30 January 2010

On Forgiveness - Sins of a Mother

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." Matthew 5:11

I refer to this scripture because I hold it very near and dear to my heart and life. Why? Because throughout my life there have been people who have spoken ill against me or have chosen to persecute me for their own gain. Yes, we've all had moments in our lives where someone has been less than loving in their actions or speech to us, but when your own mother is the one speaking ill of you and thus, persecuting you, there is a very big problem.

At various points in my life, my mother has spoken ill about me based on speculation, assumption, or from jealously. Note that my mother harbours a level of residual anger and bitterness that has lasted over 4 decades and she's yet to let it go. I, on the other hand, have gotten over said anger/bitterness and have put full closure on old hurts. I'm not sure if that's actually the root of why she speaks ill of me and seeing as I've never asked, I'm still none the wiser. In addition, I've accomplished much in my life that she's either wanted to do or was never able to do, so maybe that's a part of it too.

In spite of her many shortcomings in her parental and motherly role, I will give credit where credit it due. She's strong, independent, and very able. She's not afraid of hard work and has fulfilled the joke of Jamaicans working many jobs. She's never counted on a man to sustain her and to date continues to work while her husband; my stepfather took an early retirement almost a decade ago. She came though for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through my treatment and surgeries. It's credit I will never take from her; however, it still doesn't erase that she feels it's okay to defile me for no apparent reason.

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."a]">[a] 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Ephesians 6:1-5

I refer to this scripture because in the midst of my mother berating and defiling me, she referred to said scripture, but only the first and second verse. How convenient.

I digress...The point I'm making is how easy it is for people; in this case my mother, to speak about what she doesn't know. Little does my mother know that I'm a sexual abuse and a rape survivor. Why doesn't she know? 1) because she didn't pay enough attention to me to notice a change in my behaviour, 2) I spared her from such knowledge, and 3) I didn't trust her enough to feel comfortable telling her. I spent a little over 3 decades of my life self-mutilated and bordered on an eating disorder. There are these and many other things that I've spared her from knowing, yet, she regards me as some relationship reject. How she can do is astounds me when she remains in a loveless marriage and they simply coexist because neither had the balls to get out of it. But because I divorced my ex-husband and am currently single, she sees me as wasting my life. The fact is, I'd rather continue to be single and happy than to settle just for the sake of being in a relationship.

Out of her children, I'm the only one with a college education; a career, and has a mortgage. Even though I didn't remain with Lil Lady's father, I never disparaged him in front of her or made her feel like she had to chose between one of us or the other; things that I was subjected growing up. I graduated from Basic Training in the top 10 percent of the class and I went through Basic with males AND females, which is a military rarity as they do not typically mix genders.

Again, I digress. It's apparent there is much to be said about this situation, but I'm trying to remain on topic. Here goes...

Last Saturday, my mother took it upon herself to defame me to my twin cousin. She went on and and on about how I didn't do this or that, or how I've squandered my life, and how she never wanted this or that for me. Not once, she she consider that what she was doing was and is wrong. Not only was she speaking ill of her only daughter, she was speaking ill of me to a cousin (on my father's side) that she'd only met once before and with whom I'm extremely close. My cousin tried to interject and defend me, but my mother didn't want to hear it until finally my cousin found a way to flip the conversation.

My cousin was hurt and disgusted and had to remain silent until I'd returned home to tell me what happened. We spent the better part of an hour talking about it and deciding how it should be handled. The next morning I called her to say that I was okay albiet still confused and upset, but I was confident the church service would make me feel better. As I sat in church contemplating whether or not to testify on it, I finally did and it actually felt good to release it in order to work through it. The service was on point and I began to feel my spirit take course. For the duration of the week, my cousin and I prayed, read the word, and meditated on how we should deal with both the situation and my mother. By the end of the week, we realized that no matter what my mother said or why she said it, was on her. It was not our issue and we should not allow it to affect us. It doesn't matter what my mother thinks of me, I know I'm a good person, I've worked hard without compromising myself to get where I am now, and for the negative words of one, there are many who can speak to the contrary.

It was a hard week and it took a long time to come to a place of true peace and full forgiveness. I'm completely comfortable in the approach that I took and I'm not going to carry the baggage of another as mine. Forgiveness is not about the other person, it's about the forgiver.

I've said all of this to say, that we must look beyond the situation and seek a solution. We must consider the cause and effect of what we're facing and see what would truly be gained or lost with confrontation. Forgiving isn't easy, but doing the right thing never is.

It's all possible!


MOMSWEB said...

I'm so happy to have met you. You are a blessing, an encouragement, and an inspiration to me. May God blanket you with His perfect peace.

Love you, my blog sister. Stay strong.

Luv said...

i have stopped trying to figure out my mother as well.. it's crazy how you can have so much disdain for something you birthed.

stay focused. and very valid point about forgiveness.. if you don't forgive it will just eat away at you. i am proud of you for being the bigger person cuz i would be over here writing how i went up one side of my mother and down the other

Shai said...

Whew! I went through an emotional rollercoaster reading your post. I can relate to a mother not being a mother. Mine does not talk ill of me. It is like I don't exist. I cannot say she totally neglected me growing up, she did leave alot of my raising to my grandmother(my ma). After almost 40 years, we are not close. I am an only child and my only child questions why her grandmother and I are not close. Then she sees how my mother treats stranger better than me.

I have forgiven her for her past mistakes. I get made at her present ones. She does stuff no one her age should do. I love and care about her. I hate how she acts. She puts church and the members ahead of her family. She doesn't take care of herself or business like she should.

I understand how hard it is to not have a mother be a mom. I am glad you have moved beyond the abuse and other hurts in your life. You are an inspiration.

chele said...

I'm sorry you had to go through that but you handled the situation beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Let her own it! Don't let her negativity, bitterness, or life's disappointments become yours.

Sometimes we need to let God handle the mess. "...for the battle is the LORD's..."

Blu Jewel said...

@Mom - thank you so much. You encourage me with each comment.

@Luv - I've given up wondering why? This is truly HER issue and she'll have to live with it. LOL@ going upside her head. In my mind I've done it a thousand times; sadly it never made me feel better. A heartfelt apology or at least some understanding would be much better.

@Shai - Damn! *hugs* I didn't have a grandma to turn to or raise me, but I had a good aunt, godmother, and a few others who helped me out along the way. I empathize in so many ways as your story mirrors mine. As for your daughter, I know that pain too. My daughter often asks how she's supposed to trust and respect her grandmother if she treats me this way? Valid question; sadly, I can't answer it.

@Chele - Thanks. It was the only way I knew how to handle it, but trust me it was hard.

@Believer - you're absolutely right about the battle not being mine. She'll have to explain that to God one day.

@All - Thank you for your comfort, support, and understanding. This wasn't easy to write as I felt I was disparaging her, but the fact is, it's the truth and I stand by it regardless.

It's all possible!

Luv said...

not disparaging at all. it was very respectful.. and honest

Shai said...

Thanks for the hugs. My daughter respects my mother, she and my mother are closer than my mother and I. They have kept secrets amongst each other, which I didn't like. Other than that, my daughter looks at me like I can do something. Then she sees how my mother acts and shakes her head. So it is what it is.

T.C. said...

i definitely can relate on many levels from the aspect of my father and his family

you are absolutely correct in saying that it was/is on her

she has the inner things going on, you know who and whose you are and where your SOURCE of peace comes from...

just keep being yourself and loving

Her Side said...

I don't understand how mothers place criticism ahead of love. "Wanting more for a daughter" doesn't mean re-living life vicariously through them and pouting when the daughter actually makes her own decision.

You have a beautiful life. You have a blessed heart. And I feel almost giddy that you didn't let mom transfer that negativity onto you.

I still deal with that battle, although my mother recently spoke about her need to let people live. She spoke in a general sense, but clearly meant to let me know she wants to stop criticizing me.

Good Lord, girl... we need to talk!!

Much love...