I’ve always been about inner growth, forgiving and moving forward in life. However there was ONE thing that had been bugging me for a few years now. The more I tried to ignore it the more it grew within me showing up in an ugly way.
In my family, I have 6 brothers and 1 sister. If you were to ask them they would tell you upfront that I’m “the favorite.” Well Geez Louise, being the favorite didn’t come with too many bells and whistles in this house, I’ll tell you that.
The funny thing about families is all the secrets that not everyone knows. You can be born in the same family and live together at times and still be unaware of many things that go on between family members.
A few years ago… I felt my moms betrayal. I think it’s somewhat more “normal” or common to feel it from anyone else… except your own mother. That type of betrayal just cuts in the different way.
I brought up how I felt about her betrayals a few times over the years hoping for some sort of apology. It never happened. So this sort of hate started to grow despite still wanting to have a good relationship with her. I didn’t even know I had any bitter resentment towards her. For a long time I was unaware of it.
I found myself using not-so-nice tones with her though, and just generally not being very nice – only with her. Well let’s not sugar coat it: I was a b*#@& sometimes. It was like a tiny bitter feeling that grew day by day. I started to ask myself why I was feeling this way. I pondered over it and started to realize that I had not forgiven her.
I brought it up to my friend over lunch last week and she suggested I have a heart to heart with my mom, adding, “-until things get fixed you’re going to continue to have it affect you and you won’t be truly happy.”
That night when I got home, my mom and I had a heart to heart. It started from an argument – she was upset at how I was making her feel because I was unintentionally taking my anger out on her from what seemed like nothing, and then it escalated into me opening up about the past again.
I told her I didn’t mean to talk to her that way or treat her that way but I felt like I couldn’t help it. I was just so angry at her for what she said and did to me in the past but more than anything I was mad that she never apologized despite all the chances I gave her.
I had never seen her cry so hard in my life. It was literally the hardest thing for her to apologize to me… it looked like the apology was stuck in her throat for a while …but she finally did it. She said she didn’t like thinking about the past because it hurt too much and she knew she should’ve done better as a mother to me. She said remembering the past was so painful that it almost felt like death to her.
She apologized for disrespecting me at work in front of everyone when I was running our family business and providing for her. Looking back she doesn’t exactly understand why she acted that way. She apologized for the times she looked me in the eyes and told me she didn’t love me. Twice. She said she didn’t remember that very well but said she didn’t mean it that way. She also apologized and began crying again when she remembered how my dad used to verbally abuse me and she didn’t do anything about it. She said she had a dream the other day that was extremely vivid, “like a movie”, where she saw my dad verbally abusing someone and as she looked closer she realized it was me. She said she woke up and felt horrible because she remembered a time when I was around 18, my dad was putting me down verbally as he always did back then. I couldn’t take my dads verbal abuse anymore so I walked away from him crying. I didn’t know how to stand up to him, so I tried to get away from him but he followed me to my room. She said I went into my closet, sat on the floor in a fetal position crying my eyes out while my dad towered over me and continued to use all his rage to verbally abuse me. I was basically a child. I had no one. The people who I thought were supposed to love me were hurting me. Some people think verbal abuse isn’t “that bad” but it’s worse….10 times worse… than physical abuse.
I had blocked that memory out but I could tell my body remembered because I started to feel unwell when my mom brought it up. My brain was still searching for that memory but my body was starting to react the way it does when it senses danger and I felt my heart rate go up right away.
Basically my body remembered how I felt in that moment. I was screaming for help on the inside. It felt like an emotional murder was happening. The happy innocent child was dying. Obviously a lot of trauma came from those moments that were repeated weekly for several years. I’ve had to do the work as a grownup to repair all the damage. Most people never do the work but I wanted to break the generational cycle.
Anyway, my mom sat across the sofa wiping away tears, saying that she remembered just standing by the door watching it happen and she feels so awful that she didn’t do anything. “She didn’t protect me.”
“I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” she kept saying while she cried uncontrollably.
I forgave her. I told her we were different people back then. All of us. We acted according to our limitations. We’ve grown since then. We need to forgive each other and who we used to be. I don’t judge my parents on who they used to be. I just needed an apology.
My dad called me years ago out of the blue and apologized. He said spending time away meditating by the beach helped him see how he could’ve been a better father and he was sorry that he hadn’t been. I forgave him. He didn’t get into specifics and I didn’t want him to. He knew and I knew.
His life and his new wife in Mexico have changed him for the better. I never thought it would happen but… he’s changed. We get along well now even if we’re not super close.
My dad came over to visit the day after my mom and I had our heart to heart. He visits us every few months. He brought the girls candy, and we sat around and looked at old photographs for a while. My mom gave him a letter from his mom that he had forgotten about. He cried when he saw it. He loved his mom. She died when he was 17 and what kills him the most is that she had something to tell him and he didn’t make it back in time to find out what it was. One day I hope to find out what that was for him.
I made him lunch to take on the road. I prepared stir fry meat, made a strawberry cheese salad, added refried beans, a croissant bread, 3 home made chocolate chip cookies, a bottle of water and a yogurt. He seemed really happy and thanked me twice. I think my dad and I speak in an unspoken language sometimes.
Well after I had forgiven my mom, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. We hugged and said goodnight.
I’ve noticed that I am so much nicer to my mom now. It just comes naturally. I think it would’ve killed her to continue to silently live with the guilt and it would’ve killed me to continue to live with the resentment. I’m at peace now.
Thanks for reading,