Just yesterday I realized that I am grieving.
The thing about immaterial pain is that it can lie in waiting for many years before it is ever felt. Events that transpired a lifetime ago can yield fresh wounds when we least expect them. I have perhaps suffered more immaterial wounds and pains than material ones. I could write about a lot of things – from my childhood, from my first marriage, from my experiences with people broadly over the course of my life.
I feel too tired to go into much detail about most of that. For now I would simply say, speaking from my desire to highlight the MOST IMPORTANT lesson I’ve learned, that I’ve found NO source of pain greater than the wounds I’ve inflicted on myself, through my own choices and actions.
That’s not to say, though, that the choices and actions of others have not hurt me; they have.
It’s a common trope that American girls all have “Daddy Issues.” Well – not me. I mean, I thought I did, for a long time – because my mother told me I did – and, furthermore, that i should.
But let’s get real: my father was and is far from perfect – but how many girls end up with “Daddy Issues” because their father was too involved in their upbringing? Because their father was too protective? Because their father held them to too high a standard? And whose fathers did all this, and more, by way of leading by example?
The wise among you will not be surprised by my declaration that NO – I do not have “Daddy Issues.” I have “MOMMY Issues” – and it SHOWS.
I could write so much about that, but I will cut to the chase:
I found out nearly three years ago, the last time I saw my mother, that she had an abortion when she got pregnant again shortly after I was born. She has rationalized this in two primary ways, by saying that:
- it was “too soon.”
- that her relationship with my father was not good, she was not happy, he was bad.
Yet history also tells us that:
- she had the easiest pregnancies and deliveries any woman could hope for.
- she stayed with my father for several more years and had another child with him anyway.
My mother killed one of my siblings, for no greater reason than personal benefit and convenience.
Suddenly, I understood so much more about my relationship with my mother, and my relationship with WOMEN (namely, that they are awful).
I understand my mother’s chronic guilt – and I understand why she comes to me, alternately to tell me all about what a bad person my father is – and to beg ME for absolution for all the sins she’s never confessed in any proper capacity.
I also understand better some of the “dreams” or “visions” I had as a young child. I understand why, when I told my mother out of the blue one day, that I “always felt like I was supposed to have a little sister,” she seemed to get almost angry with me, and dismissed the idea with an uncomfortable mixture of wistfulness and disdain.
And I have come to understand that I am grieving – for a loss long and anxiously anticipated, but which I never knew, before, had ALREADY HAPPENED.
I like to believe that if my mother had truly understood the PRICE of that choice, she would not have MADE that choice. But I cannot say that this is true, necessarily.
This is the absolute center of my immaterial pain – and it is not just the grief for the loss of a sister I never knew I had – or the loss of the daughter I somehow always knew I would never have – it is the Principle Pain of the choice, the decision, to be infected with the Jezebel Spirit, to cast down the mantle of Eve and take up instead the mantle of Lilith.
The wages of sin are DEATH. In our lives we may at any time stand and proclaim – “I am alive and well; therefore I have not sinned!” – but what folly and what hubris, to think that the death sentence would be OURS – rather than the LIFE sentence – of thinking on and atoning for the deaths which we have sown.
This is the pain of realizing that I’ve made so many of the same wrong choices – in principle, if not detail – that my mother did; out of blindness, and ignorance, and PRIDE. It is not the most acute pain I have felt – but it is the deepest, the saddest, the most “full circle.” The most tied-or-intrinsic to every other invisible, immaterial pain I have suffered.
In so many ways, it is the very principle pain of the choice of Original Sin. In so many ways, it is the pain that brought me to the comprehension of the TRUTH OF Original Sin (the passing down of which, generationally, is a concept that was staunchly denied in my “religious education” as a child and young adult).
I must now choose differently than my mother chose for herself. I must choose differently than what she would choose for me. I must RENOUNCE the path that she would set before my feet, and the world she would build for my children.
And so I am also grieving the loss of my mother – although she still lives. Having a “peaceful” relationship with my mother has always required that I entertain and respect all of her ideas and never contradict or oppose them. This is no longer possible for me.
Jesus talked about how he came to sow division – and I begin to understand this better as well.
Choosing to walk this path which I have chosen may mean not having much of a relationship with my mother at all. It may mean giving up my attachments to many people I care for. I hope and I pray that this is not the case; but I will not, shall not, allow my fear (that it IS the case) to change my mind about doing what I believe is right.
Maybe that’s what all this pain is for.
Narcissists like to threaten to take themselves away from you if you don’t fall in line with their program. They threaten you with the pain of the loss of their (disordered) attachment. My ex-husband did this.
My mother does this.
I used to fear that pain.
Now I do not.