I had my first child at the age of twenty and the responsibility of being a parent came as quite a shock to me. I had believed that marriage, children, and being a good mother would be the solution to the emptiness I felt inside. In spite of the relationship difficulties following the birth of my first child, I had another child the year after, but I still felt empty and overwhelmed. I put all the blame for my unhappiness on my husband and I eventually left the marriage to be in a relationship with someone else.
A Life of Dramas, Alcohol and Abuse
This next relationship was abusive to myself and my children, but I still chose to have another child. My daughter was sexually abused from the age of six through until she was twelve. When she eventually disclosed this abuse to me, I was unable to support her in a loving way. At the same time I became estranged from my two year old son, who was taken out of my care by his father.
My dream of a happy family was diminishing but I hadn’t given up yet; I married a third time and had a fourth child. By this time I was a very heavy drinker and life was just one drama after another. I had wanted so much to be a good mother but I wasn’t able to love and nurture my children in the way I had wanted. This was a great sadness to me and I drank even more to cover up that sadness. By the time the older children were teenagers, they had joined me in the use of alcohol and drugs, and the dramas continued.
My eighteen year old son died in an alcohol related accident when I was forty and not long after I decided to seek help for my drinking addiction. I stopped drinking alcohol and tried to take some responsibility for my life but by now the patterns were so ingrained that it was difficult to make any true changes. I felt guilty and believed I had damaged my children as they were now choosing self-harming behaviours including heroin and alcohol addiction, self-abuse by cutting and also gambling.
My life was dominated by the events in my children’s lives: I was unable to work as I was constantly ‘on call’ for them, answering phone calls in the middle of the night and responding to the many dramas in their lives. I was exhausted and suffered from chronic fatigue. I took one of my granddaughters into my care for five years and then my daughter moved into my home, together with her two younger children for another five years. I was dedicated in looking after everyone and running the whole of the household as I thought I could make up for the past.
My daughter lost her licence for many years and I became the sole driver for all the family. I was now receiving recognition for being a ‘good mother’ and ‘good grandmother’ but I came to realise that I was just holding everything together by myself and not allowing my daughter to take responsibility for her own life. We eventually agreed to live in separate homes.
Universal Medicine, Self-Love and Learning to Say No
At this time I started attending presentations by Universal Medicine and I began to make choices that were more self-loving. I also began to recognise my own need for drama and my need to be needed.
I started learning to say “no” to my family whenever I felt that helping them was only rescuing them from their own responsibilities.
I had allowed my daughter to build up large amounts of debt in my name and I began learning to say “no” to further loans. I started saying “no” to buying cigarettes and alcohol for her and I was eventually able to say “no” to lending money altogether, even when they ran out of basic necessities. This was difficult for my family to accept as they were so used to me accommodating their needs. My daughter reacted with anger and she would ostracise me and stop me from seeing the children. I allowed this to affect me and would sometimes revert back to my old patterns of helping them just to feel needed and accepted. I could feel it was not loving to be constantly rescuing my family but it was still very difficult to say no. I was still playing the role of what I believed was being a ‘good mother’ and I was still feeling the guilt of my past choices.
I concentrated on making more self-loving choices. With the support of Universal Medicine practitioners I began to realise that I am not the failure I believed I was and that I am actually an amazing person. I was able to view my past actions in a loving way and began to understand that I had acted from emptiness and that I was not a bad person.
I started to eat food that generally supported my body. Although by this time I was eating what I believed was a healthy diet, I was still filling up with many foods that made me feel bloated, or uncomfortable. I gradually stopped eating gluten, dairy and sugar and lost 16 kilos and started to look and feel fantastic – old friends tell me that I look much younger now than I used to.
I learnt to listen to my body and started going to bed earlier and waking earlier. I had so much more energy and was able to find employment in Community Aged Care which requires a lot of physical work, but I don’t come home exhausted as I am now more able to remain aware of my own needs while still supporting others.
The more I am honest with myself and the more I develop self-love and take care of and honour myself, the less need I have to please others to receive recognition, or to feel loved.
Accepting Responsibility and Learning to Appreciate Myself
Consistently living these changes is still a work in progress as I become more of me; I enjoy being the woman I truly am. As a result of these changes my relationship with the family has also changed. I can still offer support at times but am finding it doesn’t need to come from a place of need or guilt in me, or from feeling that I have a role to live up to, which in the past for me was a huge identification with ‘being a good mother’. The more I accept and appreciate myself and the changes I have made, the more I have to offer as a reflection to my family that these choices can be made by anyone. I am realising I don’t need to make suggestions for them to change anymore; I can just allow them to be where they are at and trust them to make their own choices.
I never believed I could be anything more than my past – that I could move on from there and live a life free of the old patterns that held me so tight. My life now is changing all the time as I expand my level of self-love and I feel now that I can connect with others more openly. I don’t have to hide from others by feeling a victim anymore as I am now accepting responsibility for my own life.
By Anonymous, NSW Australia