Here is a letter that shows that abuse can come in many forms and through many different relationships. Years of heartbreak have induced the insight which she fought against for so many years. This is just one example of the betrayal that can occur in family relationships, laced with addiction and narcissism. And she points the way toward redemption – for herself.
I remember taking care of you as though you were my own child. Filling in the gap, I loved you and cared for you, child that I was myself. We grew up in a complicated family – filled with love, yet also dangerous and unpredictable behavior from our alcoholic father. I tried to protect you – an impossible job.
As a teen you moved toward alcohol and any and all drugs. So bright, you turned away from school and took the low road. You disappeared always leaving us wondering – what happened to our brother? Where is he, what is he doing now. Always a mystery, hiding, twisting and turning, always with a mask on. Where did that innocent child go?
You swindled that piece of property from our parents. Where did the profit go? Up in smoke, up your nose?
You turned on me so many times. Just when I would come to trust you, you turned the knife. At my most vulnerable times you attacked. Why do you hate me? Is it because I stepped in as mother and you resented me for that? Is it because you are jealous? I will never know because you don’t speak the truth. Always the forked tongue. I endlessly forgave, had endless hope that you would turn yourself around. I wanted so much for you to be happy, to succeed, to fulfill your purpose in life – whatever that may be.
You would lead me to believe that you were back, but your words were tainted, containing artificial love words, with twisted dark intent underneath. Your words left me feeling unsafe. You turned on your brother when he was most vulnerable. You turned on me just before my wedding. You left your sister standing outside your door: no answer to her knock. Promises made and broken. I offered help that you asked for, then attacked me for being controlling. You got drunk when caring for my son, leaving him at risk.
I gave you a celebratory birthday party and you turned it into a drama, claiming that we threw you out of the house. What? And what about the endless times that you didn’t show up. Liar, manipulator: I never really knew what the truth was. Layers of obfuscation covered you over – the true self lost long ago.
Yet another twist: as your sister lays ill you disappear. The deepest betrayal of all.
My head was in the clouds. I saw what I wanted to see. It took me so long but I see now. I release you from my inappropriate expectations. I release you to your own journey.
I wish you love and authenticity. I wish you forgiveness.
I come home to myself now as the clouds clear.”