Today I learned that my mother has maintained contact with my father – at least in recent years.
She ‘told’ me of her meetings with him – without telling me outright. Mentioned certain things whilst omitting the fact that he was involved.
Anybody who has experienced similar abuse will recognise this game. The abuser gets off on (unnecessarily) showing us just the edges of a picture that they know would break our hearts if seen in its entirety. My mother has long engaged in this kind of taunt.
Sometimes I’d figure out the truth for myself, and confront my mother about it. I was a fantastic victim – brought truckloads of drama and self loathing to the role, whilst my mother drank in the show. It makes me shudder now.
Since I’ve been learning about and developing the personal boundaries that I was never before allowed to develop, I’ve sometimes wondered how things would be different if I saw my mother a year or two down the line. Through my own personal responsibility and my own growth, perhaps our relationship could be safe. I would have resumed contact mostly for my mother’s sake; she doesn’t have any friends and part of me still feels I owe her something. This past year without her in my life has been safe. So much safer.
The above statement really touched me. It is comforting to know there are others in the world who ‘get it’; who understand what it means to have been little more than a puppet, a glove, an accessory for someone else. For decades. To wake up in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or beyond and realise you have no idea who you are, what you like, what you want…
Shortly after ceasing contact with my mother I wrote in my journal:
I sit in the dark
for her to turn on the light.
Nothing ever felt real until my mother made it so.
Now I don’t know who, or what, my mother is. I don’t believe there is any semblance of solid representation of this person. More and more upon reflection and with the few things I’ve learned since ceasing contact – I believe my mother is a kaleidoscopic persona. The face, the words, swivel around to represent whatever she thinks those in front of her want to see or hear in the moment. This is why she appears to have no morality.
I write this partly as a reminder. I’m not sure if it’s common of people abused since infancy, but I have a tendency to minimise abuse; a tendency to ‘forget’. A tendency to go back for more, thinking this time will be different.
No. Like my recent epiphany that the abuse wasn’t personal, and the way that knowledge seeped into my bones… this too is seeping in. It’s done. There will never be a going back. My mother will die, or I will die, and there will be no goodbye. I’m at peace with that. In fact, the idea brings me peace.
My husband said he’s not surprised my mother has been in contact with my father. He said that I never knew love from my family of origin, but that he, our daughter and I all love each other – and he believes there is more love to share, friendships, in the future. What kind and uplifting words.
Sometimes I feel ashamed for writing about my abuse – but it is what lead me here. It’s the swamp I am rising up and out of. Recovery is a long process, and one I think I’ll be engaged in until my final day on earth.
Recovery is messy, painful, hopeful, and beautiful.
I feel so blessed to be here.
May we find joy in recovery