Worst Day of the Year: Mother's Day?
Can anyone else out there relate to the guilt Mother's Day brings up for us momma's? In talking with my friends through the years I could see that I wasn't alone in this. However, it was always way more intense for me than what other's were conveying to me. Let me tell you a story. My story. It's intense. Especially for me, because I lived it. But surely for you the reader, too.
Every year on Mother's Day I would go to church and sit and squirm with my little family in toe. They were active and energetic boys, so sitting on a hard church pew for an hour and ten minutes felt like a marathon for them and me. But the talks on Mother's were particularly hard for me to endure. I'd hear about the perfect mother. One with patience and love. The mother that sacrificed so much so that her children could have what they wanted and be healthy and happy. With every talk and every example, I wanted to explode! Instead I was imploding...and the anger and frustration and guilt consumed me. We would then have to stand up as the young men and women handed out gifts to honor the mom's in the room. I HATED this! I wanted to run out of the church and home to cry. But I didn't, I endured it. I knew something was really wrong, but I didn't know what. Was I such a terrible mother? No not really. Was I a perfect mother? Definitely not. It made me think of my own mother and that was a very strained relationship. I loved my mom, because she was my mom. But I didn't like her. Not even a little.
So we'd eventually end up and home and my husband did a great job of rallying the boys around to honor me...but I hated it. I didn't want him to do it. It got harder and harder for me to endure. He would start coming to me earlier and earlier each year...he's say, "Can you please be nice this year?" I wanted to. I really did, but I felt like I was "overtaken" by some force and that force welled up inside of me and raged inside. I liken it to the movie title, "Invasion of the body snatchers!" - That is exactly what it felt like. I tried to explain it to my husband and he tried very hard to understand. But I could see that he didn't. I didn't understand it.
Year after year, it grew with intensity. Finally, today, I have the answers. God bless my little family for enduring it with me. They deserve to be honored on Mother's Day...for living through the insanity that was their mother while my subconscious raged with guilt and pain and PTSD. Yes, it turns out I had multiple traumas in my childhood. I knew I had an unhappy one, but I didn't have a lot of memory from childhood.
Fast forward in my life and my little boys are now teenagers and I am enrolled in a school where I can simultaneously heal and learn how to assist others in healing. As I attended weekly, more and more of the memories would surface. One particular week, the memory of an event surfaced and when it did....I was curled up in the fetal position on the floor, sobbing. Eventually, this event was completely neutralized. It took weeks. It was difficult but I would go through it all again, because of the peace I am able to live in today because of finally looking at it. I wasn't trying to hide it....consciously. It was a repressed memory. We repress the really awful memories. The one's we deem to painful to look at and live through and deal with. It's a built in mechanism in our brains. Think of it like this...when your internet goes down, you can't get onto the internet on your computer. It goes "offline" - there is a wealth of information there but you can't access it. Our thinking mind...(the pre-frontal cortex) shuts down and we go into survival mode. That is the reptilian brain...a form of auto pilot....and then the traumatic event can't be processed....made sense of.....because the thinking mind is offline. This event...along with the intense emotion...gets stored in the limbic system...brain and body storage. I had done this repeatedly as a child. So that by the time I was having children myself, I was getting triggered often.
One big trauma memory, surfaced and I finally dealt with it. I was able to finally feel all that had been stored and laid in wait for me to feel. This was my mother's suicide attempt. I was nine years old and my sister just older than me was sixteen. She and I together saved our mom's life. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I have total recall...but with zero pain or trigger. I feel totally at peace with myself and that day and everything I did and everything I felt and thought. Here's what happened:
My mom was a pretty unhappy woman. Often I was in tears in the morning, because she projected her unhappiness outward at her family. I was particularly "lucky" in that my siblings were all older and had each other to cushion the blow....from her wrath. I usually was alone with her. Not so much fun for me. This particular day, my sister found our mom....after a really rough morning of her spewing her negativity and pain outward on us in her bed. She was blue. Her face and mouth, and tongue particularly swollen. She wasn't getting much if any air. My sister screamed and began yelling at me, telling me I needed to grab her feet as she dragged my mom out of bed. We drug my mom down our hallway through the living room and out the front door to the back seat of our family car. My dad sat on the couch, behind the newspaper. I remember looking at him as we passed right by him. He turned the corner of the newspaper down, saw what we were doing and went right back to reading. With my mom in the back seat of the car, my sister driving and me kneeling down next to my mom. My sister yelled at me to "help her" as she drove frantically to the nearest hospital about 15 minutes away. I didn't know what to do...I was nine years old remember? But I suddenly had an idea come to mind and I did what I saw in my minds eye to do and that was to put my hand in her mouth, push her tongue down and over to one side. When I did that the blueish purple color began to soften and lighten up. I kept doing that for the duration of the drive.
Every time I worked on processing this event, it was suggested to me that I look at and deal with the anger I surely had for my dad who sat and did nothing while my sister and I saved our mom. Every time, I checked in with myself there was zero anger at my dad. Ultimately, this is truth that surfaced for me: I wasn't angry at my dad. I wanted desperately to go and sit by him on the couch. I wanted to leave my mom to die that day. Oh it was so awful, the shame and guilt I felt at uttering those words. I sobbed uncontrollably. I had decided that day, that there was something seriously wrong with me! What kind of a monster wants their own mother to die? A "monster" who endured a daily dose of venomous, hateful words of disgust and disdain from the person in her life that should've loved her and protected her and made her feel safe. Today, I understand that the little nine year old had every right to feel the way she did. The nine year old understood exactly how her dad felt. Dad was tired of the drama and pain caused by this incredibly unhappy and chemically dependent mother of his children. Through a powerful modality called Re-parenting, the adult me was able to give that little girl all the love and nurturing and understanding that she needed and wanted and didn't get. Today, I am free of the shame and guilt that I had stored and the decision I made about me..is now understood. I honor that little girl. My goodness....what she went through....alone. I love and forgive my mom and honor her as my greatest teacher.
Ever heard of Paul Harvey? He's a radio personality and he's known for setting up a story and then breaking for a commercial before he came back with..."The Rest of the Story".... Well, here is the "rest of my story" = I have intentionally left out a major detail. This event - my mother's suicide attempt and the subsequent saving of her life by my older sister and myself took place on Mother's Day 1971.
What I teach my clients and students is that these traumas affect us whether we are aware of them or not. I had completely repressed the memory of this day and this event. Yet it was trying to find expression and healing by causing such discomfort and pain ON Mother's day for me every year. The truth is that being honored by my own children with the decision I had made about myself at age nine - was totally in-congruent and I felt I didn't deserve anything positive on that day...or any day really. I am happy to report that I love being remembered on Mother's day! I love my little boys who are all now, full grown adults with children of their own. Oh how I love them and their kiddos: my darling grandchildren.
What I want you to take away from this story is that you don't know what you don't know! "You are ALWAYS getting a perfect vibrational match to what you predominantly give your attention to....CONSCIOUS OR OTHERWISE!!!" Healing this event from my past and so many others is why I do the work that I do! If you feel stuck and have any level of discomfort or pain that you can't explain but you know is there. We really should talk. I've been there. I've survived looking at those things and identifying the events that want to find expression and teach you the truth about who and what you really are. YOU are perfection! YOU are of Divine origin and the creator and orchestrator of this and all worlds, knows you and your name!
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I recently was a guest on the Gutsy_Health podcast and here is the link to that recording where I tell this story and much more. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/mind-and-body-heal-trauma-heal-life/id1474697743?i=1000470746463