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This area is reserved for the tidbits I know hope will be of interest to my readers. Check back often for regular updates. 

 

Check out this article about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena, including a list of organizations which strongly oppose this sick trend, and have implemented various means of helping women who have been sexually victimized.

 

Were you raised by a narcissist? Chances are you were if you suffered any form of childhood abuse. The Little Red Survivor website is filled with excellent articles examining the many faces of narcissism.

 

It's been a long time coming---7 years to be exact---but finally email notifications for new BD posts is available. Sign up today and never again miss another post. You know you want to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Kate Is Rising has an excellent Survivors Resources page which directs you to numerous websites dealing with issues of abuse, healing and recovery. Please bear in mind that the information on these pages may be triggering.

 

 

There's lots of good stuff at the Dissociation Blog Showcase, including a list of 180 blogs dealing with some aspect of this disorder. 

 

 

On the Overcoming Sexual Abuse site there's an article entitled, "It's Not About You Mom" which I could have written myself. I bet many of my readers could say the same!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entries in mother issues (7)

Monday
Jan182016

Full Disclosure

I hadn't meant to ever post here again. For nearly 10 years I've blogged about my Dissociative Identity Disorder and, for the most part, enjoyed doing so. Or if not exactly enjoyed it, I got something out of it. This blog was my heart and soul, a sort of journal depicting my journey back through and then, hopefully, back out of my haunted childhood.

I'm done with it, is what I thought. Done with trying to make sense of senseless evil. Done with lamenting what happened to me, and what I never had or experienced because of years of sexual violence. No one (especially me) cares to hear it anymore, I decided. Enough, already.

In an unexpected roundabout way, I found myself on my blog just now. There was something I needed to check on and while doing so I noticed a comment awaiting my moderation. So of course I had to read it, being curious and all. So I read it, and responded, and then realized that I do need to say a bit more. I don't want to start blogging again with any regularity; I've moved on and, besides, I've got other websites going that need my attention. But the thing is, my mother moved to town about half a year ago. She lives just 10 minutes away with Sissyface. And, as a matter of fact, my mother is dying.

Just now I watched again the short video Inside which shows what it's like inside the mind of DID. I watched it because I needed to. I needed to remind myself that this is what goes on in my brain, in spite of my refusing to think about all the clashing personalities residing there. I'm too good at denial, expert at hiding and burying things, like a dog burying a bone. Just like a dog's ratty old gnawed on bone, this won't stay buried; I'm digging it up because, well, my mother's dying. (There is some kind of a joke or symbolism here, speaking of bones. How often my mother used to dig her fingernail into my shoulder while crying, "I've got a bone to pick with you!")

I don't know what to do with this fact. I don't know how to feel. I'm angry much of the time at the thought of her wasting away from colon cancer. I'm not sure of the source of that anger, but probably it has to do with her slipping out of this world without having ever held herself accountable for anything.

I'm angry too that there are no death bed confessions of guilt. At least my stepdad did that much, called me up weeping and begging forgiveness. It's not even that I want my mother to ask my forgiveness, but if she doesn't then it confirms everything I've believed for so long: that she's not sorry one bit.

Maybe there is a part of me relishing in the knowledge of her physical sufferings, but if so I'm not aware of it. I don't take pleasure in the sufferings of others, regardless. I just don't. I can't. I know too well the familiar texture and weight of suffering and what it can do to the soul. So I don't enjoy my mother's process of dying. I simply wish that for once, just once in her life she could make full disclosure.

I know to wish this is foolish, childish even. Why didn't you love me? is really the basis for everything. I don't need to ask why she didn't protect me, not if she could tell me why she didn't love me. That would answer a whole lot of other questions. But she is taking everything I need to know with her to the grave, stingily holding them tightly to her chest like a seasoned poker player.

And then it's not even just about that. There's the keening sorrow that I never had a mother in any true sense of the word. I'm only beginning to get that beyond a surface level. I'm only beginning to realize the horror of being born to a woman who never mothered me. The things I've missed out on! The deep bond we never had because, because why? She couldn't love me? Wouldn't love me?

What do you do when the mother who never loved you is dying? This is it, is what I tell myself. The only shot you get, your only mother. But, comes my exasperated response, but she was never a mother. How much is that my fault?

The thing to do is keep on living my routine life. That's all I can do. When thoughts of my mother dying trouble me from time to time I will have to distract myself, for now is not the time to grieve her death.

I haven't even begun grieving her life . . .

 

 

Sunday
Mar302014

A Hard Question

Throughout my 8 years of blogging I've tried to express myself honestly, as honestly as possible. There have been some instances where I felt myself pulling away from something I needed to say, probably out of fear of the kinds of responses I dreaded.

Today I was thinking about my childhood abuses and traumas in a way that is likely to be rejected, and/or met with anger from some who would vehemently disagree with the turn of my thoughts. But I feel the need to explore this line of thinking a bit more. I want to do it here so, if ever I want to, I can come back and read what I've written.

So here's what I've been pondering. In thinking not just of my own sexual abuse, but that of countless others down through the ages, I wondered if--as I've heard some say--we end up with the parents we need. The parents we need to raise us and guide us into the grown ups we eventually become.

Decades ago I met someone who became irate as we were discussing my childhood.

"Shut up, woman!" he ranted. "You can't complain: you got the parents you chose!"

I wouldn't go that far. I don't believe that we are able to choose our future parents, and I don't feel inclined to get into a whole discussion about past lives, etc. For the purposes of this post I want to assume we have this one life that we are born into. And my question is, do we end up with the parents we have for a reason? Is it all happenstance, a roll of the dice, or did I have my funny, artistic father and aloof and passive mother because there was something I needed to inherit from each of them? Though I balk at the thought of needing anything from my mother, or her having anything worth contributing to the sum total of who I became, I can't help but wonder if things turned out exactly as they were meant to.

To say that is to imply that I was meant to be tormented as a child for years and years. It's to insinuate that I needed to be broken, to bear within me a heart broken from having lost my loved ones. Did I need for these things to happen? Couldn't I have become who I am by some other means?

I struggle with this, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has these questions.

If I conclude that I was meant to have my specific parents, and all that that implies (for part of the implication is surely that I somehow would need my mother to ruin our family and bring my stepfather into my life), does it also mean there is no blame to be assigned for anything?

If there was a pathway marked out for me before the beginning of time, would I have ended up on it through some other means, or was sexual abuse the only door through which I could enter into my personal journey?

What of my abusers, I wonder. Are they still just as guilty as ever even if my journey through life was meant to take me through that particular wilderness of sorrow?

I think sometimes that if I hadn't experienced the depths of fear, sorrow and shame which have been my lot I would not have been able to reach out to some who have expressed to me that my words, written or spoken, have been such an encouragement to them. The fact is, I'm who I am today mainly because of the trauma of my childhood.

If I was meant to have my particular set of parents then it follows that my sons were meant to have me as their mother. And in order for me to be who they needed me to be, I had to take the route through life which in fact I did take.  The sum total of who I am: the bumblings, the weaknesses, fears, mistakes, stubbornessess, etc. were the good and bad qualities which would somehow impact my sons' lives a certain way.

I am still responsible, it would seem, for everything I've done. That only seems right. I can't imagine that I am to be immune from all accountability, yet my parents aren't, or their parents before them. We are all either responsible or no one is.

I find this subject at turns intriguing, frustrating, and to some extent sorrow producing. There have been times I've fervently wished I had been given a different mother. When I see a loving, gentle mother who is fully engaged in her life, and the lives of her children, something within stirs with wistfulness. When I hear someone describe her mother as her best friend, I find it at first laughable, comic even, until it isn't. Until the pain of not having that hits me hard. When someone who has lost a beloved mother expresses how much she is missed, I have no reference point for that. I can't even compare it to losing my dad because a mother is not a father. There is a difference in the roles they play in our lives, and in how we respond to and interact with them.

So. Did I end up with the parents I was meant to have? Or do we each just scrape along as best we can with what we're given, and some of us are blessed and got really good parents, but some had the cards stacked against them from day one? I had 7 years as the apple of my father's eye, but so many kids never even had that. Why? My younger siblings never had a loving father. They had the same abuses I did, but they weren't preceded by years of being absolutely adored.

I am still far from concluding anything regarding this subject. I suppose in the end it doesn't matter either way, for my life has gone the way it's gone and nothing can be changed.

Still, I can't help but wonder . . .

Thursday
Apr182013

The Audacity of Forgiveness

Back in the 80's, when my stepdad was dying of bone cancer, I received a call from my mother one evening. She said he wanted to apologize to me, but to not feel obligated to offer forgiveness unless I really meant it.

When he got on the phone he was crying hysterically. Whether or not I realized it at the time, I know now that when we had this last conversation he was in excruciating pain. He died a few weeks later.

His apology was faltering, due to the extremity of his crying. At that moment in time my heart went out to him. I simply didn't have it within me to hate this man who had stolen my virginity, nor to use his feeble condition as an opportunity to get my revenge. The things I could have said! Oh, the torment I could have inflicted which still would have been mild compared to the 8 years that he forced himself on me. Well, I couldn't. Not only couldn't but it didn't even occur to me at the time.

It would be years down the road before I even remembered having this conversation with my abuser. When I did, I felt that I'd betrayed myself somehow. But now, I'm not so sure.

Isn't it true that a huge part of forgiveness is a willingness to forgive as opposed to harboring bitterness? It's not all emotion--surely our wills play a dominant role in the matter. When I reconsider my words to him (which I don't recall precisely, only that they extended forgiveness), something new occurs to me. I really did forgive him.

My journey of healing hadn't even begun way back in the 80's. My goodness, I would be close to 50 before I made much progress in the direction of recovery. But when I spoke forgiveness into the ear of my tormentor, it was authentic.

What's tripped me up is confusing the act of forgiveness with the necessary ongoing work of healing. I'm still dealing on a daily basis with the aftermath of what he did to me, but that doesn't negate the initial act of offering mercy to my stepdad on his deathbed.

I can't resist comparing The King of the Mountain's heartwrenching apology with the primly formal note from my mother several years ago. There was passion and angst in my abuser's plea for forgiveness. My mother's apology left me cold, and feeling somehow insulted. What made the difference? I think the fact that she's never been convinced that she really did anything wrong. How easy for her to put it all on my stepdad. There were clearly no tears shed when she wrote me the note, contrasted with his agonized cries.

In the wake of realizing I did indeed forgive him is a little current of excitement. I really am capable of forgiveness! My heart isn't cold and forbidding like my mother's, but open to the possibilities of extending grace where least deserved.

What will it take me to forgive her? Possibly more time than I'll have in this life. Though I was determined a couple of years ago to extend her forgiveness, I soon realized I just wasn't there yet. Not ready, and who knows when I will be. The wound created by her cold passivity and non-protection apparently goes deeper even than the 8 years of sexual abuse inflicted upon me by her hubby.

I did and I do forgive him. With sincerity of heart I hope he made his peace with God before he left this earth. I just hope that somewhere in this sad tale there is some component of hope, of new life, of grace.

 

Friday
Mar222013

The Man in the Diner

The Man in the Diner bribes me with a quarter
spun expertly between thumb and forefinger
across the booth’s slick tabletop, where it winds down
against the interference of the naked wrist
poking out of my coat sleeve.
“You never saw me,” he says with a wink.

This is our first intimacy.
The measly quarter bribe was misleading;
suddenly we are so rich that never again
will we return home to a house cold and darkened
because of an unpaid electric bill.

You shop where all the neighborhood wives shop;
not for you the past mortification of coming home
one evening to find that church members have sneaked in
and filled our living room with boxes of food.

Months later I break in your new washer for you,
on my back, legs spread indecently as The Man in the Diner
(who has morphed into my step-dad)
takes what you’ve implied is his, amid the
combined odors of wet diapers, stinky socks and bleach,
the burning thrusts trailblazing an underground route
to my most private self to which he will return
again and again.

The Man in the Diner morphs yet again
into The Man in the Bathtub.
Steam rises from the bathwater, turning my face and neck clammy
as my hands clench the washcloth to perform
their hated chore of scrubbing his naked back.
His erection skims the water’s surface like a playful porpoise,
then bobbles up as friskily as if we are two playmates
enjoying a day’s frolic at the beach.

Now decades later here we are,
here you are, this frail old woman everyone pretends never had any power,
but you did; your power consisted of handing over your power
so that you could say with a straight face, “There is no blood on my hands.”

I am the odd man out, the hold out at family gatherings,
and everyone too polite or not wanting to hear the truth
to ask why I absent myself, why I prefer to stay home alone,
driven to the depths of black despair you’ll never know
because it wasn’t you, it was me on top of that washer, or cornered
in the hallway, or brutalized in the bathroom
before wobbling off to the school bus on shaky,
sperm-blotched legs.

It wasn’t you, it was me he was after
and you’ve never forgiven me that.
Now here you are playing The Victim, as if you were any such thing
as if you’ve earned that title.

You see what you’ve done or, no, you don’t, but I do.
You’ve even robbed me of the right and need to be The Victim
long enough to grieve and keen and beat my breast and,
finally, to heal.

I want to scream at you until my voice is as raw
as my once mutilated genitals
but your steps are faltering now,
your dementia a shield against hot accusations.

Decades have passed since you sold your soul
and your children’s innocence
for middle-class security,
yet sometimes when I burp
it’s not from food that’s disagreed with me,
it’s the rising bile of bleach and wet diapers and mushroomy sperm,
ambiance of a little girl’s rape.

Monday
Feb112013

Regaining my Perspective

I watched my childhood home movies again this weekend, for a friend of mine wants to view them and I thought I could give her an idea of what portions are likely to contain footage of me. (A lesson in futility; there is no rhyme or reason to the order of the scenes in these movies. She'll have to muddle through them as I did.)

By now I pretty much know the movies by heart. They're familiar. I may not know in what order the scenes appear, but I know the dresses I wore, and how the sun brought out the highlights in my reddening hair, and the emotional landscape evoked by the movies.

This time I watched them half-heartedly, with an air of detachment. I wasn't watching them for myself, so I didn't feel the need to view every little detail and obsess. What struck me afterwards was how each time I see these home movies my perception becomes stronger, more defined.

What I mean is this. I grew up in a household where it was okay to rape children, as long as the bills got paid and my mother didn't have to work outside of the home. Children instinctively know that incest is wrong. This is part of what makes such horrors nearly unendurable: the knowledge that what is happening is an atrocity of such massive proportions that one doesn't dare put it into words.

My mother took us to church every week and politely looked the other way when her hubby indulged his lusts. That's how I see it. I can't prove it, but in my gut it feels like the truth. It feels to me that she had to have known or suspected something. My bedroom was right next to the master bedroom, for crying out loud.

My stepfather, apart from his sexual perversions, was the misfit of the family. I think we all knew this, I think even the neighbors sensed he wasn't quite right. My mother was refined, we kids less so-- but certainly more than him lounging around in his baggy undies, greasy hair and repulsive snits. To me it seemed she never bothered cajoling him into joining us for church because she knew he was beyond redemption. He seemed to me like a carnival show freak, or at the very least someone or something you wouldn't want tagging after you into the sanctuary. He was an embarrassment.

I seemed to have a foot in both worlds: one in my mother's more refined atmosphere where one didn't say words like 'butt' and 'poop' and 'fart.' The other was planted in the polluted atmosphere of my stepdad's world, not planted willingly by any means, but there all the same. What despair I experienced every single day as I sought in the privacy of my mind to find the proper phrase to express the impossibility of living simultaneously in both worlds. I dreaded the world created by my abuser, for obvious reasons. But I equally dreaded the muted emotional environment in which my mother moved and had her being, for there was something just as off there. It wasn't obvious like it was with the other world, but there was a perpetual sense of things not being how she tried to portray them.

My abuser was his evil self, no apologies. He was immature, greedy, cruel, perverted and narcissistic. We all knew this. My mother, on the other hand, was an enigma. Soft-spoken, refined, well-mannered. She rarely raised her voice, she never swore. There was the religious thing going on, too. That alone should have elevated her above the rank of my stepdad. Did it? Looking back now through the eyes of my adult self I think not. I think church attendance was something which made her feel respectable. Perhaps made her feel smug when comparing herself with her hubby. He never bothered to darken the doorway of a church, but just look at how faithfully she took 5 kids to church week after week!

What I started to say about perspective is that all the doubts I had as a kid about the authenticity of our family are confirmed by watching these movies. One of the things destroyed by my stepdad's actions, and my mother's lack of response to them, was my sense of perspective. I knew what he did to me was wrong, but . . .  but my mother wasn't outraged. She didn't take charge, kick butt, call the cops, etc. She did nothing. This was the true beginning of my doubting my own senses, my own logic, my own perceptions. If it didn't seem like such a big deal to my refined, church-going mother then maybe I was making a mountain out of a molehill.

I rather like having these movies around. I feel stronger every time I view them. I feel more myself, more that self I used to be, and you know, I rather like that little girl. I've a great admiration for her. I'm sure I've said it before on this blog, but when I grow up I want to be just like her.