Life has thrown many obstacles at me, as I am sure is the same for many others. Some people just seem to go through life without too much difficulty, without ever knowing what it feels like to be abused, depressed, suicidal or any of those other fun things that come along.
I on the other hand, am not one of those people. Because of that I have been in therapy for what seems like an eternity but is really only six years. I have a myriad of diagnosis including chronic depression, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and Borderline Personality Disorder. However, I don’t really think of myself by those things. In all reality I am just a person, thats all it is. A person with things I have to deal with, and have dealt with, tremendously well all considering. I am a completely different person now than I was six years ago, three years ago, even one year ago. However, some things just never cease to amaze me. New things pop up that I hadn’t even thought about.
One of those was in a therapy session I had yesterday. My therapist asked me to write a letter to my mother, and start it with Dear Mom, I hate when you…. and list all the things from my childhood that I hated when she did. So I did. I started with the pen to the paper and Dear Mom, I hate when you scream at me… and so on from there. Without too much time passing, I found myself in tears and with a list that was four pages long. The saddest part was that none of the things were one time only things. They were ALL things that she had done to me, more than once, and not I hate it when you wouldn’t let me go to so and sos house. Nothing like that, all things that were regulars in the list of I hate it when yous…
When I got to the fourth page I stopped. Simply because I was crying too hard and I didn’t want to go on. I closed the notebook I had written it in and didn’t think about it again. Didn’t remember a lot of the things I put in that list because I was writing from the heart and not from my head.
In Session yesterday my Therapist, J, made me read the letter out loud. I surprised even myself when I had a hard time doing so. I don’t know why, I guess because A. I knew it would hurt her, and B. I knew it would hurt ME. I knew that reading that list would transfer what I had written from a secret place locked deep in my heart, to a conscious place in my head. I didn’t really want to do that. I needed to do it.
I did it. In reading the list of things I myself wasn’t even ready to hear, I made yet another realization. Well really J made the realization through the tears in her eyes that I didn’t want to put there. My mother was abusive.
I was abused. Not just sexually abused, that I already know about… a little hard to forget, even though my mind had done a good job of it. But I was abused, by the person who was supposed to love and nurture me and care for me forever and ever. Not physically, no she didn’t hit me any more than the slaps when I did something wrong. No she was verbally and emotionally abusive.
I don’t know why this comes as a surprise to me. But it does. It hurts, it brings up things I don’t want to feel. My mother was abusive. Not an easy thing to deal with.
Particularly since the worst part of it is, I love my mother. I really do. I don’t know why, I guess that deep part within me that loves her because she is my mother. I love her because she isn’t ALL bad. She isn’t a terrible awful person who belongs somewhere in the pits of hell. Which is hard for me, because I would think that all abusers belong somewhere in the pits of hell.
My mother does not. She is a good person <BAH> really, she is. Well I guess I should say she TRYS to be a good person. She was the girl scout leader, the mom who always went on field trips, the one every other kid loved! She made the best cookies, she made the best projects, she was creative, she is all sorts of good things.
However, she is also abusive. It wasn’t on purpose, I KNOW that. All she ever wanted in the world was to be a mother (I know right? Barf) I just wasn’t the right daughter for her. Too bad there isn’t a store or something where you can pick the right kid. Had things been different perhaps it would have worked better, but I was just not the right kid for her.
I do not allow myself to still be abused, we have come to this relationship that seems to work, where we both pretend that the past never happened and we are just this happy family la te da.
So how does one go about dealing with something like this? Dealing with a rationalization that comes in adulthood. I guess I just keep going about doing what I am doing and hoping the eventually the majority of my demons will settle. That hopefully I will know how to be someone that is not anywhere NEAR my mother. I can’t make the past better, I can’t make it different. I can keep going toward the future but I wonder how to effectively let go of the past, without burying it in a non healthy way, as I have done for so long.