I'd like to put here my "Declaration of Independence". This is my first letter to my mother where I laid everything out for her. She actually took this letter home after I read it to her. She never brought it up again after that.
I’m going to say some things to you I’ve never said before, and I want you to agree to hear me out until I’m done. This is very important to me so please don’t contradict me or interrupt me. After I’ve said what I need to say, you’ll have time to say what you need to say. Are you willing to do that?
I would like to address the phone call you made to me after I called my sister to say that we were not coming to her birthday party because we never heard from her. The message you left on my voice mail was absurd, unnecessary, and unwarranted. The “damage” you referred to has already been done and it hasn’t been by me, not in the least. You mentioned that I am [sister]’s brother. And I would like to say that I AM her brother…not her father or even a father figure. You let me step into that role when I was younger, you even expected it and encouraged it, and that was wrong. I’m not asking you to answer this now, only to think about it - I’m curious what the “damage” is that you were speaking of…me focusing on my family of choice? Me making my new family the center of my attention? Me making MYSELF the center of my attention? This is not damage, this is normal, this is healthy. Your voic email said to me that you think I am somehow responsible for the way [sister] feels. That is completely incorrect. [sister] is responsible for the way she feels – she’s 16 for frig sake. Wife and I put [sister] first when it came to her birthday party – that’s why we put off accepting any other invitation for that day, and that’s also why I called her to find out what her plans were. We had other invites because we have a life outside of you and [sister]. Despite having other potential obligations, I felt that we needed to call her to figure out if she was going to have any people over or whatever. I know that we put her first and I did the right thing, regardless of what you think or she thinks.
I need you to treat my wife and I as a team because that’s what we are, that’s what a healthy marriage is. She and I are each other’s foundation, we utilize each other’s strengths, that’s how it is supposed to work. I feel that you are not respecting our relationship. I need you to respect my marriage, my union with my wife, my choice to become her husband. By not addressing the both of us via any medium (whether it’s on the phone, in person, or in an email), I feel that you are, in effect saying “I don’t care about my son's marriage, I don’t care about my son's wife or daughter, he is MY son first and foremost. He is my son before he is a husband and before he is a father.” There will be no more instances where you can get me alone. My wife and I, as I said, are a team, husband and wife, inseparable, and whatever you have to say, can and will be said in front of her. Whatever you have to say, good or bad, pertains to the both of us since we are husband and wife. We have no secrets with each other. Ultimately, I need you to let me go and put a stop to these behaviors so that you and I can build a healthier relationship. I need you to respect my wife and I so that we can begin to move forward.
Your behaviors show me that you want to have control and have a say in what I do. Essentially you treat me like you have “dibbs” on me. I’m telling you now, that you do not. I am, first and foremost, a husband and a father. It is true that I am also a son and a brother, but those things are secondary. My wife and children will forevermore, come first.
You ignored the fact that [wife] and I were getting married. Never did you ask about our wedding, or even mention it, until the very last minute. If you really wanted to help you would have asked, regardless of our wishes. I feel that by ignoring the wedding, it was easier for you to pretend that it didn’t exist and that you could still have control over me and my life. Your lack of respect for my marriage and my family is evident in the card you gave me on our wedding day. Notwithstanding the fact that you gave me a card that was addressed to only me, but what you wrote in it was appalling. You never said that I was lucky enough to have found someone I wanted to devote my entire self to. No, only they were lucky to have me. You didn’t have to say that I was unlucky to have [wife] and [daughter] – you implied it. And I saw that. Secondly, you said that maybe one day I would understand why Gram said that I was born under a star. What I read was that I’m not good enough, and that somehow the relationship I have created with [wife] makes me not good enough to understand what Gram meant. While I had a very deep love for my grandmother, she has nothing to do with my life now and nothing to do with my wedding day. Mentioning her in that card was merely a tactic to make me feel guilty and it didn’t work. Lastly, I would like to address the part when you said you hoped my relationship with you could go back to what it was before. Before what? Before I met my wife? That is impossible because in order for that to happen, I would have to abandon what makes me happy. My relationship with you can never be what it was when I lived under your roof. I have my own life. Plus, the way we lived before was obscenely unhealthy. We communicated about nothing, lied to each other like it was no big deal and were completely superficial. Everything about us was superficial and fake. I cannot and will not live that way anymore.
I feel disappointed, heartbroken, angry because you don’t care if you see my family, or connect with them. My daughter may never know you and really, I don’t even know you. I know only a woman who gave birth to me, put food on my plate, put a roof over my head. While I do appreciate that I had those things, I needed more than that from you. I thought that was enough at the time because I was only a child and I didn’t know any better…but I know now that I was deprived of a great many things, a deep unconditional love among them.
You taught me to bury the truth with all the shit I could find. You taught me that I could get what I wanted by having someone else do it for me. You taught me to believe the lies I told myself and the lies everyone else told me because anything was better than the truth. You taught me that I couldn’t rely on myself. My self worth came from how much I could do for other people, even at the expense of my own well-being. You taught me it was better to exist rather than to live. You taught me conditional love. You taught me to repress not only my anger but just about everything else I felt. You taught me that anger means a lack of love. You taught me that love was only in the movies and no one had to work at a relationship to be happy. You taught me that the more people I knew the better off I was, no matter who those people were or how much they damaged my self esteem. You taught me how to be fake. You taught me how to dance around answers and play with people’s words in the event I didn’t like what another person was saying or asking. You taught me that I could just barely make it on my own. You taught me hypocrisy. You taught me that empty promises are just as good as the real thing so long as no one can tell the difference. You taught me indifference and how not caring is the easy way out. You taught me that I could be anything I wanted so long as you said it was ok.
I need you to contact me on our house phone because that is the way you should be contacting me. I want you to get in touch with me, or us, by calling our house phone.
If you have a problem with something my wife or I have done, I need you to bring it up to the both of us in person. Email will no longer suffice. I need you to acknowledge that you disrespect me and my family. I need you to acknowledge the fact that putting food on my plate and a roof over my head does not make you a good mother. I need you to apologize for betraying me, and breaking my faith in you, and in trust entirely. I need you to be ready and willing to work with me to build a healthier relationship and that means listening to what I have to say. I need you to not use guilt tactics on me. I need you to address the both of us and communicate with us as adults. I need you to acknowledge that I am no longer under your control and that my family of choice is my number one priority. More than that, my wife is above everything. I need you to acknowledge that I have my own life to live and I can no longer be the boy I was growing up. I need you to not blame me or my family for problems you and your family have.
I am taking back my life.