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back to English letters
|To my mum and my dad. from Stephanie.
When I was little, there was your pain, and there was me.
Me – the child who was the only “normal” the one who saw what others didn’t see. The pain you both carried around you like a huge sack on your backs. I wonder if you ever saw the pain in me? Did you ever look past the your needs, and the needs of my siblings to the needs of this little girl. The one who sat, thumb in mouth, wondering and watching “unhappy families” being played out?
Did you stop for a moment and wonder if this little girl ever wanted anything from you? No you did not. This child wanted love. She never got it. This child wanted attention from you both, instead she got distance. You were always too busy, too tied up in your own private griefs. Oh yes I often heard what a “good girl” I was, and where did that get me? Nowhere, nothing, I just kept being drawn in, to the family web of supporting mum and dad to the denial of my own needs. The only time I got attention was when I was sick. THEN I became a little bit special. Then you cared for me.
Dad you once said that I always had to “do it my ownself” but did you ever wonder why that was? Did you never think I needed some kind of help or support? No.
Things were what you offered – plenty of things, plenty of food, but no love.
The truth is our family was and is a complete MESS, a fucked up sister and a fucked up brother (who died very young). You and mum entangled him in your own dysfunctional marriage to the point where he died of high blood pressure. What an accolade you deserve for achieving that brilliant piece of work.
And Now? What do you want. You want me back in your lives. To fill that emotional hole that exists in both of you. Well my answer to you both is SOD OFF. My life is now my own. I live a happy and fulfilled life, and this is the last bastion of misery that remains. I am breaking those bonds. I deserve to be happy. Being with you I am not happy. Every time I arrange to come and see you, you have to control something, you don’t listen to what I want or need, and everything has to revolve around YOU. Well guess what that doesn’t work any more. Not for me. Let my sister do all the caring, I know that as a nurse she is willing to take on that role. I know she thinks I am crazy for taking this stand, calling it that “counselling rubbish” well – her life is hers and if she wants to go on being miserable that is her choice. It’s NOT mine.
Mum, I know that you will never seek therapy. You go on revisiting your miserable childhood when we get into conversation and I am unwilling to be a recipient of that any more. You were a cold mother, even though you write to me so often, even though you send me love and good wishes. I do not want your love any more. It’s too suffocating for me. Keep it for yourself, god knows you need it. I am NOT responsible for your emotional health that is all for you.
My unhappy life and the mess I made of so many relationships was caused by the learnings I made in childhood – that I was unworthy of love, that I didn’t count, that I didn’t matter, that being angry was BAD, that being good was GOOD. That crying was not done. Well hell on wheels, none of that was true – NONE of it, and it’s taken me 53 years to come to that realisation.