I wrote this letter to my extended family years after I chose to become estranged from my parents because many of them cut me out of their lives instead of reaching out to hear my side of the story.
It pains me that I have lost contact with some of them because they refuse to see the full picture, and at times I feel as though I have lost a part of myself. Yet, at the same time, I am free.
The letter you are about to read comes from a place of acceptance and longing. I have chosen to share this letter publicly because I suspect I’m not alone in what I have been through, and I hope my experience can be helpful to others in some small way.
I never meant for you to get hurt or caught in the crossfire. I never meant to place you in a situation where you found yourself questioning your loyalties and what you thought was true.
From the outside you saw a happy home. You saw a child receiving educational opportunities and the latest technology, fashion, and trips around the world, and having birthday parties with friends and family.
You saw pictures of vacations and holidays where everyone was smiling and appeared to be happy. You read the Christmas cards and email updates describing family vacations, accomplishments, and happy memories.
You read about my sister getting sick, and you believed the beautiful story of a family coming together to overcome this adversity.
At a family gathering you watched as my parents presented me with a gift before I went away to university. They acted so proud, and you found yourself thinking “What kind and loving parents.”
Then, without warning, you found out that I was not speaking to my parents and they were not even invited to my upcoming wedding.
Maybe you thought about reaching out to me to hear my side of the story, but you didn’t. Instead, you contacted them and you believed their story.
You began to think that I was nothing more than a rude, entitled, spoiled brat who had decided that she didn’t need her family anymore and didn’t want to help her sister with her ongoing health problems because she was marrying into a “better family.”
If you did contact me, you tried to convince me to change my mind. You didn’t listen to me and you became frustrated. You declined my wedding invitation and sent me a pity gift out of duty, or you chose not to respond at all.
The years passed, and when another family member mentioned my name, you either said nothing or asked if I had “grown up and started…