Sunday, May 8, 2016


    Mother's Day (admittedly merely a HallMark Cards holiday) is finally a happy day for me. I have a son I love intensely, and grandchildren who light me from inside, and they Skype'd me on Mother's Day.
    Jon Mark, with Dylan and Miss Nora

    But it's been a flawed holiday, in part, because of my inability to come to terms with my own mother's abuse of me.
    Just saw this article from 2013 re: children of abuse and what (if anything) they owe the abusive parent later when they need help. It's long, but by the time I got through it AND the over 200 comments, my face was tear-streaked and I was feeling an overwhelming, shuddering relief that there ARE people like me, that get it. 
"How about a problem parent that is nice as pie to non-family, so everyone in the community thinks they're wonderful, and that there must be something wrong with you - and you can't, and don't, tell them the truth?"

"My mother is the same; to everyone else, she appears to be loving and caring, helpful and supportive, but what no one seems to recognize is that what she is actually doing is constantly belittling and undermining me behind my back. 'Poor daughter, she has so many problems, it's really sad,' and there's no way to defend yourself against that. The bottom line is that appearance is everything to people like her, and if you get ground up under the wheels, well, bummer for you. The only way to handle it is to stay away as much as possible and live your life to make yourself safe and happy."
    Up til the day my mother died, that was my chosen method of preserving my sanity.
    A few of my friends and my own family knew my mother was emotionally abusive to me, but publicly she was a paragon of goodness. I finally found the strength (at 30 years old!) to physically remove myself and my own family. Moved 2000 miles away.
"...keep yourself in a shark cage with no opportunity to let that person take a bite out of you..."
    We moved back 15 years later when my dad started having health problems, but I was strong enough by then to not be affected much by mom. Lost dad (AND only sibling) a few years later, and mom's dementia surfaced right away.
"Those who refuse to make peace with a failing parent may also find themselves judged harshly."

"Telling children of abusive or neglicful parents to find closure and forgive and let these people back in your life is like telling an alcoholic one drink won't kill you."
    I lost most of my brother's family over my refusal to move in to care for my mother after dementia took over. It wasn't her asking (dementia precludes self-awareness), it was family, who could not abide having a court-appointed guardian when there was a perfectly capable daughter around to do it. They never did believe she was abusive to me, so of course there was no excuse whatsoever. My niece chose to be her guardian, did a fine job, and I lost them.
"I have often felt alone in the choices I've made. Not many can understand them."
"There should be a level of Hell reserved for parents who betray their own innocent and dependent children; ignoring these worthless creatures in their old age or infirmity is the best means of self-help imaginable."
"I am well aware that she had a crappy childhood, but I
don't give her a free pass because of that."

"I am at peace with the choices I made"
    Until today, I wasn't. All I knew was I couldn't forgive and could never forget, and was consumed with guilt over that.   Emotional see-saw has always been my norm when thinking about her, but after reading this article I feel OK now. 
(And as always, thanks for being there for me J'net!)