Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.
I am sorry you were so horribly abused. It sounds like your mother did not know how to parent and most likely also had some sort of mental health disorder.
The affects of abuse on a child vary. In seems in your case, you wanted her to love you (and still do- that is very normal) but there is a conflict for you between wanting to be loved by her and the very human instinct of staying away from someone who has hurt you and still wants to hurt you.
You also are suffering from the effects of childhood abuse. Anger, depression and tearfulness are all signs of emotional scars from abuse. Because of this, before you can consider handling the situation with your mother, you need to help yourself work through your feelings.
You might also be in mourning over the loss of the childhood, and the parents, you were supposed to have. That is also very normal. The older you get and the more you work through how you feel, you begin to understand how your life was supposed to be if your parents had been normal and loving parents. This loss is one of the hardest to deal with in recovery from childhood abuse, but it can be worked through.
Have you considered seeing a therapist? A therapist can do a full evaluation and determine what is going on and how to treat you. From what you have told me, it sounds like you are dealing with at least depression. But, you also may have some mild PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder). Both are very common reactions to childhood abuse.
To find a therapist, talk with your doctor about a referral. Or, if you attend church, your pastor can help. You can also search on line at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/
You can also help yourself. Look into support groups for adults abused as children. You can start your search by contacting your local community mental health center for a list. You can also read books about childhood abuse. Here are some suggestions:
Outgrowing the Pain: A Book for and About Adults Abused As Children by Eliana Gil
Adult Children of Abusive Parents: A Healing Program for Those Who Have Been Physically, Sexually, or Emotionally Abused - Paperback (Apr. 14, 1990) by Steven Farmer (I highly recommend this book)
A Man's Recovery from Traumatic Childhood Abuse: The Insiders by Robert Falconer and Mark Falstein
You can find these on Amazon.com or your local library may have them for you.
As for your mother, keep in mind that you are not obligated to deal with her. Even if you are an only child, you still do not have to deal with her. As she ages, there are aging services available to help her. You can tell anyone who contacts you about her that you do not want responsibility for her and that is it. No one can force you legally to deal with her. These services are in place to deal with those elderly who do not have children or others to care for them so they are equipped to help your mother as well.
You can also refuse her phone calls and block her emails. The lack of contact with her can help you heal. You will probably need to go through a mourning/grief period to deal with the loss of the contact with your mother. But you are already dealing with the grief of your lost childhood and how your mother (and father) was supposed to treat you, so that is familiar to you.
Or you can also keep the communication open. You may continue to get hurt, but it would keep you in her life and vice versa, for as much as she is able to handle it. It also keeps the small chance of reconciliation open as well. This choice leaves you vulnerable to getting hurt a lot, but if you think you have enough support in your life and you are dealing with your issues, this is a viable option for you.
Therapy can help you make some of these tough choices. It is not easy, because you will feel many emotions no matter which choice you make regarding your mother. But with support, educating yourself and motivation, you will feel better.
Let me know if you have any more questions or need clarification.
I hope this has helped you,Kate
Thanks. That was excellent.
I just have one more question about it.
I do not want her to treat my children (which I don't have yet) the way she treated me.
I feel guilty about keeping her away from my children, but I don't want them to be hurt or th experience the pain I did. .
You are welcome! I am glad the answer helped.
I understand your concern. If you choose to maintain contact with your mother, then you can allow her to see your children. Just be sure you never leave them alone with her. She may seem very different with your children than she did with you, leaving you to think that she may have changed. But abusers rarely change unless they gain insight and get help to deal with what they did. So you can assume that your mother will continue her behavior with your children as well if they are left alone with her.
It is not unacceptable for you to keep your children from her if you feel the visits would do more harm than good. Your children, as they get older, will naturally want to ask about your childhood and their grandmother. Just be honest with them and tell them why you don't see your mother. Keep your explanations age appropriate so you don't scare them, but otherwise be honest. Children are amazing at sensing someone misguiding them so the more honest you are, the better. Answer any questions they have as well. They won't understand abuse since they will grow up in a loving home with you, but they will adapt and feel secure in your answers.
You are welcome! I am glad I could help.