Trauma With Your Mama | Stories | 011





I’m not sure where I should begin. My story with my mother has always been an uncomfortable one. Even today I struggle with connecting with her. Sometimes it’s easier than other days. I grew up feeling like I was a burden more than her child that she loved. I was the only girl out of three boys and most of the time I felt like she liked my brothers more. Whenever I looked for her to comfort me or make me feel safe she never could. I wanted her acknowledgment and love.


One memory I have vividly, is when I broke up with my first love. He was cheating on me and everyone knew. So I went through a state of depression. At the time it felt like my heart was in the bottom of my stomach. I felt so bad about myself Insecurities swarmed through my head. It felt Like I lost a piece of myself. I remember crying almost everyday. School was not a place I wanted to be. I felt like none of my friends could understand how I felt. I felt so alone. I knew I couldn’t tell my mom so I dealt with the emotions by myself.


Then one morning, she must’ve been in a mood because she was stomping and mumbling under her breath. I could tell she was going to pick a fight so I tried to be calm and ignore [her]. Sometimes she would purposely pick fights with me. I learned early never to give her the reaction she wanted. I can’t remember exactly why she was so pissed. I remember exchanging words with her when she mumbled, “Maybe you shouldn’t wake up in the morning.” This was her response for me after telling her that some days it was hard for me to wake up and get out of bed. That some days I didn’t want to wake up.


Now when I look back I didn’t recognize these emotions as feelings of depression. Thinking about it now makes me angry. At the time, I felt nothing. I shut her out a long time ago. I told myself I would not let her hurt me. I learned how to close my emotions off and bottle them up. Which made for one angry teen eager. I struggled a lot with my emotions doing my high school years.


Having a drug addict as a mother was no walk in the park for me. I was open about it because it helped me cope. I've been through so much and she still can not be the mother that I need. I just stopped expecting it from her. It’s just so upsetting that she erases all of the bad memories and replaces them with lies. If I told her this story she would deny it. Maybe she really doesn’t remember because of the drugs. Or maybe it’s too painful for her to believe that she could have been so hateful. Whatever the case is I’m stuck with these memories while she gets to forget. I hate her for it. She has always been so occupied with serving her abuser she often neglected her responsibilities as a parent.


Now that I am 32 I find myself questioning/worrying about whether I’m giving my girls all the love they need. Asking myself, “Am I showing up for them the way I wanted my mother to show up for me?” Do I tell them I love them enough and show it? One of my biggest fears is to be detached and cold like she was with me. Being that she was also an addict, [it] led to her being verbally and physically abusive. Sometimes I preferred her high over when she wasn’t. I later found out it was because she was coming down from her high. That’s when she could be the meanest and quick tempered. We all could feel what type of day it was going to be when we would come home from school. Some days I dreaded coming home.


My only goal was to make it out that house at 18. I tried confronting her about how she made me feel last year and all she did was play the victim. Communication is her weakest point as is with most Black families. She couldn’t  acknowledge her faults as a parent. Maybe because she still is on drugs. I know she has her own trauma, but she placed her burdens on me, and now I’m trying my best to heal and move forward. I thought I moved past the pain and resentment, but it’s still here.


Vulnerability has been a challenge for me. Rejection is my biggest fear because whenever I showed true emotion I was shamed for it. Or punished. My mother thinks showing emotions are for the weak. I now know how untrue that is. Showing emotions takes courage, it takes a lot of space to be vulnerable. It takes work to acknowledge your hurts and pains. I’m doing the work. Everyday. She still can’t do it.


As I’m in a dark space in my life I look back at all the painful memories that I have as a child. Mostly I get angry, then I feel sad. I’m 32 and I’m still looking for a safe space. A home. I keep telling myself all I need is from within. On the hard days I want to pick up and run. Leave everything behind. Maybe I should. But for some reason I don’t. Because deep down I know I am worthy. Knowing that her faults belonged to her and they were not mine to bare, is me taking my power back. I know that I can give myself what she couldn’t give me, and just because she didn’t give me that love does not make my less deserving. I know that I am strength. That I am love. That I am special. My home is within me, and I am whole and complete with or without her approval.


–S.S.

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