I get that my mother did the best she could…and STILL–what happened to me is not right or acceptable. I know we differ in many ways, she and I, one of the more pronounced ways, is that if and when I am struggling to understand and be present for either of my children, I count on friends, whom I call family, to stand in that gap, not to align with me against my sons. My mother’s need to be right outweighed her need for connection with and protection of me. She invited others to align with her, to shame or frighten me into something other…and I sure did become something other than what I was born to be in this world. Ashamed. Angry. Disconnected. Broken AF.
Before reaching this latest state of no contact, I observed with nausea, her attempts to align with me while I was being frustrated or corrective with my sons…and I would firmly remind her I only need help loving them, not shaming or punishing them. thanks to my experience, I am a natural at that, all on my own.
My family of origin has collectively chosen this way of being and any proximity to that, by my sons or by me, is not a safe or prudent choice. I do wonder what expectations may be held for me when someone who is not speaking to me passes, departs this world. I think I will honor the universal truth– that the service is for the mourners and I respect that too much to disrupt it. My choice to limit proximity to anyone comfortable with shunning, ignoring, or diminishing me is hardly a choice. For decades, I did share meals, special days, and beds with those who treated me in this way, withholding, critical, punitive. Recovery teaches me about self love, preservation, boundaries and higher powers which are neither human nor scary AF.
My mother claiming my sister and her mother as her aids, in her desire to reduce me, literally brings bile to my mouth. Because of their unwholesome alliance with my ex, trauma bonding with a man who shares their frustration and rage of not being able to control me in these ways, my boys have had their innocence stripped. What a strain on them. With the stripping did come the opportunity for enlightenment about zero-sum game, finding a third way, compromise, and the very legitimate and last resort of no contact. We practice choosing wisely whom to let into our blanket forts.
Today, Mothers Day is for sure, bitter sweet. It started out purely sweet with the most precious decorated cards and messages… tears of sweetness poured and I sobbed and they understood. My older son gave me not one, but two packs of my favorite kind of mechanical pencils. I only write in pencil. (Possibly interesting side note: I witness those who use only sharpies and cannot help but marvel at the difference in perspectives. I use pencil. I make lots of mistakes–in fact my life is one big series of corrections). My younger son bought me my own Nerf Jolt…as I am always trying to steal his. He even says(upon my request) that I may shoot him anytime without fear of retaliation. And he gave me some super hard darts called Little Valentines designed to inflict manageable pain. Wait, it gets better.
Yesterday, we went strawberry picking with my nearest and dearest friend, my BFF for life since grade 2. She directed me to get in her car and wait while my boys put something in our car. At Easter she snapped a gorgeous picture of them and had it made into a canvas for them to give to me for Mothers’ Day. This example of thoughtful, wholesome love and humility, will make me cry each time I look at the picture. I love the photo and what feels nearly crippling, for someone like me, is the intensity of the joy and gratitude (followed immediately by all of the feelings I want to not feel) of having been blessed by THIS wholesome, magical, healing love. There are no words… Just love, and a whole lot of pain. I am unable to selectively numb my feelings. By allowing myself to feel the joy of my boys’ offerings, it also opened me up to the pain of all that I struggle to not feel, every minute of every day. I see how this worked in my life…always invalidated and required not feel or share my emotional experience. Trying to numb the pain also prevented me from experiencing moments of joy. My mother and sister love to say how I only recall the bad parts. It may be true. I understand, this is how abuse and trauma work on our memories.
My sons have a birthday party this evening which they believe may have spared them from being taken to my sister or mother’s home for dinner. One of them said, I will be sure to thank Billy(the host). My son does not know the term “soul rape” but he sure knows when it is happening and is not buying in. Mother’s day is as happy as it is difficult, like all the other special occasions. My sons may not have a joyful mom, but they damn sure have one who will not align against them or knowingly choose action guaranteed to make life more painful and difficult. I will not remain mystery to my sons. They will know exactly who I am and how much they mean to me, how the extent of what I am willing to do to show up for them is limitless. I am a work in progress, re-writing my story, writing my own ending, in pencil. One day at a time.
PS–with April being Mental Health Awareness Month, I took the opportunity to share with my boys more deeply about depression, anxiety, addiction— that more than a few people on both sides of their family have been deeply affected. That one day, they may be offered drugs or alcohol and if they decide to try, it may be more difficult for them to stop than it might be for others. and that they can come to me with that. These realities shall not be secrets or tabu. We can do hard things, together, unapologetically–when we are willing to connect and discuss and listen without fear of reprisal or judgment. Oh, how I want for them to continue with big open hearts and minds for all of the days.
I am wiped out from the barrage thoughts and feelings, all before noon.Much Love,
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