Mother’s Day: Often a Hard Day For Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

 

Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for the millions of people who had a mother who abandoned them, or who chose to protect a child abuser or child rapist, instead of their own child.

For many people, Mother’s Day can be heartbreaking because their mother sexually abused them.

Many adult survivors of child sexual abuse are inwardly angry about Mother’s Day, but they still choose to do the ‘social pleasantries’ in order to get along with, or be accepted by the mother who abused or abandoned them.

Others will not engage in family gatherings, but will betray themselves by buying a Mother’s Day card with all the false fluff about mothers and will sign and send the card anyway, knowing the words are untrue.

I openly admit to having done all of the above in the last twenty years.

There were a number of years where I sent a card to my mother with a nice photo on the outside, with a blank page inside. Those cards are always easiest because you can write anything you want, without being a lie to yourself.

But there were a few years where I completely ignored Mother’s Days, and never sent a thing to my mother, nor called her.

Lately I have been going through some major transformational shifts in my healing. This past Wednesday, I had no intention of calling or sending my mother anything on Mother’s Day. Then, I suddenly had a huge breakthrough in therapy on Thursday, and when I finished my therapy session, I drove straight to my local artistic gift shop and began to look around for some small, but nice gifts, to ship to my mother with a beautiful card (blank inside of course).

As I approached the woman who owns the store (a friend of mine), she looked at me and said, “my gosh Alethea, you look so radiant today!” I knew exactly what she was speaking of because I could feel it in my mind and body. The heavy burden of all the anger that had manifested in my face the day before, had vanished.

This was a new day, a clean day.

I told my store-owner friend what I was doing, and she not only complimented me again, but she shared her own story of making peace with her violent mother.

It was a beautiful experience. After sharing her story, my friend and I briefly held our moment in time in an expression of trust and peace between us. She then boxed up my gifts and we parted ways.

Each and every person can go through periods of healing, and then anger again, and then healing, and then rage. They can feel pity, compassion, hatred, and resentment for their mother abuser on any given day of the week.

But each person has a right to feel however it is they happen to be feeling on or around Mother’s Day.

There is no “right” or “wrong” way of handling the day, just make sure that you are honest with yourself.

Be true to yourself because if you are not, I promise you that your inner child, or your conscience (one or the other) will make itself known in some unpleasant way.

If you can’t fathom sending a card or calling your mother, and you do so anyway, your inner child has the potential to get pretty damn angry and cause physical symptoms or make you angry at the world.

If you feel in your heart that it would be okay to call or send something, and you don’t, then your higher consciousness could have the potential to create a guilt-induced physical problem. Or you might self-punish through self-sabotaging behavior.

So feel your way through Mother’s Day, and trust your instinct. Do what would bring you the most inner peace, and if you don’t have children, then take yourself out on a nature hike. Go for a bike ride, or pack a lunch and visit a State Park.

My dog is my child, and I am her mother, so we are going to go on a beautiful nature hike.

If you are a woman who had a cruel or abusive mother, remember that you are your own mother now, and treat yourself well on Mother’s Day.

If you are a man, Mother Nature can be your mother. Love her as you would love the mother you wished you had gotten as a child. Treat Mother Nature with love, kindness, and respect.

Actually, everyone needs to do this, because animals and nature are truly like our Divine Mother.

Have a beautiful, Blessed Day on Sunday.

~Alethea

 

 

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20 Responses to Mother’s Day: Often a Hard Day For Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

  1. KevinF says:

    Another excellent article, Alethea. Mothers’ Day, Xmas, Father’s Day etc. are all media/society-promoted ‘feel good’ days which make many people uncomfortable.
    When reading your article, I was reminded of the reaction of some Australian aboriginal people to the celebration of Australia Day here. Australia Day here is a national holiday and a commemoration of the arrival of the first English fleet in 1788. For the Aboriginals, this marked the beginning of their dispossession and attempted genocide. In recent years, some Aboriginals have begun marking Australia Day as Invasion Day or Survival Day and using it to celebrate their survival and the survival of some of their languages and culture over the last 200+ years.
    This could be a template for us in marking MD and all the other days. We survived violent and abusive parents and families – that was a big achievement for the small children we were. We can reclaim these days from the media and retailers and use them to celebrate ourselves and our ongoing survival over adversity.

    • Alethea says:

      I agree Kevin, it’s like Columbus Day here. Native Americans were slaughtered by the invasion of people like CC.

      Valentine’s Day and “Halloween” (All Souls Day, All Saint’s Day) were all created by those wanting to profit.

  2. Little Nel says:

    My niece and her six year old daughter came to visit last week. We were having a causal conversation about “family” when I mentioned that my brother, who is now on meds for his impulse control problems, which is observed in his sudden violent outbursts, made me feel uneasy about his attitude towards one of his daughters, as I thought that it hinted as incestuous when he made mention of her monthly periods, from over two decades earlier, which creeped me out.

    My niece then related to me that on a visit to this same man’s home, he offered to let her six year-old daughter sleep in the bed with him and his wife, “right between them” in the bed. She said that it made her feel uncomfortable to allow it, so she declined the offer, only to have him offer his bed two more times, which then “creeped her out” because he was too pushy on the subject.

    She said that her six year-old daughter, who slept in her own bed at home, was not used to sleeping in the same bed with adults and was not used to being around my brother and his wife.

    She said that she is keeping her distance from him and his wife. I told her that I agreed with her decision to decline his suggestion, and that I thought that my brother’s offer was “creepy” also.

    • Alethea says:

      From my view, it is a red flag, not just “creepy.”

      • Little Nel says:

        I was using the word “creepy” as way to describe the feeling that is linked to viewing a “red flag.”

        My brother is dangerous to children and no amount of “medication” will change it.

  3. Little Nel says:

    Hi Alethea,
    Yes, I can relate to having uncomfortable feelings on Mother’s Day for a lot of years and avoiding family gatherings and sending cards that I didn’t want to send.

    I had the most angry day that I have ever had on Friday. I wanted to choke someone to death that I had known, that made me feel afraid to go to school when I was 13, because I rebuffed his sexual advances. He threatened to ruin my social standings by telling lies about me and sending his sister to “beat me up” after school for rejecting his advances.

    I had thought that I had resolved it back then, but to my surprise, I reacted to those memories with so much rage that I thought that I would never get past it. The exposure of all that “repressed anger” took me by surprise.

    I called Dr. de Saint-Simone in desperation for some relief. Thanks to her expertise, I was able to rid myself of most of it, but I think that I have some more work to do.

    • Alethea says:

      LN,

      Great example of repressed anger. We think we are “over” something, or have dealt with it through forgiveness, but then something triggers the event and the hidden emotion comes up. Don’t worry, you will get it all out in the therapy. One session does not always rid us of the anger, or the event, but it does indeed release a lot of the anger, and we never go back to the level of anger we had prior to the one session. Keep up the good work with Dr. De Saint-Simone, you will get it all out.

      • Little Nel says:

        Thanks for the compassion and understanding, Alethea.

        After I read my comments, I realized that I needed to write down all that I could remember about this anger that I felt. When I journaled everything, I realized that my anger was linked to the last threat that “the bully” issued when he walked out the door adding his final sneering remark, “You will be sorry for this, tomorrow at school.”

        That was the threat that set me into a state of fear (and then rage.) That arrogant jerk thought that he could ruin my education and my social acceptance all in one well timed threat!

        I found the courage to show up at school and stand up for myself in the face of all that expected humiliation and pain. I stood my ground. The bully and his sister backed off and my class mates were filled with a new respect for me.

        I realized that while I was still emotionally coupled with the rage, I had forgotten and dismissed the real courage that I had inside. How could I treat myself like that?

        I look bak now and think, “Was that incident about sex coupled with violence?”

        The threat was clear. “I will ruin your life and cause you physical pain for not giving in to my sexual demands”

        After I wrote it all out, the last feelings of oppression and anger subsided. I have been feeling refreshed and renewed since then. My energy has returned.

        I will continue on my journey into wholeness and healing with the gifts that have been made available to me.

        Thank you fort all that you do.

        • Alethea says:

          Journaling is very important LN. Writing it out, making notes, free-writing…all very helpful.

  4. IAMicrried says:

    A wonderful post for a difficult time for CSA survivors. I am a survivor of incest. My mother denies the possibility of what happened to me at the hands of my father, her husband. Both fathers day and mothers day are difficult for me. So I choose NOT to celebrate my parents on either day. You have a wonderful way with words on this post. I wish you a fabulous Mothers’ Day.
    ❁IAMicried❁
    ☂Visions ☂ of ☂Rainbows☂
    http://www.facebook.com/VisionsOfRainbows

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you for posting. Father’s day is tough too. I sometimes feel MD is harder because of the image of mothers put into our minds by society, commercials, retailers, and other external influences. The hypocrisy is stronger with the mother issue I think.

      Treat yourself well on MD.

  5. Alethea, buying that gift was an important step. Really a gift to yourself and your healing. Have a lovely day on Sunday.

  6. Mary says:

    Thank you, Alethea. Another insightful post. I once had a conversation with a woman who had been raised by a narcissistic mother, and we were commiserating about the difficulty of Mother’s Day. She said she never found the right card, the one that said, “Shame on you.” I’m having my elderly mother and my two nice, supportive sisters over for Mother’s Day, and I’m actually looking forward to it. I am reconciled with my grief about not having had a truly loving mom, and I’m OK with trying to help her as much as I can through her winter years. Being consumed with anger just fuels the power of the person who controlled you for so long. I’m not saying it’s perfect, but it’s OK. Have a lovely day, and thank you, as you always say, for sharing the planet with me!

    • Alethea says:

      Thank you Mary. Thank you for sharing.

      Being consumed with anger is no good for anyone. The problem with me has always been repressed anger. I do not, and have never, walked around with conscious anger (although once in a while, when my mother would disregard me as a person when we spoke on the phone, I would be consciously angry).

      My anger has always been repressed in my subconscious mind –repressed anger over known abuse, or over repressed memories of things that were hidden in my unconscious. The anger I expelled on Thursday had been buried in the unconscious. I was angry the day before, but for unknown reasons. The therapy session brought out the reason, and it was buried in something that had to do with both my father and mother, and a sister who was cruel to me as a child.

      Have a beautiful weekend.

      ~Alethea

      • Alethea says:

        Just to be clear…when I say “repressed anger,” it means anger that had settled in my body –my skin looked bad, and having hemorrhoids was what led me to know there was repressed anger. I was also short-tempered on Wednesday, but did not know why. (read: there was no reason in the world to be short-tempered..everything in my daily life was trouble-free)…

    • KevinF says:

      Great post, Mary. By buying and sending a card like that, you get to take part in the recognition/celebration of the mother event and also get to express your true feelings. My mother died in 1981 (before there were any Mothers’ Days) so I never had this dilemma But, like most of us, I was into denial and avoidance about childhood violence/abuse and these sort of ‘family’ days (Xmas too) just made me very uneasy. Now you’ve allowed me to see that being open and participating truthfully in these days/events is a much more healing way to go.

      • Mary says:

        Thank you, Kevin. In my post, the Mother’s Day card is fictional and satirical. Hallmark isn’t ready for that card!! I wouldn’t send a card like that in reality, but the thought of it makes me smile and helps dispel feelings of anger and resentment. I think each person has to decide, based on their own experiences and personal resources, how they can interact and communicate with negative, abusive relatives (if at all). I don’t really want to confront my mother about her narcissistic behavior, because I realize she cannot change it, be truly sorry for it, or even recognize that it exists. On the other hand, I do not tolerate any mistreatment or accept snipes and unjust criticisms of people I care about. It’s a bit of a tightrope dealing with her, but she is in her late 80s, and at this point in my life it’s easier for me to have limited contact and try to help her with the ordinary things elderly people need assistance taking care of. I agree 100% that you must participate in these holidays (and everyday) truthfully, without concocting some sentimental, sugar-coated version of the relationship that never existed. Good luck to you on your journey of healing!

        • Alethea says:

          “I don’t really want to confront my mother about her narcissistic behavior, because I realize she cannot change it, be truly sorry for it, or even recognize that it exists. On the other hand, I do not tolerate any mistreatment or accept snipes and unjust criticisms of people I care about.”

          Mary, very healthy for you. Good for you.

        • Little Nel says:

          “I don’t want to want to confront my mother…etc… or even recognize that it exists”
          “Its a bit of a tightrope dealing with her, but she is in her late 80’s…etc.”

          You are a smart woman Mary, I felt and acted the same way towards my mother who died in her late 80’s.

          They lived in a time and place where they had to accept the unacceptable behavior of their parents, then as adults they emulated them without realizing it. It was normal in their thinking.

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