Black Parenting : Learning to Love

Discussion in 'Black Parenting' started by Afroerotik, May 20, 2011.

  1. Afroerotik

    Afroerotik Member MEMBER

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    I am, what I like to call, emotionally retarded. You see, I did not receive love from the first, most important source every child experiences love, my mother. I have to struggle to love, to receive love, to feel deserving of love every single day of my life.

    In her defense, my mother probably never really learned how to love from her parents. In fact, she probably learned that love is strict, mean, violent, oppressive, and very conditional from her parents. That’s not to say that her parents, my grandparents, didn’t love her or were abusive to her, I’m saying that loving, how to love, isn’t something that’s taught in Black families. My grandparents loved their children but didn’t know how to show it with affection, hugs, reading to them, spending quality time with them, or even saying, “I love you.” To my grandparents, descendents of slaves born during the depression, raised under the oppression of Jim Crow, and who became parents on the eve of the civil rights movement, loving your children meant putting a roof over their head, clothes on their backs, food in their stomachs and enforcing enough discipline to keep them from being identified as “a ******.” Their parenting skills, while probably exceptional when being measured in terms of their providing stability for their children, left much to be desired. They raised three completely dysfunctional children.

    I have one uncle who is an alcoholic, wife abuser, and the most “******ish” of the bunch. All that discipline and structure created a rebellious, stagnated soul who buries his pain in a bottle, makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like the poster boy for marital family values, and who has raised his own two sons to try to single-handedly attempt to repopulate the planet. Every year, if there isn’t a new grandbaby by a different baby mama, there’s an adult, coming out of the woodworks, identifying themselves as a long, lost offspring who wasn’t acknowledged or raised by his very fertile sons. He sees nothing wrong with his sons’ behavior and loves them unconditionally which usually takes the form of him praising them, even when they do something wrong.

    My other uncle stopped maturing at about the age of 10 years old. While there is absolutely nothing about him that could be considered ******ish, he throws hissy fits and tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. His entire life is based on superficial perceptions. Whenever he walks in a room, he has to have the most beautiful (light-skinned) woman on his arm, be the best dressed, and the most charming. His conversations, however, are limited to celebrities, music, and the most publicized politics of the day. If there is a task to be done, responsibility to be taken, or manual labor to be performed, he can only, will only do it if there is someone there to see him do it. Otherwise it will NOT get done, EVER, no matter how pressing, urgent, or important that task is. He is the epitome of narcissism.

    My mother SEEMS the most balanced of the three but in many ways she is the most unbalanced. Her great dysfunction is in her need to control, dictate, manipulate, and lie. She got pregnant with me in her senior year of college which brought shame to her very prominent family. The shame was actually all in her head, constructed from her own internal dialogue, not an indisputable fact. The fact that my grandfather more than likely didn’t say anything to her made her construct a reality in her head where he hated her for her “mistake”. Combine that with the fact that my biological father (look up the definition of absentee father in the dictionary and you will see his picture) dumped her and married another woman before I was even born, coupled with the fact that she and I have different RH factors which made her sick for her entire pregnancy, means she resented my very existence before I was even a person. My mother never loved me. She never bonded with me like most mothers do; she never thought I was a special and unique gift, she never felt the genuine love a mother feels for her child. She felt burdened and shamed by being forced to be my mother. She took out her frustration and hatred on me, and still does to this very day.

    I remember my mother would go for WEEKS without speaking to me. Some people think that’s rather benign, not so bad in the scheme of life, no big deal. It is, however, emotional abuse of the most extreme sort and sets a child up for a life of isolation and feelings of being disconnected. It was always in response to some minor infraction, some insignificant slight she perceived I had done wrong to her. Not hanging my coat up after school, setting the table without napkins, or GOD FORBID, not performing some chore to her impossible standards of perfection, all resulted in violent, abusive physical outburst followed by weeks of emotional withdrawal. Any way I deviated from what she wanted, from how she expected me to behave was interpreted as me disrespecting her, resulted in her withdrawing her “love” from me as a form of punishment. Love, for her, was providing me with educational and cultural opportunities and had nothing whatsoever to do with her feelings for me.

    My mother didn’t know how to love me, even if she had actually loved me. Her concept of love is based on people doing exactly what she deems appropriate. Unfortunately, her perceptions of what she considers reality are based on elaborate lies she constructs and then believes them to be the truth and her fear of going to hell for the hurt and dirt she has done to far too many wives and people she no longer considers friends. She alienates and ignores anyone from her past who knows the truth and she sets out to hurt, destroy, and demonize anyone who threatens to expose her for who and what she is. She has an irrational need to be right (as do most people) and she justifies her actions without an ounce of guilt, remorse, or regret, no matter how heinous, manipulative, or just plain wrong she is. She feels justified in treating me like I’m evil, like I’ve done something wrong to her, because I’m not rich and successful. She NEVER apologies because in her mind, she’s never wrong.

    It is that mentality that can allow her to believe that she is perfectly justified in telling me that I wasn’t raped, because, as she said, “You didn’t act like you had been raped to ME.” When I needed her support the most, when I needed a mother’s unconditional love at my lowest point, she not only withheld it, she falsely accused me of lying to cover up my alleged promiscuity. You see, my mother refused to accept that I had gotten pregnant from being violated from a man who took what I would not give him. No, my mother assumed that my pregnancy was because I was fast and loose and that I refused to accept responsibility for my actions like she had so nobly done. She has defended her actions, justified her behavior and continued to deny that I was raped over the subsequent decade and a half that has passed since that day because she refuses to acknowledge that my pregnancy wasn’t like hers.

    I could detail a list of egregious and offensive things my mother has done to me over my lifetime for which she has never and will never apologize. Some people reading this will inevitably offer their apologies to me, uncomfortable with my level of honesty and needing to say something to me to show that they empathize with my pain. Some others will find my openness about mother offensive, suggesting that I’m too sensitive, ungrateful, or just plain ****** up and trying to blame my mother for things that are my fault. It is most often those people who will flat out tell me that I am undeserving of love because they are similarly hurt, struggling with their own feelings of inadequacy, and they will strike out at me for daring to be unashamed of my emotional wounds. Others still will offer advice, tell me what I need to do in order to heal, tell me to pray and forgive my mother in order to release my pain. The vast majority of people who will offer advice, critique, or words of solace have never thought to examine their lives as I have done, never thought to explore their issues, and are most certainly not brave enough to share their pain with the world.

    My healing comes through loving. Well, writing and loving. For almost two decades, I wasn’t in a relationship. Certainly, nothing that resembles anything healthy and nothing that would facilitate my healing. I have learned that through loving, and allowing myself to be loved, that I experience my true, divine purpose. It’s a process, and not one that is particularly easy at that. Sometimes, I don’t feel worthy of love, other times, I find myself withholding my love from people because they don’t love me the way I want them to love me. More often than not, I have given my love to people who don’t deserve it or who make me feel inadequate.

    Today, I am the beneficiary of love in many forms. I am currently one half of a loving, nurturing, occasionally challenging relationship. While I have practiced and rehearsed for YEARS how I will behave in a relationship, while I have visualized in my mind how I will respond to conflict and turmoil, how we will communicate, how we will tackle the issues that come up that seem beyond my emotionally retarded skills, I’ve failed miserably at times and resorted to behaviors that would make my mother proud so to speak. There have been times when I have self-sabotaged the relationship with my issues and there have been times when I’ve been too eager to walk away from it because of his. Here I am, six months later, and I’m a better woman for loving him and I’m working daily to show my love in a myriad of ways. I excel at loving when I’m given the chance, when I allow myself to give my love freely and without condition and I’m bathed in love when I allow myself to feel deserving of his generous and wonderful heart.

    I receive and get love from my best friend and I know that I’m healed from my mother’s abuse by our relationship. I love and am loved, like a sister, a friend, a confidant and ally with her. I am challenged to fulfill my destiny with her and I want nothing but her success and happiness. Her love for me sustains me, encourages me, and propels me to love to even greater depths, or heights as it were. Additionally, I am the caregiver to my grandfather, who, while he might have been a less than stellar example of love to his own children, has been an exceptionally loving parent to me. Every day, I am presented with the opportunity to love him unconditionally. When I am cleaning up his poop, making a sandwich exactly to his very picky standards, or when my lungs are burning from his incessant chain smoking, I know that he loves me, believes in me, and feels my immense love for him.

    There will never be a day when I don’t have to struggle with the gift of love. It is a burden I will carry with me until the day I die. I can never be completely healed of something that is so deeply embedded in my psyche, in my subconscious mind, that is can’t be accessed. The best I can hope for is that I continue not to be afraid of telling my truth so that I can face my demons head on and that I continue to recognize when I am playing the broken tapes in my head that tell me that I’m not deserving of being loved. I’m quite assured that it will get easier for the more I love, the more I want to experience giving and getting true, unconditional, L.O.V.E.

    Scottie Lowe Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
     
  2. $$RICH$$

    $$RICH$$ Lyon King Admin. STAFF

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    Then you have took and made some major steps to loving and being loved
     
  3. Feather

    Feather Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I see myself in you. we see so much of the love and recognize what we didn't have some people lack that they do not understand what the problem with them is or how to cope. You... know that is a major breakthrough. My mom broke up with her high school sweetheart then had me and they got back together. he hated me and said he would make my life a living hell as long as i was living with them. she never took up for me. it was like i wasn't there. my brother is her favorite. she went to his football games etc. but not my track meets or volleyball games. ur not alone there are so many... a flock just like us you are very intelligent and any man would be lucky to have a woman like you..you're honest you want to grow in your being to be a better one and that is honorable :). we are not weak because we need support from life's effect on us it has actually made us stronger better lovers, nurturers, and mothers. we are human simple as that... some people try to front like they're not in need of anyone but they are an act everyone has a support system in one way or the another so.... you are not tainted as alot of people brand us and look down on us because our lives were not like the huxtables, whose is? my grandmother said one day if you have a roof over your head and food in your fridge your doing good...sadly. what comes from the heart reaches the heart i was told by a good man one time and i'll never forget to always speak from that place as you have in this thread. my advice to you is that you continue to be raw and honest that is what is appreciated and if a person cannot deal with that then they are weak in my opinion and you and I both need strong men who know life doesn't hand everyone the solutions or the road map to get through we get off track sometimes and need to ask for direction and even if no one is there as a guide we will somehow in our strength find our way...i love you sis hope you are well...
     
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