I don't really know how or why this happened, but I rarely do that anymore and it has been the most amazing experience. It feels like a ton of weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I always wondered how people were able to forgive someone that had done terrible things to them or how they were able to brush things off. I took everything so very personally and held grudges for years and years.
I have no idea what happened to me, but I no longer do this. I don't have grudges against people any longer. I know longer spend any time thinking about how a person has wronged me years and years ago.
I even sent my mother a birthday card with absolutely no expectations, which is good, because absolutely nothing happened just as I knew would it wouldn't. But the way it made *me* feel about myself was priceless. I plan to continue to send cards - birthday, Christmas, although Mother's Day would be tough. What might make it easier is not to buy one of those sappy cards. I could simply use a blank card and write Happy Mother's Day.
I also went a step further and sent her husband a friend request on Facebook which he eventually accepted (she does not have an account that I can tell). Can't say he knows who I am for sure, but it is another step in making myself happy, and perhaps to test myself if I was really letting go of the anger and bitterness. I enjoy seeing his posts and learning about him, although we have yet to have a conversation and I am not really expecting one nor initiating one.
Something did happen some time ago which at the time did not change how I felt about her. I found out from my cousins - her cousins also which I reconnected with a few years ago, that she has cut them out of her life as well. They do not understand why and actually seem a bit angry at her because of it. There was also a time many years ago that she cut off her only sibling - her brother, and she may have said she would never speak to him again. It was over money, of course. Hopefully they are back on good terms. So...I am not alone in the people she has rejected, but if she is that unhappy and bitter (assuming, I can't know for sure), it is probably for the best. I do not want that kind of negativity in my life right now, not that I wouldn't welcome a reconciliation. I just don't pine for it.
Another thing I did was to apologize to a girl that has been mad at me since we were teenagers, and yes, I was a teenager when my mother's grudge started against me as well. It's hard for me to believe that I was such a horrible person back then but I try not to be hard on myself - no one is perfect, especially coming from such a confusing and violent childhood.
She was very gracious and said I didn't need to apologize to her, I needed to forgive myself instead, that she had forgiven me a long time ago. I don't believe that because her attitude towards me changed dramatically after my apology - a good thing! But I needed mostly to apologize so I would feel better about myself. She really surprised me by her reaction, which I think is a very healthy reaction.
What I think she was hurt by, and I would have felt the same, was how I went about discovering who I was and how I was trying to value myself. When I moved in with her and her mother, I basically had no self identity. I thought people had looked down on me my whole life, and it is still hard for me to imagine that they weren't when I was living with my mother. But slowly I started to change the way I saw myself. I'm sure I acted differently and more confidently towards others which in turn they treated me differently as well.
Part of that self discovery was unfortunate for this girl whose home welcomed me. I was always comparing myself to her, still trying to judge my worth. The thing that I did which I didn't think about what I was doing and how I was hurting people, was to talk to her boyfriends or guys she was interested in to see if they liked me (I guess more attracted) to me over her. I am only guessing this is why she has held such a grudge towards me because when I apologized, I wasn't specific. I gave an overall apology about how I treated her so it would encompass anything that I may not even know about. But with the guys she was talking to on a romantic level, I wanted to see if they would choose me over her if they had the choice. Once they confirmed it, and I can't think of a single time it was not confirmed, I was done. It never had anything to do with anyone I talked to. If she knew I was doing this which is likely, how could she not have been hurt? Quite angelic of her not to say anything at the time.
So...I feel really, really good that I am not harboring so much anger towards anyone, but in no way am I saying I am perfect and negative thoughts about anyone in my past never enter my mind. But even the ones that were physically abusive to me, there is nothing that needs to said by me to them. It's in the past, they can no longer hurt me, and my hope, which is totally plausible, is that they have changed. I also do not want an apology from because contacting me for any reason would be catastrophic for me emotionally.
I am simply very grateful that it is my past, hopefully they have no idea where I am if they did want to contact me, and they can't hurt me any longer. I am very lucky that I am not someone that is still living in a hell in my own home like I know there are probably millions of people in the country who are in that situation. And by the same token, it feels awesome not to waste any more energy feeling incredibly bitter and angry towards someone. Peace and SERENITY NOW is very much underrated! : )