Monday, January 17, 2011

Post 24: Day 4: Something you have to forgive someone for

Dear Journal,

This one was actually easier to write than I thought it was going to be. It seems to me that I am really really good at forgiving people. I forgive almost immediately. Holding on to hard feelings and hurt does nothing but poison you from the inside out. I find it is harder to forgive myself than other people. 

But I found one person that I have been holding a lot in for. And that is my adopted mother.

Dear Rebekah,

It is time to forgive Julia.



The letter to myself is simple. Straight forward. On point. The woman who adopted me was full of secrets. Our home life was nothing at all like the act she put on for the outside world. In best she was neglectful, at worst she was abusive. I begged and begged and begged for the state to take me away from her home, Id go back to the group home, Id go anywhere. Her abuse was way worst because it was so emotional.

She screamed at me. All day, every day. I woke up to screaming, went to bed with screaming. She hit me, she pulled my hair, she slapped me, but she made me look like a liar so no one would believe what I was saying. She would sit in therapy with me, and if I said anything she didn't approve of Id be in trouble at home. My therapist eventually caught on and had it so I had one on one therapy instead.

She would manipulate me, using church, my siblings, my friends, reading, my car, etc against me to get what she wanted.

What she wanted was a slave. She told me from the day she took me in that she wanted children, young children, she could raise and name, and that she knew as a single parent she could not do it alone. That is where I came in. I did everything. I worked my ass off. I cooked, I cleaned, and I raised the children. Everything. Julie literally came in, went into her room, closed the door and read her book. She didn't cook. She never cooked. She didn't clean. She didn't do laundry. If she was out of her room she was screaming.

When my prom date stood my up junior year in high school I called her. She was out of state. She told me that I should lose some weight and stop talking so much. I ended up a crying mess on the living room floor. Not because of my prom date but because of my so called adopted mother.

She was not just mean, she was cruel. I was told on a daily basis why I lived there. Why I wasn't loved. Why I was a horrible person. Why I deserved the abuse I had been given as a child. Everything. It was always my fault. No matter what happened it was my fault.

I was accepted into an amazing program between junior and senior year in high school. While I was away from home, no contact with the outside world, she was turned in for neglect and abuse by an in home nurse. She even blamed that on me. I orchestrated the entire thing even though I had zero outside contact due to the type of camp it was.

Then the abuse got worse. Way worse. So bad that I graduated high school early and moved out of the house. I could go on for days and days about how my high school home life was a living hell. She put on this great act when other people were around but in reality she was an abusive monster. Her abuse has affected me in worse ways then the abuse at the hands of my biological parents. They abused me physically, she abused me emotionally and mentally.

I was told daily I suck at life. No one would love me. If I got married it would fail. She even told my husband that. I am a loser. I am ugly. I am fat. I am worthless. I cant do anything right. Every single day. Not one time did she say she was proud of me.

She told me that my mother should have aborted me. She told me that she wished she had never adopted me. She told me that she wished my father had succeeded at killing me. She told me I was worthless. She told me I was ugly. She told me I talked too much. She told me I was annoying. She told me I was fat. She told me I was a failure. She asked why I couldnt do anything right. What is wrong with you? Sometimes it was when she was angry. Most of the time it was just because I was there. I was lazy. I was stupid. I was unlovable. 
The day that I received a full academic scholarship to college, there was an award ceremony and this big dinner. I had an entire table, each of us who received the scholarship did. Guess who didn't show up? Guess who sat at the table by herself? I had a friend come with me, I was the only person there without family.

Opening night of a community play that I had the lead in. A play that hundreds had tried out for. I was so excited. I was the only person without friends or family in the crowd. No one came. No one. I didn't get roses, I didn't get a card, I didn't care about that. I just wanted someone there who loved me. Luckily, a friend came the next night and surprised me, and so did my high school drama teacher. That meant the world to me.

Every big day I had she ruined. She would tell me how ugly I looked. How I could do better. How I was a huge inconvenience to her. I was never encouraged, ever.

She said I was never grateful. I wasn't. The food, the clothes (all from garage sales, she used the foster care checks she got were used to get what she wanted. I never saw a dime of it. All my clothes were three or four seasons behind and 99% were from garage sales), the roof over my head, she said I wasn't grateful. I wasn't. I would have rather lived on the street, homeless (which I did for a semester after high school) than constantly be told what a horribly person I was. It didn't matter what I did. I talked too much. If I cried, I was faking it. If I was mad, I was faking it. If I had any emotion I was faking. She never hugged me, ever. Never said I love you. Never said thank you.

My high school home life was terrible. Awful. Ridiculous. Negative. It was some of the worst years of my life. I wished daily I could just die or run away.

Once I moved out after a year of not talking to her I missed the kids so much. I realized I had to build a bridge in order to be in my siblings lives. I did everything on my own but I succeeded and turned out ok. I would talk to her, they would be very brief conversations, never anything deep, but enough to build a sort of friendship, or at least be on civil terms.

When I moved across country the tolerance grew. We pretended, we scouted around the past, we acted like none of it happened. When I got married she liked my husband and the one time a year we would see her she would put on the same act she did whenever anyone else was around, wed play a game. Everything was ok.

Then two years ago she had a stroke. She lost her short term memory. She changed completely. She said I love you for the first time. It was very awkward. I didn't know what to do. I froze. She has become so nice and it seems so fake to me. The stroke has changed her completely, she doesn't remember anything, she is child like, she is like an Alzheimer's patient. But suddenly she believes she loves me. She tells me Im great. I don't talk to her often. It is awkward to hear the woman who has said such horrible things to you suddenly say such great things to you. It feels surreal.

In addition, her family makes it a bit hard to go visit. They've separated the kids. They've not talked to me or kept me involved in any of it and when I wanted to be involved I was treated like a complete outsider. None of them have called me, not one time, when any of this happened. In fact I was on the phone with her when she had her stroke and I had to convince them to go get help for her. Talking to the kids has become a couple times a year thing and every time I make plans to come home they change or move something or someone so I cant. I am not part of that family, in any way, shape or form. I am an outsider, a stranger. I was hired help for a few years; I was never accepted as a child, a daughter, a granddaughter. I am nothing… and now with Julie incapable of even remembering what happened a few moments before… it was an easy way to cut me out. I don't get to talk or see or be in the children that I raised lives now at all.

I think I've managed to put the past away when it comes to my adopted mom. I think that was one area of my life that I just got rid of the anger and the pain. I just moved on. I realized I didn't need her for anything she never gave me anything other than the basics that I have for over thirteen years been providing for myself. Access to my siblings, which also has been cut out, was the only reason I had left to even talk to her.

When that was taken away I gave up.

I haven't spoken to her but twice in the last twelve months.

And it's ok.

I have never forgiven her for the immense pain she caused me. The way she took away the only hope of a family I would ever have. How she took away my ability to know what a mothers love felt like. I will never know that type of love. I will never know what its like to be loved unconditionally by a mother, or supported emotionally, or even know what a relationship with one is supposed to look like. Its ok though. Ive survived. I have forgiven the people who have hurt me in my life. I have. Forgiving is easier than forgetting. And her words will always cut through to me, the feeling of inferiority will always haunt me.


I just have to let go of the pain and the anger I have towards her by forgiving her.

And I do. I do forgive her. I forgive her because she never had a relationship with her parents that was loving either. I forgive her because she was a bitter, unloved, unfulfilled woman. What she did to me was wrong, it was very wrong, but I cant change her or her actions or how she treated me.

I can only control mine. And I do so by forgiving her for hurting me. I can do that. And its good for me, its for the best.

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