All the Things I’d Say – Mum

First of all I’d like to say that I don’t hate you.

I know you probably think I do because I won’t speak to you anymore. In a way I really think I should hate you. I resent you, that’s for sure – but that is totally different to hating you and honestly, I don’t think I could hate you if I tried. I worry about you more than anyone else despite the fact I don’t miss you – even more than Nan. Essentially you’re a vulnerable person. You’re not wired like a normal woman; you can’t read a room and you have no insight or perception into how your behaviour, your thoughts and your feelings affect others. You are susceptible to being used because you try to please those around you who you want to be liked or loved by. You will be alone forever because the desperation wafts off of you in waves and this attracts the wrong type of men – the ones who use you and leave you without mercy. If you could accept and embrace the happiness of being alone you’d make it work with someone.

I suppose if I had to put a label on what I feel toward you it would be ‘ambivalent,’ or ‘luke-warm.’ I know that probably means very little to you but actually, I think that’s worse than hating you or being angry with you because it means I feel very little. You can’t really blame me for that, I hope. A lifetime of cruelty and neglect both at your hands and the hands of those you brought into our lives have hardened me and made me cold inside. I have little-to-no regard for your feelings; they mean absolutely nothing to me.

The main thing I want to ask you is why? I can’t fathom the reasons and rationale behind some of the critical decisions you have made. It feels to me as though whenever there came to be a fork in your road and one path led to me or the decisions that might benefit me you systematically and determinedly chose the other path. In fact, I can’t remember one single moment where you actively made a choice in my favour when there was another option open to you.

The obvious question to ask is why did you take Dad back? I just can’t wrap my head around it…you hated him so much; the air he breathed ignited in you a hatred of magnanimous proportions and yet, when I provided the most simple, the most easy of all escape routes you decided the best thing would be to forgive and forget? Did you perceive the situation to be a competition between you and I; one you were determined to win? Could you simply not be alone? The errors you made here were twofold. Not only did you forgive a paedophile and bring him back into the familial hearth to endanger your daughter which is unforgivable as a mother, but you also continued to sleep beside him and share a marital life with him which makes you every bit as disgusting as him – if not more so. In him was a sickness that was deep-rooted and rotting evil at his core – but yours was a choice. I try sometimes to work out whether I can forgive you, but I can’t forget what you did or whether I can forget it but I can’t forgive it. Why should I wrestle with this, though? It shouldn’t be my responsibility to work through this alone.

The Jim situation hurt me more than anything though because I was old enough to fully understand it and to feel it, unlike the Dad situation where I thought I was the one who needed to protect you from the horror. That was the beginning of the end for us. You buried a seed of hatred in me with that inaction and over time you watered it with your spite and you nourished it with more terrible decisions until the poison grew to bear fruit that, when swallowed, rotted and maligned with anger and resentment and viciousness. At that time I did hate you and when I remember how it was for me I feel the spike of anger balling up in my stomach once more. It ebbs and fades away into nothingness now because that is how I have trained myself to deal with any memories of you.

The main issue between us is this: You have ruined me. I recognise myself to be impossible to love because I have grown up in an environment where it didn’t just feel that way – it was that way. I am frozen internally – I reject affection from everyone because I expect to be rejected first. The reality of my life is that I am absolutely nobody’s priority. You saw to it that noone has anything to do with me because of your lies and your determination to live within a maelstrom of chaos and pandemonium. Yet within the heart of it all you remain, actively pushing me out while keeping up appearances by pretending to pull me back in at periodic intervals. I exist now in a world where there are many who have my back but, of course, have much higher priorities than me. When I come home and turn the key to my door, kick off my shoes and settle for the night it is fully in the knowledge that every single other person on this planet has someone more important to them than I. I should be comforted by the knowledge that the person who holds me in the highest esteem is my mother, but it is not so for me because we both know you fundamentally wish I had not been born.

I have lots of amazing friends – people who feel more like my family and make me feel like I am genuinely loved much more than you ever did. Some of these friends are mothers themselves and I cannot imagine them forsaking the happiness of their daughters the way you did mine. I know my opinion of you means next to nothing, but I think you will be affected by the knowledge that almost every person who knows my version of our story finds you quite revolting. Your version of events is no doubt very different, and that is entirely your own prerogative – I do accept I’ve been no angel and I’ve thrown venom at you every bit as much as you have at me. I’d like to think my reasons for this were more justified than yours.

I think the thought I want to leave you on is that I am not a bad person – I could and should be a mess who seeks comfort and validation in the sexual acts of men or finds escapism with drink and drugs but I turned my life into something relatively positive. I was always well behaved, I brought no trouble to our door and I think I achieved things any mother would be proud of. I don’t know why I am still trying to convince you of this almost 32 years after you brought me into existence, you should inherently know for yourself. It feels defensive of me to try to sell myself to you but at the same time I’ve never quite wrapped the words around the thoughts without you interrupting me to tell me just how shit and difficult I am.

I am a lioness – fiercely protective of those I love (including you) even when you attack me with your words and your actions over and over again. I am intelligent and articulate when given the chance. I have gone out of my way, sacrificing my own feelings for you throughout my childhood and more recent years. I habitually forgive and forget when the damage to my soul is deep and unrecoverable. So tell me now why you find me so intolerable, so impossible to feel anything more than hatred and contempt toward? The only conclusion I can draw is that you are riddled with envy… jealous my biological father could have a relationship with me despite not wanting to be with you. Jealous that your second husband preferred to inflict himself on your nine year old daughter rather than you. And ultimately jealous that I have lived a life of freedom, unbridled by a need to be accepted by any man. I think I represent the potential you wanted for yourself – and it irks you beyond measure.

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