The other day I published a quote of my own. But in part, it was a lie. This was the quote:
“Sexual abuse in the young creates the neediest people, who will tell you we need nothing; we live that way too. We are taught by actions that there is no real love; there is no trust, that there is no safe place. We do not believe in love, when really questioned. And yet for the rest of our lives, we who do not believe real love exists, will spend nearly every energy molecule we have, sacrifice almost all that we are, trying to find something we don’t believe in. It is a horrible conundrum. It is a Sisyphisian activity of our hearts, which are not made to be pushed repeatedly uphill.” – Me
Because you see, I have had, and do have, real love in my life…which gives me hope. I had the love of a man whom I no longer have beside me. The first person perhaps, that truly loved me, for me. Who saw what was in me, when no one else had before and believed in me, although our life was marred and cut short, by ‘the mistress’ alcohol.
I also have the love of my daughters, something I marvel at every time it rears its head…mainly because I never knew love as a child. I had no idea how to be a loving mother. And how could I? What must a mother feel, when what has occurred in my life, was what she lived with? All of my life has been a competition in her mind; a burning anger, a misunderstanding, a confusion. I have had people compliment me on my duty to my mother. It is not something to be complimented, really. Empathy is not something to be complimented. It should be in all of us. I never faced what she faced. But because I have daughters so amazingly beautiful, I can put myself in her shoes. I can feel the betrayal, the desperation, the anger that could not be placed on the one that she loved first, but must be placed on… me. It doesn’t make her less culpable, it simply makes her a human being, lacking life skills; skills that women today take for granted, a woman that had to make a choice. I was sacrificial, when it came to her security, her love, her future. I would like to think I would make a different choice, if I faced what she did. When it came time to make a choice, I did choose differently, under much less severe circumstances. What my mother faced still rears its ugly head today, in every activity that we share in the now. She has actually said to me, “If I died, I know your stepfather would want to be with you.” Say whhhhaaat? How terrible must be that pain too, that she lives with. How shitty must that make a person feel? Did she owe me more? Yes – as a mother, I can say that with no hesitation. I also know that people do the best that they can at the time. My mother was raised in a time that ‘family secrets’ remained as such. She led a life driven by her husband. That was her identity. That was her future, what she banked on.
My father is an…I don’t know what. Extremely smart. Accountable to no one. A craver of the limelight. Two narcissistic parents, who never achieved the dreams they dreamed; dreams driven by cultivation – in my mother, by her mother. In my father, a drive from being given up out of three sons, sent away. A re-calibration of who he is perhaps. I look at them both through the lens of knowledge, and of maturity. Do I forgive? Yes, at a distance. For my father, there is no interaction. I have tried. He knows no boundaries, even today, forty-five years hence. It makes my skin crawl to be in his presence.
And to my brother, whom I love dearly, this presents an unsolvable dilemma. Be close to the only real father he knows or, support his sister. I lose in every round – mother, brother, father. It is why if DNA could be shat, I’d do it. I would divorce my family if I could. My brother recently tried to categorize the abuse I lived through and It has driven a wedge between us that did not exist before. I thought of a way to position it so that he would understand – but I could not bring myself to voice it. He has a son, the same age as I when the abuse began. Can I call him on the carpet, using his son as the example? No. Only if pressed, only if cornered, can I voice that to him. I love him. I do not want to shred the only familial connection that I have. But he too, struggles with so many issues. He too, feels vacant and hollow when it comes to love. He too, is an unbeliever. He hurts me again, with his words, with his justification, with his ‘Clintonization’ of things.
So what to do with the anger, with the blame that I bear? Swallow it. Weigh things in the totality of what is life. I am recovered for the most part. I have children who I am close to. I have my work. I accept. I accept that others are not able to process, to take apart, as I do. To deal with things, one must face the Abyss. I do not fear the Abyss. In fact, it is from there that I draw my own strength. It is by looking into the Abyss, or The Void, that I gain understanding and find a place from where I can forgive. I too, make mistakes. I too, have weaknesses and times that I am not the best me that I can be. Therefore, I can see that in others.
I could be angry. I could rail against unfairness, injustice, inequity. At what cost though? To become cynical, bitter, a perpetual victim? No thanks. I will accept the punishment of my fathers. I will see frailty in others, and move on.
To do otherwise would render me incomplete; it would mire me in what they are still mired in. In forgiving, not only do I set them free – I set me free, to be all that I can be. To be a better representation of the DNA I bear. In doing so, I also provide my children and my grandchildren a different path, a variation on the models that they have.
I will never be perfect – but I am learning to be perfectly me. Good, bad, decisive, indecisive. I accept my failures, examine them, learn from them. What more can one offer, but that? My three daughters, whom I love more than can be expressed – each felt close enough to me this week to reveal their own insecurities, their own frailties. I listened, I supported, I was there. I *can* be different, as it is a choice.
What can you take from this today, as a reader? Something Gandhi said a while back:
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
It is a life-affirming thing, when your children post on Tumblr that they love you. It is an amazing thing to receive an E-mail that starts “Thank you for telling me more about yourself and your life and opening up to me as an adult and not just your child. It makes me feel.. Good? That you tell me personal things now that you didn’t before. I feel like I’m getting to know a whole new you. 🙂 It is an amazing thing to have a child tell you, “You are the only person that I can turn to…” It proves to me, that by simple choice only, we can change things. We do not have to wear the previous examples. We can forge our own way – we can own what we do, where we go, and how we are remembered.
It is never too late, to be different, to be vulnerable, to be real. What is stopping YOU, today?
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
I wish you, enough. Strength. Confidence. Forgiveness. Whatever it takes, to make today different than yesterday. Rome was not built in a day, but they brought bricks daily, until it was monumental. Be monumental, in your sphere of life. Bring that first brick, I dare ya 🙂
An excellent follow-up piece of work. Kudos. I could see myself in everything you said. Best>KB
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Thank you KB 🙂
The pleasure was all mine. Smiles. Best>KB
Reblogged this on The Mirror Obscura and commented:
Here is the second part of Sunflower Solace’s post I re-posted earlier. A must read, trust me. >KB
Both of my parents were toxic, it took a while to learn I didn’t have to participate. Your mother saying the step father comment is like my mother telling me my father raped her. They only care about them selves and that doesn’t change. You mother does not deserve you, you do not deserve her abuse. I don’t believe you can get over memories while being beat on the head. As for your brother, He’s a man and makes choices. If his choice is to see your mother, he makes the choice, if you’re getting bashed in his presences, he has a choice. The problem is not yours. Yes, the emotions and pain are yours to sort out and let go. You don’t make the choices for them, they have to deal with the consequences. I have a younger brother, he was not abused yet saw all the beatings I took. I moved out of my mothers house at 12 yrs. old. yet felt an obligation to the very person who fucked me up for years to come. My brother and I have never talked about what happened and he is close to my mother. When I decided to cut the toxic mother out of my life, I told him, no conversation probably in an email. He understood, I knew he did without saying anything. The only times I had to make a choice was the holidays spent at his house. Most years I didn’t go, I never had to explain, he never blamed me. When my Brother got married I was at a very low point in my mental health. At first I questioned if I was strong enough to deal with the drama she would cause. I realized my brother was the only family I had and could not look back and say I didn’t go to his wedding. I took 2 Xanax and let my grandfather pick a table. When my mother came of course she headed towards me. I was polite, said I’m fine and then I turned my chair away from where she was sitting in hopes she would get I had nothing to talk about. I was very proud of myself for saying I owe my abuser nothing. My brother and I are very close and I don’t resent she only abused be. That’s not my brothers fault. You have established a open relationship with your daughters to give them insight to you and the type of mother you were when younger. Non Toxic, you’re moving forward rebuilding your life. Don’t let toxic people shape your future. I know it’s always complicated. If nothing has changed since childhood, don’t let her hold that power over you. If your brother chooses to take sides, wish him well, tell him you love him and if anything changes in the future to call you. And walk forward like you have done with the other obstacles in your life.
I hope I made fucking sense and you take my interest as support as your CTC sister. Hugs.
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Aww LFTL (hugs) Sista 🙂
I am at a place right now where I am learning to balance their (family) desires and my needs. When one’s parents become aged, there is little to gain by trying to confront or re-educate them; most habits are set where they will fall. By examining the effects of this trauma on my mother also, it allows me to deal with her more graciously, and to recognize where her anger and oft weird statements truly originate from. I have slowed my visits and interaction with her, although most of the visiting time is mostly pleasant. It’s just the unexpected comments that often throw me, as I tend to be quite reactive when certain buttons are pushed.
As for my brother, that relationship is changing. But I don’t wish to abandon him at just the point where he is digging into his own life, and we often discuss our similar feelings against the backdrop of our childhood, trying to get to the bottom of our things. All workings take time though, and I am willing to give him time.
Thank you for taking the time to express your concern and your successes from your own journey.
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You’re a more forgiving person than me. I have forgiven all of my abusers, never will forget. The way your acted towards you brought memories back. As an adult she was sly in her put downs unlike the overt ones as a child. I’m glad you are able to have a relationship and it not cause you pain. I don’t do balance well when it comes to my abusers, it’s one or the other. My father’s dead which is probably why I have not processed the abuse. Take care. Have a great evening. 🙂
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I also learned as I got older that it was better to forgive and let it go then to hang on to the past. I was there when both parents died (at different times) and was able to honestly say I loved them for who they were and I forgave them. I will never forget the abuse and neglect, but I did forgive them because of their own issues with mental illness and histories of abuse that made them who they were. It didn’t make them any less brilliant as people. They were both exceptionally intelligent and talented. Just rotten parents. I am trying to have a relationship with my siblings, but it is hard. It is something we all work at.
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Good for you, and that’s a very encouraging story for everyone. Thank you for stopping by and commenting 🙂