Hello From The Outside (I Am A Hypocrite)
I grew up in a loving home, with a father and a mother that were seemingly happy together. We went on family vacations and my siblings and I never went without. My parents sacrificed everything for us, and I will always be thankful for that – for them.
I was so excited to move out of the house I grew up in and start a life with my spouse, and I felt secure in the knowledge that I could return home to visit when I got homesick. I believed the doors to our home would always been open for me. Family dinners were important to us all; every single week we all got together for spaghetti. It didn’t matter who was still living at home, they’d come back and we’d all be together for a little while. I figured that would continue to happen, and that our family dinners would just grow with each child my siblings and I had.
I knew without a shadow of doubt that my parents would be amazing grandparents. They would love their grandchildren, and happily have sleepovers with them all.
But I never thought that I would be a victim of child abandonment. I never knew I’d be without a parent, by their choice. I never in a million years knew how badly that would sting, or how deeply it would wound me. I never thought I wouldn’t have my mother to turn to when I was scared or uncertain about the vast world of parenting, or just needed her warm shoulder to cry on when I was hurting.
I never thought she’d be the cause of any pain. I thought she’d always be there, and then suddenly…she wasn’t. I went from having her always there, to having the ghost of her slice me with silence.
They say that the only way to truly move on is to forgive, but forgiveness is hard. The abandonment I felt still tastes as bitter as it did the first day it happened, the first day I realized that the mother I knew was gone, that she left – by choice. I can’t break down the walls I’ve thrown up around my heart, because I’m terrified of being hurt again.
And I’m angry. It’s not the same. Each day I feel further and further away from that unconditional trust one should feel towards their parent; their mother. I had a million ideas on how she could make it better. It started out with her coming back and saying sorry, but…that wasn’t enough. Her absence is the heaviest thing I’ve ever felt, even still. Occasional phone calls don’t cut it, knowing that she is content to be as far away from us as she can get stings.
I am a hypocrite because I advocate for mental health, but I refuse to allow myself to understand the struggles she clearly faces with her mental health. I knew that the divorce shattered her, I knew that she wasn’t in a good place – but that doesn’t erase the fact that her absence has sliced into my heart and soul. It doesn’t erase the fact that her actions have made me what I am today: mistrustful, guarded, and afraid. I don’t want her to feel like what she did wasn’t a big deal.
It’s still a big deal to me. The wound runs deep, it’s been festering for years and the act of apologizing wasn’t enough to heal it – the pain still lingers.
Maybe the pain still lingers because the apology was all I got. She didn’t start coming around again, she didn’t start actively trying to be a part of my life again. She still blames other people for her actions and aside from the occasional comment on social media, I don’t hear from her. She hasn’t called me in almost a year, and she missed another opportunity to be there for one of her children when they desperately needed her. She has excuses instead of actions, and excuses are almost worse than the absence because this feels like a façade.
Sometimes, when I’m alone, I’ll think about her and it will feel as if there is a deep void within my heart. Maybe I’m supposed to reach out, to make her feel like she is wanted in my life, but she left first. She hurt me first. I went years believing I was unworthy and unloved, and I have a hard time getting past that to be a better person.
And I don’t think I’d get the mother I want back anyway. The mother I want – the mother I had growing up – would never choose a man and heartbreak over her children. The mother I had would never leave, but she lost herself to the darkness, the same darkness that many of us struggle to fight off every single day and she’s content to linger there. I am not.
I am selfish. I don’t want to be hurt again, I don’t want to relinquish my control.
I don’t want her mental health struggles to be the only answer to the thousands of questions I have.