Archive for March 4th, 2009

I was blown away by the number of responses I received to my blog entry entitled Letter to Mother Messing with My Head after Mother-Daughter Sexual Abuse. The timing is doubly interesting because her birthday is coming up. I had not even thought about her birthday until I flipped the calendar and saw the notation.

I found this comment to be particularly insightful:

The child inside knows the truth in its pure and elemental form and will react when she is not honored and protected. I can’t imagine still having contact with the actual abuser and making any allowances for the feelings of such a person. The poor child. That must be a real misery. I hope you feel better soon. I wonder where the mandate to coddle this abuser is coming from. ~ Ethereal Highway

I have been thinking about this question ever since I read this comment – Where does the mandate to coddle this abuser come from? I guess it comes from several places.

The first place is from my religion. I have been a Christian since I was eight years old and, ironically, my mother/abuser is the one who introduced me to the faith. I wrestled deeply with the mandate to “Honor thy father and mother” when I started therapy. How could I possibly “honor” my abuser? Why would I even want to?

My therapist and I worked through my conflict, settling upon me “honoring” while staying true to myself by limiting contact. At the time, this was a huge step forward.

Another place comes from a lifetime of conditioning. My mother/abuser is a child in an adult’s body. She has a (slow) child’s intelligence, and she is irresponsible. As a child, I was given the responsibility of taking care of her. For example, my father would yell at me, not her, for the unkempt house. I would make my own meals because she typically failed to cook us anything for dinner. In many ways, I had to parent myself along with her when I was just a kid.

I think another issue I wrestle with is my mother/abuser being different from your typical abuser. Most of my abusers were mean, cold, calculated, and manipulative. Why in the world would I care about their feelings at all?

My mother is pathetic. She is lost and alone. The best description I have heard of her is that she looks like she knows exactly what she is doing; she just doesn’t know where she is. She is very much a child in a lot of ways, and I guess it is hard for me to reconcile this about her with the terrible things she did to me, not to mention her handing me over to truly evil and abusive people.

I guess, when it comes right down to it, I don’t see her as evil, whereas I do see my other abusers that way. My therapist warned me many, many times to stay out of my abusers’ heads. When it comes right down to it, they all abused me. However, for some reason, I have trouble putting her on the same level as the others.

But then the child in me hates her more than the others, and I guess that is the crux of my internal conflict. I hate her, pity her, feel sorry for her, and feel the need to coddle her all at the same time.

And here I thought I had cut my emotional ties to her. D@#$, I hate it when I realize that I have a whole deeper layer of crap to work through.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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