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Caregiver, nurturer, comforter, affectionate, devoted, maternal, protector, loving.
But I don’t see her that way. Yes she sacrificed her body. She carried me for nine months. She clothed me, bathed me and kept me warm. She didn’t shake me as a baby. For all that I’m grateful.
But I’ve never seen her as my mother. I’ve refused to believe it for so long I’ve made it my own truth. I look at other families and think “they have real moms” even though I don’t really know what that means.
The title she carries as my mother means that God requires me to honor her. There is respect associated with honor but I don’t have any for her.
I love her and would sacrifice anything for her. I know that my love for her comes from God because it is overwhelming and not by choice. I still desire for her to one day step up and all of a sudden become “maternal”. But my joy and my self worth will never come from her.
This is the fourth post in this series, to start from the beginning, please click here.
Disclaimer: I wrote this in 2013 to share my testimony with the world in the hopes of helping other children faced with abuse. Most times, you will be the only person to advocate for a child that cannot stand up for themselves. Children in abusive situations are taught to conceal every aspect of abuse, so if you by chance are able to see something, it may be the only opportunity for rescue a child has. Please take the appropriate steps to report child abuse. I have since rewritten and updated these posts to make them more understandable and up to my current writing standards.
So, what happened to her?
I never understood why she kept us. Maybe it was so she would have little people to clean up her house. Or maybe for the extra child support money. As much as she showed hatred for us I wish that she had given us up. Maybe we would have gone to a family that would have loved us. Instead we were stuck in a house with a woman who seemed to love seeing us in pain. Who loved making us miserable and who made us her little slaves.
When I was a child I would try to piece the puzzle together. I’ve always been an analytical person. I would ask my mother what happened to her as a kid or as a teenager. She would always try to rub in that what happened to her as a kid was worse than what we went through. She would tell me that she grew up in a home where children were seen and not heard. And that when she wet the bed her face was rubbed in the sheets.
And I would think to myself, “I wish that was all that I went through.”
And then when she turned sixteen she ran away from her home where she was raised by both her mother and father and moved to Chicago. I always asked her, “Mom, how did you get from Portland to Chicago?” And she would say, “When you’re older I’ll tell you.” But she never told me. From stories that I’ve heard from my dad and other people, I’ve pieced most of it together. But I’m not writing this to air her dirty laundry. What I am saying, is that I don’t know where in her life there was a break but I tell myself there had to have been one.
I’ve always looked at my mom as evil. There was never a day in my life where I thought, “Man, my mom loves me so much!” Or that I could go to her in times of need. She made it very clear that she will choose a man over her children in any moment of any day. There’s nothing wrong with putting your husband above your children, but if he is sinning against you or them then there is a huge problem. She never got that.
She stripped me of my innocence and made maturity my handicap.
He went to jail a few times, and every time, he begged to come back and she let him. She could have said no, yet she always said yes.
When I would run to her to save me, she would always turn me back around into his beating arms. Every time. Until I learned to stop running to her.
I couldn’t trust her. She never comforted us.
But what took me the longest to forgive her for, was her encouraging it. It was like she could not wait to tell him something we did so that he would beat us.
She never looked the other way
There were several times she could have saved us from his abuse. But she always told.
A prime example would be when I was in the fourth grade. Almost every kid in my class had gotten a tamagotchi for Christmas. There was a girl who had like eight of her little pets on a key chain and so I stole one of them figuring she had enough. I played with it on my walk home and then hid it in my backpack. Little did I know that they make noise when they are hungry or need attention. So when it started beeping, my mom found it, and showed it to him. They asked me where I got it from and I lied and said someone must have put it in my backpack by accident.
We had plans to go to a restaurant that night, I’m pretty sure we were meeting people there or something because I have no clue how it didn’t get cancelled in light of this new situation. When we got there and sat down, I said that I needed to use the bathroom and my mom decided to go with me. After walking into the bathroom, as soon as the door was closed behind us, my mom grabbed a handful of my hair and yanked back my head with all her strength. As my neck was bent back, I’ll never forget what she said to me. “You better tell him you stole that! You are NOT going to ruin my night!” There were curse words in there, but I’m not going to write those. That was the moment a light bulb went off and I knew for sure I couldn’t trust her.
Your first broken heart should never be caused by your mother.
When my sister was in the sixth grade she had some friends that didn’t have the best parents either. So one day at recess they came up with a plan to run away. Behind Adelaide Elementary School there is a heavily wooded area and so that’s where they went. We always wanted to escape but my sister and brother were the ones that had enough courage to do so. When class began and they were no where to be found, the school called my mom. By the end of the day someone told the principle where they had went and my mom went to go pick her up.
During this time he was at work completely clueless. When she brought my sister home, we begged and pleaded with her to not tell him. I remember getting on my knees with my hands folded looking up at her pleading. He didn’t have to know. There was no way he would find out. She was our mom, the school never talked to him because he was a “secret”. This could be our little secret. Her daughter was just trying to escape this hell that she created for her.
But she chose to tell him anyway. That was one of the few times my sister got beat.
There were times that I would justify all of this in my mind. Maybe she’s scared too. Maybe behind all this, she really loves us deep down. Maybe when we finally escape, she’ll really love me. Really care for me. But when it was all said and done, there was no love.
For years, I’ve questioned what happened. It was as if she made it her mission to make my life miserable until I moved out at 17. There are so many different pieces to the puzzle of my mother, and they all seem to not fit together. Through the years of her whispering in my ear that my father hated me, and wanted her to abort me. To making sure that she stripped all joy from me. She wanted my friends to only be her friends. She wanted to embarrass me in front of anyone she could to make sure that no one else liked me. She trapped me in her house, making me her slave that wouldn’t dare to leave. It wasn’t just him, or her second husband, she played a major role.
She had special hiding places for things that I loved. My sister got me three necklaces for Christmas after we were reunited with our dad and he started sending us money. She saw the joy on my face and took them, that same day, and hid them. After her boyfriend moved out, I learned how to pick the lock of her bedroom door and I would find presents that my grandmother sent me hiding in her closet that she would never give me. After I started speaking to her again when I moved out of her house, I forced her to give me my things back. Even years later she still didn’t want to give me things that she had kept since I was eleven years old.
I believe she has some sort of mental illness. Of what? I have no clue, I’m not a doctor. Maybe addictive personality disorder, since she plays a new character with everyone she meets. Maybe she has split personalities. Maybe she has no conscious and she’s a sociopath. I haven’t the slightest clue. But I know something isn’t right about her.
When I describe her I just use the word evil. Which is hard, because anyone that meets her is somehow charmed by whatever role she’s choosing to play. But whenever she’s alone with me it’s like she morphs back into the monster she’s always been. My husband has never seen the real way she treats me. Only one friend has truly seen my mother in all her monster glory. And my sister in law saw a slight glimpse. But that’s it. It’s as if she saves it just for me. I have to remind myself again and again, that no matter how she is acting (unless Jesus changes her heart) if she had the chance to do it all over again, she wouldn’t change a thing.
When I first wrote about my testimony, I still hadn’t figured out how to forgive her. It was easy to forgive him. I (hopefully) never have to see him again.
But forgiving my mother has been one of the most challenging things to overcome in my walk with Christ. I had always heard forgiveness is a choice. So I would choose, every day to forgive her. And then when I would see her, this deep burning hatred would rise up in me. I knew that unforgiveness was buried so deep in me that it wasn’t just going to be fixed in a day. Or a week. It took years. I’m finally at a point where I can say with complete confidence that I have forgiven her. It took me a while to realize that forgiveness didn’t mean that I needed to have a close relationship with her. But I still struggle with honor and respect.
For most people, the ones that hurt them the most don’t carry a command that they need to honor them. I know most of you reading this probably think, “who cares” and “why do you even still talk to her?” But I know that God’s commands are put in place for a reason. And that He deserves my worship and my obedience. So when I interact with her now, I’m not disrespectful or snarky. I keep my comments to myself. I try my best to just love her from a distance. I haven’t talked to her in over a year, not because we had some sort of falling out, but because I had to realize that our relationship wasn’t healthy at all. And I don’t need the extra stress.
Despite it all, I’ll always be here for her. I’ll always love her unconditionally. And I am constantly praying for her.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
“Honor your father and mother”
—which is the first commandment with a promise—
“so that it may go well with you
and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
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Please feel free to share this, my hope is that through my brokenness I can save other children from abuse.
Are you a victim of abuse? How can I pray for you?