My purpose of the post is to share a snippet of my story. It includes some hard conversations and lots of venting. My hope is to not remain silent because there is someone else out there who needs to have someone to relate to and needs to see that there is still hope and that life is worth going through. It does get better
What is Tired?
Sunday was a bit of a long day. I made the mistake of volunteering to update the Church Bulletin Board in our efforts to make the Church more “beatified”. It was previously bright yellow paper with nothing on it. After weeks of it radiating in my face saying “update me” I finally put a new design up this past weekend. Which, already got some hate because I chose a floral trim. Reality: We put flowers on the tables, so actually explain to me why roses on a dark navy background that borders a bulletin board are unacceptable?
It’s acceptable, or you can volunteer!
Truth is, the person who said something to me about it was clearly joking around with me. My mom, on the other hand, was actually disappointed that I would choose such a thing.
All of this, and I forgot to make sure my daughters sippy-cup got put back in the diaper bag. She specifically wants her green one with the orange lid. She’s been mad at me for two days now, but I’m not getting it until Wednesday.
I keep going back in my mind to the thought process I had when choosing the board decorations, all the while my tiny human is screaming or running up and down the aisle with my sister. I keep replaying the kids running around while I stapled a new background and border to the bulletin board, and how I really wanted the laughter to stop, for everyone to leave the room so I could concentrate–but I instead prayed in my mind for patience. Both situations. Please give me patience.
In all of this, the number one thing that exhausts me the most is the constant, ceaseless, every day disapproval that I get from my mom. Growing up I let this get the best of me far too often. I would deny invites from friends to hang-out, play games, go to a movie all because I didn’t want to listen to a lecture about how I need better friends. I didn’t want the long list of reasons she didn’t like the people I did and how I needed to focus more on school. She was constantly accusing me of being on drugs or doing “bad things”. Honestly, I didn’t realize until my early 20’s that any time she said “bad things” she meant sex. This is because I finally started asking questions to make her explain herself. The truth was, I was getting headaches constantly and had terrible allergy issues. But no, when I was depressed and hurting with the combination of a swollen allergy face I would get hardcore yelled because I appeared to have done drugs.
At almost 30, I have been under my mom’s thumb nearly 3 decades, and I am tired.
Help us out Merriam-Webster:
Definition of tired
1: drained of strength and energy : fatigued often to the point of exhaustion
2: obviously worn by hard use : RUN-DOWN
When the Church bulletin board needed to be updated, that old yellow slab of paper called a “background” was pretty run-down. When I looked at the standard borders that looked like they belonged in a kindergarten classroom and realized the fellowship hall was mostly for adults, I nixed the bold, glittery, or metallic standard colors. When I thought “who actually goes to a new church and judged the border on a bulletin board?” and answered with “old ladies”, I figured a wallpaper-looking boarder would be safe. After all, all the others were trite. When my mom went around all Sunday with her “disapproval” face on an obvious annoyance with me, my daughter, and my choice of the border–I was drained.
Wait, that sounds like years of mental and emotional abuse
You’re telling me. At some point, right before I left to college, it dawned on me: it really isn’t normal for so many people in the community to think I need a place to live. I wasn’t homeless, but I was constantly being told “We have an extra room, we’d love for you to stay with us.” or “Come whenever you are ready! There’s plenty of room.” I’ve been offered a place to stay, couches, invited over for not just the weekend, but to live. As my senior year of high school came to a close, I realized that my situation was 1: not as secret as my mom thought 2: unhealthy and not normal. Clearly, parents of my friends and families in the community noticed that there was a lot wrong with me due to the constant struggle I faced with my mom.
The only power that has kept me going through these times is Jesus. All I can do is pray and trust for peace and guidance. I’ve tried to do things on my own before, which doesn’t turn out too well. So all I can hope to do is pray. I understand that, no matter what age we are, we are to honor our mother and father. But how do you handle it when your parents, the people who are supposed to love and care for you, are the ones that hurt you the most? I was bullied in school, but no one ever called me worse names than my mom. No at school ever slapped me. No one at school ever made me wish I were dead. I can handle bullies, but without the help of Jesus, I cannot handle my mom.
Merriam-Webster describes wrath as “indignation”, strong vengeful anger, or punishment for a crime, “device chastisement”.
Indignation means “anger aroused by something unjust, unworthy, or mean”.
Chastisement means “to inflict punishment”.
I’ve put a lot of research and thought into “wrath” because this word appeared when I tried to research how one should handle abuse from a parent. There really isn’t much I found besides this:
“And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
There are instructions on how we should raise our children in the Bible, but this is the number one answer I have found when trying to find something to give when wondering “do I still keep honoring this monster?” The answer is yes.
By grace, we can overcome anyone that seeks to harm us, physically or mentally.
The key here is that we will also end the cycle. My mom is someone who was abused far worse than I could imagine throughout her childhood and teen years. I, as the product of rape, cannot really fathom what all she has been through. That being said, she has done a lot to make me feel like she is taking things out on me.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Admonition, you may have noticed this word in Ephesians 6:4, means “: gentle or friendly reproof“. Gentle. Friendly. Not grabbing your toddler by the arm and dragging them across the room. Not calling names when your child says some words wrong and struggles to speak. We are to give counsel to our children and nurture them into growth–spiritually in physically.
If you have caused your child to fear you, not as we “fear” the Lord with respect, but the kind of fear that makes you flench anytime someone raises a hand, then you can be forgiven. But, repent.
If you have caused your child wrath, the sort of wrath where they begin seeking “divine chastisement” or looking for a way out, please do some deep self-reflecting. There is almost always some mental health issue causing an abuser to, well, abuse.
It is hard for me to believe that any parent actually wants to harm their child. Typically, these bad things are in a fit of rage and the parent truly did not intend to harm, but others are just evil.
When it comes to my own mom, it has taken many years for us to grow–separately and on our own spiritual walk. I’m an adult now, there’s no undoing what happened when I was a child. There’s no undoing what happened to my mom when she was a child. However, I see her being significantly more patient with my younger siblings than she ever was with me, and I was good. Not “good” as in “oh, well I’m sure you had your moments.” No, “good” as in I occupied myself, had no friends, played outside, watched TV… I stayed out of the way. Now my siblings are clingy, can’t be left alone, and won’t play by themselves and yet our mom has so much more grace for their annoyances than she ever did with me.
Like most parents do, she is just too tired to pick at every little thing the younger kids do. They get away with so much more, it’s hard to watch. When it comes right down to it, she treats them far better than she ever did me. It’s hard to watch.
It isn’t uncommon for people to remember the bad things over the good. Sure, my mom and I had good moments. But is hard to overlook the bad at times when they seep through, even in small doses. Going bad to her looks of disapproval all Sunday and the fact that I can’t speak of my daughter’s father without getting yelled at (that’s for another post), we now have more good times than bad. Or rather, more times that are good and more times that I can ignore.
When it comes right down to it, I am pleased with my choices to not leave my mom and follow one of those people who invited me to live with them. Things might have been easier for me… but just for me. I would not have been there for my siblings and things may have turned out completely different. By God’s grace alone, we are where we are today. Forgiven.