Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can I JUST sleep please?

Can we cut it out with all the dreams? I mean, CMON.

I have nightmares a LOT. I always have, and I'm assuming that I always will.

The monstery, horror-movie type ones I can handle (unless they involve Owen), it's the emotional, flash-backs-to-childhood ones that I can't deal with.

They are exhausting and frankly, they fuck my whole day up.

Where is all of this coming from? My mother.  As USUAL.

I posted about it while I was pregnant, and now that Owen is actually here, and I'm ACTUALLY parenting him, it's opening up old wounds in new and painful ways.


Hooray for processing.

I took the post off of my blog a few months back, because I was afraid to eventually share it with Owen, and, I didn't want to deal with the backlash that would occur if my mother ever got wind of it.

Lately though, I've been thinking about that post, and the things that I still need to say.

I wrote that post as a reminder to myself, (as a warning, even) and as a love note to my son.

I have spent so many years denying and hiding because it was the easier thing to do. It was easier thing for the people in my life.

There are still plenty of people in my life who wish that I would just "let it go" or "put it behind me."

I understand why they want that. My history is painful and scary. People don't want to believe that things like that really do go on.

We hear about it on the news, or see it on Oprah, but no one wants to really "know" that it happened to someone they love.

People want to believe that you can move past it, forget it. Shake it off like a bad dream.

You can't. It lives with you, and in you, for the rest of your life. You just learn to cope and grow and survive with it.

{I do not want to wallow in it or become embittered, but I refuse to act like it never happened, or like I am completely healed, and good-as-new.}

I want my son to know who I am, and I want him to understand what it means for me to be a good mother to him.

So I'm putting it back up.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I just woke up from a nightmare about my mother. I have one about her every few months, but it's amped up to several in the last month or so...

I guess I didn't realize how heavily she'd been weighing on my mind lately.

I'm terrified of becoming my mother. Yes, I've had plenty of therapy-I even have a BA is Clinical Psyc for good measure, but that doesn't always abate my fears.

This phrase, in particular, haunts me:
"Everyone eventually becomes their parents, even though they always swore it would never happen."

If that's true, then I'm fucked.

My mom was an unwed, uneducated, teen mother.
(not that those things mean you will automatically suck at motherhood, but in her case, I don't think it helped.)
She was (and still is, in a lot of ways)very immature and selfish.
She made really poor choices, particularly in husbands.
But more than all of that (and maybe b/c of that), she was incredibly violent and cruel.

She beat the ever-lovin'-snot out of me on a daily basis (give or take a day here and there).

My first real memory of my mother is that of fear.

I do not remember a time in my childhood or adolescence, that she didn't scare  (or beat) the living shit out of me.

It took me a long time to realize that abuse wasn't normal. That other children were not legitimately afraid of their parents beating them to death.


[If you spill juice on the carpet, you're gonna get kicked in the stomach, right?]


I was midway into my 20's before I could really even talk about some of it.



At the same time, everybody loved my mom.
She was funny and charming. A great cook, a wonderful hostess, a dear friend. A devoted mother. I loved my mom. I saw glimpses of the person that she projected to the outside world, and clung to that.

To this day, my mother will not admit to, or apologize for the things that she has done.

Because to her, they didn't happen. She was not that person.

She was the mother that got a teacher fired for discriminating against me.
She was the mother that held my hand before surgeries.
She was the mother that cried tears of pride when I graduated from college.

And she was that mother.

Unfortunately for us both, she was also and more often) the mother that blackened my eye and stabbed me with scissors.

This is why I live in terror of seeing her face in the mirror.

I doubt she started out her pregnancy thinking:

"I'm going to make my daughter's life a living hell."

No, I don't imagine she thought that at all, but yet, it happened.

I absolutely do not fear that I will hit my child. What I am afraid of though, is being too harsh. Of being cruel in moments of anger or stress....

because it's not really the physical assaults that scarred me, as much as it was the emotional ones.

My mom was vicious. She said things to me that you probably shouldn't say to another human being, let alone a child, YOUR child.

She was critical, threatening and mocking. Everything that I said or did was wrong AND stupid. She went out of her way to remind me that I was wholly unwanted, and should be grateful that I was allowed to live.

Yet, ten years after the last round, she sees it as: Being "hard' on me for my own good.
And so it is, and always has been, with my mother. She is who she is, and sees the past the way she wants to.

So where does that leave me?

I am not unwed, uneducated, or a teenager.
I do not have a junkie for a spouse.
Nor do I have a criminal record. Or a drug problem.
I have never, EVER laid a hand on any child I have ever cared for.

BUT,

I have a temper. I have a tendency to have a sharp tongue. I'm a type A personality, and am a self-admitted control-freak. I yell when I'm angry....

All traits that I share with, hell, that probably came from, my mother.

And as luck would have it, I have been through about every type of abuse you can think of. From her, from her 2nd husband, and from people I trusted...

So, as I sit here pregnant with my first child, I can't help but wonder:

IS history doomed to repeat itself?

No, it's not. Not if I can help it.

There is a lifetime of things that I wish I didn't remember, but if it aides me in never taking my child for granted, or becoming disconnected from the gift and responsibility that motherhood is, than I'll take the nightmares every day of the week.

No child should be reared on fear.

If it is the last thing I do, my child will feel and know what it is to be loved and safe in the arms of his/her parents.


Posted by JayneSees at 1:58 AM

That post is an important part of my journey as a parent.

It was not meant to dehumanize my mother.

I know that she loves me, but she is very unhealthy and wounded herself. I don't think she can even connect with how out of control it all became.

That is not always enough, but I have to make peace with it somehow.

This post (and future ones) was about being truthful with myself, and the things I need to deal with in order to be the person and mother I need to be for my family.


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

--George Santayana--

6 comments:

Bride-To-Be said...

I find myself often saying to friends regularly (usually in the context of dating) that there is HISTORY and there is BAGGAGE. History is what's happened in your life that explains and makes you who you are. Baggage are the decisions you've made and actions you've taken that must carry with you as a burden into the future that someone else then has to accept and deal with in having relations with you. You have history, you don't have baggage and I hope you feel and realize the freedom in that and know what's in the past doesn't have to be part of the future.

happyfunpants said...

I've deliberately waited to leave a comment on this post - for two reasons. 1) I wanted to try to choose the best words and 2) I didn't necessarily want a lot of other people reading my comment.

I still don't have the best words, but I want to let you know that you're right - no child should ever have to experience that - or the doubt that follows for years afterwards.

I know. I know because I was abused differently by a close family member. For years I didn't want kids at all - assuming that being a child was a very unsafe place to be.

And what's more, I understand the complications of seeing that close family person in a mixture of good in there too.

It complicates things, for sure.

And it's still painful, although (for me) therapy has helped.

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out and give you a virtual hug. You're going to be a great mom to O - you already are. And if you lose your temper, that's okay too...because that is a part of normal life too.

kris said...

Hey, you.

I waited a long time to have children because I was afraid that I was so ruined by my own childhood that I would not be able to mother anyone. It felt like I should just stop the garbage with me . . . I was so afraid of repeating my experiences with my children. I felt doomed.

Now?

I have two daughters who are 9 and 11.

And I do not suck at this parenting thing. I do not.

I have issues. Crap left over from my childhood. My childhood made me who I am today . . . and it does not cease to exist in my memory, in my mind, or in my dreams.

But to my children? I am just mom.

And I am a good mom.

As you are.

And will be.

It's hard.

You can do it.

cathyjoy said...

Hey Jayne!

Stopping by from Kris's place.

I can so totally relate to this post, except that in my case it was my dad.

I make a conscious effort every. single. day. to not be like him.

I am a good parent.

And you are too.

Renee said...

Hello Jayne,
Stopping via Kris.
Your honesty is powerful.
You can stop the cycle.
I hope your good days begin to outnumber the bad.

Liz said...

Wow. I can relate.

I often have this same thought: I doubt she started out her pregnancy thinking: "I'm going to make my daughter's life a living hell."

So scary.