Honoring thy mother and father…….

12 08 2011

For those of you that do not know, this is one of the 10 commandments.  On the surface, it would appear like a very simple act of love. We all have a mother and a father. Some of us have fond memories of our parents reading to us, praying with us, teaching us our roles in our family and loving us with all their heart. We have memories of fun times traveling and happy times of hugs and kisses.  We all love our parents to some degree.  What do you do though when the two people that raised you, abused you physically and emotionally?  How do you Honor them?  What does honoring them look like? Are there limits to honoring them, loving them and respecting them?

My children and I spent the last 4 weeks with my mother.  Drama aside, we had some very good times. At what cost though? I knew it would be a difficult trip. This is why I had a migraine on the day we were leaving. 18 years of therapy, forgiveness and the strength of Him were all the tools I needed to succeed. Unfortunately it has taken the last 4 weeks to get to a point of how to honor my feelings for my mother and father while honoring their role in my children’s lives.

My fathers role is very simple. He has no part of my children’s lives.  He refuses to talk to me, since I turned him into the high school counselor back in 1987 for child abuse.   Yes, I turned his ass in. Couple this with my turning him into the IRS. He is still very angry. He claimed me as an exemption when he gave no support at all. I could not get into college unless I had proven I was not his dependent.  $10,000  and 2 years later my mother finally forgave me and we were “friends”  again for some time.  It was to end rather quickly though when I found out the man I had been calling father was really my step father. I went to the social security administration to get a copy of my birth certificate. It was there I learn that I was adopted. So the man, who abused me for many years, was not my real father. I headed into therapy.  I had too, as I married and divorced a man that was just like my step father. His influence needed to stop.  There is no doubt in my mind that John M. Neff will never have a role in my children’s  lives. But what about my mother?

For the next few years, my conversations with my her were stressful to say the least. Whenever we did talk , I was always so angry with her. I never understood why, until recently.  I spent many years in therapy dealing with the physical and emotional abuse from John. The first year, I cried every visit for 52 weeks. After realizing how much of that relationship with him was not my fault,  I moved onto to my mother. I realized how much her silence during the abuse hurt emotionally and physically. I realized how betrayed I felt for her taking 5 years to tell him to stop.  Reliving all those emotions caused some really bad migraines. Reliving all those emotions  was devastating.  My relationships with all my friends were so unhealthy too.  I had no idea how to allow someone near my true heart. I had no idea how to have a healthy discussion. I had no idea how to even have a healthy relationship with a man. I took everything so personal. I walked every day in my body as a victim. Therapy helped rewire all the lessons learned in that home.   I needed to learn how to function as a healthy adult. If I was to have children, they needed the best of me.  None of that was easy. I had to learn to forgive my mother and father for what they did. But I never  did forgot.

The trip with my mother was so stressful.  I had  grown so much from that hurt little girl. Each year we went home to visit, I could see how damaged she was and how this affected my personality and our relationship.   She does not like to ruminate over the past. She refuses to acknowledge how her  own childhood affects her as a adult. She refuses to acknowledge how she was victim in the house as well.

She was the product of 9 children. Her mother was a Madame in their home town until she was run out. My grandpa left my mom, my aunt and my grandma with nothing. My grandma went to work.  Before going to a permanent foster home, my mother raised  my aunt and a half brother, who was black.  The straw on the proverbial back of the town was drawn when my grandma became pregnant again with another baby. This man had 4 other children. My grandmother gave both my uncles up for adoption. A mixed family adopted one boy and the  father of my uncle raised him as his own with his current family.  When grandma Celeste was finally run out, she fled to NY. Eventually sh married a Hispanic man, feel in love and gave him 5 children.

All this information was given to me upon the death of my Aunt Vicki. I met my real family for the first time 5 years ago. I never saw such a collage of people in one room, black, white and Hispanic; so many people paying their respects to my aunt. My Aunt Vicki was a strong woman. She kept in touch with everyone.  She valued family since she never really had a great one. I was overwhelmed to say the least. The tears flowed and emotions were high that day. I was finally home.

Given my mothers history, you would think I would be more understanding of her inability to have healthy relationships. Unfortunately, I answer to a higher power. I will be held accountable by Heavenly Father if I abuse my children or subject them to unhealthy relationships. People are not perfect, but my children do not need to see her and I disrespect each other.  I worked really hard to become the mom I am today. I have made some mistakes along the way as well. I am certain I will make more in the future.  But I will never allow my children to see me as angry as I was with her again. The constant lack of support. Her inability to discern my needs from my children needs. Being  told I am selfish due to  children’s  needs conflicting with hers.  Having them hear the hurtful things we both said to each other. I will not do that again.

My last conversation with her was not pleasant. I asked her to take some ownership in our relationship and get into therapy. I asked her to do this for us, so we could have a healthier relationship.  Her reply, “I don’t have to prove anything to you Michele. This is a power struggle and I will not do this with you.”  The tears have not stopped for the last three weeks. I can’t make her do anything. But, I am not going to continue and toxic unhealthy relationship with her. I am deeply hurt. I told her we would not be visiting anymore and she was not welcome to come here. I love her but I can’t make her do the right thing.

She called me the other day, I answered and asked her not to call me anymore.  I told her, she was welcome to call Jeff and talk to the kids on the phone with him, but I did not want to talk to her anymore. She hung up. It hurt to say that.  It felt good to find my voice, though.  It felt good to finally acknowledge the victim inside me . She will always walk with me, but she is not in control anymore. She is much stronger, more loving and much more respectful of her family and friends.  She desires a healthy life and lots of love.  She deserves happiness, and a good man to share her life with.   She seizes the day and lives in the moment. Her past does not dictate her future.  I wish this for my mother. I wish my mom had the strength to  choose this path as well. I wish she loved me enough to take this step. More importantly, I wished she loved herself enough to try.  This is what honoring myself and honoring my mother and father looks like to me…

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5 responses

29 08 2011
midaevalmaiden

I have a believe that I feel very strongly about with peace in my heart. Though its a bit unconventional. Honor thy Father= Honor thy Father in heaven. Honor thy mother= Show respect for the Earth from which your flesh was birthed.

Jesus is very clear when he says, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? Those who hear my words and do my fathers will.” Im paraphrasing there. But the ghist of it means blood relation means absolutly nothing.

Those women who loved you, took time to nurture you… these are your mothers. (not the one who popped you out) If I was in your shoes, I’d cut that mother completely out of my life. It doesnt have to mean dis-respect, it might mean wisdom. Honor instead your spiritual mothers… those who nurtured you, taught you kindness and streagnth.

Sorry bout the long comment.

30 08 2011
Ramblings of a military spouse....

M,
Thank you for posting your comment. I like that. It makes sense and feels right. Honor your father, God and honor your Mother, Earth. I try to do both. I have two teachers; one is a Shaman and one is a Native American. They both Honor God and Mother Earth. They also Honor Jesus too. It all fits together. As for my “birth” mother, this was the best I could do. So freeing after I did it. am not here to impress her or any one else. Just here to honor God, Mother Earth and my family. Sometimes that can be so hard to do!
Hugs..
M

3 02 2013
Ramblings of a military spouse....

Sara,
You are right about honoring those that have raised you.The only real woman that gave me any sort of advice was Ann Sciarrino, she was my friends mother. I think she knew what I was going through. She often had moments of clarity that were astounding; not to mention her timing. She would leave me a gem just when it was needed. I am working on forgiveness now. It is hard being a mother and going through motherhood alone. I’ve had no role models. I have no positive advice from my mother and not a lot of support from my mother in law. My mother in law is supportive, she does what she is able to do but other than friends, I feel like anything I have learned has mostly come from friends and trial and error. Forgiveness will come but not yet. It is hard to forgive my mother when I know how challenging it is to be one, when I know I am the adult. Again, forgive me for answering so late… I am just getting accustomed with this blogging site.
Michele

30 08 2011
Pat Cegan

Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings. I finally came to peace when I understood that all of life is about learning to love unconditionally. Everything and every person in my life is my teacher. This immediately takes me out of the victim role. My mantra is “what can I learn from this person, from the experience.” Keep asking, keep walking the path of light. Hugs, pat

30 08 2011
Ramblings of a military spouse....

Pat,
I agree that life is about learning to love unconditionally. My first step on this path was accepting that I can’t change anyone. I can’t control them either, nor do I wish too. It is just too much responsibility for this one woman show to handle. I have three children , three dogs, 2 cats and 1 hubby, which require so much more of my time and love. I know I am here to “be a beacon of Light in the darkness”. I try to give it to Him every day what He will have me do. It is such a challenging path to be on. But in the end, such a rewarding one. Thanks for writing your blog. Thanks for putting yourself out there too.
Michele

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