i realize that i haven't painted a nice picture of my parents when i have written about my past, but everything i have ever said is the truth. however, i would still like to explain a little about them, in all fairness.
my mother came from a family of 11 kids and a very stern patriarchal father who was THE boss of his family. everything revolved around what he said and thought, be it right or wrong. from what i knew, my mom adored him but never had affection or approval from him, which eventually turned her pain into bitterness over the years. she told me many times that he would push her off of his lap, refrain from any affection or approval, and belittle her.
when she married my dad, i think she had the hopes of finally getting the love and affection from him that had been missing in her life. i think my mom was happy the first year of marriage. she must of had all the hopes and dreams we all do when we find our true love. my dad grew up poor as well, his mother died when he was young, and his father was an alcoholic. i don't think anyone ever cared about him enough to attempt to guide him as he grew up.
he came from a family of 5 and the older sister raised the younger ones. i think he did what he needed to do to survive in his time, which may not have always been ethical. soon after i was born, my father began his infidelity. he turned out to be a liar and a cheater, which must have crushed my mom, thereby breaking all of her trust in men, in love, and finding happiness.
by the time she had enough of his infidelities, she kicked him out... but not before many abusive fights which i was made a part of, at a very young age. i saw him get arrested for desertion at the bottom of the stairs one night, with him begging for my mom to change her mind.. his women would call our home to tantalize my mother and she would make me speak with them. she also made me call his ex wife to ask for money because he didn't pay his child support.
he was a trucker and would leave for months, leaving my mom without any money or known time of return. i was only 7 or 8, but the oldest of 4 mom was left with when he left us, time after time. i can still remember talking to them on the phone in the pantry of our kitchen with mom coaxing me on what to say. and i was often witness to her sitting in the darkness of my bedroom late at night, silently rocking with the leather belt in her hand that was used on us, waiting for him to arrive so she could beat the shit out of him. yeah, i saw all that. i saw alot of things.
my point is that i hated her for many years thinking she was the mean one who sent my dad away, which i know now was incorrect... but i also hated her for all the abuse i received as her scapegoat, for all of the anger and pain she felt inside.. she never did find a way to cope with any of it, so therefore she passed it on to me.
but over the years, and specially when i found myself in the same position as her when my husband left us, i slowly began to see everything in a different perspective.. i didn't want to be like her and hurt my kids the way we were hurt so i went through 9 years of therapy to deal with my baggage to not pass it onto my kids. i still viewed my past as it pertained to me, but i also began to think about how it would of felt to have been in her shoes.
i know how painful the end of my marriage was for me, without the circumstances she had faced.. and my hate began to melt into sadness and empathy for her. i know she did her best. i know she must have been devastated and so hurt with the life she led with my dad. I've learned i could still hold her accountable for the pain inflicted on us 4 kids- however at the same time i needed to turn it into something positive so it wouldn't hold power over me for the rest of my life.. so it wouldn't taint my own relationship with my kids.
that is what i have strived to do over the years, to give them more than i was given. to love them better than i was loved. but healing from my own wounds takes a long time. there are layers to peel back, as i get strong enough to handle another one.. always taking me deeper to the core of the wound... which i don't know if i will ever reach in my lifetime. and those are the times when i write about my pain on here, i have to or it will consume me, and it cant be rushed. it takes time and often strikes when i least expect it. it's like vomiting, i have to get it out of my soul..
i wish i could have known my mother without her pain. i look at pictures of her in her youth, and she was beautiful, carefree, and seemed to be happy. unfortunately i never saw that side of her. i never met her for who she was back in the day. and i grieve for that, i have always grieved for that in my lifetime, and i hate whatever it was that broke her spirit.
every time i have seen good interactions of little girls with their moms, i would bleed inside wishing i had that. and of course as a child i thought the fault was within me, that i wasn't worthy of having a nice, fun mom. ironically, i was in such a state of shame inside that even if she had tried to approach me, i would of run away, i wouldn't have been able to handle it.
kids don't understand what's going on and they certainly don't want to blame their parent, no matter how bad it is.. so they blame themselves for being a defect, for not being good enough. it is very sad that my growing up years were the way they were. i needed my mom so many times, but her behavior kept me from being who i was, and being able to tell her how i felt.
i couldn't even tell her i loved her to her face, i felt shame about it. many times my need to tell her was so desperate that i would write her little notes and slip them in her drawer with the hope that she found them.. well, she did find them but never told me or gave me feedback, i only knew because they were gone. isn't that just pitiful? my kids and i tell each other all the time.. how i wish it had been so, with her..
that's why i have such lonely memories.. because yes she was there but yet she wasn't. i have pretty much overcome that loneliness, yet it still finds me every now and then, and i ache with it. i have a hard time with the after school hours, a certain way the sun shines, shadows dancing on the blinds or walls, certain melodies and smells... weird stuff like that takes me right back in time to the loneliness i felt growing up.
today i can usually find a way to combat it, but i still have moments i remain frozen in the past. my parents were not bad people. they were wounded just like me from their own childhoods and never knew how to take the initiative to deal with their pain... they probably never even knew they could. when my mom reached the end of her life, she would cry alot and grieve for the life she missed.. then her pain would turn into bitterness and anger which again came out at me, who was trying to lovingly take care of her, grieving as i knew she was dying...
our relationship was always an enmeshed, antagonistic one. she never knew me, nor i her. she only saw in me what she needed me to be for her, and i only saw her as the pain and noninterest she inflicted on me. i feel sorry for her and the choices she made because i think her life could have turned out differently if only she'd taken the initiative to make it so.
consequently, her lack of doing that turned out to be a gift to me as it was my motivation for doing better than her, for striving for a better life for me and my kids. i have made many mistakes and i am far from being the perfect mother but at least i tried to do it better. at least i tried to stop passing on the dysfunction i had growing up... because if you don't stop it, you end up passing it onto each consecutive generation, wounding them needlessly. and the irony is, it has nothing to do with the present- it's all old pain from ages ago that never got resolved.
i would of much preferred my ancestors passed on a family inheritance in monetary form..
a few pictures of my mom in her youth, on left..
pregnant with me..
and the 4 of us..
me, Joanne, Dennis & Denise [twins]