The Biggest Decision of my Life

Reading the title of this post you probably assumed – marriage, kids, changing jobs or buying a house…these are all big decisions we make as adults and very often it feels like this huuuuge undertaking and then six months down the line you’re like okay I was being a bit dramatic. but no, I’m not talking about any of those. I’m talking about the fact that it has been roughly 8 years since I last spoke to my mother.

I say ‘roughly’ because I never set a date to do this. It kinda just happened. (yes,how does something like this just happen) well, after years of emotional and sometimes physical abuse I had to choose between me or her, and I chose me.

I packed my things with my heart racing in my chest. I stood in my room going back and forth between “this is a bad idea” to “I need to get the fuck out of here NOW“. Trying to pack your bags when you are running away from life as you know it is really hard. Mostly because you’re doing it in panic mode and you don’t have enough bags for all your crap.

Surprisingly I didn’t actually have much of value. Nothing in the house belonged to me or carried any good memories so I literally packed my clothes. (Years have gone by and I still have those weird moments where I look for a certain trinket or item of clothing like ‘damn why didn’t I pack that?’)

And then I left. And the world didn’t come crashing down and no she didn’t pull up and demand that I come home. This is a fact that not many people are unaware of. Just in case you missed it SHE DID NOT FORCE ME TO COME BACK HOME.

Her story for the record was that she respected me as an adult and so let me go be my own person. (insert sarcastic cackle here) but she and I know the truth. On my 18th birthday she literally told me “now you can move out”. She was happy to see me leave BUT she also had no idea that I would be gone for good. In her mind it would only be a matter of time before I’d had enough of the cruel world and come running back so she could say “I told you so”. The irony of it is that I had already suffered all the cruelty at home so the cruelty of the real world was not a factor for me.

I won’t lie though. It was hard. Giving up the financial benefits was hard. Living on 2min noodles, living in a commune with strangers and walking to work rain or shine was not easy. But I was free, so regardless of my living arrangements I had succeeded.

My ‘mother’ and I never had a true relationship beyond pretending with other people. So to answer the question that is bothering you right now; no I don’t miss her. I miss the feeling of what having a good mother feels like but I do not miss her one bit.

What’s to miss?

oh you mean besides the constant insults and belittling and lies and aggression?

Not for me, no thanks.

Years have gone by and even though I stand firm in my choice, it still stings.

I miss having a mom but I don’t miss her. There is nothing to miss, unless you consider abuse to be a fond memory of your childhood. No, I don’t expect you to understand, I don’t expect anything from anyone anymore. I have set the bar really low so that when someone ‘gets’ it I’m super chuffed and share my story in order to educate them.

Contrary to her belief, I don’t tell the truth in order to create a smear campaign. I tell the truth to lift the silence on this heavily guarded secret. If my story can save one person, just ONE from living the life that I had then I will feel relief. Society guards maternal abuse in a bank vaulted safe, away from reality. But the truth is that this is an everyday reality for many people. And as long as it stays hidden this abuse will continue for generations to come.

I think I speak for all my people when I say that the path to recovery and freedom is a lonely one. We meet in the shadows, on private closed groups on Facebook, we blog anonymously, for fear of the flying monkeys. And it really sucks but it’s okay, we have each other. Until society accepts this as a real issue, in the shadows we will stay. But I feel that soon this perception will change. We made some headway with the dead beat dad situation, so surely we will graduate to a point where mothers will be seen for who they are. (I live in eternal hope)

Being a mom without a mom has been challenging. And will continue to be challenging. I am relying on books and the internet and my gut instinct to guide me. because I do not have a responsible and nurturing maternal figure to guide me. I’m four years into my parenting journey and I don’t think I’ve done a bad job so far.

But doing this alone is truly a slice of heaven instead of heaven in comparison to what it would be with her being a part of it. Constant criticism, disappointment, gas lighting, lying and forced interaction.

So all in all I think it is a fair trade. Rather no mother than a narcissistic one.

Photo Credit: www.dekeldesigns.co.za

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I have become a ‘selfish bitch’

Okay, let me explain what I mean.

After years of living in an emotionally abusive home, being told what to do and what to eat, and who to talk to etc etc I am finally making a stand and realizing that I have more options than my parents made me realize.

Back then I never had the option of saying NO. And for a long time after I left I never used the word no because that sense of obligation was so ingrained in me that I never considered it an option. Until all of these obligations started weighing on me like a ton of bricks. It gets hard to breathe. Each day is a struggle. You sit waiting for the next request to come up and drag yourself to wherever you need to be.

It is an exhausting way to live. It is not a life, it is an existence.

I waited many years for this ‘storm’ to pass. There I was like a fucking idiot standing in the rain waiting for it to stop when all I had to do was go inside. But when you are a victim of abuse you are so accustomed to not having a choice, that long after you break free from your abuser, the habits live on.

Whether it is in my mind, or just the way it is, I have become somewhat of a selfish bitch. I make time for my immediately family (my husband and child) before I schedule anything with anyone else. And if any social engagement does not suit my schedule I just decline.

I am an introvert of sorts. I love being around people but I equally love being at home in my own space. I do not like spending time with people who do not add value to my life or people who disrespect me.

Many will claim that my ‘issues’ are standing in the way of me having a larger group of friends and family but I disagree. It is all about quality over quantity is it not? So why am I branded as this selfish bitch for wanting to make the most of my time with the people I prefer?

You know what it is? Social obligation. Society hands us this set of ever changing rules that everyone just blindly follows.

You MUST be close to your family.

You MUST be seen out every weekend surrounded by a group of people.

You MUST do everything you can for anyone that asks.

I call bullshit.

I now handle my life the same way I handled my wedding guest list: If I haven’t seen or heard from you in the last 6 months AT LEAST then you’re not welcome. Life passes us by so quickly. I blinked and suddenly it’s almost Christmas. I can’t make up for the lost years of my childhood but I can work towards creating a better present for myself and a better future for my child by living for myself and not others.

I have a few close friends that I consider my people and for them I always have time, a shoulder, a cupcake, a glass of wine. But I don’t interact with them out of a sense of obligation. I interact with them because they add value to my life and they are invested in me as a person.

So no, I won’t be making it to your house next week, I’m just a little busy taking care of me.