All holidays can be tough for people who have experienced abuse, neglect, or rejection by their own parents, the people who are supposed to love them the most. Of course our parents are only human, they will make mistakes in raising us, and in navigating the sometimes strange tides of adult child to parent relationship. Neither family relationships, nor life itself, rarely resemble the idyllic world of a Hallmark movie. But there are some parents who commit true evil toward their children. Remembering the rejection of a mother can be particularly painful on the Mother’s Day holiday.
My own family was filled with chaos and secrets as I grew up. My father had a violent temper, and made liberal use of “spare the rod, spoil the child,” in order to beat (“grow”) us into godliness. My mother supported him and stood silently by, although she rarely raised her own hand to us.
There were also good times, tender conversations with my mother, and contemplative fishing trips with my father. These joyful waters never calmed completely, though, as the constant threat of another storm always loomed on the horizon. Even as a young child, my parents would argue with me and put me down over my liberal ideas of environmentalism, collectivism, feminism, and oneness. I was raised strictly evangelical fundamental, but my spirit rebelled against this from birth. At times I overrode my heart and tried my hardest to use fundie talk, and convert all my friends to Christianity, to earn my parent’s admiration. Even then, I felt like I never fit into my family, and, deep in my heart, I often questioned my parent’s love for me.
Many years later, after a painful excommunication by my church (my safety network of friends), unemployed, despite my master’s degree, because of a crap economy, homeless after exhausting all of my savings and credit cards, with a helpless toddler in my arms, my husband and I went back to my parents, asking for help. They said we were headed to hell for our “new age” views, we were in league with the devil, and God was judging us. After another religious argument they kicked us out the door and said they never wanted to speak to us again.
My tears fell.
My tears fell as Christian love died.
My tears fell as parental love died.
The pain of rejection was far worse than the pain of homelessness and the fear of the future. But the Holy Spirit spoke tender words to me in her healing grace. YHWH guided us to Minnesota in his wisdom. I found work and we have begun to rebuild our life.
The pain and sadness still linger, especially as so many people today on Mother’s Day are talking about the joy of their mother and how mothers forever love the children they carried, no matter what. Unfortunately, this is not always true. Today I am just finding joy in being a mother to my own son, and I know that, no matter where his life journey takes him, I will always love him.
If you, friend, are struggling today with memories of a mother’s rejection, or abuse, I feel your pain. I am sending healing Reiki out into the world to help soothe these wounds. Feel and acknowledge the pain, but embrace Life. Feel free to share your story in the comments, or contact me for a healing appointment.
Find joy in the journey.
Happy Mother’s Day.