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_Survivors_
A safe space to share stories and ask questions
Mom 
17th-May-2007 11:52 am
ohlook
Technically I'm new here, though I've been reading sistahraven's posts to this community in her journal for a while now. A short intro, then I'll get on with it.


My name is Jen. I'm a 32-year old mother of two, but only one living child. I have a pretty good and happy life now, but I continue to struggle with depression and all the fun stuff wrapped up in that.

My childhood wasn't very happy - my parents were divorced and I lived with my alcoholic mother who abused me mostly emotionally but at times physically. My dad is emotionally distant and even now I feel like I hardly know him. My older brother followed in my mother's footsteps and is also an alcoholic - for a time he lived in the home and I was physically abused by him. I was continually molested by a boyfriend when I was 14. I was in a long-term relationship when I from my late teens into adulthood, that boyfriend also abused me.

I'm glad to say that now I am in a loving and stable relationship with a man I've been with for over twelve years, we have an amazing 3 year old son, good careers, a lovely home, friends, the whole bit. By all means I should be happy, but much of the time I'm just not. Fortunately for me my husband has the patience of a saint and supports me through even my darkest hours.

Earlier this year we lost our daughter Ruth to anencephaly, she was born into our hands at 16 weeks gestation. If you're interested the story is in my LiveJournal starting December 18th when we found out. This has thrown my life into a tailspin and I am having a very hard time recovering.

So anyway, on to what I've been thinking about rencently.

Mother's Day has made me melancholy as my mother died in 2005. The hardest part about her death (other than witnessing it) is that we had a really horrible relationship when I was growing up. She would be drunk every night and I had emotional and mental abuse heaped on me on a pretty much constant basis. As I got older and more aloof it escalated into physical abuse, to the point that we would fight one another. I mean, there was physical abuse when I was younger, but it was more latent. As I grew into a woman myself it was at times very violent and I frightened myself. She made me a very angry person and for a number of years after I left home I had a hard time relating to other people. I was very manipulative and selfish. It took a lot of soul-searching and work to pull myself out.

In time I came around and after about ten years on my own I made the decision to try and repair whatever relationship my mother and I could have. Her drinking had progressed and she had a myriad of health problems, she was slowly killing herself. Making myself emotionally available to her again was so hard, it opened me up to all sorts of feelings and I was very vulnerable. By the time she ultimately died from her own self-abuse, we had managed a tenuous peace, of a sort. Her death was the final slamming of the door to redemption that in my heart of hearts I had always hoped we would someday achieve.

I can't stop thinking about her. She made my life such hell, but now that I don't even have that chance to fix things any more it tortures me. I realize that it's possible that even with all the time in the world I still would likely never "fixed things", but it doesn't matter. I still haven't figured out how to deal with it. I wanted her approval so badly and now I feel like I still do, only I'll never get it. My mother and I were total opposites in so many ways. She rarely agreed with me or my actions, so my logical mind tells me not to worry about what she thought. I mourn the relationship we never got to have.

Now, being a mother myself, I have these dual roles that I can't quite separate - mother and daughter - and I don't always feel as if I fit into either of them very well. With the loss of our daughter I feel even more set adrift. I feel like a failure so many times over - as a daughter, as a wife, as a mother, as a woman. I still haven't brought myself to visit my mother's house since she died because a small part of me believes that if I never actually see that she's not there, then maybe she still is.

The thing that hurts the most is that even in death she has a hold on me that I can't shake. I don't think I'll ever be free of her. I want more than anything for her to be the mother she should have been to me, there's this gaping hole in my life where that was supposed to be and I'll never have that. I'm not saying that to feel sorry for myself, really, it's more an acknowledgement of fact. I hate that I miss her so much when she was so evil to me in my lifetime. It's not fair that her legacy will live in me. It is my hope that it will also die with me, as I have no intention of visiting her hell on any of my children.

There was no real point to all of this, I've just been thinking about my mom a lot especially when I hear people complain about how annoying their mothers are or how much they hate them or whatever, because I would give almost anything to have even that. Just seeing a woman my mother's age bothers me. I catch myself staring at them all the time. A few months ago I saw a woman walking down the street who looked so much like her that I made my husband circle the block so I could catch sight of her again. I want my mother so badly, but it's not even the mother I had. It doesn't make sense.
Comments 
17th-May-2007 04:57 pm (UTC)
::big huge hugs:: So glad to see you here, hun.

It makes a lot of sense - it's so tough to separate our instinctual love and wanting of a mother with the reality of the parents we have. Even when we have parents who abuse us, we still have that instinctual pull towards wanting them, wanting them to be the loving parents we never had - and especially when you've started on the path to finding a possible resolution, to have that possibility shut down is crushing.

You're now in a position where you're not only mourning that you didn't have the mother you deserved, but you're also mourning the loss of possibilities with her, mourning her death, and then on top of that, you're mourning the loss of Ruth and the loss of possibilities with her as well. It's no wonder you're stuck in a big spiral - there's so much tied in together.

I can empathize a lot with your feelings about your mother. My father was pretty shitty and evil, and I still miss aspects of him. I know that even though there can be no resolution between us, that when he dies, I'm probably going to be shattered. With him alive, there's that 1 in a million chance that he'd turn around... without that, it's having to face a really hard reality that he never wanted to change badly enough to actually work towards it.

So though it's not something I've experienced yet, I get that sinking lead feeling in my gut just thinking about it. So for you, having to face all of that with your mother while dealing with so much involving you *being* a mother... yeah... incredibly, incredibly tough.

It took a lot of strength to reach out here for support, and I'm so glad you did. ::more big hugs::
17th-May-2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
I've never been a big reacher-outer, it's a throwback from my grandfather's Army mentality of "pull yourself up by your bootstraps". Which, I might add, is completely stupid.

Anyway, what you've said is absolutely right. I feel like I've missed out on so much, but it's hard to acknowledge that it's not in my control.

Thanks for being there for me :)
17th-May-2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
Welcome; I hope you find this place as welcoming as I have.

I empathise with wanting my mother. Especially since my mother would sometimes be wonderful, for brief periods of time, and what I really wanted was for one of those to last. Every time I go home I'm looking, hoping I'll find it, and then she'll do something to remind me why it will never actually happen.

As children we are supposed to first connect with our mothers and then find our own independence. Without satisfying the first of these, I found it makes the second hard, or impossible. It is unfair that you couldn't have that connection that is supposed to come with being born, and it makes sense that you'd still be looking or hoping for it.
17th-May-2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
What you said about connections makes a lot of sense to me, that's actually a perfect way to put it. People who lose their parents at a young age, either through death or addiction or abandonment, are missing a building block in their psyche. We just sort of cobble some bandaids and rubber bands over it to make a bridge and build on top of that, but it's not nearly as solid as it should be and shakes every once in a while.

I haven't said this to you before but I've really been glad to have gotten the opportunity to know you these past months especially. It's always when I'm not really looking for a friend that one just materializes, you know?

So, thanks :)
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