777

777. That’s the number of times you are supposed to forgive someone. Well, not literally. Much like 144,000, or 7 days of creation, 40 days in the desert, and 40 days and nights of rain, 777 is a metaphorical number signifying completeness. Sorry, numerous heretical Christian and pseudoChristian sects, but those Biblical numbers are more than just black and white.

I thought I had forgiven my parents. I had. But the number 777 implies a process. You keep forgiving until the job is done. Sometimes things come to light that you didn’t know before, or ignored because it was too psychologically painful to handle.

It must be that my brain started to open up, or God revealed to me something that I hadn’t realized and was not ready to realize until now. I still don’t want to believe its true. It would feel better to not know what I know.

My biological dad runs his own business. Business, while I was in college, was very good in spite of a terrible economy. He got audited by the IRS every year I was in college. He claimed it was because he had his own business and kids going to college at the same time. I always accepted that lie, even when friends with parents who had businesses told me that that sounded odd. While I was in college my parents had money to go out to nice restaurants on a semi regular basis. They bought nice things for my brother and gave him cash. On rare occasions I would get very little cash for something I really needed. It usually wasn’t really enough but I am great at being frugal and thrifty. Plus, I never felt entitled to anything. Their money, their rules, right?

The thing is during college I practically lived in my van. Home was an unsafe place to be so I was back at midnight and out by 6 am. I barely had enough gas money to make the commute, and always drove praying that something else wouldn’t break down on me. My van even had a name “Deathbox on Wheels” because it was infamous for doing crazy things like turning off in the middle of traffic, or deciding that a left turn would really make a great right turn at the last second, or it would suddenly charge forward like a demon possessed transportation nightmare- usually about when I would be stuck behind an old driver or some other vulnerable person.

My van was finally sold to the junk yard after the breaks went out going down a steep hill during my “honeymoon” in my home town.

During college I relied on myself, my husband, and kind friends for food. It was embarrassing and some days I would maybe just eat a yogurt (75 cents). I actually did eat some food someone just left once, feeling ashamed the whole time and hoping nobody saw. I couldn’t eat at home because my mere presence would enrage my mother, and any leftovers were saved for someone else until they rotted and she could throw them out.

One semester I worked 2 jobs, did well over 100 hours of classroom supervising (obviously no pay) and volunteer work, and 18 credits, most of which were not in my native language. I did that to get out of college quicker so that my debt would quit climbing.

Speaking of debt, I had barely enough money for books. In fact I went part of the semester without books in almost all of my classes. Thank God for helpful students who let me photocopy pages. It goes without saying that I didn’t have enough for nice clothes. I still wore what I had from high school- raggedy, stained, full of holes clothes. So I used a credit card to get books and gas and food…and I’m still paying that off due to usurious interest rates.

Don’t misunderstand. There are people in the world that have it FAR worse than I ever did. I at least had clothes, and could eat something, and had a lot f friends to help me. Many people don’t get to go to college- my husband never made it last elementary school due to poverty. So I am thankful for what I did have. No thanks to my biological parents.

The point is, during my entire time at college I had little food, almost no access to healthcare, was stressed and living in my van, and just at my wit’s end tryin to make ends meet and my biological parents meanwhile, lived very well.

They stopped living well after I graduated and began to pay back loans. The thing is, they had taken out loans too, to “help out”. And it was understood that I was going to owe then for being so “gracious”. They took out PLUS loans. I covered all of my tuition. I had scholarships am loans to cover what I couldn’t pay outright, and there was rarely enough left over for anything- not one dollar.

The PLUS loans were supposed to go towards gas and living expenses. They were supposed to be how parents help their kids- that is their original purpose.

I must not have wanted to accept the facts. I remember going in and talking with a Sister about getting a loan so that I could get an apartment. (My college was “Catholic” in a very loose way) I was told I couldn’t, since PLUS loans had already been applied for and granted. The Sister seemed alarmed and confused that they weren’t enough for me to live independently.

After a certain point I didn’t hear what she was saying. I am convinced it was because my brain knew but my heart did not want to accept.

My parents were taking the loans in their name that were supposed to be applied to me and were pocketing if not everything, then close to.

That part isn’t what hurt me so much. After all, I just realized this a couple of days ago. This is after learning that my biological dad tried to use me to lie to the IRS, and he’s always lied about the amount of money he gives to charity (zero).

What hurt me is remembering how I was in his office, crying my heart out because I couldn’t get an apartment and had to stay at “home” with an abusive mother. No matter how I stretched my dollars, I had no money to escape, even with a roommate or two. Even with the money I could save by biking to school, and I was willing to walk through snow too.

That bastard knew what I was going through. He knew I had no food, no clothing, was driving a van that had already almost killed me, and was at my wit’s end. And not only did he stand by and fail me by letting me be abused, he took away what should have been there to support me. And then he watched me sob and pretended to feel bad for me and just sighed and said “I’m so sorry that’s how life is”, all the while living nicely off my misery.

And then he and my biological mother had the gall to try to make me pay for their misuse of money that was intended to help me with college. All so they could use me, all so they could control me, all so they could continue to abuse me. Oh and money, which they blame for abuse they claim they can’t remember. And they want thanks and money for what they did.

That’s sick. That is an onion of sick- layer upon layer of sick and wrong.

I keep wishing I am delusional. I keep praying that I am the “bad daughter”. I don’t want to believe my parents are that sick, and yet here is the ugly truth. They are sick. I have to forgive them.

Before, I still had a sliver of hope that someday, maybe when they were old and dying, I could see them again and they would have somehow had a conversion that made them into better people. Now, I don’t. I don’t. It’s like a pedophile- they’re unsafe and highly unlikely to reform. Can a pedophile reform and not molest children? Yes. Is it remotely likely? No. Have I ever seen a pedophile try or succeed? Never, and I have known a few pedophiles, because my biological parents left me open to abuse (thanks be to God, I was never molested).

Right now I don’t know if I’m capable of forgiving. I haven’t properly grieved yet. I’m still running from it to an extent. All I can think is “why?”

My best friend asked me if I would try to sue. I wouldn’t know where to start, and I don’t want to. I feel like being the demon in the Porky Pig cartoon- “So it’s MONEY you want, eh? WELL HAVE ALL THE MONEY YOU CAN HANDLE!”

Besides. They’re already not well off. All that thieving and scheming has left them pretty much where they started. I don’t want to punish them- God is much better at punishing than I am. Even if I were to sue, they wouldn’t be able to pay me back and have enough to live. They will be elderly soon, and I am not the sick person they are. I hope they will live as comfortably as their spoils will allow.

I just never want to see them again. Ever.

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