It seems that I have done this so many times before, been down this same path. But this time is different. This time, you won’t be pointing any fingers at me, denying my memories or minimizing your abuse. That’s because I will never send you this letter. It has to be this way so that I can finally speak my truth and have the last word.
The very first thing you taught me about myself was that I was selfish. Growing up, you always told me that my first word was “more” and that ever since then I became more and more selfish and wanted more and more things for myself.
You also always told me that I always tried to hurt you and that I purposely did the opposite of whatever you told me, such as running in the street and pulling down the tablecloth when I was two years old. You would say that I was crazy, that there was something wrong with me. And I believed every word you told me because you were my mother, my everything.
On the one hand, you seemingly despised me but on the other hand, you became jealous and lashed out at me when I became close to my grandparents. Once, when I asked for them you said that they didn’t want to see me anymore because of how badly I had behaved the previous time we saw them. Another time when I asked for them you told me I only wanted to see them because they give me presents.
I was so scared of you. Scared of making you scream. Scared of being slapped by you. But inevitably, it would always eventually happen. Once because I forgot to take my shoes off before coming inside the house, another time after I fell down outside and my knee was bleeding. I was always so scared of falling because it provoked such anger in you.
So many major life events have been tainted by your hatred towards me. My high school graduation that you forced me to leave early from, my birthday dinner where you called me a fucking bitch, my l’chaim where you screamed at me because some guests had inconvenienced you by arriving late, and my wedding day, which you told me a few days later was the worst day of your life.
Yet, despite everything, or perhaps because of it, I still long for your love and acceptance. I still care what you think of me, though I try not to give it away. You would never guess that I spend hours cleaning my house before your visits. I pretend I don’t care about your opinions and am careful to never ask your advice. This is my way of giving you back a slap in the face. I want it to sting, the way your slaps stung me and made me cry. I want you to feel and recognize my pain, to take responsibility for the disaster that was my childhood. I know you aren’t capable of doing that though. So I am choosing to wait for the impossible.