Motherhood can be the most joyous part of our lives. It gives us feelings of love, of being needed, of being responsible, and so many more positive things. It also gives us many challenges that we are never prepared to deal with. The challenge that I am going to share with you, is of a mother having to deal with an abusive child. Whether the abuse stems from chemical abuse or learned behavior, it is still abuse. These questions are my thoughts.
When does being a mother to your children, switch into being a prisoner of their world?
When does being a mother that nurtures and breast feeds her sweet helpless child, turn into a mother ducking from that grown child's blows?
When does being a mother say we have to stand by and watch our children fall into the grips of addiction?
When does being a mother tell us that we are to endure all and be responsible for this child till death do us part?
When does being a mother mean that we must never turn our backs on our children?
When does a mother deserve a lesser respect than a doormat?
When does a mother begin to fear her child and not recognize her own offspring?
When does a mother have to be stronger than ever and choose her well being over someone she once held to her breast?
When does a mother realize her baby is gone?
When does being a mother become a thankless job?
When the Child is the Abuser, that's when!
Being a mother is THE hardest job in the world as far as I am concerned. When our spouses abuse us, we leave them, without further-ado. When the child is the abuser, we allow it. We allow and we allow, over and over again. We hope that they will change, grow up or just please leave. We will never ask them to leave, or force them to leave. If we do that, then we have put ourselves in an unforgivable position. Why? Because we are a mother. Mothers are not suppose to walk away from their children. At what age does a child become a responsible adult? Are we to be responsible for their bad judgements in their lives? What are we teaching them by allowing them to abuse and control us? We teach them that this is an acceptable behavior. We are teaching them this so that we do not have to feel the guilt of turning our backs on them. Sounds a bit confusing, doesn`t it?
Well, we are the ones creating this confusion. Matters of the heart are their best weapon. They will use it until our hearts are no more. Only then can we, as mothers finally take a stand as a human, being abused. Life does not come written in a book for us to follow. We are entering every day, sight unseen. We can only go by what others have told us is the right way, or our gut instinct.
Another reason that being a mother is the ultimate, most painstaking job is because we believe that we have brought these little people into this world and we are responsible for their actions. What they do reflects on us. I will agree with both of those statements to a certain age. Once that child begins to make his/her own choices, it is then that they themselves begin to be responsible for themselves and their actions in life. We are no longer responsible. A child must leave the nest in order to learn how to survive. If you have ever watched a mother bird and her babies, you will see that the baby has only so long to learn to fly. After that the mother tosses this little bird out of the nest and forces it to fly. The mother is not being mean or hurtful. She is doing what any mother would do to teach her child. She is teaching that child the art of survival. I know that we are humans and we are not birds, but in Gods eyes we are given the gift of motherhood because we are strong enough to know when it is time. Time to separate being a mother to a helpless child, from being a mother to an adult.
Being a parent unfortunately does not set us aside from an abusive world. If our child grows up and falls into an addiction, or has a very volatile personality, we are not above the law in their eyes. They can, and in many instances will, turn on us. At this point, it is our responsibility as a parent to do the right thing; the right thing that many others around you may not understand. Some will even frown on you for your decision. They obviously have not walked a mile in your shoes. For the others that commend you for your decision, they know what your world has become.
Ask yourself this...if this was not your child, would you stand there and allow this abuse?
If the time ever comes that you are forced to walk away from your child, you will experience what is known as guilt. This guilt will be a very natural reaction of a parent that has just suffered a great loss. This will eventually pass and in its place will come a feeling of peace. Peace in the knowledge that you have just succeeded in making one of the most toughest decisions a parent will ever have to make. You have taken a stand as a responsible parent and have had to take control of your life and the freedom in which you deserve. Abuse is many things, but none of them are healthy or productive.
Abuse is unacceptable.
Abuse is wrong.
Abuse is mental as well as physical.
Abuse is hurtful and deliberate.
Abuse is not, ever a joke.
Abuse knows no face or relationship.
Abuse needs to be professionally dealt with.
Abuse respects no-one.
Abuse is irrational.
Abuse must be stopped.
Abuse will kill.
To save your child from further destroying both your lives, you must make the right decision. As a parent, you must take control and get help!
Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws! -Barbara Kingsolver
COMMENT: Thank you for your article on betrayal by children. You did not mention teen and young adult children's tendency to malign and lie about their parents. If anyone else did this too us, we would cut them out of our lives quite promptly. With our children it such a fine line of quiet confrontations/silence/patience while we wait for them/hope for them to grow up. Some day, on a bad day, there is so much of a possibility that I will break down and attack. I just hope I can hold on till this stops.
Poor choices don't hurt nearly as much malicious verbal betrayal, especially when I'm not "doing" anything to provoke it!
COMMENT: I cried when I read this. When a child turns their back on you, after years of nurturing and coddling, you are left bereft and damaged. The death of that relationship brings about all the natural stages of grief. I wonder whether I will ever get to the stage of acceptance.
After years of abuse from my children's father, I summoned the courage to leave. My oldest daughter was eleven at the time and has never forgiven me for leaving him. Part of this is due to the fact that we hide our abuse in an attempt to shield our children. How could she understand what she did not see? I also promised myself that I would never speak badly of the children's father so that they would have healthy minds and hearts in the divorce-transition. Unfortunately, their father did all he could to get me back, including using the children as pawns. My only response to them was, "I did not leave your father because he was a nice man." Since he refused to pay child support (in those days there were some states with non-reciprocal statutes), I worked three jobs at times just to support four children.
Years later after my oldest had married and had two small children of her own, she begged me to allow them all to live with me for awhile until they "got on their feet." Because I wanted to regain my daughter's love, I happily invited them into my large Victorian home which I had struggled to buy, maintain and refurbish. The deal was that they pay me $200.00 per month and the differential in utilities. That never happened and not wanting to lose my daughter, I remained quiet and continued to struggle financially even though I had a good career.
It was not long before my daughter began exhibiting the same rage her father had. If I reminded her that she needed to vacuum cookie crumbs left by the kids or even to load the dishwasher, abuse ensued. Twice she pinned me against the wall, then like her father pleaded for forgiveness.
This went on for 3 1/2 years until I was drained mentally and about to lose my home. I advised my daughter of my financial plight and told her I needed to sell the house. She was livid, but found a little house to but and moved out. She has not spoken to me since. She will not allow me to see my grandchildren. Someone once told me that you cannot rationalize with irrational people. I know this to be true.
The reality is that sometimes our children do abuse us, turn their backs on us and leave us in a well of tears. My heart goes out to any mother facing these issues. I thought I was alone. Reading D's site, I know that I am not. God be with us all.
*Thank you, D, for having this forum. Today I will not feel so alone.
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