I think that my mother really tried her best to love me. And she still does. Unfortunately, she’s had her own childhood trauma holding her back, combined with over 50 years of marriage to a narcissist. She never had a chance to be loved in a normal way but she tried so hard to love me and my sister in a way that she never got. I have even more compassion for my mother today and it inspires me to spend more time with her while I still can.
I avoided my mom for a long time because I had so much anger inside of me for the way I felt abandoned and dismissed by her when I was at my lowest points in life. She seemed to always just detach from me and from afar wish me well but never stepped in to help rescue me from the drowning waters. I almost hated her for doing that to me. I tried to be kind and compassionate and understand all that she had gone through in life, but still I had to protect myself from ongoing pain.
As I get older and begin another leg of my recover journey, I am realizing that she herself has been drowning all these years. After suffering abuse as a child and witnessing violent domestic abuse of her mother by her father, she ended up in a relationship with a narcissistic man, my father, at the tender age of 17. She became a mother soon after and by age 20 she had two babies, all while working outside the home and working towards getting her high school diploma.
My father was a wild, charismatic, arrogant and selfish young man who saw no harm in continuing his way of life that including wild parties late into the night, hauling babies around from place to place. He didn’t care that my mother would be exhausted from working and dealing with two infants and then having to drive him around while he would get drunk. He somehow manages to provide financially for his family, but he was never home to provide emotionally to any of us.
My earliest memories of him include his incessant teasing that included him putting me into a headlock with his legs and refusing to let go until I cried. It was a game to him and he seemed to enjoy watching me in discomfort. Our home was constantly full of his drinking buddies and the only time he would pay attention to me was if he needed me to grab him a drink or perform some cute kid party trick to entertain his slovenly buddies.
To survive my younger years, I escaped every chance I could. I spent a lot of nights away from about age 3 and on – either at my grandmothers or my best friend and neighbours. It was only there that I received the kindness, attention and nurturing that I needed and was so desperate for. I had mastered being the “perfect” child as early on I was a people pleaser to avoid being punished by my father. People enjoyed having me around as a kid as I was easy to look after. I was just so happy to be with “normal” people and feel loved. (Now I did NOT know that then…..)
But to get back to my mother. I hope to make the most of the years we have left together and I am not willing to let my father stand in the way any longer of that relationship. I will find ways to improve my relationship with her so she can start to know what it feels like to be loved.
It’s never too late to heal.