On my blog entry entitled Battling Self Hate after Child Abuse, a reader posted the following comment:
I wish so much I did not hate myself so much… I just don’t understand how I can begin to love myself, when I feel so alone and unloved…So, I know this is different than what your journey was, but for me, I have always wished so much for a mom. Now I feel like she doesn’t care anymore…My heart hurts so much, that she is about to not care about me anymore. I lived in 15 foster homes, so I am used to being disposable, but I truly believed she would always love me unconditionally, because she said that to me. I trusted her with all of my heart. I won’t ever be able to trust anyone again, it hurts way too much…My heart hurts so much because I know that if I had a mom who loved me I could get through this. How can I love myself, if no one loves me? I am so completely confused. ~ Annabelle
I can relate to Annabelle’s situation much more than she probably realizes. I can’t remember if I have shared this before, but I tried to embrace my husband’s mother as my mother. I thought that life had given me a second shot at having a mom. My mother-in-law (MIL) would tell me all the time that she thinks of me as a daughter, and I bought into it.
In my own hurt and desperate need, I did not see my MIL clearly. I did not see the major dysfunction going on inside of her (or chose to overlook it if I did) because I believed my need was being filled. Then, it all hit the fan and sent me into a very bad tailspin. (This was all before therapy and recovering memories of the child abuse.)
In a nutshell, my MIL and I had a simple misunderstanding that she blew WAY out of proportion. What I said was that, whether or not my father-in-law (FIL) was available at work for a visit to show off his five-month-old grandson, I was meeting a friend (who worked at the same office) on X date for lunch and just please let FIL know that his grandson would be there if he wanted to see him. What my MIL **heard** was that I was defying her wishes not to step foot on the premises of my FIL’s workplace without her prior permission. (Ironically, FIL had been asking me for months to bring the baby to his office and had a completely clear schedule that day.)
Bottom line – Nothing I said or did was OK after that. For three weeks, she would barely talk to me, but she would not tell me why. She just gave me the silent treatment. I had no idea that she was p@$$ed off at me for taking the baby by FIL’s office, especially since he had called to say that he was looking forward to the visit.
My MIL then came up with a laundry list of all of the things “wrong” with me from the time I married her son (about nine years at that time), which she rattled off to my FIL but did not tell me. When she was still raging after three weeks (and I kept unknowingly saying things that fueled the fire, such as talking about what a great visit we had at FIL’s office), FIL finally filled hub in, who in turn, filled me with all three of us being sworn to secrecy.
I still remember that moment of utter betrayal. I could feel parts of myself “breaking” inside and sealing up the ice around my heart. I had believed that I had another mother, but to me, it was all a lie. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and seeing my physical reaction to what I viewed as a very deep betrayal.
She eventually got over it, but things were never the same between us. I could never, ever, ever trust her again – never, never, never.
Photo credit: Hekatekris