Home > Healing Journey, Uncategorized > Facing my mother in truth and love

Facing my mother in truth and love

I’m quite talented at procrastinating – why do today what you can do tomorrow? Seriously though, procrastination is something that I do frequently. Today though, I have to say that despite my wandering thoughts I have been able to accomplish a great deal. I got caught up on a few weeks worth of emails, worked substantially to gather the research for my paper in a sensible order so that I can just sit down and write, and also do some serious thinking.

With this trauma program, I have been procrastinating talking about certain things. I just started week 5 and so I am halfway through the program. Tomorrow I have my individual session and I set goals with my therapist that I have yet to reach – goals of talking about some specific things around my mom. Last week I shared that I am afraid to feel too much about how my mom has related to me for fear that my thoughts and feelings for her would change.

I remember in the trial, I was frequently asked if I still loved my dad, still wanted a relationship with him, etc. I consistently said yes even though his lawyer claimed this position didn’t make sense. Later, I read aloud my victim impact statement which laid out how I felt the trauma, separation from my family due to disclosure, and trial had impacted, hindered and hurt my life. I remember while writing it and naming the losses the pain and hurt that came with such acknowledgments. I remember being asked at the end of the statement whether I wanted a relationship with my dad. I said quietly, “I don’t know anymore”. I’ve thought a lot about this and I think the relationship that I am willing to have with him is very different than what i first had hoped for. I would like to be able to be at a family gathering and not be afraid of him. I would like to be able to say “hey, how’s it going?” and shoot the breeze. But not much more. Not because I am angry, but because this relationship is no longer something I need or long for.

But with my mom, everything is different. I would give almost anything to have my mom in my life. I think one of the ways that I cope with how she has treated me and all the confusion I mentioned in my last post is to ascribe to her a passive role in all of this. To think of my dad as controlling and therefore my mom has no choice. Or to think of my mom, who has been victimized several times, as one who is too broken to deal with my pain. Or even to think of my mom as simply reacting in the best way possible with really crappy circumstances.

This is getting harder and harder to do. My mom is a strong and intelligent woman. I think that my mom and my dad are partners in this, both weaving a story that is painful, both constructing a ‘reality’ that lacks truth, both covering for the other’s crimes, both shaping the next steps ahead.

So tonight I decided to stop procrastinating in facing this. In preparation for my one-on-one session tomorrow, I pulled out letters that my mom has written to me. I have not looked at these letters in almost a year. I read them tonight excited at first, hoping for a different message and was disappointed to rediscover on paper words that are now engraved on my heart.

If I let myself feel, would I still long for a relationship with her? Would I still long for connection? Or would I become satisfied with shooting the breeze at best?

I look back and while the trauma was between me and my dad, there is so much that for me, in my own processing of all that was happening as a child, that is linked very intimately with my mom. In the trial, they were only interested in facts. But there is a narrative to the traumatic events that I think needs to be told.

Leading up to my 13th birthday, I had read about a girl in a Christian magazine who gave her mother a gift and a letter thanking her for giving her life and love. This girl did this on her own birthday and this story really spoke to me. So I wrote a letter and carefully picked out some candles, wrapped them, and took them with me on our camping trip. I was excited to see her face of surprise that on my birthday she would be getting a present! Then night time happened and my dad hurt me. I woke up feeling ashamed, dirty and scared. I knew that I had to keep what happened to myself for it would hurt my mom deeply.

I have very vivid memories of the trauma. But what sticks out to me most these days was how my relationship with my mom changed and was affected by the abuse before my disclosure and after. I have shared snippets in the program and their responses are hard to hear for they react very strongly against some of my mom’s words and actions.

So my question and prayer these days is how do I face and feel the truth of a person who means so much to me, her words and actions and still hang on to what I believe is a God-given ache for restoration and wholeness. How can I see the injustice of what she has done and yet love her?

Reminds me of a U2 song.

I’m not the only one staring at the sun/ Afraid of what I’d find if I took a look inside. I’m not just deaf and dumb staring at the sun/ I’m not the only one who would rather go blind

In some ways, remaining blind seems easier. But honestly, it’s not working all that well for me because it is churning and rumbling in the pit of my stomach constantly. So maybe, as I stare under the sun at what is painful and difficult, of that which I am afraid, maybe instead of wishing blindness I will find something better… peace, shalom, wholeness.

  1. A Spirit of Healing
    May 15, 2012 at 5:16 am

    Hi there nice to meet you and thanks for following my blog. I know the process you are going through with facing your relationship and the feelings connected with your mother is a painful experience. Especially if the person is dear to you and you do not want to lose them. But I have learned that change is important in the healing process. Do not be afraid of the change of your feelings towards your mother. It might bring you to a lot better place than you are now. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

    • May 15, 2012 at 6:03 am

      thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. It has been good to connect with other survivors around the world in this journey of speaking out!

      • A Spirit of Healing
        May 15, 2012 at 7:06 am

        You are very welcome ~ the encouragement and support from others in this community has helped me a lot as well. You will get there…. 🙂

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