|Mary Ann Trainer Publicover|
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.