Please find it in your heart to be both my mother and my friend.

As I do with my own daughter, please see that you probably get the worst of me. But that means the rest of the world gets the best. And you should be proud of that.

I failed for a moment to meet your needs. I hoped for a second for a drop of mercy from a misunderstanding. I trusted for a second that when you said you could handle the truth, it was true.

It wasn’t. It never is. So like you do, you fought me. You attacked me. You told me I was wrong and damaged and hateful. You screamed it to my shaking tears. You assured me my greatest fears were real. That I’m not just in a slump, and that my friends are there out of mercy, not love. That I’ve ruined my children through my shame.

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But you’re my mom, so I always believe you. I always need to save you. I always need you to tell me everything will be OK. I need you to be proud of me.

I can’t stop the need. I can’t cut the tie.

I can’t walk away from that sense of responsibility. I can’t stop hoping I’ll do something to make you proud. I run marathons though you’ve told me my miles are wasted. I’ve graduated though you’ve said I wasn’t a success. I’ve held jobs despite your sabotage. I drink though you’ve said it would bring me to hell. I write about you, but I don’t tell.

She’s old enough now, my daughter. She sees me as a woman, a fellow daughter. Do you realize she sees what you do? She watches you tear me down and wait for me to build you back up the next day. She wants to smooth it over, fix it. I won’t hide you. She deserves to know what a relationship with you is like.

I’ve chosen it for myself. I choose the abuse. I choose any relationship over no relationship. I choose the put-downs. I choose the judgment. I choose the burden.

Not everyone does, and I understand why.

She gets to choose, too. My daughter is watching. I want her to love you like she should be able to. I will protect her, but I will not let her walk blindly into believing your love comes for free. I know you love me, but I know you will destroy me and everything I strive for the second you don’t approve. She deserves to make her own choice.

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I hope she has a strength I do not. I hope she knows she is loved with compassion on her worst days the same as her best. I hope she knows she doesn’t need the approval of someone who tears down everyone who threatens their reign as the center of attention. I hope my daughter knows I’ve stopped your patterns of destruction.

But mostly I hope you stop destroying. Please, stop destroying me.

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