After asking on my private twitter what I should blog about, fluff vs my depressing past, I decided to go with… DEPRESSING PAST!

Aren’t you lucky?

If I wasn’t so sleep deprived I’d just make a list because it’s easier but alas, sleep deprived.

So the other night my husband and I were up super duper late and somehow the conversation came around to my past. He knows ENOUGH of it to feel bad for me and to really dislike some members of my family, but to tell him even more? To wonder if he’s going to see how fucked up I really am? Not the easiest.

I asked him if his mother ever made him a microwavable meal while having a porn movie playing on the small TV in the kitchen or if she ever drove him to a sex shop (not the oh so classy kind but the kind that makes you look where you step) and get pissed when he didn’t get a “toy” that she felt was “suitable” (for the record, I got dice and fuzzy handcuffs, the least threatening objects I could find at the time).

How about the first time you end up in the teen shelter (the one and only time your twin was in a shelter), this time only for a weekend, because you felt you had to call 911 on your own mother because you were scared she was going to seriously injure your sister, to have your mother tell the arriving police officers that she wanted you, JUST YOU, to go because she would dream about setting ME on fire and burning me alive. However, a statement like that got her a weekend in the mental ward and us girls into a shelter.

Ah, if only I knew then that that first exposure to the shelter would give my mother the idea, the brilliance, to send me there anytime she got angry at me, or in her words “I feel MANIC today” while saying how she wished she never had kids, wished she had an abortion… maybe I would have tried to explore other options like emancipation.

Or how about the living situation getting SO BAD you end up running away across the country (to the man who’d later be the father to your first born) only to have the police show up after getting a phone call from your mother saying you’re doing and dealing cocaine? One look at me could show them how untrue that was. Even better? Two months later she personally drove me back to the airport to go back to live with him because the court decided she couldn’t keep sending me off to shelters for no reason except for she had dreams of burning me alive.

This all happened in about a year time span. Literally. All in ONE YEAR.

You all envy me. Hardcore. I can tell. Besides, I’ve written about her before.

If you hear my twin sister talk about our past, our mother, she would say she had a hard time too. I don’t doubt it. My mother was cruel with her words and even though my sister got the better end of the deal from my perspective (a car, computer, bed, didn’t have to work, none of the sexual stuff, etc), I’m sure she has her own issues to process. Although to my current knowledge, she and our mother still talk on the phone weekly. So maybe not?

I don’t acknowledge her as a grandmother to my boys because she never has acted as such. She only has met my oldest twice. Once when he was 18 months old and we drove up and visited her for my birthday a few years ago and the second time is when she came down right away to meet and visit with my twin sister’s newborn daughter (at the time). He was 6 years old and had no idea who she was really. She’s never met, or made any effort to meet, my youngest son. He’s going to be 3 years old this October. She’s never met or spoken to my husband. She never met my oldest son’s biological father.

So why do I post about this now? Today? No specific reason really. It’s just always bouncing around in my brain. Years of therapy, especially as a teenager WHILE all of this was going on, didn’t help. Really, I think it’s just the older I get, the older my kids get, the more paranoid I become. What if I turn out like her? My twin sister is already following her path. My brother has zero relationship with her.

I don’t deny that she has mental health problems or that marriage to my father wasn’t detrimental to her, but it’s hard to tell what is real and what is her own created reality when she talks about her past, her present… it’s hard to dig through the lies hoping for a bit of truth.

I am beyond 100% positive that this post will upset her, will end in a flurry of emails and letters to my siblings or even to myself, even though we’ve been estranged for a long time now. I will even bet that my sister will be upset as well, that I didn’t perceive her life to be as difficult as mine, that sure, she was given a car, but when I had moved back in after a failed attempt with living with my father (a glorious story for another time), my mother took the car away, so that means life was ROUGH for her too dammit!

I feel like I make conscious decisions to be BETTER for my kids, healthier for them both physically and mentally. I make more of an effort to talk about it, mostly to my husband, but still. To try and get it out of my head. To stop my nightmares.

But deep down? I still feel like that terrified child wondering if her mother was actually going to burn her alive.

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Linda Ursin
posted on April 17th 2012 at 2:05PM CDT

I haven’t lived through anything like that, and I’m sorry you had to. I don’t believe you’ll ever turn into her, because you’re aware of what she actually did and how it affected you. I hope your sister turns around.

My Mom was a control freak and a real bitch at times, but nowhere near that. I did run cross country, but only to be myself. Not to escape abuse.

posted on April 17th 2012 at 2:13PM CDT

I hope she does, however she doesn’t think she does anything wrong so it might take a dose of “rock bottom” before changes are made.

With the cross country runaway situation… I think when she contacted the police she was hoping for something MUCH more dramatic than, “ok, guess we’ll send her back to you then” because it ended up with MORE SHELTER TIME and then I was in the hospital for a week, and then to be appointed a lawyer who told me to “protect” myself after she went to court because the judge said there was no reason for the state to have custody of me, that I wasn’t “bad” or “evil” and she went nuts on a judge, lawyers, officers, etc. Super comforting!

Linda Ursin
posted on April 17th 2012 at 2:20PM CDT

I hope her “rock bottom” hits before she damages any kids.
Very comforting.

My Mom’s worst effort (besides offering criticism) was 1 slap, and when she sent me to be drug tested, and to a shrink.

When the test turned up clean, she asked if it covered fashin drugs like ecstasy. The shrink was lter. And the shrink sid I didn’t need one, my mother did :) Made me smile.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:05AM CDT

I do feel her daughter is already suffering emotionally and she’s constantly sick (colds, flu, ear infections… had to get tubes already). It has to be super stressful.

LOL that’s awesome about the psychologist!

Linda Ursin
posted on April 18th 2012 at 4:38PM CDT

I’m sorry to hear that. I hope that little girl’s life only improves from now on.

I thought it was too :)

Nimil
posted on April 17th 2012 at 2:22PM CDT

i’ve not lived the same life you have, but i have lived with a mother who had mental issues. i was told many times she wished i was dead, i was threatened with a gun once, but my father stopped her. she was very oppressive to me and my brother, which left us very unprepared for the real world later on. i could not ask her sensitive questions about female stuff, sex, or anything of the sort. i never got to see a doctor when i was sick, because she was afraid of them. i’m really surprised she ever took me to the eye doctor but i guess my vision troubles were just so bad she couldn’t ignore them.

she spent most of my childhood trying to pump me full of paranoia. everyone was out to get us, everyone was a rapist, a molester, an abuser. if my friends did something she disliked, she would DEMAND i tell them to change or not hang out with them anymore. she was homophobic and paranoid about the “gay agenda” she thought all black people were drug dealers, and all mexicans were lazy and wanted to rape white women and make them have children so they could stay in the US. some of her paranoia sank in. i am afraid to touch meat because i think it will kill me, and i am very nervous around new people.

i took care of this woman for the last few years of her life, after a stroke made her brain even more scrambled. she would not allow me to wash dishes, stating that she did not want me to take away her only job. but then she would never do the dishes, so they would sit there, and rot, in cold water, for weeks.

its awful but when she died i felt the sadness that everyone feels when a parent dies, but i also felt relief and it made me so guilty.

when i got pregnant my first fear was “oh god, please don’t let me be like her…” but i stop myself and i have confidence that because i saw all these things happen to me, i would never allow myself to fall down that same path of utter crazy. and if i start slipping into something that seems even remotely close, ben would be there to snap me out of it.

i didn’t mean to write a book but i know how you feel.

Nimil
posted on April 17th 2012 at 2:27PM CDT

i forgot to mention, the weirdest part of my mom was the 180 flips she would do mentally… i wrote all that but then i realized that during my teen years she went lax. she continued to be very paranoid, but then she would change and she would send me off to concerts with my boyfriend, leave me at his house for days during the summer, and act very different. then bam back to the paranoia.

i’ve often wondered if she had bi-polar disorder or something like that.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:22AM CDT

It’s so rough isn’t it, to grow up with so much fear.

I don’t remember much of my childhood except for a few moments (generally the really bad ones). My siblings can remember SO MUCH, street names, friends names, etc. It’s sad.

It does sound like your mom had some sort of mental disorder to have those kinds of mood swings and paranoia.

posted on April 17th 2012 at 7:12PM CDT

I don’t know what to say. Except that I’m here for you and that you are so very brave for sharing your story with us. Sending you healing vibes. *hugs*

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:26AM CDT

Thank you so much!

posted on April 17th 2012 at 8:16PM CDT

Actually, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, so this is the perfect time to write this, to share this, to let people know that this is not acceptable… this this, sadly, still happens.

Thank you for sharing your story.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:28AM CDT

Wow I didn’t know that! I’m lucky that I remember what month it is in general lol.

What gets me sometimes, is that there’s SO MUCH MORE than this. This post? One year of my life. Just ONE. I hate to think how many posts it would take if I ever wanted to do my life story heh.

Veronica
posted on April 17th 2012 at 8:18PM CDT

No. I dont know what that is like but I know *know* you won’t be her. You aren’t her. Youre kind, beautiful, brilliant, and needed. Fuck her.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:30AM CDT

{{{hugs}}} thank you

Samantha
posted on April 17th 2012 at 8:27PM CDT

The simple fact that you’re aware that her behaviour wasn’t normal should put to rest any fears you have that you’re anything like her.

I’m sorry you had to go through all of that. My mom only acted that way when she went off her meds, which has happened a couple of times in my life, and it was horrible… Fortunately she sees a psychiatrist and is on a pretty high dose of lithium, which stops her paranoia and psychosis… sometimes when I have a massive mood swing I worry horribly that it’s the onset of bipolar disorder, but the fact that I am aware of my moods and how they effect me and the people around me makes me feel better because my mother would flat out DENY that there was anything wrong even though she had gone from gardening with a smile on her face to muttering in a corner that the mail man threatened to kill her…

I’m really sorry it happened to you, Sarah. Really sorry. She can’t get you now. You’re okay.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:37AM CDT

My mother rarely took her meds, which I’m sure contributed to a lot of the verbal abuse especially. I think also, she liked / still likes the IDENTITY of being bipolar, it’s practically trendy!

I worry a lot that my sister is bipolar because she has the classic manic phase for a couple weeks then the depression. When I see her being “manic” it’s the unprotected random stranger sex, the binge drinking, the blowing money, etc. The depression is usually her binge eating, the sobbing hysterically, the “no one will ever love me”, and so on.

I know I personally have depression issues and after having the little one (that traumatic pregnancy/birth) anxiety issues. Which SUCKS.

AlishaJaybird
posted on April 17th 2012 at 10:00PM CDT

I’m so sorry that you went through that. That sounds like such a terrible way to have a childhood. You are an excellent person and you have come so far from that time into the person that you are now. And that is a person to be proud of. I feel sorry for your mother that she will never see that. You just go on being you, filling your place in this world. Sometimes situations like that are the perfect examples of what NOT to be, for both you and your children. It’s truly, truly her loss to not have a relationship with you and your family. Sometimes “family” isn’t the people we’re born into, it’s those that come along the road. You aren’t alone. You have family. You will prevail. **hugs**

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:37AM CDT

Thank you!

Amanda Jillian
posted on April 18th 2012 at 8:39AM CDT

What would have been an “appropriate” toy? Ugh I’m skeeved for you. I can’t imagine. =[

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:40AM CDT

It was just a few months after I was living with my then boyfriend (who ended up being my oldest son’s bio-father) and I came down from Ohio to AZ to visit for my 18th birthday.

Really the whole day was like that, the moment she picked me up from the airport it was highly inappropriate questions about my sex life, she wanted to know what he “did” to me, how he “did” things, etc. Very graphic, made me intensely uncomfortable, and all I could mutter was “oh look, cactus”.

Amanda Jillian
posted on April 18th 2012 at 1:19PM CDT

Wow …

Nicole
posted on April 18th 2012 at 8:55AM CDT

Being conscious that your childhood wasn’t normal and was abusive and knowing you don’t want that for your kids will be enough to keep you from repeating the cycle. You are not your mother. I’m sorry you went through this and are still dealing with ramifications.

posted on April 18th 2012 at 10:42AM CDT

Thank you so much. I just wish my brain could process it rather than still feeling SO much shame, feeling so dirty, feeling so WRONG about it all. I know it’s unhealthy to still think about it all as much as I do, 10+ years later.

Crystal
posted on April 18th 2012 at 6:34PM CDT

Hey sweetie, I mentioned on Twitter that I was tired, but that was an understatement. I’m exhausted. Anyway, I read. I may not have retained it all, but I read.

And I’m SO sorry that you had to endure that. No one should ever have to wonder if their mother really intended to burn them alive.

You will NOT under any circumstances turn out like her. You’ve proven yourself a wonderful mother, and there is no comparison.

I love you, and will gladly talk more about this when I’m more coherent.

posted on April 19th 2012 at 10:23PM CDT

{{hugs}} thank you

Violetsouffle
posted on April 19th 2012 at 9:43AM CDT

Hugs. I didn’t know you went through so much. I had an incrediy difficult&abusive childhood also but by the time I hit my teen years, I was burnt out from being treated so horribly& didn’t even bother trying to get out. I think I was numb. You will never be your mother, and you will never be an abuser, because you are actively working through your past& removing the toxic figures from your life. You are a wonderful, loving, kind mother and it’s okay to admit that to yourself, even if it hurts a little because you didn’t have one for yourself.

posted on April 19th 2012 at 10:24PM CDT

That was just one year heh.

Thank you, that means a lot to me, I’ve had so many talks with my husband explaining that even BASIC “jokes” and such can be super triggering for me, even the kids rough-housing can really freak me out.

California Callieh
posted on April 19th 2012 at 2:04PM CDT

Oh my God! How sad is your story. I came from a broken family, but I didnot experienced being abused by someone, and the worst thing is that it was your mother doing it. Now that you are already a parent, just move on and try to forget those hurtaches in the past. Enjoy what you have now, your kids and be the opposite of what your mother acted.

posted on April 19th 2012 at 10:25PM CDT

Thank you, I appreciate that!

Danielle
posted on April 19th 2012 at 10:20PM CDT

Sarah, just by reading this and knowing that you know her behavior is unacceptable makes you nothing like her.
I am so sorry you had to go through any of that, you are a great person and if you ever need anyone to talk to, my email box is always open!
((hugs))

posted on April 19th 2012 at 10:26PM CDT

{{{{hugs}}}} Thank you so much!

Maree
posted on April 21st 2012 at 12:27AM CDT

I think our past informs who we are today, but it doesn’t have to dictate who we are. While I think it can be useful to share past hurts and stories, I think it’s more useful to move on. My psych once said to me “You’ll never be happy until you give up all hope of a better past.” Not that I think you live in the past: look at all you’ve built. Your boys, your husband, your talent as a photographer, your writing on this website, your skills in website development. I sometimes worry about going crazy, but just like the possibility of you turning out like your Mom, it wouldn’t happen overnight, you know? If you were going to go down that track, you wouldn’t be an erratic Mom to your boys, your relationship with your husband would be all over the place. Maybe people like us just have to watch ourselves and make sure we don’t start leaning towards who our parents were.

posted on April 29th 2012 at 12:35AM CDT

Thank you for commenting! That is a FANTASTIC phrase for me to really think about, most people worry about a better future but I always wonder about the “what could have been”.

Thank you again!

posted on April 21st 2012 at 9:39AM CDT

You are a goddess, do you know that? You are fantastic and brave and wonderful. You have such a beautiful heart and soul and I wish I could take your pain away. :(

{{{hugging you}}}

posted on April 29th 2012 at 12:36AM CDT

Awww thank you, I appreciate that!

Rita Kunnan
posted on April 22nd 2012 at 1:33PM CDT

Hey Sarah,

It’s really sad to read your story, but I must say that you’ve been brave to take all this. Even the thought of having to go through any of this is very nerving to me.

I’m so glad you’re raising your boys well. Be strong, I know its easier said than done, but it’s best to try and forget your past as an awful dream and count your blessings.

posted on April 29th 2012 at 12:36AM CDT

Thank you Rita!

posted on April 23rd 2012 at 10:25AM CDT

I grew up in a home similar to Beaver Cleaver. We didn’t have much but my siblings and I were happy and healthy and loved. Your story is inspiring, not simply because you were abused, but how you are handling it and dealing with it. Sending hugs to you.

posted on April 29th 2012 at 12:37AM CDT

Thank you Kimberly, that means a lot to me!

Ali
posted on April 23rd 2012 at 2:15PM CDT

First, that image is amazing. Love it! Second, woah, drama. I’m speechless. I’m so sorry you had/have to deal with all that. In my experience with you so far, you could not be further from her. Sending you some mama juju as you heal and move on.

posted on April 29th 2012 at 1:04AM CDT

Thank you!! I think I might actually print it lol.

I hope one day my brain will be more… normal? Where I don’t automatically wonder if my asking my kids to pick up their toys is abusive or normal parenting (and honestly, I just pick the toys up myself or have my DH do it lol).

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