Letter to Mom
By S.R., January 31, 2009

I am SR (real name withheld), a twenty-two-year-old. I wrote the following letter about one year ago, revealing the pain I suffered under my motherís treatment. I made a copy of it to remind myself of my courage. It was written two months before I moved out on my own, finally being free to live my own life without being controlled and without fear. I mailed the original letter to my mother when I was in college, but she didnít regret the pain she inflicted on me, still believing itís the best way to raise children. Itís her loss to remain in denial of her own upbringing. I havenít seen nor spoken to her for over a year and I donít regret it. I donít plan to have children for various personal reasons, but I do plan to adopt a pet and I will treat it with much more respect and love than I was treated. The cycle stops with me. Hereís the letter written on January 31, 2009:

Dear Mom,

While I appreciate the good things you did for me, Iím very unforgiving for the bad things you did to me under the guise of ďdiscipline.Ē It is not easy to write this letter since Iím now revealing the pain I have felt for so long, but never had the courage to express until the present. Iím not writing this letter to purposely hurt you, but to tell the truth that I was forbidden to tell as a minor. The following punishments I received still burn in my memory and I wonít forgive you for them as long as you feel justified for doing them. You might not remember them, but I sure do:

  • Age 9óI was forced to strip nude and to let you beat me with a plastic bottle just because I was screaming in the house.
  • Age 13óYou yelled at me for an unknown reason and forced me to laugh and talk (it was [my older sisterís] 16th birthday) or youíd ďhelp me rememberĒ (probably with hits).
  • Age 14óYou slapped me across the face twice just because I didnít come the first time when you called.
  • Age 16óWhen we were cleaning up our house back in Chicago, you threatened to strangle me just because I wasnít watching your purse.
In between those punishments during my childhood, you screamed at me. Even now, you think you have every right treat me like an emotional punching bag just because youíre stressed or because I make decisions you donít like. No one, not even family members, have a right to disrespect me.

It is sad and ridiculous that I had to wait until I was 18 to not be hit. Itís even sadder and ridiculous that our society feels that hitting adults and even pets is abuse, yet hitting children is ďdiscipline.Ē I know that in your time, there wasnít any information about the harmful effects of hitting kids, but thatís no excuse now! There are many books and websites that explain the detrimental effects of beating children. Sadly, many people would rather live in denial than to seek the truth. Cruel dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao suffered corporal punishment in their childhoods and took revenge on innocent people because they denied their harsh upbringings. Of course not everyone who is beaten turn into mass murderers, but itís still harmful anyway. Many parents continue to hit their children because they were beaten themselves and they didnít bother to question their punishments. You might think hitting kids is ďteaching them a lesson,Ē but the truth is itís a way of venting the rage that a person wasnít allowed to feel as a child since expressing anger towards a parent would get him/her in trouble. It sure didnít teach me a lesson except to ignore my hurt feelings and hate myself. Iím glad that I was able to love myself despite what I suffered. If I didnít transcend my pain, I probably wouldíve been a substance abuser or suicidal. Not all beaten children grow up to hurt others. Some hurt themselves because they feel they donít deserve better. Many people abuse drugs to escape the past of their horrid childhood. Iím thankful that I didnít fall into this trap or abuse others.

Now that Iím an adult, Iím not obligated to depend on you for love and security. This dependency works for children since they donít have much of a choice, but adults have many choices in their lives. Being dependent on an unrepentant parent is immature for an adult. Iím free to seek love elsewhere, even if itís with me. I can now truthfully admit that I donít love you. I donít hate you, but Iím angry with you for the past abuses and how you still yell at me now and treat me like a child. At least Iím being honest now and not pretending to love you anymore. It would be harmful for us both if I kept lying to you. Maybe itís best if we have some distance between us. You donít have to believe what I said about the cruelty of hitting children; I canít make you believe. You have the choice of agreeing or denying what I say. You even have the right to not speak to me again. I can take care of myself pretty well, and I still love myself even if you hate me for writing this letter.

Sincerely, SR


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