Mum, you’re nearing the end of your life now. I know you never want to hear that type of talk, but it’s a fact. You’re in your mid-eighties. I wish you well, despite the pain you’ve caused me. I want you to enjoy what years you have left, but I need to write this letter to put a few things straight.
You’ve been an awful mother. You’ve inflicted so much damage on your children, and while I don’t know the intimate details of your life with my father, I know some things and I know he suffered a lot in his relationship with you.
I tell myself I hate you, but the reality is I have always wanted to be loved by you. Many decades have passed and I am hardened to not being loved by you. I know you can’t love, not properly and all your little ‘shows’ of love are nothing more than grabs at attention, methods to be seen as the doting mother, when you’re not. You suffer from chronic Narcissistic Personality Disorder but you’ve fooled people all your life.
You have never told me you love me, have never put your arms around me. When I was growing up I needed you, but you were never there. I put myself in the most terrible situations after leaving school, and looking back I know that this was because I felt worthless, unlovable. I still feel worthless and unlovable. Your legacy is a virus that cannot be killed. It runs through my blood, despite knowing about your own disease, the disease of narcissism.
The list of your ‘sins’ is never-ending; you sent me away to boarding school at a young age because you couldn’t cope with me. I became ‘ill’ at school and my studies suffered terribly because I couldn’t attend class. I would lie on my bunk-bed in my dorm in terrible pain due to severe migraines. I never saw you on holidays because you were always travelling the world with my father and during these holidays I was sent to stay with a family relative.
I was growing, as young girl into a young woman, at boarding school, infused with this feeling of unlovability. How could anyone like me when my own mother refused to talk to me on the phone, or see me on holidays. There was the rare occasion when you came over from abroad to see me at school on holidays and you took me out for a day out – no doubt on instruction from my father – your husband. And these days out were always filled with activities that you wanted to do, shopping for clothes for yourself, scouring antique shops for precious items for your house, seeing friends of yours.
I was there, I just tagged along silently, not understanding. I wanted to talk to you, understand the world, understand what was happening to me as my body was changing, but there was never once any opportunity to talk. Talking with you was impossible.
Fast forward to when I had my children. Dad and you would come and visit me and the kids – you always insisted on staying in your own serviced apartment near to our house – and you never offered to babysit, never came over except for meal-times when my husband prepared his wonderful gourmet meals for you. You never spoke to my kids, you criticised my husband’s cooking, even though he is highly skilled at cookery.
You seemed bored and demanded to leave early. It was all too much for you.
I remember the time I called you up and said I needed help. Your answer to me was – well, go and see a doctor then.
Every phone conversation with you is littered with the word ‘I’ – I am doing this, I like that, I want this, I am going there, ‘my’ this and that. Never a word to ask how we are doing, how are the kids.
My husband, a skilled photographer, took some photos of you for a dating site you wanted to go on, many years after my father died. You didn’t like the photos even though they were nice. You accused my husband of ‘giving you wrinkles’ – you were 75 at the time.
Mum, a little girl, a little boy, growing up needs oceans of love and support to thrive. Parenting is a 24-7 job and no one ever counts the cost if they love their kids. It’s a joy to help your children through the hard times, to be their shoulder to cry on. I needed that from you but you were never there for me.
My oldest son was born with severe medical problems but after his birth you did not stay to support me. Photos were taken of you holding the baby and then you left to go on your holiday. Nothing more was said about the trauma of his birth, on him or me.
You have no empathy, no real love for anyone but yourself. You have been an awful mother. You should never have been a mother. My father should have divorced you during those difficult times of your marriage. But now, you’re still here doing your damage. Yours is a bitter legacy. It hurts. You still hurt. You inflicted damage on your children, by dividing them against each other. We don’t talk, the siblings and I and that’s your game plan; to divide and conquer and you’ve succeeded. So I guess your life has been a success. I have no birth family now, because I am estranged from all my siblings and half-siblings. I have no birth family, no one to laugh with over childhood memories, no way to feel connected in the soft encircling of past history.
If I could write that message on your gravestone, I’d write this.
1933 – ?
Me, myself and I
Your daughter, Miranda.