So I broke up with my parents

First, a recipe!

Tacos from the Heart

Needed:
1 dead cow
Skills in butchering animals for food (serial killers need not apply)
1 cow heart from said dead cow.

Boil the heart slowly over a few hours, in water and salt. Beef heart is big, so you might need to cut it to fit in the pan. Let it cool, make sure it’s tender, and cut off the excess fat. Then cut it into long, thin strips.

Heat up some oil in a pan and throw in onion and garlic to taste. Then throw in some cut hot chiles. And salt. Salt is good. Throw in more onions if you love them like I do. Let it all simmer.

Serve with your favorite non store bought salsa, beans, and tortillas. (Corn tortillas, or even flour ones but avoid the nasty wheat tortillas. Them’s nasty.)

Now, on to the break up. I find it highly ironic that my first big break up was with my parents. My only boyfriend is now married to me, and by the grace of God our marriage is doing well so far. So my first big break up is not a boyfriend, or even a fiancé, but my parents.

Oh sure, I’ve told old “friends” to hit the road before. But that is less a break up and more because of our ages and maturity levels. It was mostly mutual, except in the case of a genuine stalker I had that took YEARS to remove from my life.

In any case, this is awkward. Who breaks up with their parents? I might even try writing a book about it, because it feels that weird.

So a few nights ago, after taking a long break from the crazy people I call my parents, we met at a local restaurant. My husband went with me for support. Right away, as soon as I let them know what was up, they tried to attack me by getting through to my husband. Classy.

There was a lot of gas lighting. Gas lighting is when one person flat out denies, minimizes, or ignores the experience of another for the purposes of getting the other under control and questioning their own memories, experiences, or even sanity. In their case, my parents claimed not to remember anything that I said. When I pressed, they said I must have an incorrect memory. Because I am a human blood hound for lies and half truths, I kept pressing relentlessly until my mom blamed her conveniently faulty memory in anti-depressants.

I looked at my father, and asked him “So what is YOUR excuse?”

“Stress”, he replied. He didn’t even acknowledge that I called my mother out on her excuse, and his.

What followed was nothing that interesting, just lots of implying that I was the crazy one, conveniently recovered memories that were very sharp concerning my perceived faults, and finally dwindled down into telling me that I was a terrible person, wrong, that this was all “bullshit”, and that I was being “vindictive”.

In short it went about as crappy as I thought it would. I did come into the break up meeting offering an olive branch. What it boiled down to was either they acknowledge the past, take responsibility, and apologize, or I no longer have contact with them. What was more important- their pride and emotional self preservation or their relationship with their daughter?

As always, the former won over the latter. The closest I got was a “sorry for whatever the hell we did, but we don’t remember”.

Here is the reason apologies are important. Many people would say I should just accept that my parents are who they are and that I should lie flatter so they can happily keep walking over me. I would say those people are ignorant. An apology doesn’t fix hurt feelings, or heal broken pasts. What it does, is show that the person making the apology is aware of how they have failed. If you can see where you have failed, you can avoid doing the same failure again. It also shows that if you don’t avoid that failure, then you are responsible enough to continue taking responsibility. An apology is humility which is a necessary ingredient for friendship.

That is why apologies are important, especially in cases of abuse.

I’ve already forgiven my parents, but reconciliation is not possible. In their minds I’m “vindictive”, crazy, and “punishing” them. They aren’t mature enough to examine the reasons why their daughter is so ready to leave them in the past. Forgiving them I can do, but the power of reconciliation is out of my hands. I can be willing (reluctantly, but I could try) except that it isn’t possible on their end.

If I were to try reconciliation with these people who still see me as their bad little scapegoat, reconciliation would not happen. Instead, I’d be volunteering for abuse, sadness, anger, frustration all on my part. Instead of being a victim I’d be volunteering.

Their pride and egos are far more important to them than making a real, healthy relationship with me. I am not willing to teach my own daughter that that sort of unhealthy dynamic is acceptable.

They want me to come back and be a better doormat. I want them to be the parents they never were.

So I broke up with them.

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