A Letter to My Abusive Mother

Dear Mother | Hopeful Panda

Dear Mother,

Did you see how I didn’t call you Mommy like I had for all those years growing up? While you did some “motherly” things like raise me, feed me, give me clothes, and a home, and you were even nurturing at times, for the most part, you’ve hurt me. My childhood was filled with sadness, anger, frustration, disappointment, and pain when it should’ve been filled with care, happiness, love, and support.

You’ve hit me many times as a kid or you’d let me starve just to punish me, sometimes for disobeying you, or sometimes just because you want someone to lash out at for your dissatisfaction with life. You constantly blame me for your unhappy marriage, that because of me you had to marry Daddy. But it’s not my fault I was born. You act like it was my choice, that I deliberately wanted to ruin your life. No. But you, you, on the other hand, tried to ruin mine.

You keep telling me I was so troublesome, so difficult, that I would scream and cry as a child so you had no choice but to get physical. That’s not an excuse. You always call me a psychopath and compare me to the children in the news who killed their parents. You’ve laid your hands on me countless times, used various objects to hit me countless times. You left me with lashes, bruises, and PTSD symptoms. Yet I’ve never fought back, not even once. Even when I was taller and bigger than you, I’ve never fought back. I could’ve easily overpowered you at points. I could’ve stopped your beating. But I just took it. Yet you call me the violent, aggressive one?

You put me down, you call me fat, you call me garbage, a loser, ugly, worthless, useless, a nobody. When I make a mistake, you’d have a blast listing all the other mistakes I ever made. You don’t hesitate to point out my flaws and weaknesses. You don’t hesitate to make fun of me whenever you get the chance. You don’t hesitate to discredit me, dismiss me, or outdo me on my achievements and victories.

And when you’re feeling extra cruel, you’d wish I’d get raped (but oh, no one would want to rape someone as fat and ugly as me) or wish I’d kill myself, knowing very well that’s something I ponder about on a daily basis.

Even when I tried my hardest to be a good daughter, cooking for you, taking care of you when you’re sick, you say I have an agenda, that I’m trying to get something out of you. Are you sure you weren’t just projecting? Because all your kindness and actions of what a loving mother is supposed to be was mostly an act. You’d bring it up just to guilt trip or manipulate me. Or you use it to show off to others just how amazing of a mother you are.

I’ve tried time and time again to give you a chance. I’ve tried to justify your actions and make excuses for you. I’ve given you so many opportunities to do the right thing, to be a good mother. But every time, I just end up in regret, disappointed in myself for wishing or hoping you’d ever change. I let your fake facade of “kindness” at times cloud my judgment. I let the “good” memories we have together give me false hope that it can ever be reality.

But you just didn’t care. You never cared. Times that you acted like you did was all an act. Because if you actually cared about me, you wouldn’t hurt me time and time again, even when I did nothing wrong. If you actually cared about me, you wouldn’t continue to intentionally say things you know would hurt me, you wouldn’t ignore, dismiss, or even make me feel worse when I tried to confide in you.

I bet you don’t even remember when I tried to tell you I was depressed, hoping for affection support, or guidance. No. You looked at me, disgusted, saying it’s my fault I’m depressed because I’m fat. What’s funny is that I know bringing it up again, you’d just deny it or double down, claiming you did nothing wrong, you were just being “honest” for my own good.

Well, who’s the one that brought me fast food every day? As a kid, did I really have a choice but to eat what I had available? You said I asked for it. Well, if I asked for a different mother, would I get one? Because of you, I constantly struggle with my weight and eating. You say it’s my responsibility, well yeah, but it’s so difficult to undo all the damage you’ve done to my body ever since I was two. The terrible foods you fed me, the times you’ve starved me, and all the trauma and stress stored in my body from the years of abuse have caused all types of health issues.

I continue to blame myself and hate myself for not taking care of myself better. But that’s because of you, too. Anytime I cared for myself or did anything even resembling self-love or self-compassion, you called me selfish, arrogant, or egotistical. Because of you, I abuse myself physically and emotionally like you did. Because of you, I struggle to accept myself, let alone even like or love myself.

It’s my responsibility now to do better in life, but you did everything you could to make sure I’m in as bad of a shape as I can be. Kids with loving parents are nurtured, supported, and taught how to take care of themselves and love themselves. They started off miles ahead of me. I have to start over, relearn everything, and properly parent myself because you never did. I have a good life now, but I’m still held back by the past. I still have this gnawing, empty feeling that won’t go away, like something’s missing. I’m sure it’s because of you and what you did to me. I hate the influence you have over me. You love hearing that, don’t you?

You constantly tell me that being fat and ugly is my fault. That it’s my fault for not taking care of myself, my fault for lacking self-control, my fault for being lazy. You know what? Maybe it was. But you set that up. You know you did. You did the same to Ushi. You fed her fast food and junk food every day. Then you yelled at her for liking them, then called her fat for gaining weight. You did that! You made her gain weight! You used it as an excuse to tear her down like you tore me down.

And when I tried to say anything about it, trying to help because I didn’t want her to end up like me, you said it’s none of my business, that she’s your daughter and you can do what you want. Isn’t that proof that you intended for that? That’s not Ushi’s fault. It’s not mine, either. You made it happen. You made it happen so you can be the “beautiful one”. You made it happen so you can feel better about yourself by putting us down and saying things like how we should be more like you. You manufactured these eating issues. You’re the reason that I struggle with my self-image every day, the reason I never feel good enough, the reason I feel so ugly.

And that could’ve been Ushi, too, if she was still with you. You constantly used her to manipulate us, using her as emotional blackmail and threats so we’d do what you’d say. And we have no power because she was “yours”. That’s how you saw it. She was yours, yours to control and abuse, yours to manipulate and use.

Well, guess what? She’s no longer yours. And you did this to yourself. You gave me the opportunity to be her mother. You were never really there. Me and Daddy were. We changed her diapers. We played with her. We cooked for her. We reassured her and encouraged her while all you did was put her down and make her your emotional support animal.

Once Ushi was old enough to even talk, she kept telling me she wished I was her mother. She wished you would just disappear. And I kept wishing she was mine. I felt so helpless, so powerless that I couldn’t protect her. I didn’t want her to go through what I went through. And I can’t believe it, our dreams came true. She’s mine now and she’ll continue to be mine because you haven’t changed. At all. Even after everything.

You can deny all you want, blame all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that Ushi simply wants nothing to do with you. And she didn’t feel like she lost anything. She said you were never really her mother. If anything, she gained. She gained new parents, a new childhood, a new self, a new life.

You continue to blame me for brainwashing her and being a bad influence. You said I made accusations against you and that’s why you lost custody. I know this is hard for you to believe, but even if I didn’t testify in court, you self-incriminated by blaming all your actions on everyone and everything. I’m actually shocked at your total lack of self-awareness, how you didn’t deny any of the allegations, but instead doubled down by trying to justify them, even claiming that Ushi asked for it! I can’t believe you were so confident in yourself that you couldn’t even see how that’d never play in your favor. You honestly believe you’re always right, don’t you?

Maybe you’re in extreme denial. I mean, you must be. There’s no way someone who has lost everyone ever close to them can still think it’s everyone else’s fault. At some point, you’ve gotta look at yourself and ask, why does no one want to be with me? Why are none of my children talking to me?

I know you blame me and Daddy, that we’re brainwashing them not to talk to you. Just that thought already shows how little you think of your children, how easily you think they can be influenced by other people. They can think for themselves, you know. They are their own people.

When we’re smart, it’s because we’re related to you or you taught it to us. We’re smart when you want to brag about us to your family and friends. But any other time, we’re just stupid and naive, right? Easy to mold, manipulate, and control?

I bet you never expected life to turn out this way. I know I didn’t. You really had me believe that I’ll die alone with no one to ever love me. But right now, it’s looking like that’ll be you. Again, maybe you were just projecting. You’d love to say we’re always projecting, but that’s just you, isn’t it?

Even with no one in your life, you still blame literally anything and anyone else. You love talking about karma, constantly saying we’ll get ours. Well, we are. We are all happier and better off without you.

You made us depressed, anxious, fearful, and desperate to get out. But you never cared about how any of us felt, did you? You only cared about yourself, how we made you angry, frustrated, or depressed. You said we were all “conspiring” against you because we want to push you out so we can have the house to ourselves. That’s the story you keep telling people. That we’re all greedy, selfish monsters. But you pushed us to call CPS on you. It was a decision we all made together. That’s how desperate we were to get you out of our lives and to save Ushi. And look at it now, none of us are living in that house anymore. Just you. Again, projection.

You made us hate ourselves. You made me feel worthless, useless, ugly, stupid, and so much more. I’ve never hated anyone as much as I hated myself because you made me believe that. You made me believe I was the worst, the ugliest, most unlovable person ever. You’ve never made me feel happy, safe, understood, smart, beautiful, or worthwhile. And you most definitely never respected me because, in your words, “I’m your mother. I don’t need to respect you, but you have to respect me”.

You’ve never respected our boundaries or privacy. You touch my body without asking. You threw our things away without asking. And when we confront you about it, you just deny it or you turn it around on us, about how we’re so cluttered, dirty, and filthy. We weren’t the ones leaving rotting food on the kitchen table. We weren’t the ones leaving our clothes in the hallway, stairway, or anywhere else creating a fire hazard. Every behavior you complained about us was something YOU did.

You would run to strangers or family or friends with your sob stories about how terrible of a daughter I am. You would tell them things I did, words I said back in defense to your abuse, but you conveniently leave out your part in it. Everyone looks at me with skeptical eyes or disgust, like, “Gross, that daughter of yours is such a brat and so ungrateful”. You wouldn’t hesitate to tell me how many different people think I’m so terrible. How many of those were even true? How many times did you twist the truth just so it can fit your narrative that you’re the victim and I’m such a monster? Do you remember the time you tried to push me down the stairs but failed, then went on crying to the world about how I was the one who hit you? I bet you don’t. But I do.

Did you tell people how you hit me or starve me? Did you tell people the things you did to Ushi behind closed doors? Did you tell people how you lied about Daddy abusing you just so you could get him arrested? Did you tell people the different men you’d bring into a house that Daddy also owns, with all your children there, with Ushi on the same bed? Of course not. You would never. Instead, you just spread lies or exaggerations or half-truths, anything to make you the victim.

When I finally found someone who loves me, you tried your best to ruin that. You pointed out all the ways that he’s better than me, how I can never measure up. You tried to make me doubt the relationship, implying that he’s not with me because he loves me, but because he wants something else. You even implied that Ushi, a little kid at the time, would steal him away from me one day. You knew you weren’t a viable option, so you used Ushi like a tool once again.

And once you realized, “Oh shit, this guy actually likes her”, your attitude towards him changed. Before, you’d shower him with gifts and compliments. Not saying you were trying to seduce him, but you definitely wanted an ally on your side, didn’t you? But once you realize he was true to me, all you can say is how terrible he is for being able to like someone like me. “Who can like someone who treats their mother this way?” He’s not blind, y’know? He sees how you treat me, and Ushi, and everyone else.

You just can’t handle the fact that someone actually loves me. You constantly say that I’m jealous of you because you have men in your life and I don’t. But I was never jealous of you. I thought I was because you said it so much while listing a bunch of evidence as to why I was, oh, because you’re more “beautiful”, “smart”, “sexy”, and “desired”. But it’s just another projection. In reality, you were jealous of me. You’re jealous that I found someone who loves me. You’re jealous that I was happy. You’re also jealous that Ushi preferred me over you.

And ever since I was a child, you were jealous of me because my life was just beginning while yours was coming to a halt. I had all this opportunity to chase my dreams and live my life while you didn’t. You wanted me to go down the same road you did. You were unhappy and unfulfilled so you wanted all of us to be, too.

I was your punching bag because I was the only thing you had control over in your life at the time. But it’s not my fault that you felt powerless, lost, and disappointed with life. It’s not my fault that you made the choices you did to end up where you were. It’s not my fault for being born!

You also pit Kame against me growing up, playing obvious favorites, showering them with gifts and praise, and me with insults and blame. I thought I hated Kame for constantly getting me in trouble, but that was all your doing. Even now, you still try to do it, claiming I’m jealous of my siblings, that I’m trying to drag them down and ruin their potential so that they can be a loser like me.

You also pit Daddy against me. I felt like he hated me for the longest time because he saw you in me. You made me into a little you – insecure, sensitive, and dramatic. I blame Daddy for what I experienced, too, but at least he’s trying to do better for Ushi. It was his idea to involve CPS. He’s not without fault, but if you weren’t in the picture, he wouldn’t have been that way.

Once we actually started getting along, it was obvious that it bothered you. Your little setup of us hating or resenting one another was fading. And the happier we were, the more annoyed you were. I could see it in your eyes. When we’re watching TV, playing a game, or doing an activity as a family, you would shoot daggers from the sidelines. But we didn’t exclude you, at least not at first. We’ve asked if you wanted to join time and time again, but you didn’t. You didn’t care to take part in the family. The rare times you did, we had fun and those are the few “good” memories we have of you. But for most of it, you were just trying to ruin our happy memories you didn’t want to participate in.

You tried to make us feel guilty for being happy when you weren’t. You made us scared of laughing or smiling around you because it’ll cause a tantrum. And my god, you caused a tantrum almost every day. We could literally just be watching TV, but you’d come up to yell at us for hogging the living room. We would be cooking, but you’d yell at us for messing up your kitchen. You have something to complain or scream about. All. The. Time. It was exhausting and draining living with you. We all had to walk on eggshells. We had to sneak around you. You made our home a scary, dangerous place.

You’ve done so many terrible and despicable things to all of us that I can never fully recount in this letter. You probably remember none of it. Or you only remember how you did the “right” or “reasonable” thing. Or that it’s our fault for being sensitive or making you act that way. Am I right? There’s always an excuse, a justification, a reason. You can never just acknowledge your mistakes, accept accountability, and apologize. I don’t understand why that’s such an unthinkable concept for you. I don’t know why you’d rather lose everyone and everything than just admit you messed up.

All I ever wanted was for you to acknowledge that you’ve hurt us. But I accepted that that’ll never happen. So now, I just want you to give Daddy back what’s rightfully his and then leave us be. Stop calling. Stop texting. Especially stop with the accusations and blaming.

I’m not keeping Ushi from you. I’m not imprisoning her, holding her hostage, or torturing her like you say I am. Unlike you, I actually respect her wishes. She doesn’t want to talk to you. It’s that simple. There’s no conspiracy, no torture, no brainwashing. I’m not going to make her do something she’s not comfortable doing. Ushi is happy with us. She’s getting the childhood she deserves. If you actually care about her like you said you are, you would be okay with that.

I’d say you’re free to return to our lives when you’ve acknowledged your wrongdoings, genuinely apologize, and do what you can to make it up to us. But just because I’m okay with that doesn’t mean everyone else is. Unlike you, I care about my family. Ushi wants nothing to do with you. Also, you tried to have my husband arrested and killed, so there’s no way we could ever feel safe around you again, no matter how much you change. I might still have an attachment to you, and that’s something I have to work through. But nobody else is. You obviously couldn’t care less about me, so I guess thanks for making it easier for me to cut ties.

But… I could talk to you, maybe even see you, and update you about our life IF you change, and I mean ACTUALLY change. But that’s all I would do for you, which I think is already very generous of me after all you’ve done. But I don’t see that happening. So till that miracle occurs, leave us alone.

You always complained that we were dragging you down. You always complained that it’s so hard being a mother and a wife and raising children, right? Well, now you don’t have to. Shouldn’t you be happy about that? You’re finally free to live your life like you always wanted. Do all those things you wanted to do that you said we were keeping you from. You’re free, Mother. Go live your life and stop trying to be in ours.

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Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with a physically and emotionally abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.

I am always trying to better learn, understand, and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this healing journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda, a place where others who faced childhood abuse can hopefully find support, resources, and motivation to begin healing.

A lot of time and effort is put into this blog – for me and for you. If you enjoy my content or find it helpful, please consider sharing and/or making a donation. Thank you!

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