I had forgotten a really big piece of my healing journey. After my divorce, I went through an incredible transformative phase. It was the first time in my life when I began to cultivate some self worth. The first thirty years of my life, I had none. And now that I’ve laid myself down in the greener pastures of self love, I could never imagine going back to the dead lawn of self loathing. However, during this transformation, I neglected to forgive and love my mom. And here’s why that is a key ingredient to my healing process.
My mom sees the world a lot differently than I do. She sees people as objects to compare with herself, as you are either a hero or a villain in her book. Her heroes are few, but the small group of people that fall into that category, to her they can do no wrong. Those are the people who personify her ideas of perfection. Those are the people she aspires to become.
And then she has her villains, anyone she sees as less than herself. People she feels threatened by. I have always been the rebellious child, lashing out at her beige world with a paintbrush soaked in bright red reality.
People have a natural instinct to love their mother. But when that love goes unrequited, it’s devastating. A kid is supposed to be able to count on their own mom for love and support. I couldn’t. I carried around an empty cup. It should have been filled with my mother’s love. But instead I filled it with binge drinking, disconnected sex, and enough resentment to take out a small country.
So I began to despise my mother. I blamed her for my shortfalls in relationships and life. I hated her. I dropped her into the villain box and began to treat her the same way she had treated me. In my eyes, she wasn’t enough. She didn’t measure up. She couldn’t do anything right.
But what I failed to realize, was that she was still my mother. She created me out of her own flesh. She brought me into this world. She gave me nourishment and taught me her language. I am her. She shows up in my mannerisms, my eyes, and my smile. Her voice is the voice in the back of my head. It’s the voice that taught me how to navigate the world. It’s the voice of my inner critic. My mother’s mind, body, and soul are ingrained into my own. So no matter how much energy I put into self love, if I hate my mother, I hate myself.
So I am making the conscious effort to forgive her for not being able to love me in the way that I need. And I am able to truly accept her version of love, because my cup is filled with my own self love now.
And I will fill her cup too. Because she is my mom and she has always loved me, the best that she can. And so I will continue to love her the best that I can. And hopefully one day I won’t have to work at it.