The Death of the Old Me

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.

Trying to Live Up to the Mother

Trying to Live Up to the Mother

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.”

I replied;

“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),
Alethea”…

I no longer care what “the mother” thinks of me. How liberating that is!

_________________________________________________

Photo from Abuse No More Facebook Page:

http://www.facebook.com/DomesticViolenceKills?fref=ts

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28 Responses to The Death of the Old Me

  1. Kevin F says:

    Excellent post, Alethea. I think the comment about ‘divorcing the parents’ is very relevant. In a marriage, if the husband or wife regularly sexually assaults, physically assaults or abuses the other, then it’s definite grounds for divorce. The violent husband or wife loses their position and any rights or privileges that go with it and become an ‘ex’ or just another person.
    You need to go thru this process with your mother and get to a place where you just refer to her as ‘the mad fuck’ or perhaps the ‘mad violent fuck’ (as I do with mine). Don’t worry about your ‘duty’ of having to ‘love’ her – that’s a huge con. Think of your inner child and the damage which that person has caused you all your life. You need to divorce her now.
    You may come back at some time to a place where maybe you can feel ‘love’ for her but that’s well in the future and will only get in the way of what you need top do now.

    • Alethea says:

      Hi Kevin. As always, thank you for your comments.

      I don’t feel any duty to love her. I am true to myself, and God knows my heart. This means that I cannot force myself to feel something that is just not there, and may never have been there. God knows that I don’t love her, and God knows why, and God knows that I love her soul…the part of her that carries a heavy burden, and that soul is connected to God, like all of our souls are.

      The rest is between her and God.

  2. Chris and Judy says:

    Congratulations, Alethea.

    I have had to work through for manyyears similar issues.

    I no longer play the game.

    Grace, Hope, Courage, Peace be Yours in Christ

    Christopher in maine

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you so much. I pray for Grace every day. I retain my hope through Saint Jude, I get my courage from Saint Michael, and remain in peace through my trust and gratitude through Christ Jesus.

  3. jessicanix says:

    Congratulations on making a stand for yourself, that requires a great deal of courage.

  4. little nel says:

    Hi Alethea,
    When you stated that your mother sent you a joke about shingles, I cringed and thought about how cold, cruel, and thoughtless she was towards you.

    I know how the pain of shingles feels. It is a harsh unrelenting burning pain of the skin, coupled with deep muscle soreness that hurts when breathing, then takes that breath away from the repeat motion of the inhaling and the exhaling that is required to sustain life. The pain takes away all the energy that a body can muster to get through the day. This misery is the same night and day. An outbreak lasts a minimum of 4 torturous weeks.

    I’m sorry to know that this happened to you every six months. It breaks my heart to think that you suffered so much as an adult after being abused so badly as a child by your parents.

    You are more than a survivor or an over comer of adversity. You stand victorious when others, like me, would have given up on ourselves.

    • Alethea says:

      Well this comment made me just about cry….”You are more than a survivor or an over comer of adversity. You stand victorious when others, like me, would have given up on ourselves.”

      I wish I could “heart” this comment.

  5. mglvsjc says:

    Wow what a sense of God given freedom you must feel! Is that not called integration?
    Congrats and God Bless you and yours!

    • Alethea says:

      I think it is called integration when someone has united the different aspects of themselves. I think you are right in my case. Thank you for the warm wishes.

      🙂

  6. little nel says:

    Good for you, Alethea!
    It took a lot of courage for you to admit your dependence on your mother’s acceptance of you and take the steps that you deemed appropriate for your own benefit and personal growth.

    It’s amazing to me how often resentment and denial are linked together in people who abuse children. Then when the child complains or speaks up about the abuse, they are blamed, called names, and shunned as liars.

    I did not choose my mother. I did learn to accept her unacceptable behavior. I learned accept and feel the shame that she showered on me as a child. It was the luck of the draw, as I saw it, later on when I decided to unload those things.

    Once, I handed my mother the court documents that detailed her trial, conviction, and probation, for child neglect. She handed them back and said, “I don’t need to see these. They don’t mean anything to me.”

    I realized that my mother was incapable of believing the truth about herself and me. All she could understand was her warped perspective of what a mother was “supposed to be.” She was never going to take responsibility for her behavior. She was too damaged. I would always be the adult and she would always be the wounded child who was filled with self-pity in our relationship. I made it a priority to lower or let go of any expectations I had for her. It wasn’t easy.

    I took what I wanted that she wanted to give me and left the rest. She loved my husband, me, and my children as best as she could considering her defects and for that I am grateful. I knew that I could not expect a sick person to get well by my will power and/or on my terms. I had to allow her to have problems without letting it bother me. In spite of the abuse, I still loved her.

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you Little nel. I have always appreciated your input and comments.

      Resentment and denial ARE linked aren’t they? Good point.

      “I would always be the adult and she would always be the wounded child who was filled with self-pity in our relationship.”

      I think this is how my relationship with mine is/will be.

      I am glad you were able to love your mother in spite of it all.

      • little nel says:

        Alethea said, “I am glad you were able to love your mother in spite of it all”.
        I could not have loved my angry dishonest mother if Christ had not first loved me when I was unlovable and angry.

  7. melissa lee says:

    Dear Alethea,

    Courage is what you have and it is what will help you and that “little girl” inside to say what you need to say to your mother… It’s a very big number for me and I still work on the feelings I have around my mother… I have a wonderful mother in law and she has helped me heal my wounds too, by just being supportive and loving and inclusive with me and that has helped a great deal, and of course the work I do with a healer every week.. I have just learned to do daily silent work by checking in with the little girl inside me and loving what every she shows me or the feelings she has about the abuses and also, about not being loved by and protected by my mother.. I stopped talking to my mother 4 years before she died, an early death from 5o years of drinking daily.
    I also, have a sister that made me the one that “could not move on” with my life and just get over it. That of course is what I took from her response when I no longer would call my mother or talk to her. My older sister is now remembering her repressed rape and sodomy thru her dreams.. and she and I have grown closer thru this and she has even come where I live and worked with the healer I work with, my younger sister is the one that was angry and we have never really talked about the abuses, she was the only sister of the three of us that had memories that she did not repress about her abuses. Major step girl and know that others out there cheer you on:))))))

    xoxo Melissa Lee

    • Alethea says:

      Melissa Lee,

      I am curious, when you check in with the little girl inside you, how does she feel about not being loved and protected by your mother? I have found that issue to be a deep wound in most people.

      That is amazing about your older sister now remembering her repressed rape and sodomy and that you, and her, are closer…that is beautiful.

      Thank you so much for all the good cheers and good wishes. It helps me to know that others are on my ride with me, however silent they may usually be.

      🙂

      Alethea

      • melissa lee says:

        Sorry, I just checked back and saw you asked a question: When I check in she of course is outraged that my mother did not protect her, and of course this goes thru different intensities, based on the age I was, the baby, I think is the most outraged…. Keep up your post I love them.. xo Melissa Lee

        • Alethea says:

          Thanks Melissa Lee,

          Emotional pain during infancy is more powerful than people realize. Especially abandonment by the child’s mother.

  8. Grace says:

    Dear Alethea,

    Congratulations on a powerful letter and letting truth be the driving force of your writing/sending it! You are helping others every day, and the mother knowing that will only propel you further into truth. I am so inspired by your work! I’m glad you published your letter on here because I didn’t know about Jessica’s Law, and have now looked it up. I think it’s wonderful that you’re working to get signatures for passing the law in your state, and also for starting up a not-for-profit!!! What beautiful work! Good for you – you go girl!!!

    • Alethea says:

      Grace, I am always grateful for your words of support and encouragement. I have many things on my mind to take action; many ideas. I have to figure out which will serve the most people, and which I have the resources to do right now. The Jessica’s law petition should be later this summer. I will keep posting articles on my progress.

      Love,
      Alethea

  9. What a powerful letter you wrote to the mother. Congratulations on taking back your personal power. It seems harder to do with parents than with anyone else, or that was my experience. A friend and mentor in 12-Step programs kept telling me that one day I would have to divorce my mother. It took me a long time to understand what he meant. I had to cut my ties with her to take the next step in healing.

    • Alethea says:

      Patricia! What a great statement…divorcing the parents is a great analogy. “Divorce” derives from the Latin, “separation or dissolution.” It is like separating ourselves, dissolving, and setting ourselves free from the ties that keep up in a prison.

      I would always be there to help her if she ever needed it, but I do not have to keep myself in the prison that tied me to her through emotional dysfunction.

      • I shared this post on Facebook and Twitter yesterday as I always do with your posts and already a number of friends on both have shared it with their friends. This is a powerful post that is blessing the lives of all who read it.

  10. shanakd9 says:

    Wow!, thanks for sharing that. I didn’t know that you still had contact with your mother. That was a very good, letter, that adjective doesn’t even begin to describe it. She will probably shit her pants! Did you confront her about her abuse? Does she know that you know? You are very brave. I look forward to hearing if you and what kind of response you get. Is that the sister that abused you too? It all sounds very familiar. You are doing great things, and getting paid to do a job is nothing in comparison to what you are doing to help yourself and others.

    • kellbabs says:

      I second this totally! Love this part…  “You are doing great things, and getting paid to do a job is nothing in comparison to what you are doing to help yourself and others.”

      • little nel says:

        Hi kellbabs,

        I agree with your response.
        Alethea’s “job” is extra-ordinary, relevant, and beneficial for us all.

        Alethea has rejected the temptation to repeat her mother’s folly and lack of morality. “The mother” has displayed resentment towards her children, indifference to suffering, ignorance, denial, mocking, insults, lies, cover ups, etc. and all the other things that child abusers do to their own flesh and blood.

        Alethea has chosen the higher ground of education, forgiveness, understanding, compassion, honesty, integrity, etc. and all the other values that are given to us from God. A remarkable choice considering the despair that she once felt.

        • Alethea says:

          Beautiful comment Little Nel. Thank you. For me, the latter was the only choice for my soul. It was choose the latter, or die.

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you Shana. I really appreciate the feedback. It’s always so hard to publish things when I don’t know what kind of a reaction I will receive from my readers.

      No, this is NOT the same sister who abused me. I have written about the rest of your questions in my book, so I need to keep some things for the book material, but I am happy to know you are interested. I always hope I am not boring my readers.

      I agree about money. No amount of money can give me the joy of health, peace, and helping others.

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