No, Mama, No!

Still to this day, at age 49, I cannot understand why your love for me is conditional, but for your four sons it’s given freely. You say you love me, but actions speak louder than words.

My nightmares are about you. You are the monster in the dark, but at first you appear as a protector and I fall for it every time. Did you ever feel the need to protect me or was that all daddy? You hated that he sang me to sleep every night, that he and I sang together every morning as he got ready for work, that he took me on little get away day trips to see the leaves turn in the fall or just spend time looking out over a green valley. You hated that we were so much alike, you hated that I drew attention when I walked into a room just like he did. You hated that we even looked alike and that everyone knew I was his daughter, his only daughter. You hated that he protected me from you. Those nights he held me in the dark, in my bedroom with the door locked, while you screamed and pounded on the door like a lunatic. We were both scared of you. You blamed me for his death, but you and your sons broke him.

You hate that I married a man just like him…handsome, charismatic, smart, funny. You hate that I have the marriage you never had, but faked it to the world. You hate that your son-in-law loves his only daughter the way daddy loved me and that he sings to her and takes her on outings. I LOVE that he does all those things. I LOVE that she looks like her daddy, that they have the same weird sense of humor, that her eyes light up when he comes into the room, that the both of them turn heads.

You took away my protector and defender. You took away my security and to this day I am wounded so deeply that I don’t think I will ever completely recover, but I do not allow your mistakes to dictate how I treat my children and those I love and care about because you are not allowed to have that kind of power over me. You tried to break me, too. Congratulations on your legacy. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him. Not a day goes by for the last 30 years, 30 fucking long years, that I don’t look at his picture and cry, even if it’s just one tear.

So with the help and guidance of my husband, the man you’re all afraid of because he doesn’t put up with your crap, I forge a better life for myself that cannot include you or your sons. Just know this, my children will never cry out in the dark, “No, Mama, no!”

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52 thoughts on “No, Mama, No!

  1. Oh, Elle. I am so sorry.
    Sometimes you have to choose your own family (be it populated by people related to you or not). You have done very well with the ones you have chosen and the ones you have created with Coach. Go forward with that knowledge and try to limit the exposure of the ones who cannot fit into your definition of Family.
    Sending a quiet moment, coffee and a hug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, d. We rarely ever see my family and that is intentional. We’ve always been cautious with friends as well but there are a couple of people in our lives that we can count on as family.

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  2. Elle. I can’t imagine what you carry inside your heart and memories that compels you to express this. I read this and wonder who these people are and what possess them to do what they did to you. I am truly hurting for you.

    Mrs. WC

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always wondered who those people are, too. My mom is an example of passing down abuse. She was verbally and physically abused by her father and she continued that legacy. I was the one that was abused and my brothers joined in. My brothers have all had spousal abuse problems and a couple of them have been arrested several times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hear a few familiar notes in that tune. Mr. WC was abused by a few people in his early years including sexual molestation by a teenage boy (when he was 2-3). His (former) stepfather abused him and his mother (he pistol whipped Mr. WC’s mother in front of him. He was also bullied by older kids at school and in the neighborhood until he was big enough to defend himself and fought back (to hear him tell that story warms my heart).

        It makes me wonder of Mr. WC’s PTSD (from military duty in combat) pre-existed that from childhood.

        Mr. WC doesn’t do the typical, pass-it-down behavior. When he battles is demons, he is sullen and withdrawn from us. He suffers from horrific nightmares (he violently thrashes and screams in his sleep) which he avoids by staying up late.

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        • I believe my father had PTSD. He was a World War II Vet and served in army intelligence and was part of the liberation forces. They were a generation that got no diagnosis and no treatment. My father also had nightmares most nights and would scream in his sleep. I believe the chaos, sometimes like a war zone in my house, did something to my dad and he would withdraw and remove himself from the family at times. He would get up and go to work and then come home. Nothing else. When he finally was himself again it was like The sun came out, the sky was blue, and all was right with the world again.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yeah, that is Mr. WC. He started writing about it on his blog (not the sexy one) and sharing about some of the things he has dealt with. Yes, the sun came out as Mr. WC emerged from the darkened forest (the one that contains a demon lurking behind every dead tree). There are still days where he finds himself back in the darkness and needs help – someone to reach in and grab his hand to pull him free. I lived through that with him. We were together when he left (normal) and returned way off – not who I knew him to be.

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              • He is the brave one. How he endures all of that is unfathomable. How you endured what you did and came out to be such an amazing person…no amazing woman is beyond me!

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                • I do think you are both brave. He for pushing himself through, pulling himself out of the darkened woods. You for being there to support him through it. Some people would leave running. Or would make him feel inadequate. I know, I was married to someone like that šŸ˜‰

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Mr. WC came home a different person, but I didn’t notice the changes until a few months later. We were married three months after he returned from a very scary deployment. We were together less than two months when he was sent back (with a different unit) which meant that he had less than five months between deployments. I had him to myself during that time for only a month and a half, so it was hard to recognize what was going on. His letters home had a different feel. He talked about things differently (except for when he talked about me). I saved every letter and we shared them with his counselor so that he could see the trend.

                    I appreciate that people think it is brave. Mr. WC is the love of my life and has been since we were kids. In the last five years, I feel that I have gotten back most of the person that I lost so many years ago. He is a lot like the playful teenager and full of energy and life. Now, we just need to work on how to deal with the challenges that rise up and send him spinning. Those episodes seldom occur and we have a good network of friend and family that can help him (us) when they surface,

                    Elle, how did your father’s nightmares affect you and this horror that you endured? Did your father withdraw and leave you to fend for yourself? Mr. WC withdraws but is a defender of our kids. He is quick to step in when they fight with each other and tries to help them work through their conflicts. There is a bit of a pall that drapes the house when he is struggling, but he is functional.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • My father was my defender. What happened was that we did not know he had a heart condition (he died of a massive heart attack at age 56) and coupled with his probable PTSD he withdrew more and more. My mother, being the slick bitch that she is, started abusing me when my father was not home and she and my brothers had a pact that if I told him anything that they would say I was going crazy. They were a united front and I think at a point he started believing it because I started rebelling and taking drugs and cutting myself. They actually called the police on me one day to have me taken away because I was huddled in a corner crying my head off after I had just been beaten by my mom and one of my brothers. I was screaming like crazy and they told the police that I was going crazy and was hitting myself. My father stopped them from taking me away because I got him on the phone. He knew everybody in the police department so because they respected him so much I did not get taken away. I was 15. I stayed away as much as possible after that incident. I would sneak out at night and sleep at a friend’s house. There were many mornings that they started in on me after my father left for work so I did not want to be there in the morning. I missed a lot of school. My three older brothers were drug dealers and life went from bad to hell. Just so you know, in between all these incidents, my mother would act as normal as possible and you would think that she was just a nice, kind, suburban housewife/nurse at the hospital that everybody loved. You would never know my brothers were drug dealers. Everybody was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

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                    • I can’t bring myself to click the “like” link. That is so horrifying, Elle! That makes me want to go get my kids and hold them as tightly as I can. I don’t understand how a mother can be that way to her flesh and blood.

                      I don’t know what to say. How you survived that incomprehensible. My father was an alcoholic but never an abuser. My mother was abusive to me (verbally) and I deal with the baggage (self image) from the things she said to me as a young girl. I whine and complain to Mr. WC and I feel pathetic for doing that with what he deals with and now, seeing what you were raised in, I need to just shut my mouth.

                      I am going to grab my kids and hug them – but I am really hugging you, Elle!

                      Liked by 2 people

                    • Maybe I got enough love that I can still find that capacity within me and that’s why I have not continued the cycle of abuse nor turn out to be a complete basket case. My grandmother, my father’s mother, was a widow and lived with us. My father built our house and made an apartment for her. My mother hated her. My grandmother loved me. All of this first started while grandma was going through chemotherapy for breast cancer and I was bathing her and taking care of her after she had her mastectomy. She could not help me at all. I learned not to hide in her apartment because I did not want my mom to follow and bring her wrath there. My grandmother needed to be protected from her and I made sure she was. My grandmother died the year before my father. The last year of my father’s life he was heartbroken and I was heartbroken along with him. I would find him sitting in my grandmother’s chair late at night, wide awake, staring off into space. He would always go to bed after I found him, but something was drastically wrong with him and I had no power to help him. The one piece of furniture I took with me when I left my house for good at 18 was my grandmother’s chair and I kept her chair until it sll but fell apart. To this day, when I go into a furniture store, I look for a chair that is similar. She had it custom made so I don’t think I will ever find a chair exactly like it. I hope one day I can have one made.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • The cycle has been broken by and because of you, Elle. Your children are blessed by your bravery, boldness and wisdom. Thank you for sharing this deep hurt.

                      Mr. WC has been working on forgiveness. It truly is the only way to separate himself from the chains of his past. That helps him during the day, but it is the night time when the controls come off and his brain begins to attack him.

                      I hope that you can find someone who can build that chair!

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        • I was very close to doing the typical passing-down of abuse. I realised one day that I just couldn’t stand to see fear in my children’s eyes when they looked at me. I was afraid of physically abusing them like I had been to some extent. So I sought help. I’m so glad I did.
          It means that I was able to take a hard look at myself and decide that the childhood I’d had, the relationship with my father, I didn’t want that for my children. I was going to leave a better legacy for them.
          This is also in parts the reason why I left their father. Because I wanted them to get a different idea of what a normal relationship is, what they are entitled to in life. One of them is starting to see that I didn’t have a god relationship with their dad. The others may not see tha (yet?)t, but I’m hoping they will learn in a different way, how marriage is meant to be supportive, a partnership, not a place of abuse. And maybe one day they can see me live in a loving relationship and that will show them how it’s done. I have hope šŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh Elle! Big HUG!

    Good for you that you decided to take your life in your own hands and realised that her way was never going to bring you any happiness.
    I ache to read you talk about your brothers as ‘her sons’, though having read former posts or comments of yours, I know why you speak of them in this detached way. You don’t want anything to do with them anymore. I say good for you.

    When I undertook therapy, my counselor explained to me that changing me was the best way to change those around me too, because a family unit is a big mobile, if you pull on one end, every part of it shifts. I suppose the death of your father was the first big shift. You deciding to step out of the path your mother and brothers had in store for you was another big change. It looks like you managed to almost cut the string tying you to the rest of that family.
    But the good part is that your new family, the strings are strong and the mobile much more stable.

    I wish only the best for you. And I know in my heart that your children will never feel like crying that about you.

    Hugs again.
    XOOX

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love that mobile example. I know how good I have it now and I cherish it. We make sure our children know every single day that we love them. We also hug and kiss them every single day without fail. They know that Mom and Dad are a safe place to go. That’s all a child wants.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hugging and kissing my children is one of the things I make sure I do regularly too. Though it’s getting more difficult with my teenage son, who is also very introverted. I try to respect his desire for distance. But sometimes, I’m still surprised with a big hug or a kiss šŸ™‚
        I agree with what you say about children wanting safety from Mom and Dad. I try to keep providing that, though it is now more difficult, because there is basically no communication between their father and me, since he insists on talking down to me, and I’m not ready to have him do that anymore. I also need to protect myself from his attempts at abuse still, trying to make me feel like less than a mother. Luckily my kids are starting to see through his disguise. At least luckily for me. Not so lucky for the kids šŸ˜¦

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmppff! I don’t like this and I’m having a hard time not saying something crappy… Sooo. Let me put that aside and just say, that you are loved, beautiful, strong and a better person for having come out of an upbringing like.

    Hugs friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, friend. My mom was a trip. Last year she told me that the reason she was like that was due to the fact she thought I was a lesbian because I was so good at sports. Really…she said this to me last year, on the phone, out of the blue. She and one of my brothers thought they could beat it out of me. Is it any wonder I suppressed so much for so long. She would say the most awful things about sexuality. I don’t have too much to do with her anymore. I love her, nonetheless, but it’s too hard to have a relationship.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would have said, OMGAWD!!!! I’m so glad someone finally figured it out. You’re right! You’re a crazy retched vulgar person who decided to treat her daughter like dirt because I turned out to be a lesbian due to the fact I was good at sports. Well someone stop the fucking bus and start printing up “Mom of the year” signs, thank you, thank you, thank you for figuring out what MY problem is….

        Of course if this was in person I would have grabbed her face with both hands and planted a big ole wet kiss on her lips too just to freak her the fuck out. But i’m a little crazy like that. šŸ˜‰

        Seriously though, I see why there is the distance and I’ve no doubt this has just made the relationship you have with your children that much stronger.

        xo

        Liked by 2 people

        • I would have enjoyed that *evil laugh*

          Sometimes, those who protest too much really are fighting their own feelings. Here’s an example…years and years ago Coach went to a strip club on his way home. He just decided to pop in for a little bit. When I found out I threw the biggest fit. I became adamantly anti strip clubs. Fast forward, what was really going on was that he didn’t take me and explore all of that with me. I wanted to share those desires with him and him with me.

          Conclusion, my mom may actually be a lesbian. That was so much fun to write. More evil laughing.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Bahahaha! Snicker! Evil grin! šŸ˜ˆšŸ˜ˆšŸ˜ˆ

            Seriously though, jealousy and envy can show up in so many different ways. They’ve made their presence known in my life a time or two and I hate them both! The damage that can be done by these emotions can be life altering and it’s not always easy to find the silver lining when it happens. :/

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            • The common denominator for me when it comes to jealousy is insecurity. If I am feeling insecure then it can rear its head, but I have learned how it triggers and what I can do so I don’t fall into that trap. I can simply say to Coach that I’m feeling insecure and he immediately knows how to build me up so that feeling, which stems from a lie I’m telling myself, goes away.

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              • I have almost the opposite problem where as I don’t experience jealousy about things maybe I should or would be normal. I can remember having the feelings when I was younger but somehow they went away. It’s like my mind realized they were harmful to have and they discarded them not allowing them to return.

                A lot of people might think that’s great, but it doesn’t allow me to see where B is coming from when he gets jealous. This can and has caused conflict for us. :/

                Liked by 1 person

                • I haven’t gotten jealous in a long, long time, but when Coach Was modeling, oh fuck yes, I did. I thought so little of myself and I was convinced I was horribly ugly. These models were tall and gorgeous and I just couldn’t face it all. The agency parties were the worst. They were also dressed far better than me and I was just so awkward. One day I seemed to have woken up to it all and I liked what I saw in the mirror.

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                  • My moments were from years ago too. One incident in particular when we were out to dinner and a woman hit on B. She came up to our dinner table and came on to him. Never made eye contact with me and when he told her he was attached, she asked if it was serious.

                    Talk about a blow… I struggled for about 2-3 years after that with jealousy. Then for whatever reason my decided it wasn’t healthy and I let it go. It’s never come back. Thankfully!

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  5. Oh Elle….this makes my heart hurt for you, no child should ever have to endure any kind of abuse, but it happens everyday, and we are powerless to help so much of it. But thankfully you have come from the dark, and into the light of coachs love. Sending you love and hugs honey!

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    • Thanks, Mynx. No child should ever go through it. The hardest part for me is that it didn’t start until I was about 10. One day she snapped and went off on me. I loved her before that.

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      • Elle, is that about the time you started to enter puberty?
        Or possibly around the time you had your encounter in the woods?
        She may just have sensed that something had changed in you. It doesn’t excuse what she did, but it may be the beginning of an explanation…

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        • Yes, Dawn, that’s what I believe. I started developing breasts about 10 and yes, that’s about the time the encounter occurred. She may have seen Bi tendencies in me, too. I can’t exactly say, but I believe it all hinges on that. I think she was pissed that my dad’s side has/had several openly gay family members. His first cousin and his partner were together for over 40 years. L & J were regulars at our house. J had a hair salon and came to do my grandmother’s hair and sometimes mine. I never thought anything of them. It was the norm for me.

          Liked by 1 person

          • You know, it’s also a time when some moms start to be jealous of their daughters. The young beauties, stealing the attraction they used to get, when they start to see grey hair, wrinkles and their own beauty fade.
            Of course, what they don’t realise is that their jealousy makes them uglier than any wrinkle or grey hair šŸ˜‰
            It may have been a combination of all those things :-/
            I’m just glad you’re in a much better place now.
            XO

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh Elle, My heart breaks for you sweetie. I’m so sorry you never knew a real mothers love. But I have no doubt that your daughter is loved beyond words. Sometimes we get parents that are horrific monsters. And somehow we rise above what we’ve had to endure. We become better people. We don’t judge, we don’t hate, and we treat our families and the people around us with unconditional love.. I’m so glad you have coach. I know that man would go to the ends of the earth to protect and love you, And that’s the kind of man you deserve. Such courage you have shown by sharing a small part of your life. Hugs coming your way, I hope you can feel them.. xo..

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    • Thank you, Annie, I can feel them šŸ™‚

      What is hard for me is that she didn’t start off that way. The ache I have is because she was a mother to me, not award winning, but I felt loved and cared for and then one day she snapped. She read to me, helped with homework, taught me how to cook, played games, took me places, laughed, etc. I think it all had to do with complicated family secrets and her increase in alcohol consumption. I learned how to make a proper Bloody Mary when I was about 8 or 9. The abuse started slowly and the times in between were normal. Then it would happen and as I reached my teenage years they became more frequent. She would always talk about how good of a mother she is (still does) and I know it’s because she wanted to be. If only she went for professional help and maybe had some meds. I don’t know. Seems like some bipolar tendencies, if you ask me. Definitely undiagnosed mental illness.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It is so good to be able to write out such things– cathartic. Proud of you! I too hate to say that I know some of what you experienced, except it was my dad, who abused us all, including my sweet mom who passed 4 years ago (and also have a sib with drug issues; he sadly continued the cycle to his own kids). The amazing, wonderful news is that you (and I hope I) have obviously broken the cycle, not an easy thing to do. There is a fabulous Beth Moore study called Breaking Free that I absolutely loved. It reinforced that I could continue to make conscious decisions to break the cycle of evil that I (and my Dad) had “inherited.” I know you enjoy OT wisdom, and she uses that to illustrate the concepts. It’s also helped me to turn away the consuming and poisonous anger I had, find some empathy despite my own pain, and to forgive. I needed to do that to move on. I didn’t condone, and I had to remove myself from his toxicity and abusive, mean alcohol-drive behaviors. Al-Anon helped too, I got out of the mentality that there was something I could do to change him, if only I loved him enough… I had to accept that I had no control or influence over his choices. All of this was very healing for me. I once heard a speaker say of a horrible family atrocity in her life– “I have to forgive, every single day.” It changed my attitude a lot to realize this. I know you count your blessings daily, and you have worked hard to find those blessings. I pray that the pain you (I) still inevitably feel will someday be healed… perhaps through watching our own families thrive and love. I pray that my children will obey the 5th commandment and honor out of love, rather than a sense of duty, as I must. I wish you peace from your nightmares, friend.

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    • I’ve worked very hard at forgiving, however, when family issues come up my family goes into the denial, deflect, and blame game. Not easy to talk to them.

      As a parent I see how easy it is to provoke my children to wrath, which gets ignored by many Christian parents because it’s the 5th commandment over any other and that is a recipe for disaster. When you look at any command you have to understand them in context and really see God’s heart. God is a God of relationship. Create the relationship and honor follows. If you are honorable you will be treated honorably.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Though the abuse I suffered was nowhere near as bad as what Elle or you endured, I too had to consciously break the cycle. I still have to fight every day about it though, because my kids’ dad doesn’t see the pattern and is not ready to stop the behaviour. He doesn’t hit anyone, at least not regularly, so he doesn’t see what he does as abuse. I can only hope that what I do will be enough to help my children!

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