Friday, May 6, 2011

Normal vs. Healthy

Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers who may be reading this.  My mother-in-law is the only mother that I have left and she is a blessing to me.  She sent me a note in the mail this week that I really love.  I know that she loves me but she doesn't say it very often.  She ended her note with the following:

"I love you a whole lot, just want you to know.  Mother Lindsay" 

That one little line from her has brightened my week.  I really do appreciate that God blessed me with the mother-in-law that he did.

Normal for me was the overreacting or underreacting to all of the stress and trauma and drama in my life that I caused and others caused.  Normal is not admitting that I am stressed or in pain.  Normal is being afraid and not knowing it.  Normal lives in denial of what really is.

Normal is what we know as children and adults living with abuse.  I don't want to be normal any more.  Normal is living in the patterns of the past and passing them on to my children.

Normal isn't good or even sane sometimes.  Normal is shouting at your children because your parents shouted at you.  Normal is wanting to do better but not being able to because you don't know how to do better.

Healthy is what I strive to be today.  Healthy gives me the ability to no longer be abused or to even attract abusers into my life.  Healthy shows me how to make better choices so that I don't pass the abuse on to my grandchildren.

Healthy means I have self-respect, self-worth, and even self-love.  Healthy means I can nurture and take care of my needs.  Healthy means I know and love who I am at all times. 

The sometimes painful part of healthy means that I can feel all of my emotions, work my way through them and release them, most of the time.  Sometimes, I still find myself numbing out when I feel overwhelmed by the intensity of whatever I am working on. 

Healthy means I do what is best for me.  I don't put everyone else's needs and priorities before my own.  An empty vessel is no good to anyone.

Healthy means I give you back responsibility for your own life rather than trying to control and fix you.  Healthy means I face and take on responsibility for the only life that I can change - mine. 

The above words started out as a comment on the Facebook Fan Page for Empowering Solutions which is written by my friend Susan Kingsley-Smith.


Susan Komisar Hausman said...

So well said, Patricia. Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, thank you and Happy Mother's Day to you.

Jeff & Friends said...

While I/we definitely have problems with Mothers Day ... as you well know, we have embraced the idea of a 'healthy mind' - even if it's not normal! LOL'ing!
-Us All.

(and glad that you do have someone you can celebrate; our mother has yet to say she loves us .... ever.)

Patricia Singleton said...

Jeff & Friends, Thank you. I am glad that I have my mother-in-law. I believe that my mother loved me. She just wasn't very good at it. She neglected more than she abused by not being emotionally present in my life even though she was physically present. It was not a healthy love at all. I usually feel sad around Mother's Day because of the poor mothering that most of us had as survivors of abuse. I feel sad that so many survivors had mothers who actively abused their children.

Anonymous said...

I haven't had a mother in my life as long as I can remember... The woman gave birth to me, but wasn't a mother that loved and cared, but abused...

I am a mother myself, but I don't have the child with me, oh yes I miss him, but I wouldn't been much of a mother for him in the state I am in now... He had to go with his father, because I had to part from him and couldn't handle being in touch with him having my son here with me. Now I have someone that speaks with his father for me about my son and no dirrect contact. I speak with my son once a week on the phone <3

Mothersday allready been celebrated in February here in Norway <3

I wish you have a lovely mothers day Patricia <3

Slade Roberson said...

Great post, Patricia. Have a Happy Mother's Day!

Interruption said...

Thank you for this post. It is very wise and helpful. I want to get to healthy. Truly, I do. I just cannot seem to find the way to do it. My mother was never 'there' for me. I am glad you have your mother-in-law. Have a Happy Mother's day. And, once again...thank you for sharing.

Colleen said...

Great post. Happy Mother's Day!

Patricia Singleton said...

Janne Helen, thank you. I had a wonderful Mother's Day spent with my husband and phone calls from our son and daughter. We were out of town for the weekend so I called both our children tonight when we got home.

I understand that sometimes the best thing that you can do for your child is to let someone else take care of them. I can also understand how difficult it would be to be a mother if you never had one yourself. The world is not always the kind of place that we wish it was. Take care of yourself.

Patricia Singleton said...

Slade, thank you. Hope you had a glorious weekend and your mother had a wonderful Mother's Day.

Patricia Singleton said...

Interruption, Thank you. I am glad that my post helped and encouraged you. Most of my wisdom, if I have any, came from books that I read and put to use in my own life. I share from my experiences. If you want to be healthy, you will find the way. It doesn't happen in an instant. If you work at being healthy, it will happen. Have faith in yourself.

Patricia Singleton said...

Colleen, thank you. I hope that you had a glorious Mother's Day too.

Wendi said...

What an inspirational blog post and a much needed reminder to me today. Thank you for your wise and kind words.

Patricia Singleton said...

Wendi, thank you and you are very welcome.

Jeff & Friends said...

We know our mother loved us; so did (and does) our dad; they 'love' us still, I'm sure.

But here's the thing; how it was explained to me (by my father, for the both of them; and this was years and years ago when I was a teenager.)

"We fed you. We kept a roof over your head. We made sure you did your homework (though they did not help). We took you to the hospital when you were injured. What else would you want us to do? That was our way of saying we loved you!"

And that was it. end of line, so to speak, never to be mentioned again.

So yeah; I know they loved me.
They just didn't know how to show it - because it wasn't taught to them (I reckon; I know my gram was okay in these things; both of them ...hmm, all those distant relatives of mind - I have no family so to speak - they always lived some thousand miles away - if not even further - so we were not seeing them - and so ... no family of 'mine', so to speak, not on 'my side' - except my parents and my brother. That's it. end of line. And now my wife and children - of which all of them are 'step' - except one; my own and precious daughter - and yet: they are ALL so most precious to me; each in their own way.

end of line; gotta move on; things to do... :D

Unknown said...

I really like the way you gave a very helpful picture of the difference between what our normal might have been and what healthy can be.

Thank you for contributing and explaining these concepts in ways that are so easy to understand!

Patricia Singleton said...

Jeff & Friends, I don't remember my parents telling me they loved me when I was a child either, at least not in a healthy way. My dad told me that the sex was his way of loving me. I could have done without that & it was not love.

Sex, for my dad was about his pleasure and control. Everything that my dad did was about controlling you. He was a dictator.

With my mother, I always told myself that she loved me & that she just didn't know how to show it. I didn't think my dad ever loved anyone but himself, so I desperately needed my mom to love me. I don't know if every child feels that way or not but I did.

My mother was always there physically in the home. She was just never there emotionally for me. Her feelings were completely shut down for some reason unknown to me.

I was willing to settle for my mother's physical presence in my life since I couldn't have her emotionally there. When she & my dad separated, when I was in my 30's, my husband & I went to her home & moved her in with us since she had no physical means of support at the time. She lived with us for 14 years before she went to stay with my sister for the last 4 or 5 years of her life.

I wasn't upset when my mother moved to my sister's house. I had worked through the issues with her & was willing to let go of even her physical presence in my life.

Jeff, I think many people in our parents' generation were raised to provide for their children as the only way to show that they loved their children, especially men. I, too, went without a lot of necessities when I was a child. My family was poor mostly because of my dad's 5th grade education & his argumentative, alcoholic personality which made it hard for him to hold onto a job for more that a few years at a time.

When I was in high school & the alcoholism was worse, my dad quit his job every year the week before school would start & I would never have the money to buy school supplies on time for school to start.

Patricia Singleton said...

Susan, thank you. I make things simple because that is how it needs to be for me to understand it so I figure I am not the only one that needs simple. It is one of my many talents from God that I am very thankful for. This post started out as a shorter comment on one of your Facebook posts.

Kate said...

One of the most beautiful and awe inspiring posts I have ever read by a survivor of abuse. Excellent. Thank you for sharing.

Good and healing thoughts to you.


Patricia Singleton said...

Kate, thank you so much. I appreciate your words of praise about my post. Have a glorious day.

Marj aka Thriver said...

Great points. So often I have wanted to be normal. But, what I really desire is to be healthy. Thanks for this wonderful contributions, Patricia!

Patricia Singleton said...

Marj, you are so very welcome. What was normal in my family was never healthy. Normal was alcoholism, incest, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, threats of violence, outbreaks of rage and shouting, emotionally shutting down, fear.