This is the seventh entry of “The Chip On My Shoulder Is A Boulder,” a series on the complex relationships between black women and their mothers. The series will run through this week. Previous entries include “The Adoptee,” “The Rebel,” “The Gypsy,” “She Did Her Best,” “The Reluctant Mother” and “The Narcissist’s Daughter.”
When you can’t protect yourself your parents are supposed to protect you. You’re supposed to be safe with them. You’re supposed to feel secure. But when you are treated cruelly at the hands of the people who are supposed to love you and your parents look the other way it makes you realize at the earliest of ages that you are on your own.
The Survivor’s story, sadly, is not an uncommon story. Harmed and victimized by male family members with a mother in denial, happens to boys and girls regardless of race. Your parents are supposed to keep you safe, but when it comes to violence against you at the hands of your relatives you are not the relative your parents choose to protect. For The Survivor, she was the daughter her mother would not fight for.
My relationship with my mother is terrible most of the time.
Much of the trauma caused in my life could have been prevented my mother. I don’t know how to stop blaming her or if I should stop. Among these things that I cannot forgive are her obvious preferential treatment of my older brother and not properly handling my molestation at the hands of my cousin.
My brother was very abusive towards me, he beat the shit out of me on a regular basis and she basically let it happen. It should be mentioned that he’s almost 10 years older than me so he obviously should have known better than to beat up on a four-year-old. He did this until I was 18-years-old.
I was molested by my cousin when I was about three and I remember it but what I remember most is how it was swept under the rug. These things along with all the violence towards women at the hands of men I witnessed as a child has made me resent the way I was raised. I struggle with a feeling of supreme love and admiration for my mother because in my heart I feel she’s a good person even if I feel she’s a failure as a mother.
She’s raised a criminal, my other brother died (possibly due to some form of babysitter negligence), and I am completely emotionally retarded and traumatized. Growing up, I never really felt safe and I think this has made me overly suspicious and defensive — especially towards men. I feel like there are so many things that my mother could have done to help me but instead she spent my childhood pretending like my issues didn’t exist and now I’m a non-functioning 21-year-old.
I resent that she never defended me against relatives who called me “fast” just because I physically developed quickly, or uncles who tried to touch me, a brother who hit me, a cousin who molested me, just shit I shouldn’t have had to see or feel. I tried to commit suicide once and she took me to the hospital. When we came back she pretended like it never happened. The hospital psychiatrist asked me why I tried to kill myself and I told her that my mother didn’t love me and if she did she didn’t love me anywhere near as much as my brother (I left out the fact that my brother beat me). She told me that it was probably true but that I should get over it because life isn’t fair and there will always be things we can’t control but it’s not a reason to hurt yourself. That really pissed me off when she said that but I later came to appreciate it.
So that is what I’ve been trying to do — accept things that I cannot control or change, but I just don’t know how to stop being mad at my mother.