Read the first blogs in this series here:
An Introduction to the Emotionally Absent Mother Class Blog Post Series
A Journey Through the Emotionally Absent Mother Class, #1 Pre-EAM
A Journey Through the Emotionally Absent Mother Class, First Class – Readings
A Journey Through the Emotionally Absent Mother Class, #3 EAM Class Check-in
So much of healing my daughter journey isn’t about what happens during the class or even in the pages we read. It’s what happens between the classes, when I’m left alone with me and my thoughts.
I’m lacking in so many areas—coping mechanisms, self-esteem, self-control—all things that dissolve while I’m floundering. And Friday through Wednesday, I am back and forth between fine and floundering.
The class is on Thursday, which is also the day my counseling appointment falls on, so it’s like double therapy in one day. It feels like too much to process all in one day. So that leaves the other six days of the week to process. But while processing I must work, take care of myself, go to the grocery store, do laundry, clean, and write posts for my blog. That’s a lot of doing amidst a lot of thinking. And not just thinking but chewing and grinding so I can digest the tiniest of memories and flashes of emotions that make themselves right at home in my mind.
My mind. It’s a fiery mess up there right now. One emotion this class has brought out of me is anger. I’m so damn angry at my mother. For her actions, her words, her unspoken glares of disdain and disapproval growing up. And I’m also conflicted with guilt for even being in the motherless daughters class to begin with. She would be so hurt, so angry at me if she knew I was taking this class. The question is, do I care? The answer is, yes.
Does my guilt for realizing I’m a motherless daughter subside when I no longer care what she thinks, or is guilt just a permanent part of being a motherless daughter? The class sessions and book readings leave me with more questions than answers, more tethered to harmful thoughts and behavior, less sure of what I thought I knew for sure about myself and my life. I thought I knew myself, my values, my truth. But everything is muddied with new realizations. It’s like the opposite of rose-colored glasses.
I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I was emotionally neglected, emotionally abused. I didn’t just have a mother who sometimes went bat crazy and said and did mean things. There was a deeper level to what was going on, from my earliest memories until I cut off all communication with her over ten years ago because she was abusing me.
That is a hard realization to swallow and it’s triggered my depression leading to early nights in bed (I’m talking 5 pm lights out) and difficulty concentrating on work tasks. When there are so many children suffering from abuse, real abuse like physical and sexual abuse, it’s just too mind-boggling to think I was also abused.
My mother wasn’t just emotionally absent. My mother abused me. That fact, if I can even fully believe it as fact, has been the most difficult realization yet.