Yesterday, I was listening to someone speak on the radio about what they thought made us human. Featuring in his rendition was the importance of a family bond of unconditional love. He talked about his wonderful relationship with his mother – his confidante, advisor and facilitator and, most of all, his greatest supporter.
I must confess to finding this kind of talk quite triggering. It highlights the massive gap in my life caused by having such an appalling relationship with my own mother.
There was a time when people would have thought we were quite close. However, that apparent bond was based more in her possessiveness and obsession with getting everything her own way. Our opinions were never valid, only hers were important.
I must have only been 7 years old when I asked her, “Mum, was I a mistake?”. This was a tragic train of thought for a child and came from her consistently telling me “I wish I never had you”, whenever I misbehaved.
She paused before answering. I can still see it in my mind; her looking out the window, me waiting with bated breath. I always did love her and craved her approval, as well as her love. A child needs that bond. It is the building blocks to an emotionally and psychologically balanced future.
Eventually, she answered, “You weren’t a mistake, but you weren’t planned either”
She had a short fuse, “You break the patience of a saint”, she would scream as she beat my sister and me with the slipper. My sister always got the worst, wearing a skirt meant her legs often had swollen whelks in the shape of a slipper sole. As long as we played quietly, we were less likely to feel her wrath.
I thought everyone was leathered by their parents, in fact, I envisaged them being subjected to much worse because Mum would constantly tell us that we were from the best home, with the best parents. I was living this split existence; apparently, it was the best, but in my heart, I knew it lacked something important.
Maybe I have a stronger spirit, but I did rebel, while sister reacted differently; she went within herself and even stopped going out to play with friends.
“That’s it”, Mum would say, “I’m getting you put into a home for bad boys where they beat you with canes and belts”
The intention was to frighten me into submission, but I would kneel by the bed at night and pray to God that I would go into a childrens home. From a very early age, I wanted to be as far away from her as possible. Nothing much has changed.
Yesterday, something made me realise that my inner child is entombed in a traumatic childhood. The anger and resentment feels just as potent as it did back then.
I need to find a way back to rescue that traumatised inner child.