The Minefield of Mother’s Day

So here it is: Mother’s Day. No one in my house has wished me a happy Mother’s Day. No one even remembers it’s Mother’s Day. As much as I love my husband, he doesn’t remember days like this without big reminders. I’m feeling like it’s not my job to remind him today. And my son is pretty oblivious to anything today but his own needs.

You see, the commercial Mother’s Day is filled with images of a loving and doting mother who cherishes her children. They show her being put together, able to handle anything thrown her way, and having children who are wired “normally.” They show image of happy families honoring their matriarch; the mother and grandmother.

What they don’t show are all the mothers out there who are damaged. The mothers who were abused, who are emotionally unstable, or who are mentally ill. Both my (now deceased) mother and I fit into this latter category. My mother was both emotionally damaged by her mother, and was mentally ill: bipolar. Her mental illness wasn’t medicated until she became so manic that she completely lost touch with reality and was put into a mental hospital. By this time I was in 10th or 11th grade. The damage had been done. Her psychiatrist, who was later sued in a class action lawsuit, knew she was bipolar, but thought he could psychoanalyze it out of her. He would also string along clients in an effort to drain more money from their pocketbooks. He should be shot.

I grew up in a household where I was not emotionally supported, loved, and cherished. I was verbally assaulted when my mother was manic, slicing me with her words, and abandoned by her when she was depressed. I was not the only one affected by my mother. My older brother was also damaged by our mother. His damage left him feeling powerless. He came into the world with less than stellar wiring in his head, so his damage not only left him feeling powerless, it let him think that inappropriate sexual touch was how to show love. His moral compass developed with a major deviation. Mom was sexually inappropriate with him on more than one occasion. It affected him deeply and he doesn’t even know it.

As far as I can tell, my younger brother seems to have made it out without too much damage. Thank God.

Growing up with my older brother, there was a relationship dynamic of controller/ controlee, predator/ prey. He dominated me emotionally and physically. When we were little, he figured out that his little sister would do what he wanted, because she sought validation. She didn’t get it from her mother, and she hoped her older brother would be that for her. Instead, I let myself be controlled by him, doing things that, in my gut felt wrong, but I so desperately needed the validation. He relished the feeling of control. It made him feel powerful and ok within himself. The moral compass that holds most people back, had deviated enough that he could neither feel nor hear it’s messages.

Eventually, when my brother’s hormones raged, he came to me to both control and to satisfy his urges. Maybe there was a part of him that thought it was loving as well. All I know is he violated me, he controlled me by making me believe that if I told anyone, I would get in trouble. Me. He molested me, raped me, and eventually impregnated me. After the big secret came out, the wall of even bigger shame and secrecy fell. Bigger that the great wall of China.

My being pregnant was a horrible shame on the family. I had shamed the family for being pregnant. This secret must never come out. My father was terrified that if it came out, he would lose all business and we would end up ostracized, homeless, and living on the street. Of course, that never would have happened. But that’s the way my father reacted. He swore us all to secrecy.

My mother went along. We all went along. How was my being molested handled? Poorly. So, on top of being ashamed that I let my brother control, dominate and rape me, I was now ashamed that I was pregnant and had shamed my entire family. How fucked up is that?

It just so happens that I was able to hide my pregnancy until the end of the school year (freshman year of high school), when I entered a home for unwed mothers. Lies were created so people thought I went off to summer camp for the whole summer. I delivered my daughter 2 weeks into the school year, took a week to recover, and returned home and to school, as if nothing had happened (other than another lie of my coming down with an illness at the end of camp, keeping me away from home for a few more weeks). So, no one found out about our shameful, dirty secret, which I was now integrally a part of. Six weeks later, I signed away all rights to my daughter, giving her up for adoption.

With the healing work I’ve been doing recently, memories of old wounding are coming up. My mind was a champ at blocking out years of bad memories, but it’s safe for them to resurface and be healed. Because of that, thinking about Mother’s Day today is extremely emotionally charged for me. I didn’t know my grandmothers, and I didn’t have a close relationship with either of my 2 aunts. There is no matriarch in my family for me to look up to with memories of being cherished by them.

Even my own experience of being a mother has included depression and personal struggle while raising a special needs child with his own daily issues. It has been a long and difficult road.

So, today is Mother’s Day. If I see one more thing on Facebook about how wonderful someone’s mother is, or how much someone is missing their dead mother, I think I’m going to scream. I’m glad their mother is or was a saint. They need to know that there are plenty of mothers out there who were or are nightmares, or who are struggling to not be a nightmare themselves.


24 thoughts on “The Minefield of Mother’s Day

  1. mariner2mother

    Reblogged this on Life Is A Journey… Not A Guided Tour and commented:
    Today I am introducing you to my other blog. The one I’ve kept secret. Today I choose to no longer keep that secret. And because I’ve been digging in again, working on healing childhood wounds, Mother’s Day this year has been particularly hard and painful. I’m finding that the more I write about my feelings and talk about them, the more easily they pass through. And I’m feeling much better than I did even 2 hours ago when I wrote this piece. Thank you all for coming along for the ride that has been my life, and the journey that is my healing.

  2. Lisa

    Such a powerful sharing. I cannot imagine how this must have felt to live through (and now recall and share) and my heart wants to wrap you in love and make it all go away.

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Thank you Lisa. You are such a dear, sweet soul, who I admire very much.

      I had an experience a few years back where I literally saw myself and a guide planning some of my life lessons. And from years of reading about this, I understand in my head about how we set up challenges for a variety of reasons. I know from personal experience that between my mother and myself, there was an energetic “karmic” chain of mother – daughter wounding. I believe I chose to take on healing this because I actually did heal it (it was beyond cool!). And I know that we come here for soul expansion by choosing love in situations (over fear). I’m still working on healing things with my older brother, and doing a soul retrieval ceremony this last fall created a major positive shift for me. As for my brother, his journey and his healing is his business. I have no expectations there, as he’s still very much “asleep.”

      These days I’m working on healing physical woes that have energetic causes, which I’m uncovering and healing one by one. A year ago it was type 2 diabetes and food addiction- healed and healed. Now I’m healing reflux.

      Thanks for commenting. I’ll be adding more posts about healing, soon.

  3. janonlife

    Kahlil Gibran said ‘Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.”
    Those words came into my mind as I read this. I think because you are such a shining example of what they mean.
    Your son may never swell the coffers of the florists or the card manufacturers, yet his love for you could not be truer or deeper.
    Your daughter may never know the dreadful sacrifice you had to make to fulfil the soul contract you made with her, to bring her into the world, but at some level of consciousness she too loves and cares for you.
    I hope you can give yourself love on this special day and appreciate the light you have brought into the lives of others, in spite of and because of the pain you have suffered.
    Happy Mothers’ Day to you from me – Jan xxx

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Thank you Jan for your loving thoughts. The Khalil Gibran quote is new to me, and what a poignant one.

      I should add an addendum to this blog entry, because by early afternoon my husband had to run an errand to a car parts store, and took our son with him. They returned a few hours later with the car part, an orchid, a bright cheery potted chrysanthemum, a card and some chocolate. My husband isn’t one for planning; more spur of the moment. But he’s a wonderful and very caring and supportive man.

      First thing this morning was just a rough morning. It took a while to move the emotions through, but they did move. It ended up being a great day, and I didn’t have to cook dinner or clean up!

  4. sara

    I have been struck silent by the brutal honesty of this post. Heartbreaking, soul shattering.
    I am so glad your husband and little boy came up with the goods.

  5. La Quemada

    Hallmark Holidays can be the pits. We’re surrounded by images of beautiful, happy mothers being loved and appreciated by their beautiful, happy children. Real life is a lot grittier and more ambiguous than that, as you describe so honestly and painfully in your post. I also have to remind myself that it is human and normal to have a life that doesn’t look like a television commercial. It is ok to acknowledge that pain and the mixture of love and rage we feel at some of our family members.
    I’m sorry about all the pain you experienced this morning, and I’m glad that you have the real-life love of your husband and son.

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Thank you for visiting my blog and for your real and raw comment. Yes, life is messy and complicated, and some days are harder than others. Thankfully, by last night, I was feeling a lot better about life and about my own little family.

  6. Karin

    Thanks for sharing this so openly. I had no idea what you have been through. It is awesome to see how you deal with the pain. You’re so brave and such an inspiration.

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Thank you Karin. I appreciate your being here. Having woken up spiritually (4 yrs. ago) really fast-forwarded my healing progress. I have learned so very much and hope that by sharing what is possible for one, others become inspired to know that they too can change things in their lives that aren’t working for them (no matter how big or small they seem).

  7. BigLizzy

    First of all: Uhmazing, Susan.

    I’m reeling from the delicious honesty of this post, but, as you know, all of your posts reach me on a soul level. Since you and I were separated at birth, sis (down to nearly identical circumstances and abuse), you know that I get this work on a cellular level; it resonates so deeply. Your journey is breathtaking. Your courage is exquisite. And, I love how you “came out” here and threw the cover off of your Persephone blog. You are my hero.

    As for Mothers’ Day, yeah. I get it. The many Facebook candy-coated platitudes of “Motherly Love” and “My Mother is My Best Friend” made me roll my eyes more than once yesterday.

    Not sure if you knew this, but I no longer maintain any kind of relationship with my mother; it’s been 12 years since I’ve seen or spoken to her. I became freer when I dropped that relationship or the idea that I even had to have one with her ever again. It’s not possible, nor is it healthy for me to interact with her anymore. We’ll deal with her Karma in another lifetime together. Or, not. I might boycott her for all eternity. ::wink!::

    Well, honey, I have to tell you that you rock it so hard. I love how you process. Keep it comin’, babe. You are acing this life. It’s good to hear that your hubby and son acknowledged Mama’s Day for you after all. Yay!

    Love, BigLizzy (your biggest fan and sister from another Mister!)

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Don’t know what to say except I love you buckets, Sis. But you know that. Time to put more effort into this little blog of mine. I have almost 3 more posts ready to go- all about healing.

  8. susielindau

    Your life was hell, but it’s over, THANK GOD! And you are a survivor. That is more than intense.

    Next year, plan your own Mother’s Day and invite your son and husband. I plan my birthdays. My husband is thoughtful but, it’s the only way to go! My dad was thoughtless, but my mom planned everything. That’s how we learned!

  9. the jay train

    Wow. I’m not sure what to say but I’d like to let you know that you are heard and you are not alone. What happened to you was not ok on any level. I hope you do find some peace with telling your story.

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Thank you so much for popping over here and for your thoughts. Even though I have a tough day every now and then, my life is so very much better in every way than it was even 4 years ago.

  10. Dawn Quyle Landau

    Susan, this is just devastating. I can’t imagine what it’s been like for you to carry all of this around. Having had to keep lots of secrets, different but traumatic too, I can understand the shame, anger, fear, abandonment, pain… so many sticky, dark things to carry. I’m so very sorry that you had to go through this; you were a child and did not deserve to be treated this way. I’m sending healing thoughts your way, love and and compassion. What courage to share this, and work on letting it move through you!

    My mother’s day was about as bad as I can imagine. In addition to a lack of thought by the guys I take care of, daily, it was a shocking day on other levels. I too found the barrage of happy FB status updates hard to read; though I am also happy to know that others have healthier situations to embrace. (( hugs )) to you for sharing your pain.

    1. persephone2013 Post author

      Dawn, I so very much appreciate your thoughts and love. I decided to open up about things for a few reasons. First off, it’s a part of my healing process: writing. And my goal is to spread hope and understanding to people who have lived through a variety of struggles, and even those who haven’t (at least not during this lifetime), that it is possible to go through something and come out richer in some way for it. I’m still looking for the gold in some things, but I’ve learned so very much that I feel compelled to share the wisdom. Back in 2011 I sat for a psychic reading with a lovely woman in Bellingham (at Wise Awakenings). One of the first things she asked me was if I was a teacher. I said no, but I now know that it’s definitely one of my big purposes for being here.
      I’m sorry your Mother’s Day sucked out loud.
      I also want you to know that your bravery in writing about difficult things has often been the springboard for me to be able to open up more. So thank you for that.


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