They say you can’t truly appreciate what your parents went through until you, yourself, are a parent. I think I have to agree. I think it takes being a parent and wrestling with all of your unresolved demons while trying so very hard to not pollute your own kids with the hell you experienced for you to get a better understanding of what your own parents tried to accomplish. Connecting with your parents’ and their struggles can help you better grasp why they did what they did. It can help you forgive and let go. Which is not about letting THEM have peace… but about letting YOU have peace.
What I’m going to write here is NOT an excuse for her actions. You are still a kid and you are not expected to understand this (in fact, that’s one of her biggest mistakes which sparks her anger). All I’m going to do is throw this stuff out there and hope some of it sticks for later on… and helps you to make sense of all this bullshit.
1) She lived through her own child hell. Her parents were just as physically and emotionally abusive as she is. They were her mentors. They taught her to be just like her.
2) Her pain isn’t about you. It’s about her. Which is unfortunate. Because the majority of being a parent should be about the kid and THEIR needs.
3) Unlike you, she didn’t have either the ability or the opportunity to separate and find a sense of just how sick her upbringing was. She may have had moments of insight where she realized that this wasn’t right… but she didn’t have the support to keep walking toward that concept… or the courage to step away from the sickness which was the only form of “love” she could grasp.
4) She didn’t have a safe childhood either… so she didn’t know how to give you one.
5) If she accepts that you are just a child and couldn’t possibly know any better, she would have to accept that SHE had been just a child and that her parents were the source of her pain and terror… and that would mean being angry and even hating them for awhile. It can be easier to hate your parents as a kid that it is as an adult. Especially if your parents are dead and you have no reconciliation possible.
6) Just as Dad doesn’t have the ability to protect you and the other kids from her because of his own issues – at least until he finally told her to leave, Mom doesn’t have the ability to protect you and the others from her own pain and fear.
7) So much of what she does to you is because deep down inside, she is terrified that she isn’t worthy of love. She is afraid that she is expendable and doesn’t matter. Because this is what her parents reinforced every time they refused to acknowledge her existence due to some error on her part. Love, in her world, is absolutely conditional.
8) When she drinks, it’s to numb this immensely deep pain inside of her… so she can get a moment of relief. Except that when she is angry and drunk, the only way to handle that pain is to externalize it… to convince herself that everyone and everything around her is responsible for her pain… and that it’s okay to lash out against it. She thinks it’s you… but it’s her own issues that cause this. She blames you for making her angry… which is like a powder keg going to a bonfire and blaming the sparks for its explosion.
You’ve got to know that these reasons do NOT lessen the evil she has done. And that’s what it is: Evil. To take your pain out on innocent children is evil. There are few things more evil, in my opinion. Just try to keep in mind that evil isn’t born. It’s not a person. It’s a forged way of seeing things and then acting on that vision. It’s hammer is the pain you experience and it’s anvil is the pain you don’t process.
She has faced moments too numerous to count where she had a choice. Her choice was to hold on to her pain instead of getting help to deal with it. Because the journey into the pain was simply too much for her. So she is controlled by it and throws it at the people around her whenever she feels like she might get hurt again. Which is often.
I hope this helps, Kiddo. At this point in my life, I feel like I can start slowly connecting with her pain so I can forgive her with more than just words. She won’t ever know this because all these decades later, she still won’t speak to me. But even now, this isn’t about her. It never was.