I have lived a lot of my life keeping quiet. Holding it all in. Talking about the crap that has happened to me has never been something that I have done.
Counseling has changed that–it has helped me put the pieces of my life back together, and it is helping me find the confidence to speak up AND to be okay again.
In the spirit of “speaking up,” I recently made a vulnerable confession to my grandmother. She was talking about my childhood and my mother, and I used this opportunity to share that I was seeing a counselor and ask her questions–I wondered if my memories matched up with her’s.
I asked her if she remembered my mom’s friend, P (a male). I’ve written about what he did to me before. In a moment of bravery, I steeled myself and said, “You know, he molested me when I was little.”
Grandma looked at me and said, “Your mom told me that you thought he did, but she doesn’t think it really happened.”
Oh, these words.
These words affected me on a visceral level. It was like a literal punch to my stomach.
My first thought? What the f??! WHY?
Why would I imagine that some person–a person who would otherwise be completely off my radar 23 years later–did something like this? What would be the point?
I am boiling mad. So angry with my mother, I just don’t quite know how to handle it. I have processed through so many of my feelings towards her over the last 5 months–I have recognized that I don’t trust her, that she has not been the mother that I needed, and that I need to create boundaries for her.
But…I have not processed a lot of the pain. The hurt. I have not processed the great ache that takes over my chest when I realize that my mom is not what I need her to be.
The realization that my mom cannot even acknowledge that I told her that a friend of her’s touched me–violated me–at the age of 6, was one thing. I thought it was odd, as a mother myself– I would question and support and comfort my child, even if he or she came to me as an adult. She heard me say it, reacted briefly, and never once brought it up again.
But–to violate my trust–again–by telling someone else about the incident, and then telling that person that she thinks I made this up? That JUST HURTS. And it makes me livid.
Sometimes, I think I must have crazy expectations for what a parent should be…because my experience has been so much of what it is not. I often think to myself, “Is it just too much to ask…?” I am realizing that it is often not too much to ask for other mom/daughter dyads; for my mother, though, it is.
It is hard not to grieve the loss of what I want from a mother…and even harder to recognize that I just do not, and will not, ever have that.
It feels lonely. And sad. And it hurts.
It is all of these things. And I am mad–probably madder than I have ever been–at the injustice of it all.
However, I am not lying. I know this. While it would help me to have her support, I now have enough perspective to realize that I am on the path to healing and I don’t need it. I can do this without family. It can make me sad–that is okay! It can make me mad….I can feel ALL the feelings. That is okay.
But, I can also recognize that her reaction is not my problem. I know what is true. Her reaction is her way of convincing herself that she was an okay parent. She does not have to recognize the neglect or the lack of care she gave me and my siblings. She does not have to acknowledge it.
That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.