My mother recently found me on Facebook and sent me a friend request. Three days later I’m having dreams about her. Triggered? Oh yeah, you bet. I haven’t talked to her in years, since I was 18 and she called me a liar and said I was making up stories to make other people look bad. The woman abandoned me at 10 years old to my father, a monster who began sexually molesting me at 12. I am not entirely sure which I resent more – my father for torturing me or my mother for abandoning me.
My father’s punishments were always a little off. For whatever reason, he was into bizarre and torturous punishments. Timeouts were not used in our house but standing in the corner, arms stretched up above my head, for hours on end, were. My father would use a pencil to put a line at each of my fingertips and if my fingers weren’t right where they were supposed to be, I got beat with a belt. Do you know what happens after you stand in that position for a while? Your whole body sweats, including your fingers. Your legs start to tremble. When you’ve stood there all day? Your knees will start to buckle from the strain, your calves quiver and your arms ache from fingertip to shoulder blade. Your back will start to spasm. This for the smallest infraction like not making my bed. At age eight.
My mother would often step in and mediate a compromise. She kept him from going too far. Then one day, she was just gone. I came home from school, not long after my grandmother had died (she had lived with us since I was a newborn) and my mother was gone. No soap opera on the TV, no dinner cooking on the stove, just gone like she never existed.
For four years I didn’t hear from her and then just one day she called and was suddenly talking to me about moving in with her. By that time I’d been tortured every which way by my father. Laying on ice, kneeling on rice, writing thousands and thousands of sentences, not to mention the oh-so-embarrassing vagina “inspections” to make sure I was clean “down there”, the thousands of beatings with the belt buckle, the midnight awakenings where my father would grab me by the throat and slam my head into the ceiling for no real reason, hissing at me in a drunken rage. I leapt at the chance to be free.
It only took nine months, one rape, and running away from home, for my mother to send me back to my father and label me an “out of control child”. Somehow my father had managed to get busted for selling drugs and within six months of me returning to him, he was in jail and I was in foster care.
Now a mother myself to four children (only 1 is biologically mine, the other three I’ve “pseudo-adopted”), I cannot imagine ever leaving my child behind. I was tested when she was two years old by becoming homeless and at no point did I leave my child behind. We struggled through it together. It bonded us in ways I never would have expected. I had my tubes tied after giving birth to my daughter, determined not to birth any more children, but children with mothers who don’t love them seem to be coming into my life. And I can’t help but love them.
I haven’t talked to my father in almost a decade, since I entered therapy. I stopped talking to him when I started therapy and then neither of us ever reached out again. I needed to break free of the chains he had wrapped around my mind and my heart. Once I did, what little shred of parental/child connection there was, vanished. I sent a letter to my mother about 7 years ago, right after my daughter was born, telling her how I felt and she pretended it never happened. I told her she was dead to me and if she died tomorrow I wouldn’t shed a tear. That still holds true today.
And yet, here she is, friending me on Facebook. Was it an accident? Why did I accept? Am I just a glutton for punishment? What purpose could it serve? Why trigger myself in this way? I accepted and the thought at the time was “I can always block her if she starts trouble” but if she starts something, the damage may be done. So far she has been silent – maybe she just wants to see how things are in my life and see her granddaughter? Who knows?
In any case, neither of my parents deserve to know me or my family. I’ve worked very long and very hard to build a life for myself without their help. They’re not going to destroy it.