"I have no idea what I’ve done wrong!"
This is the way it always starts. Then it’s often followed by assertions they did everything for their children. As they try to desperately convince me they are the victim, I can’t help but feel who they are really trying to convince is themselves.
As an estranged child, it’s hard for me to have these conversations. These parents are saying many of the things my parents say. I’m sure my mother and father are out there somewhere, insisting they have no idea what they’ve done wrong.
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But the truth is, many of these parents do know what they did wrong. Firstly, because they were there. They know very well what they have done because they were the ones doing it. And secondly, we tell them as adults in a desperate bid to make them see the error of their ways so we can save the relationship.
I told my mother many times how she had affected me. Each time, I naively hoped she would listen to me and say sorry. All I wanted was for her to acknowledge the years of psychological abuse and admit it was her fault so I could stop blaming myself. But she refused to take responsibility. So one day I cut ties, and she had the audacity to act as if it came out of nowhere.
I begged my father many times to believe me over my mother. He didn’t. After what felt like the one-hundredth time, I cut ties for the sake of my mental health. He insists he has no idea why I don’t talk to him.
Both of my parents know the truth. But they don’t want to face it. Telling stories to other people where they paint themselves as the victims is more comforting. And those people lap it up and feel sorry for them.