Bye-Bye, Crazy Mommy!
Not so long ago, a raging, raving, unkind, unforgiving, sometimes violent, always unloving woman used to parent my children.
My children and I refer to her as “Crazy Mommy.”
Crazy Mommy is, thankfully, no longer with us.
Since the passing of Crazy Mommy, I’ve learned so much. My biggest epiphany is that I cannot heal my children of the emotional wounds Crazy Mommy inflicted on them.
My children recently shared with me that when Crazy Mommy would have a particularly insane moment, banishing them upstairs to their rooms because she was teetering on the brink of becoming Violent Mommy, they would go up and hide, holding one another, quivering in fear, hugging, crying, while sharing whispered, soothing dreams of momentary comfort and elusive hope, dreams of living with another family, dreams of a loving, kind family.
Sitting with my children while they shared this narrative with me, knowing it was saving them years of pain to say it out loud to me, and that these are more commonly things shared one-on-one in a therapist’s office through wracking sobs during a midlife meltdown by someone in their 40s, was one of the best and worst moments of my life.
It is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to digest, the biggest pill I’ve ever had to swallow.
Knowing that I was Crazy Mommy, knowing the pain I caused my children lashing out at them over and over from my own place of unhealed pain, knowing that outside our home we acted the perfect family beautifully, facing the realization that for so long I laughed and referred to my children’s intimidated, frightened, mock respect for me as “a healthy dose of fear,” was a shameful and excruciating truth to face, to make peace with, and to transform into deep gratitude, self-acceptance and, ultimately, self-love.
With that realization came the deep knowing that while I cannot heal my children, as I heal myself, they are coming along for the ride. As I heal myself, my children are also healing, and seeing the evidence in their finally feeling safe enough to share their horror with me, is the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
I don’t share this to be seen, acknowledged, or patted on the back in any way, as the open, loving, safe and kind communication my children and I now share is the only validation I need. I share this because Crazy Mommy lived such an incredibly hopeless, helpless, isolated and lonely existence.
Crazy Mommy would have really liked to know that she was not alone in her private hell. She would have liked to know that she and her children could have better, deserved better, and that there was, indeed, hope.
So today, on the other side of this journey, Crazy Mommy becoming a faint, distant, traumatic, ever healing memory of our past, my children and I just want those still suffering to know that families can heal.
Love can heal.
We are all in this together and the sooner we, as parents, face the truth of what hurts inside of ourselves, the sooner we can facilitate the healing in our children that they deserve.
Pain breeds pain, and it ends with me.
Christie Del Vesco is a College Administrator and Professor, a Universalist Minister, a member of the RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) Speakers Bureau and single mom. She’s a children’s advocate, a survivor of many forms of sexual violence, and a voice for the survivors who have yet to find their own. Chris is a firm believer that we go through what we do, to help others when they go through the same. She also believes if we would all just “be the change,” we can change the world.