Tamra Judge presents herself as the long-suffering mother who is slowly but surely repairing the distance caused by divorce between herself and her teenage daughter, Sidney Barney.
Like so much of what we see on reality television, the story that we're told on screen seems to be far from the whole truth.
Sidney, who only recently graduated from high school, has posted a damning letter that tells the world exactly what she thinks of her mother -- and exactly why she has nothing to do with Tamra Judge. Good for you, Sidney.
From the first time that Tamra Judge spoke about the distance between her and her daughter, Sidney, we were a little torn.
The way that Tamra described things sounded so sympathetic, and it's easy to look at Tamra -- always at odds with Vicki Gunvalson -- and root for her.
And we do know that there are cases where a parent and child will squabble over nothing during puberty.
Without hearing from Sidney, we always knew that this could be one of those situations.
This sounds serious.
We'd 100% support Sidney if she never so much as speaks to Tamra again.
Sidney Barney's powerful public letter about what her issues with her mother are really about should win over anyone and everyone.
Sidney doesn't want fame or the spotlight, so her open letter -- on a Facebook page where those who aren't her friends can only see rare public statements -- is a rare instance of her going public.
"I want to start by clearing some things up as my mother continues to talk about me despite me requesting her to stop speaking of me publicly as I don’t want to be associated with her or the show."
If someone else is speaking for you, sometimes you need to step up and go public -- even if you prefer to live your life privately.
"My parents separated in 2010, I moved out of my mother’s house in 2013. Me leaving has nothing to do with the divorce, it has to do with the living conditions at my mothers house and the way she treated me and still treats me today."
That's a very different picture than the one that Tamra paints.
"I actually chose my mothers side when my parents separated. This was due to the fact that my mother, the true parent alienator, would constantly talk negatively about my father in front of me and my siblings, putting us kids in the middle of my parents arguments."
That's classic toxic parenting, but it gets worse -- as Tamra would very directly compare them to their father, Simon Barney.
"She even called us Simon or “mini Simon” when we did something bad or told us that we were “acting like your father”. This parent alienation caused me to resent my father and take her side. However as I got older I realized what she was doing along with other things that were toxic."
Well that's just awful.
And then there's some straight-up neglect.
"The reasons I left my mothers house are that she was neglectful (leaving us at home with no food or simply ignoring us entirely), she constantly put herself first and the biggest reason was that she was mentally and emotionally abusive."
Maybe Tamra should spend less time fussing over Shannon Beador's almost unnoticeable weight gain and more time thinking about what it means to be a good person and a good mother, and how far from both she seems to be.
Not just for Sidney, but for her other children.
Some people bend over backwards to excuse the unexcusable when it's done by parents.
Fortunately, Sidney is one of the rare few with the wisdom to get past the pernicious social conditioning that tells people to worship and forgive their parents no matter what.
"She was no mother to me. This was an unhealthy environment for all of us kids and unfortunately I was the only one to recognize this and take steps to get out of that toxic environment."
Sadly, it's not uncommon at all for some children to remain steadfastly by a parent's side or even deny that certain events transpired at all.
"I went to therapy with my mother for 3 years. I was forced by the courts and my father to try to mend the relationship with my mother."
That should never have happened.
We know that Simon Barney and the courts probably thought that they were doing the right thing.
But they weren't.
"My father has pushed me to have a relationship with my mother forcing me to go meet her in and out of therapy. He even forced me to let her come to my graduation because it was a milestone."
That graduation milestone is probably a big reason why Sidney decided to make this post.
So ... remember this set of photos that Tamra Judge shared from Sidney's graduation?
Tamra was not supposed to share them.
"When I told my mother that she could come I gave her a few conditions. All I asked was that she remains cordial with my father and my stepmom and to not post anything about my graduation, anywhere."
That is extremely reasonable.
"Not even two weeks after I graduated she posted a photo of me and shared it with her one million followers knowing that it would get picked up by the press."
We sure covered it.
"The one thing I asked and have been asking for 4 years now has been to not talk about me because I don’t want to be in the spotlight. But Again breaking her promises as per usual, she puts herself, her fame, her reputation, and her bank account before me."
And now Sidney has to put herself forward just to set things straight. It's very unfair.
"If she really wanted a relationship she would keep her promises and recognize that it is no one else's fault but hers that I do not want her in my life."
Some people will never accept wrongdoing.
"Although I do not want to be in the public eye, I felt the need to clear these lies up and set the record straight in hopes that it will straighten my mom out so that she is held accountable and is forced to do the right thing."
When it comes to Tamra straightening up her act, we hope that Sidney isn't holding her breath.
But at least others will know what's going on.
"Instead of playing the innocent erased mother character, she could’ve been trying to actually fix our relationship and change her ways. However the character keeps her relevant, and is her only storyline."
That's the truth.
"Why would she actually try to get me back? Without the estrangements she is no longer pitied and talked about and her fame and fortune go down the tubes."
Reality television as we now know it -- following people's lives rather than putting them in competitive scenarios -- is still fairly new.
This kind of environment can impact children in all sorts of ways.
But more to the point, it can allow terrible parents to try to portray themselves as the good guys in a scenario in which they are everything but.
We're glad that Sidney is using social media to make her voice heard.
We suppose that it's only a matter of time before we see something like this from one of the Gosselin children -- or even from an ex-Duggar.
In their cases, though, we already know what horrible parents they have.
If Sidney hadn't spoken up, we might have gone on and continued to view Tamra as sympathetic just because of her role on The Real Housewives of Orange County.
Reality television seldom reflects reality, folks.