I’m a victor not a victim of childhood neglect, yet I had a personal story that I know is part of a greater collective story and hope that you have come across my blog because you are ready to flip that coin over and be the head and not the tail in your own story. Neglect left its imprint on me like when you turn the page in a spiral notebook and can still make out the writing from the previous page. Now I’m writing over the imprints of that old story with something that has more heart and soul in it, more understanding, more forgiveness and a realization that I am the author of my own life from here on out and always have been.
One of the few beautiful memories I have from my youth was when my mother caressed my head and threaded her fingers through my fine blonde hair as I lay on her lap in the dead of night with an ear-ache. I remember smelling her female scent as I writhed in pain on her lap while perched on our 1970s red and gold sleeper-sofa with its pine-coned decor that was roped with golden tassels. But the pain from my ear would not overshadow this treasured moment of connection.
“Yes, more please.” “I love this kind of attention, mom.” “Please don’t stop.” “I’m so thirsty for your love.”
If she could only hear that inner dialogue she would have known how important and healing this moment had been for my love-thirsty inner child. As love reciprocates love, I would start to care for her too. After I recovered, I would massage her tired feet and straighten up the house before she would come home from work. I also got my little brother involved in cleaning our rooms by making it into a fun game. Stepping outside of my self-centered world for a moment and feeling love for my mother for the first time felt nice until we returned to our previous roles of neglector and neglected. I returned to my self-centered world in my bedroom where the extremely ugly and cheap wallpaper my parents picked out reminded me that I didn’t really matter and she returned to whatever she did to escape the pain. I honestly cannot tell you what that was because rarely did our two paths meet and when they did neither of us could connect to the other or let each other inside.
My mom went through a hell of her own. Her parents were addicted to drugs and alcohol, her father beat her mother in front of her on many occasions—the one she recalls most frequently is when he knocked her mother’s teeth out on Christmas day. She was sent to live with an aunt who hated her and locked her in a closet on a very hot day where she spent all day with her nose under the crack at the bottom of the door. Once returned to her drug-addicted mother, she took on the parenting role and forsook her childhood. She said she was just too ashamed to have friends over to her house.
My mother was filled with righteous anger, rage and resentment and she kept it all stuffed in an inner room where it seethed out at me, one of her main chosen targets. She was robbed of her childhood twice, it seemed, and I was a reminder of what she had missed out on. An habitual worrier, my mom ended up joining the convent as a nun when I was a young adult, likely so that her survival worries could now be soothed and she could become that little girl who was cared for and loved. I’m still getting in touch with how that decision really made me feel. My mother would now dedicate herself to the loving service of other families and children and that was a bitter pill to swallow.
I was the invisible child until I stirred the pot, so that was another role I picked up in our family dynamics. I played the role of the rebellious child, the black sheep, the trouble-maker, the attention whore and the outcast. My mother was perfect for the lessons I came to learn in this lifetime. She played the role my soul wanted her to play so that I could finally awaken to self-love, self-acceptance and self-validation.
I wasn’t one to share my deepest feelings with my mother and she still doesn’t know how this one moment of tenderness imprinted my life and how I will go to that memory now whenever I am tempted to remember the neglect, remember the shame of not knowing basic social skills or remember her in any other way than loving. It gets so much better when you learn how to turn the coins from tails to heads in your life and empower yourself through forgiveness, self-awareness, responsibility, releasing old fear programs and receiving the authentic beauty and love of who you were before you were conditioned to believe anything otherwise.
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My friend Krystal Kay White, Angel Tarot Reader has written a lovely post over on her Blog about the five languages of love: “We feel most fulfilled when we are communicating –speaking and being spoken to — in our primary love language. If you seem to be having difficulty connecting with someone, take a look at how you’re communicating. “
Click here to read PTSD and Suicide: My Personal War with Sexual Shame.