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Archive for March 20th, 2008

Plant (c) Lynda BernhardtIn my last post, No Big “Bomb” in Letter from Mother/Abuser, I shared that my mother/abuser wrote me a letter in the hopes of getting us to reconcile. That is not going to happen until she takes responsibility for the pain she inflicted and allowed others to inflict upon me. She was the common denominator to all of the abuses that I suffered. My most severe abuses never would have happened if she had not provided my abusers access to me. She has a lot to take responsibility for, and she has made no effort to do so.

I really do not believe that my mother has a conscious memory of the abuse. I sort of confronted her once when I was in my early twenties. She did something that really upset me. I screamed at her, “You already f@#$ed me as a child. I am not going to let you f@#$ me as an adult.” She hung up the phone and grabbed a gun, intending to blow her brains out. She pulled through her initial reaction and (obviously) did not kill herself. To this day, she has blocked out what we were arguing about. (I remember every detail.) Her version is that I called her on the phone and “was nasty to her.” I was so mean that she wanted to kill herself, but then she decided not to.

My therapist strongly believes that confronting my mother would accomplish nothing other than causing her to have a psychotic breakdown requiring institutionalization. I believe he is correct. I do not want to feel responsible for whom she might harm during such a breakdown. So, my choice not to confront her is a kindness both to her and anyone with whom she might come into contact.

All of this is hard. I hear my friends talk about spending time with their mothers and relying on their mothers, and I feel an emptiness inside of myself. I have found ways to be okay because I had to be, but there will always be a part of myself that wishes I had a mother – not the woman who gave birth to me but an actual mother.

I will sometimes have dreams about women who are nurturing to others in real life, and they will be my mother in my dreams. I do not necessarily want them to fill this role in real life. I know that it is too late for another person to enter into my life and nurture me the way that I needed. This is more about grieving my losses.

I have no parents. My father is dead, and my mother is as good as dead to me. I feel like an orphan, although unlike orphans, I do not have much to miss. I do not grieve the loss of my parents. Instead, I grieve the absence of parenting that I needed. I needed to know unconditional love as a child, and I never knew it other than through what my baby sister provided. I needed to have a safe place to fall, but I was never safe – neither physically nor emotionally. And yet, somehow, I have found a way to be okay.

Grief is not something you “get over.” Instead, it is something you “get through.” You find a way to be okay despite the holes in your heart. However, even after grieving, the holes are still there. Sometimes I wonder if my heart looks like Swiss cheese.

Related Topic:

Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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