If abandonment is the core wound
the disconnection from mother
the loss of wholeness
then the most potent medicine
is this ancient commitment
to never abandon yourself
to discover wholeness in the whole-mess
to be a loving mother to your insides
to hold the broken bits
in open awareness
to illuminate the sore places
with the light
– Jeff Foster
I’m having a hard time, I have been having a hard time, since cutting ties with family, mostly in relation ( ha ha ) to mother dearest. It would be a lie to say I do not miss her, though I often question whether I truely ‘miss’ her or miss the concept of ‘mom’; perhaps though, it is a bit of both. The happy memories are something many parts hold so fondly, even the bickering during my teen years are keepsakes in my mind. I miss her hugs, I miss the stories she would read for me when I was a young girl, and those she read for me at age sixteen as I lay feverish and fatigued for weeks on end with mononucleosis. I miss the times when we would argue, I miss the cafe trips, the car rides, the board games, Nintendogs, Great British Bake-Off, the alpaca farm; I miss her but at the same time, thinking about her makes me mad, upset, guilty, a myriad of emotions really. Then to have a mother that barely knows me in comparison offer support in many ways you missed the mark . . . I suppose I should be grateful that I had you as such a supportive figure in my life; it is not as though I was neglected, there is always someone that has it worse, right? It’s just that when I needed you the most, there were far too many words with too little action to back them up, far too much responsibility on me. But of course, as I type those words I cannot help but feel guilty; that I requested too much, that I am making a big deal about something so tiny, so insignificant. Insignificant though, that’s how I felt, that the severity of what I disclosed, was too far fetched to be believed.
Only 10-15 percent of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by strangers. The majority of child sexual abuse happens in or close to the family.
I didn’t ask for this, I never asked for any of this to happen. He took away my childhood, and to this day continues to take away from my life. My mind runs on fear, my soul is left aching for what could have been, my body does not function the way it would have had he have not touched me to begin with. Each touch added years to my pain that I still have yet to unravel, each year added pain to a life I had yet to discover. And yet … twenty something years after it began, I still feel like I am at fault. It is exactly how he told me, nobody would believe me. Not you, not anyone, somedays not even me. I ended my silence and I paid the price, he took you away from me just like he took everything else.
But she believes me, and that is hard. It is hard to comprehend how another mother can give me so much support when I didn’t receive the same from you. I feel guilty uttering those words, for even entertaining the thought. Perhaps you were supporting me but in your own way? It would be hard to feel like you have failed as a parent for not noticing the abuse, maybe I didn’t give you enough time to process things? Christmas though, Christmas, that’s what made me mad. It made her mad too, upset for me.
“If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know”. The kindness hurts so much I struggle to face her. Younger parts cried today knowing that she was visiting, knowing that she is not you, knowing we chose to sever ties. They do not fully understand why, or perhaps they refuse to believe it. Yearning for something I didn’t receive, crying over memories old, frustrated for cutting out someone who has done “nothing wrong”, fearful about what else breaking my silence could ruin for me. She is not you and it causes me pain, you are not her and it causes me anguish.
I do not wish to spend time around these maternal figures, even time with my carer can prove difficult. I couldn’t help but think about myself as she showed me the pictures of her youngest girl starting school. It reminded me of a much simpler time in my life where certain parts of me were none the wiser to the trauma being endured. It was a time when I could just be a kid. I know that it may not entirely make sense, because of course it was not a simpler time, and there was so much happening in my life even though at that time I could not remember it, nor why I reacted to certain things the way I did… but I suppose it’s like writing your own story with a picture. I look at images of me on my first day of school and I want to rewrite everything about the life of the little girl in the picture. I give her a happy backstory, an ideal social circle, relationships, everything based off of what society markets a stable childhood to be. I give her the good things, the stable things, things I had that already checked those boxes. I make sure not to give her the bad things, to erase him, protect her from any harm.
In therapy I’ve been learning how to practise self-compassion, and I say ‘practise’ very loosely. I hear her words and agree wholeheartedly; from an outside perspective I understand, yet I find it so so so hard to nurture those child parts that are hurt. I do not wish to take on those emotions, to face the memories that they hold, for that would mean accepting what happened to that little girl who is long gone. . . I suppose I am afraid of that.
Is that what it is? Were you afraid too?
Mother dearest, mother nearest, mother is long gone.