The Perfect Family
From the outside, we were the perfect family. But no one knew what it was like inside that house.
My mother was executive director of a program that provided guardian ad-litems for children who were abused. But there were no guardians for us. She beat us--with her fists, with objects, with her words. She held a butcher knife to my face, telling me she would cut my tongue out for lying (I don't even remember what about). One night, after being slapped, having my hair pulled, and being hit repeatedly with the stick of a broom, I told her I would call the police. She said, "Good. I never wanted you anyway. But it won't matter. Who will they believe?" She once told me that she'd put me in foster care so that I'd get raped and learn a lesson. She locked my sister out of the house and then reported her as a runaway because she wanted to punish her. She called us ******. Said we ruined her life. When she wasn't screaming at us, abusing us, she was threatening to kill herself, holding a gun to her head so that we had to beg her not to do it. Telling us that it was our fault she was so miserable. When I got accepted to a prestigious university, she laughed in my face and said that I was dreaming if I thought I'd get to go to that college. She didn't get to go away to college, so why should I? Nine years ago I finally broke off all contact with her and her side of the family in order to save my life, save my soul, and I've never regretted a moment of that decision. This is my life, my heart, my soul. It is mine to keep and protect. I am now a mother who could never ever imagine doing to my child what was done to me. I know my mother was herself a victim of abuse, something that she now uses to excuse her behavior when she tries to make contact (and she is sadly, still abusive to my siblings). But I was abused too... I have chosen not to continue the cycle. I do not hate my mother, but I also believe that she made the choice to hurt us. And while I forgive her, I will never put myself in the position of receiving her hatred again, nor would I expose my beautiful child to the possibility that Grandma would hurt her. I am sad that I have lost a mother. But I am also no longer afraid, and that is worth it.