I have some guests coming up for the weekend. My mother and my step-father.
When I talk about being abused as a child, it was by my mother.
And, yes, I do still let her into my home. Why?
- I have a son and he has the right to have a relationship with his grandmother
- I confronted her about the abuse and she apologized
- We have worked on our relationship for over ten years and she accepts what she did to me, she doesn’t deny it, and she allows me to be myself
I know most abusers don’t admit their actions. And in that way I suppose I’m lucky, if you could call it that. At least she accepts what she did.
I am under no illusions that she is “better,” however.
She said she doesn’t remember what she did to me. I believe her because a lot of people when they’re abusive and mentally unwell don’t know quite what they’re doing. That’s no excuse, don’t misunderstand me. I still know what she did to me was very wrong, and I am still working through the wounds.
In a lot of ways I find it ironic that I can have her in my home and enjoy spending time with her.
For a while it was still a bit sick, I still wanted to earn her love. When my son was young I still carried that everlasting hope that she’d become the mother I wanted to have. The mother I deserved. But I know now she will not be that woman.
I went through years and years of hating her for what she did, but I didn’t express it and turned it inwards, hence my depression and anxiety.
I think her behaviour really hit home for me psychologically after I had my son. I have always considered my son a miraculous gift, and I could never imagine treating him the way my mother treated me. The idea is abhorrent to me. I am not an abuser, never have been. Maybe that’s why I can forgive her to a certain extent.
I know for myself that keeping that anger alive ultimately only hurts me, and the people I love. If I’d kept holding onto the anger I would’ve become more and more diseased by various physical and mental problems because I’d be holding that hate inside myself. I have decided I just don’t want to do that.
And over the last two years since I had my breakdown, I’ve been slowly ridding myself, layer by layer, of all that pain and hate. It’s been very hard to let go because I’d learned to use it as fuel to keep going on. But now I use love as fuel, and that’s been an eye-opening transition for me.
So when my mother walks through my door this afternoon, I can honestly greet her with my heart. Not a naively hopeful heart, I know she isn’t the mother I really wanted, but in some ways I feel lucky that she’s my mom. And I think that’s healthy, and okay.
I feel pretty mixed up today.
I’ve had some really good things happen and some discouraging things happen. I suppose somewhere in between them there’s balance.
I received a really nice message from a man on a singles site. I had shown interest in him and he let me know that he’s about to meet someone and doesn’t like to pursue more than one woman at a time. He said my profile was very interesting, but he wanted to see how things go with the other woman first. I thought that was very honest and filled with integrity. And I thanked him for letting me know. He’s renewed my faith in the online dating scene.
I also found out that my ex-husband, the father of my son, wants to spend more time with my son. My son has been with me 100% of the time for about six months. I guess his dad is missing him. So I may have my three evenings a week back, and my son may be seeing more of his dad, which is very good. Especially since my son’s 16. He needs a man’s influence in his life too.
I woke up and realized I have a yeast infection. Often after I take antibiotics I get one. I just feel as if with my woman garden (thank you Jenny Lawson for this term!) it’s been one thing after another. First the UTI, now this. Blah!
I know it’s not really a big deal or even that unexpected, but I’m tired of feeling tired. The UTI kind of knocked me out, and often the yeast infection medication does too.
I’ve been worried about making enough money for a while now, and it’s damned difficult to be productive when all you feel like doing is curling up in a ball and sipping on tea! Something about this feels so November in Canada. It’s a month where everything is going to sleep or dying, we are overwhelmed with grey all around us and it’s getting cold and it’s dark so early we feel like going to bed at 5pm. Not an inspiring month.
And when I went for my healing treatment on Monday apparently the first two chakras are linked to creativity and our financial life. Figures! No wonder my woman garden is unsettled.
But then as I was driving back from the pharmacy feeling sorry for myself I realized that compared to some of the things going on in the world, a yeast infection isn’t much. And the UTI isn’t much either. Even my financial concerns are only temporary.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims in Paris and the countless others physically hurt from the terrorist attack. Now that is something really beyond discouraging, and has made me realize I’m having a pretty regular day.
I now realize all that happened to me before has helped me get here.
Like the ripples in the water caused by a single stone, the stone I threw got me here.
To have enough courage to love with all my heart was no small feat. And that was the stone.
I call it love.
It was not an easy path for me.
I used to believe I attracted the toxic relationships into my life.
But I now know it was that I believed I deserved them that brought them to me, which I believe no longer.
Now I face my world with love. And the world faces me with love as well.
And I’m in love.
I wasn’t sure I’d ever be in love again. I felt broken inside.
But I feel broken no longer.
Instead I waded into the pool, the pool of love.
And my love is there with me.
And we frolic and touch, listen and speak. Love and sigh with contentment.
We talk of building our lives together, and being with each other.
And all my love dreams have come true.
I feel as if I’m in love for the very first time, and it’s more than I imagined.
I am renewed. He has my heart completely, and I have his.
And to this love I say I love you more every day.
You are my all and everything. Come swim with me, for all time.
The idea of truth seems to be coming up a lot these days.
I suppose all of us tell more or less the truth at any one time.
And it’s interesting feeling it through different people.
Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves and others make decisions based on the practicalities of life.
I’ve done both, but I’ve found that the more detached I am from my heart the worse personal decisions I make.
There is something so vulnerable about telling your heart’s truth, but at the same time it’s really the only place you can live that’s truly you.
And I’ve found that the more we make decisions based on the practicalities the less we truly honour who we are.
In North America, we are not raised to listen to our inner selves. Our goals are often created for us from outside of ourselves, and we’re expected to conform to what needs to be “done” to attain them.
And in this way so many people become disconnected from who they are. Many people aren’t even aware of their inner selves or what their hearts are trying to tell them.
I didn’t really realize how important my heart was until after I had my breakdown. There’s something about hitting the bottom that teaches you that the only authentic way to get better is to live through your heart. And that scared me to death.
I had glimpses in my life of living through my heart and I felt as if they almost destroyed me. So I backed away from it and started being invincible. I closed off a part of myself and made decisions based on fear and defensiveness and even anger.
And the relationships I attracted to myself were as well.
So many people are afraid and protecting themselves and even angry because they’ve lost love. And when people feel vulnerable they can become quite nasty. In our society it’s so much more socially acceptable to be angry and aggressive than sad and vulnerable.
And so I adopted that attitude as well. I became superwoman and in doing so almost destroyed myself.
After hitting the bottom I finally gave myself the permission to be vulnerable. Completely and totally open to my own feelings, whatever they were.
I went through different levels of shame, helplessness, fear, vulnerability and being heartbroken.
But as I started to realize that who I truly was was nothing to be ashamed of. That I was actually far more able than I’d ever realized. That everyone feels fear. And that being vulnerable is simply part of the human condition, my heart mended itself.
And as my heart healed something amazing happened, instead of seeing the world from a point of fear, I saw it from a point of love.
And I realized that telling my inner truth had brought me to a place of love.
I had always believed that it was stronger and safer to hide my truth and act as if I was totally strong and impervious even if I wasn’t.
But breaking open taught me that hiding my truth only hurt me all the more.
It has been one of the most revelatory experiences I’ve ever lived through to come to be able to express my inner self.
It was hard work, but much easier than continuing to bury my true feelings to seemingly protect myself.
Now my choices are all totally different.
The people who I attract into my life are also different. They’re more able to speak from their hearts as well, in their own special ways.
And I no longer feel that telling the truth is weak. On the contrary, it has released me from not being genuine with myself, and therefore allowed me to make much healthier decisions for me, and what I want and need from my life.
I can only imagine how living from my heart will continue to influence the rest of my life.
It has already helped me feel love where I used to feel anger. It has already attracted honest and gentle people into my life where I used to attract liars and bullies.
I can’t help but feel that the best is yet to come.
I don’t make rules anymore.
So often we make them when they seemingly make sense, but then something changes and we feel like we should (I hate that word) stick to our rules even when they don’t feel right anymore.
So, I’ve given up on holding myself to my rules.
Now, I’m not talking about moral principles or values. Those I have and live by because they are an integral part of who I am.
But rules are somehow outside of myself, and often I create them to “control” something that I feel needs to be controlled. And often that need falls away.
And so many of our rules come from our limiting beliefs. We aren’t aware of it at the time we’re making them, but then later, if we really pay attention to how we feel, they don’t feel right. And if we ask our hearts what is right, the rules often fall away.
It’s really unfortunate that as children we’re taught that rules are more important than people’s feelings. We aren’t taught that being flexible and understanding is strong, but instead have this image of rule followers as the socially optimal person.
I remember in elementary school a teacher told me that the sun had to be yellow. I liked the sun to be orange, but she stood over me as I coloured and what did I do because she was making the “rules”? I coloured the sun yellow. But when I was at home, my sun was always orange.
People who tow the line and conform are portrayed as honourable and valuable members of society, and people who question the status quo or move outside of socially acceptable circles are labelled trouble makers or black sheep.
I have some experience with this because as I grew up my extended families labelled me a black sheep because I lived in the big bad city of Toronto, because I didn’t want to conform and because I had a mind of my own. A particularly unattractive thing for a girl to have. The fact that I was really bright only added to the division.
One day in my chemistry class in Grade 11, my teacher said, “The highest mark on the last test was 98%, and imagine it was a girl.”
There was dead silence.
And then I said, rather loudly, “What do you mean imagine it was a girl!?”
He spun around and said, “Ha! I knew you’d say something!”
Damn right! At least he was doing it to goad me. He actually wasn’t sexist at all. (Lucky for him or I would’ve made his classroom life hell.) I did very well in Grade 11 chemistry.
So often people shun what they don’t want to understand.
But because I was born thinking outside the box, I have a lot of trouble with people who expect other people to conform to their ideas of acceptable behaviour. I mean who are they to decide what’s okay and what isn’t as far as acceptable behaviour is concerned.
I have found that people who can’t accept difference are often extremely narrow minded and insecure within themselves. They cling to their “rules” of how life should be because they feel unhinged without them. They have no strong inner moral compass so they grab onto ideas that make them feel confident about themselves from the outside in.
And they often consider keeping up appearances extremely important as well.
How could the sun only be yellow? That’s one of the weirdest ideas I’ve ever heard, but to the teacher it was gospel. I was about 5 years old and I knew she was rigid and narrow minded even at that age.
People latch onto these ideas and often don’t question them. That is not me. So I’ve had my share of heated discussion and debates about all sorts of ideas.
I remember talking with the husband of a friend of mine who worked for The Star newspaper in Toronto. He actually believed that what was printed in the paper was the truth. I couldn’t believe it. I explained to him that each newspaper comes from a distinct political slant and that truth is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case the slant of the writer. He didn’t agree at all, no matter how much we jousted back and forth. He just wanted to believe that what was written down was the truth.
I suppose that’s an easier way to live in a way, if you’re comfortable with being misled and lied to. If you don’t really want to find out your own truth, that is.
I grew up with a bully for a mother so from a really young age I fought for my own self. I wasn’t a malleable child, I didn’t want to be mothered and I was smart enough to know the way things are aren’t the way they have to be.
It has taken me until midlife to truly get that I create my reality, and that I don’t have to fight for it, it’s already mine.
The fighting made me strong, but it’s not who I truly am. I’m a very kind, gentle person at heart and I don’t want to control anyone. I only fought because I had to to maintain my sense of inner freedom and self. It drove my mother crazy because I was unbreakable. And believe me she tried. That was until I grew taller than her and could’ve thumped her if I’d wanted to. Then, like a bully does, she backed down.
But all that fighting took something from me too. It took me farther and farther away from who I truly am.
As I’ve realized very recently, I face the world with love. But the bullying led me away from that. I couldn’t love my mother into stopping her abuse. I was only a child. I did what I had to, but now I don’t have to anymore.
And as I’ve come to feel, love is far stronger than hate, and so much easier to live by.
Now I attract kind, gentle people to me who are very much like myself. What a relief that is. I don’t always have to have my guard up. I don’t have to be constantly defensive. If someone treats me in a way I don’t want, I simply talk with them about it. Or let them go from my life.
And people who only want to follow rules aren’t the kind of people I can relate to. I let them be. But I find lots of open minded people everywhere. I guess I attract them now, along with people filled with love.
So, I have learned to let my rules go. Sometimes they still pop up now and then, but invariably they become obsolete.
And they always remind me that personal freedom is rooted in finding your own truth.
And truth has nothing to do with rules.