Saturday, June 30, 2012

Forgiving My Mother to Save Myself


I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to forgive my mother.

Sigh...

I've forgiven my father, likely because I've had a turn around the dance floor with his devil...namely, alcoholism.  While I will never understand why he couldn't find the strength to quit when he could plainly see what it was doing to his children, I have forgiven him.  More importantly, the lessons he gave me in heartache due to his drinking are precisely the catalyst I needed to quit.  As soon as I saw the impact it was having on my children I was done.  No way was I going to perpetuate that load of crap.

Plus...plain and simple...I was a daddy's girl.

But my mom...oh Lord...now THAT is a different story. 

My mom had a crappy life.  Her father molested her and yet she sought his love and approval above all else.  Her mother was cold and turned a blind eye in order to survive.  As a result, my mother developed a number of disorders and neurosis that plagued her for all of her (and my) life.  She had nacissistic disorder and was a compulsive liar.  That translated to being raised with guilt and the sense that I was never good enough.  I also learned not to trust.

She lived with us for the last ten years of her life because after my father passed away, she couldn't afford to live on her own.  At first it was a great help because it meant that my children would never have to go to daycare.  However, as she aged and became more and more ill and frail, it became nothing less than a burden.  It was very, very sad and when she passed it was...well...a relief.

Now I am left with her legacy and if I don't start to forgive her, I'm going to just keep on with my self-loathing and negative attitude about who I am.  Because of my weight gain, I look more like her than I ever have.  This means that when I look in the mirror I can no longer see myself, I can only see her (and my sister but that's another post entirely).  I'm getting to the point where I avoid looking at myself in the mirror or in pictures and that is just plain sad.

I notice mannerisms and sayings that are reminisent of her and how she behaved.  Some of these are just a normal result of being raised by someone but I am unable to separate the normal from the abnormal and so I end up hating all of those things as well.

And lately it's getting worse.  I feel like I'm being haunted by her spirit when I know it's just unresolved issues that I need to address.  Boy...that actually sounds more healthy than I feel right now but it's nice to see it in print.  Maybe there is hope.

While I'm not looking forward to having to work through all of this bull-cocky, I feel so blessed that this gift of sobriety is helping me to identify and deal rather than ignore and numb.  If there's one thing I've learned in the last three years (and there is way more than just one thing), it's that I can address these issues and resolve them and come out on the other side a better person.

This time I want to come out on the other side actually liking that better person.  Now I just have to figure out how in the hell I'm going to make this happen.

Wish me luck...

Forgiving is rediscovering the shining path of peace that at first you thought others took away when they betrayed you. ~Dodinsky

2 comments:

  1. O yes, I can relate to this. I have to satrt with the letter to my Dad (preferably before he dies) . . . eventually it will be Mother's turn. I also find it easier with my Dad, as at least he shows some remorse and emotion, my Mum is cold as cold. She doesn't get why my 5 yr old daughter can't warm to her . . . O boy.
    I know you can do this Sherry, you have both the wisdom and insight. You know this has to be done and with God's help you will find the way.
    Thanks for writing this here, it's reminded me that I need to forgive others and myself,
    You really do rock! x

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  2. You are on your way to achieving this forgiveness of your mother but it can be a long treck so don't let it be a preoccupation...
    you are a georgeous woman, a fabulous wife, a spectacular mother, and people line up to become your friend and accept your wisdom...in case you haven't noticed, your mother had none of these traits...in spite of how you feel, you just have to accept yourself and the forgiveness will be complete...I love you, baby...

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