Motherhood Series- Becoming an Estranged Daughter
Becoming an Estranged Daughter
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The saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” cannot be applied in some situations; like abuse for instance. Going through a childhood laced with abuse, divorce and at times neglect, did not make me stronger. It made me insecure, unsure and afraid. I grew up thinking that everyone that loved me would abuse me and everyone that I loved would leave me. I was pretty messed up.
Issues from my past distorted my pallet for understanding what is acceptable and unacceptable. When these issues were brought up in the pursuit of healing, it was an anomaly how my mom said that she did not remember the horror she put me through. She said she did the best that she could and “If you know better, you do better.” I would have been able to accept this had she not known better. She knew better; she showed my brother love and concern. She attended his football games and encouraged him to make friends. With me on the other hand, she wasn’t that great of a mother. She tried to beat the creativity out of me and called me every name in the book except a child of God. I grew up thinking that I was nothing, worthy of nothing and destined to be nothing.
Even with the love and encouragement my father gave me, it was difficult being surrounded by hate and negativity on a daily basis. When my father moved from Wisconsin to Alabama, the abuse got worse and there was no one to cover me from the wrath of my mother. So, when I eventually went through my own divorce I was hypervigilant in trying to make the transition as painless as possible for my own son Mikey, he was only two years old. I had to hold it together, continue to nurture, love and support him, and figure out our new normal.
I had to be the better parent because I did not want to put my child through what I went through. Without a doubt, I was going to do everything I could to make sure that my child was not going to feel the way my mother made me feel as an adult.
Working in my field as a Therapist and Social Worker, I have heard it all. “You are fine, the past does not matter,” said one abusive mother to the only child of hers that continues to talk to her. I’ve witnessed the alcoholic dad who does not remember the beatings his wife and children suffered for years. There are a million scenarios that fall under abuse. I’m not sure my mother forsook me but I know now that she was hurt and hurt people hurt people. I can only imagine the things that my own kids tell their therapists.
No matter how much we want to protect and love our children, we will inflict some trauma without knowing it. I just hope they will love me anyway and that I will be forgiven for the mistakes I make with them. Some parents who feel that they are different now feel like the children who were abused should forgive and forget. In order for the victim/survivor to receive healing, the abuser must be forgiven; the forgotten part is where the lines are blurred.
Forgiving does not mean putting myself in the position to continually be abused in any fashion. I believe that it is necessary for adult survivors of abuse to receive help, whatever help they feel will work, professional or not. It helps to talk about it, pray about it and make a conscious decision to be happy, healthy and whole. While time does not heal any wounds, God has a promise that is timeless.
His Promise: I will give you back your health and heal your wounds. - Jeremiah 30:17
My Promise: I promise not to allow my past trauma to continue to dominate the narrative in my mind.
From the book: Picking Up the Pieces to 100 Broken Promises
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