You’re no mother.
Yes, you gave birth to me (which you reminded me of on each of my birthdays, always wanting to make the day about you). Yes, you fed and housed me (with spoiled and rotten food that were inedible and constantly made me sick, and because legally you had to house me in order to get your child support). That’s all you did, the absolute legal bare minimum – no love, no support, no doctor or dentist visits (to the point of extreme health and dental issues), no teaching or guiding. You knew you were a horrible mother, – don’t deny it – especially during those rare moments of lucidity (read: narcissistic manipulation) when you’d cry like clockwork and want me to comfort you.
You know what you really are? An emotional and sexual abuser who got away with it. That’s right – I am no longer keeping your secrets, because I realized that I can free myself from those chains just by using my voice. I told you at age 11 about the years of sexual abuse I experienced by your “friend”, my father’s college friend and the person you cheated on him with. You brushed it all off and said I must have wanted it and that it was my fault. You actively allowed and encouraged the abuse to continue by letting him stay in my life…our lives. You still wanted me to think of him as a father figure, and to refer to his family as our family, while wanting me to forget and abandon my actual father. You encouraged him to sleep over in the only bed in our home for the rest of the years I lived there because you “felt bad for him”. You got angry and upset when I tried to sleep alone on the couch, wanting me to sleep in the same bed where he was so close to me I could feel his heat and smell the alcohol in his breath, while you two hugged and touched each other and… I never understood any of that earlier, but I know now it was just pure evil.
The worst part? I’m the lucky one out of the children you had. How fucked up is that? That’s all on you, Mami. Anyone with a functioning uterus can give birth, including horrible people like you. At least I was able to eventually escape and educate myself. I finally put to words what you did: Gaslighting. Grooming. Scapegoating. Love-bombing. Parentification. Emotional incest. Narcissistic abuse.
I feel survivor’s guilt that I got out, and that you essentially succeeded in warping my brother’s brain. He’s homeless again because of you, in case you haven’t thrown a pity party about that yet. It’s pathetic to fuck with a neurodivergent person’s brain by gaslighting them and causing them so much pain, when all they want is your love and support. I wish he could understand and know that you don’t understand how to love. That you feed off of his pain and misfortune because you’re a true monster.
Remember this photo here, from your 50th? The last trip we took before the pandemic locked down the world and when I fully recognized how you’re beyond help and salvation, and absolutely rotten to the core. You only viewed me as a credit card and a punching bag, not as a person. You constantly called me a slut and a whore for wearing the clothes you bought me, while also trying to flirt with my disgusted spouse. The night of your 50th, when you told me in the middle of a tiki bar with a piña colada in hand, how my abuse was worse for you because you “were the mother”. How you started crying, missing my abuser, and then danced to his favorite song as it happened to start playing in the background by some stroke of devilish serendipity. That was just so fucked up, and I’m still so proud of myself for keeping my cool.
I have no shame in telling others about what happened, and that we no longer speak – in fact, I feel more and more liberated each time I speak my truth. I also finally started telling our relatives about you and some of what I experienced, and warned the cousins I know so that they can steer clear from you. It’s almost like it’s my duty to protect others from you.
I always think of my childhood as a prison sentence and how I only started living life at 18. However, only now, with you fully out of my life, do I feel alive. Sometimes I regret not sticking to my personal promise of cutting contact once I left, but who would have guessed my abuser would die a few weeks into my new life, allowing for my foolish hope that maybe you’d change now? But I needed to know you were beyond hope. I needed to accept who you are through my adulthood experiences in order to no longer blame myself for what happened. I did the best I could in the situation, and you did the worst.
I’m reaching new levels of healing, and feeling healthier, happier, and more at peace. My world is starting to feel more and more like a safe and fun space that I’m actually excited to explore. It’s like I’m finally learning to relax, to enjoy, to use my voice, to just be.
I’m so happy I’m free
Steph FigPope loves to learn and be inspired by fellow creatives, as well as from the journeys we all go through in life. Their photo philosophy is treating digital like film, and all techniques used are done before the camera shutter clicks. No photoshop, no digital manipulation. The beginning of their career focused heavily on adventures while camping and hiking, particularly in the American Southwest. After a 2 year hiatus, Steph then came back with a spin on their photo style, as well as incorporating more of ‘life’ in their shots. They have also recently branched out from adventure photography to overall visual arts, expanding their artistic horizon to incorporate all the creative ideas they’d like to see manifest.