I have happiness in my heart and a thorn in my soul

The Letter

on August 8, 2013

Recently I wrote a blog entry about a letter to my Mother. I was uhmming and ahhing over whether to send it or not. I got so much great feedback from a lot of people and I’m thankful to all of you who contributed, it helped me decide that I was in fact going to send this letter. For anyone who hasn’t read the post, I cut off contact with my family about 3 1/2 years ago as it was extremely toxic. My Mother let a lot of abuse occur while I was growing up, and since I’ve cut off contact I’ve heard a lot of bitching get back to me, basically my Mother and cousin blame me for everything and think i cut them off because I’m essentially crazy and they had no part to play in it.

I sat on the letter (not literally) for a few weeks, not entirely sure why I wasn’t sending it. I knew that I needed to send it, I knew that for my own piece of mind I had to say all these things to my Mother. It basically outlined all the things that happened in the past and how I feel she abandoned me in favour of my abuser, that she chose him over me and edged me out. She had three children to him in three years and essentially started a new family in which I had no place.

I spoke to my therapist about the letter on Tuesday and we discussed why it was still unsent. I figured out it was that it was too angry, as I wrote it I got more and more angry and it was laced with hostility. I don’t want to be mean for the sake of being mean, my reason for writing this is not to make her feel bad but for her to see my side of things and understand some of the damage she has done. I have asked her to stop bitching about me and that we both need closure. So, I wrote another letter. I feel much better about this one and after I write this blog I am going straight to the post office to send it.

This letter still addresses the sexual abuse at the hands of her first husband when I was aged 7-9, the craziness that went on in the student house we lived in after she abruptly left her first husband and how we went from being ‘besties’ to me being insignificant after she met her second husband, Mark. It addresses how she let him repeatedly abuse me and instead of protecting me or giving him a choice between quitting the drink or leaving, she edged me out instead of him.

It addresses how she made me unwelcome in my grandparents home, how when I’ve been at every low point in my life she’s not only not supported me but made me feel isolated and alienated. Because of my Mother making me unwelcome in my home I started moving around all over the place the moment I turned 18, every time I would return to Melbourne she would be more and more hostile to my presence. Her husband would still abuse me and she would claim the next day that he would get help or things would change, but ultimately she decided I was the problem, not him.

So i’ve written this letter, outlining all these things but I’ve done it in a more positive constructive way. I’ve found my voice and said what I have to say to finally take steps I need to take to have closure on my Mother. For so long I have had this gaping hole in my heart where her love should have been, she has been this almost mythical figure in my mind, the source of so much pain and shame and regret for me. In this letter, I removed a lot of the emotion from the first letter and was more factual, outlined things and asked how she could do that to her own child, why she didn’t protect me and what I did to warrant her being so hostile towards me. An example is, my Grandmother paid for her and my three half siblings to come visit in England 3 wees after I’d had my first child. I was only 22 and had a c section with some complications and was extremely sore. She wanted us to travel to northern ireland to see an old family friend so I went with her, she didn’t help me much while we were there so when we flew back to england i told her I wanted to go home so my husband could help me with the baby instead of flying onto paris with her and the kids. She was angry that I didn’t go to paris. When she got home to Australia she bitched to the family that my house was a mess and my kitchen floor wasn’t clean enough. That really hurt, I was 22 and could barely walk and had a newborn baby, of course my house was a mess! I’ll admit it was a mess but not dirty, just messy. Clothes and what not, dishes that didn’t get done immediately, as for the kitchen floor I have no idea what she was talking about. It really hurt that instead of being supportive or understanding that I had post natal depression and other medical issues, she came home and made me seem like a bad mother.

Another example is when we moved back to Australia. We didn’t have much money at the time and she agreed to loan me my the money my nan had left me before it came through and she would keep the money. On top of that money she loaned me about $1000 for airfares for myself my husband and my two children. Now, when I got to Australia and was staying with her, I started working full time within a couple of weeks. I paid her $3oo a week for four weeks, I also paid $200 for my half brother’s camp and nearly $200 for some netball shoes my sister needed. I also found out from my cousin that the money from my Nan was in fact more than my Mother had told me and she had kept more than she was meant to. So in my mind, I had more than paid her back, but it got back to me through my Aunt that my Mother had been going around telling people that I still owed her money. WHY? why did she feel the need to fabricate things like this to make me look bad? All i wanted was a mother who loved me, I’m not saying I’ve never done anything wrong, I’ve never claimed to be perfect, but she was making shit up to make me look bad and make her look like this patient saint. It just hurts so much that according to her, I have to be the bad guy. And even if I have done nothing wrong she’s perfectly willing to make things up to make me look like an arsehole.

So i’ve written all these things to my Mother, I also wished her well. I said it’s clear that our versions of events are so different that we will never be able to have a healthy relationship, that every time I’ve tried to be open and honest with her she has shut me down, every time i’ve asked for details about my real father she has lied to me about him. It’s all in there, but it’s not attacking her, it’s just asking her why and pointing out that I’m not in fact this bad guy. I think because of all the abuse and trauma and shit that’s happened in our history there has to be a bad guy, and for my mother it can’t be her, she’d break into pieces if it was her, so she has to make it me. But I’m hoping that telling her the truth, putting the truth out there and being as positive about it as i can will afford me the healing i so desperately seek.

I know that I wont get instant closure once it’s sent, but i believe it’s a step along the way. An important step. For so long I’ve felt angry that they have been sitting around claiming me to be the bad guy, claiming to be perfectly innocent. But I told her she has to see how toxic the family is, I pointed out why it’s toxic and it’s all true, she will have to face a lot of truths and that makes me feel really good. My Mother lives deep in denial but when she reads this letter, that small part of her that knows what she’s done to me, I know there’s that small part in her i’ve seen it in her eyes now and again, that small part will know the truth.

Thanks to all who have been a part of this journey with me, this blog has meant so much to me and finding people who have been through similar things has made me feel so much more sane than i’ve ever felt. And there’s many people who haven’t been through similar things but still show they care and I’m so thankful for all of you, you truly make such a difference in my life and it’s the first time I’ve ever been strong enough to face all of this. To address the sexual abuse at all, to talk openly about the abuse and neglect and abandonment.

24 responses to “The Letter

  1. crissybwell says:

    I am so proud of you for not only writing the letter but having the courage to send it and how it has made you feel. I am glad that you feel like this is the closure that you need and that you are, it sounds, at peace with a lot of things that have brought you pain in your past. You are so much stronger than you think and your words here prove that, if you ever doubt yourself, you should always come back to this post and see how much integrity you have, you are giving someone who has hurt you time and again respect and honesty, we can only all wish to be treated that way. I am glad to be taking this journey with you and wish you nothing but the best in the future and I think writing and sending this has already done that. *hugs*

    • mckarlie says:

      Aww thanks sweetie, I’m really glad I rewrote it without the spite, it feels a lot better than the first version. Today is the absolute latest she would have received it so its all out there now, I just hope she actually read the whole thing, it was about 5/6 pages lol

      • crissybwell says:

        I am sure that rewriting it helped a lot, because in that case it may be better received, or at least one can hope. I think the first version you needed for you though, so that is good too. I hope that she will, always here if you need a kind ear *hugs*

      • mckarlie says:

        Good insight, the first letter was just as important because it gave me an outlet for all the negative feelings but also made me realize that’s not who I am, that’s not who I want to be and made me stand back and take a good look at what message I wanted to send. If not for the first letter I wouldn’t have been able to compose my thoughts and send what I believe to be a fair and heartfelt letter, it still posed many questions and statements which I’m sure she will grapple with but I’m so glad. Thanks for your thoughts and insight dear friend *hugs*

      • crissybwell says:

        I am glad that you see where I am coming from and yes that was exactly what I was thinking. I am glad that you were able to do this and write this letter to her, it sounds like it was very beneficial to you and that is really all that matters. Always here listening friend. *hugs*

      • mckarlie says:

        That means a lot hun xo

      • crissybwell says:

        Just being honest xo 🙂

  2. luciddream85 says:

    It’s an amazing step towards closure for you. Sadly, don’t be surprised if words gets back to you that she took that letter, turned herself into the victim, and waves it in the face of anyone that will listen “Look at what my daughter said to me, after everything I’ve done!” …. if she’s anything like my mother (and I suspect she is, because everything you say is a replica of my mother, except with a different story attached to it), then she’ll turn herself into a victim once again.

    But at least for your peace of mind, you have sent this letter, and even if she’ll never admit to what she’s done wrong, at least you know that you’ve called her out on it, albeit in a nice way.

    • mckarlie says:

      Yeah the first version of the letter would have enabled her to do that, inadvertently it was a little bit of an attack. But the one I sent is just facts and she would be too ashamed to show it to anyone because it points out factually all that happened and all she allowed to happen and the consequences her actions have had. I feel some peace though which is more important to me than how she reacts and what she says to whoever about it 🙂

  3. You are so incredibly brave. Well done. X

    • mckarlie says:

      That’s very kind of you, I don’t feel terribly brave to be honest but I do feel some release at finally finding my voice and putting my truth out there. Thank you for your kind words 🙂

      • That’s no problem- I just wish I had half your courage to tackle my problems. I admire your outlook greatly. X

      • mckarlie says:

        I spent many many years using every trick in the book trying to avoid facing any of my past problems or trauma, I mean I tried everything. Sex, drugs, unhealthy relationships, other drugs, excessive drinking, the whole lot. It’s only now I’m older and got to a point where I either started dealing with things or shut down completely and for my daughters I had to choose the former. You will get there in your own time, you will find the strength in you, it’s there already you just need to tap into it. If you ever need an ear or want to talk anything over let me know, getting things off your chest really does start the healing process 🙂

      • I can totally understand! I used to use alcohol and sex, often pretty dangerous sex, to cope. I’m seeing how dangerous that self- medication was now. I really really appreciate your offer of getting in touch- that’s so kind, thank you. I hope you get out of your bipolar blackspot soon 🙂

      • mckarlie says:

        Yeah so many people self medicate in really dysfunctional and dangerous ways. As a teen and in my early 20’s my bipolar had me do some truly horrendous things trying to cope or just feel something other than pain. Then we end up with a planet of guilt on our shoulders because we feel bad for all the reckless things we have done. I’m always here if you need an ear, it’s so much easier to get through things when we can communicate with people who understand what we’ve been through x

      • That’s so true. Thank you so much for understanding- I spent a lot of time before realising I had some sort of mental illness feeling super guilty for everything I had done. I’m currently struggling with my voices telling me to die soon- the 5th September is when they’re telling me to make another attempt. Thanks for listening x

      • mckarlie says:

        May I ask what your diagnosis is? I would get ‘voices’ in that a repetitive “you’re shit you’re shit” or “you should die” would go over and over like a mantra in my mind, you have voices instructing you to do specific things?

      • I have no idea what my diagnosis is. This is the first time I’ve sought professional help, and the first time I’ve really heard voices. They want me to attempt suicide again on the 5th of September, and I know that they are waiting to see I get it done. Sorry, I sound really weird… I didn’t use to be like this. X

      • mckarlie says:

        No you don’t sound really weird sweetie, you sound like you’re dealing with some issues just like a lot of us here. What you’re describing sounds like schizophrenia or something in that neighborhood, there’s nothing to be ashamed of its brave of you to be so honest about what’s going on. You’re not alone in this, you don’t have any plans to action what the voices are telling you do you? Have you found a psych doc you can see?

      • Thank you so much, I needed to hear that today. We’re going out and I’m terrified of crowds. I suspect I probably have either schizoaffective disorder, psychotic depression, or bipolar with psychotic symptoms. I have to do what the voices tell me because if I don’t, they will lock me away in my own head and take over my body. X

      • mckarlie says:

        Ok, this worries me hun. I’m a trained counselor, I dont think I can magically fix your issues but if you want to talk to me about things please email me, it’s – what you’re telling me is that you’re planning on ending your life on september 5th and that’s not ok darlin, have you found a psychiatrist to see? Do you have the resources? I can help you find someone if you are having issues finding one, you really need to see someone ASAP. I’m worried for you, email me if you want to talk xx

  4. mudtherapist says:

    I admire your courage. sending prayers for your mother’s heart to open to your words. But even if she is never able to hear you clearly and respond appropriately, you are brave for speaking up. Blessings to you.

    • mckarlie says:

      That’s lovely of you to say, it was a big step for me in gaining closure and self preservation. All I can do is put it out there and try to move through it all. I appreciate your thoughts and comment, peace to you 🙂

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