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Dear Mother, I Forgive You!

Dear Mother,

I am writing this letter to you because I have a lot to say and -- quite frankly -- you are too difficult to speak to. You act like any conversation dealing with emotions is an attack on you. That's hard to get past when I am trying to express my feelings to you. But express them I must.

First, you say that I am angry. You are correct. I am angry -- angry that you never truly loved me as a mother should have loved her child. I feel it and have always felt it. You still don't and I know it and you know it! This is the simple truth.

You say that I caused the problems between us, by what I did as a teenager. Well, I don't buy it. That's a bunch of garbage! It's not just me -- it's you, too. And besides, a mother's love is suppposed to be constant. That "teenage rebellion thing" was done to escape your "tyranny". What is it that you need to hear that is going to make you understand? Come on, now -- isn't it a little ridiculous to keep harping on what I did when I was fifteen? It's over. Get over it. Forgive and forget. You know the drill.

You want my respect? Well what about my love? Respect doesn't amount to anything without love. I've been trying (without success) to get your love for years and I'm getting tired. I grow weary of the unrewarded effort.

What I do get is critical, demeaning, controlling -- conditional "love". I hate it. I hate it so much! I've always hated it, and I don't and won't accept it anymore. You either love me truly and unconditionally as I am or you don't. Your choice. Either way, I won't be treated like the servant-child anymore. Your days of kicking me when I'm down are over.

So many times you could have just listened when I needed to talk, or offered encouragement when I wanted to try something new. All my life you gave me your crumbs. There was charity and forgiveness and love for every stray, but not for me. You have no idea how that has made me feel. You need to take a cold hard look at yourself. And while you're at it for a change demand that same kind of honesty from yourself that you always expect of me.

How could I respect you? I couldn't trust you. You betrayed me at every turn. You were supposed to be my protector, my teacher, my friend, my mother. You were supposed to guide me with your love and understanding, not constant criticism and physical abuse. Let's face the facts -- you abused me both mentally and physically. I was the child; I was the victim. You were the adult; you were the abuser. And please don't say that you were abused worse than I was. That was your life, not mine.

You continue to abuse me by trying to blame me for all that is wrong between us. I am telling you all of this to help me and to help you. You've been doing us a terrible disservice by denying this and blaming me. You've lived a lie and so have I. I enabled it, allowed it to continue because I pitied you. I didn't want you to hurt. How crazy it seems for the abuse victim to try and protect the abuse perpetrator.

But isn't that always the case? It's classic -- part of the cycle of abuse. But no more. You have to choose. You have to face the past, accept what you have done and get over it. Quit putting the blame on me. I won't accept it anymore. Face it -- you did an insufficient, inadequate job raising me and now you are dissatisfied with the results. You reap what you sow.

If it weren't for Grandad, who knows what kind of deviant I might have become. I don't want to hear anymore crap about how he interfered. He got involved because he knew what you were doing to me was wrong. You were wrong and you couldn't stand the fact that Grandad defended me. I'm sorry that he didn't rescue you, but I'm not sorry that he tried to rescue me. The difference was he knew about me. When you love someone you can't just stand by and watch somebody else hurt them.

What he did was natural and was born of his unconditional love for me. You didn't have that with me. That is how you were able to hurt me and that is why he couldn't take seeing me hurt. You should get down on your knees and tell him you're sorry for making him suffer by your abuse to me. He was right; you were wrong. And it's no use trying to say you were sick -- that's no excuse for turning your sickness onto me. You should have gotten help if you thought you were sick.

You say I act like you owe me something. Well if there were a moral court of law I would be awarded millions. You're damned right you owe me. Tons! Millions of kisses and tons of hugs. You've loved and kissed and hugged every dog and pitiful other person who came your way more than your own daughter. You have always treated me like a second class citizen, the red-haired stepchild. I'm truly sick of it. But this letter is the end of all that. I cannot and will not go on with that charade.

You say I keep you from having a relationship with your granddaughters. More crap. If you loved them enough nothing would keep you away. It's a control issue and you know it. So listen: I do not need or want your unsolicited advice on raising my children. If you can't handle them or don't like the way they are acting, do not take the job of disciplining them into your hands. Just let me know or send them home whichever is appropriate and I will handle it as I see fit. That is my job.

To be honest, I don't trust your judgment. Your values and beliefs are not the same as mine when it comes to raising kids, and that is why I do not want you to get involved in their discipline. You are welcome to spend time with them and be a grandma but that's it. If you cannot accept that and choose not to see them, that is your choice and you will be keeping yourself out of their lives.

I regret that "Dad" has had to suffer through all of this hell. You have deceived him and robbed him of having a good relationship with me. You've painted such a picture of distortion about me to him for so many years. It's really unfair and quite sad. Why don't you face up to it and tell him how you have distorted the picture where I have been concerned all these years?

You point your finger at me and say my life is chaos. Well, you've lived a pretty damned chaotic life yourself. You are almost 44 years old and you still don't have your life together. You just ran off with a priest, for goodness sake. You told us you were going to marry him and be missionaries together. And when the assets were frozen and you couldn't finance the affair any longer, you pretended that you were brainwashed and abducted. Pleaaaase! You weren't brainwashed, abducted, drugged or hypnotized by that priest. You were tricked and humiliated: he told you he loved you when all he relly wanted was the money. He lied to you -- yes, and he played on the vanity of a middle-aged woman. But for you to say he kidnapped you and brainwashed you and deny all responsibility for your part in it -- well, that just perpetrates the horror, and that to me is chaos.

Not to mention all the other "hectic" things you've done. You and I both know what I mean -- there's no need to rehash that dirty laundry, is there? You know you've had adulterous affairs before this.

You accuse me of telling my eight-year old too much, but what about you telling me about your sexual affairs? Isn't that way too much? You say you've had your life together, but you've tried to kill yourself -- I've never done that. You pretend that we had such a stable life when I was growing up but I went to 14 schools before I was in the ninth grade. We were moving constantly. You had numerous boyfriends, some black like Gregory and Laris. I remember having to wait outside when you went to Laris' trailer to have relations, and Gregory running around the house naked in front of me and my cousin and I when she was eight and I was five and a half. I haven't done anything like that.

I remember being left alone a lot, after school and at night. And when I was seven you couldn't even take care of me and had to send me to live with Grandad -- I haven't done that. In fact, I haven't done a fraction of the crazy stuff you've done. My life has been pretty tame and quite settled compared to yours.

So maybe you shouldn't be pointing your finger at me or other people at all. You need to face the facts about all you have done. Quit criticizing and judging others. Stop blaming everyone else. It's you -- you need help and you need to get it now! Work on yourself and your own immediate family for a change.

Almost 27 years -- think of the wasted time! Time you've never appreciated me for who I am, or known me, or enjoyed me or really loved me. Quit expecting me to be the way you want me to be to love me. It simply doesn't work that way. I am who I am. Just love me for myself.

Look to Grandad for an example of how to love. He loved me for myself. He loved me for my soul. He didn't withhold his love because of my actions or my lack of actions, nor for faults or failures. He just loved me for me. Also look to "Dad". Look at how he has continued to love you despite your faults, your mistakes, your shortcomings -- he just loves you. That is real love. And it deserves your highest standard of respect and honesty. If you do love me -- finally -- you'll be there for me.

I will no longer subject myself to your maltreatment any longer. I am almost 27 years old. I have been your dutiful daughter long enough. And if you pretend that you don't understand what I am saying and don't change and be the loving mother that I've always deserved and that you've never been, then I'll know that you really don't love me as much as you always say you do but never show.

And don't try to say that I've never loved you or that I've mistreated your love or that I did things to just hurt you. That's just crap, crap, and more crap. Because anyone who didn't love you wouldn't have put up with your hell for so long. It's been me and "Dad" all the way -- we've been in it for the long haul.

I'm stepping back now. I have my own life to live without having to worry all of the time about you and what you think about me and how I'm doing and how I'm living and how I'm raising my children. Now it's time for me to jump on my own bandwagon. I can't keep rescuing you from your episodes to the neglect of my own family, especially my children. They need me. And what they need is a happy, productive mother, not one who is depressed because of her own mother. I am a good person, a good mother, and a good daughter. I deserve more and I am going to have it -- and so are my girls!

So these are the options. I'm leaving the choice on how we proceed up to you. We can behave as a family -- everyone treats each other with respect. You treat me as an adult woman, the mother of your two grandchildren. You don't offer advice or criticism unless it is asked for. If you choose this, we will have to tread very lightly and cautiously, a little at a time. Things will be very different.

Alternatively, you can stay out of my life. If you choose this, we can make arrangements for you to see the grandkids. We will be courteous and civil. Our contact will be minimal. I hope this is not your choice but if is, it is.

Whatever you decide, I forgive you. Now it's up to you to find a way to forgive yourself. May the Peace of God be with you.

Because she continues to pretend not to have read this letter, it is now posted on the Web where at least others have!

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