May 9, 2009
For dissociative trauma survivors, Mother’s Day is often a painful time.
For survivors with dissociative identity disorder, mother issues are usually complex and difficult to sort out. Momma-trauma comes in a variety of forms.
For some survivors, their mothers were simply not there to protect them from the violent abuse of the father or other sadistic family members. These mothers were away at work, or away at the hospital, or too ill to tend properly to their children, or divorced from the fathers and living in separate homes, etc. Many of these mothers love their kids dearly, but still were unable to protect their children from trauma and abuse. Most of these mothers are not to blame for the abuse – many of them are absolutely horrified and deeply furious to find out, years later, how much abuse their children went through, and their feelings of guilt and shame are huge and overwhelming. None the less, their inability to protect their children creates mixed feelings for those children.
For some survivors, their mothers were too blind or too lost in their own denial to be willing and able to protect their children from abuse. These mothers do have some responsibility for their role in not protecting their children. These are the mothers that were in the home, and could have been instrumental and helpful for the protection of their children, but out of their own fear, denial or dissociation, refused to look, and refused to protect. These mothers let their own fear be bigger than their willingness to protect their children. These mothers may not have been directly used as accomplices, but their fears and unwillingness to protect would have most certainly been taken advantage of by the abusers.
For other survivors, their mothers were the abusers. These mothers were absolutely in the room at the time of the abuse, they caused physical pain, they did inappropriate sexual touch, and they played mind games on their children. These mothers are every bit as much a perpetrator as any other criminal.
So every year when Mother’s Day rolls around, it is difficult for survivors who grew up with mothers like that. It hurts. It’s confusing. The pain of what was longed for, but never given pierces the heart. The agony of wishing the mother had been willing to do something helpful grows cold out of the slow but torturous and accurate realization that the mother adamantly preferred apathy or self-protection over her children’s safety and welfare.
The heart-wrenching pain caused by an unattentive or abusing mother carries on for decades. The wounds do not heal quickly or easily. The hurt is felt for years and years.
It’s not right for mothers to cause such harm to their children. Those mothers are a disgrace. They are criminal. They are not “mothers”.
- Real mothers are good mothers that firmly protect their children from abuse, as much as that is humanly possible.
- Real mothers are good mothers who fight to get quality help and genuine safety for their children when someone else hurts their children.
- Real mothers are good mothers who do not complacently overlook or ignore the needs of their children.
- Real mothers are good mothers that put the needs of their young children over their own.
- Real mothers are good mothers that tend to the daily needs of their young children, and adjust with the various changes needed as their children get older.
- Real mothers are good mothers that work hard at being loyal, caring, kind, compassionate, loving, and giving to their children, forever and for always.
What kind of mother are you to your children?
If you are a trauma survivor…
- What kind of mother did you have?
- What affect has your mother had on your life?
- How did your mother fight to protect you?
- How did your mother contribute to your abuse?
- What thoughts and feelings do you have now, all these years later?
- What do you wish you could say to your mother, but couldn’t / wouldn’t say to her in real life?
Mothers and Mother’s Day.
So painful for so many people…..
Kathy Broady LCSW