Letter to my mother
Sunday December 20, 2009
Thank you for helping me understand the obvious and for the first time at 40 see my life with some level of clarity. I recently read your book "The Body Never Lies" and have found this of great help. I have embarked on a personal development journey over the past two years. starting with attending intense mediation retreats. My motives were initially to help me deal better with my own two sons as I have been noticing continuation of the same abusive behaviour toward them from myself as was inflicted upon by my own mother. This was of great concern to me as I've always said to myself that I would never repeat her parenting mistakes when my turn would come. My wife, with whom I have separated over two years ago, also comes from an abusive and unloving environment and as a result, suffers serious depression, self esteem and health issues. This only further perpetrated our misguided parenting methods, furthering my own feelings of guilt and shame. The sad thing is that many people would still today agree that the punishments we dished out on our children were appropriate and in keeping with the moral code of society today, if only a few of our friends spoke out against this sooner, I might have been forced to wake up to myself beforehand. As it stands my two sons are ten and twelve years of age respectively and have already suffered a degree of emotional damage that I'm not sure can be undone. This doesn't mean that I haven't been making an effort in finding a way to move forward and helping them with their emotional development, has been my utmost priority. I was surprised that during my first eleven day mediation retreat, instead of what I suspected would be a flood of emotions regarding my ex wife and my children, I was inundated with images of my own childhood and my own mother. At the time I didn't quite understand the significance of this as I have forced myself to believe that my mum did the best that she could and that I should always be grateful to her, despite what my own body and the subconscious mind were telling me. This was two years ago and a lot has happened since... culminating in myself writing this letter to my mum a few days ago. I hope that it can help others to see more clearly for themselves..
Last time we spoke you told me that you didn't smack me enough as a child and that I both didn't really love you nor understood the meaning of the word love itself.
You were correct about me not loving you but most definitely wrong about the smacking. Also I do understand what it is to love another person, friend, partner or child, unconditionally and I had to learn this on my own. Your own meaning of love is a twisted idea of guilt, duty and redemption. It is that of a forced emotion and it is all that you have ever known yourself due to your own childhood.
I have been suppressing the memories and the emotions of my childhood all my life, denying the child inside of me the justice of being heard and empathized with. Only until recently have I realized that emotional and physical harm this has caused me and people around me all of my adult life. Every time I myself lashed out at people close to me, my children or my partner, I was in fact lashing out at you.
All children that are born into this world have the right to be loved and nurtured "unconditionally" and made felt safe and secure in the process. It is never appropriate or RIGHT to smack or put down a child, NEVER, full stop. I never felt loved or secure with you mum. I was always scared of the next outburst, of either physical of verbal abuse. It was always clear to me that the level of punishment you dished out was not proportional to my transgressions but rather dictated by your emotional state of being at any given time. I was a very scared little boy, hiding in the dark imagination of my existence, pretending to everyone on the outside that all was well and that I was happy, when in fact I was not.
I have been angry with you all my life but have been too scared by the morality you have forced upon me to admit this to myself in full honesty. You were always so desperate and demanding for my love not realizing yourself that you were projecting onto me your own emotional grief and lack of love toward your own mum and dad. I know that they both hurt you emotionally and physically and that they had no right to do so either. However this can never be used to justify the way you've treated me, hitting me at the drop of the hat, yelling at me for the smallest thing, humiliating me when you saw fit and then emotionally manipulating me to turn everything around and make ME feel guilty for the things you did to me and for the things that happened to YOU.
The reason that I have always hated Christmas and my birthdays was that those were the times when your emotional battering of me would be the strongest. At Christmas you have ALWAYS reminded me what it meant to you but have never once asked what it meant to me. You have NEVER listened to me, demanding only to be heard. During such times you demanded even more forced love from me, to make up for your own lack of love for me and from your parents, thus pushing me deeper into my shell. You commented and made me feel guilty and terrible for my tendency to avoid dealing with problems and stick my head in sand like an ostrich or crawl back into my shell like a turtle. Well guess what mum, you made me like that and I have had to consciously work all my life not to do that.
I have known all of the above most of my life at both a conscious and subconscious level but have lacked the inner strength and direction to be honest with myself all that time. Saying this I feel like I can start to breath again and be my own person, not tied up in the emotional knots forced upon by my mother. I will never forgive you mum and neither do I have to forgive you, because to do so would be to succumb to my old patterns of behaviour and the emotional prison you've made for me. I do not expect you to change or to face your own pain that has driven you all your live and made you the person that you are but if you do try and be honest with yourself, at least DO this for yourself.
I agree with the entire text of this email being published under the pseudonym of C.M.
AM: The courage, clarity and full insight of your letter to your mother show that you definitely came out of the prison of her emotional blackmail and society's "moral" pressure. There is no doubt that you saved your life this way and that your children will benefit from this outcome. Have you also read my books Free from Lies and From Rage to Courage?