Friday, October 29, 2010

Forgiveness Is Not Forgetting The Child Abuse


Over at the blog Emerging From Broken, a conversation is going on about forgiveness.  This isn't your usual discussion of forgiveness that you would hear at your local church or maybe even in your own family discussions on the subject.  This discussion is heartfelt and often bone-weary, by survivors who have thought long and hard about what forgiveness means and what it doesn't mean to them as survivors of abuse.  I have written on the subject of forgiveness more than once or twice here on my blog.  Please bear with me again.

First, and foremost, in my mind is the opening statement above.  I will repeat it so you forget.


Why?  Because if you forget, the abuse---emotional, physical, sexual---that happened to you or to someone else that you know and love, how can you ever hope to stop the abuse that will damage the next generation of children.  If you forget, someone can come along and abuse you again.  You cannot stop what you are not aware of.  You cannot let that happen.  You could do nothing to stop your own abuse when you were a child.  Yes, the child abuse that you lived through WAS NOT your fault.  [Sorry about the shouting with all the capital letters, but this topic is important to me.] 


Darlene [Emerging From Broken], it looks like I caught your Rant.  Thanks for passing it along.  I hope that I do the same with my words.

Some words about forgiveness:
"You must forgive your parents."
"You must honor and love your parents."
"You should keep family matters in the family."
"Just forgive and move on."
"I am so tired of hearing you complain about your incest issues.  Can you just shut up?"
"Get over it."
"Heal already.  This has gone on long enough."
"I don't want to hear another word about your issues."
"Why can't you just forgive and forget."
"How much longer are you going to talk about this subject?"
"Do you have to talk about the incest all the time?"
"That was a long time ago.  This is now. Shouldn't you be over that by now?"

These are a few of the things that have been said to me to supposedly help me or shut me up and hurry me along on my way to healing and forgiving.  Did any of them work?  No, they just made me angry and hurt and helped me to doubt and abuse myself with questions such as:

"Why can't I just do what they say?"
"Why don't I just shut up and pretend that it doesn't still hurt?"
"Denial isn't so bad. Is it?"
"Forgiveness seems to be so easy for everybody else.  Why can't I do it?"
"I must still be so stupid, like my parents said, because I am just not getting it."
"Forgiveness is just something else that I am screwing up."
"I just can't get anything right."
"I am just no good or I could forgive."
"Maybe my parents were right and I'm just a bad seed."
"Everything I touch goes wrong."
"I am such a stupid Bitch that I can't even do forgiveness right."
"It is all my fault any way."

Did any of those statements make it any easier to heal or to forgive?  NO.  When my own doubts joined with the words of others to further confuse me and the issue of forgiveness, I was actually ever further away from forgiving than when I started out.  These words and doubts just gave me more ways to abuse myself.  Abusing myself is just another something that I have to do forgiveness for.  Is it any wonder that we often feel overwhelmed when we first look at forgiveness?

Well, I think that my Rant just turned into a series of posts because I am just getting started on what I wanted to say about forgiveness.  This post isn't the direction that I thought I would be going when I sat down out here on my front porch to enjoy the mild Autumn temperatures, fresh air and sunshine while I was thinking and writing out my thoughts.

If you reach the place where you can forgive your abusers, DO NOT EVER FORGET THAT YOU WERE ABUSED!

Here are the three other blog posts that prompted me to sit down and write out my thoughts about forgiveness:

Emerging From Broken's post
"Forgive the Abusers? A bit of a Rant"

Overcoming Sexual Abuse's post
"What About Forgiveness"

Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker's post
"Prelude To Forgiveness"

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Laundry List of Adult Children Of Alcoholics

My very first meeting of Adult Children of Alcoholics I was given a packet of information which included what was called The Laundry List.  It is a list of characteristics for Adult Children.  This list works for Adult Children of any dysfunctional family. 

From Becoming Your Own Parent, The Solution for Adult Children of Alcoholic and Other Dysfunctional Families, by Dennis Wholey, Bantam Book, New York, New York, 1988, page134-135:

"The list came into being in the mid-1970's in New York City.  It was authored by Tony A., a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.  The list of characteristics resulted from his own written personal inventory.  It was presented to a group he belonged to at the time, an offshoot of grown-up Ala-Teen members called Hope for Adult Children of Alcoholics."

Here is a list of the characteristics for Adult Children of Alcoholics from the above book and from the list that I was given at my first ACA meeting back in January 1989:

1. "We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
2.  We became approval seekers and lost our identities in the process.
3.  We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
4.  We either become alcoholics, marry them---or both---or find another compulsive personality, such as a workaholic, to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
5.  We live life from the viewpoint of victims and are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
6.  We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility; it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our faults.
7.  We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
8.  We become addicted to excitement.
9.  We confuse love and pity and tend to "love" people we can "pity" and "rescue."
10.  We have "stuffed" our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings, because it hurts so much.
11.  We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
12.  We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment, and we will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience the painful abandonment feelings that we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
13.  Alcoholism is a family disease, and we became para-alcoholics who took on the characteristics of that disease, even though we did not pick up the drink.
14.  Para-alcoholics [co-dependents] are reactors rather than actors."

When I first read this list of characteristics, I could circle eleven of the fourteen as pertaining to me---#1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.    I grew up in a home with a dad who was an alcoholic and a mother who was a para-alcoholic or co-dependent.  I grew up to become co-dependent.  I married another Adult Child of an Alcoholic.  Almost all of the young men that I dated before I met my husband are possibly alcoholics today.  I took on some of the characteristics of my dad and of my mother even though I choose not to drink because I carry the gene for alcoholism.  Both of my children also know that they carry this same gene.

I went into those first ACA [or ACOA]  meetings knowing that I didn't have a clue as to who the real me was.  For years, I had stuffed feelings down deep inside of me where I wouldn't have to feel and I could deny that the alcoholism and the incest wasn't still affecting me.  My family was dysfunctional because of the alcoholism and also because of the secret of incest.  I also discovered that I had major control issues and abandonment issues.  When I left home, I started to be controlling so that I wouldn't feel the abandonment.  If I was in control, you wouldn't leave me.  The reality is that it is a miracle that I didn't push my husband away with my demanding control of our lives.  In promising myself that no one was going to ever have the control over me that my dictator dad had when I was a child, I became the rigid controller in my life.  After ten years of living that way, I realized that I was not happy with being "in control."  The reality was that I was very much out of control and becoming more and more fearful by the day instead of feeling safe like I wanted.

Can you relate to any of these characteristics?

Monday, October 25, 2010

From Tracie Posts October Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse

Thanks to From Tracie for hosting this month's October Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse.  You will find the post at the following link:

Three of my recent blog articles are included in the post this month.  I hope you will join me in going to read about the stories of other abuse survivors who are brave enough to tell their stories and help to break the silence of abuse.  You will find some very courageous and healing bloggers who I admire and sympathize with in their journey toward wellness.  Thanks to all of you.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Daddy - Facing My Incest Abuser

June 29, 1992

Dear Daddy,

You used me and sexually abused me when I was just a child.  You betrayed me when you were supposed to be taking care of me and helping me to grow up.  I loved you and you used that to hurt me.  What you did was wrong.  I was just a child.  I couldn't stop what you were doing.  You were the adult and responsible for your own actions.  Nothing you did was ever my fault.  You, as an adult, should have been in control of your actions.  Instead, you took advantage of a little child who did nothing to encourage your actions.  I never wanted you to be anything but my Daddy.

I never wanted to be your sexual partner.  I loved you, but I also hated you for what you were doing to me.  Did you know that I hated you?  Did you know that I was afraid of your temper?  Did you know that I don't sleep well at night because of you?

No longer can you be a part of my life.  Your influence is too painful and too destructive to those I love.  I will not let you hurt me or my family.

I give you back your shame and your anger.  I refuse to accept any part of it.  You are alone because you use and hurt people who try to love you.  I refuse to feel dirty or bad or guilty because of what you did.  I did nothing wrong.

I am putting my life together and becoming who I want to be and you have no place in my life any more.  Right now I don't feel any love for you, I only feel anger toward you.  I feel sad for the life that we could have had when I was a child and for the relationship we could have had as adults if you had just loved me instead.

Your kind of love is too sick and I won't have that in my life.  The price is too high.  I am learning to deal with my own pain and anger just as you will have to live with yours.  Please stay out of my life.  I don't need you.

I feel sad that my children do not have a grandfather that they can love and who can be there to watch them grow up to be adults.  I intend to tell them why you are not in their lives so that you can never abuse them.  I can protect them as I could not protect myself from you and your so-called love.

I wrote this letter with the intent of reading it to my dad face-to-face but that didn't happen.  He suddenly disappeared when I started trying to track him down.  Then I decided to mail the letter to him but nobody had an address for him.  I held on to the letter.

Finally one evening months later, I got called to the phone by my husband.  My dad was on the line wanting me to do something for him.  I told him I was glad that he had called because I had something that I wanted to read to him.  I went and got the letter I had written.  When I started to read, he got angry and interrupted me.  I got angry and told him to just shut up and listen.  He said okay.  I was shaking so hard that it showed in my voice as I read the above letter to him.  When I finished, he said that if that was the way that I wanted it to be, then fine, that is how it would be.  We hung up.  I didn't talk to him again until he was in the hospital sometime in 1999.  His sister had called me and told me that Dad had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.  Surgery was done but all of the tumor could not be removed.  He died early sometime on the morning of January 6, 2001.  He died as he lived - alone.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Revisiting Dear Family Member Letter About Incest

I had lost my copy of the Dear Family Member letter that I sent to all of my aunts and uncles on my dad's side of the family.  My sister recently found her copy and gave it to me.  My last post is of that letter.  If you haven't read it, here is the link:

I forgot much of what I had said in the letter.  In the letter, it says that I had been dealing with my incest issues for the past three years.  My recovery program started in January 1989 when I found a newspaper ad listing an Adult Children of Alcoholics meeting that week.  I went to the meeting and found a safe place to start talking about my incest issues.  My incest issues were a major part of growing up with an alcoholic.  At the time, I didn't see any differences between my incest issues and my issues with growing up with an alcoholic.  In my mind, they were so closely related that I couldn't separate them for many years.  When I went into that room, I didn't even know what my issues were.   For the first time ever, I found a place that I could talk about my incest issues.  I didn't stop talking for almost ten years.  The flood gates were wide open. I know that some people got tired of hearing me talk about incest.

After three years of getting in touch with who I was, three years of breaking the silence of incest in my 12-Step meetings, I was ready to break the silence with my own family.  That is where the Dear Family Member letter came from.  After ten years of having nothing to do with my dad's family, (Not because of anything that they had done, but because of my own fears and my denial that if I didn't see them or my dad, then I could live as if the incest never happened.) I had opened the door and started attending family reunions again.  Several people in my dad's family of origin had been slipping me hints that I should step in and help my dad get on Social Security and other things since I was his oldest daughter.  They felt that I should be helping him out - taking care of him. This letter was an attempt to tell them why I was not going to do anything that would bring my dad back into my life or the lives of my children.  As a mother, I could protect my children from my dad. 

In reading my Dear Family Member letter, I realized several things.  One was that even though I said that I didn't need any reaction back from my family members, I realized that I was disappointed that so few of them did let me know how they felt about the letters.  My dad had 10 brothers and sisters living at the time that I mailed out the letters.  My sister and I discussed the letter but my brother has never said anything about the letter to me.  I was so afraid of what my family's reactions were going to be.  I realize now that I was still so afraid that they would blame me for the abuse.  That is why I told them, "I don't need you to react at all."  I was afraid of their reactions.  Today I am not afraid.  I did need them to react.  I did need for them to tell me that I did nothing to deserve the abuse.  It was not my fault.  I was afraid of their anger and their condemnation.  I was afraid of their judgments - afraid they would match my own critical self-judgments.  At the time that I wrote this letter, I still had the inner critic in my head that kept repeating the judgments that I grew up with coming from my parents.  That inner critic said I was stupid; I was incapable of making decisions; I was somehow defective or I wouldn't have been abused; I was a bad child or my parents would have loved me.  I still heard all of those voices in my head and worse, I believed them.  Having a healthy self worth was still a few years away for me.

At the end of the letter, I sounded like I had it all together.  How little did I know that I was still years away from doing much more than just surviving.  Yes, things were better but they were still a long way from being healthy.  I was still living with so much rage that I hadn't learned how to control and let go of yet.  I was fooling myself when I said that I liked where I was and who I was.  I meant it at the time that I said it but I hadn't reconnected with my body or my feelings at the end of those three years.  I still carried around a lot of buried self-hatred.   I still had a long way to go.  Ignorance sometimes is bliss, as they say.  If I had known how bad it was going to get before it got better, I might not would have gone down that path.  I am glad that I didn't know.  Where I am today is such a better place than I was then.  Am I finished with healing?  No, I am not sure that healing will ever stop as I move forward in my life.  Tomorrow will be better than today.  Even today, I take some detours down roads that still require me to be open to new pain and new growth.  As new challenges come my way, I am stronger and more resilient than I was as a child and even as a young adult in denial.  Because I am willing to face what comes to the door of recovery next, I experience more peace and more joy in my life.  I hear laughter more and realize that it is coming from me.

Sending out this letter, writing it, opened many doors of healing for me.  This was a very big beginning for me to becoming more honest with myself.  The ten years of cutting myself off from my Caldwell side of the family is a great example of what denial can do to you, of how it can keep you locked up in the pain of abuse.  In denying its existence (the incest, not the family), I thought it would lose its ability to hurt me.  I thought if I refused to look at the incest and acknowledge that it happened, it would go away.  I thought the fear would go away.  I thought the rage and hurt that I carried inside would just magically disappear if I didn't give it the power of acknowledgment. It didn't go away.  It continued to hurt me and I transferred that hurt to my husband and children.  Loving them wasn't enough to guarantee that I wouldn't hurt them.  Until I learned to control my feelings and feel them rather than stuffing them, I didn't have the tools to heal myself and to let go of the rage in constructive ways.

Denial doesn't work.  It was another way to stuff feelings inside.  It was another way to become numb to what I was feeling.  I didn't use drugs.  I used food.  To a smaller degree, I still do this today with food when everything gets too intense.  Through denial, I almost developed stomach ulcers when I was in my 20's.  Migraines started in my 30's.  High blood pressure plagues me today in my 50's.  I am overweight as a way to physically protect myself from the possibility of sexual abuse.  Denial turned me into a volcano or pressure cooker that could explode at the smallest provocation.  When I wrote this letter, I still wasn't in touch with my feelings.  I didn't know how to control my rage when the volcano erupted.  I didn't know how to not let my angry words hurt my husband or my children when the hate and hurt came spewing out when they erupted because I couldn't hold it in any longer.  The pressure became too much and I exploded all over my family before I learned to use my anger constructively.  It took three to five years before I learned that my anger could be defused without hurting anyone, myself included.  My husband will agree with me that those years were pure Hell.  My regret is that out of my pain, I hurt my husband and children, before I learned that anger can be healthy and doesn't have to hurt anyone.  Anger can be expressed in healthy ways so that it doesn't become rage.  In my childhood, rage equalled violence or at least the threat of violence.  The threat of violence can be just as frightening as the actual violence itself.  That threat can keep you frozen in inaction and silence.  I lived with that threat daily and didn't even recognize it until I was nineteen.

Growing up all that I saw of anger was rage and it could be violent.  This month is Domestic Violence Awareness month.  I don't often think about myself growing up with domestic violence in my family, but it was there.  The threat of violence does damage too.  In my recent interview with Cyrus Webb, I told a story that I grew up hearing from my mom.  My dad only hit my mom once.  That was sometime in the year before I was born.  I don't know why he hit her, that was never part of my mom's story.  She said that he hit her and she went and got his rifle.  She aimed it and pulled the trigger.  She was so angry that she didn't take the time to load the gun.  If it had been loaded, my dad would have died.  She was a very good shot with a rifle.  He never hit her again.  This story was one of the reasons that I didn't tell my mom about the incest until many years later when I was adult. (Actually just before mailing my Dear Family Member letters, I told my mom about the incest.)

I was afraid that if I told my mother about the incest she would blame me and call me a liar or she would shot my dad.  If she shot my dad, he would be dead and she would be in jail and I would not have a parent.  Those were really big fears in my mind as a child. And it would have been my fault for telling about the incest. This is victim mode thinking.

I ended my letter by saying that I hoped I would still be welcomed to future family reunions.  As far as I could tell, the letter didn't make any difference in how I was treated.  I don't know if the letter made any difference to any of them but it did for me.  I hope that sharing my Dear Family Member letter will make a difference in your life if you are a survivor of abuse.  You are not alone.  You do not have to continue to carry the burden of abuse alone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dear Family Member - Notification About Incest Happening In Family

April 24, 1992
Dear Family Member:

It is nice to feel that I have a family and roots again after so many years of feeling alone and empty.  For years, I cut myself off from any attachment to my "Caldwell" side of the family.  I now know that this was the only way I could deal with the pain of Dad's betrayal of me as a child.  To survive and try to lead a nearly normal adult life I had to disconnect from my painful past and any reminders of it.  My family was a very strong reminder of that past.

For over three years I have been dealing with that painful past---working through my anger and grief---and learning to let go of it.  For what I am about to tell you, I don't want your pity or your anger.  I don't need you to react at all.  I am doing this for me and for no one else.  I do hope that I can have your support in my working through this.

I know that some of you may be disbelieving and some of you may be angry that I am just now revealing this and you want to know why after all these years of being quiet that I am now stirring up all this trouble.  I am not doing this to cause trouble or to seek revenge.  I am doing this as a further step in my recovery.  I am refusing to keep silent and to carry the burden of this secret anymore.  It has become too heavy.  Too much of my life has been harmed by it.  I still have a lot of anger to deal with over this and to deal with it, the reasons have to brought out into the open.  I don't want another generation of children to suffer because of our silence and it will continue to happen unless we speak out and others have the awareness to deal with it.  Secrecy hurts too many people.

Most of you know that Daddy has a drinking problem.  For my own self, I choose to give it a name---alcoholism.  No one else has to agree with me.  I won't argue over this point.  It is strictly my opinion.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

I thought about talking about this to some of you at the recent Family Reunion, but I decided to just enjoy the day instead.  I have worked hard this year and deserved to have that day to savor the pleasant memories and feelings of love that I felt from each of you.  This was an important day for me.

I don't make any apology to anyone for the feelings that you have as you read this.  This is a family secret that must be exposed for what it is---dangerous and deadly to our children and their self-esteem.

Some of you wonder why [my sister], [my brother] and I aren't close to the family anymore.  I can't speak for [my brother].  I don't know his reasons.  [My sister] is afraid of Daddy and refuses to be around him or to allow her children contact with him.  I don't want him in my life or in my children's lives.  I won't let him continue to abuse me.

I won't tell you [my brother's] or [my sister's] story.  I will only tell you mine.  I won't go into details here.  That would take to long.  I've already written more than I thought I would.

Starting at least by the age of eleven years old, I was sexually abused by Daddy.  I don't have memories of it starting earlier than that, but it may have.  Some of the work that I have done leads me to believe that I may have been as young as eight or nine years old.  You can't imagine the emotional pain I have gone through because of this.  Do you know what it is like to hate the parent that you also love and have to depend upon for your very survival?  When I was seventeen years old, I reached the point of having the courage to say no to Daddy.  If the abuse had continued, I would have lost my sanity.  I knew that.  I never again let Daddy abuse me.  I think he was afraid I would tell if he continued to push me.  He left me alone physically, but the emotional abuse continued until I left home at the age of nineteen.  I knew that was my one and only chance to get out from under his control. Living with Dad was like having a dictator tell you everything you could do or not do.  I never learned to make decisions or to think for myself until I was a Junior in college.  I know that God was with me and keeping me sane.  He gave me the courage to do what I had to do.  He allowed me to find the people that I needed to guide me in the right direction at each crucial point in my life.  I have a husband who loves me and has tried to be understanding of all that I have gone through.  That hasn't always been easy.  Dan has allowed me the space to find out who I am.  For me, the process has been both painful and joyful.

I like who I am today.  I am at a good place in my life.  I have told Mom about the abuse just this month.  She says she didn't know or she would have stopped it.  She was as much under Dad's control as I was.  I have made my peace with her.  I haven't confronted Dad yet, because when I try to contact him person to person he disappears.  I have written a letter to him giving him back responsibility for his actions.  This step will close a chapter in my life.  This is a positive step for me.  It has been a long journey to reach this healthy point in my life.

I hope that each of you can still welcome me to future Family Reunions with the same enthusiasm as you did this year.  Family means a lot to me.  I love everyone of you.  Please help me to bring awareness to our next generation of children so the hurt and the abuse can be stopped at least for this family.  I love you all.
Patricia Caldwell Singleton

I didn't use my brother or my sister's names here as I did in the original letters.  I have been searching for my copy of this letter for over a year and could not find it.  My sister a few weeks ago called me and asked me if I would like to have her copy of the letter.  She didn't know that I had been looking for my copy.  Thanks, Sis for giving me your copy.  She also gave me her copy of the copy letter written to her and my brother telling them that they were getting their copy of the "Dear Family Member" letter two weeks before I mailed them out to everyone else.  I wrote the above letter on April 24, 1992 but my sister's letter was written on June 10, 1992 so I apparently took a few months after writing the "Dear Family Member" letter before I mailed them out to my dad's brothers and sisters.  I chose not to send a copy to my grandmother because she was elderly and in poor health.  I didn't want to hurt her with the knowledge of her sons actions.  I told each of my aunts and uncles that it was their choice as to whether or not they shared the contents of my letter with their children, most of whom are my age and older.  I don't know if they did or not.  No one ever said anything to me about it.  One of my nephews recently told me he had read his dad's letter when he was a teenager.  My youngest niece recently read her mom's copy before my sister gave the letter to me. 

I look forward to hearing from you letting me know what you think about my letter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just A Mom

I am starting this post out with an email that I received today.  I don't know the source of the written words called "JUST A MOM?"  If I did, I would include you as the author, but I don't know who you are.  Thank you for your words of humor and truth.


A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk's Office, was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is," explained the recorder,
"Do you have a job or are you just a ....?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman.
"I'm a Mom."
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'Housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.  The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."
"What is your occupation?" she probed.
What made me say it?  I do not know?  The words simply popped out.
"I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words.  Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, (what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and out).  I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).  Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree?) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).  But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants - ages 13, 7, and 3.  Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby), in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern.  I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!  And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."

What a glorious career!  Especially when there's a title on the door.
Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research Associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations"
And great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates?"  I think so.
I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants."

I love the humor of the above words and titles.  Why does it take a title to give a mother the importance that she deserves.  Mothers play such an important role in the lives of their children and therefore the world.  I hope that I was this type of mother - one who researches and grows as her children grow.  In my own eyes, I often fell short as a mother.  Why?  I wasn't given the proper tools to be the kind of mother that I wanted to be to my children.  Who is?  Especially those of us who comes from homes with dysfunction and abuse.

I grew up wanting to be a better mother than my mother was to me.  Yes, my mother did the best that she could with the tools that she was given, and it wasn't good enough.  I did not want to repeat that pattern with my own children, especially the patterns of abuse and emotional abandonment.

I believe that mothers are the most important role model for their daughters because we are both women.  Mothers fill so many roles in the life of a child.  Mothers teach us about loving and caring for others.  They teach us kindness and how to nurture ourselves and others.  As little girls, mothers teach us how to be women just as daddies teach little boys how to be men.  So much of who I am comes from my mother.

To quote a comment that I left on my Facebook page today, "My mother/daughter relationship was confusing and difficult.  I always told myself that my mother loved me.  I now know that my mother couldn't love me because she didn't love herself.  She was so shut down emotionally.  The only emotion that got through from her to the world [and to me] was rage and she did that silently.  She didn't know what love was.  She wasn't taught to love.  Dysfunctional families cannot teach what they don't have - self love."

My inspiration for this post came from fellow blogger Darlene Ouimet.  On her blog Emerging From Broken, Darlene has been writing a series of articles about the relationship that she had with her mother.  The latest article is called "Mother Daughter Relationship Nightmares."  You will find this blog article are the following link:

I warn you that some of the comments for this article of Darlene's are brutally honest and may be tear triggering for some of you.  Everyone of the people - women and men - are being courageous in sharing their stories of pain and healing in their comments.  I thank you Darlene for being the one to bring this out into the open so that we can all break the silence of abuse and continue to heal.

Related posts:
Your Parents Did The Best They Could found at

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cyrus Webb Interview Link

Hi.  For those of you who haven't heard the interview that Cyrus Webb and I did on Monday, October 4 at noon Central Standard Time on Conversations Live! on Blog Talk Radio, here is the link to it.  It is archived so you can go whenever you have the time to listen to the interview.  It is short - only 15 minutes or so and packed with information.  Thanks to Cyrus Webb for the honor of talking about incest and recovery and for allowing me to be the interview that kicks off his series of interviews on the subject, "Should Love Ever Hurt?"  The choice of topic was because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I hope that you will listen and then come back here and let me know your thoughts.