On Mothers and Angst

11 May

As people post profile pictures on Facebook of happy times with their mother, I feel myself getting twitchy and angry. I don’t have a mother that I even want to interact with right now, much less post her picture. I keep trying to find the right way to address my situation. From bible scriptures to random articles, I am trying to find advice that speaks to me. Maybe if I am honest, I am trying to find an answer that confirms that I don’t have to forgive her and I don’t have to like her right now. 

The short story is that she is a serial monogamist, marrying men within months of meeting them because she can’t be alone with herself.  This particular way of life is most hazardous to her children because she picks poorly and they usually end up being abusive in one way or another. I like to think I won the crown for suffering the most at the hands of one of her husbands. I was kicked with steel toed boots, beaten with his tight fists, and whipped with his belt across my back until angry red welts appeared. I was terrorized by him every day. I remember the sound of his friend’s van dropping him off from work and hearing his heavy boots walk up the stairs. At age six I was making roast chicken, cleaning dishes, and washing the clothes of everyone in the house. We had no dryer and I remember standing on my tip toes to put wet pieces of clothes on the chain link fence behind our home to let them dry in the warm air.  He would tell me that he had put a grain of rice or a penny in one of the many corners of the house and threatened to beat me if I didn’t make sure I swept every corner. Each day I would frantically go from corner to corner in each room to sweep before I would hear the dreaded sound of the van dropping him off. 

As if the physical abuse (which my mother had some inkling of) wasn’t enough, when I turned 12 he began to molest me. I can’t really scratch the surface of how alone I felt or how this crushed what little of my soul had remained. At 12 I disconnected from my body to survive and to this day I am still not whole. While I have survived and even thrived in the life I have created for myself, I have yet to make myself whole. I am still emotionally blocked from full inhabiting my own body.  The extra weight I have on my body is like one last remembrance of what I subconsciously felt I had to do to protect myself. My remaining weight issue is a testament to the fact that over 20 years later I guess I still don’t feel completely safe to let the literal and symbolic weight go.

In any event, through years of therapy I forgave my stepfather and I forgave my mother. Without the benefit of being a mother myself, I theorized that my mother was young and made a stupid mistake. Of course she never intended for me to be hurt.  However, she continued to marry and divorce again at such ridiculous speeds I worried that it could happen again. I worried for my brothers and sisters when I went away to college.  I wasn’t there to protect them anymore. 

When my worst fear was confirmed and I discovered that my siblings suffered abuse at the hands of a stepfather something in me snapped. The forgiveness I had given was gone. I could make peace with what happened to me because I thought it was a clarion call. A lesson. Instead, it was clear my mother learned nothing. She was unwilling to change her obviously flawed ways to protect her children. Despite having married six crappy husbands, she won’t admit that she has made any mistakes. In fact, she just married husband number seven on the same day her divorce was finalized after approximately three months of dating. I’m sure he is a real winner just like the rest of her previous husbands. 

As a mother myself, I don’t understand her choices and I don’t approve of the way she lives her life. How can I love or honor a parent who seems unwilling to sacrifice to provide her children a safe home? I can’t. I am also definitely not posting her picture on Facebook. 

 

 

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Bad Mamma Jamma ... With a PhD!

Eclectic Thoughts on Life and Living

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