Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Letter

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.

10 comments:

  1. lifesizevision,

    I can relate very deeply to this declaration. You were much braver than I - I wasn't able to express what I needed in such clear terms. I grappled for a while to get my footing.

    You gave your mother such an opportunity here. You opened the painful door and invited her into your reality. Not your mask. Not your persona. Not your obedience. Your truth.

    What a bold offer, LSV. It shows that you held her in enough esteem to consider her able to hear you. Fucking breaks my heart because I live this, too. Present tense. I did live it, but I still do. It's hard to live with the reality of a talking to a wall. Like those monkey mother experiments where a baby monkey will hug a spiky not soft mother with no milk rather than not have a mother at all. The monkeys starve to death to have a mother.

    Despite the clarity with which you name and describe the specific issues you have with her, you hope she can see it, too. Are you still asking yourself, how can I explain myself to mother? How can I make this clear, so that any fool could see, so I will be understood? That is little LSV's hope, gotta love him for wanting it. Every child does.

    Because the truth is this didn't change anything, did it? Perhaps it was even ignored.

    I had a similar experience with my brother and mother triangle, where he got into trouble b/c he gave some drunk girl a ride home and while he was turning around in a driveway, she ran out of the car, broke into the house, and then ran back and told him to drive off. The home owner got the plate & he was in big trouble. My mom was very upset with me for not re-arranging my weekend plans in order to stay a day longer to attend the meeting with a lawyer for him. She said "you are his sister, he would be there for you if you were in a situation like this." I'm pretty sure that was screwed up 88 ways to Tuesday - as was your mother's bullshit about a birthday party.

    My mother also has a very major issue with my marriage, and I'd go so far as to say she has utterly destroyed our relationship in pursuit of the "upsi's husband is abusing and controlling her" theory. Or the "upsi's husband is gay" theory, or that he is borderline, suicidal/homocidal, or then there's the whole "he's threatened by us and forcing you to choose" theory. All very problematic as lies, moreso as obstacles to having a relationship after such blind raging scapegoating.

    "They're lucky to have you" is patently sick. I can't find any other word for the disgusting sentiment she thoughtlessly (or thoughtfully?) composed for your "big day" - that you are a transfer of property from one woman to another.

    The "maybe someday" takes a nice message, "remember that gram said you were born under a star" and inverts it, so that she's reminding you of something she assumes you don't understand. That's just cold, bitch, this is a WEDDING DAY.

    I affirm you. Taking back one's life is a worthy mission.

    xo
    upsi

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  2. This was, indeed, a golden opportunity. One that was dismissed and ignored. Here's the thing, it is not our responsibility to make her get it, it never was. It is not our fault that she was not receptive to your Truths, nor that she has chosen to ignore them.

    I still feel that, even if she disagreed with what you had to say, she still should have felt badly that you felt that way. That you were hurt and are still hurting. She is someone who refuses to take responsibility for her actions; who either can not, or will not, become a deeper person. She would rather surround herself by disingenuous people than ones who will tell her "no."

    This is not a woman who knows boundaries - she believes she is invincible and can do anything she wants. Her actions towards me have always been nothing short of cruel...and they were always done so insidiously. Most of all, it is painful to watch her treat YOU the way she does - as though you are still a child...HER child, that she can force a smile out of, even when he's screaming inside.

    You are better than what she wanted you to be.
    You are stronger than her. You will stop her legacy with you. You will protect your children from her toxicity. You are doing a good job. Your personal best is getting better.

    Dear Wife

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  3. This letter is awe-inspiring. The issues are very clearly described in a caring, civil, and straightforward, on-the-level way.

    No honest, mature and responsible person could misunderstand this.

    quartz (I made the comments about the pet parakeet and about your NM leaving the baby on the bed maybe because of feeling bored and wanting to get drama)

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  4. Upsi- I do believe you are one of the supporters that is helping me most in this time of need. I'm sure my wife holds this same sentiment. Thank you for everything.

    Quartz- Forgive me for taking so long to respond. I had to repeat what you wrote several times: "No honest, mature, and responsible person could misunderstand this." I'm pretty sure now that my mother didn't misunderstand anything - she chose not to act. Which could be even worse. I very much appreciate your words and thank you for reading.

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  5. This is an amazing letter! I wish I'd had the balls to stand up to my Nparents when I was your age.

    Even after my marriage, I continued to allow them to control my life. I very nearly lost my DH as a result but in the end he became my strongest supporter as I struggled to break free. His death was seen by my Nparents as an opportunity to resume their attacks on my independence.

    Like you, I was charged with raising my younger brother. At the time, I was delighted to "play" his mother but what an insane burden to place on a young child!

    You are so right to put YOUR family first. One of my greatest regrets is that I allowed my Nparents to have access to my DD when she was a young child. She bears the emotional scares to this day.

    Protect your precious family at all costs and know you are doing the right thing!

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  6. Mulderfan, thank you for your support and encouragement here. Your comment brought a tear to my eyes.

    The roles you and DH were placed in were so unfair. It's time to break free! You said, "One of my greatest regrets is that I allowed my Nparents to have access to my DD when she was a young child. She bears the emotional scares to this day." This is one of the things I have been trying to convey to DH - that if he allowed it, his Nm would attempt to do the same emotional harm to our dear children, that she did to him. I won't allow it, for sure. And he's working on what it means to protect them too. Thank you, again, for your input.

    XOXOXO

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  7. PS What a wonderful group of support we have here!

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  8. Mulderfan-
    It's funny, I never really thought about writing a letter like this and once I began, it all just flowed out of me, like a swelling river of passion! I felt good writing it, like I was putting down on paper what exactly was going on. Once I had written it, I felt that it was made real. My wants, my needs were real. What she had done were made real. I struggled with my alternate reality which I just recently was wrenched out of (I had a hard time leaving...).

    I'm glad I wrote this.
    I'm glad I sent it.
    I'm sad/disappointed that my mother rejected it entirely.

    Thanks for reading

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  9. Wow, this is such a clear and thorough letter. Like everyone else, I totally relate to it. I know that if I had written such a letter all my mother ever would have said was "POOP." (Not the "s" word.) That was her response to everything, no matter how I couched it. Then she would go after me with all the grievances she had about me, without ever addressing any of my concerns at all. It must be so liberating, in a way, to write something like that, whether it changes her behavior or not. The very fact that they deny it and refuse to address it is proof that the contents are real.

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  10. Joyful- my mother basically said "POOP" to me as well. She never brought up any of the issues in the letter. Never responded to me via..any mode of commuication. There was nothing, as if our converstation never happened. She showed me with her actions exactly what she thought of me and my letter.

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