The best two simple phrases to sum up my life are:
1. They cut off my wings then crucified me because I couldn’t fly
2. Damned if I do; damned if I don’t.
The last little spoken verbal and emotional assault from Lexi was when she called to goad me into “TELLING HER WHAT I WANTED TO SAY RIGHT NOW AND STOP PLAYING MY CRAZY GAMES!!”
Because that’s such a hospitable environment for the disclosure of my life’s struggles and well kept “secrets”…. For the heart to heart I’ve been literally begging her for since this began 5 years ago. Silly me, when my beloved child gets told a mountain of lies about me, I actually wanted her to know ALL the truths. I suppose partly because no one likes knowing someone they love so much believes outright lies plus because I had always stupidly imagined that one day when she was old enough to hear all the truths, that we’d sit down and pour our hearts out in a loving way to deepen our relationship I’d worked so fucking hard to create since the day she exited my very own body.
I hadn’t even imagined anyone would one day (before the “heart to heart” day) demolish all my years of hard work just to destroy my life and rip me from her heart so fiercely and thoroughly that there’d be no return. To be honest, if anyone had even told me that was possible after all my efforts to overcome my abusive past and create the loving, trusting, happy mother-daughter foundational bond I never had, I’d never have believed it and although I’m not the gambling kind, I’d have easily bet my life no one could have destroyed it either so easily (as they did) nor even with great meticulous effort. I simply never would have fathomed it even a remote or distant desperate possibility.
I was wrong… so, so, sooooo very wrong. Truth is, I’m that stubbornly ignorant/naive/innocent… even after everything my life has brought to me, deserved or otherwise.
Anyway, that day she screamed at me to STOP PLAYING GAMES AND TELL HER WHAT IT WAS I WANTED TO TELL HER!!!!, she told me something, yet another of my unforgivable wrongs as a momma… and I listened… truly desperate to know what my mistakes were, how I made them in spite of my enormous efforts to be a loving, good momma, and why my truly inadvertent and unknown heinous mistakes were completely unforgivable. I just listened with raw openness m. I didn’t defend myself or try to explain myself in the moment of unleashing her fury, I wanted to understand and know. And more importantly, I wanted her to feel heard and know her feelings were respected regardless of how innocent or inadvertent my “mistakes” or how harshly unfair her “judgment” of them was.
Her latest accusation that day was that “when I was upset with her, I would just start talking to Savannah (my other child).
This accusation is true. I definitely know I did do that. Ironically, I did that intentionally actually believing it was better to say nothing and/or change the subject in the moment, rather than speak to my beautiful, amazing, growing, learning child in a moment of fear or confusion. I never ever wanted to say something to my child from a place of anger or unknowing or ignorance as a parent as what the right and best response or reaction would be.
…so yes, when difficult issues arose or when I feared how best to help her develop as a person who felt loved, cherished, and safe, when we hit those places where I did not know what was best to say or do, I would shift the subject and just talk to her sister about totally unrelated things. I believed this was best in order to give me time to process, pray, and reflect on difficulties before addressing them to her from my sheer parental fear of not knowing what the fuck really was the best and “right” thing to do.
Truth is, I didn’t know what the best way to raise a child was. I had studied parenting and psychology and researched healthy communication and parenting tactics, but I had no first hand experience. I wasn’t given a voice as a child. I wasn’t given freedom as a child.. not freeedom literally nor figuratively. I was punished for my emotions. I was punished for my words. I was punished for my silence. And I was punished for existing.
So I had all the theories research and psychology could provide, but I did not have an ounce of experience for being the loving, encouraging, supportive, healthy, compassionate, and kind momma I wanted to be… the kind of momma I’d decided she deserved from the moment I discovered I was pregnant with this precious tiny life.
So yes, I my first instinct was to change the subject whenever I was upset or scared because I just didn’t have a clue what the “perfect” parent might do or say in that moment. I deliberately chose to err on the side of non-action rather than risking the possibility of choosing the wrong action or reaction.
Out of a zillion lies and grossly distorted exaggerations of truths of my unforgivable “crimes” as a momma, I am willing to admit and confess yes, I definitely am guilty of this one. It wasn’t exactly inadvertent either. The action itself was an intentional choice that I know I tend to choose frommy struggles with chronic “fight or flight” response. I typically choose flight since I hate confrontations and abhored even the thought of making the wrong parenting choices or saying the wrong momma words to this precious child who deserved only the best momma in the world. I chose to avoid when I didn’t know what was the right thing, always trying to buy time to reflect upon what was the perfect momma thing to do rather than risk doing the wrong thing.
The choice was intentional… hurting Lexi with it was utterly and totally unintentional though. I truly believed it was my best and safest option in difficult or scary parenting situations. I truly believed avoiding saying or doing something possible wrong was the best choice.
Guilty. I am guilty. Guilty as charged in this one!
I probably did do this too and probably too often. I was never blessed with a foundation of trusting my choices or even trusting my feelings. My mother would immediately scream and punish if I upset or annoyed or offended her somehow.. that was the only experience I had and I didn’t want to ever be that kind of momma. I didn’t even want that risk it at all or risk saying or doing something I’d regret or maybe realize was wrong later. I felt you deserved my certainty rather than risk any mistakes with my perfect and wonderful child.
So I changed the subject and talked to your sister of other things… hoping to bide my time into carefully choosing the perfect momma words and actions.
All that carefulness and anxiety over ensuring I didn’t do the wrong thing and still, according to you, I got it unforgivably wrong.
I’d like to be in a heart to heart conversation right now where I could admit I did this, apologize for it, and not excuse it, but at least have the chance to explain my mistaken choice so you could at least maybe know it was never meant as cruel or hateful . Not. Ever.
I’m sorry you had a broken, scared, ignorant of parenting and healthy parenting tactics momma, Lexi. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be perfect and know how hurtful my instinctive, learned, and well conditioned “fight or flight” response would be to you.
I’m guilty of the action, yes… but I’m not guilty of doing it out of cruelty or meanness of any kind.
Still, I’m sorry I didn’t know better what to do. I’m sorry I didn’t know what the perfect momma I know you deserved would have done.
I am sorry.
I loved you in every moment of every time which has ever existed.
I love you .