Dear Mother,

Mother’s Day is here again.  This will be my 7th Mother’s Day without a mother. 

That isn’t true, is it?  It has been 7 years since I cut you off.  But I never really had a mother.  This year, I want to do something for you.  I’m not giving you a gift.  I haven’t done that in ages.  And I am sure you will use this Mother’s Day to play the victim to the world, telling everyone how your mean daughter cut you off from your grandchildren.  Maybe this opportunity is a gift from me.  You get another reason to play the victim.  Lucky you!

This year, I want to give you something practical.  I want to help you with your unconscious narrative.  I know it has been so hard to keep that story going when you have a daughter who blasts your behavior all over the internet.  I know that must be so hard for you.  But I am sure you are managing.  Honestly, I know you don’t read this stuff.  Your defenses would never be able to withstand it.  But you have an extra hard job covering up your abuses.  And your story must be feeling a bit like Swiss cheese these days.  So here goes:

I know it’s hard to justify the times you traded me to those babysitters and swim coaches.  But you can let people know that you were just trying to give me the life you never had.  It wasn’t the same as when my dad trafficked me.  He made real money.  You can tell folks that it was much more important that I get the opportunity to swim than to feel safe in my own body.  You can let them know that swimming mattered so much to me and you couldn’t find the money to pay for it.  There were just too many of your own shopping trips adding up on the credit cards.  So you let me have my dream.  Isn’t that a great thing?

It must be so difficult to explain how you held me down while I was raped by my stepfather.  I know you wanted that pristine reputation that so many abusive mothers want.  You know the one:  that you had no idea what was happening behind those closed doors?  You blew your cover that day because I fought back and you had to get involved.  You were pissed too.  I could tell.  But there’s always a way to justify it.  You could just let people know you were forced.  You could just let them know you had to do it or your husband would have raped or beat you.  It was a sacrifice you had to make to keep yourself safe.  You were the victim.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the truth right?  What matters is your story.  You really need that story to be believable, right?

It must be so difficult for you to deal with the sexual abuse.  I mean really.  That’s supposed to be what men do to little girls.  Women are innocent.  Women never hurt children.  Women would never sexually abuse their children.  But you can just tell people you were trying to teach me.  You were just a woman teaching her daughter how the female body works.  Isn’t that what you told me?  That should work for everyone else, right?

I know it is complicated to explain why you stayed married to a violent pedophile for all those years.  He beat us.  He raped us.  But you stayed.  You kept us in the direct line of fire while encouraging and enabling his behavior.  But you could say society gave you no choice.  You could tell people you could not have financially survived on your own.  You could just say that this is what women and children have to put up with from men.  It is just how life works.  That is what you told me, so that should work, right?  Just blame it on society.  That way, you don’t have to make any difficult choices.  You don’t have to be responsible for your actions.

I am sure it is so challenging to face your physical and emotional abuse of your own daughter.  Coming to terms with how you manipulated and neglected me must be so difficult for you.  When you used to hit me so hard with the hairbrush that it left marks, it was just spanking, right?  When you destroyed and threw away my most beloved toy, that was just a normal punishment for a young child.  I am sure it was.  When you left me for the entire day with no food so you could go to the mall, it was something all mothers do when they need a break.  Right?  How could these things really be that bad?  I was just a rotten kid.  Maybe you can just tell them I was a rotten kid.  Who am I kidding?  You already have.

I know these things are tough to explain away.  It is hard to keep up the lies in your own head, let alone with others.  And I know it is so hard to keep track of what you tell each person.  It must be so confusing.  So I hope these suggestions will help you get back on track with your narrative.  I am sure you will continue to perfect it.  I know your stories about the horrible child I was will get better and more elaborate.  And the more your grandchildren thrive without you, the more your story of victimization will grow amongst all your acquaintances.  Who am I kidding?  You will be just fine.

Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW

Dear Mother, was originally published @ Beating Trauma and has been syndicated with permission.

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