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I Need to Forgive My Mother So I Can Be Free

I just watched "Woman Thou Art loosed" on Showtime and it was a reminder of somethign I've known for a long time. I need to forigve my mother so I can be free and move on and really start living my life.

My father molested me from 12-14. She knows this. He admitted to it. We went to family therapy for 3 weeks with a priest. That ended with our last session when the priest said I had no business sleeping in the same bed with my father at 14 years old. "He was so used to waking up with my mother that he thought it was her next to him. You have no right to go around the rest of your life saying your father molested you because that's not what happened."

She knows. She asked him to apologize to me as an adult. He got on the phone and I asked why. He kept saying I dont know. I pushed and pushed and finally he said "I guess I was sick. To wich I replied, and you're not anymore and I dont have to worry about my sisters?

She once said "that still bothers you. Maybe you should see someone about it." During an argument about why she should leave him (he was having one of his many affairs at the time, I brought this up. She didnt leave him when I needed her to. "I didnt know all those things happened. I thought it was just that one time. I'm not the pillar of strength you are."

I dont know but suspect he did it to my sisters too. Once has been hospitalized several times for depression.

She asked me (in front of him) if I wanted him to leave or not. It was my decision. I said I didnt want my sisters to grow up without a father because of me but if he ever touched them I would kill him with my own hands. I meant it at the time.

This all happened in September 85. My sister was born October 86. You do the math.
I'm 36 now and a lots transpired. They even got divorced for a while a few years ago, but remarried.
It's been a very strange dynamic. We pretend nothing happened but I cannot. My sisters know and 2 are just like my mother-"it never happened"


At times I've hung out with him, became very close to him, confided in him, and loved him. I've even forgiven him at times. When I was 29 and leaving on a business trip he apologized again. He cried. It was right after they remarried and he was going through his "new age" period. (lots of Deepak and Syliva Brown Books). I didnt want to talk about it at that moment and told him "its ok its in the past let forget it." 

And at times I've hated him. But not as much as my mother. For some reason I feel betrayed by her even more. I am more angry with her. I have never stopped carrying that around. I've had a "decent" relationship with her, but she knows I dont really want to be around her anymore. I tried so hard as a teenager, and in my twenties to get close to her but I guess she couldnt handle it. Once she said" As bad as you feel, imagine how he feels. He has to live with that the rest of his life." They have both counseled me that I need to forget about the past and move on or I will never be happy.
I was very angry in my 20s and self destructive into my 30s. I've gotten much better and am a new person since I found the right therapist and medication finally. I had hit rock bottom after a breakup and this lead me to make permanent changes in my life. I've struggled with depression, eating disorders, alcohol issues, self mutilation, sexually risky behaviors, abusive relationships, and other self destructiveness since I was 12 years old. Thank God I am ok today. I have my moments and issues like everyone but I now have a handle on things.

Professionally I’ve had increadible success, partially due to being a perfectionist, overachiever and my need to be recognized/needed. (client services) On the outside I look great. I am healthy, attractive, intelligent, and successful. On the inside I’ve always hurt. I don’t carry it with me every day anymore but I still carry it. I am 36 and single and just last year decided to let myself want to have children. I always felt I didn’t deserve them. What if I molested them? What if I screwed up their lives ? What if they got “my bad genes?” I don’t feel that way anymore. I’d be an excellent mother and wife and I’ve decided recently to try to leave this in God’s hands. If it’s supposed to happen it will.

What is left in my hands is to free myself from my anger. I’ve known since last year (I finally became fully conscious of it since then) that I need to forgive my mother or I will continue to have the issues, fears, problems in relationships and inside me overall. I don’t want to forgive her, that’s the problem.

She had a hard life too. She was gang raped at 16 by guys from the neighborhood that she knew.  Her mother didn’t support her. They didn’t move. Her boyfriend left her when it happened and her mother and the police said “She wasn’t a virgin.” She had to take care of her parents, including her alcoholic father. My grandmother was wonderful to me but not to my mother. She loved her but she didn’t treat her well.   I guess she did the best she could given her own past with an alcoholic abusive father. Why can I think that about my grandmother but not about my own mother?

She doesn’t love herself, as much as she pretends to. I am proud of her-extremely. She got her bachelors at 55 and is working on her masters on full scholarship as part of a teaching fellowship. I just wish she could’ve loved me a little more.

But regardless I need to forgive her to liberate myself. At times I want to cut all ties with my parents. I always used my younger sisters as the excuse of why after I moved out I needed to go back to that house and interact with my family. When they youngest moved out 2 years ago, my excuse was gone. I only stay there on holidays now, and only so I can sleep over with my sisters.  Any other time I go there I sleep at my sister’s who lives nearby in her own house.  

If I cut all ties it will hurt her immensely. I would be doing it to teach her a lesson and pay for hurting me. But sometimes I think it would make me feel better. Other times I think it would cause such an upraod within the family, and disturb everyone’s holidays. I know I would loose 2 of my 3 sisters and my nephews. It’s sad and it’s wrong of them but I couldn’t stand it. The youngest and I got in a big fight once when I said “your father’s a pedafile.” She said I know it happened and I don’t care. It didn’t happen to me. I’ve had a good life. I’m sorry it happened to you but it’s not my problem and I should have to hear about it.” Another told me he loved them too much to do that to them, and didnt know why he did it to me. I hated her for saying that, but not surprised.  She was always his favorite and for a moment I wondered why? Had she given him what I hadnt? (sex)

 

My closest sister (the one who’s been hospitalized) said she wonders if something happened to her and she’s blocked it out because she knows she has all the signs and several psychologists have told her the same. (incidentally, she studied psychology and social work).

 

So here I am. I just saw this movie and the victim’s mother didn’t believe her and stayed with the man. Shehad been raped by her father so when it happened to her daughter she couldn’t handle it.  She called her a liar. At least my mother believed me. The girl grew up to be a criminal, drug addict, prostitute, and killed her step father. While on death row a priest helped her forgive her mother. She was free.

It’s no coincidence I saw this movie.  I’ve been thinking about this and about going to church. Then I found this website where people tell their stories. So this is mine. I want to forgive my mother but for selfish reasons. Is that bad? I deserve to be happy and free. I don’t think I can achieve that unless I let go of the anger. I think the only way to do that is to forgive her. But if I do that I may never want to see her again.  I think deep down I want that-to divorce her. But will that set me free? I have little contact with her now but it doesn’t make me feel better. If anything it’s worse because I feel the guilt of hurting her.

Twice she tried to come visit me and I have made it obvious I didn’t want it.  She tells my sister she’s lost me and I don’t want to be around her. My family is big on ignoring the giant purple dinosaur in the living room, except for me and they hate that.

I’m afraid if I ‘m alone with her I’ll ask her why she chose him over me. Why she didn’t protect me? Btu I know she doesn’t have a good answer and no answer will be good enough.  I’m old enough to know not everything question has an answer. What will make me feel better? I really don’t know, but everything indicates that forgiving her will.

I don’t know what’s next. When I started writing this I was clear and now I’m not.  I want to know why and how to forgive my mother so I can be free.






butter butter 36-40, F 10 Responses Jul 25, 2007

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At the core, why do you want to forgive your mom? If it's because you feel like you "should," then I don't think it will work. If it's because you want a better relationship with her, then she'll need to also work to make a better relationship, starting by acknowledging how badly she hurt you (that would be rare and amazing). If it's because you're tired of feeling awful about it and want to move on, maybe you should get some really good trauma-oriented therapy and carefully limit how much you let your family into your life. I don't know. It's really hard. I have a somewhat similar story, and also really struggle to forgive. I feel a little better when I don't let my family continue to walk all over me, but it means having less family contact, which is lonely. Hopefully you have some really good friends.

I am so sorry.
You seem so strong.
I believe you are strong enough.
If you ever want to talk or just need to blow off steam...
...you know where to find me.

"I no longer worry if the truth hurts someone elses feelings. When I decided to heal and move forward with my life, I had to stop taking care of other people’s feelings and finally validate my feelings. When I finally put my own healing first, I began to see the dysfunction more clearly. The people I was trying not to "hurt" were the ones that hurt me. I finally saw that I was contributing to the sick dysfunctional cycle by going along with it.” Darlene Ouimet<br />
<br />
This quote really helped me. I have a similar story. My step dad molested me when I was 12 and when I told my mom, she divorced him but later went back with him. She left me homeless, and went with him, when I was 15. I almost destroyed my life and pain was almost too much to bare. Jesus Saved me when I was 18. <br />
My mom is still married to him and its our family secret. She has continued to protect him and has continued to hurt me. She has made people doubt whether or not it happened. Its been 18 years now and Ive come a long way but still have a long way to go. It has changed who I am.<br />
I have three daughters and happily married for 10 years. I have decided to walk away. I dont agree with what they have done to me. I dont agree that they attack me every time it surfaces. It will never go away. They tell me to "get over it" but has done nothing to help me. I have to value myself because I am worthy. I will not be shamed for something I didnt do, the shame is on them. I have a hard time forgiving something that has never stopped. How do you do that? I have to come to peace that this was not my choice and I have to stand up for whats right, for me and my daughters. I have to be an example for them.<br />
We know the pain that betrayal causes. We have to be the voice for the little girl in us, that cant speak. We arent the little girl that was silenced anymore. We can speak now. We have to stop the cycle of abuse. In order to heal, we have to face it and then we can conquer it. ~ This was written a long time ago. How are you doing now? ~ with love

i like your style mam :-) , i think you will be fine now..

Hello, it's christmas eve and I am online googling "how to forgive my parents" and I found your story. It calmed me down quite a bit, which I know sounds really selfish, but honestly sometimes it's nice to know that there are others out there with flawed parents, others who have been forced to feel pain well beyond what a normal adult could handle way too early. <br />
<br />
I agree with you in that the only way to be free is to forgive your parents. In fact, I have the word "forgive" tattooed on my side as a reminder to myself. I'm 22 and God am I unstable so I don't know how helpful my advice will be but here goes. <br />
<br />
I haven't spoken to my father in more than 2 years, and I don't plan on ever seeing him again. I tried to talk to him about some terrible childhood memories, and he tried to act like I was the one with a problem, like I was being oversensitive, blah blah blah. (Just for some perspective here, I watched my father deal and smoke crack, beat the **** out of my dogs, pick up hookers, and I suspect sexual abuse and have quite a bit in common with your sister ... so let's just say I'm NOT being over sensitive). What I realized is that he is a complete sociopath. This realization made my decision to cut him out of my life very easy. <br />
<br />
My mother on the other hand, is all I have, and that's where the problem lies for me. She is so flawed. She had multiple personality disorder, basically never leaves her house but to go to work and to the gym, and lives in her own world. She had a completely terrible childhood, and I know she loves me, but it's hard for me to forgive her and move past the fact that she has hurt me so many times (sending me to my dad's house for the weekend, knowing what would happen there, so she could spend time with her boyfriend at the time, always putting what ever jerk she was dating before me, etc.) After an unfortunate series of events on my 18th birthday, I found myself completely alone. So, I went to college a lonely, messed up piece of work. <br />
<br />
Things have improved. Her most recent sociopath boyfriend dumped her cold after 2 years of mistreatment, and after 2 more years of depressed mopping and intensive counseling she is kind of making progress. She tries to be there for me, but she's fundamentally a selfish creature, and I find that whenever I get closer to her she finds new ways to hurt me more. So I feel like when I'm around her I have to be in lala-denial-land to be happy. <br />
<br />
Anyways, what bothers me about your story is that your family doesn't seem to grasp what a problem what your father did to you was. You didn't need to see a priest, you needed to see a social worker and your father needed to be tried in a court of law and punished accordingly. Don't feel guilty about it. You were 12. Spending time with my cousins who are now 9 years old made me realize what a manipulative little weasel my father really was. Children are children, perverted adults are guilty. Anyways, if you'd like my advice, I'd see if you can still press charges or not. You will never be able to be both sane and act peachy, like nothing happened. Might as well actually try to resolve everything so you can get on with life.

Hello, it's christmas eve and I am online googling "how to forgive my parents" and I found your story. It calmed me down quite a bit, which I know sounds really selfish, but honestly sometimes it's nice to know that there are others out there with flawed parents, others who have been forced to feel pain well beyond what a normal adult could handle way too early. <br />
<br />
I agree with you in that the only way to be free is to forgive your parents. In fact, I have the word "forgive" tattooed on my side as a reminder to myself. I'm 22 and God am I unstable so I don't know how helpful my advice will be but here goes. <br />
<br />
I haven't spoken to my father in more than 2 years, and I don't plan on ever seeing him again. I tried to talk to him about some terrible childhood memories, and he tried to act like I was the one with a problem, like I was being oversensitive, blah blah blah. (Just for some perspective here, I watched my father deal and smoke crack, beat the **** out of my dogs, pick up hookers, and I suspect sexual abuse and have quite a bit in common with your sister ... so let's just say I'm NOT being over sensitive). What I realized is that he is a complete sociopath. This realization made my decision to cut him out of my life very easy. <br />
<br />
My mother on the other hand, is all I have, and that's where the problem lies for me. She is so flawed. She had multiple personality disorder, basically never leaves her house but to go to work and to the gym, and lives in her own world. She had a completely terrible childhood, and I know she loves me, but it's hard for me to forgive her and move past the fact that she has hurt me so many times (sending me to my dad's house for the weekend, knowing what would happen there, so she could spend time with her boyfriend at the time, always putting what ever jerk she was dating before me, etc.) After an unfortunate series of events on my 18th birthday, I found myself completely alone. So, I went to college a lonely, messed up piece of work. <br />
<br />
Things have improved. Her most recent sociopath boyfriend dumped her cold after 2 years of mistreatment, and after 2 more years of depressed mopping and intensive counseling she is kind of making progress. She tries to be there for me, but she's fundamentally a selfish creature, and I find that whenever I get closer to her she finds new ways to hurt me more. So I feel like when I'm around her I have to be in lala-denial-land to be happy. <br />
<br />
Anyways, what bothers me about your story is that your family doesn't seem to grasp what a problem what your father did to you was. You didn't need to see a priest, you needed to see a social worker and your father needed to be tried in a court of law and punished accordingly. Don't feel guilty about it. You were 12. Spending time with my cousins who are now 9 years old made me realize what a manipulative little weasel my father really was. Children are children, perverted adults are guilty. Anyways, if you'd like my advice, I'd see if you can still press charges or not. You will never be able to be both sane and act peachy, like nothing happened. Might as well actually try to resolve everything so you can get on with life.

It is sad to hear your story , and it reminds me a little of mine , but if you could ever understand that a lot of what we do was done to us. When Jesus was dieing on the cross the people that were cheering and Jeering at him he looked to the Father in heaven and said forgive them for they know not what they do.. He actually meant it that they were not in control of themselves , The way it happens is that we do what was done to us till we wake up and realize what we have done . i was like that with my children to strict and to angry but now that i have found the peace i can at least show them what they can become :) .. i have confronted my Father for the anger and bullying he did and the insanity he put us through , but i am not angry with him and so he has now power over me he can chose to learn , which he hasn't or live in the hell that he created , i suspect that your mother and father live in this hell together , but maybe if you could understand their programming you wouldn't be needing anything from them and maybe , some day they may even learn from you and your life :) i have seen people abused more than what you may have endured who have not only survived but become whole again.. i wish you Peace :)

Oh and by the way he should be prosecuted and she too if the statute of limitations hasn't run out, but that won't heal you only dealing with your own issues the right way will do that ..Again i hope you find( peace and strength), because they go together hand in hand..

I found your experience when I googled "I can't forgive my parents."<br />
<br />
First, I hope that you've found victory over the evil that wants to imprison all of us for eternity. I wanted to know what you had found most helpful. I have been the victim of a different offense by my parents but I find myself just as entangled. We just got together for one of the first times in about 4.5 years and I regressed to being an angry teenager emotionally. Unfortunately, my loving wife gets the brunt of my anger. I know I am missing out on so much that this life has to offer, with this festering bitterness. I don't want to live like this any more. I feel like it would be so much easier if they didn't think (or pretend to think) so damn highly of themselves as Christian followers. They are the epitome of "hypocrite", but then so am I if I can't follow Christ's example who willingly hung on a cross while the offender was holding him in, and treating Him with, utter contempt. I am so stuck. Please help.

Wow. I must say that first I am sorry that this has happened to you. I have just talked with a lady at work who has a simular problem in life. (her dad now is in jail) and thats where this man should have went. You did nothing wrong, but I am afraid that you are now in torment over forgiveness. Your mother does not want to leave this man because she probably thinks that she will not find anyone any better, This is due to her probably having low self esteem. You are now and have been isolated, your family does not want to hear about this, they don't want to deal with it at all, but you are still looking for the punishment due your father (debt) this puishment has never came and it appears that it never will. As well as your father owing you a debt so does your family, for not coming to your rescue. You now have more problems, you have to forgive your father, your mother, and your sisters (more debt). I ask that you finish reading what I have to say. I am working on my sermon of forgiveness when I ran across your story. I have read both biblical articals and non biblical articals and they both have the same things in common. There is a wrong that creats debt, and there is torment for the person who can't forgive. I hope you have a Bible if not ther are many online bible's that you can use. Just to be sure of the wording use a King James version (I do not have time to go over the Greek translation but I ask that you just trust me in the use of King James and that it is not because I am a King James nut). Matthew Chapter 18 verse 23-35 If you have ever asked God for forgiveness than you yourself are now oblligated to forgive others or as verse 34 says you will be delivered to the tormentors and you will not get free untill the person who owes you the debt has paid you (you father, mother, sisters) but all the while they are in your prison and are unable to make enough to get free. Although it does not mean that they do not owe you but they will never be able to repay you they are in bankrupt if you will and in your prison. As for your father I would like nothing better for him to go to prison for his actions but Jesus says that he him self will deal with these types of men or women who cause little ones to stumble.<br />
If I were you I would write letters to all of those who you feel that owe you.<br />
I would say to them that you forgive them for all of the hurt and wrong that has been done to you. I ask that you forgive me as well for anything that I have done to hurt you.<br />
You need to move on with your life. I know you can. People ask me how I know that God is real, and I answer them and say that there is no power on earth that can make a bad man good, to make a hard heart soft, to give everlasting comfort to those who have been wronged. But I have seen God do these things and much more.<br />
You are 38 and you have a lot of good years ahead of you. I believe that you will be a great mother and will take great care in protecting you children.<br />
Last, I all cases it is the victum who suffers the most no matter what people tell you, and it is the victum who has the most to overcome I am sure that you are aware of this. I think John Newton (the man who wrote Amazing Grace) tried his life to repay his debt to those that he had wronged (watch Amazing Grace the movie about William Wilborforce).<br />
I will pray so much for you. (I love you) from a friend.

I'm so sorry that happened to you. I have not been in a situation like this but I always say it's better to put everything on the table. You should talk to your mother even though you feel like she will not say what you want to hear and you should tell her how you feel as well. But as I read your story I see the women in your family have all kinda fallen into the same category of choosing their men over their own kids. I think it goes deeper in your situation because your mother is treating you the same way her mother treated her when something like that happened and since that is what your mother saw that is what she learned. my suggestion is to get your mother and grandmother together as well as your self so everyone can get all the built up anger out in the open and once that is done the forgiving can begin. If your mother hasn't forgiven her mother yet it will be hard for her to see where your coming from. I wish you the best of luck and hope you find happiness in your life.

It sounds like you still have too much anger to just let it drop and forgive your mother. You may need to talk to her before you can forgive her. I hope you can find a way to be happy.