#ShowMeYourBrave: Blood Isn’t Always Thicker Than Water
It takes incredible strength to stand up to the people who are supposed to love us most of all. Emotional waters get so muddied when family is involved. We’re told blood is thicker than water, but what happens when cruelty runs deep in that blood?
“I am not taking part in this drama anymore.”
With that, I walked out to my car parked in front of my parents’ house, got in, turned out of the driveway, and cried all the way home on speakerphone with my mother-in-law.
My parents, specifically my mother, are toxic. My childhood and early adulthood consisted of me being held hostage by emotional terrorism. This may sound dramatic in itself, when I just claimed I was done with drama, but it’s very true.
What would you do if your spouse slapped you in the face one morning because you didn’t say good morning first?
What would you do if your spouse refused to talk to you or acknowledge you exist for a full week?
What would you do if your spouse called you a hussy?
What would you do if your spouse constantly told your preteen sisters they were worthless?
What would you do if your spouse said they loved their dog more than you?
You would leave that person.
Well, in my life, that person was my mother and not my spouse. When the abuser is your mother, suddenly you’re expected to just deal with it. In our society we have built up “mother” to be almost God-like. “You can’t stop talking to your mom! She’s your mother!” I would hear. “I’m sure this will pass” was another good one.
It didn’t pass. It only got worse with time. It ended with me calling child protective services because I was afraid my sister may hurt herself. I was afraid she may hurt herself because at her age, I was suicidal, and only with the help of friends, then my husband, and therapy did I survive. Society laid a nice fat spreading of guilt on me for wanting to get away from the abuser and freeing myself from the emotional abuse, but with my husband and his family’s help — assuring me that I wasn’t “blowing things out of proportion”, that my mother was indeed abusive and I did not have to let her have that power over me any longer, now that I am adult — I’ve learned to dispose of the guilt and live my own life.
I walked away from my parents. When I did that, I lost my sisters and I lost the ability to protect them — to be my mother’s target, instead of them. I had spent my entire life as a Kevlar vest for my siblings. It was a nauseating decision to make, to stop talking to the people who made me, because I knew they would cut my siblings’ contact off. I have lost one sister completely, the youngest. My other brother and sister have relationships with me, but they still stay in contact with our parents out of guilt. My choices in this situation were sobering.
I know, 13 years later, I did the right thing for myself. I’ve never been so happy. I was TERRIFIED of having children and “turning into my mother” but so far I’m a pretty level-headed mama. I live free of society’s guilt now (it took a few therapy sessions and some outside stories).
The scariest, saddest, bravest, and BEST thing I ever did, was to stop submitting myself to my mothers emotional abuse.
The #ShowMeYourBrave Project asks people, “What’s the bravest, scariest, or most intimidating thing you’ve ever done?”. The idea of the project is to share stories of everyday bravery and human resilience to bring us closer together. In sharing, we not only find our voices, but we find support, allies, and others who have faced similar challenges. If you would like to submit your story, we would love to feature your bravery here.
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