My Struggles with Forgiveness, Blinded by Hate
A Family In Crisis
Something everyone should realize is that child abuse can occur in any family. That a family does not have to be black, Latino, Muslim, etc. and they do not have to be dirt poor either. Child abuse, abandonment, and neglect can even come from the typical all-American family.
As many of my fans, and fellow hubbers already know, I'm not one who writes emotional, heartfelt hubs. I'm not the type of writer who pours their heart and soul out in this way. However, lately I have had yet another encounter with stepfather, who reached out to me by telephone. Bruce is growing older, and not feeling any younger these days. He too, like my biological father, has some health issues, which are now, making them re-think their past behavior towards me, and of amending that emotionally and physically abused relationship. I think he is wanting to spend, the rest of his life, in harmony with mine. Wishful thinking on both their parts, Bruce or my dad, but..., I at least respect Bruce's honesty. That's more than I can say for my biological parents.
Bruce and I had a very complicated and difficult relationship, when I was growing up. But, you know I was starting my life on my own, newly married, having a child..., and there for a long time back in the 1990s, Bruce and I were okay. You know- I could manage my past back then. It was what it was. Real shitty, but, hey we all have had our ups and downs, right? So, I won't go into the horrible eventful details, which eventually divided Bruce and I again, nevertheless, he as an individual who has always been true to himself. Let me just say, he has never "changed his spots" for anybody, he is who is, take it or leave.
Back in 2004, my family was in a great, massive, divide. It was at this time period when my beloved husband of ten years, hung himself one Wednesday morning at our family-run lumberyard, just sometime after dawn. Though Bruce and I were not talking at the time, I called him that morning to ask him for help in finding my (though nobody believed me at the time) mentally sick husband. I clearly remember saying to my step dad, "Bruce I know you hate me, but, I know Bucky's dead somewhere. Please help me find him." Click went the telephone, and I was soon off and on my way to find my precious love of twelve years. At 7:22am, I somehow broke a deadbolt by rattling the large security-gates open, which then led to our family's back section of the business, where the lumber and stuff was kept. Needless to say, there was my husband, best friend, and father of my child. He had hung himself between a pile of sheetrock and insulation materials. Bucky wasn't a small man. He was 6'0 feet tall, and weighed well-over two hundred, twenty-five pounds, so the dead weight of his body, had actually caused the rope to stretch. When I turned the corner and saw him, his knees were bent and buckled, and was leaning on a 4x4 support post. He look as if he was peacefully resting there, or taking a quick work break.
I tried, oh how I tried to lift his body. But he was dead, and there was no moving a 225+ size man of dead weight. I remember his body was warm to the touch. I know he had only just recently departed this world, abandoning me and our son. His hands, my my his hands; I'll never forget how purple they were from all the blood clotting inside them. Naturally they were swollen, and a dark, purplish, black color. My stepfather Bruce soon arrived behind me, about fifteen minutes after me or so, took one look at Bucky and vomited. I had just enough time for me to kiss my beloved, and scream to God, "Why, oh my GOD, WHY?" I tell you this tale because Bruce and I shared this moment together. Bucky was not only his step, son-in-law but, his best friend as well.
Though the darkness of death, shadowed over Bucky's body, one could see that he had finally found peace, before he departed this world. I have to say, seeing my husband hanging there, was probably the most horrific event I've ever seen. Moreover, it was the most precious and beautiful thing that has ever caught my stare. He looked so peaceful, relaxed and calm. Angelic almost. Because of this- I wouldn't let my mother, Barbara, see Bucky like that that day. She didn't deserve to see his peace, and she didn't deserve to have an emotional bond with me, for the rest of my life. He was mine, and Barb and I were estranged at the time- so, I didn't even want her there. In that regard- I am so glad I had enough strength to hold her back, stand up to her, and tell her "No!" Although, she'd later get me back for keeping her at bay. It was my sincere feeling that she didn't deserve him (or me for that matter), at that time in our lives.
All my life it's always been about her, and what she wants or how she was wronged. As my mom, she never protected me from my dad, being molested, or my step-dad. It was easier I guess, for her to instead wickedly abandoned me, as a daughter and child of hers. It was like she had wished that I wasn't in her life, and because of those ill feelings that she was silently harboring; allowed me to be victimized by my dad and step dad (who were very abusive), her friends, and even my siblings. It is as if she fed me to the wolves. She never defended me, and always let people talk down to me, and treated me like worthless, poor, white-trash. Why? It was the same old reason she had abandoned me before time and time again, MONEY and JEALOUSY. Let Bruce do what he wanted, so she could spend what she wanted on the Visa card. I am so serious people. I'd get beat up by him, she'd come home with new clothes for herself or a new wardrobe for one of my siblings. Which was usually to the benefit of my little sister.
After Bucky's passing, my life went terribly downhill. I had no family support whatsoever, or zero help getting through this tragic time in my life. I did bad things to myself, really terrible things. Like burning myself with cigarettes, or cutting out my toe nails completely. I fell heavily into drugs, crack cocaine to be exact. But you know, I wanted to die. I was in and out of mental hospital's, three times. Did my mother visited me? Once, because my sister made her go. The two other times, she called and lectured me about being a burden and a waste of time.
I have to tell you, I needed my mother in the worse possible way. I was desperately falling out of control. Still she insisted on taking this stance against me, so in truth, I was better off not seeing her. Ironically, my family thought the best way to provide me with love and support, was by try to have my child taken away from me. Zachary never saw the bad side of me. I had moved in my mother-in-law, who took care of Zachary for me. She was everything to me at that time. I would hang out in our basement, do my thing, and Zachary was watching TV upstairs with his grandma. He seriously had no clue. I didn't lash out in front of him. I didn't cry in front of him. He just knew that I incredibly sad. However, secretly behind my back, my "loving" family were busy little beavers, chopping away at his love for me, lying to him, and telling him I was unfit as a mother, and that I didn't love him. They told him that I basically killed his father, it was a nightmare. Time and time again, I would confront them about this, and time, and time again- it was I who did all the work to forgive them of their trespasses against me. Then one day, my son comes to me again and says that his grandma Barb says he was to lie too me about something. I could see he was visibly worried about this, and a little scared of what I might say or do. He asks in his innocence voice, "Mommy..., Grandma Barb told me to lied for her about a trip. So when you find out mommy, do I get grounded or will she be grounded from my toys?"
You can imagine my fury..., I was thoroughly outraged! I had finally reached my breaking point with her, and all those people.
It only confirmed all the horrible things that I knew about them- to be true, but, really didn't want to believe. Moreover, I realized it right then and there that my memories of their deep cruelty and hate towards me actually went way back a long way, and it was even occurring in my early childhood years. Starting about the age of five, but, got much worse around the ages of seven or eight.
I simply had to put a stop to it. It not for my sake, for my son. I knew I couldn't lose my son, and that I HAD too fight for him. I love my child more than life itself, so I knew, it was time to buck up. However, I realized it wasn't going to be easy, and let me tell you, it wasn't. Still isn't.
By that time in my life (2005-2007), I was taking 48 pills a day for anxiety, depression, psychosis, and so on. I was diagnosed with every mental disorder known to mankind, and my ills were not getting any better. Something had to be done, and I knew I had to make some serious changes in my life for the wellbeing of Zachary. But to do this, I had to convince the only people two people in my life at that time, that I really wasn't losing my mind. So..., one day I used some of my mother's own tactics on her to prove a point to Zachary and Michael (my new husband). For one I wanted them to hear it for themselves, and to confirm that the stories of abuse, abandonment, and selfish cruelty were real. Michael was really having a hard time believing me, and my stories about my "loving family's" abusive nature. My parents were so good at playing the part of Super-mom or Super-duper step dad in public, but, get them behind closed doors, it was a living hell on earth.
Anyhow, I called her up on day out of the blue, and said to her, "Zach and I need you mom. Michael has kicked us out and I have no money, no groceries, no clothing, no nothing. Mom'ma, you've just gotta help me. Please, mom please. I desperately need you." Her response, "Julie, I can't help you or give you money without Bruce's permission." I said okay, and asked her to ask him right away. Now mind you, I also used this time to reminded her about how they give money to my little sister for every little thing; like, $600.00 to pay off one of her bar tabs, $3500.00 to get her out of 2 DUI's, $1200 to get her out of a potential drug charge..., stuff like that. My step-dad was constantly forking out cash to her left and right. It was also embarrassing to see him coddle her like that. It was like this was the only way he could show her love and affection, was by buying it. I guess this way was easier, than instead of him just being a decent dad for once, when he came home each night. He was such a bear. I used to literally run and hide.
Anyhow- my mother's response back to me was, "Julie, you know he'll think its just a waste of time and money, so, I'm not going to bother with this." She never even offered to come pick us up, or ask if Zachary was okay, nothing and when she said that Zach and I were a waste of time, and hence a waste of money, I could see the look on my son's face that told me, she had literally broke his heart. Of course, not being at all surprised by her answer said, "Thank you mom. I understand" She said, "Oh sure, anytime Julie Ann." "Anytime," I thought to myself? What, was she crazy? I guess I was supposed to call her every time I started to think too highly of myself or what? I guess she thought she was doing me a favor by being my "reality check," and making sure that I fully knew my place in this world as a lesser person of worth. Crazy I tell ya, she's crazy.
I knew that would be her response though. It was the same response I got every time as a child when I needed something, like I don't know a new pair of shoes, because my were falling apart, tampons and maxi pads, underwear, or a new bra to wear because my boobs were growing like wildfire. From the moment I started my period and stuff, I paid for everything through odd jobs and babysitting. Yes, she'd pay sometimes. But if they knew I had the cash, they manipulate the situation to where I was buying my school supplies, school clothes, and feminine hygiene products. Mind you now, I was 11 when I started my period. 11! No 11 year old child should be responsible for paying for maxi-pads, when her mother drives a nice car, chartered yachts off the coast of Mexico, or vacationed on some private island somewhere in the Caribbean. My parents were really well off. They had plenty of cash in their pockets, and money to burn. They could have afforded the four bucks it took back then, to buy my feminine hygiene products. However, at 11 I would have to work all day to make four dollars in the heat of a Missouri summer moving lawns, trimming around trees, chopping and stacking wood. It was maddening. My whole childhood was a chaotic mess because of these people.
Still though, I got from her the evidence I needed to finally show Zach and Michael the real side of her, and she has only herself to blame, for introducing herself as the true jackass, she really was in reality; and just for to set the record straight, we haven't talked to her since. That was until the phone call, which Bruce had placed to me that day.
It has been almost three years since I've seen Barb, my sister, step-dad, brother or my sister-n-law Christy. Christy is a lot like my mother. She is one of those nasty people who constantly sneaks behind your back, spreading rumors and lies. Her specialty was to slip "secret" messages to Zach, by using his old friends to her advantage. Like she would text one of his friends, and make them send it to Zach. Stuff like that. Zach's is 16. One Christmas, when he was 12, she actually had the nerve to tell Zachary that he needed to keep all his toys at her house, because I would only tear them up or sell them on Ebay. Ridiculous! I know, but that's Christy for you, and my family said absolutely nothing about it to her either. They just let her blabber that kind of stupid nonsense, without thinking twice about it and realizing the damage it was doing to Zach. I use to get so hurt by that.
I don't understand how an individuals like her, get their tickles and kicks out of life, by being ugly to other people that way. To me, it's incredibly mean-spirited and actually kind of creepy. I honestly think she wanted to keep Zach all to herself, because she like all the extra attention. That's my mother through and through. I swear those two could be twins.
With the very little amount that you know of me, and my son's family history with the "Proctor Clan" (as they are known to us)- like I wrote, my step dad had reached out to me. Of course, I boo-hoo'd and cried. We have an everlasting kinship, a bond if you will, and with that said I do love him a little. We did agree to make arrangements to meet and all that. It was nice to finally get a lot of junk off our chests. I feel no bitterness towards him, and I forgive him for his harmful actions. As well as he forgave me for mine. When my family harms me, I lash out in the most devilish ways. So, I have a lot of "reaction" actions, which I too, needed to apologize for myself.
Around nine o'clock that evening, I called my mother. I thought to myself, "Julie maybe it would do some good to reach out to her." My step dad had fed me a real sob story, about how she was sorry, and that she loves me, and misses Zachary terribly, and blah, blah, blah. Boy was I suckered in, because needless to say, she still would not face the reality of her wrong doings and be held accountable for her actions. We talked a total of two minutes, and in those two minutes I knew I was being played by her. Again it was all about her, and then she started patronized me and chastise me for all my shortcomings. She told me that I cause my husband to kill himself, and that I should have been a better wife to him. I just hung up.
I have to write that I have finally given up. She forced me to come to this decision. I know her better than anyone, and I firmly believe that she is the real one with serious, emotional, issues and mental health problems. She is clever though. Because instead of being accountable for her own behavior, she has manipulated everyone around her into thinking they are the ones with all the problems, and that she is their "cure-all" miracle worker. Sad when you think about it.
Before I hung up though, I told her all the things she has missed in Zach's life. Zachary is her only grandson, and how sad is it that he seriously wants nothing to do with her? Of course the family blames me for keeping Zachary away from them, but what they don't realize is that, it has been Zachary's wishes that I protect him for them. He is heart broken over how they treated him after his daddy's death. He is heart broken, because he knows what true love is, and well they haven't provided it to him. I have five step-grandchildren of my own. My son is fully aware that if someone told me I couldn't see my granddaughters, well...., he knows without a doubt that I'd be camped out on their front lawn, 'till I saw them, was removed by the police or pronounced dead; which ever one came first. That's what families are suppose to do. No problem should great enough to tear a family apart. At least this is what I believe, and this is what I have instilled into my son's heart. But my mom is too good to camp out on our front porch, and quite frankly, I thinks she thinks it's too much work. She isn't into anybody as much as she is into herself. I think he is also angry because they have been such cowards, and have refused to face my bitterness and confront my wrath of feelings face to face with me. He knows I would if that's what it took. My son is tired of their games. He has a friend since birth, and he and Hunter were best friends. That is until last summer, when my sister in-law kept texting Hunter's cell phone asking for Zach's whereabouts, and if there was any way to get away from me, so she could talk to Zach. That was two years ago. Zachary hasn't spoken to Hunter since then really. He doesn't want to have to deal with my family, their games and listen to them say horrible things about me. See, what I don't think they realize is that all their lies, and the fact that they were trying to steal him away from me- had a profound impact on him. He was ten when they started playing their games. He had just lost a father to suicide and now, they were telling him they were going to take him away from his only living parent. How crazy is that? Seriously, what child would not have been, scared to death, if they were in his position?
As for myself, I am a good mother. My son well behave mannerisms speak for itself. He speaks French fluently, makes the A or B honor roll each time grade cards come out, is very active in school sports and likes to volunteer his time to teaching small kids how to play football or basketball. Now you tell me, does that sound like he has a bad, unfit mother? He doesn't roam the streets at night, has never been trouble in school, and actively volunteers his own time to teach youngsters of a church youth league (and Zach hates church), how to play basketball. He was even a volunteer as an assistant basketball coach two winters ago, for a bunch of rowdy seven year olds. That right there speaks volumes, as to my merit of being his mother. Long ago I made it a personal goal of mine, that in life, I was going to be the opposite of my mother, and to raise my son in a trusting, loving, compassionate atmosphere.
I haven't felt this free in a very long time. I am successfully moving along with my life now. In 2010 I went back to school, and was a 4.0 student, and graduated top student in surgical technology class. I have raised an amazing beautiful young man. I live in a top-notch neighborhood, and have surrounded myself with good solid people. However, my life as Barbara Proctor's first child, has damaged me severely beyond repair in some areas. The pain is overwhelming when I try to possibly work it out by myself, it is simply too painful. Because of this, I'm not real social anymore, and I trust no one. There is nothing bubbly about me anymore. I look harden by life, and feel too much anxiety to have any friends. Everything I was, I am polar opposite of that now. My zeal and passion for life, and the thrill of living life to the fullest has all but faded into darkness. So far out of reach it is, I now look upon the world through cynical eyes, and I find myself questioning my belief in God more and more each day.
For me, it is like I cannot seem to get past the question, that has yet to be answered, "Why God? Why?" I'm so bitter about my family, that I cannot forgive them. I cannot face the mighty power of forgiveness- without feeling the might of the resentment first. You know, families are not suppose to hurt you. I'm the original member of Barb's family, and the first born. Where is my birthright? My brother and sister have their's. Where is my respect? And yet, it is my fault my family is divided. It pains me that I'm bitter, and cannot trust anyone any more. How does one actually face their bitterness, when it is so ugly to face? How does someone move pass that fear and instead turn in the face of forgiveness? With my history, how is it even possible?
Zachary, stopped believing in God, a long time ago. He prides himself on being an Atheist. And you know- he does a better job at being Christ-like, than do most of the so called Christians I was raised with. I am leaning more and more towards the reality that God doesn't exist. But perhaps, the practically and spiritual logic of a Buddhist lifestyle, is more realistic.
So what is a practical answer to forgiveness and healing? Therapy?
I have a good shrink. He was the first person to finally diagnosed me as being severely, clinically depressed, and I have PTSD. He took me off all that other medication thank goodness, and of course slowly prescribed me a cocktail of Effexor, Xanax, Trazadone and a B vitamin instead. Finally I was down to 7 pills, instead of unrealistic and harmful 48. Today, I only take Effexor for anxiety, blood pressure meds cause I'm fat, and Trazadone to wort off the endless stream of nightmares. I suffer from night terrors each and every night. It's a part of my PTSD symptoms. Nevertheless, my life shows you how powerful the need to survive, can will an injured individual, to positive aggressive behavior, in order to survive. I am proof that humans have a six sense or human instinct. People everyday turn their grievances into, into powerhouses of energy, with helps light the way as they grow into stronger, compassionate, and successful people; hence to survive, and too survive well. It is my hopes that my testimony will show future families how not to be, and survivors a chance to know they are not alone. I want doctors to stop with this peddle pushing of medications, and too open there eyes, so the next time someone like me comes along, they won't bombard these patients with crazy psychosis diagnoses, such as Borderline Personality Disorder. My mother thought I had BPD, and she thinks she is co-dependent. My doctor laughed, and gave me a card to have hand her, and told me she needed to give him a call. He was serious too. I share this little tis-bit with you, because it was my one, small, victory, in my eyes, when it comes to my mother.
I have come to realize that I cannot go any further with these people, who were supposed loving supporters of me. My rage is so severe, that I have had in the past murderous feelings at times towards them, especially after I have had a nightmare or flashback about my time in my life. Those feelings of murderous hate, doesn't come from the child abuse either, but it generally comes up when it has something to do with my son. There is this one particular memory, and when it creeps up, I just want to kill, because it truly breaks my heart each and every time it pops back up. It's an image of suffering and pain on my child's innocence face, and well, I cannot describe it any further. It's truly that hard to bear. But I think most parents are defensive when it comes to their children. I think it's probably like that with those of us, who genuinely love our children. Look at the Casey Anthony case. She is the most hated woman in America today. Why? Because she killed her innocence child. When someone hurts, beats, or molest let's say, your child for instance, what would be your reaction? I think it is pretty safe to say the first thing most parents want to do is kill the perpetrator. Well, I have those feelings towards some of my immediate family members. They have no clue the harm they done to us, or maybe they do and are okay with it; but it only enrages me. I don't know how to move past the bitterness and anger, and grant them forgiveness. A forgiveness, I truly don't think any of them of deserve. They are too selfish, and with that said, I'm at a loss when it comes to my faith, because my faith is based off the concept of turning the other cheek and forgiving those kinds of debts against us. Sometimes, I honestly don't think there is a God, and I'm just this big, old, fool who too scare not to believe in him. When I think about it- my family, especially my mother are living proof that God doesn't exist.
Thank you for reading my one and only self-pity, sob, story. Since I no longer have a family to communicate with, HubPages has become my creative outlet. I cherish each and everyone of you fellow fans and hubbers. Take care of your family, and those family members around you. Because a family lacking integrity is a family doomed to fail. Don't be like my family. Don't harm the ones your are suppose to protect and love. Especially when you are dealing with problems like these.
If you feel like you've been cheated out of money or whatever the case, which is the most common reasons why family fight, remember to be there when one of your family members needs your unconditional love and support, be there for them if will, please. Mothers & fathers- remember that it is the 40 yr old CHILD (or whatever age) whose forgiveness needs to asked from. NEVER is it the child's responsibility to apologize to their parents. Why? It's called unconditional love. That's your child, get over yourselves. Take my family, Barb is my mother- I'm the child. I don't have anything to be sorry for, and I sure don't have to help her, support her or make things right between us. I'm the child, she's the mother. That is HER job to do.
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