For the longest time I thought about this moment. How would it go? Will it be hard or would it be easy? Will I regret it a week, month, year from now? How will other people take it? How will this affect other people? Will my decision be hard on them? Will they look at me differently? But I stopped and thought, this isn’t about them. This is about me. It’s time to stop being selfless and start being selfish.
For years I let you get away with you hurting me. I dealt with your snide comments that you passed off as normal conversation and eventually they did become normal. I listened to your conversations about how you are this good person and that you don’t deserve all the bad ‘shit’ that life throws at you and it took everything I had in me not to roll my eyes or to laugh.
I listened to you babble about yourself. The troubles in your life, what’s exciting, your new adventures and as I listened and when those pauses of both of us not talking, I waited to see if you’d ask about me. About school, about what was going on in my life. Did you know that there was a time I couldn’t get out of bed for a solid week because my depression was so bad and I missed a whole week of classes? That I didn’t eat and I lost 15 pounds? That I was dating and was happy? That I finally felt comfortable with where I stood in life? But you quickly filled the void of the pregnant pause with more talking about yourself and I couldn’t help but to feel disappointed but why was I disappointed? It was like this every time.
I remember that morning when you called me. 7 am my time, 8 yours. I hadn’t gone to asleep yet. I answered and immediately you started screaming at me. “Why did you do this? I told you I could only pay a certain amount. You overdrawn my bank account! Why would you do this to me?” It was an honest mistake. Truly, I never read the text where you told me you could only pay less than half for my tuition. I just remember our conversation days before you sent that text where you said you could pay half. It was an honest mistake that I never read your text. I was in class and causally glanced at it.
But in your mind I did this on purpose because I’m this ungrateful child. How am I ungrateful? You actually have to do something for me to be ungrateful. Yes, you paid for my VS bill every month and I say thank you every month. But besides that you haven’t paid for anything of mine in years. I have to beg you to help my grandparents out when you previously promised that you would help them for my schooling but you haven’t paid for my schooling in years and you’ve caused a financial strain on my grandparents.
As I sat there in my tiny dorm bed and listened to you scream and belittle me of how I’m such a horrible person, how I was ungrateful, how you’ve been this wonderful and loving mother to me and that you don’t understand why I hate you, I finally had enough. “A loving and wonderful mother?” I laughed. I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard.
Once the dam broke, there was no closing it. No stopping the pain, the hurt, the anger that I’ve been holding in for years and I mean years. “Do you always wonder why I act the way I do towards you? You know. Don’t play stupid.” I began. “How do you expect me to act to someone who beat me, who threatened to kill me everyday? Who told me that I was nothing? I would never amount to anything? Who called me fat when I was underweight. Who continued to call me fat because I ate to feel something inside because you left me feeling so empty? Not only did you psychically abuse me, you also mentally, emotionally and verbally abused me and you expect me to act like nothing happened?”
I couldn’t stop and I didn’t want to. For years I had never confronted her for all the horrible things she did to me. I was afraid to. I didn’t know what would’ve happened. Yes I did but I didn’t want to because there was more people involved. Not with the abuse. If I confronted her, it would have consequences in my relationships with my brother, my nephew, her boyfriend who I adore, family friends and my family pets. So I tucked everything aside and let it fester for years. Let the pain and anger control my life. Swirling into deep depression and anxiety.
“I never did anything to you.” She came back. “You’re brainwashed. That side of the family brainwashed you.” She spat in disgust. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She was denying everything. I wanted to laugh but I was so angry. I started screaming. In my tiny dorm room, at 7 in the morning. Screaming at the top of my lungs and it felt good. I didn’t care if my suite-mates heard me, or if anyone passing my room could hear me.
We stood in a screaming match. Miles and hours apart. I could imagine where she was at in her house. Hiding from my nephew and brother so they wouldn’t hear. Her bedroom door closed, her standing in her bathroom, blunt either between her fingers or placed in her ashtray. Her medium length black hair pulled up into a messy bun. Neck red from screaming with the strain of her screaming at me. Denying everything.
For me, I was standing in front of my bed. Wearing a long shirt that rested mid-thigh. My hair down, messy and tangled. My face bare and clean from exfoliating from my shower. I could feel my neck getting red, something I inherited from her. Something it did when I got angry.
We both were on opposing teams. She kept asking examples of her ‘abuse’. She even asked my brother if he knew anything about this. My brother didn’t agree but he didn’t deny it either. He lived with her. He wasn’t going to go against her but he was there for the majority of her abuse. She wasn’t the best mother to him as well and they had their own problems. But since my brother neither confirmed nor denied she took that as a confirmation that she is innocent and right.
She screamed and cursed at me and told me that she did not want me in her life anymore. I told her that the feeling was mutual and I hung up on her. I sat on my bed, shocked by my courage to finally confront her. Shocked by her refutation. I felt myself starting to shake, hyperventilate. I couldn’t catch my breath. The shaking became so strong that my teeth were chattering. The whole bed was shaking. I knew I was having a panic attack but I had never had one this bad before. I laid in the middle of the floor of my tiny room and was trying to control my crying, my breathing but nothing was working.
I immediately regretted my choice to confront her. That caused the majority of my panic. “I’m never going to see my nephew or brother.” I thought. My brother and I used to be close but where I had matured he was the complete opposite and eventually we grew apart. It didn’t mean that I didn’t love him. We shared opposite beliefs, political and so much more that talking to him became a chore but I still loved him and saw the good in him.
My brother didn’t have a car, nor a license due to his multiple DUI’s and he lived with our mom. That was a repercussion. Zack, my mom’s boyfriend was a good man and I adored him but I knew that without visiting my mom that I would never see him again. My nephew was a hard one to come to grips with. he shared time between his mom and my brother but spent most of time with my brother, which again was at my moms. I would barely see him like I did now but I lived a couple hours away from him. My childhood pets was also a hard time to adjust to. How was I ever going to see them? “I should just suck it up. Wait till they pass and then end my relationship with my mom.” I thought. “But how messed up was that? Was I?” My heart was bleeding at the thought that I was never going to see them again.
I called my grandparents and they didn’t answer. I panicked more until I called my friend. I was sobbing uncontrollably on the phone. I *sob* need *sob* you *sob* to *sob* help *sob* me *sob* to *sob* calm *sob* down. Later my friend told me she thought somebody had died that’s how bad I was sobbing.
I eventually calmed down. I slept the day away and almost half of the next. I couldn’t drag myself out of my bed to shower, to brush my teeth. I fell into a depression. Everything I felt as a child, as a victim came rushing back to me. It tackled me like a 300 pound football player.
But eventually I pulled myself together. Told myself that I wouldn’t be a victim any longer. That I would not let this, and my depression win. I started seeing a therapist and taking the steps to better myself and it helped.
My mom texted me a novel 30 minutes after our argument but I couldn’t bring myself to read it until a couple of hours. She apologized. She told me that I needed help. I eventually talked to my grandparents after I had calmed down and told me everything that my mom would call them and complain and play the victim like she always did. I told them not to answer her calls. They didn’t.
I eventually responded to her text telling her that there was nothing to talk about and that she was the one that needed help. I ignored her texts, not bothering to read them before I deleted them. It got easier and a couple of weeks went by when she never sent anything. I thought she gave up but she didn’t. She had called my grandparents to yell at them and then text me with ‘love you, miss you. Wish you would talk to me so I can get you the help you need.’ I responded with ‘there’s no use of talking if you’re going to deny everything.’
I should’ve left it alone. Not give into what she wanted. A text. We ended up getting into another argument over texting and I quit replying after awhile because what was the point?
But more harsh word were exchanged. You say that no matter what, you are my mother. You are not. You might have given birth to me but you do not earn that title. A mother is not you. It’s the complete opposite of you. They are not hurtful, selfish, unforgiving, not seeking a reward when you do something ‘motherly’.
My heart hurts at the thought of not seeing my pets. At not seeing my brother or my nephew and I know that I can work my way around and see them, my brother and nephew. But to get rid of the toxic in your life you have to make sacrifices. Hard and emotional sacrifices and you have to sit there and not be selfless anymore. You have to be selfish for the first time in your life. You have to put your mental health first. Your happiness. Your life. You have to put YOU first and that’s what I did.
There are still times when I want to break and text my mom and say, ‘you’re right. I’m wrong.” But she wins. I have to make sacrifices ones that make me want to break down. Ones that will let her win. Ones that will make me the victim again but I can’t. You can’t.
Just remember this. In order to not be a victim, you can’t let your perpetrator win. You have to do this for you. Repeat it if you must. I’m doing this for me. I’m doing this for me. End the toxic relationships in your life. It won’t be easy, it will be hard. It will be trying. You will want to give up and become submissive but you cannot.
Change starts with you.