Wow I cannot believe it’s been 3 months since I wrote on my blog. Actually it’s been longer since I haven’t provided a decent update since December when I settled my Divorce.

It’s already April 2020 and the world has obviously changed a lot too.

I’ve spent the last month in “quarantine” while taking care of my 3 daughters who are now at home. All of the events I had planned for work have now been cancelled and my plans have changed drastically. A major pivot had to be made but I have always been able to survive in times of crisis for some reason. This is quite typical of Women like myself who grew up raising themselves; constantly navigating the world on their own in “fight or flight.”

I’ve been spending these days with my kids; playing outside, teaching them how to Garden and letting them just be kids.

The last few months have been emotionally exhausting in many ways yet incredibly rewarding for me as well. I hit my one-year anniversary of starting to work in Cannabis in March. My business is still thriving although we have had to stop our public “Women In Weed” events due to Covid.

The last event held in February was a huge success and we celebrated breaking down barriers for Cannabis and Women:

@thecannacoalition instagram

Lately I’ve been helping a few Women who are leaving their own marriages as Single Mothers. Most of them have been caught in the same trap with lawyers – who know how to work both sides in order to cause the most acrimony possible; threatening court dates, custody battles and asset takeovers. Many of these cases barely ever make it to trial before they are settled but seasoned lawyers who are “good at what they do” know how to drag it out to a certain point in order to drain every last penny possible.

Our stories are incredibly similar right down to how we were raised, what kind of women we are and of course; what type of mothers we are to our children. When a man or his family, legal team, friends, whatever uses the children as bait to cause emotional, financial and psychological harm – that is abuse. The court system recognizes it in MOST situations and classifies it as coercive control.

I was a Financial Planner for many years so I always knew my financial rights and obligations; but so many women do not. I had many lifelines and sources of counsel to help me navigate the court system and I am now using those skills to help other women. I am not charging anyone to do this either. Women need a village in order to leave safely.

I highly recommend checking out the link below:

READ: JUSTICE.GC.CA – Province of Ontario Family Court

In January, my maternal Grandfather passed away after a long illness.

I had not seen him since March 31, 2019 which was my 2nd daughters birthday. I had a feeling even then that it would be the last time I’d ever see him or him seeing me and my kids. No one knew at the time of this party that I had already sounded the alarm with all of my support systems; letting them know I planned to ask for a Separation.

About a year and a half prior to this; well before I had surrendered to my Addiction in June 2018 – I had an opportunity to speak candidly with him about a few issues mainly him not telling me about my Mothers adoption.

Growing up as a child, I had spent a ridiculous amount of time with my Grandparents. After my dad died in 1991, My mothers parents would always take me to their house and I’d sleepover. I enjoyed this time away from home and my two younger brothers. For a long time, I was the apple of their eyes.

So when I accidentally found out at 13 that my Mother was in fact Adopted, I felt betrayed as not one of them told me but especially not my Grandparents who I shared an intense bond with. I felt betrayed and mislead but I was also too young to understand the consequences of finding out this information. The revelation itself was a definite catalyst for my life long battle with anxiety and an inability to trust my mother, and her family.

During our conversation almost 20 years later in 2018; he acknowledged my hurt and did his best to make amends. We had just gotten together that day with my two children at the time; and my oldest daughter had enjoyed an afternoon of swimming with him. Swimming had been one of my favourite past times with my grandfather so I was happy even then to share that with my daughter and create a memory for her as well.

What he didn’t know at the time was that I was in the throws of Opiate addiction; using more than I ever had. When we spoke that evening on the phone; he validated me in ways I never imagined. He told me I was a very good mother (my own mother has never told me this) and that they tried everything they could to make my mother and I get along. He admitted over time the fighting between us was such a stress for them; that they decided to take me to their house as much as possible.

Of course now I look back and realize that wasn’t the right solution nor was me calling my grandmother crying every day about our fights healthy.

The bond with my grandmother was built on the role she played when it came the horrible relationship between my mother and I. My Grandmother died when I was 13 and my grandfather got remarried almost a year later. I was left with so many questions, with my identity built around this Family that lied to us and of course – a mother who could never love her own daughter the way she should.

In retrospect – They should have encouraged proper counselling for their daughter and their grandkids but they did the best they could I guess with all they knew. However this validated something for me: they knew there was a problem and they couldn’t figure out why their own daughter couldn’t get along with her child. They felt it was their job to protect me.

My Aunt, myself and my Grandmother

There was so much going on during my childhood between my maternal grandmother and my Aunt (the oldest child, daughter). The generational cycle would repeat itself almost 30 years later between my mother and I; when I tried to leave my own marriage. My Aunt and I have spent the last year reconnecting after she went no-contact with her family in the early 90’s.

My Aunt came to stay with me during the funeral and I am thankful that she did. I didn’t have to grieve alone and we used that time to heal ourselves. She had reconciled with her Dad in 2012 but never her mother. Coming back for his funeral was closure for her and myself as well. For me, she is the perfect blend of my grandparents; who I once adored unconditionally and turned to for all my emotional support as a child.

Her voice sounds similar to my grandmothers but the way she speaks is thoughtful, accurate and considerate.

Basically I have always felt emotional changes in Family, emotionally close people in some way. I always have been able to feel it in some regard except when I numbed it with Opiates when someone is lying, bullshitting me, etc. and I always knew from the time I was a small child; something about this situation wasn’t right.

The way my Grandmother – who to me had always been loving, genuine and sincere; would turn into somebody else as she tried to convince me her daughter was evil and that one day I must seek out my cousin (who was only like 4 at the time) and tell him all about his mother.

My Aunt had been in my life for awhile before she left the family so I had been able to make up my own feelings about her. There was never anything about her to make me believe her son would end up hating her because of who she was. My grandmother encouraged me to find him at 18; and tell him his grandmother tried to “save” and find him.

Of course, if not by then he hadn’t realized the “truth” about her for himself.

He and his mother have a very good relationship and always have by the way. What my grandmother always said never came true.

The insidious acts of emotional abuse, and making a child hate someone was normal in my childhood and it came from two people I trusted most – my mother and her mother. So you can imagine how I felt at 13 when I learned the truth about my mothers origin and felt completely deceived. It didn’t help when I asked questions and was basically told to STFU because I was selfish and hurting my mother for wanting to know my own origin.

Of course later on, my aunt and I both learned about the “Narcissistic Abuse Cycle” and that our relationships with our Mothers were learned from the generations before. It was never our fault that our Mothers could never love us authentically. Children are supposed to be loved, cherished and nurtured; not bullied, yelled at constantly and gaslighted because they spoke up.

READ: Raised By Narcissists? Here Are the Signs And How to Break the Cycle

Ultimately it was our choices to leave our marriages with our children and that’s what set-off a full blown betrayal by our Mothers when we tried to do so. In my situation; I actually begged my mother for her support and asked if we could attend counselling . Unfortunately this request only enraged her.

The only choice for both of us at the time; 30 years apart – was to go no contact. In my situation; my dad died when I was a kid so he really had no part in any of this. In fact I believe he was a victim of the same type of emotional abuse by the same person.

I did not attend the Funeral or anything to do with my grandfathers Wake. My attendance would have caused more pain and chaos than it was worth and quite frankly; I knew my Grandfather would want me to be with my kids anyway; happy, sober and healthy. Instead I focused on my children and tried to stay strong. That was until January 16th when bullshit started back up again.

I’d love to say since my Divorce settled and going no-contact with my mother that things have resolved themselves but that’s not entirely accurate. The cumulation of events in the last few months has resulted in some boundary-crossing, erratic behaviour from my Mother (and her husband) that completely compromises all of the work I’ve done to get to this place.

I’m not going to entirely blame my ex-husband for this one because I now realize people do not change over night; especially if the negative consequences don’t appear right away. I liken it to my drug addiction. It wasn’t the one or two times that I abused Opiates which led to my downward spiral. It was the accumulation of many years, events and triggers that led to it all; resulting in some very serious outcomes.

For example: if a drug addict doesn’t want to use and is trying to stop but their dealer calls – who’s fault is that for the temptation?

Surely the addict would have mentioned to the dealer they want to stop and to not sell to us even if we ask. Then they call and trigger someone into giving an opportunity to compromise all of their resolve. I believed him during our settlement meetings with lawyers that he wouldn’t continue doing it but since January 2020 – it has happened a few times and it’s always the same conflict with emotional consequences.

When my mother calls my ex-husband; pulling him back into the triangle and using him to get what she wants while ignoring everything I’ve asked. When you play on someone’s pain, emotion and regret – it’s easy to do. Hurt people hurt people.

Here we are – one year later since my marriage ended, but also since I told my Mother I would no longer tolerate emotionally abusive relationships. I tried to do everything the “right” way but ultimately; it was my changed behaviour and actually sitting back, waiting for it all to come to surface that led to this outcome.

I am closer to 2 years sober now than I was 3 months ago. I relish in this because 1 year is great but 2 is even better; especially when I look back on all that’s happened this year. My doctors can’t even believe sometimes I stayed sober and focused but I am living proof that anyone can recover. That this is indeed REAL and I have survived it.

My children are happy, healthy and thriving as well. Although my oldest still has lots of questions; we have navigated this together and with the help of many supportive people. When I had my first daughter; everything inside of me changed but it also left me feeling lonelier than ever. My mother showed no real interest in my oldest daughter until the 2nd was born. 2 months after my first was born actually, she left to go away for 4 months.

We would never connect over my children anyway because when I had my daughter I also realized I could never harm her the way mine had to me. I could never verbally degrade her to the point of tears. I could never turn my back on her no matter what she ever did. I felt an instinctual urge to nurture and protect my daughters from the moment they were born. My distrust, anger and depression took over eventually but I never lost my maternal instinct until the very end when I was literally insane with addiction.

I am incredibly grateful that if this Pandemic crisis had to happen at all; that it’s happening now. If I had been going through everything I was this time last year, now – I’d be dead. I don’t know if I would’ve survived quarantine in my old life.

My children are my life and their routine keeps me grounded, sober and happy. They are more than enough and I don’t even date because I don’t want anything to ruin what we share. They trust me and they know who I am. Even as a drug addict; I was always there. That’s why it was so easy to believe I was good at being an addict because no one really noticed or cared.

But I notice the difference of not being in that disgusting depressive, addictive state and the people who matter; do as well: my children and all the people who genuinely love and support us and see how important it is that kids have their mother.

To anyone who is realizing they may be in a similar situation; 660 days ago I was a pregnant Opiate addict with 2 small children already. My life was completely out of control and I could barely function. If you feel your life has become unmanageable and you are a Mother who needs a sponsor; you can always reach me via email angela.westelaken@pcccorp.ca


2 thoughts on “Quarantined

  1. This is so raw, insightful, and oozes of the strength of the woman you are. I just adore you, and I am so thankful to be able to read some insights on why you’re one tough-ass bitch. Love you endlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

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