Today, I am a stickler for truth.
This is not something I came by naturally; my mother would lie to change her dentist appointment. Nothing was ever simple in my house.
What I found after leaving the psych unit of a prestigious hospital where I had admitted myself for fear I might kill my father after abuse memories broke, was strange mixed with more strange. I couldn't be alone. I felt his presence everywhere. I was sure he would be "just around the corner" at any moment. A heightened level of paranoia took over my life during this time.
It lasted two solid weeks, until I had time to gain my footing back in the "real" world. Life vacillated between monotones; it was full of deep shades of brick red where my rage permeated my being as well as solid, deep purple when the fear overcame my sensibilities.
At least the rage had an anchor now; previously, it felt as if I was mad at the world without caution. There was some measure of relief in that.
I had swallowed a big chunk of truth and there was no going back.
She walked up to me like a child approaches a dog they are not sure is going to bite them.
I was trembling but relieved to see her. My upper body was bent by the weight of feeling her physical presence. It was the evening of my thirty-third birthday and I was still in the hospital. She held a stuffed teddy bear in her hand.
"Here," she said. "I know you always liked the Teddy Bear we got you at Yellowstone...I couldn't think what to get you."
"I don't need anything mom; I'm just happy to see you."
"You are?" she replied with trepidation.
"Yes. I see now you were suffering from alcoholism and couldn't help me, because you didn't know what dad was doing. He fooled us both."
She gave me a worried smile. It had been two years since we were face to face. When we last met, I expressed three requirements of her to be in my life, and she was only willing to do two of them. The first was to be sober - she agreed. The second was to support me in prosecuting the man who molested me at the neighbor's house (my only conscious abuse memories which had been swept under the rug at the time) - she reluctantly agreed. The third was to go to counseling - she said she wouldn't do that. To her it wasn't fair because I hadn't asked my father to do the same thing. She was forever worried about my requirements of my father, not her own wrong doings.
"You don't look good Sparking. I'm worried about you."
"Well, you are here now. At least I have one parent in my corner, that means a lot."
As I drove up the gravel drive to see my guru Bruce, I felt excited to hear what new paradigm he could turn upside down and inside out.
He was always doing that.
"Your soul is here in search of emotional experience. It doesn't see an experience as good or bad, it just wants the richness of the experience."
"So, at some level, I want to experience the horror of being abused?" I said this with disdain dripping on every word.
"That is what your soul is here to do. Enlightenment means 'in knowledge of'. We are here gaining knowledge of every human experience. That is how one achieves enlightenment."
"So every human being has to go through this if they want to achieve enlightenment?"
"I didn't say that. I said they have to achieve the feeling, which can be done in your imagination as easily as it can be done in form."
He had said this to me several times over the last couple months since my release from the hospital. Yet, this is the first time I asked him directly to apply the spiritual context to my own experiences.
This made me angry. Was he blaming me?
I was quiet the rest of our session.
Once those first two weeks had past after my hospital stay, we found out my father-in-law was dying. He had been fighting a rare type of bone cancer and the scales had tipped out of his favor.
We did a whirlwind packing job to move from our current place out to the country, as I no longer felt safe living in our apartment. My husband was humoring me at some level, but he was very respectful about it.
We boarded our plane and I went into my familiar survival mode. How I cordoned off pain the way I did, as if I had a section of my mind I could simply wall off in order to push through current circumstances, is a gift I now hold dear.
I went to say goodbye to a man I held very close to my heart.
My mom promised to call when she said goodbye to me.
We were always very unsure around each other. In some ways I wanted to curl up in her arms for the first time in my life, and in other ways I still wanted to yell at her. But, at the time, I was grateful she was brave enough to come.
My AA sponsor had told me, "It is never too late for someone to show up to be a mother." I hadn't yet learned that most people who give advice are doing so to save their own truths from drowning, not to help someone else.
I had only seen two memories, on my own, without the help of a therapist to guide me, at the time of her visit. I had no way of knowing just then that I had rolled out a red carpet invitation for the anti-Christ to come back into my life.
I had developed double blindness. When one parent fell out of favor, my psyche found a way to put the other one in a better light.
It simply never occurred to me they both were complicit in my abuse.
At the end of the session, Bruce left the words up to me.
"I don't know if I can accept responsibility for what has happened in my life. My father chooses, of his own free will, to do what he did to me. How can I be responsible for that?"
Bruce replied gently, "I never said you were responsible. I said your soul is searching out the emotional experience. You are putting the judgment on it - you are looking to blame yourself or your father. I am simply telling you that all thought is God and all feeling is God. It is your choice whether you decide to allow those thoughts and feelings to flow through you. If you do, you will be freeing yourself from a position of victimization and will not have to repeat this experience again in this or any other lifetime. The choice is always yours."
I didn't feel empowered by this. It was a burden around my neck that was choking me. I felt put upon. I felt angry. I felt righteous. I told him as much.
"Excellent! Those are the thoughts and feelings that go along with this experience. Process them as I showed you. Move them into your soul as each one comes up. You will feel the shift inside." He said this with his perennially warm smile.
I agreed to try.
No amount of professional help or spiritual advice could have prepared me for the gut-leveling realization that my mother not only knew the abuse was happening, but had participated in it.
I obsessively asked myself over the next several months, "Why did they hate me so much?"
Mothers are not supposed to hate their young.
This is the fourth installment of an ongoing series. The pieces will be written to stand alone and offer more to the reader if the entire series is read. *I write under an avatar and all names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is a true story, the story of my life. Any changes made to it are minimal, based solely on my inability to remember the exact details.
Copyright © 2010 by Sparking. All rights reserved.
Part I can be found here.
Part II can be found here.
Part III can be found here.