Abandoned For Abandoning

I left my husband and 3 kids 15 years ago and came out… I never intended to "leave" my kids, just move out of the house and always be around for them, but to get to a point in my life where I could get custody of them. It was mutual between my x-husband and I what was best for them back then, we were civil. However, to this day, my family beats me up because of it. From 01 to 06, I…was in the best position of my life to get them. I was in love with a successful woman, we had a big house and I was building a great career. My family didn't see it that way at all. Whatever I could offer, instead they helped my x-husband to keep them from me. After 10 years of fighting… and struggling emotionally and financially I quit. The emotions of guilt, resentment, pain just got the best of me and I just fell apart. So, the last 5 years I spent losing my relationship, my career, my house, and taking comfort in any kind of alcohol I could find, and a relationship that would enable it.

OK, 5 years and a lot of hardship later, I've pulled my head out of my ass. I've lost everything, but I'm rebuilding it. I'm in school, I'm not drinking, I'm taking action to get the mess I've created cleaned up. My question would be: Is it wrong to never want anything to do with my mother and sister ever again? I read about forgiveness and the effects it has on healing, but I just can't seem to forgive them, nor do I want to. My kids could have been so much better than they are now. The effects that they had on the "help" they gave my husband, not only effected me, but my 3 kids as well. It's never going to change. The rest of their life was determined by the "help" my family gave my X, and the mess that all caused in my life emotionally. So, should I forgive and try to rebuild a relationship with my family?

ANSWER

Lady, I have news for you:  You may have stopped drinking but your head is still up your ass. And in the spirit of complete honesty I’m letting you know that your story is hitting me personally as it echoes my wife’s childhood story, so I may be a little more opinionated than I normally am. Now let me tell you why you’re, uh, not seeing things clearly.

You are looking for forgiveness from your children, who you abandoned, and in the next breath you are telling me that you don’t want to forgive your mother and sister for being human and picking sides during your disastrous divorce.  Do you think that what you did was less horrendous than what your mother and sister did?  I think you do.  You are KIDDING YOURSELF.  What your mother and sister did may not have helped, may in fact have added to the problem, but let’s get one thing clear:  YOU MADE THIS MESS. It’s yours.  Not theirs.

You wrote, “The rest of their life was determined by the "help" my family gave my X, and the mess that all caused in my life emotionally.” That thought is the thought of a narcissist whose denial runs as deep as the ocean.  If you were in my office expressing that sentiment, I’d have to get up and leave for a minute because you sound that ridiculous.

Do you think that those kids don’t wonder why their mother couldn’t wait until they were grown and out of the house before coming out, divorcing their father and irreparably destroying their family? You waited so many years to come out. You couldn’t have waited more?  They didn’t ask to be born.  You had an obligation to them.  So you leave, your family doesn’t approve of your decision, and somehow you’re the victim? Wake up, Lady. Your kids are the victims, you are the perpetrator and your ex-husband, your mother and your sister are all accomplices.  Those 3 kids are the only victims here.

Congratulations on quitting drinking.  Are you in a program?  Something tells me you’re not, and if you are, you are nowhere near your 4th step, during which you're intended to identify every resentment you have, take responsibility for your part in those resentments, and eventually forgive the person who you resented.  You sound like a dry drunk to me, sister, someone who is staying sober of her own determination, and that’s a recipe for relapse.  Moreover, you don’t sound like you’ve changed much on the inside, hanging on to those resentments and such.

Stop focusing on what you are unwilling to give.  You were not victimized here. Your children were.  They picked up the tab for your decisions. Give to them what you wish was given to you ~ understanding.  Allow them to express to you their pain, how awful it was to be left by their mother as children, and DO NOT defend or explain yourself.  They are not interested in your explanations.  Be the adult, for a change, and just let them talk and express themselves.  You can never make up for what you did to their childhood, but you can help to spawn their forgiveness of you, and when you see how healing that process is, perhaps you’ll consider going through it yourself with your mother and sister.

Writer’s stats: Female, Lesbian.