A few days ago it was the birthday of the woman who calls herself my mother.
I cannot write that she is my mother because it goes against every fiber of my being to write those words. She is, and never was, a mother to me in the true sense of the word. I do not have one loving memory of her, and not one childhood memory of her ever giving me a loving hug, or of treating me kindly. My memories of her only involve a woman who has resented me since the day I was born.
I have recently been working very hard on myself in therapy sessions. I have been doing very emotionally difficult work in the area of cutting the emotional umbilical cord to “the mother,” and extracting my deep need (my inner child’s need) to be accepted or loved by her –to be “good enough” for her to love me.
I have spent five decades trying to please her and appease her. I have been untrue to myself in order to “get along” or to maintain some kind of “relationship” with her via the occasional email, or once a year phone call.
The other day, through an age-regression therapy, I gained enough personal strength to let go of my need to have her love me, or for her to accept me as being “good enough” in her eyes.
I also found the inner strength to finally tell her exactly what I have been doing for the past few years, instead of keeping the truth from her so I would not be disapproved of, or cast out by her.
Up until a few days ago, I was still playing the role of “the good girl.”
The phone call which prompted this spark of courage came on her birthday. Like the dutiful daughter I was, I had called her to wish her a beautiful day and to just try and have some human openness with a woman who I have forgiven, but who has hurt me in profound and unforgivable ways.
The phone call began harmlessly. She spoke of her birthday lunch and the usual superficial pleasantries. In turn, I offered a few trivial bits of information about my daily life, but spoke nothing about the fact that my life is mostly focused on work in the area of child abuse awareness.
The topic of one of my sisters came up in the conversation. This particular sister, Madison, has not spoken to me in about 14 years, when she decided to treat me like garbage because I dared to speak openly to my mother about the incest with my father. This sister has also considered me “dead” since then –even though I have never accused her of anything, nor have I even spoken to her about the incest with my father. Madison’s hatred of me has been unwarranted, unfair, and cruel.
During the telephone conversation with “the mother,” I mentioned Madison. The mother said to me, “Oh, I just wish you could all get along.”
“How can I get along with someone who has treated me like garbage and pretends I do not exist?”
The mother said to me;
“Oh, well, a friend of mine told me, ‘well, you know, everyone has a dysfunctional family.'”
I was dumfounded at the time. I just could not fathom how this woman (the mother) could brush aside what my sister had said to me many years ago, and that she has chosen to pretend I do not exist. My sister’s behavior was, and still is, very strange and extremely cruel, especially when there is no basis for her behavior. In Madison’s mind, her cruelty is justified merely because I revealed that my father sexually abused me for years.
At this point of the phone conversation, I was already raw inside from the mother’s lack of fairness and honesty about Madison. So when the mother switched the subject by asking me, “so, do you have a job?”… I suddenly lost my sense of self because I dared not say what I felt.
From the time I was fifteen years old, to the time I became bed-ridden and seriously ill at age 33, I held down full time jobs, even positions of authority within those jobs.
Part of this is because “the mother” has always made me feel that my self-worth depended upon whether or not I had a “job” among other members of society, who, according to her vision of things, all had some kind of degree or skill to gain their worth in her eyes.
So by the time her question about my job status came across the telephone line, I was pretty angry –both at the mother, and at myself– for not standing up to her and not saying what I truly wanted to say.
So out of my old bad habit of being a quiet little mouse to her (some of my readers might be shocked to know, that yes, I used to be a quiet little mouse to most everyone in my life), I replied to the mother’s question about my employment:
“No, I’m not working.”
And that was that. The conversation quickly ended and it was the old Alethea who hung up the phone. The old Alethea was the person who dared not tell her “mother” what she truly wanted to say. The old Alethea is the one who did not want to stir things up or make the mother uncomfortable.
So in a therapy session later that day, I joyfully killed the old Alethea.
The next day, the new, and nearly fully healed Alethea emerged from her bed, and when the new Alethea saw an email joke from “the mother” in her email box –a joke about the shingles virus, the new warrior Alethea typed out the following email to “the mother.”…
“I wanted to address our conversation from the other day. When people surprise me, I don’t quite know what to say, so I did not truly say what I wanted.
When you defended Madison’s behavior, you took me off guard. I had hoped that you would, by now, have examined the fact that Madison has a serious problem inside herself, and that she chose to demean me, call me names, and to cut me off from her life. I offered her, more than once, to speak with me honestly about things. All I asked from her was human openness, and received nothing but ugly personal attacks and her to cut all ties to me.
So when you stated, “I wish you could all just get along,” you were minimizing what she did to me, and defending her ugliness. How in the world can I possibly “get along” with Madison, who has been so ugly to me, never apologized, and continues to behave as if I do not exist?
Madison has to do some serious inner reflection and some deep soul-searching to find the root cause of her unjustified and ugly behavior towards me. Then, and only then, is there a chance we can “get along.”
The other thing I did not address on the phone with you, and wish I had, was your asking me if I am working. What I wanted to say, and did not, was that my job right now is to complete my book, get it published, write articles to help promote the book, and to do active work in the area of stopping child sexual abuse. You sent me an email joke about shingles. Maybe you don’t know that the shingles virus is very serious and painful. I endured shingles outbreaks, every six months, for many years. I no longer suffer from that virus, and my book shows how I healed that problem…and without the use of dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and without dangerous vaccines.
I am also currently working towards helping get Jessica’s Law on the ballot next year in Colorado, and will be helping others who take action against child abuse, to get the 86,000 signatures needed for the law. I am also working towards starting a non-profit organization with a couple of other women, that will help aid survivors of child sexual abuse who cannot afford therapy, but are suffering and need help.
I am also planning on getting my psychology degree, so that will take most of my free time.
My “job” right now is to do what I love, and that is to take action to help others who have suffered as much as I did. My job is to work towards helping children, and to get a psychology degree so that I can significantly help others, and to help my hard-working husband in also bringing income to my family, and for a very long time to come. I can be a psychologist until I am well into my seventies, and my husband can then relax and enjoy himself.
Sometimes I feel as though you judge me.
Having a 9-5 job does not equal self-worth, or respect. It is what we do as human beings, every day of our life, and how we the tools that God has given us, in order to live altrustically, which brings self-worth in the eyes of God, and that’s all I care about…how God sees me.
In peace and truth (In Christ),
I no longer care what “the mother” thinks of me. How liberating that is!
Photo from Abuse No More Facebook Page: