Thursday, October 9, 2008

when a mother is no mother at all

where do i even start?

my mother and i are no longer speaking.

this has been a long coming (truly 24 years, but knowingly about 3) decision that i never really wanted to make and have tried very hard to avoid.

i just dont know what a person is to do when they're parent, having actually been no parent at all, seems to be in the most literal sense, crazy. i dont know how to reason with someone that has no reason, and i dont know how to be in a relationship with someone who takes no responsibility in life. i have tried and tried and tried to have a relationship with her, i have tried to understand her... everyone said when i was pregnant with ara 'when you have a kid you'll understand your mother more' but from the moment arabella was born it has only become harder for me to understand a parent like my mother, to understand or find any reason in the things she has said and done (and continues to say and do) to her children. arabella is EVERYTHING to me, and i would do ANYTHING for her. i have changed my whole life for her... so trying to relate those feelings with a woman who feels it is beneficial to blame her child for their being molested seems beyond impossible. ...

besides the feelings of not understanding her, i still have a heart and although i dont respect my mother, she is and always will be my mother. .. and that leaves me open to pain from the things she says or does to me. i am not hurt that she couldn't protect me when i was little, and i'm not angry about it, i understand that she was not able to make good decisions in the state of mind she was in... but i am hurt that when she asked me if i felt like she had protected me and i said no her response was not 'i'm sorry i couldn't protect you, i'm sorry i didn't' her response was 'well you're the one who asked to stay the night in their room' (referring to the person who molested me)... like that means it was my fault because as a 6 year old i wanted to hang out with someone i thought was cool.

its things like this that make me honestly wonder, is there a chemical imbalance that is making her this way? or is this how some people really feel about their children? is this just selfishness? what is it? because i have no way to understand how a person could say such a thing to their daughter.. and honestly this situation is such a tiny tip of a very very large iceberg of things she has said and done to me, my sister and brother and never taken responsibility for but adamantly defended.

after telling me, not is so may words, that me being molested was my fault, and that i 'just need to get over it' she took the liberty of calling my whole family and telling them that i was the one who brought up the conversation and that i wouldn't forgive her.... i dont feel that anyone else should have been brought into the conversation, but now... everyone is... and the story they were told was so far from the truth. if you're wondering at this point why i am writing this on here, it is my way of release, writing... allowing other people into my mind, and sometimes finding people who relate.. etc. i feel like my mind is blown to pieces, i feel like there is no way to make it understand that my mother would do treat me this way.... and yet she always has, so i wonder why its even a shock... is it because i've been hoping for so long for change that i was actually starting to believe it possible? maybe. i lived a life of constantly being manipulated by her and although i have not allowed her to manipulate me these past 3 years (thank God for seth) at times like this i am vulnerable to that... to being manipulated into playing her game, wanting to defend myself to ones she's lying to.. but i have to stop myself, not call them all to explain and trust that i have shown who i am and believe that truth always triumphs in the end.

as hard as all that is, its a lot easier than the task that comes next and will continue to come until somehow it is overcome... and that is understanding that i have no mother, and i never will. feeling the pain of that once again, and allowing it be healed just a little bit more every time. i will never experience the love and safety that so many feel in the arms of their mother, and that's ok i think millions of people have it worse off than me, my life is wonderful.. but that does not change this reality, that i have lived a life never knowing the love of a parent... and it takes a lot to somehow heal from that, because no person, no child should ever live a life like that, its not natural. i am thankful that in all of this i get to step up and be the mother, i get to love my little girls in all the ways i never had, in all the ways i always dreamed of. i get to make a life for them that little skylana would never even think was possible... i have the power to change the cycle, and i will. i will love them, protect them, teach them, hold them, listen to them, appreciate them put their needs above my desires all my life. the reward for me in all of this is that although i may not ever get the love of a parent, in giving it i will understand what that kind of love is, and what it means... what it was supposed to be for me... what its supposed to be for every child... and i really believe that understanding that love is what will continually bring me closer to God and hopefully finding more and more understanding of who he is and what i believe about him.

so after all this, i decided i can no longer allow my mom in our life, arabellas or mine, not forever hopefully, but certainly for now. i tried to find reason in allowing her to be a part of arabellas life for the past two years, because i dont think its good to keep grand kids from their grandparents unless the bad outweighs the good... and after these two years i can see, the bad outweighs the good. if it were just up to seth this probably would have happened a long time ago, its easier for him to see the things that are unhealthy and he has no reason to keep my mother close, except for me... and he has been so great about whatever i needed in this situation and waiting on me and being supportive of me in whatever i wanted to do in regards to my mother... he is the best.

anyway, does anyone else relate to this? i seem to always pick friends who grew up with almost the opposite upbringing than i did... maybe subconsciously surrounding myself with stable people for my benefit.. ha... but seriously, it helps me so much to hear from people who can relate, to know i'm not alone.


Flo Oakes said...

I'm so sorry that I can't ever understand, or that this is your burden to bear. But I love you with my whole heart!

Beth McDermott said...

I completely relate on a lower level... I wasn't molested, and I have a decent mother, but I DO have a crazy father, who abandoned me 3500 miles away from my home in the company of strangers I had never met when I was ten years old. He wasnt a part of my life after that since understandably my Mother wouldnt allow it nor did he have the courage to face me, but over time curiosity and the 'what if i actually have a parent who is a capeable, loving, completely misunderstood human being underneath it all' set in, and I started loosely talking to him again when I was 17 on and off with a couple visits in between until the time he came for a visit when Dawson was a year old. He tried to get together with me and my new family... completely trashed. I told him to call when he was sober and he rambled on and on and on about how I made the choice for him to abandon me, and our relationship was all my fault and I could never come home and allll kinds of other terrible, UNTRUE but intentionally hurtful things. So, yah. I basically decided after that... hey, Im ok. I have a great life with too many good people in it to put up with someone like this. I like who I am better without the confusion and disrespect of having him around my family, and I wanted to let my children know that its not ever under any circumstances ok for someone who is supposed to have your best interest at heart to be a part of your life if they think its ok to treat people that way. So, I moved on and I dont look back, I dont feel bitter or resentful at all, just over all better. Its been 3 years now, and I still feel like its the best decision I could have possibly made, I feel completely peaceful about it and I KNOW he is a miserable and unhappy person, and I will never be able to change that for him, and so I sleep like a baby.
Hope that helps. Sometimes being a Mother really brings out strength of character. At least thats what I hope my kids see in the situation when theyre old enough to understand it. And if someday they want to make the decision to get to know their grandfather in their maturity and wisdom down the road, more power to them.

ParadisoPerDue said...

I personally can't relate but my fiance can. His mother has never been a mother and refuses to take responsibility for her actions or lack of actions over the years. I've told Daniel time and again that just because it's your mother that does not mean you have to have a relationship with her or that she deserves your respect or love. When it is so toxic you have to put a stop to it and sometimes the child is more the parent and has to step up and cut things off. He's struggled with this for years feeling that this is his mother and he can't cut her out of his life, but eventually he realized that she's not a good person and was poisoning him. They haven't spoken in 2 years and it's been the best thing for him. So more power to you for doing what needed to be done for yourself!

lucinda! said...

so , i can relate in more ways than one. i was molested as a child(4 or 5, went to trial, huge mess) and my mother wasnt the best mother in the world. i really need to write my own blog about this cause its going to be dad ( well he left when i wasnt even a year and only a few months later he was married and had another baby on the way)i see him once a year, step dad was a drug dealer, so all kinds of crazy people were over the house. and i had a mother ,who was a stay at home mom, but was beyond lazy. all meals came from a box(cereal, mac and cheese, hamburger helper) she was always in her room, never played with us. to be in her room was like a treat for us. we always had to be out of the house, cause she didnt like seeing us lying around. she never got up with us for school. she would come in the room and turn on the light and tell us to wake up then she would go lay back down for 15 more minutes and do it all over again. she would sleep all day if she had the choice.she moved away to michigan my senior year to live with a couple her and her boyfriend met over the internet and met in person only once. it broke my heart. for some reason i am a mommas girl. i think its only because i am craving attention from her. i have never had a mother figure like my friends have, and usually would cling to their moms because they were so different from my mom. i feel like i have alot in common with you, even though we have never met. im the same way about needing to relate to people. does any of this make sense?

Anonymous said...

i can't least personally because i had an ideal childhood and a wonderful relationship with my parents even as an adult. but i am a therapist and i have seen so so so many people (children and adults) who have suffered to greatly because their parents either wouldn't or couldn't love and protect them the way they needed to be. It is heartbreaking for people to come to the realization that they really never will have the kind of parent(s) they've dreamed of and that so many people have. It is the death of that hope has to take place for real healing to begin...

Andrea June said...

I can definitely relate. I was molested by a friend of my mom's when I was about eight years old, and my mom has chosen to let that same person live in her home for the past several years. She has told me, in so many words, to "get over it."
In order to protect myself, I've cut down the time I spend with her, I don't go to her home unless I absolutely have to, and I don't discuss anything with her beyond the mundane. It's my way of protecting myself from continuously being hurt by her lack of regard for my feelings.
Like your mom, she doesn't seem to see a need to protect her children, and has had a string of bad relationships, all ending with horrific men living in our house who have said and done awful things to my family.
And now I have a nephew, who is in my mom's home nearly every day while my brother and sister-in-law work. To say the least, I'm worried about him.
I think you are wise to put some space between your mom and your family. Props to Seth for supporting you and encouraging you in creating healthy boundaries so that your own family has a chance to grow in love and the presence of God.
Maybe someday your mom can become a part of your life in a meaningful way again, but even if that never happens, you definitely have some people who love you a lot. In the end that's the family that really matters, and the family that you can depend on.

jenny moon said...

hey's so weird to see people who have these amazing parents and to wonder how that feels, isn't it? when i was around seth i thought his family was just the most incredible thing i had ever seen. i am glad that in some ways his family can now be your family. it can't replace your own history, but it can at least help you make a new one with your babies.

my dad left when i was 6 and drifted off into drugs, prison, and alcoholism - i have seen him less than 6 times in the past 25 years. every few years he calls me and cries and says he is sorry, but i recognize that he is really just sorry for himself, trying in the only way he can to make himself feel better for being a weak and ultimately selfish person. i have a lot of pity for him, and always take his calls, but he is more like this sad drunk guy that i feel sorry for than my "dad".

after the divorce my mom decided to homeschool me and keep me from all "wordly" influences which included music, movies, and people my own age. i still have a hard time in social situations, and i don't always relate to "normal" people very well. she is more controlling than i could possibly relate to you in writing, her isolation and religiousity were beyond movie of the week stuff. when i was maybe 7 or so, a boy my age whose family attended our church had sex with me multiple times (sorry to be so blunt, but it went all the way there, it was not just looking or touching). i think he must have been abused himself to know so much about the mechanics of intercourse at that age, but i have no confirmation of that. it was eventually "dealt with" quietly, we moved away, and life went on. i tried to be perfect all the time, but all the perfect grades and submitting to her choosing everything about me from the books i read to the clothes i wore never pleased her. my mother made me feel like a burden and a chore, and i never argued with her. i accepted her treatment because it was all i knew.

10 years later, after my mother had never so much as dated anyone since the divorce, the father of the boy who did those things to me showed up and within a year had married my mother and moved that boy into our house. i learned later that he had gone on to molest several other little girls during his teen years, and that each incident was only handled in the church, never with legal action or psychological counseling. after sharing a house with my "new" family for a few months i finally began to resist my mother's desire to keep me away from outside influences. i spent a lot of time with tonye holyde who pastored the church we sometimes attended, and that was how i met seth and flo. flo became the first real friend i ever had. my mother despised tonye's influence over me (he tried to gently tell me that i was almost 18 and needed to start to think about a grown up life away from home) and one day when i came home from planting rose bushes at the holyde's house, she screamed at me for 4 hours and then pushed me out the front door saying "i don't care where you go but you're never coming back in here." i will never forget those exact words or the look on her face as she shut the door and locked it. i walked all the way from morro bay to cayucos that night, showing up on the holyde's doorstep. i had no where else to go.

to this day, she continues to try to exert control over me through guilt or cruelty or religious condemnation, while managing to deny that she ever threw me out of my home or mistreated me in any way. we used to speak on the phone and every 6 months or so she would say such horrible things to me that my husband would take the phone away and tell her to stop because i was shaking and hysterical. little by little i have come to realize that she is not well. i can't help her, and she certainly does not help me. we don't speak on the phone anymore...since she discovered the internet we email occasionally and that seems to be the healthiest way for us to interact. she is still married to that same man. sometimes she tells me that the boy who hurt me is now a wonderful godly man...i have my doubts about that. my husband says i am the most damaged person he has ever met who is so ok with it. i think in some ways, you are like me skylana. so hurt but so willing to keep going and being smart enough to not blame yourself and then pass the damage on to your children. seth and flo have always remained in my memory as the brother and sister i wished i had, and i can see why they love you so much. it is good that you don't rule out any contact with your mother forever, but it is even better to step back and look at it objectively. if these people were not family, would we chose relationships with them? you and i both know the answer to that....


ohhellocupcake said...

your blog really pulled at my heartstrings.. i was abused as well until i was 15 years old. i was told by my abuser that telling would only tear my family apart. when i finally did work up the courage to tell my mother she basically said that she had an idea it was happening all along and that we should never talk about it again.

my mother is a part of my life but i've never let her in past a certain point. i keep her at a safe distance and never confide in her (or my father) about things most would love to tell their parents. i've accepted the fact that i will never have normal feelings about them and that i can face whatever challenges come along by myself.. and now with my sweet husband by my side.

i'm 31 years old and i know i'll never be like them. i know some people who are abused become abusers themselves and the others, well, they're like us.... they become the opposite of all the ugliness they've endured.

i'm proud of you, sweet girl.


a song for parker said...

My mom had the craziest mom ever (my crazy ass grandma) she told me a lot of stories from her childhood that make me so sad for her. She had a lot of weird men around and they were really poor and got made fun of so on and so on. She either got molested or came really close to it. Any way she used to pray every night for stability in her life. She is an amazing mother to Mitch and myself. My parents have been married 30 years and her life is so stable! You will have that too ... you will just never be like her. I'm sorry you got cheated out of a childhood.

a song for parker said...

when i say "you will never be like her" i mean your mom not mine. that would be mean of me to say. I hope you didn't think that's what I meant ... ooops. and my mother was molested:( it make me so sad ... it's so unfair. I am so sad for you.

meg said...

It was only with the help of andy and some dear friends that I had the courage to finally tell my dad I couldn't have contact with him anymore. This is a brave and difficult thing to do. I'm happy you're supported and I hope you will begin to feel a release from the strain the relationship has been on your life.