Estranged from family
Without going into the long complicated story, I am an only child. Had an affectionate mother but I always wanted to please her and try to compensate for my horrendous father (alcoholic who played Russian roulette with my pregnant mother) and make her proud. We lived with my gran who was cold and really had no enjoyment in life despite having the means and all of her faculties. She made me feel like a loser ("devil child who will never amount to anything") yet talked me up in public. She made our home very cold and miserable at times with my mum feeling guilty about us both and over-compensating by doing everything for my unappreciative gran - both trying to be martyrs in their own way. I made it worse by being contrary etc., but basically a normal child. I excelled at school but still didn't feel good enough compared to friends. I was very insecure (but have managed to fake it until I made it now) but wanted approval. I meant my hubby at 16. It was crazy young love. Mum disapproved when I said we were engaged at 18. She virtually told me I was stupid and not to marry for another 10 plus years. So what did I do? I married him in secret and kept it from her for 8 years. I felt like shit but equally, in my own way, was trying to spare her feelings. I knew she was always there for me but ever since childhood I couldn't tell her anything personal. I didn't want her to see me as flawed or the mess that I was. I hid losing a baby from her as I didn't want her to think I was a slut at 22. Everything was to shield her from things. I tried at birthdays, Christmases, to cook, pick really personally presents, cook dinners at weekends but I suck at small talk so I was deemed cold and heartless. I was just trying to be strong for a person who had already been through so much pain. Eventually I contacted a half brother from my father that I had never met in 23 years. He was abroad so we could only talk by text mostly. If I mentioned it, mum glazed over obviously it was hurtful to her. If I didn't mention it, I was secretive. Both ex-hubby and mum (who were more like mother and son, I was odd one)started saying I was obsessed with half-brother (who I still hadn't met at this point) as I was texting too often. Well 23 years is a long time and after work, a 3 hour commute, gym, the only time to text was in their company. I was invited to a wedding to meet my brother. Hubby couldn't go because of work and assumed that I wouldn't go without him. There went 3 months of arguments. Mum refused to speak to me until after I got home from meeting my brother. My ex-hubby made life hell then on return would not collect me from the airport as he had gone on a mini-break to Paris with some female friend that I didn't know! My brother decided to move to UK to study. The next 6 months were worst of my life. I wanted him to stay in the house (that I had paid deposit for and paid mortgage for) in our spare room. Apparently this was completely horrific for ex-hubby (who has 3 brothers of his own so should have understood). Long story short, brother came over, ex-hubby accused me of sleeping with him (I was horrified, what a thing to say!) there was a punch up, weekend in jail - all mortifying. Worst days of my life. Then he wouldn't grant me access to my own home, sold all of my furniture despite being still under credit agreements. Worse yet, mother sided with him! She was more concerned about waste of money selling our house. Called me a slag (for doing literally nothing) and slapped me in front of ex-hubby and walked out. She hasn't spoken to me in 5 years. I have reached out to her but she didn't reciprocate. Uncle cut me out also and I don't know if my gran is alive or dead. I was left living in hotels, made loads of debt trying to pay for myself and brother who was now studying but couldn't get a job. I had payday loans coming out of my ears. But 5 years later I am in an amazing job and support myself fully and cleared my debts so I am not the loser my family wanted me to be. I just don't understand how my mum could cut me out when she also said, even if I murdered someone, she would hate the act but still love me...clearly not. I did nothing of that level. I miss her but I won't beg to be in her life. I am just worried about the guilt that will follow if anything happens (she is 63 now) and we don't resolve things. I think the situation is irreparable and to be honest I can't forgive her fully but do I try reach out again - bearing in mind my mum is stubborn, full of pride and would rather sit alone at Christmas lamenting how I broke her heart than forgive me. I don't want the door slammed in my face and anyone else wouldn't get a second chance but it's still my mum and I feel guilt already for hurting her albeit with best intentions. Help...what do I do to move forward?
As children of any age, we naturally feel responsible for our parents' pain. I have for all of my life. I too tried to protect my mother from knowing things about me so that she will not be hurt. Like your mother she too told me how much she loves me, that she will love me no matter what I did. Yet, she turned away from me again and again, hurting me again and again, betraying my trust in her.
I finally cut all contact with her, wish I have done so earlier. My mother will die without seeing me or hearing from me again. It is not my intention that she will be in pain for my refusal to be in contact with her. My intention is to live the rest of my life best I can.
All of my life I focused on her pain, my mother's pain, ignoring my own, feeling that I deserve my pain for having hurt her. All along, truth was she hurt me, not the other way around.
To live a better life in my advancing age, it takes not being exposed to her. For my own good.
"What do I do to move forward?" you asked. My answer: no longer try to reach out to your mother. Some relationships cannot be fixed. After all you wrote that "the situation is irreparable". So better not try to repair the irreparable.
Regarding the guilt, over time it got weaker for me, less frequent and eventually, there is none.
I agree. Stop trying to fix or please her.
Develop your own life. Find friends who affirm you. Find a substitute older woman who would enjoy the company of a “daughter” substitute. Volunteer at an old folks home. Develop an art or music interest. In other words- make this a time for YOU.
Your birth mother may have issues that prevent her from having a loving, giving relationship. Accept that.
BTW - are you care taking your step brother? Sounds like you are in the role of the “ fixer” in your family. This can become a co- dependent behavior that will zap all the energy out if you.
Please realize your mother is a dysfunctional and controlling bitch. She is unhappy, insecure and she has never forgiven your father for leaving her, so your half brother represents hers failed marriage. Since she can't impose any more pain on your father, tag you're it. You've come out of this horrible situation and survived. You have become your own woman. I think you broke this unhealthy cycle.To invest anymore of your life with this side of the family would only be inviting a negative energy that would tear down your self esteem.
Your father and step brother represents the "normal" side of the family, that's your family. I wish you well.