Until I had children of my own, I never really thought about ‘maternal instinct’. All I knew, or rather felt, was that my own mother didn’t give a shit about me. She knew her relationship with my step-father was detrimental to my well-being (he started abusing me ‘before’ the domestic violence started), but, because she loved him, she couldn’t give him up. Well…as a child, what did that say to me about how much she loved me? Not a lot.
So…now I am the mother of two children; a boy of thirteen and a girl of six. My children don’t come before my husband, or my husband before our children. We are all important and equal in terms of our physical and emotional well-being and as a wife and mother, I love them all differently but equally. It would be impossible to have to pick one over the other. It would be like ‘Sophie’s Choice’ for me.
For many, many years I wanted to know how she could have walked out on me and my sister (that story is for later) and how could she have been told about the abuse towards me and yet not acted on the information she was given by protecting me. So many unanswered questions. For many years, particularly around my birthday, I always hoped I would receive a hand written letter from her to me, telling me ‘why’. But I never did and I know that I probably never will. I think the reality is she doesn’t know why either. The maternal instinct I have for my children – she does not. She can’t feel what she just doesn’t feel. She wouldn’t even know what to apologize for, because she doesn’t really understand the true extent of what she did wrong.
I remember the very last time I spoke to my mother as an adult, I asked her how could she have ignored my accusation of sexual abuse by my step-father – I was only eight years old. Her reply was ” I thought you were fourteen!”. She didn’t even remember how old I was when I first told her I had been abused. What also shocked me was her saying it in a way that almost sounded as if it would have been ‘not so bad’ if I had been fourteen. I walked away from the conversation and knew that she would never understand what she had done; that her denial ended up being her collusion in child abuse.
Human nature is so complicated. I come from this woman who I cannot relate to at all. I parent differently, act differently and am not mentally ill. I understand her more now, but only in terms of understanding she was a ‘very’ complicated woman.
Written by ‘Survivor-Uncensored’