I’ve been thinking about my mother lately more intensely than usual. I would say she crosses my mind on a weekly basis, sometimes daily.
I have not seen my mother in over ten years.
Because she was so abusive and cruel growing up and I felt so deeply hurt by her, having a relationship with her was completely triggering. Every time I saw her or was anywhere near her, I felt out of control, insane inside. I didn’t act this out, but inside I just couldn’t take another moment with her. It all came to a head when I allowed her to come live with me and my husband at the time. She was finally was evicted from my childhood home after years of being on the verge of eviction. She stayed for a while, asked for money quite often even though we were struggling. She said she needed it for food and travel expenses to get things in order and get a place.
I found out most of this wasn’t true. Instead she was buying clothes, not going to her appointments with her case worker and lying to me. I felt betrayed once again by her, it was as if I was back in time trapped with her once again. It felt as if she was literally sucking the life out of me and one day I broke.
At the time I was not dealing with the trauma from childhood. I was not in therapy, I didn’t have tools to use, I had no voice and no ability to set healthy boundaries. One day, I asked her to leave because for me it became too much. And it breaks my heart to say this…I packed her bags and put them by the door and when she came home I told her she had to go. It is devastating to write this, to admit this, because I was brought up to honor my mother and despite her dishonoring of me over and over again, I still find it hard to accept that I basically kicked her out.
At the time, I didn’t look back. Not for about 7 years. The first few years I felt empowered by my decision. For once I was able to choose for myself not to be around someone I found toxic, even if this someone was my mother. But now as I’ve mothered, as I have made mistakes in my mothering, as I have felt the pull of depression for most of my life, and felt the chronic physical pain she also felt…I cannot help but see how completely shattered she was. I cannot help but regret my decision.
This is such a difficult place to be…because I have been able to justify this for so long. I am effectively lifting the veil…facing myself in a new way and it is extremely difficult.
The truth is she beat me daily, she called me names, she used God against me, used my father against me, made me sleep on the floor for five years even until I was 8 months pregnant at which time I left her home. She bought herself the finest clothes with the money sent from my father to support me while I went to school in the same two to three outfits. She brought men into the house who molested me, men she barely knew and left me alone with. She failed to protect me and made my life a living hell. I was afraid every single day of my young life and lived in the fear of what was coming next.
And yet I feel guilty and sorry.
There has been a growing empathy in me for her. A wish that I could have done things differently. My mother is literally not well. She is an undiagnosed mentally ill person. Her mother was placed in a mental institution when she was sixteen, her father was a pedophile.
In these years of therapy and healing myself I have grown to love her and feel a deep sense of sadness for her and her inability to love me and take care of me. I have wanted to see her, to talk to her from this place, but I have been unable to find her.
At one point I thought she was dead. I even had an old friend of hers contact me on Facebook and say, I am sorry about your Mom. She heard my mother was dead. I quickly went out looking for her in all the addresses that came up when I did a search and no one knew who she was. I took her photo to the local supermarket in the area where she supposedly lived and nothing. I drove around for hours, searching, ringing bells and no one knew anything.
Till this day, I periodically check the death index to see if she has passed away. It is as if I am waiting for the call. The call that will say, it is too late to tell her how sorry I am and how much I love her and just wanted her to love me.
I cannot tell you how heartbreaking this is for me. How totally devastated I have been over the wounds my mother caused and then in turn my inability to deal with her.
The mother wound is cutting and taints the way we view ourselves as women, as mothers and human beings. If it is deep enough it cuts our self esteem and sense of worth in the world. It is like we are still children waiting for our mothers to come home to us and scoop us up in their arms. We are waiting to be loved and to be touched and celebrated. We are lost and confused by the fact that we came and we were not celebrated and loved. We do not understand and we take it to mean that we are unloveable.
Last night I had a dream in which I was looking for her. I went to our old apartment and they were going to shut it down and empty it since she had not paid the rent (this actually happened). I waited for her there, hoping she would come back home. It feels as if I’ve had this dream before where I go to our home and wait for her to come back from one of her errands. I have to catch her because she is so elusive.
This time a man came and told me where she was and I sobbed. I was so happy, so sad, so relieved that she was still alive. I went to find her.
I found her in a nursing home, in a bed, in a fetal position crying. I caressed her face and told her it was me and I cried with her. I brought my daughter to her. I have felt such guilt about taking her granddaughter away from her. In this dream I could feel my love for her, my forgiveness of her and my longing to just let her know how sorry I am that I could not be her daughter all these years. It felt so real and I know my dream is telling me what I really feel underneath all these years of justification. I know it is also me laying in that bed, wanting her to come home to me as well.
And perhaps I have been justified after such cruelty, but that is not who I am anymore, that is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I’ve set my boundary over and over and often closed myself to love because of it. Maybe it is unrealistic to expect that because I am different she will be different, but I am willing to try. I want to be open to love. I am in a different place now and I guess I want to let her know before it is time for her to leave, all that I couldn’t say then because I had no consciousness of it, because I was so wounded and broken I could not see her in her pain.
I want to speak my truth to her. Not the angry truth I told her when I was 19 in a letter she refused to acknowledge, but the truth of my love for her and the hurt I have felt in our immense distance.
I don’t know if I will ever have this opportunity. Sometimes I think she is gone already and I just don’t know it and I will tell her in death what I could not tell her in life. I wish I had a nice neat answer but complications of the heart and the loss of a mother’s love are just not that easy. I am still in the midst of this. I am at the core of this wound working my way out of it layer by layer. It is still very raw and here.
I thank all of you for your loving support. I feel you all here with me in this. And I hope you know I am here with you, in yours.