My mother has been reaching out. She sent me that letter awhile ago, and I emailed her back and pretty much laid it all down – my feelings and frustrations. My anger, and bad feelings about myself because of her, etc.
Since then she has emailed me a few times (like my birthday). I emailed her for her birthday. She replied and said it was the best present she could receive (me telling her happy birthday).
At one point I told her if she really wants to try to have a relationship, we should do it with a therapist present. I also told her I’m not paying for it. She can. Maybe that’s petty, but I’ve incurred enough trouble to my daily life on account of her. She said she thought it was a great idea, but her finances were tight and it would have to wait a bit.
I guess my hangup is how much damage she did to me as a child, and taking that risk of getting crushed by her again. I’m also terrified of her, so the thought of seeing her in person is crazy. When she emails me and the name pops up on my phone I have a mini panic moment.
If I don’t try this, when she eventually dies, I know I’ll have regrets and what ifs. Do I want to risk that? Death is final, so no taking it back.
I also have had this hole in my heart my whole life, knowing I missed out on a loving parent. I’ve crammed lots of other stuff into that hole, but it doesn’t work. So I could maybe heal that if this goes well.
I also feel like I can’t heal without forgiving her, and I feel like I can’t forgive her without facing her.
Is that all worth the risk of getting completely annihilated by her? Because I remember all of the pain she’s caused. I know she still has the power to completely take me back to how I felt as a child, and I just don’t know if I’m strong enough for that.
I forgot, she also confirmed via email that all of the abuse was her. For some reason I believed that it was fueled by my step dad. Maybe it’s easier to think that. Here’s what she had to say when I asked, “Jennifer,
I remember trying to talk to you and I could not understand why you would not listen to me. Brett and I talked about you and we both felt you needed some discipline. At first we had you stand in the corner and it seemed to work. As you got older this did not work. I felt I tried everything. At one point Brett told me I was going over board with the punishments, and I would regret it someday but I continued to do it anyways, after that he stopped being involved. So no, he was not the reason for all the punishments.
As I write this I realize how messed up my thinking was at that time. I was 28 years old when I found out I was depressed, and had extreme mood swings. My mood swings were the cause for the punishments. I felt like I was going out of my mind with anger, and I took it out on you. For this, I could tell you I am sorry for 100 years and I know it would not make things any better for you. I am very sorry for the pain that I have caused you. I do regret it – very much so. I have missed so much of your life.
As I mentioned in my previous letter the molestation tore me apart and still does sometimes. I can not imagine what I have done to you.
I hope I have answered your questions.”
When I read that, I feel empathetic. I know that I’ve hurt people because of my damage. Not children, obviously. But exes, and even Liz has felt the result of that pain and anger from my childhood. So I get it. I understand that she was ill, and hurt from what my grandfather did to her. But I still feel entitled to be angry, and that makes me not want to forgive.
She confirmed that she cannot afford to pay for therapy for us. I kind of went off on her. I told her about how hard it was having to leave foster care at 18 without anything to my name. How for many years I scraped and pinched to try to pay bills and eat. How hard it was to put myself through college. I told her that I wasn’t sure I could keep talking to her.