Looking back over our lives we often search for reasons why we did this or that, and sometimes we come across difficult or challenging experiences…
Occasionally we muster the courage, or the will, or even the self-love to ‘go there’ again. To unpack what we remember, to apply our adult knowledge, experience, perspective and understanding to the child we once were who was hurt by the deeds or words of a loved one, which imprisoned us in the lovelessness of our own doubt, self-judgement and denial of our own senses, locking us away under deep layers of self-imposed protection for fear of being hurt further.
The last words between my mother and I were hers. They were barked at me from her hospital bed and I felt her loathing, frustration, fear and confusion. But back then I was just shocked, embarrassed and upset, so I haplessly passed it off lightly as her dementia, which was a result of her having Parkinson’s disease. She was frightened, but I immediately took this personally by going into self-defence in an effort to avoid being hurt any further by her words.
Until my eighteenth birthday, I had assumed that I had been adopted, but the presentation of my original birth certificate showed otherwise, which was devastating to me at the time. Suddenly I was left empty of any reasoning for how I felt I had been unfairly treated thus far in my life.
My parents were not unkind but were actually caring. We were clothed and fed, taken on holidays, etc., but looking back now there was no real sense of love, togetherness or belonging in my family life. At school, I was treated differently, as someone in my own right. There I shaped my own education, making all the decisions without any discussion at home, where I would quietly do as I was told under the threat of some form of small humiliation. This provided a sense of rigid security at the expense of very little frivolity, affection or joy. I realised more recently, that I was never treated as an adult at home and was regarded the same as my younger brother and sister.
My mother and I lived parallel to each other and somehow never really met in the middle. She tried, but I was already so distant and independent that I never recognised her attempts at the time for what they were: simple offerings of love and support.
She and I were very different as we were both influenced by our distinct social orientations and backgrounds. She was at her most joyful when we went walking in the hills, although I felt I was her reluctant shadow.
My mother doted on her father and looked up to him in all ways. He was a marine engineer and spent much of his time away at sea commissioning his engines, a role very much suited to whom I understand was a rather traditional man. An only child, my mother felt rather aloof towards her own mother, who was far more sensitive and motherly and obviously a capable single parent with the support of her sister, with whom she shared much of her married life.
I loved my Gran and changed my name to hers when I was 16. Again, no discussion ensued, though I remember my mother asking why? She found some solace when she realised why I had taken her own mother’s name.
She never knew of the bullying that I endured at school: I was too ashamed to share this pain, but I took comfort from my Gran. She said little to my silence, but her looks of reassurance and hugs gave me strength. I respected and trusted her. She was my rock.
My mother’s father died the year before I was born, leaving her feeling bereft and probably somewhat isolated with her grieving mother. My father was very unlike his father-in-law and followed in his own father’s footsteps of liking instruction, rather than taking initiative and figuring things out for himself. My mother wasn’t used to this; she was used to capable men.
I feel that I was the reluctant debutante to this new life of mine. I remember feeling awkward, isolated and independent. Our family unit increased as I gained two new siblings, but I remember few joyful moments, having clung tightly to the few I do.
Now, I often remember my cries of “Mummy!” as a child when I was upset or looking for her. But I was always being told that I either cried too much, was too noisy or could not get settled. I took these labels as accusations and they made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t know how to respond and gradually I slunk back into my shell to keep my own counsel as much as I could, venturing out only when summoned. I expect this is when I was branded as being shy.
It is only now after my several years of applying The Way of The Livingness as presented by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, that I can understand the significance of all that played out – and can bring my love and understanding to all that happened. Applying and living the principles of The Way of The Livingness supported me to deepen within myself the qualities of self-love and appreciation. Because of this, I can now see with compassion how lonely and empty my mother must have been feeling in those days.
Bereft from the loss of her father and a husband who didn’t know how to offer support, I imagine she would have felt very isolated, exhausted, frustrated and anxious, with a baby who screamed and never settled in her cot.
She most likely suffered from post-natal depression, a normally recognised condition these days, but one which wasn’t understood back then. She must have felt utterly on her own and incapable of dealing with my demands, so she took the only course of action she felt open to her and withdrew from me completely.
We lived in this separated manner for 50 years. The asthma I contracted as an infant was the physical counterpart of this separation – a disease of the lungs where each and every breath is laboured and, for me, an accompanying panic and a deep sense of sadness for a love that had been lost.
I can now understand the tightrope mothers of screaming babies walk. You never get a moment’s relaxation, peace or space. Your nerves are strung so tautly, you’re exhausted. You just can’t cope. My father would have helped all he could, but he wouldn’t have understood the depression, he wouldn’t have recognised it. However, he was able to leave me with my mother every morning for the day, only returning home in time for his evening meal. He was born of a mother who spoke of no human, let alone feminine, failing. He held women in fearful respect, never questioning their words or actions. He was none-the-wiser.
My mother was utterly alone, but now I understand and still love her, even though I rarely managed to say those words to her in her lifetime.
I have now freed myself from the imprisonment of this deep childhood hurt and the sense of sadness it brought to my life. Today, I feel a deep wonderment at this healing and an appreciation of how I can now walk through the rest of my life restored and in the knowing that all relationships and traumas can be healed and need not be the jailers they are so often allowed to be.
By Maggie Rogerson, Gwynedd, North Wales