Breaking The Cycle

The Abstract Mirror

Breaking The Cycle

Growing up I always knew that I wanted to be a mother.  Not in the “I am a woman so have motherly instincts” type of way either,  but a feeling of genuine admiration for those who nurtured, cared for, comforted, provided, and made meaningful memories for their children….a GOOD mother.  The only problem was, I myself did not have a GOOD mother, so how was I supposed to become one myself?

You see, I grew up in a dysfunctional household.  A child raised by convicts, who suffered from alcohol, pill, and methamphetamine addiction.  I was subjected to physical, emotional, and psychological abuse on a daily basis.  My “mother” who was supposed to be the one to teach us how to love and nurture and create a warm and loving home, instead was a narcissist with violent and jealous tendencies who created a “house of terrors” and looked at attention on us children as a distraction from her own self and showed resentment to me most of my life as a result.

She had her own demons, a broken childhood as well, but instead of seeking help for this, she channeled all the hate, anger, and sadness into her addiction which fueled her toxic and volatile behavior.  While there were times in my very young childhood that my mother wouldn’t use, she eventually got to a point where every day she was abusing (typically methamphetamine for a week straight then Klonopin or Dilaudid to come down for a few days, and then repeat).  This constant state of abuse created a roller-coaster reaction, one day she would be ok and you could have a conversation with her, the next she would be calling you every volatile name in the book, throwing things, physically abusing you, and saying the most ruthless hurtful things you can say to a person, let alone a child.  I hated myself.  I felt like I was letting my mother down, that I was a bad child and person who wasn’t worthy of love or affection.  If my own mother felt the way she said she did about me, then how could anyone else love me? 

My mother also made me an accomplice in her substance abuse, oftentimes she would have me assist her in shooting up or lighting her pipe to smoke methamphetamine.  She had me do drug deals for her, as young as nine years old because she was too high or paranoid to go into the homes and pick up her drugs.  This subjected me to inappropriate men and sexual advances and harassment at a very early age.  I never felt safe.  I began to not trust anyone.  I built up walls and emotional defenses that made it hard to get to know anyone. 

The worst part is that because I was a child, I had no idea that her behavior, actions, or situations I was subjected to were in any way inappropriate.  I truly believed that this was how mothers acted and that I was living a “normal” childhood.  It wasn’t until I started getting older and was able to stay at friend’s homes that I realized just how dysfunctional my situation really was. 

I saw the way my friend’s mothers loved them.  The way they spoke to each other, laughed with each other, joined groups or activities together.  I saw the way their mothers protected them from the ugly in the world, and I often wondered why my mother didn’t love me enough to do the same. 

When I was 16, someone at school had noticed bruises and nail marks on my neck and reported it to the counselor.  The police were called, CPS got involved, and eventually both my parents went to jail for abuse against me and I became a ward of the state.  I was FINALLY free from my mother’s clutches! 

It was then, that my long road to healing began.  I tried therapy and medications to try to help, but for me, this didn’t resolve anything and ultimately I stopped both.  You see, I still held on to resentment and anger towards my parents and because of this, every time I would think I was making progress I would think back on my childhood, get angry and be back at step one. 

I spent the next 10 years working on myself.  I finished school, married my high school sweetheart, started a great career, surrounded myself with only positive people, listened to daily affirmations, traveled a little and things were looking great.  I was on a great path.  But every once in a while I would feel it… that feeling of anger and sadness that lingered in the furthest places of my mind.  Why was I still feeling this way?  When would I truly be healed?  

Then it happened….

I found out I was pregnant, and every single thing in my world felt different.  I knew that I wanted to be the very best version of myself for my child and in order to do that, I had to do the hardest thing I had ever done….. let go. 

I finally realized that up until this point, the biggest obstacle stopping me from moving on was my own stubbornness and inability to JUST.  LET.  GO.  I was holding onto things that no longer were a part of who I was as a person NOW.  A past that I had long outgrown.  And it was my mother’s own inability to let go of her past that created the stage for continued dysfunction.  It was time to break the cycle.  

I called my mother. 

I told her that I forgave her for the things she did when I was growing up.  That I now know those things were a reflection of her, not me.  That I was moving on with my life and that despite it all, I ended up being a great person.  Then I hung up.

I felt a weight lift off me, which is indescribable.  To this day, I still have not looked back to my past with anger or sadness, instead, I look to it as a lesson of WHAT NOT TO DO. I have since had my son, who is the absolute light of my life.  I strive every day to be the best mommy I can be for him. I am proud to say, he will never know the struggle I had growing up. 

I guess the irony in it all is that I should thank my mother for my childhood.  Because while she didn’t directly teach me how to be a GOOD mother, she taught me how not to be a bad one. 


Written by:  Misty N.

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