Partial protection is not nothing

Woke up a few mornings ago with this idea: Just because my mom didn’t protect me the way I wanted her to doesn’t mean she didn’t protect me.  I wanted it to look a certain way –  belief in my complaint, righteous anger toward The Exes, clear cut hierarchy that I was more valuable.  I wanted my mother transformed into a superhero who would swoop in, cape flapping majestically, and save me forever.

I woke up at 42 thinking perhaps I held her to too high a standard.  Not denying what happened, but adding to it –I only know how bad it was, not how bad it might have been without her socially appropriate maneuverings, her polite excuses for why I couldn’t spend more time with The Exes.

She was not Superwoman with arms akimbo, but maybe for a woman with the psychic equivalent of a broken leg, crawling between me and the stuff that hurt me might’ve been more of an honorable act than I’ve given her credit for.

PS:  Thank you for being friends with me on facebook!  I love seeing your personal lives (that sounds so creepy, sorry)!  I hadn’t realized how lonely I’d become after the kids went back to school – most of my conscious thoughts were about ThankGoodnessTimeForMeAgain and the isolation crept up on me unexpected.


4 Replies to “Partial protection is not nothing”

  1. That.
    Is so freaking sad,
    and so very real.

    I look at how my mom raised the six of us, how I was left floating in the wind from the age of ten on, leaving me wide open for everything that followed. A timeline of “oooooooo…. dang” that was kinda a no-brainer when combined with the gaping hole of emotional absenteeism on my father’s part. I see that, and then discover that the woman was suicidal for a goodly portion of that time. I’m not happy how it worked out, but I get it.


  2. Gah. Good for you. That’s not an easy realisation, and it shows a lot of grace on your part.

    I worry about that kind of thing with my kids, too. I want to protect them properly from stuff, but can’t for various reasons (some things they don’t/can’t know about, and some things that are just my own inadequacy). But it doesn’t mean I’m not doing *anything* to help with those things.

  3. I am finally (at 43) starting to get some understanding of how my mom lived her life when I was a child. The barest glimpse of empathy is peeking through. I never thought I’d get here. It’s only because my life has gone so fucking sideways do I get it.

  4. I am still composing my response to one of your previous posts… and this is somewhat related.

    I will just leave this here … my personal experience and struggle.

    It took me many, many years to get to this little kernel …

    She did her best. It was just not the best for me.

    It allows me to be in relationship with her — without constantly trying to get her to admit her faults, or subsume them and assume them as my faults. She wasn’t the best mom in the world, not the one I needed, but not because there is something wrong with me or her. It was just the best she could do at the moment.

    It doesn’t absolve her, but it allows me to move forward with her — here and now with boundaries, however imperfect. It doesn’t mean that I still don’t get hurt sometimes. It just means that neither of us has to be the bad guy or the victim. We’re just humans. Flawed but doing our best which can change from one moment to the next.

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