Why I Divorced my Parents

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

I say divorce but I didn’t do anything officially in the eyes of the law. I just cut them out of my life because I felt that they had too much of a toxic influence on me and I had had enough. As you may already know from my previous articles, my father had a strange type of behavior towards me. He was sexually attracted to me and it created great trauma for me which I had to accept and overcome in my adult life. That’s the first part of my trauma, the second part is that after that happened and he divorced my mum and moved out; a few years later I finally managed to have my first boyfriend during my straight years (because I am in fact a lesbian). It didn’t work out with him for obvious reasons; but it was a big step for me to be sexually intimate with someone and to trust this young guy after what had happened to me with my father. I eventually ended the relationship with that person but he wanted wanted to get back together and insisted for a while. He would complain to my mom about it. My parents have since divorced. Shockingly him and my mom bonded over that and one thing led to another and… my mother started dating him and would eventually come to marry him. Yep… you heard it right. My mother married my first boyfriend.

I can’t imagine what that sounds like to you. To me it still sounds abhorrent and I don’t have the words to describe this chapter of my life to you. I only know how it felt and I’ll try to convey that in this article. So there I was. Confronted with two parents who were very much into their own personal desires and demons looking after themselves first, riddled with anxieties and fears and displaying only narcissistic behavior towards me. I couldn’t put it into these words back then of course. It’s taken years of self development and a life in the arts to enable me to be ok with my history and to have worked on healing my heart and soul. It’s the reason why I’m able to share this story publicly now. My original shame is thankfully gone.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

I ended up moving to London to follow my dream of becoming an actress. I had been living there for a few years when I returned “home” one Christmas and was confronted with both of them at the house, my mum and my stepdad/ex-boyfriend up on the terrace looking down at me, telling me what to do and what my role should be during Christmas dinner and what I need to cook and why am I being so difficult etc. My father was in town visiting, acting like nothing had ever happened because that was the rule of the game, that I had imagined it all and we all had to play by those rules of denial.

His motorbike was parked up front and that’s how I realized that he was in town. Needless to say that as soon as I understand this, I get ready to get into the car and the hell out of there so i don’t have to run into him. Before I get the chance he drives up the driveway and gets out of the car. I’m looking at both of these people, my mother and my father, I’m 26 by now and my mum getting involved with my ex and my father sexually abusing me had basically come to a bitter end when I was around 20. But here I was,26 and still being confronted with this version of reality and being forced to accept it. I was angry. I was so angry that I didn’t have a voice. On this day I understood truly, for the first time perhaps, how crippling these lies were for me. I felt as though I kept screaming at the top of my lungs and no sound was coming out. Everyone was in extreme denial and they needed me to play along but their need for this meant that I would never be able to be myself. I would never be able to speak my truth. They were asking me to be silent which was the same as asking me to not live truly and fully, to carry their secrets around with me and their blame and shame on my shoulders. They wanted me to carry with me all the pain for them. I’m sure they didn’t know that’s what they were asking of me but, that’s what it was.

Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash

I’m looking at my mom up on the terrace with my ex and at my dad standing in front of his car and for the first time I told them exactly what I should have been able to tell them when I was 16. My voice came out like a primordial scream. I shouted at them so loudly that I could only whisper for days afterwards. I had never screamed so loudly at anyone. It came from the darkest depths of my bowels. I had been so hurt and felt so angry and I finally released that pain unto them: my abusers.

I went on to expose how they were destroying their own daughter’s life and future. I finally let them have it. All of it wit no sugar coating. To which my mom just hysterically replied “Why are you ruining Christmas!” and my father told me to “get over it and that i can’t live my life like this…”. I realized that it was impossible to be heard by these two people. They were not my parents. They were my battleground and they were the biggest fight of my early life.

I said all the truths! Finally! I screamed out to them exactly what they had done and how it had affected me, word for word… abuse, manipulation, destruction, selfishness, violence… and i turned around, picked up my bag and walked away out of the driveway and onto the main road. And i just kept walking without the faintest idea where i was gonna go. That was one of the most scary moments in my life because i was turning my back on the only thing that I had a familiar connection to but I kept walking because I knew that to stay with them and to insist on making it work, on “having parents” was going to hinder my future and stop me from at least having a shot at creating a happy life.

After much walking, I remembered that my great-grandma had a house in a small village outside of town which was empty because she was staying in an old people’s home. So i broke into her house. Broke in is a strong way of putting it, I just didn’t have the key. I spent Christmas Eve there. I lit a fire in her old country house fire place and I was free and warm. I immediately felt a sense of extreme lightness and hope and i’ve not looked back since.

I was wonderfully rewarded for my bravery when I discovered that my great-grandmother’s house had an upper floor with a few rooms filled with all of my old toys, clothes and drawings. She had saved my whole childhood memorabilia in hopes of saving money on future siblings. Of course my family never used it. So it ended up becoming a shrine to my happier self. My child self. And I commemorated it with tears running down my cheeks, my childhood self (who I really was) and my rising from the ashes.

I still get emotional thinking about how I voluntarily became an orphan. In my opinion not all family members are supposed to be there for all of time. I say this with the utmost respect for family ties which is why it took me so long to severe mine. The truth is that sometimes to create distance is to allow yourself to be more than the victim they have made of you. It takes great courage but you really reap the benefits when you create a lifestyle with freedom and independence for yourself. For me it was being able to write my own story that was so incredibly beneficial. Because I knew that I was capable of writing a beautiful one. I knew that I was different from them and that my life could be really inspired if only I didn’t have my parents braking everything and turning beauty into ugliness every step of the way. It’s one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life. I have not regretted it once. I have built a joyful and pure loving life. The one that I deserved and that has filled my Christmas days since then with warmth, love and gratitude.

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

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THE TRUE TRUE with Pattie Martins

THE TRUE TRUE with Pattie Martins

A place where universal truth, doubts, fears and aspirations are confessed and discussed. Let’s get rid of all the noise and discuss some truths!

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