Posted on 9 Comments

Family, oh hell the woes of family

You know, my family has been anything but peaceful. I grew up in a very strict household, where every family member was too shit scared to make any mistake. I feared my father like you can’t believe. Why? He never knew I was autistic; the first melt-down was dealt with severely. That hiding stayed with me till this day.

Religion was everything. Church twice on a Sunday, prayer meeting Wednesday, youth meeting Friday, and I never had a choice. I just had to participate. Slacks were regarded as a sin; we only wore dresses below the knee. Hats in church. No make-up. No nail polish. No movies. Sin. Absolute sin all of that.

But was there love? No. From a young age, I had to hear that I was the unplanned child. The one who wasn’t welcome. The one they didn’t want at that age. My siblings married while I was still young; when I hit the tumultuous teenage years, they were living happily married in another province. They didn’t hear what I heard. They didn’t see what I saw. They didn’t feel what I felt. They don’t understand why I am the way I am. Still today, I am just the family scapegoat. Anything that goes wrong, can be blamed on me.

And yet, even thought I knew my mother never wanted me, I craved her love, her acceptance, her appreciation. The only thing I could do better than my siblings, were to knit and crochet. And I became obsessed with it. I had to be the best. I wanted to show her that I was worthy. Worthy of her love. Worthy of her wanting me. I never happened. With each project, I always got the same response: “hmmm, not bad, not what I would have done, but I suppose it will suffice’. As a child, I never knew that was a subtle type of rejection. My soul probably knew, but my mind didn’t. It pushed me to new heights each time. Each time I gritted my teeth and tried harder.

There came a day, when I was knitting something, my mom stood watching me, and she said these words: “the learner has surpassed the teacher; you are now better than me”. I nearly fell off my chair. My heart was pounding. My mouth was dry. My hands were shaking. To her, it was just a passing remark, one she probably didn’t even mean, nor remember. To me however, it was huge. I managed to stay calm, keep a poker face and left the room to cry for a while in the toilet.

My mom lived with my sister for 11 years. In all that time, she complained about my sister and brother and law. This, that, the other, whatever. Always complaining to me, and to my brother. So eventually, she moved to my brother. So she started to complain to me and my sister. My brother this, my sister in law that. Eventually I asked her to move to me. She did and the entire family was upset with me. Apparently I caused an upset in the family through one simple question: “mom do you want to move to us?”. That is all I did. I asked a question.

Two weeks ago, out of the blue, my sister and brother in law came to see us; they wanted her to move back. Only afterwards we realised that the same thing happened. She gossiped about us, to my siblings. What she said, I don’t know. I don’t want to know either.

Today, after another incident, I decided to resign from my family. If I can resign from a crappy job, then I can resign from a crappy family. I have tried for nearly 50 years to fit in, to be worthy, to be accepted, to be understood, to be loved. And I never got it right. So why keep trying. I promised myself that today, was the last day that I spent in tears, because of my family. They never wanted me, so I gave them what they wanted. I withdrew. Completely. Does it feel nice? No. Am I happy today? No. But I will be. And I know in the long run, this is the only way I will remain happy and live a fulfilled life. Blood may be thicker than water, but blood alone won’t keep you alive. You need the water too.

I have water. I have a wonderful husband who will fiercely protect me. I have kids who will jump in the face of danger to protect me. I have soul sisters. They know who they are. They carry me when my legs don’t want to move. They encourage me when I want to give up. They love me for who I am. And they have never made me feel unwelcome. Ever.

I have to forgive. I know I do. And I do it daily. I have learned a long time ago that forgiveness is a decision, not a feeling. Every day I get up and decide to live forgiveness. Unfortunately, many people confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. It isn’t the same thing. I don’t want to live a bitter, angry life, so I choose to forgive. For that exact same reason, I choose to not reconcile.

I have a gaping hole in my heart. A hole that only a mother can fill. And my mother will never fill it. She doesn’t want to, and today, I don’t want her to either. I am tired of trying to show her that I am worthy. I need another mother.

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9 thoughts on “Family, oh hell the woes of family

  1. Hilda I have only met you once and spent a few hours in your presence. I wish I had met you a long time ago and had the opportunity to have spent more time with you and learnt from you. I think you amazing and in terms of your story today I have an idea of what you talking about. Lots of hugs

  2. I feel for and totally understand your decision -take a new turn and start to enjoy YOUR own family and you achievements. Your are so worth it. Keep the faith-sending all the best of Karma.

  3. In 2009 my extended family (mom and dad had passed) attacked me on a silly thing that could have blown over, but they chose to attack. I resigned from them. It hurt, alot. But the peace I had was worth it. No guilt, no more drama, no more having to explain my actions. I was the eldest of all the cousins in a large extended family, and I now see posts on Facebook – the blood is no longer connected and I am at peace. A few years later one cousin came to me and said it was time I asked for forgiveness. They all held onto to the belief that I had caused the break and never took responsibility for their hurtful, hateful actions. I simply said I had forgiven them, but that I would never be part of that drama again. Never again would they have the opportunity to dish out what they could not swallow. It is 10 years later and I still feel at peace. You may not be able to choose family, but you for sure can choose to put up with the hurt or resign from the people behind it.
    Well done Hilda, you will find peace.

  4. Hilda I had a friend very good and very close I could rely on her to tell me the truth and she knew all my deepest darkest secrets yet until about 4 tears ago she accepted me as I was. Something changed and she began to continually lecture me condemn me and at times was just plain nasty, also often at times using scripture to gave a go at me, yet I remained loyal to her although that was getting hard. Last year everything blew up and she had a go at me about something that I still don’t understand why. I have for given her and like you I continue to take that decision to do so. I do mourn the loss of that friendship. She has been in touch with me over the last few months to apologise for her behaviour towards me, which I have accepted and we have communicated again since. Although not nasty the preaching started again. Like you I have realised that relationship is toxic and I want the best for her and that she is successful in whatever she does. I have forgiven still do forgive but do not want that relationship again.
    You will get there Hilda, it is more difficult when it’s family, but with God’s grace you will get there.
    Praying for you x. Karen

  5. This has resonated with me, in November I resigned from my family, mother brother and father, I now feel lighter and freeer , yes it hurts still that they don’t care, but now at least I don’t hear the stories, I have stopped all coms, they have lost out on being in my life, in my kids life, I am an awesome daughter, an awesome sister, they will never know that

  6. Waw Hilda. What an incredible blog. I have simpathy for you but more than that so much more i admire you. You dont see what i and i think i lot if other people see. I see a women with strength and determination. But also love. I am glad you are forgiving them. You inspire me. Thank you for sharing your journey. Pray that God will take you from strength to strength as you journey and touch other peoples lives too! Much love and respect.

  7. Ek wens ek kan jou n stywe druk gee en n lekker koppie tee maak.😓

  8. Oh no Hilda – I cannot even begin to imagine how you must have felt growing up in that enviornment. I have tears running down my cheeks reading how you were treated as a child – nobody should ever be treated like that.
    Sending big squishy hugs your way and I hope that you get happier and happier each day

  9. So glad to read this! had a blow up with my family in late Jan. and they disowned me. I’m sure it is a blessing but it has been such a hard road! We are still trying to recover and get back to some sense of normal. I would love to converse more with you about this.

    Also – I just started your boomerang shawl. Can’t find the pattern on Ravelry. Could you add it?

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