Thursday, October 21, 2010

Overcoming obstacles...

I have found myself lost for words lately.   In the past I have been able to think of lots of things to write about, it was just a matter of finding the time to blog.  But recently, I have felt as though I have no ideas left. How can that be?  Superman is an ever growing, ever developing, ever changing little person and that should provide ample amounts of content to write about, but sadly nothing has really felt like something I should write about...or if something amazingly new happens, what do I really say about it?  It happened. The end?

Then last night something interesting happened to me.  An event that evoked a memory long forgotten.  A memory that provides a little bit of insight into what kind of childhood I had and quite possibly the reasons I will make some very specific decisions in my life as 'mom'.   

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Last night I made fish for my son for the very first time.  I don't eat fish because I think I am allergic to it (haven't been tested, but it makes my throat all itchy), but I wanted Superman to try it.  I got some sole fillets, dipped them in some milk, bread crumbs, then sprinkled some Mrs. Dash on top, and drizzled butter over all of it before throwing them into the over to bake. 

Hubby got home right as they were supposed to be done and as I went to check on them, I paused and called him over to confirm that they actually were done.  I then causually mention to my husband that once, when I was younger, my stepmother (not the one that just passed, the first one- we will call her 'Lady Tremaine' to avoid the confusion) had me cook dinner one night and it was fish.  I think I was probably in 4th or 5th grade. As I was tending to it in the frying pan, she leaned over me and told me that I had better cook it correctly or I would poison everyone. 

Whuck?  As soon as I told him it made me pause.  I hadn't told that story in years and hadn't even thought about it in probably that long. 

Yes, she told me that this fish, if not cooked 'perfectly', had the ability to poison every one of my family members.  

As a kid, I was so nervous about harming my family, that I then broke out in hives from all the anxiety.  I am talking about red, blotchy hives all over my neck, arms and abdomen.  I am pretty sure my sister came to my rescue and helped me get rid of them(as she did so many times), but I don't remember what happened next....oh, and in case you are wondering, no one died.
 
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As an adult I look back on that moment and want to smack the living daylights out of Lady Tremaine (just to be clear I would like to say I would kick her ass, but I am so not the violent type).  Just in the situation alone I could spend 5 minutes ranting.  First if this fish had such deadly qualities what are you doing handing over that responsibility to a child?  I think it is clear to me now that this fish would not have been deadly if under or over cooked, but why even say something to the child if you were going to have them cook it?  Why couldn't you just "supervise" and help make sure that it would be okay for everyone?  Although I don't remember all the details, I am also pretty sure she stood over me for sometime reminding me of the danger.  It is no surprise that I got hives.  How would you react if someone handed you a loaded gun, told you to shoot at an apple off the top of some sort of explosive devise and added that if you didn't aim perfectly, you would kill your entire family? 

I think I have mentioned before that I go to a therapist.  It has been really helpful sort out being a new mom, but the original reason I started therapy was because I deal with depression and anxiety.  Lady Tremaine did not cause my depression or anxiety, but a lot of times the way I choose to deal with situations comes from my experience with her.  Up until now, when I have spoken about her in therapy, I would be frustrated that as an adult that I couldn't go back and protect myself as a child from her.  But today, I think of her- parent to parent- and how absolutely hideous she was at guiding me through my childhood.  I don't understand it.  I don't understand how someone, a mother, could be so unloving to a little girl.  I couldn't imagine it when I wasn't a parent, but I struggle even more so now that I have my own child. 

I used to worry that when I became a parent that I would parent the way I was parented by her.  She was a main example in my life right?  I took psych 101 in college, I knew all about patterns of abuse- the child that was abused, grows up to be the abuser.  But today?  Let me tell you that, although I am sure that I will make my own mistakes....Loving my child with every bone I have? Caring and nurturing him when he needs me? Yeah, that isn't going to be a problem.

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I think many of us would say that if you knew a child was being physically abused, you would do something.  You would call CPS or the police or someone to help the child.  But what would you do if you knew someone that was being verbally and/or emotionally abused?  Would you do something?  Would you respond the same way?   I implore you to do something...anything!   Even if it is just to tell that child he or she is not alone in this world, that you love them and that with you, they are safe.  

I had a few people like this in my life, people who kept telling me that they loved me, that I was beautiful, that I was special and important, that I was smart, that I was capable of anything, that I was worthy of better and that they were sorry that I was in that situation and that they couldn't change it.  These mantras, although sometimes they weren't louder than the hateful words, turned out to be more meaningful to me than they could ever know.  Sure I doubted them at times...okay, I doubted them a lot.  But when I began to work through all of this in therapy, it was those words that helped me understand that Lady Tremaine was wrong.  It was their words that became my mantra until I actually believed it at my core.  It was their words that saved me. 

Thank you for reading my blog.  This has been an amazing outlet for me, but this is the first time I have really shared my childhood with you.  Treat it as a child and be kind.  Thank you.

TTFN,

Mommy C 

5 comments:

Melinda said...

I totally relate to this article. My mom and I have a great relationship now, but there were times when it was, well, hard. After A LOT of self-reflection, listening, and asking questions, I realized that my mother was basically repeating the same thing that she received from her mother (who probably received the same treatment from her mother).

The good news is that being aware is a huge step in stopping the cycle. I think the moment my mom figured out what was going on was when our relationship improved. And, sicne I am aware, I'm hopeful, if not confident, that I won't pass it on to my children.

Mommy C said...

Melinda,

I am sorry that you had a tough childhood too. I am glad to hear that things have gotten better. My dad divorced this step mom when I was in 9th grade, but I have a feeling she would have never realized how hateful she was to me. You are right being aware of it is the first step to not repeating the cycle. I am confident we will both do things differently. :)

kris said...

Look at you, all brave and fabulous.

Emotionally inflicted wounds are just as painful as the physical wounds. And as the cuts are deeper and better concealed? No one asks if you are healing. No one asks you what happened. Not ever.

Sigh.

I too worried for so long that I would make the same mistakes with my children that my parents did. That I would become my parents.

That didn't happen.

I am so proud that didn't happen.

As you said . . . I am sure that I am making mistakes along the way. But mostly?

I am getting it right.

As are you.

Big love to you.

Brandi Minogue said...

That desire to go back, be the third person in a situation and protect yourself--I know that one well. I just found a link to you from your comment on prettyalltrue. Emotional abuse is perhaps one of the most vile forms of abuse, even though I hesitate to give any sort of priority to any of these heinous crimes.

Mommy C said...

Kris- Thank you so much for reading my blog. Big love back at you!

Brandi- I am so glad you visited me! I am sorry that you too know the damage that emotional abuse can cause. I think the hardest part about emotional abuse is that there can be no visible signs...no scars, no broken bones, no bruises to say the abuse happened.

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