December 13, 2007


Mourning that Abused, Dissociated Child

So, for those of you who were wondering: I did go to the Christmas party Saturday night. I even wore something kinda sexy. But, I went with a girlfriend. Yes, I had a very nice time. No, I did not get rip-roaring drunk. I actually enjoyed some meaningful conversations with some other women there.

Unfortunately, that night I got home and the wine I had did not help me sleep. Neither did it keep the nightmares away. I had one of those dreams that goes on and on, like you're watching a three-hour movie. A new twist on my torture-themed dreams is that this time my husband and I were both being tortured. It reminded me of watching my sister suffer as a child. It was a dream that took place in some third-world country and we kept being detained; weren't allowed to cross the border into safe territory. Both of us were abused, even tortured, by our captors while we were being detained. Aaaaaacccckkkkk!

I wish there was some kind of pill one could take to never have a nightmare again!

But, Monday I had my therapy appointment. (Ya know, I have 'em twice a week, so they come up pretty often :P ) I even brought in a print-out of some of the comments I got on my blog for our discussion. I got a lot of good work done with my therapist and then I came home and sobbed my eyes out. It's painful and it sucks, but the grieving--the feeling of the feelings--is healing for me. Of this I am sure.

There are two major developments that I'm really mourning over right now: First, there's the ongoing facing of the "mom-was-involved" betrayal. It is huge! It's one of the toughest realities that I've ever had to face. I guess, since I'm now a mother myself, I just can't seem to wrap my brain around the fact that this woman facilitated and shamed me for my abuse after carrying me inside her. I was once part of her own body! How does such betrayal, abandonment and inhumanity work? I'll never figure it out, of course. That's one of the things I have to keep working on--the urge to try to "figure it out." Even when it's obviously impossible.

The second thing--and this is huge, too--is that my sister and I have both discovered recently that our abuse did NOT end when our father left the house after my parents divorced. This just shakes my world, I gotta tell ya. So much of what I'd assumed for years is now proven false. I'll have to get into this one later. I've just scratched the surface of it.

What I am delving more deeply into is an issue that ties both of these recent recovery developments together: After the divorce, my mother allowed us full, overnight, unsupervised visitation with the monster who was our father. She did not fight the visitation one iota. Their divorce was solely for my mother's personal preservation and selfish reasons. It had nothing to do with finally protecting her offspring.

To say that I'm feeling enormous amounts of anguish is a vast understatement. When I had my huge crying jag Monday, I kept hearing this little girl wail, "She didn't see me. She never saw me. She didn't see me!" (Talking about the egg donor who we called "Mom.") I kept trying to reach in, but didn't feel very successful. I kept saying aloud, "I see you. I see you." But, I'm not sure anybody heard. To say that I'm feeling guilty and conflicted about not being able to reach in, scoop up and comfort the littlest of my child parts doesn't come close to what I'm feeling either.

I guess I've achieved a little bit more empathy for myself after getting in touch with what I wrote about in my
December 7 post. So that's a good thing. But, after being in touch with--and being able to describe--the horror that I wrote about in that post, I realize that I'm seeing this reaching-in challenge as almost a physical impossibility. Trying to scoop up these little girls is like grasping at shadows. They keep slipping through my arms. Their charred little souls have turned to ash. They've been reduced to dust and have blown hither and yon. I'm running in every direction trying to find them, but there seems to be nothing to hold onto.

How does one return the ethereal to viable flesh and bone?

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Huge hugs. I remember all too well the time in therapy when I realized the extent to which my mother allowed and participated in my abuse. It was (and is) in many ways worse than what her husband did. And being a mom yourself means you realize what it is to protect a child. I can offer you some hope - you will work through this. It hasn't gone away, but it's become slightly more tolerable! And I've learned to truly value my relationship with my daughter and the bond we share. Because I am not, and will not, be my mother - and you won't be yours either.
That's RIGHT! Thanks, Enola. Huge hugs to you, too!
Sounds like you are going through a lot of change and growth. Therapy is for the brave and courageous, I always say.
It is difficult to comprehend mothers acting as ours did. I cannot imagine treating my children as my mother treated me. What I finally realized is that in my mother's case, she hated and despised herself. And she couldn't separate me from herself so she despised me, too. She felt helpless and just wanted me to shut up and go away. She could not comprehend anything except her own overwhelming pain.

I look at it this way: As sad as that truth is, she died terribly unhappy while my life keeps getting better and better. I'm actually able to be happy and to like and love myself. That's something she never got to do. Which makes it much easier to let go of my anger at her.
I think getting over mothers not being mothers is very hard. We all have that expectation of mothers being perfect models of nurturing and care when there are really lots of mothers out there who haven't got a clue.

It has nothing to do with us but we want to believe it does so that we can hold on to the illusion of what might have been.
Dr. Deb, RR & April: I appreciate all of your insights and support. Thanks! :)
I'm glad you're in therapy where you can learn to grieve those things you need to mourn. You are brave to be doing this, braver than I am. I doubt I will ever truly allow myself to grieve for anything.

Not having a mother's love and protection is truly incredible to those of us who became mothers ourselves. I can't comprehend it, either. I left so many abusive relationships for the sake of my kids; I can't imagine not doing so.

I hope things get better and better for you as you continue with therapy.
Beauty: Thanks for the kind words. I think you are braver than you know, BTW.

You deserve a lot of credit for leaving thos abusive relationships. You know what it means to sacrifice for and protect your kids.

I hope things (I know things) will get better and better for both of us. :) safe hugs. (((((Beauty)))))
Being a mathematician, I too like to figure things out.

But some things defy logic or humanity.
(((Kahless)))safe hugs
I'm glad I'm not alone with the "figuring it out" curse.

I'm also glad that so many of us who were raised by the inhumane have developed our own warmth and humanity on our own.

I feel it coming through to me on this blog all the time and I am most grateful.
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