Yesterday someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase”. Flashbacks of trying to find just the right card went zipping through my mind. I remember reading dozens of them trying to find something that my Mother would like, but that didn’t make me feel like a liar. I wanted to make her happy and I wanted approval but I also wanted to feel good about myself. Joke cards were fun, but my mother didn’t appreciate them at all. Mushy cards that said “thank you for being the most wonderful mother in the world… for always taking care of all my needs, for putting yourself last” and all that other stuff wasn’t truthful. Not getting a card was even more risky than buying a less than perfect card. Thinking about that whole dreaded mother’s day card shopping nightmare resulted in the following thoughts;
This week in honor of Mother’s day, don’t forget to acknowledge the Mother that YOU have been to yourself. I am talking about everyone who has survived any kind of family dysfunction, emotional neglect or psychological abuse. I am talking to everyone who lived in a violent home, and to everyone who was spiritually abused and told that even God is disappointed in you. I am reaching out to every human being who was taught to believe that they were less valuable than any other human being and to anyone who felt shame that was not theirs to bear, and to every individual who came to the conclusion that if actions speak louder than words, my mother didn’t love me. I am referring to everyone, man or woman, who has persisted in moving forward in spite of the baggage and false beliefs left over from child abuse that we have tried and tried to ditch although this has always been so much easier said than done.
I remember feeling horrified and even panicky at the point in my process of emotional healing when I realized that I was going to have to be the one that had to do the work of healing myself. I was going to have to learn to validate myself the way that I had not been validated by others. And I was so tired already. It just didn’t seem fair. In some ways I felt like I was being asked to take care of yet ONE MORE person when I wanted to scream “WHO is going to take care of me for once? When is it going to be MY turn!!!?”
One of the first things I learned in my recovery process is that it wasn’t my fault that I arrived where I arrived as an adult in such a state of pain, depression and overwhelm. I didn’t BREAK me in the first place. I wasn’t born broken. I didn’t do any of this to myself and I was tired of being the one that had to take care of everyone else and all their feelings. I felt like I had been struggling to survive the shipwreck that was my childhood my whole life, a child taking care of a child and now I had to learn to re-parent the lost child that was me in order to take my rightful place in the world as an adult. It seemed like an impossible task. I didn’t think there was enough energy in the world that I could access in order to accomplish what I have since accomplished.
So this week when someone asked me for guidance on the “dreaded mother’s day card purchase” my first reaction was “Oh ya ~ I can totally relate to what you are talking about!” My second reaction and the one that I replied with was; “I sure don’t miss those days!”
My third reaction is this: Before you decide what you are going to do for your Mother of origin, consider acknowledging yourself.
Buy yourself a mother’s day card. Acknowledge yourself for everything you have done to take care of yourself in spite of adversity, neglect, abuse, fear and terror. Make yourself a special lunch or take yourself out to your favorite place. Buy yourself flowers and write the card to yourself. Treat yourself like a King or a Queen in gratitude for all the times that you have picked yourself up, for all the times that you have suffered in silence, for all the times that you took the blame and for all the times that you cried alone ~ thank yourself. Love yourself. You deserve to be loved and you especially deserve your own love.
Although I am sure that a higher power was behind my recovery, pulling for me, gently urging me, whispering to me that I could do this and softly encouraging me to get on the right path to overcoming abuse, I was the one that had to listen to that urging and do the work. I was the one that found the courage to face those terrors. I was the one that decided to unpack that baggage and take a look at what was weighing me down. I was the one that tackled it. I was the one that had to learn what a boundary was, how to set them and why I had a right to have them. I had to face my fears of standing up for myself when deep down I believed that I had NO rights, that I didn’t deserve and the fear that I really was unworthy because that is what I had been taught by the abusive, neglectful and dismissive actions of others.
And I did it ~ I learned to validate myself in all the places that I had been invalidated and I continue to do it. I am learning to be a loving parent to myself; the loving parent that I’ve always wanted. I am celebrating that I am a person with value and with needs and that my needs are not something to be rejected and dismissed. My needs are not bad or wrong. My needs are not selfish. I can take care of my needs and be proud of myself for it. Every human being has needs. I am celebrating my humanness this Mother’s Day. I am celebrating letting go of tons of false self-judgment and embracing the truth about me. I am worthy, deserving and lovable. I am lovely and loving. I am the person that I was born to be and I did the hard work to get here.
Over 22 years ago I became a mother to my first born child. Several years ago I decided to become the mother I never had to my neglected self and both these events are worthy of celebration.
This year I am grateful that all three of my kids will be home for Mother’s day. I feel really blessed that I have beautiful, intentional and co-creative relationships with all three of them. I am celebrating the mother that I am and the children that I have raised.
And this year I am also going to take a few minutes to acknowledge the Loving Mom that I have become to the lost little girl that I was and celebrate the mother that I have been and have become to me in my own life. Please consider sharing with me and with all the readers here how you might do the same for yourself.
Happy Mother’s Day to each of us. (including the Men!)
There is freedom on the other side of broken;
The Emerging from Broken book is ready for download! If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, get this book today! This 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to healing. Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing –