My Mother

I once wrote a letter to my mother asking her several questions that I felt that I needed the answers to.  The response I got didn’t cover hardly anything that I asked about.  I’ve typed it below.  To preface this letter, I have a younger sister and we are a decade apart.  My mother left Jack A. after I moved out.  Her response when I asked her what happened was that she didn’t want my sister to grow up in an abusive home.  Here is the letter, please let me know what you think.

You say that I am upset at you for giving Suzie the things she wants.  I do have to say that is horribly far from the truth that you couldn’t possibly realize.  I am upset, hurt, and angry because of all of the things that you let Jack A. do to me when I was younger.  You divorced Jack A. because you wanted Suzie to have a better childhood than I did but what about me?  Why did you put me through that?  When you were gone for work during the week, you didn’t seem to know what I went through though, I find it hard to believe that you didn’t because of the times  you would see the bruises and some of the comments you would make.  I was punished way beyond what’s acceptable.  For example, sending a four year old to time out as opposed to back handing them for something as slight as saying ‘NO’ instead of ‘No, Sir.’  Jack A. made me feel worthless.  It took me until I was physically ill and wanted to die to realize that I needed to change.  That didn’t happen unit I was twenty and that was only after I half starved and dehydrated myself and was hospitalized for a week.  You always told Jack A. what I told you and that made it so much worse on me so I just stopped talking altogether.

I would spend every free period I had in high school in the counselors office in tears because of the things that went on at home.  I was NOT a bad kid and I refuse to believe that I was.  I never did drugs, never smoked, and I only made the one mistake.  

Why was I so different?  The counselor at the school wanted to call child protective services and I begged her not to because of Suzie.  I had to make sure that she was okay and that Jack A. wouldn’t hurt her.  She was so little and I wouldn’t have survived knowing she was being hurt.  I think back now and I should have let her call them.  With everything that happened, I couldn’t imagine a worse situation.  I don’t know if you just didn’t care or what, but you didn’t want Suzie to go through it.  So you wonder why I get upset.  Now you know.  There is nothing you could do or say to make me feel better about all of it.  I’m sure that even now as you are reading this, you still don’t understand.  I could never confront you about this face-to-face because I do my best to make you proud of me… but sometimes it seems I can never do enough, be enough, or come close to how you think I should be.  I just can’t take it anymore.  Suzie has medical issues; you do everything on this green earth to get her what she needs.  I needed braces and help with my teeth because of some of the physical damage, I was never taught how to drive, and I could keep going with this but I honestly don’t feel that it would do any good.  I feel that even this much is a waste of time.  The way that I feel inside is that you care more about Suzie than you ever did me.  I was never important to you as she is and I never will be.  You knew some where deep down what he was doing to me.  You ignored it and stayed with him.  You could have made it on your own even with two children had you truly cared more about us than you did him.  

If you have decided by this point in reading this that I am just an ungrateful child (like you told me so many times) and that none of this holds any merit in your heart, then you never should have had me.  There are times when the emotional pain is so bad that I wish I was never born.  You should have had an abortion and never went through the pregnancy if you were just going to ‘let’ all of this bad happen to me instead of protecting your child.  I would rather have not been born than to have lived through all of the things I did.  I would rather have been a figment of someone’s imagination.  I want answers.  I know you won’t give me the ones that will satisfy the hurt in my heart and the resentment that has built from the time before I can remember.  There is nothing you could say or do that will ever ease this pain.  

I was the one that got hit.  You let him get up in my face and yell and scream and you turned your head when the beatings took place.  Why?  That’s all I want to know.  Why?  Why was I so different?  Why do I still cry myself to sleep at night wishing I had a parent that protected me?  Why does it feel like I am only half of what I’m supposed to be.  These are the questions in my heart that I know will never be answered.

I received a response and this is what it said.

Well you had such a terrible life.  As far as what Suzie gets now, your sister is having a very hard time at school, her dad not wanting to talk to her, and puberty just around the corner.  When you were little I worked a lot, never made any money, never had anything, and never wanted to complain.  You will find that after you are married that you have to put up with a lot from your spouse.  I put up with a lot from everybody.  I am such a terrible mother and person.  As far as an abortion goes, that would be a sin.  I guess you really want me to go to hell.  I am your mother – good, bad, or indifferent.  However, I won’t call myself that because I don’t think that’s how you see me.

I would like to state that now that I am a mother and have kids, if my husband ever thought about doing some of the things Jack A. had done to me, there’s no limit to the lengths I would go to protect my children.  If you are in an abusive relationship, it won’t change once you have kids.  It will only get worse and you DON’T have to put up with things from your ‘spouse.’  You have a choice to protect yourself or let it happen.  Your kids don’t.


6 thoughts on “My Mother

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  1. Hi Phoenix,
    You’ve asked for thoughts on your letter, and here are mine.

    Reading your letter has brought tears to my eyes, writing that letter must have been so difficult for you.
    All those questions, those simple questions that you deserve an answer to.
    I can’t bear to think of what you went through, no child should ever have to do that, and I feel so angry for you.

    I think you were incredibly brave to write that letter, knowing some of the memories that it would bring back, and knowing what kind of reaction it would bring, but WELL DONE!
    You have asked perfectly reasonable questions, which anyone would want to know the answers to.
    The biggest one is why?
    As you say, you are a mother now and would fight to the death for your children, why DID she let him do those things to you?
    Was Jack A violent towards her too?
    I’m not trying to make excuses for her, just like you, trying to understand what would make a mother allow those things to happen.

    You are more charitable towards Kim than I think I would be in your postion. I know that everyone loves their mum through good and bad times, but there are some things that are unforgivable, and I wouldn’t want her anywhere near my life or family ever again ( sorry, she just makes me mad 😦 )
    Kim’s reply isn’t worth commenting on, as I guess you thought you might get that kind of response.

    Unless I’ve missed it somewhere, what happened to your proper father? Was he still around anywhere to have helped you?

    I am glad that you were born, and I am extremely happy that you made it through those terrible times, as is everyone on here that follows you. 🙂
    I’m so glad that you have found someone who will protect you now, and I can’t tell you enough how brave you are now and have been.
    I’m on a journey with you now, and will do my best to read each and every entry that you post.
    Keep safe, keep well Phoenix
    love n hugs

  2. Phoneix,
    Words can’t describe how strong you are! I can’t imagine how much you have suffered and I am so sorry. You are so open and kind hearted! Your blog is truly amazing and heartfelt!

  3. I wonder if your mother was an abused child? She sounds as if she played the weak one so that she didn’t have to take responsibility for you. What a nightmare!
    It is good that you are able to write this and give others hope. Are you able to forgive her? It must be hard to, but it will give you freedom if you can…..
    Blame turns sour and bitterness follows. You don’t sound bitter now, so hopefully the councillor has helped you through this so that you can forgive.
    Hugs and love, Barbara

    1. Kim’s father traveled during the week for work and when he would come home on the weekends, my grandmother would tell him about all of the things that the kids had done wrong while he was away.
      He would line them up, and it didn’t matter who had done what, he would punish all of them. He’d make them go pick a switch off of the tree in the front yard. So, there is definitely some trauma in her past.
      For me, forgiveness is a completely different animal. The saying I’ve always heard was:
      ‘To forgive is to forget.’
      I will never be able to forget the things that happened to me. I also believe that there are some things that you can’t forgive. Many feel that this is wrong and maybe one day, I will be able to change my view on forgiveness.

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