I was there when my mother dragged me down the street by my hair because I forgot my report card in the classroom.

I was there when she slammed my four year old body into the hard, unforgiving furniture soon after I had back surgery.

I was there when she extinguished cigarettes on my thighs.

I was there when she didn’t give me the amoxicillin during the week to cure one of my many childhood illnesses.

I was there when she neglected to feed me because she was anorexic, self-consumed, and otherwise mentally ill (NOS!).

I was there when I got the chicken pox and she went to the beach instead of caring for me.

I was there when she alternated beatings when I was 12 between the tv remote and telephone.

I was there when my 2 year old half-brother weighed a pound more than I did at 7 years old.

I was there when I blocked my faced when she beat me with objects and she told my grandparents I was hitting her.

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I could go on forever and a day on things that I was physically and emotionally “there for” when my mother had custody of me from birth to 8, and then again at 12 that are much darker and more painful in all ways than above. While I do have feelings about what she did, I don’t have feelings about her as an abuser. I seem to either have magically forgiven her or have dissociated away enough of the feelings to have an actual relationship with her.

She denies everything. She has conjured up lies to cover up what she did, why she lost custody, etc. “My father had more money”, “He had a better lawyer”, “They told so many lies”. “I went to boarding school,” seems to be her favorite excuse as to why I was not around during middle and high school. She’s not sorry. She honestly doesn’t think she did anything wrong. Every therapist and psychiatrist has excused her behavior because she “was under a lot of stress”, “was physically unwell”, “was molested by her two female cousins”, “my father was abusive to her” (they divorced when I was two), I could go on and on. If they saw her enough times, and/or diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder and/or held her accountable for her actions she would discontinue seeing them.

And yet, here I am in Las Vegas sitting beside her visiting her for 2 weeks. I am 27 years old and I have essentially ignored my mother’s abuse. I am aware of the reason I even allow her in my life. I know that she loves me. She came back into my life about a decade ago; when I no longer needed parenting (for the most part), of course. It was easier for her then. Perhaps she was never meant to be a parent. Some people are not. She was 28 years old when she gave birth, and therefore, the same age as me when she became pregnant with me. She had no maternal instinct. The hospital wouldn’t even release my full-term 2lb. 11oz. self to her when I was born. I was in the NICU for the first month of my life despite the fact that I was 37 weeks. I was that weight because she apparently thought that maintaining her figure was more important than the life in her belly, and therefore gained only 11lbs. during her pregnancy.

For some reason when she was ready to return to my life as a parent, I welcomed her with timid, but relatively open arms. I suppose it is because I would welcome any nurturing, as I had tried to do my entire childhood (and part of my adulthood!) from any adult who would give it. My mom was thoughtful, honest, and became my confidante. She believes what my grandfather and father did to me; and wishes she could take away my pain. She blames herself for not protecting me, and that is the one thing she holds herself accountable for. I needed a mother for almost two decades, but I was willing to take what I could get. When it came to safe, nurturing, parental love: I was NOT willing to look a gift horse in the mouth.

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