Break Free

Updated: Apr 26, 2019

Almost 2years ago I made one of the biggest decisions in my life. I was almost 27y/o when it all happened. Here’s my story. 

I grew up overseas in the care of other family members. My parents sent us back to our home country because they decided to get a divorce and continue working abroad. This was with the hopes of providing a “better future” for my brother and I. My mom was very consistent, she was the parent who never forgot to call, never forgot to write letters, and when technology made its way, she never forgot to email or video call. My dad on the other hand was totally out of the picture. All he did was send us money and call maybe once a year, if we’re lucky. So, after 15 years of long-distance communication with my mom, I was given a chance to move to the United States as a legal immigrant to finally be with her. After filing a petition for an underage child, my visa was approved 2days before I turned 21.   

When I arrived here, I was very thrilled to finally know this special woman who brought me to this world and supported me and loved me despite the distance. Little did I know, I was in for a very interesting ride. I moved here as an adult. I was already my own person with my own opinions and perspectives. Having to grow up without your main family was tough and I acquired a very strong, independent nature because I had to. I had to learn to protect myself and take care of myself. My mom also has a very strong personality, as well as a very strong choice of vocabulary. The dream life I thought I would have with her, didn’t happen at all. As a child who has been away from their mom, you would think she would be super caring and loving, sweet and gentle, but I guess that only happens in the movies.

       After leaving the comfort of the life I’ve grown to know, I was forced to adjust to the life here in the United States. I had no idea about anything here, everything was different. I had to quickly learn what all the other kids learned while growing up here, on top of all the other everyday adjustments that comes with an abrupt new life. I also had to live with my mom’s American husband who I’ve only said hi to online a few times. IT WAS HARD! Especially not having any friends or family that you can actually run to. Every night I found myself crying, trying to find anyone from back home that would talk to me. Three months in, my mom got mad at me because she thought I was slacking off. I don’t think she understood that I didn’t know where anything was at in the house. It’s a house owned by her husband, I didn’t know where I was supposed to be, what I was supposed to do, or which cleaning agent goes with either the table, floor, or windows. She got upset one day and just yelled at me in front of our family, who I didn’t know too well yet. She embarrassed me in front of everyone then decided not to talk to me for nearly a month. I was in disbelief, so I started waking up early even with just 2hrs of sleep and started making coffee for them, cleaning up after them, washing their clothes, cleaning their house, and even gardening. I did every chore I could just so my mom would stop hating me and thinking I didn’t know anything. I was just waiting for her to tell me what to do in the first place. It was just really hard, and a daily struggle being looked at differently by everyone. It came to a point where I almost knelt down to my stepdad and begged him to send me back home. I was even going to offer to slowly pay the expenses back when I was able to. The way my mom treated me only got worse over the years, especially after she and her husband decided to separate.

She’s gotten meaner and less understanding over the years and started trying to control my life. By the time I was already well adjusted and gained a few friends here, she started going berserk on me. She gave me an ultimatum of giving her at least a 2week notice if I’m planning on doing anything. I couldn’t go out if the wind was too strong or if it was going to rain. She would get paranoid thinking I was lying. She met some of my friends and would judge them by how they looked, or their sexuality. She thought I hung out with them because that’s how I wanted to be, or maybe I’m like them. When I got into the dating scene, she assigned me 1 day during the week for date nights, and openly announced to everyone how much she hated my boyfriend. I couldn’t be spontaneous, and I needed to be home by midnight. Every time I was out, she would text me that she left the front door open, so I’d feel obligated to go home when she could’ve just closed and locked it since I have my own house keys. She started being so mean mocking me for some of my decisions like the color of my hair, my skin condition, my choice of clothes, my job, my salary, and the people I hung out with. I’d never felt more humiliated and belittled. But I stayed because I was trying to understand her.She had been battling depression and was dreading the idea of being alone. I never complained, I just absorbed all of it and compromised. 

By the time I started working, I was given a chance to work as a stay in nurse with a 72hr shift with barely any sleep. Home at 7:30am dead tired and she would wake me up at noon just because she’s bored or whatever. I started working 6days a week just to get away from her. Sunday was my only day off and every Sunday she would plan some kind of home improvement project or hosting a party or taking a day trip somewhere when it’s my only day to rest. I felt exhausted with my life.

By the time I started working, I was given a chance to work as a stay in nurse with a 72hr shift with barely any sleep. I’d be home at 7:30am dead tired and she would wake me up at noon just because she’s bored or whatever. I started working 6days a week just to get away from her. Sunday was my only day off and every Sunday she would plan some kind of home improvement project or hosting a party or taking a day trip somewhere when it’s my only day to rest. I felt so exhausted with my life, and she would get mad when I didn’t smile, but I wasn’t happy. I couldn’t even enjoy my life. One time I saved enough to go on a trip to Portland with my friend, and she gave me the cold treatment because I decided to do it, as if I did something wrong. When I told her that I felt like she blamed me and that I felt like I did something wrong, (even though I didn’t) all she would say is “that just means you’re guilty.” This continued for another 5yrs, and there were many instances and situations where I’d be so emotionally tortured, humiliated, and hurt. 

       In October of 2015, my aunt who had raised me passed away from a heart attack. It broke me. That was the only time my mom actually offered to take me home and be with family. Even when we got back home, she somehow managed to make me feel like shit in front of everyone, but I just let it go. On our way back to the U.S. we agreed that we would go home again for my aunt’s first death anniversary. Life went on and almost a year had passed. The shitty words and situations continued with my mom, which led to the point of talking to family and close friends about moving out. I started looking for an apartment and found a cute studio. I decided to talk to the owners and filled out the application. Suddenly my mom apologized to me for what she said and how she acted, which was a first. I thought, wow my mom’s finally realizing it, she’s finally understanding me, she’s finally being proper with me. So, I cancelled my application for the apartment and stayed with her.

’Come July 2016, I filed for my citizenship because it had been nearly 6yrs for me living in the U.S. In September I got called in for my biometrics, then after that it was a waiting game for the interview schedule and all other requirements. I’ve always mentioned going home for my aunt’s death anniversary. Then she hit me with a sudden decision that she doesn’t want us to go home this time, but to just go home in January for her birthday. I was upset because that wasn’t what we agreed on. I told her I was still going, which is what she initially agreed on. I booked my ticket, but then the fact that I had a pending citizenship application was not a good idea for her. She texted me while I was at work and told me that she was against me going home, but I told her I had already bought the tickets. That’s when she started being EXTRA difficult with me.

        We stopped talking for almost a month, but I was firm with my decision. I was going home no matter what because it was for the family who took me in. They raised me and treated me like their own when my own parents couldn’t man up to their responsibility of raising their children. She was mad and we didn’t talk for almost a month. She started leaving hate letters for me all over the house and I would wake up to go to work and there would be my hate letter for the day. She would text me while I was at work with belittling, and hateful messages which just ruined my day. It prevented me from focusing and caused me to shed a tear or even breakdown crying. It was very unhealthy, and I started avoiding her. While all of that was going on, my boyfriend’s mom at the time was diagnosed with bone cancer, so I tried to help them as much as I could. I thought that would be a good chance to get away from home. I’d been leaving early and coming home late every day for 2 1/2 weeks. Not seeing my mom even though we were living under the same roof was hard. I started missing her, and I started thinking I’ll make an effort to make her understand me and we will just brush this off again and be okay. One Saturday, she finally reached out to me and told me to come home early because we needed to talk. I thought this was it, we will finally compromise and fix this relationship. I went home early, cleaned the house, and at 8pm she finally came out of her room and asked me to sit down in our dining room area. She was holding 2 pieces of paper in bulleted form. She then started interrogating me. Apparently, those papers were lists of her complaints and problems with me. I never felt more humiliated in my entire life. I thought, am I that bad of a person to actually be treated like a criminal and be interrogated by my own mother? She brought up things that happened years ago. Anything that she could remember she would hold it against me, even if it was a simple phrase I said. It felt like everything I did was wrong. It’s as if I hadn’t done anything at all for her, or our family. I was dying inside! I tried to keep a straight face, but inside my soul was just dying, drowning on its own tears. I just thought, okay I’ll let her talk and let it go out my other ear. Maybe this is something that she needs, maybe she needs to let all of this anger out to feel better. Then she started talking about my aunt and the fact that I was going home for her. That was when I had to speak up and stop her. I told her not to go there, but she provoked me. She started questioning the reasons why I wanted to go home, then she pointed out the fact that she was dead and me being there wouldn’t bring her back. I thought that was very disrespectful and cruel, and I started crying. I stood up and walked away, went inside my room, locked the door, and cried like a baby. I had to cover my ears so I wouldn’t be able to hear her anymore. She tried opening, slamming, and kicking my door like how killers would do in movies. I was so scared that I called my closest relative and asked for help. They tried persuading me to call the police that maybe it will be better that way, but I said no. They offered to pick me up, but I know how much they owe my mom and I didn’t want them to get involved. I said I was just going to stay inside my room until things died down. I started packing my things with tears continuously flowing down my eyes. The slamming and kicking, and all the yelling, it continued until midnight. She continued to say all kinds of mean things, and I tried so hard not to hear them until I just passed out from exhaustion and all the crying. I fell asleep on the floor with the carpet wet, soaked in my own tears and my ear hurting because I had my fingers in them, then eventually my earphones plugged in so deep so I wouldn’t hear anything anymore. I kept waking up because I still couldn’t believe what was happening.

        It was 3am and she was still sending hateful text messages to me. I set up an alarm at 5am so I could leave early and planned how I would just grab everything I could because that’s when I knew I wasn’t coming home again. I opened my door and walked to the bathroom. I hadn’t peed yet and had nothing to eat or drink since the night before. I brushed my teeth without even checking how I looked, then I opened the bathroom door and there she was right in front of me. Apparently, she purposely left her bedroom door open so she could hear me. At 5am she yelled at me again and all I could say was, “are you not done hurting me ma? Am I such a horrible person to you that you won’t just leave me alone? I’m sorry but I don’t want to talk right now, and I need to go to work.” She was watching me the whole time and all the things I packed I could carry with me. It was just my backpack and a few other things I discretely packed, which was at least 3days worth of clothes, as well as some important papers. 

      It was just my backpack and a few other things I discretely packed, which was at least 3days worth of clothes, as well as some important papers. I left and didn’t come back home, I ended up staying at my uncle’s house for 3days. My mom kept texting me, assuming I was staying at my boyfriend’s house (but I wasn’t). I was totally ignoring all her text messages and calls until she threatened to go to my work and talk to me there in front of my boss and coworkers. I was so scared I had to call my boss while crying and tell him what was going on and that I was going to miss work that day. Shortly after she found out where I was staying. She started threatening my uncle’s family and said she would be coming there to talk to me. When I heard that I started shaking. I couldn’t stop myself from shaking and I instantly began to feel nauseated. I never felt so scared and I told my aunt that I was leaving. Wearing my pajamas and looking like shit, I drove off. I went where she thought I would be because he was the next person I could trust and hold on to. He made me feel somewhat protected and no one in my family knew where he lived. After all that mess, I think our relatives and other family members talked to my mom. She apologized to me again and said she needed some time away and was going be gone for the next 4 days. I took that chance to empty my room and didn’t go back home. I didn’t talk to my mom from the end of September until before Christmas. I did go home for my aunt’s first death anniversary at the end of October, and I was called for my interview for my citizenship in late November. Everything was starting to work out.

December 24,2016 my uncle asked me to come over to celebrate Christmas Eve with the whole family. I knew my mom was going to be there and I didn’t know if I was ready to see her again. I thought to myself, the reason why I left was because I’m starting to not like my mom as a person and I didn’t want to have any resentment or any kind of anger deep in my heart for everything that had happened. The reason I decided to leave home was because I needed to save my relationship with her. She wasn’t willing to change or compromise and if I stayed, all I’d be doing is letting pain and anger take over and I’d end up hating my own mother. 

MY KEYS TO BLISS moment was when I got inside my uncles house that night. I went straight to my mom, gave her a bouquet of flowers and hugged her so tight. She was crying, but I was just smiling because I realized that I’d forgiven her and accepted everything. I was able to face my fear and forget all the trauma and pain I was holding on to for almost 3months and was able to let go of all the negative emotions I had built up. It was a great feeling, and that’s when I knew I made the right decision. That’s what we needed, space and time to heal does wonders to a wounded heart. It took a while to restore our relationship back, but we worked on it slowly. Now I’ve been out of my mom’s house for almost 2 years and I’ve never been happier. I have a good job, living on my own and enjoying a great relationship with her. She learned how to respect me as a person, listen to me and trust me. She’s a lot more understanding, supportive, and loving. I am very blessed! There were a few bumps along the road, but at the end of the day, I just love my mom with all my heart and soul, and I would do anything for her.

Author Anonymous  

Edited by Isaiah Garcia  


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