5. A Mother Erased


It is so simple, yet it won’t be easy. The answer encompasses all areas of my life, and is completely within my control at all times. I need to do the right thing. Almost without exception, I know what that is. In almost every single moment, I know the best choice. Most people do. I know the habits and thoughts that serve me well and the ones that don’t. I have read “The Four Agreements”, a practical guide to inner peace written by Don Miguel Ruiz, and in addition to recommitting to my routine of yoga and meditation and eating whole foods, I have made the conscious decision to follow these agreements: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, and the fourth agreement, Always Do Your Best.

Ruiz’s agreements and his promise of personal transformation resonate with me deeply, into that pain of unworthiness that is a lie. I have sought the truth of my story, every detail that I can find; I have been in therapy, grieved and expressed anger, appeared back in my mother’s life and then pushed her away. I contacted her lover, faced my father and his part in the alienation, given birth three times and learned the unwavering love of a mother. But now my task is different, clear and certain. I do the simple, difficult thing day by day, moment by moment. This will make me love myself. I just do the right thing. And I believe without a doubt I will transform my pain into self-love.


      I haven’t seen my mother since the day in the pink dresses that she didn’t come to get us. I don’t see her parents, my Grandmother and Grandfather Coburn, or my twin aunts, Lena and Lori.   It is as if they have all been erased and no one talks about them.

I don’t question my father when he tells us we won’t see our mother anymore. His jaw is clenched, his eyes in a hurry. Is it pain, anger? I am numb and silent. He says it is too hard for us, going back and forth, torn between two families. Amy has been having bad headaches and the doctor says it must be stress.

The following spring, Amy is almost through with Kindergarten. The teacher says she bullies some of the other kids. It will be my turn to start Kindergarten next September. Our father says we will have a new mother by then.

Her name is Kate and we’ve met her a couple times. She looks nothing like our first mother. She has short, dark brown hair, in contrast to the long reddish hair of our real mother. Amy looks like she could Kate’s real daughter, sort of. Their hair is the same. I look like our mother.

  My sister and I handled our mother’s abandonment in different ways, a difference that would reflect the tone our anguish would take for years to come. While my sister acted out, I withdrew further into my own world. Amy’s anger was no secret, and she quickly earned the label ‘bad’ as I became increasingly ‘good’. The only trouble I caused anyone for quite some time, was when I had accidents, urinating in my clothes, often wetting my bed at night. I also longed to be held by anyone, to feel small and adored, to be babied. I wanted to crawl inside baby playpens and cribs, to regress.

                 There was a lull in Amy’s naughty behavior with the promise of a new mother.  We had repressed the loss of  our  mother, Lisa, enough to welcome the possibility of a new one with some enthusiasm. Amy, especially, was keen on the idea while I viewed it as a potential adult to baby me.

I remember my father and Kate’s wedding. Though both had been raised Catholic, they were not allowed to be married in a Catholic church because of my father’s divorce. The wedding took place in the Martha -Mary chapel, a small, pretty white non-denominational church in Sudbury, Massachusetts. The church has a simple wooden structure, with white pines in the background. It stands as part of the setting with the famous Redstone School House, of Mary’s Little Lamb. The reception was held on the same grounds, at the Longfellow Wayside Inn.

You could say it was a picture perfect wedding, and I remember feeling pretty myself, wearing a short, frilly pink dress. Memere had done my blond banana curls just right and told me that I looked adorable.

I made it a game to go from man to man, mostly uncles, some of them strangers from my new mother’s family, twirling on my patent leather shoes, asking them to dance with me. Such a simple request, a fun, easy way to get them to pay attention to me, to pick me up and hold me. In later years I would uncover pictures of the wedding, me looking just how I remembered, so tiny, my real mother a memory, buried deep beneath the perfect curls, somewhere in my little girl psyche, dormant but influencing me, always.


9 thoughts on “5. A Mother Erased

  1. Today I am struggling emotionally after a particularly unpleasant contact session with my hostile 14 year old daughter. I have been desperately trying to maintain some semblance of relationship with her for over 4 years, – 2 of those with no contact at all, thanks to her abusive father.
    My friends have often asked me how long can I let this go on? Should I just bow out of the fight? Shouldn’t I think about protecting myself? I confess that sometimes I think maybe they’ve got a point…
    But then stories like yours inspire me that I’m doing the right thing by keeping up that contact. That, behind her brittle armour, lies my loving little girl who might one day let her guard fall away and ask her mum to give her the big cuddle she desperately craves – and open her heart to me again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Such a difficult position to be in. I really do think you are doing the right thing by keeping up contact. I do not believe you should accept verbal abuse; you should maintain self respect. You cannot force her to have friendly conversations with you. But at the same time,I think that having patience and consistently sending the message that you will be waiting and will continue to love her is so important.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So sweet of you to share this with us since you are having to still suffer 😦 My daughter reached out to me and now she is blatantly rejecting me & my mom. She is 18 & away from her dad, but my stepdad is also an alienator. I am not always sure where she is, but I wonder if it would do any good to just try to track her down & show up or would that make it worse. I’ve made it clear she has a place to stay with me (in another state), that I am happy to financially support her as best I can (child support is still coming out of my check and going to her dad, who is hording it, even though she ran from his household), and that I love her dearly. She was friendly and warm soon after getting away from her dad (a month later) but any time she has been around my stepdad, who has shown more support to my ex than me and actively alienates my halfsister from our mom, who divorced him, she has not communicated with me. I am so disappointed. I am also in fear of facing her rejection and scaring her off. Some advise to leave her alone except for a weekly text. Sigh. How is anyone supposed to know how to deal with such an impossible situation. I feel as if I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t — which is how the alienating parent sets it up.


      2. What a tough situation! I agreee that very consistent contact is good but that you cannot force her to communicate with you. (Also, is there something you can do about the child support not being used for her? Especially since she is 18 and not living w/ you? Perhaps stop paying this? Couldn’t any financial support you give her be between you and her only now? I have no idea- just ‘thinking aloud’.


      3. The financial and psychological cost of dealing with my X in court is more than the child support. In Alabama, child support must be paid until the child is 18. For a child to be “emancipated”, they must be able to prove they can support themselves. An 18 year old without a car forced to drop out of high school is in no position to provide this proof — not to mention a child who has been traumatized and be forced to go through the circus of the system 😦 Family court monopoly game takes it’s toll on even those not traumatized by sociopathic abuse. The sociopath is empowered by the system. The state makes $$$ off collecting child support — for every day the child support sits in the bank, they collect tons of interest. Money and politics rules the system. Systems are often run by those who care more about power than victims. =( Your words, though, will help many. Thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Last nite I was struggling with strong feelings of unworthiness because my daughter is not in my life. Her dad wanted it that way and has made her believe she wants it, too. That it is best to erase me (but not my money).


    1. I hope you find a way to build up your own sense of worthiness. Your strength would shine through (as well as your love). Become the mother you know your daughter should be proud of, and do not ever settle for being the mother her father has tried to convince her you are. That version is a lie.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s