Quotes I hear often and quotes that always manage to upset me, even after all these years.
What happens if, no matter how much you care for your family, they betray you? What happens if they turn their back on you? What happens if they do this when you are just a child?
I was 11 years old the day my step-father chose to betray me by touching me that first time and then decided that he was going to sexually abuse me for years to come.
I was 13 years old the day my mother and my Nan chose to betray me by choosing to stand by my abuser and turn their backs on me.
That is my family. That is my blood. That is where my roots are.
Up until recently I used to think I had to protect them. That because they are my family I had to keep quiet and not expose what they have done. That I had to be loyal to them because I have their blood.
I used to think that I was a bad daughter because they all stuck together and they didn’t protect me.
However, now I realise I wasn’t the bad one. Yes, I may be the one in the family who was unwanted and unloved but I wasn’t the bad one. They were bad. They are bad.
They are a family. They support and protect each other. They pretend that nothing happened to keep themselves safe from the law. They are a family.
However, they are not my family. They made that clear the day they chose my abuser over me and let him sexually abuse me for the next two decades.
They are not my family. I have never had a family. I raised myself and fought every day just to survive in that house. They are not my family.
I guess I have always known it deep down, but it has just taken a very long time for me to see it or admit it.
I have longed for a loving mother for so many years; I was too scared to see it. Having her as a mother was better then having no mother at all…though she never was a mother to me. Not really.
Now I realise, with the help of my therapist, that it wasn’t her I wanted. She broke my trust. I thought I wanted her but in reality I just wanted someone, somewhere to want me and to love me as a daughter should be loved. I didn’t want her, but a mother figure. I cannot explain the emptiness that growing up without a loving mother creates. To me knowing my mother did not love me enough to protect me and did not want me hurts more than what he did to me. She broke my heart. They all broke my heart.
I have always felt like a piece of me is missing and that my heart isn’t whole. I have never felt like I belong anywhere.
I have never really believed in fate or in the saying “Things happen for a reason” because if things happen for a reason then why was I abused and hurt so badly? Why did my family turn their backs on me? Why was my childhood taken from me?
However now, I guess I am starting to believe that maybe things do happen for a reason and maybe fate is real.
Have you ever met someone who you just click with? Someone that from the moment that you start talking you know you are going to be close to?
Recently someone came into my life just like that, who has made me realise that family isn’t always blood.
This woman has a daughter who she loves with all her heart and who she fights for every single day. The love that she has for her daughter is truly amazing and inspiring.
This woman has her own life, her own family, her own happiness and struggles, yet she has reached out to me. She wants to help me.
I don’t know why. I don’t know what made her reach out to me that day, but I do know that we have a connection. A connection neither of us can really explain. A connection that myself and her daughter have too. A connection that to many others may seem strange. All I know is that I have never felt a connection like it.
She cares. She takes time for me. She makes me smile and laugh. Most of all she believes me. She wants to fight for me and protect me.
I care for her. I care for her daughter. Her daughter calls me her big sister. She looks up to me.
This woman has made me see that family is about people who want you in their life and who love you for who you are.
Family is about people who care for you and who would do anything to protect you.
She has made me see that the bond that links true family is not blood, but love, care and respect.
Many biological mothers are wonderful mums. I just have to look at my friends who are mothers, and their own mothers, to know that is true.
However, this woman has made me see that biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. Being a mother is unconditional love, not a biological relation. My biological mother is not my true mother.
I see now that there are friends, there is family and there are friends that become family.
My husband is my family. My best friends are my family, they are sisters to me. My work colleagues are my family. They are all the ones who love me for me. They are the ones who support me and want me in their lives.
Now this caring, loving, amazing woman and her daughter are my family too. They have shown me more love and support in the space of six months, than my biological family have my whole life. This woman treats me and loves me like a daughter. Something I have never known before.
I don’t know if it is fate that brought us together and the thing is if I hadn’t have been abused or if I didn’t have depression, anxiety and PTSD, then I would not have joined the online group that brought us together. I do now believe that we don’t meet people by accident. That we cross paths with people for a reason.
I also believe that people build up walls not to keep others out but to see who cares enough to try to break them down.
I have been hurt so badly by so many people that I trusted and believed in and I have built up so many walls that it is hard for me to let people in. I have been building up walls for so long to protect myself from being hurt all over again, that it is all I know. Even now I know that I will never let my guard down completely.
However, now I think that the walls that I have built around myself are steadily being broken down.
I understand now that where we start is our biology and the road we travel is our biography but the outcome can still be the same. A loving, happy family.
Maybe I do belong somewhere. Maybe I can have a family who loves me and maybe it doesn’t matter if we don’t have the same blood.
It will take a very long time and I am not sure yet if I truly believe it can happen, but maybe my broken heart is gradually beginning to heal. Finally.
Thanks for reading.