Category Archives: Recovery

This week on Dr. Phil….

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It’s been forever since I lasted posted. A lot has been going on but I think the most crucial thing to announce is the fact that I am finally starting therapy! Yay! I’ve been so nervous about getting help but thanks to the healthcare act, I have insurance so I can afford to get some counseling. There is soooo much that I have wanted to comment on from Bill Cosby to Ray Rice but right now I want to post this youtube clip from this week’s Dr. Phil episode. I felt that it was something worth talking about because of the reaction of the grandmother involved. Ashley came forward that her grandmother’s husband had molested her for at least 10 years before he was convicted and sent to jail. The grandmother not only refuses to believe Ashley but also blames her for ruining her life. WOW! Word has recently gotten back to me that a certain someone (ehem, my mother) has been complaining of how much I hurt her and ruined her life. Hmmm, well that is certainly interesting. Fuck the nightmares and shit I have to deal with on a regular basis! But I’m better than that shit and I’m getting help for it. She can rot in her own fucking self pity along with this shithead of a grandmother. And I’m out! trigger off…

 

Project Unbreakable

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projectunbreakable

I have been really tied up with school lately so I haven’t had a lot of time to orchestrate the posts that I wanted to. However, I did just come across this amazing project on Facebook and I wanted to share. It’s called Project Unbreakable. It was started by 19 year old, Grace Brown who took pictures of people holding signs of quotes from their attackers. The abuse ranges from adult rape to child molestation. The goal is to bring more awareness to the issue through the art of photography. Her project has been featured in the media. Glamour Magazine and The Huffington Post just to name a few.

I wanted to share this because so many of these quotes hit home for me and I know that I could add to the ones that I already looked at.

Here would be some of my submissions:

“Dads and daughters do it all over the world, all the time. It’s totally normal.”

“It’s our little secret. If your mom finds out she would kill me or put me in jail. You love me too much to let that happen, right?” *** Unfortunately, even after my mother found out, she did nothing anyway and is still married to this man.

“I guess he just wanted to make you all his.” My mother after I confronted her when I was 18.

I could go on and on.

You can follow them on Facebook or check them out on Tumbler. Also, please share it! This is wonderful way to give power to survivors and let other victims know that they are not alone.

We may be scarred but we are not broken.

I’m No Damsel

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As a survivor of abuse, I can’t tell you how many times I just wished for someone to come a whisk me away and make my life better. When I was little I would dream of being kidnapped. No kidding. I seriously felt that being kidnapped by a complete stranger would be better than the hell that I lived in. I also dreamed that my grandfather (maternal) would show up at my school and take me away. I don’t know why I pictured him. I knew that he wasn’t a good father to my mother. Maybe it’s because I knew that my mother didn’t talk to him. I would daydream about my life as Cinderella. My mother fit the bill for the evil step-mother with the way she treated me and used me. I longed for adulthood. I couldn’t wait to meet my Prince Charming and get the heck out of there.

When those dreams seemed too far out of reach, I would dream of perhaps just running away and living on the streets. I figured any restaurant owner would give me food since I was a cute, blond little girl. I would sneak into Sears and sleep on the mattresses overnight and steal clothes when I needed it and still show up to school. I had it all worked out in my little head. But I always knew that even if I ran away, chances were, I would end up back at home with my mother even more angry and furious at me.

As I got older my daydreams shifted to a more romantic setting. I would meet a boy who came from a rich family and he would fall in love with me and take care of me for the rest of my life. I would have great opportunities to get an education and have an amazing career. It was all in my dreams. I didn’t even really date as a teen so the idea of ever meeting someone seemed so far out of reach and I had a hard time keeping friends as well. The truth was, my heart wasn’t in it to just get swept off my feet and married. I was searching for an out and someone who would stick up for me. It seemed like nobody would. I used to think that Dave was my buffer from my mother but I realize now that he never stuck up for me like he said he did. He would always tell me how he thought my mother was crazy and a stone-cold bitch and that he would stick up for me when I wasn’t around. I realize now that he only said those things to groom me and win my trust so he could molest me. His facade was beginning to shatter when I was a teenager and I had no one who would tell my mother to back off and leave me alone. He just stood and watched. Sometimes he would shake his head. If he did say anything to her she would have just exploded into another argument with him and he didn’t want that so I typically took the brunt of her anger.

When Forrest Gump came out in the early 90’s, I remember a scene that has always stuck with me. A young Jenny was running through a field to escape her abusive father when she stopped and knelt down to pray. She said, “Dear God, make me a bird. So I could fly far, far away from here.” Forrest then goes on to say that God works in mysterious ways and that he didn’t make Jenny into a bird but instead the state came and told her she didn’t have to live there any more and she moved in with her grandma. THAT was how I felt deep, deep inside. I wanted wings to fly far, far away. I wanted someone to come and say that I didn’t have to be there any more. I wasn’t religious and neither was my family but I began to pray that. I was about 14. The molestation was over but living with the memories and my mother was not.

God never gave me wings… or a social worker. I never got rescued from that home. I did finally leave at 19 and was independent my 21 and I was far enough away. It never worked out the way I dreamed it would. Things ended up quite different from my childhood daydreams. I didn’t meet a man who was rich or a prince or anything like that but I did meet a man who taught me personal love and strength. I was honest with him about my abuse from the get-go. I always knew that once someone got to intimately know me they would sense that something was amiss so I might as well be up front about it. He was loving and accepting toward me about it.

Anytime I told him that I loved him he would say, “me too.” Like, he loves himself too. He still does this! I asked him why he said that. I thought he was only being ornery. He always told me that nobody will ever love you more than you love yourself. He knew that I had self-love issues. I tried really hard to not hate myself but it was easier said than done. I hated everything about myself at times. After we got married, I began to realize that he was right. He didn’t step into my life and whisk me away and battle my family for me. Instead he stuck by my side and helped me find the strength to fight my own battle.

A few years ago I began reading up on feminism and admiring other women who were strong. I have learned (and still am learning) to take all that I have learned about strength, love, and myself and concoct my own medicine for healing. I have learned to build my own battle armor. I had to get to this place on my own and I am grateful for that. While it would have been easy on me for someone else to do all the dirty work, it just isn’t reality. Even if I would have been taken away as a child and put in the foster system, I would still have big personal battles to fight.

I have learned in the last few years that the idea of a damsel in distress is bullshit.  The idea that women are too weak to stand up for themselves or fight a battle is so yesteryear. Disney movies can suck it. What Cinderella needed to do was punch that old hag in the jaw and get out of there. Perhaps move to the big city and become a fashion designer with the help of her mice and tweety birds. I wish I could have stood up for myself as a child like that, but I couldn’t. Now I can.

I have to make the personal choice everyday to stay strong and stand my ground. Sure, the pain is real but it also reminds me that I made it and I’m alive. I don’t need rescuing or fairy tales. What I do need is relationships that are real and mutual. Everything else comes from within.

At this point in my life if I want wings to fly far, far away it’s gonna be on a plane to Hawaii so I can sit on the beach and drink Pina Coladas all day. Some day perhaps…

A Head Full of Regret

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Recovery from abuse is a process. It’s like grieving the death of a loved one. Right now, not only am I coming to terms with what happened to me but I am also having to face my own regrets surrounding the abuse and grieving the “death” of my parents. They aren’t really dead but in my heart they are. That part has been hard. When I first sent my mother the “break-up” letter I had regrets about it. It was difficult and took me almost 30 minutes to hit send. I cried and was sad for a couple of days after that until she went public denouncing my brother and I. Then I didn’t feel so sad about it and knew that I did the right thing. Now my regret is the fact that I waited so long to come forward about it. Those that are close to me know that I was molested by my step-father but most don’t know to what extent. I really didn’t talk about it other than just saying that it happened. Just like my mother, I was trying to paint the facade of a functional normal family but I couldn’t keep up the charade any more. This week I have been flooded with questions that I have asked myself. Some of them I disregard because I know that it wasn’t my fault while others I am beating myself up about them a little. Some of the questions are the “what if’s.”

What if I had not lied to DFS when I was little? My parents threatened me and told me that I would be taken away and put in foster care with families that wouldn’t love and would beat me more than I was already being beaten. I realize now that probably wouldn’t have happened. I know now that I have always had a family that loves me and given the opportunity they would have probably taken me in. I highly doubt that any of my grandparents or aunts and uncles would have let me go into the foster system without putting up a fight. So, if I would have just said something, would I have had a better life? Would my brother have had a better life? I don’t know. I was so young that making that kind of decision back then was 100% my mother’s responsibility. I had another opportunity when I was 11 or 12 and again, I was too afraid to say anything.

Why didn’t I cut them off when I was finally and independent? When I was 21, I was finally broken free from them and lived about 5 hours away. I didn’t really speak to them for about a year but it had more to do with my mother trying to control me than about the abuse as a child. I had the opportunity to just say “sayonara” and be on my merry way… but I didn’t. After a while I was still trying to maintain a relationship with them. I think this time it goes back to the fact that I was a Christian and was trying to do the right, Christian thing and that would have been forgiving and forgetting.

I left the confines of religion when I was about 27. At this point, Christianity wasn’t holding me back anymore but I still didn’t change my relationship with my parents. I think that I had just gotten used to what we had and at that point I was married and had our son. I always had that underlying guilt of letting my mother go. She would always ask me, “If I don’t have you, then who can I talk to?!” She always made me feel guilty for not being there for her even though I told her several times that I didn’t want to be her friend. She really had nobody. She had no parents or siblings. She did have a couple of cousins and her aunt and uncle but they were in California and Pennsylvania which wasn’t close enough, I guess. I was conflicted, there’s no doubt about that. I always felt uncomfortable being around Dave or allowing my son around him but I disregarded those feelings by trying to convince myself that he wasn’t a danger to anyone and that my mother deserved to be a grandmother. After writing almost 40 posts on this blog I now wonder what the fuck was wrong with me! Why did I find this relationship necessary? What took me so long to cut them off??

My main regret, right now, is that I allowed this relationship to go on long enough that they became a part of my son’s life. Luckily, my daughter is young enough that she will never remember them but my son is not. Every once in a while he asks when he can call his grandma or when we are going to visit. I just say “sometime” and change the subject. He’s only 7 so he is way too young to share with him. I feel bad for dragging my husband along when I should have been done with this before I got married.

The good thing is that I have so much support from family and friends. I am so grateful for that! I feel like that have spent a lifetime running a marathon, I’m at the last mile and here is all of my family coming out to support me. I guess I could say that I am lucky. I know that many victims of abuse get shunned by their entire family but that’s not the case for me. Instead the perpetrators are being shunned. Sometimes the support is overwhelming but it is what is getting me through. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have just shoved all of this back down and not gotten the healing that I deserve. The professionals are right when they say that it takes a good support system to heal. Everyone in my circle (and beyond) has been wonderful. I don’t think I have ever felt more loved than I do now! 🙂

Making Connections

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I decided to make a solid effort to get back in touch with some family members that I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager. Recently, I called my other grandmother (Dave’s step-mom). I adore this woman. She is just a sweet, little country lady. I always remember how her and my grandpa (passed away) smoked and drank beer and just lived. They gave no shits of what other people thought of them but they were good sweet people. I know that she was expecting my call because my cousin told her that we had been in touch and that I would be calling. I really just expected the phone call to be me catching up and telling her about my life, etc. However, she wasted no time telling me all the things about my parents that she kept quiet for so long. It was no surprise to me that she couldn’t stand my mother. Most people can’t. She is an overwhelming, dramatic person who has a problem with lying. Gran told me that she always thought that my parents to were like two peas in a pod because they were both liars and couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it. Most people only see my mother as the one with the problems because she is more outward about it and has some serious bitch-face going on. I inherited it from her, hehe. Dave always gave off the impression that he was a “gentle giant” or a “big teddy bear.” He made himself seem like such a trustworthy, honest, hardworking person even though that wasn’t the reality. Unfortunately, people fell right into believing this about him and thus felt bad for him because he was married to such a horrible person. The truth is though, he isn’t any better than her. They are both deluded and have issues. So, this comment actually made me chuckle with relief because she was the first person to verbally acknowledge this fact.

She went on to tell me how she always thought my mother was abusive. When I was about 3, we were at her house for Christmas. I had finished opening all of my presents and wanted to sit with Gran and help her open hers. My mother screamed “bloody murder” at me and made me sit in a corner while everyone else finished opening their gifts. My mother always knew that she wasn’t liked on that side of the family but she couldn’t figure out why. Just this story alone explains why. They didn’t like the way she treated me. She went out of her way to humiliate me and viciously punish me in front of other people. After my brother was born, I was forced to eat his leftovers. I couldn’t remember if this happened repeatedly or not. I have one vivid memory of her making me eat his leftover, hour-old, soggy, slobbered in cereal… because I poured him too much. My parents were still asleep but all of us kids were up with the grandparents. My grandma didn’t have an issue with the cereal but for some reason my mother did. lt was embarrassing and I wanted to throw it up so bad but she threatened me not too. She normally wasn’t abusive in front of other people but for some reason she was in front of family. I’m not sure if she thought that she had to look like she was trying to be a good parent or what but she was definitely doing it wrong. Gran told me that the food thing actually happened on more that one occasion. My parents would also fill my plate up with food and force me to eat all of it. She said that they were beginning to get concerned for me because every year that I came to visit I was just getting bigger and bigger. She was absolutely correct.

I had never really thought to attach my weight problems to my abuse. I wasn’t real heavy when I was a kid but I wasn’t skinny either. Looking at pictures, I’d say I was probably at a healthy weight. I remember my mother always squeezing my thighs and telling me how skinny I was and how she wished she had skinny thighs like me. At the same time, Dave had me neck-deep in porn, Hustler magazines, and sexy women galore. I was being taught that the women in these magazines were beautiful and hot. My mother has been overweight for as long as I can remember. When she was a teenager, she was thin and attractive. I guess she put on weight when she got pregnant with me and my brother and never lost it. Dave would always make fun of her to me behind her back. He would say that she had cottage cheese thighs and too much blubber and that she was like a beached whale in the summer. As far as I was concerned, Dave was not attracted to her at all. He thought she was disgusting. My mother also ridiculed other women for their weight (behind their backs of course). She would make comments about how some woman should be wearing that because she was too fat. She also ridiculed skinny women that they should eat something. It was confusing as hell as a young girl. I became very self-conscious about my weight.

My 7th grade year was the year that I ballooned the most as a kid. The outfits that were bought for me at the beginning of the year couldn’t even be put on much less zipped or buttoned by the end of the year. I graduated in the late 90’s so being obese wasn’t as normal as it is now. I was referred to as “heavy-set.” I wasn’t quite fat but I wasn’t a healthy weight either. I wanted to be in sports like soccer or track but I wasn’t allowed to register. It was always about money and time, the two things that my parents never had enough of. They didn’t even want to try. It kills me when I hear stories of kids from the ghetto, whose parents went out of their way to get their kids in sports or arts or something. Not my parents, it was too much of an inconvenience. So, I was pretty sedentary when I was young which didn’t help my burgeoning weight problem. I was taught to “eat everything on your plate” so I probably over ate a lot. As I was beginning to be more self-aware of my weight and was exploring how to control it or lose it. I don’t think my parents liked this at all. When we would go out for fried chicken, I would peel off the fried part and only eat the vegetables as a side. Dave would ridicule me that I was ruining the meal. My mother always prided herself on the fact that she never used Hamburger Helper and she always used real butter not margarine. This wasn’t entirely true because I clearly remember there being tubs of Country Crock in our refrigerator BUT I never had the Hamburger Helper, canned vegetables, or Ramen Noodles until after I left home. That doesn’t mean that what we ate was healthy. She may have avoided that stuff for dinner but breakfast would consist of anything from cereal to pop-tarts or even cake. Now, some people might be reading this and wonder what the big deal is. I’ve studied a lot of nutrition in the last 8 years and this is what I have learned. Starting your day off with foods that are high in sugar and processed carbohydrates causes your blood sugar to spike and then plummet leaving the person not only hungry but feeling nearly sick and famished. I’m not saying that this was child-abuse but rather just pure ignorance. What it did cause was my metabolism to get even more fucked up than it already was.

I kept these eating habits well into adulthood. When I graduated high school, I was about 175 lbs. By the time I was 23 I was almost 200 lbs. I got up to 207 by the time I got married at 24 but that was because Todd and I ate out all the time and he really liked frozen custard (ok, I did too!). I wasn’t learning self-control and the overabundance of sugar and carbs in my diet left me feeling sick all the time. I’m pretty sure at a few times in my life I was pre-diabetic. After I got married, Dave was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes so my parents changed their eating habits to better control it. When I was 29, Todd decided it was time to get active and lose weight. His father had also been diagnosed with diabetes because of his weight. There was also heart disease and high cholesterol that ran in his side of the family. At this point we had adopted a more organic way of eating but it still wasn’t healthy since it was still high sugar and empty carbs. Todd started running and I started eating more vegetables. One day he mentioned how he wished that we could be active together. I agreed. It was going to be hard for me since I was never active but it was necessary. Our son was turning 3 and I needed to set a good example for him. I also wanted to live long enough to watch him grow and flourish as an adult. I was also always in pain and never felt good so I was up for it. I started a regimen of eating better and working out and dropped about 15 lbs. I had already lost some weight just by leaving a high stress job and going to work for a natural market. My sister-in-law was getting married that year and I was one of her bridesmaids. She didn’t order the right size so the dress came in too small but it was from one of those companies that takes 4 months to make and there are absolutely no returns or exchanges and the wedding was 6 weeks away. Todd helped me find a diet that was proven to work quickly. It was the Scarsdale diet. Some might say that it’s an extreme diet but it worked. I lost 25 lbs in that 6 weeks and I learned more about healthy eating and such. The dress still didn’t fit but it wasn’t as big of a deal to get it taken out as it would have been before. I got down to 160 lbs and a solid size 10. I was smaller than I was in junior high and high school. I felt amazing! I looked great! This set me on track for a new lifestyle. I wasn’t going back.

Unfortunately, I never got below the 160 and I did put some weight back on but I was much more knowledgeable about nutrition and knew how to manage my weight even if I couldn’t lose it. That November, we went to my parents for Thanksgiving. I was pretty explicit with my mother that we were eating healthier and I had no intentions of gaining 5 pounds because she likes to cook like Paula Deen. She acted like she understood and was going to cook healthier because of her and Dave’s health too. The truth was that she had no intentions of slimming anything down. I was helping her cook and she seriously put a stick of butter in everything. When she got to the mashed potatoes I asked her to slow down with the butter and lighten it up a little. She got upset with me because this was a holiday and we should let lose and eat whatever we wanted. The truth was, I didn’t want to eat 5 lbs of butter. She just couldn’t comprehend this at all. I explained that I had to work very hard to lose the weight and i still had another 30 to go. I wasn’t about to get set back because of a holiday. She acted very offended and put off that I would be so judgmental of her cooking.  Damn straight I was getting judgmental. Dave was an obese diabetic and my mother was at least 100 lbs overweight and probably pre-diabetic. She never took responsibility for her weight. She always blamed it on a bad thyroid or whatever. It was obvious that she was very jealous at my weight loss. She made comments about how she wanted to lose weight so I offered my “expertise.” I would tell her that the first thing she needed to do was to start getting some physical activity, even if that meant just going for a walk. Her rebuttal would be that she either didn’t have the time or that her knees hurt. We it was pretty obvious why her knees hurt and she did have the time, she just didn’t want to move. Then I would tell her about the dietary changes that she needed to make by cutting out sugars and refined carbohydrates. Well, they were already doing that because of Dave’s diabetes. Hmmmm…. I found this interesting because Dave lost weight but my mother didn’t. I confronted her about this and told her that if she is eating like she says that she should be losing weight… at least some. Again, she would get angry and offended. She then started blaming her thyroid. Ok, I can understand if a person has a thyroid problem. She said that she would only eat a cup of yogurt and a banana all day and then a diabetic friendly dinner and still couldn’t drop a pound. What I learned about having an under-active thyroid is that it typically will only cause a person to be about 10-15 lbs overweight from the lack of hormone alone. I didn’t believer her when she said she barely ate anything. I know her and I know well enough that she was making a shit-load of excuses. She just wanted it to seem like she wanted to lose weight but the truth was that she didn’t. That was fine. I began to realize that there was no help for her. I was offering the help based off of my research and what worked for me and she would get offended over it because it required her to work. I eventually got tired of her shenanigans and just quit talking to her about it.

When I got pregnant with my daughter, I let go and gained all of my weight back. It was a delicious process. I ate a ton of cheese and cupcakes. I was a little depressed about it after she was born but I took responsibility that it was my fault and felt confident that I knew how to lose it again. As of writing this post, my daughter is 18 months and I am down to 175 but I have much more muscle than I have ever had. My husband and I are adopting an active and healthy lifestyle. I still have issues with food and I tend to mask it by saying that I just love it so much but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know what it is really. I don’t turn to food as comfort but I do tend to overeat. Sometimes I’m afraid of getting sick or a headache from low blood sugar even though I know that I’m eating foods that don’t cause that. I do have a fear of being hungry. I’m not really sure why.

 

It’s Father’s Day

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It would be so easy to be filled with disgust and anger today since it’s Father’s Day but I won’t allow myself to do that. It’s good enough that I don’t ever call him or send him cards on this day. Father’s Day is reserved for good fathers that do the right thing and nurture, care and protect their kids. The last couple of years my mother would always text me, “don’t forget to wish your dad a happy father’s day.” No shit. Well, really I had no intentions of it. Up until this year I have really just been to weak to just say no to her so I would at least just send a text- no phone calls or cards.

Today, however, I really don’t want to focus on him or my abuse. I DO want to give a shout-out to all of the GOOD dads out their. YOU GUYS ROCK!!! My husband is one of those guys. He is a wonderful father and husband. I think that it’s good for those of us that are victims of abuse to use days like today and think about the people in our lives that have been good to us and deserve a day like today. For me, some of the great men and fathers that have been in my life and left a good impression were my grandpa (paternal) who died when I was 16, my youth pastor (even thought I am not a Christian any more, looking back I realize that he was a pretty great guy), Phil (the husband of the couple that helped me get on my own at age 21), and of course my husband. There may have been one man who did horrible things to me but there have been plenty more to show me what being a good father is all about.

Forgiveness

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Back in my Christian days, forgiveness was a major player in my faith. I had a hard time with it because I had some pretty big atrocities that needed to be forgiven. Anytime I opened up to Christian leaders, I was always told the same thing, “forgive just as Jesus forgave you.” I made sense back then because I was naive and gullible. I was also hoping for that magic formula that got the heavens to move and God to work in my favor. Well, it didn’t work. I can’t even really say that it gave me peace. Whatever peace that I did have was superficial. What it did do was get my parents off the hook. When I was 18, my step-dad asked for my forgiveness … in front of about 5 other people. This was when I went to my church pastors about the abuse. I felt like I didn’t have a choice but to say yes. Truthfully, at that time in my life I wanted to do the right, Christian thing and this was supposedly it. I was so conflicted and confused. At 18, the statute of limitations would have been in effect and he could have been thrown in jail. I did not know this at that time. Forgiveness was no skin off his back but years of emotional suffering for me. It wasn’t fair. What did I get out of letting him off the hook? Nothing? Should I have gotten something? I don’t know. It would have been nice for my mother to divorce and start a better life with her but that’s not what she wanted.

They say that forgiveness isn’t for the “sinner” but for the person “sinned” against. I can see that. I don’t think that it should be the way it’s portrayed though. In my case, forgiveness is just recognizing that I can’t change what happened to me. I can’t change my mother or her choices. I have to move on. I have to forgive myself for the guilt. I have done that. None of this was my fault. It wasn’t my job to insure my mother’s happiness. It wasn’t my responsibility to keep my family together. My responsibility lies in myself. It might seem selfish but where would we be if we weren’t selfish to some extent? I have a responsibility to take care of my own health and raise my children to do the same. It’s my job to make sure that I’m happy and fulfilled.

Forgiving others isn’t necessary. Some people don’t deserve forgiveness. When I mess up and do something that hurts someone else, I understand that they are mad at me and have every right to that emotion and feeling. Sometimes I don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s not something that we should expect out of other people. It’s not something that should be expected to be given out freely. As civilized humans we all have to take responsibility for our actions and accept the consequences of those actions. For my parents, they never wanted to take that responsibility and they expected my forgiveness of them to be abundant and free without any price. That wasn’t fair to me. I don’t forgive them. I’m ok with that.

It’s ok to harbor bitterness for a while. It’s all part of healthy healing. We just can’t let that bitterness eat at us. Admitting that I don’t forgive them has actually made me feel better. It has lifted the load and allowed me to begin the healing process. Living a life of forgiveness toward them would mean that they must have an active part of my life which I can’t allow. Some might say that I’m wrong, but I say, “you don’t know my mother.”