I feel sad for my mother. I think of her as I lay in bed, my husband and oldest child are camping out tonight, out youngest child is asleep, smiling happily and thinking of his first pet which is also sleeping in his room. Our numerous pets are in and out doors. Our home is filled with and surrounded by love and friendship.
But somewhere alone in an empty house is my aged mother. She really has no one except her elderly dog, her one true friend died recently, the one person who was as bitter and malicious as she.
She grew up hard, and fast. Her mother was abusive and deeply narcissistic, she was physically and emotionally abused from childhood herself. Mother never had a kind word to say about her mum, and swore she would never be like her, the sad thing is, she has become the image of her. It hurts my heart.
Mother’s abuse turned her sensitivity into ice. Her empathy hardened and became cold, used to find others weaknesses and manipulate them to her own advantage. A way of saving herself from future pain, and of commanding the attention and respect she desired so much.
Abuse seems to cause two different splits in sensitive empathic personalities.
One, the person becomes hardened and potentially embittered, turning their empathy cold. Their ability to read people is still sharp but they use it to their own selfish advantage to avoid THEMSELVES becoming hurt. It’s quite understandable really, and very sad. This type are often users and bullies, becoming the very thing they hated so much.
Two, the person becomes a honed empath, deeply aware of subtle changes in others moods and emotions. They become hyper vigilant in their actions, always trying to soothe matters before anything can possibly go wrong. They try to keep everyone happy all of the time with the aim of a happy life free of any conflict for OTHERS, but they personally feel chaotic and exhausted. This type are often victimised and used, and the trauma cycle starts again.
My mother reacted to trauma in the first way, myself in the second.
I am sad for her. While I have loved ones who have helped me to survive the past few years of a mental breakdown, she has lost her one constant supply of nurturing, me (and my husband and children). While I broke and needed protecting while I learned healthy boundaries, she got harder and more bitter, and sadly, more and more alone as she became angered at the lack of attention others gave in comparison to what she expected of them.
I wish she could be the person I dream of her being – a sweet old lady surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. A matriarch of our family, loved and loving, sharing her memories and laughter with generations of her offspring.
It is just a dream though. Like all dreams, in the morning it fades away, not becoming reality.