separation

Are you on twitter? I’m @Lanahobbs for those of you who are on twitter but don’t follow me yet. I like twitter because i can write less formally on there. Sometimes it leads me strange places. Today I started out talking about the time my mother put me on a very strict (very unhealthy) candida diet, and ended up revealing something I don’t think I have ever said except in private. I guess I was just ready to talk about it.

If you follow this link, you can read the whole strand of conversation, you shouldn’t need a twitter account to do so.

https://twitter.com/lanahobbs/status/424230239019859968

I’ll assume you waded through that. So there it is; i don’t have a relationship with my family. It’s not exactly every daughters goal in life.

But they were abusive – emotionally and verbally abusive. There, I’ve come right out and said it now.

My parents abused me, but in their heads they only ever did what was best for me. It’s very tricky to talk with them about it, because they remember different things, and differently than I do.

And it’s not like everything they ever did was abusive. They were, in some ways, very good parents. Unfortunately, they also had very unhealthy patterns of parenting, that involved a lot of yelling, guilting, mocking, shaming, controlling, isolating, and emotionally using me. They were also impossible to please. As I’ve said before, my mom prided herself on ‘not praising mediocrity’. And nothing I could do at any age went above mediocrity. I walked on eggshells my whole life.

My parents are very difficult to maintain a relationship with, except on their terms. And when i started to move the relationship to being on my terms, they called that hatred. At least that’s what i assume they were referring to when they said i was ‘full of hatred’ for them.

For the record, I do not hate my parents, but neither can i trust them, feel safe around them, or enjoy being around them. I don’t think that’s hatred, that’s just a common sense way to be around someone who has treated me they way they have.

We had a big fight in May. It started with me telling mom to stop yelling at my injured brother, and that made my parents very angry. They immediately started screaming at me. A long conversation followed, during which Luke was very helpful and madder than I have ever seen him. At some point, I flat out told my parents they have been abusive, at which point my mom ordered me out, but then called me back. Because I revert to about age 8 around them, I obeyed. The conversation ended with my dad saying i needed to forgive them so I could heal, presumably forgiving them for ‘not always being perfectly loving’. and the evening (my and a brother’s birthday celebration) ended with fake cordiality. Then about a week later my aunt died. We all were at the funeral and acted like nothing had happened. But then, at some point around here, my brothers had taekwando testing and I wasn’t invited to watch. And then there was more testing, more events, more birthdays, and still no contact, no invitations. The only contact has been a birthday card for 4yo, and a christmas present. I am not sure why they sent us a present when they apparently don’t want to have anything else to do with us.

I don’t regret anything I said to them. They were abusive parents, and their so called ‘failure to love perfectly at all times’ has severely scarred me, in ways they can’t even imagine. I have deep cuts, that affect every relationship I have.

I don’t regret the distance we have had either – it has given me space to heal. I have needed it; even a picture of my mom or the sight of her handwriting triggers a panic attack. When I’m around them, I revert to a cowering child. Maybe someday, when I have strong boundaries and a stronger sense of self, I’ll be able to hold my own around them. Until then, i’m happy with the distance, although I am sad to miss so many milestones in my siblings lives.

I feel a little guilty for being so open about this. What if it means I’m a bad daughter? But i’m not naming my parents or writing anything with the intention of making them sound bad; i’m just sharing my story to help myself and others heal.  I don’t owe them a debt of making them sound as good as possible, or lying for them. This is my story, and I need to share it.

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

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One thought on “separation

  1. C

    You are brave. Thank you for sharing your story.Their behavior sounds so similar to that of my own parents so thank you for writing. It helps me process things. You are not a bad daughter and no one should try to make you feel guilty for being real about your story. Hang in there!

    Reply

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