So in therapy I'm dealing with a lot of stuff that is outside of my experiences in sexual abuse.

One such issue that is a lot more pressing, I feel, is my relationship with my mom and her partner, Julie. Julie, I feel, was emotionally abusive to my sister and myself. I also feel she is still emotionally abusive to my mom. I feel hurt and angry at Julie for the eggshells I had to walk on as a teenager, in my own house. I feel angry that her "moods" made me into a reserved man, afraid of angering even complete strangers. I feel angry that I am emotionally immature because, while focusing on Julie and her pain, my teenage mind was not allowed to grow emotionally and intellectually into an adult mind.

I am also angry at my mom, however. Although I realize she, too, was/is being abused at the hands of Julie, I think she had a responsibility to protect her children. I feel my mom put Julie's well being before her own kids, and that infuriates me.

Mom used to make up every excuse in the book for her -- even going so far as to say that the "full moon" was responsible for Julie's rage. Even at 13 I knew this was bull crap. As a teen I was expected to be compassionate to this person who broke me down. I was expected to understand and forgive this woman who supposedly "loved" me, but was so honed in her ability to manipulate that she could crack me without even saying a word. I was AFRAID of her. I AM AFRAID of her -- even now when she's "friendly" I fear taking a wrong step. What will blow up then?!

Mom use to say "don't make me choose." In my opinion, children should ALWAYS come first. I cannot believe she said that to this day. We were only Julie's kids when she wanted us to be -- otherwise we were mom's kids. She didn't trust us in one bit, and if we messed up, we were penalized for weeks or months by silent rage and mistrust.

I've only recently been able to allow myself to feel this anger and express it through adult eyes and in my own hurt way. But I am conflicted.

I am mad at them both -- almost equally -- but part of me is still under her control. I still "feel bad" for expressing anger at them. I still question if I should just be grateful for what they've given me, and take the abuse laying down, setting it the past forever.

My mom still manipulates me -- using her help in the past as leverage for me doing things for her now. It takes every ounce of courage I have to say no to my mom. That wasn't a word we were supposed to use. It might piss someone off. So when I do say now, I apologize profusely.

I just want to shove in her face that she OWES me for marrying a sick man like my dad. For being an alcoholic and losing my sister and me to the state. For using us kids as PAWNS against my grandparents because hated them. For taking us when she WASN'T READY to be a mom just to give my grandparents the finger, pretty much. For even hating the ones that gave up their golden years for HER kids.

Of course she doesn't owe me though. But I just feel that way.

So I'm faced now with a dilemma: confront them or let it be. I feel like being away from them lately, just living my life. But I still feel I have duties to them, if even just staying in touch. I'm just having a hard time lately even thinking about them without feeling anger.

I'm just getting through some of my anger about my dad (my abuser). I don't want to start down the anger road again with my mom and Julie. I don't know what to do. It feels good not being angry at something, but these emotions OF anger are real too. Somehow I need to go through it without living IN it...but how?

I don't know.

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Life's disappointments are harder to take when you don't know any swear words. -- Calvin (Calvin and Hobbes)