A Letter to my Mum

…from 17

I tried so hard to help you.

I tried so hard.

I did everything in my power to save you.

I loved you with my entire heart and body.

Everything I had I gave to you.

I tried so very hard to help you.

I gave you time, I gave you space… whatever you asked for I gave without question and never asked for anything in return.

I thought about you all the time… the birth of my preoccupied attachment… you flooded me. Every thought led back to you.

I worshiped you. I thought you were the perfect example of a mother/woman. I absorbed your words and spouted them back to you and out to the world – look at this mother of mine, isn’t she perfect? So much more than any other. She is cooler, more beautiful, more perfect. I buried my doubts so deep that I forgot they were even there. The sprouts would push at the soil and I mistook them for evidence of my own flaws. But they were never flaws.. they were resilient buds of intuition that I hacked at and squashed beneath the surface. I needed to believe that you were perfect and that all of these things were not your fault. I listened to your stories of your childhood. I listened to your stories of how unlucky you’ve been in relationships. Your words expanded and multiplied like the sponge of a rising cake in the oven so that there was never any space for my own words, my own thoughts.

I ignored your flaws. I minimised your mistakes, the pain. I turned my back on the truth – denied the abuse and fully embodied the role of your number one fan and supporter.

I tried so hard to help you. I searched for answers, I found self help books for you, highlighted bits, tore out pages and stuck them round the house. Wrote inspirational quotes on the fridge for you to find. Wrote you love notes and left them on your pillow. I told you that you were great, I willed you to believe me. I used study time at the library to look up answers on the internet for reasons why you might be struggling and ways you could get help. I took you to the doctor, sheets printed out about mental health issues, disorders that sounded like word for word descriptions of you. I put you first, every single time. I turned down invitations. I looked after my brother so you could have time to yourself. I filled you with compliments and showered you with praise.

I listened. I listened and worked so very hard to understand you. I listened to your adult woes and tried to understand them and give you validation and love and empathy. You would tell me I was so wise, an old head on young shoulders you said. You needed me. How did I create such a wonderful daughter you would say.

Then when the weight of you got too much for me… and even in my dreams I would imagine my legs buckling under the pressure so that I could no longer walk… I would ask you to stop, I would plead with you to find someone else to help you. Your rage would explode and you would batter me with disgust and spite – how could I have created such a selfish child you would cry. After all I have done for you this is how you repay me, you would scream.

It was never enough for you mum. No matter what I did, it was never enough. Your needs were a burden that I should never have been forced to carry. They were so heavy, they crushed me. I am an empty shell because I dedicated my whole life to filling you up.

You are too much for me. I am overwhelmed by you. I don’t know how to help you. I cut my skin to blead you out of me. I took the pills to kill all the parts of you that infested me. It was all too much for me…

One day I will leave. I will find all the small parts of myself that have been pushed into the corners of my shell and I will nourish those parts.

One day I will purge myself of you and then there will be space for me.

5 thoughts on “A Letter to my Mum

  1. LovingSummer

    Lucy, what shines from this post is what a beautiful person you are. To have given such thought and attention, the notes on the fridge, the diligent and unrelenting caring for another human. And all the while it being the wrong way round; you were the one to be cared for so attentively. Wow. What a beautiful human being.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for that LS. I think it was more about survival than me being a good person (though I’m aware I should just accept your kind words and not bat them back like that)… I think children find all sorts of ways to keep their parents happy, this was what I did. It was abuse and should never have happened, I just had such a massive desire to let it all spill out from me today. I burst into tears while making a coffee this morning when I realised that this fear of being ‘too much’ – especiall too much for Anna, is in fact a fear of being like my mother and so I had to write down the words that came to me. Thank you for being here.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. LovingSummer

        I know you know… even if a part of you rejects the idea that you could have such an amazing side to your character! It had to be there to come out, even if the reason it came out was an unhealthy reason (abuse of a parent).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That sounds like it must be true 🥰 there’s such reluctance to just accept it. Anna is often telling me that these good qualities come naturally from inside me. But why are they there for some people and not for others..?


      3. LovingSummer

        That’s a million dollar question, I think! Why is any one any way, you could ask why do some like red and some like blue, why do some like cats and some like dogs, why do some find slipping on a banana skin funny and others not. Why do some of us get angry when hurt and others withdraw instead? Why do some children demonstrate such sweet characteristics even when hurt by their carers and others turn to crime? Really honestly, I have no idea!

        Liked by 1 person

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