Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Mary Ann Trainer Publicover
My mother and I have never had an easy relationship. As the fourth of six kids, I suffered from a classic case of Middle Child Syndrome. I was too young to hang out with my three older siblings, who made it perfectly clear that I was not welcome. But I was also too old to hang out with my two younger siblings, who where three and four years younger than me.

When my older siblings made me the target of their regular verbal and physical assaults after my father left, they were just following my mother's example. Left with the stress of raising six kids on her own, never sure if Dad's monthly check would arrive on time, my mother had a hard time coping and expressed her frustration in the only way she knew, passing on the violence she was raised with.

I knew from an early age that I was on my own. I retreated into myself and and did poorly in school. I often found solace in long walks in the woods, friends who were also on the D List and marijuana.

I had tried many times for many years to work out some sort of relationship with my mother. Fighting back only made things worse and accomplished nothing. Being silent and enduring her irrational behavior and abuse took out a chunk of my soul every time. I wasted so many years and so much money on alcohol, therapy and antidepressants.

Nearly twelve years ago, at the age of 39, I severed all communication after with my mother after one of her irrational, abusive tirades. I decided enough was enough. My family has had a hard time understanding what I did. Over the years I haven't had much to do with them either.

It's taken me a lifetime to sort out my feelings about my family. I've missed my nieces and nephews growing up. I've missed births, birthdays, graduations, weddings and Mother's Days. That's the price I've had to pay to heal and find peace in my life.

My mother has had a hard time with her health over the last couple of years and is now living with my sister at her home on the banks of the Potomac River in Southern Maryland. It's a beautiful, peaceful part of the state, just a few miles down the road from where I went to college. She can sit on the porch and watch fishing boats and water skiers and see the Virginia shoreline in the distance.

I love my mother. I have so many of her positive traits. My sense of humor, my knack for seeing through the bullshit and my passion all come from her. No one loves a dirty joke as much as my mother. There was a lot of laughter in our house in between the pain.

Over the years I've come to understand my mother better. I know that people who become abusive parents were  abused as children. I've learned that lashing out in anger is a symptom of frustration and a lack of healthy coping skills. In trying to better understand my mother, I have reached a greater understanding and acceptance of myself.

My wish for my mother on this Mother's Day is that she is finally able to find some peace and that she finds a way to let go of the pain she endured in her own troubled life.
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  1. Awww this was beautifully written. I had a similar relationship with my mother, growing up there were conditions to her loving you (you had to be skinny, pretty and have good grades) well I was NONE of those things, but my sisters were. It was many times abusive with my mom, and I too cut ties with her all together, hadn't spoken to her in 10 yrs or better when I got a call from my ex husband that my mom was calling HIM, I broke down and called her. Her health was failing and she had nobody in PA to care for her, I packed up me and my daughter from FL and came up, my mother was NOT abused as a kid, so were she got her abusiveness towards me was on her own, and it didnt stop, even at 40 she took cheap shots at me as well as my daughter, I stood up to her one morning when I was caring for her (bed ridden) she said "you're *uckin good for NOTHING" and that did it, that brought back every nasty word she had EVER spoke to me in my lifetime and I let loose...if I'm SO good for nothing why am I here caring for YOU? If I'm so worthless, such a bad person...WHY WHY am I here taking care of YOU, I dont see either of my "pretty" sisters here wiping your a$$ or cleaning up puke, brushing your hair, bathing you, hugging you, telling you DAILY how much they love you, where are they MOM, WHERE?? Yeah, she cried as did I, and I think it was THAT moment she saw me as the wonderful caring person she could never be, that very moment in time my mother was proud of me, and I felt it..... I feel for those mothers living this kind of life with their children...honestly I did not one second hesitate to say YES to caring for my mother even after all her abuse and never asked for anything in return but her love, in the end I got it, I knew when she was dying, laying in that bed wasting away to nothing that she did in her own way love me, sad that she never got to REALLY know anything about me other than I'm a fighter and have 3 kids...but the experience taught me who I was, and what kind of parent I am, I'm happy to say, I'm nothing like my mother and am thankful for changing the path before I had kids....thank you for sharing your story, nice to know I'm not the only one that had a mom like this...much love <3

  2. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It's hard sometimes to see all the sappy sweet Mother's Day stories, especially the commercials with perfect families. For better or worse, Our parents shape who we are. Our ability to rise above the adversity we grew up with is what makes us stronger and batter able to love more fully.


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