Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Was Abandoned By My Parents

I started this blog several years ago as a place I could vent.  I needed to be able to think out loud, to write down my frustrations about selling my house.  I think I probably had the blog up and running for 6 months before one day like magic there was a follower.  Somebody was actually reading my blog?  Crazy, man.  Crazy.

With all the excitement and flattery that brings, it also made me more cautious about what I posted.  I wasn't just talking to myself anymore.  There was somebody else who was listening.  Oh sure, it was somebody I'd  never meet in real life and certainly they would never know the real me but it still put me on guard.

I've been on guard my entire life.  I do not remember a time when I wasn't aloof.  Yes, that's the word:  aloof.  I don't trust.  I don't engage.  I don't cling.  I'm not impressed with much.  I am comfortable keeping things friendly and sweet, but not personal or deep.  Just the facts, ma'am.  Just the facts.  That's how I like it.

My father walked out on me when I was six.  I don't remember anything about him.  Sometimes I'll have a little flash of something but I'm never quite sure if it's a real memory or a memory of something I made up.  I made up lots of stories about him.  They were excuses, really.  He worked out of town.  He travels for his job.  He's here.  Or he's there.  What I could never admit out loud or even to myself until I was an adult was that he is just not interested.  He just packed his stuff one day and left.  No goodbye.  No see ya.  Nothing.  Poof.  He was gone.  He left no trace behind.  My mother never spoke of him again.  And I knew to never ask.

This was the 60's when things like this were not made public.  We didn't air our dirty laundry.  The truth was everybody knew.  And everybody was shaking their heads.  "Tsk, tsk.  That girl will never make it.  She's going to run around with the wrong bunch.  She's sure to get in trouble.  You stay away from her".

There were very few adults in my life that didn't treat me like that.  I just wanted to be included.  I wanted to be treated like everybody else.  After all, I did not make him leave.  Or did I?  

My mother abandoned me emotionally by the time I was 12.  Just as before it didn't happen over night.  It was just a little at a time. She was not interested in whether I needed new shoes or help with math.  She was not interested in helping with the classroom parties.  She was not the mother who teachers could count on to drive on a field trip.  I could not rely on her to show up.  And the few times she did show up, she'd check her watch over and over as the sweat rolled down my back and I tried not to breath.

By the time I was in high school I did not have any kind of relationship with my mother. I lived in her house.  I stayed out of her way.  She did not yell or hit me.  She did forget about me and would always  be too tired to talk.  I have no memory of her asking about my day or me asking her about hers.  We didn't do that.

I graduated from high school and then college.  My mother did not attend my college graduation.  I've never asked her about that.  Mainly because I'm scared to hear the answer.  Just like many  other things, I'd rather not know and then I can pretend it never happened.  I walked around the campus through the families looking for mine after the ceremony.  I have bright memories of groups lining up for happy family photographs in front of the university mascot.  I waited and looked.  I pretended like I was headed "over there".  I'd stop and talk and then move quickly on before I was asked any questions about plans.  Or family.  Or breathing.  After an hour as the crowds began to disperse it finally dawned on me she didn't show up.  She didn't come.  Wow.  She didn't come.  I drove to Wendys.  I had nowhere else to go.

I could go on and on and on about how I managed.  I managed to finish college.  I managed to get a job.  I managed to become a welcomed part of a faculty.  For the first time in my life I knew I was included and it was a daunting feeling.

That was 28 years ago.  And nothing has changed.  I do not have a relationship with my parents.  My father passed away 25 years ago.  It was not a lifetime movie where we reconciled and life was great before he died.  Nope.  He just died.  And that was it.  When I found out I didn't feel anything.  That's not true, I felt ........... well, I told Ironman "Now he knows"  Now he knows that I didn't turn out badly.  That's all I felt.

My mother still lives in the city where I grew up although she is in another house.  She has no desire to have a relationship with me.  We are unable to have the simplest of conversations.  My emotions ran the gamut from feelings of despair and sadness and grieving to outrage and anger and hate.   My mother does not know my children.  That was another letdown as I thought that she would see my children as a chance to grandparent.  I welcomed it to be disappointed by her again.  As I held my first born in the hospital room I looked out the window and saw her leaving in the parking lot.  She was going home?  Yes it was time.  She could not stay all day.  She had a 3 hour drive and needed to be home before dark.   I looked down at this little baby not even 24 hours long and told him that I would never leave.  He would never feel abandoned.

Why confess all this now?  Because I have NEVER told a soul.  Not because of my feelings, but because it makes the listener so uncomfortable.  Why would I want to do that?  I don't want those around me to feel weird and uneasy.  And so I don't tell.
Yes today I felt like telling.  I felt like putting it down on paper even if just bits and pieces.  Sometimes you just gotta let it out because it's so heavy.


  1. It seems to me that some people are just made selfish, sometimes they just can't give us what we want. Well done for coming through all that and loving your own family and making it your own. A great big hug from me to you.

  2. I am so sorry for all you have lost. For all you never had. You folks probably didn't have the love they needed either, so they did not know how love you. That's not an excuse, but we cannot give what we don't have. It is wonderful that you recognize this and are determined to love your own children. You are to be commended for sharing your pain. Too many of us bury it and it goes on to hurt others. Know that you are not alone. You are clearly a survivor. I pray for peace for you and continued healing.