Many of us in the DID community live day to day with broken hearts. Betrayed by our mothers, we see the third Sunday in May as a day to mourn what we should have had as children but didn’t.
So, today I’m going to write about Mother’s Day, beginning with the tragedy of the one we never had and I will end with insights into mothering yourself.
First, a Few Words to the Mother’s Out There
This post is going to hurt so I wanted to stop here and say to those of you who read this post, Happy Mother’s Day. I have never been an official mom so I cannot speak of how hard a job being a mother is, but I have an inkling.
You get up in the morning and try desperately to wake up so you can face the crying, impatient children that you love so much. Once they are up, there are meals to cook, laundry to do, cleaning of both the home and the kids. God forbid you might have to go to work to support your kids.
You try your damnedest to stay tolerant when your three-year-old screeches he wants to do something your six-year-old is doing than listen as your six-year-old complains.
You try to use a soft voice to answer the “whys” and the “can I?s” you hear over and over again.
You feel you are failing at being a good mother and question your decisions and behaviors.
I’m here to tell you all now, I honor you for your sacrifices. I honor you for changing the history of violence that hurt you. I honor you for using a tolerant voice with your children and trying to stay sane as they pass through the stages of growing up.
Most of all, I honor you for wondering if you are a good mom and feeling self-doubt you are.
Only a good mom would ask the hard questions about their actions and motivations behind raising their children. You do so because want to help your children not harm them by perpetuating the cycle of violence in which you were raised.
Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you!
The Painful Reality that My Real Mommy Wasn’t Coming Back
I doubt seriously if I am the only person who, as a child, dreamt my real mommy would come back to get me someday. I’d fantasize about how my real mommy would swoop in, punish the woman I lived with and hurt me, then take me home receive hugs and kisses forever.
I wouldn’t just daydream about my real mom, I had visions of what she would look like and how she would smell. I thought of her soft voice, her warm disposition, and the dinners she would make for me.
I’d dream at home, church, and unfortunately school a fact that got me into trouble with my teachers often.
Finally, as I grew, I realized my real mommy wasn’t someone who was going to rescue me, she was the one who hurt me. She was the one who did not protect me. She was the one who would forget to feed me.
My real mommy was a monster.
As an Adult, I Still Searched for a Real Mommy
As a grown-up, my searching for a real mommy did not end. I met women who would comfort me and I pretended they were my real mommies, but of course, they were not.
When I entered therapy, my therapist had the unenviable job of helping me without losing me in the quagmire of my daydreams. Paula was a fantastic therapist, and I think she understood very early in my treatment the potential for the disaster she had with me.
Paula needed to be a beacon of hope and comfort, without me becoming so hooked to her hip that I lost the reality of who she was and wasn’t. She was my therapist, not my mother or friend.
I continued therapy with Paula for nine years the first time and another four the second time I saw her. However, for a full 27 years her voice of reason echoed in my brain even during the years I did not have her wisdom to draw from afresh.
Paula retired in 2016, and I have been struggling since she left. I know she worked hard to keep me from seeing her as my mom, but I’m afraid she was not successful in that endeavor. For all intents and purposes, my mother died in September 2016 leaving me with a broken heart.
I have had to come to some hard conclusions that, although I knew intellectually, now I must incorporate into my soul.
Paula never loved me. She was and never could be my mom. She was paid to see me as a client and when the time came she retired. I will never see her again.
I am eternally and deeply sad. It’s time to grow up and it is difficult, harder than anything I have had to do before.
Becoming Our Own Mothers
I know the answer to the dilemma of wishing for a mother who does not exist. It is to mother, care for, and honor me on Mother’s Day. I hope you will give it a good hard try too.
It is a lot more difficult with alters to reconcile that “real mommy” isn’t coming and get them to accept me and you as the mommy they need. They are holding out for “real mommy” to come to the rescue.
How do you tell a group of six-year-old internal children that there is no “real mommy” and that you want the job?
For the most part, my internal kids have accepted me as their mommy. I tell them I love them and hold them every chance I get. I reassure the little ones that I will never leave like Paula did because we are hooked together for life. I am not going anywhere.
I remind them we are one person, but because they are so young, they do not understand.
To be honest, the little kids accept me as a mom.
But there are the older ones, and myself included, who wish to hell we had a nurturing, kind and supportive mom. We too must accept the fact that there is no one else, so we need to do all that by ourselves.
Yes, I’ve spoken in the plural even though I know intellectually there is only one me. It doesn’t feel that way in my heart so I will not be harsh on myself.
I asked myself this morning when I woke up and remembered it is Mother’s Day what the qualities of a good mom might be. Here is the list I came up with:
I wholeheartedly believe that no one fits this description more than a person who has survived a trip to hell. Women, like you and I, who are survivors of such horrible abuse that our personalities did not develop into a whole “me” are the best damn mothers on this planet.
Never forget that, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of us.