Open Letter On A Breakup

I’m breaking up with you. From now on, you’re just another human being I’m related to, not my poor pitiful long-suffering mother or personal cross to bear or anything else that resembles a shadowstep in the waltz of recursive martyrdom you try and bully me into dancing with you, just because I’m your daughter.

I am sick of you being a bitch to me no matter what I do, or don’t do.

I’m sick of deflecting the slings and arrows of your guilt trips and bitterness and jealousy of anybody you’ve decided has done better at this life thing than you have, including me.

I’m sick of your baseline assumption that if I have an opinion that differs from yours I’ve had ideas put in my head by the latest guy I’m slutting around with.

I’m sick of pretending that I’m not angry with you for the years of slaps and mockery and judgment and broken bones you told yourself would toughen me up for real life, out there where I wouldn’t be so pampered and spoiled.

I’m sick of your transparent attempts at manipulation, sick of you assuming you can buy my behavior or my love, sick of being called an ungrateful little bitch when I don’t do as you wish in return for an unwanted gift I’ll only give or throw away.

I’m sick of being subjected to your drama queen act when it’s not really life or death, it’s just a car trunk full of groceries.

I’m sick of being attacked for not calling every week when you can’t be bothered to pick up the goddamned phone because you feel entitled to some fictional measure of respect you long ago decided would be adequately shown if I did the hard work of dialing.

I’m sick of thinking that just this once you’ll keep a promise to me, only to have to bend over backwards yet again to rearrange my life when you decide you’re in the mood for a power trip instead.

I’m sick of pandering to your abandonment issues just because your mother died when you were ten and you’ve chosen to stay stuck in that moment at her funeral where you were left alone with her body.

I’m sick of your sniping, backstabbing, sabotaging comments, sick of your temper tantrums, sick of you projecting your control issues and body issues and insecurities onto me as if I were born only to be a blank page for you to use up rewriting your life, the world, as you see fit.

I’m sick of every conversation being a negotiation of a thousand small conflicts that never fucking end.

I’m sick of trying and failing to meet or exceed your expectations, and sick of monitoring those expectations so closely that I purposely sabotage myself just to deny you the satisfaction of getting there first.

I’m sick of reminding myself that your shitty childhood is not an emotional credit card, that you don’t have the right to charge against it at my expense, and that I don’t owe you a bigger credit line just because you didn’t die when I was ten.

You gave birth to me and I didn’t kill you in the process; you kept me alive until I could fend for myself and I didn’t burn the house down around you on any of the many nights you passed out drunk on the couch with a lit cigarette in your hand.

I don’t owe you shit on toast.

It’s taken me years to assess the damage you’ve done, not just to me but to others around you, and in that assessment find a measure of clarity.

It’s taken me years to tease out the differences between the damage done to you that you’ve passed along in lieu of family wisdom, and the ways to do damage that you’ve invented all by yourself.

It’s taken me years to realize that my boundaries around showing respect and being respected by other people are just fine, that my understanding and placement of those boundaries have always been fine, that loving somebody doesn’t mean being that person’s physical or emotional punching bag and that it’s you who’s been fucked up about that all along, not me.

It’s taken me years to realize that there’s a difference between forgiveness and absolution.

It’s taken me years to work toward forgiveness through understanding, years to realize that it’s only myself I hurt by refusing to let go of the shit you’ve dumped on me, and it’s taken me years to get sick and tired of thinking about this.

I’m tired of analyzing and over-analyzing your motivations and history as if you’ve had no choice in the matter of your own behavior all these years.

Absolution is beyond me.

So I’m breaking up with you.

My survival is no longer predicated on your approval. I am grown and growing healthier every day. From now on you’re just another human being who I’m related to – I’ve got your skin and your bones and your strength and your smile, but your shadows are your own.


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