When abusers come to visit
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.