to love and protect me. you let an older boy continue abusing me after i told you that he showed me his penis. he raped me, mama. continuously and repeatedly. he made me put his penis in my mouth. he put his penis inside me. he did this because he knew that i had told you that he showed me his penis and you did nothing to stop it. telling him to stay away from me, and putting him on “restriction” did not keep him from taking me into that storage room every couple of days until he left . telling me to “stay away from the boys” did not keep him from forcing sex with me while you and your work friends spent hours on the front porch drinking cokes and smoking cigarettes. i was six years old. didn’t you see the weight i started gaining? why didn’t this alarm you? why didn’t a report from my teacher (that i later read as an adult) which said that i “cry easily” alarm you? and i do remember crying all the time. being very young and just crying, crying, crying and nobody would ever ask me what’s wrong or help me. why didn’t you care to know why i started stuffing myself? i was too young to cook so i was obviously sneaking food.
why didn’t you do something constructive to keep your son from terrorizing, bullying, beating up on me? he would attack me right in your face! you and your friend v. thought it was my fault that he was bigger and that i couldn’t fight back. (“just pop him!”) - you put the burden of protecting myself on me when it was your responsibility. he developed the exact same profile as my 1st abuser; indifference from you = consent from you. why didn’t you stand up for me? your son went from bullying me, to getting into my bed to have dry sex with and kiss me, back to bullying me. terrorizing me. what hurt me most is not what he did to me, but that you did not want to protect me from him. do you know why i didn’t tell that he was subjecting me to incest? because i’d learned that i wasn’t important to you enough to keep him from beating me up so why would you do anything about him forcing sex on me? being fucked by anyone was seen to me as okay by you and something i was just supposed to do.
and yes, i am furious, enraged that you treat him like some “golden boy” that you refuse to let fail — that you reject me and are a safety device for him. i am livid that even after finding out and knowing what he did to me, i was still expected to do things (help with his kids) that keep him from being accountable for his own life. i am angry that everyone expects me to “forgive and forget” and that because i am not doing it on everyone elses time, i’m seen as stubborn and vindictive. i’ve been dealing with enormous guilt because i’ve not been allowed to be angry, to have emotion, to feel sad (“get on meds!” “take your medicine!”) about losing my childhood and not being able to progress at a rate of my own accord. i am enraged because sexual abuse, incest, molestation, and neglect has caused me not to trust anyone and that i’ve ruined relationships and friendships due to fear that the other party was about to hurt me. and i am livid because i had labels affixed to me (“well your father is kinda off too, so ….”) and a forced stint in the state hospital but NONE OF YOU are willing to see that you are dysfunctional as well. i laugh every time y’all talk about how crazy T.’s family is because no one wants to look at the white elephant in the living room of our own family. and frankly, i am tired of pretending that the entire family is not dysfunctional.
my therapist told me the other day that one of the hardest things i may ever have to face is that my mother just did/does not care enough about me on the level that i need her to. i’ve accepted this, that you may never be able to show me the intensity of love that i always wanted from you. that you may never like me. that you may never really be proud of me, and that you may never stop babying the person who hurt me and who continued to hurt me until i cut him from my life only four months ago.
but i know this — it’s not something that i have to like or deal with for the rest of my life. i have too much work on ME for the rest of my life. this letter is my marker that will signify a shift from my focus on you and how you hurt me. i am not going to spend the rest of my life waiting/hoping for the relationship from you that i always wanted because i may never get it. i am moving on and i will not make “forgiveness” my priority. forgiveness is not something to work toward, it is a byproduct that may or may not come with healing. i am making ME my priority, not forgiving other people. especially not people (E.) who think/believe my inability to endure their abuse is some sort of character flaw due to not believing in god. so, he can keep casting judgment on me and telling everyone that i am “living in darkness” because i know the truth and he knows the truth.
and now you know the full truth as well. all the why’s i asked are rhetorical. i don’t expect any answers. what you decide to do with the truth is entirely up to you. i’m freeing myself from expectation.