Sunday, April 25, 2010

Delayed Reaction

Three days after the letter from my mother arrived, I'm crying. It's taken that long for me to break down. I have found myself so full of anger - and yes, pain - but also determination: I will not let her hurt me, I will not let her break me. And yet, here I sit in tears, too much to hold in.

I hear so much about forgiveness. Even my closest friends in whom I've confided some of the darkest details preach to me about forgiveness. I get it. I understand the concept of forgiveness, and I understand that in most cases it's more for the person doing the forgiving than the one being forgiven. I understand that it's possible to forgive someone without even communicating it to them. And I understand that forgiving someone doesn't necessarily mean allowing them into your life. Forgiveness, as I understand it, is letting go of the anger, of somehow finding peace in your heart.

I am struggling so much with this. I don't know how to forgive her. And although I don't want this anger and pain to eat me alive, I'm also not sure I even want to figure out how to forgive her. My anger is an armor, a hard shell that grew over many years and that served to protect me. I don't know how to let it go. And in some ways I think that forgiveness is overrated.

It's been many years that my mother and I have been estranged; I have not spoken to her or laid eyes on her for almost eleven years now. And the truth is, I don't give her much thought at all these days. She rarely enters my consciousness. The mother I was supposed to have - the one every child deserves to have - never existed. The one I did have has been gone to me for a long, long time. Although there's a certain longing at times for a mother, I've just gotten used to not having one. It's not until she intrudes in my life again that all these feelings come bubbling up to the surface.

It's not so much the content of her six-page letter to me this past week - I know my own heart and character, I know the truth of myself and my past. My life, as it was and as it is, speaks for itself. It's knowing that this is my mother, who still, after all these years, seems determined to inflict pain, to lash out, to tear down. My mother. She's still an abuser. The comfort I take is in knowing that now, unlike before, I can choose not to be victimized by her.


Dear Mother -

I would feel sorry for you if I weren't so sickened by you.

Go fuck yourself.


P.S. I am better than you.


Like I said, I'm struggling.


The Sanchez Family said...

Oh Lisa, I'm so sorry you have to continue to deal with this person. It is extremely sad to think that she continues to hurt you...intentionally. I think you need to experience fully your anger, your hurt, your resentment and then maybe with time some aspect of forgiveness will come and release you of all this angst. I too have had some family dramas lately with my siblings and I found that the more I fed into it or tried to defend myself, the worse I felt. Then I tried something totally different, I said to them...ok..I hear you and I want to make it better and I take responsibility for all of fell on deaf ears but let me tell you...I feel a complete load has been lifted. I turned it back on them and now it's their cross to bear not mine.

Beth said...

Lisa, I'm so sorry that hurt again by your own mother.
Again, I have no idea what the history is, and it doesn't matter. I shouldn't have mentioned forgiveness except that I thought it might make YOU feel better. I don't give a flying turd about your mom.

Hugs to you.

Jodi said...

Forgive her and allow her to hurt you again? I don't think so. I'm sorry, but mother isn't just a biological term - it's an earned right and she lost it long ago. I think the kind of forgiveness people are talking about is something for your own good - the ability to divorce yourself from the relationship and "forgive and forget" - a nice goal, I suppose, but not an easy one when she keeps hurting you after all of this. The idea of writing such a letter to your own child is boggling and absurd. I don't even know how you shift the blame that extremely. And what's the end result of this forgiveness? That you allow her to abuse your own children in the same manner? Screw that. I wish with all my heart you had a loving, kind mother who could provide comfort and support, but that's not the option here. Send the next letter back without opening it.

diane rene said...

((HUGS)) to you Lisa.
the type of forgiveness you are talking about is an ongoing process. in this case I say, feel the pain, look at who it is coming from, take from it whatever will make you stronger and then let it go. when it comes up again, let it go again. it's not a string we can just cut and be done with, it's kind of like a recurring tumor. we think we have it conquered, and then it comes back to haunt us.
you are a strong woman and you are teaching your children what it means to be a family.

Lisa B said...

I'm so sorry your heart is torn up again by HER. You do not deserve one minute of pain inflicted by her - she is a stranger to your life and has NO rights to be involved in your present. I hope you have a better week and I agree with Jodi - next letter needs to be a "RTS" so you can live in peace! Hope to see you soon! Lisa

Stephanie said...

I don't know what to say...I've never been in a similar situation...I guess you have to find some way to let go of her despite the ways she's damaged you emotionally. Some people would call that forgiveness. I would just call it letting go. I suppose it is much more difficult since it is your mother, a person we are forever and intimitely linked with no matter what the situation but I think you have to find some way. Otherwise she will continue to haunt you for the rest of your life. Much love my dear.

Mer said...

I'm incredibly sorry you have to deal with that Lisa. I agree with what Diane said about this kind of forgiveness being a process, but I also recently read somewhere that forgiving someone when you're not ready to forgive them can actually be more harmful to you in the long run. That being said, I think you've come a long way in that forgiveness process. Forgiving doesn't mean you don't allow yourself to be hurt when the situation arises again. It's what you do with that hurt that makes the difference. Do you hold on to it and allow it to make you bitter or do you let it go and choose to rise above it? I think you've done a marvelous job dealing with it.

Pamela said...

I am a newbie to your blog but I have to tell you that I applaud you for not giving in and I applaud you even more for the "to the point" notation to your mother. My mother and I are not on speaking terms because she continuously chooses friends and boyfriends over her own daughter and three grandsons. SIGH.