When Your Mother Wasn't - Part 1

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I love my Mother.     Now

I hated my Mother.     Long ago

I am going to write a series of blogs that not all of you may relate to.  I’m writing it because I know there are others out there, like me, who have a Mother who wasn’t. In other words, they were not only not good Mothers, they really were not Mothers in most or all of the important ways. Others who, like me, have a hard time finding a card on Mother’s Day because the sentiments expressed don’t apply to you or your Mother. So, you keep looking until you find a more generic one. You do it because you care; because you do love her; she just wasn’t a Mother.

Whether it’s your Mother or someone else close to you, maybe you can relate.

Before I start, I want you to know that I love my Mother. Long ago, I dealt with the deep disappointment, rejection and hatred I had for her. I have forgiven. I love her. I love her carefully and with many boundaries. I love her but am forced to be very realistic about who and what she really is.  I watch over her yet guard my heart from her destructive ways.

I also want you to know that I realize I did not have the worst childhood. So many have had horrible things happen to them at the hands of one or both parents. That is not my story. It is still a story of pain and taking a lifetime to realize the depth to which someone else’s illness affected your life.

When I was very young, I remember a Mother and Father who loved me very much. My Mother was loving and cruel at the same time. I only realized that in retrospect. I am 69 and just last year, I learned the depths of my Mother’s lies and hatred. Things which I believe came into full bloom after she began drinking and separated from my Father. I was 11. At that time, I lost my Father and the life I had known.  As an only child, there was no one else to talk to or figure things out with. My Mother went from a stay-at-home Mom to one who worked and partied. This meant that my years after the separation and divorce were spent alone.

I really didn’t realize how dysfunctional and mentally ill my Mother was until much later in life. When I began to work with victims of domestic violence and learned about the characteristics of abusers, I finally saw a picture of my Mother. It was rather shocking because I have never, and still do not, considered myself a victim. I knew I didn’t have anything close to a normal Mother but I finally began to see, not only what she had done to herself, but what she had done to me. This isn’t a story of blame. It is simply a truth of my life that I deal with every day. I have a Mother who only lives 8 miles from me yet I seldom see or talk to her - by her choice. At age 87, she has driven away her own family and is alone except for 2 neighbors who help her - 2 people I am deeply grateful for.

Over the 5 years after my Mother and Father separated, many things happened - mostly bad. The best thing was that I reunited with my Father and he took me away from my Mother. I know that this was God’s intervention in my life as he proceeded to set me on a better path and to give me the family I had always dreamed of having. God saved me in more ways than one.

I did not reunite with my Mother until my own children were in their early teens, because of her alcoholism. When we did reunite, it was at a distance - she lived in Nevada and I lived in Idaho. Then, in 2005, my Mother moved to Idaho to be near family. She was 74 at that time and seemed to have made great changes in her life. As time passed, she began to exhibit the hatred and lieing patterns. Naively, I did not recognize them at first. I so wanted to believe her; to spend time with her; to love her without reserve. That was not to be.

I will write more about it in the next blog. I hope that some of you can relate to this and be helped in knowing you aren’t alone. If not, you will know a lot more about me and that’s good! Until next time - may God’s love abound within you and enrich you each day - Fleda