Does the abused become the abuser?” Part VII
“Does the abused become the abuser?” Part VII: She also gave me massage techniques to use on my son, as well as ways of speaking to him, so I could get to know and treasure him. The most important part for me in our sessions, was that Kate didn’t judge me. Once inside that room I could pour out all the crazy shit I wanted and I wasn’t immediately carted off and locked up, or worse, my baby wasn’t whipped off me. But one of the best techniques she gave me, was to write all my flashbacks down. This was a way to dissociate myself from them and put me in some form of control. Then I was free to revisit them if I wished, but theoretically, they were out of my system. For me, writing worked wonders, it not only helped me sleep and think a lot more clearly, but provided me with the notes for my book If Only I Had Told.
The Crown Prosecution Service decided not to prosecute my mother. The officer assigned to my case explained it was due to her ‘not having shown herself to be a danger to young children in the intervening twenty years.’ But, he admitted, that in all honesty, the decision was financially motivated, ‘it just isn’t worth it for them, as they’re unlikely to get a successful prosecution.’ Initially I was devastated, as I had seen my mum’s prosecution, as my only way to get over my past and move forward. But as my counsellor explained, blaming keeps you from moving on with your life, the best revenge is to get better and live your life to the full. In time I came to realise she was right, I needed to let go. I could even count myself as fortunate. Here I was, able to get help for my problems, while my mother, who had certainly been suffering from postnatal depression, had been a victim of the 70’s and 80’s ‘pull yourself together’ attitude. Despite having fifteen children, she had never experienced any love for them. She would never get all the wonderful moments I was beginning to enjoy with my son. Her arms would always be empty, while mine were full of my son.
Yes my son, my wonderful son, who is teaching me so much more than I could ever possibly teach him – and it’s the three big ones – patience, empathy and love. With my newly acquired tools, I am the best mother I can be. When I fail, which of course I do, I try not to kick myself too hard with the guilt boot, but instead get back up and do a little better the next time.
The lack of any information ‘out there’ about how to parent after an abusive childhood, only added to my feelings of exhausting isolation, following my son’s birth. I had pored over books, tapped away at internet forums and even attended parenting classes. But they were all so generic, with never a mention of how to break the chains of bad parenting role models. With this in mind, I developed survivormum.com. I wanted my fellow survivor mums to know that they weren’t alone. I gathered together as much helpful information as I could and put it under one heading, with the hope that others don’t have the hours of trawling ahead of them, that I had had. There is also a place for visitors to read other survivor mother stories or share their own, so that they too can not only survive as a mother, but thrive.