Wednesday, July 7

Breaking Cycles

As I posted before, over the past year I've been writing a book about staying positive in the face of adversity. Of course when one undertakes something like this, copious amounts of soul-searching is a part of the deal, whether we want it or not.

In light of things that happened with my parents (particularly my mom) when I was so young, I've often questioned whether she (and my Dad) loved me or not. Doesn't everyone at some point wonder this?

Are there people who've never, not even for a second, questioned the love of their mother or father?

Despite what I consider being rejected twice in my life by my mom, once at 12, and then again at 19, I must give her credit for all of the good things, too. From the time I was about 27 until she died when I was 35, she told me time and time again how sorry she was for leaving me behind as a child, and really tried to be the best mom she could. Now that I've been a mother for 19 years, I have conflicting emotions about it all. On one hand, I understand more what it is to struggle in one's own mind and make bad decisions that affect the people that love you; but on the other, I still can't grasp how she left me behind.
I had a 1st marriage that failed, but not ever for one split second did I consider leaving my son behind. I'd rather cut off my arms than do that, yet I can see where it all began because she was also abandoned as a child.

Probably until I was well into my 30's I worried about "becoming my mother." We hear that sort of stuff a lot; following in our parent's footsteps being inevitable and all that. I've even been accused of dwelling too much on the past, but my defense is:
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." ~George Santayana
What I've learned by pondering the past is to find the good things, embrace and emulate them, and recognize the bad so they don't become holes that wait to swallow you up.

I've come to the conclusion that I probably would have forgiven my mom for almost anything, because her self-loathing was evident to anyone who ever met her, and I truly believe that despite how much she hurt me, it could never measure up to how much she hurt herself. In the end, she destroyed herself from a combination of immense sadness, guilt, and desperation. I wish I'd been able to help her. God knows I tried, as did my sister and a few others, but the damage that set things in motion had been done long ago. What I could do was break the cycle. This blog, my book, my speaking; it's all a part of that process.

I hope I don't come across as being judgmental of my mom. I'd be lying if I said I've never felt angry towards her, but when all was said and done, I love/loved her deeply, and I was there with my head on her chest until her very last heartbeat.

God it's hard to type that.

I wanted her to know I was there, and for her to feel my love until the very end. I hope she knows I stayed. She was so fragile. I think I was always the strong one, and on some level she knew it, and she knew I'd be ok.

Mom, 40 years old

Mom & Grandma

Mom & her 2nd husband, whom some claim is my biological father, but that's another blog...


Karen Mortensen said...

Good for you for breaking the cycle and being strong. My mother was also a cycle breaker thank God. If she hadn't I would not have made it very well through this life.
I am proud of you for what you have done with your life.

Pamela Bousquet said...

hmmm....some things I have to ponder on as well regarding MY relationship with my mom.

jenny_o said...

It is heartbreaking to think how many children must ask themselves if their parents love them.

I feel lucky that I was never given a reason to question that. . . until recently. It's hard enough to deal with it after a half-century; it must be hellish to deal with it from an early age.

Yenta Mary said...

I'm sure your mom knew not only that you loved her and that you forgave her, but that you did indeed have the strength she didn't have herself such that she could rely upon you and that you'd be successful no matter what ....

Sheila said...

First, let me say that I love the name of your blog. For the past several months I have been telling my daughter that some times you just have to fake it till you make it--something I've done just about every day of my life.
I'm glad you were able to break the cycle. I did break the cycle in my own life too. I have always wondered about my mom loving me. She chose a man who beat and abused her over her own children. I still to this day wonder if it's true when she says she loves me because I don't really feel that from her--it seems like just words. Maybe I'm looking for a type of love she just isn't capable of giving. Wow--a very thought provoking post.

Kelly and Ryan said...

This is a very beautiful, raw, and deep blog post. I'm sure it was hard to write, but I'm so proud of you for writing it. You're just such an amazing, wonderful woman, and I'm really glad to have you as part of my family.

~*~Eneida~*~ said...

Wow...thanks for putting it out there like that. Reading posts like these makes me feel way more connected in a way, knowing we all go through some similar things...

Good luck on your book writing...sounds like it will be a great one!!

Debbie said...

I guess no family is perfect but feeling loved is so important for a child as they grow up. I love your honesty but also how you are concerned not to disrespect your mom. Obviously, there were some things that were not good. But I love how you were able to rest your head on her as she was dying. That says much about you.


Leanne said...

I have to tell you that I so admire the truth and honesty in which you write. You have such a wonderful way of expressing your feelings (the good and the bad), and I have a great deal of respect for you in doing that. You are breaking the cycle by all that you do now, to write and talk about these things, and I am proud of you.

misssrobin said...

Thank you for this. As someone who still struggles with my family of origin, it's nice to be reminded that I don't have to fix everything. I am working to break all the dysfunctional cycles from my family and my husband's. I may not get them all but will get what I can.

Anonymous said...

It's so tough. I've been there with my dad, who never met my sons. I created a program to break or prevent cycles of dysfunction called, "Standing at the Crossroads." I really didn't like the Divorce Care Programs - they focused too much on the garbage pile instead of how to get off that garbage pile. God delivered me from that life of rejection, healing my heart, healing my broken-ness. The choice is do you want to live on that pile of hurt or get off it, building your own pile. . . of love, of overcoming, of joy!

Best of luck on your book!

Marie said...

Beautifully said....Sorry for your pain but glad you are stopping the cycle.

CoconutPalmDesigns said...

"...I was there with my head on her chest until her very last heartbeat."

This was hard to read but thank you for being brave enough to write it and then press post. You are really an inspiration!

Cheers :-)
- CoconutPalmDesigns

The BabbyMama said...

I think I understand. I have definitely questioned my mom's love - she is the type to put a spouse before children, but I guess she has her reasons - but as I get older I tend to think more that she loves me, but is fallible just like everyone else. It just happens sadly that many of the mistakes she's made have involved me. And everyone makes mistakes, if this makes sense. It's just that some people's mistakes have less of an impact on their loved ones. So how can I blame her for being a human being?