little girl in defiance

My emotionally unavailable mother used to love talking in clichés to teach us how to live our lives. ‘It’s the thought that counts’ or ‘If you want to live in my house, you have to follow the rules.’ It seems though that all her clichés only applied to us, but never to her. To her, and to all of you, here are the lessons my emotionally unavailable mother never meant to teach me.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I know that the Bible tells us to honor our parents, I am doing that by learning what you taught me, both your words and your actions. Many times, your actions said something different than your words – in those cases, I learn from your actions. You taught me that those speaks louder than words, in this way I honor you as I should.

Oh, and before you say that my cutting contact is not honoring my parents, let me just share this:

How do we honor an abusive parent? One thing forgiveness and honor are not, though, is a permanent submission to parental authority. The Bible commands honor but not remaining a prisoner in a dysfunctional family. Ephesians 6:2-3 promises those who honor their parents will live a long life based on the parents’ ability to teach their children how to live a successful life. However, families with a destructive cycle of sin are very dangerous, and children who break free need to find safety in the family of God (From Got Questions ? org)

It’s Only Borrowing If You Return It

You always told us kids not to show up on your doorstep looking for a handout after we were eighteen. We all watched you take money from Daddy’s parents until they cut you off. Then you started taking money from Gramma. You always said you borrowed, but you taught us kids that it’s only borrowing if you return it, otherwise it’s stealing. Still, you never paid any of them back.

When Gramma was old, I paid her bills because you had bled her dry. I am privileged to have been able to help her, and God has rewarded me tenfold, spiritually, emotionally and financially. I have not showed up looking for you to save me, as you taught me.

Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You

You told us kids to remember which side our bread was buttered on, and to never bite the hand that feeds you. You came and lived in a house I provided for free with utilities I paid for; the nicest house you ever enjoyed living in that I know of. You were mean and snide and rude, and obviously enjoyed upsetting me, my husband, our happy occasions and even everyday meals.

I have removed the hand you bit, and it will never feed you again. Just as you taught me.

People Who Live In Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones

You taught us kids that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. You refused to accept my husband’s children (in that house we provided), and you snubbed my precious daughter-in-law for being pregnant before marriage, when your own daughter was pregnant when she eloped and quit X-ray school suddenly. And you are the one who told me that your sister-in-law was pregnant when she married your brother, and you are the one to snub my daughther-in-law by saying “it’s never happened in my family before“.

Your glass house has been shattered for many years. Only you pretend it still exists.

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

You taught us kids that pretty is as pretty does, and what you did was not pretty. It’s not a question of what you remember, it’s about what all of us, me, my husband and the kids remember. We are not fooled in our own memories. If you are, then I hope that you will discuss that with your doctor. If you receive a diagnosis of some brain issue and would like all of us to fill in the gaps for you, we can do that. It still wouldn’t be pretty though. Even if you wake up in a brand new world every day, it’s apparently a world where you wanted to cause your (only) generous daughter pain and upset.  That is not what comes from love.

You Made Your Bed, Now Lie In It

I am glad that you came and lived here.   It made my husband able to understand that there are mothers like you. He couldn’t even imagine something like you in his worst nightmares. He was so proud and happy when I kicked you out (and was ready for my action far sooner than I acted). It was hard for me at the time, but I am very happy about it now too. Clearly you do not love me, so getting charity from me must have really stuck in your craw. I’m not sure why when you had no problem fleecing first Daddy’s parents, and then your own mother. Regardless, I am glad you no longer have to choke my generosity.

I forgive you for the past, and harbor no regrets. My life today is more than recompense for all the twists and turns that brought me here. Every time I got knocked down, I picked myself up and did even better for the knockdown. I have my family, we all love each other dearly and support one another unconditionally. God has blessed us in all areas of life and we are all very happy again.

As mothers and wives, our foremost commandment of God is to make a home and family of love, and to give comfort and aid to others along the way. My family lives by that every day. Someday, I will lay the jewel of a family at the feet of Jesus and you will have nothing but shards of glass – splinters of Daddy’s family, and your own. It is not my place to judge you in that, perhaps it was the best you could do.

Life is a series of actions, a process built day by day. You told us kids that actions speak louder than words, and your actions were not those of a loving influence. But by your own advice, I am now wiser. You told us kids that as you sow, so shall you reap. I have also found that homily to be true. I hope you are happy now with your harvest.

You have made your bed, now you can lie in it as you please. You always told me to lean on my own fat, all of us kids, when we tried to snuggle and get affection. I am letting you lean on your own fat, just like you taught me.

I am honoring all that you taught me, just as God wants me too.

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As the daughter of a highly toxic mother, Nova joined the SwanWaters team early on. With her own brand of sarcasm, Nova gladly shares the recovery insights she has gained through her own experiences.
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My emotionally unavailable mother used to love talking in clichés to teach us how to live our lives. Her lessons never seemed to apply to her though...

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