Healing can take time…but it is worth doing
How I made peace with Mom after 50 years
Nobody could imagine how much I hated my childhood. I hated everything, the house we lived in, the village, the people. Of course, I also hated me and my body. And nobody understood me or could even have the slightest idea what was going on inside of me. When I had my outbursts of anger, tears, or moodiness, they just looked at me like: “What’s going on? You are not grateful, even though you have everything? Pull yourself together.”
Of course, that didn’t make it easier for me. To the contrary, I was more and more convinced, something is wrong with me.
The person who suffered the most from my anger attacks was certainly my Mom. We were constantly fighting, and sometimes did not speak for days with each other. I felt so much anger and misunderstanding, that I created more and more hate inside of me. Over time I learned how to close up inside of my body, I had to go into my room, hiding with a package of potato chips and munching my anger down.
My moodiness was certainly an obstacle for my environment too. We had this pattern in my family, that we did not really talk about emotions. Everyone was closed up, you never knew how the other one felt or what was going on in their head. There was always this energy lingering that an emotional bomb can explode.
In my memory I cannot remember quiet discussions, only yelling in the house. Alcohol was a problem in my family too. As my Dad hated his life and job as well, he found peace in drinking beer. So we both had found our coping mechanism, potato chips for me, beer for him.
And there were my two brothers, I was always wondering: How do they manage? My four-year-older brother was mostly outside with friends on a bike, later with his motorbike. At home, he could not sit still and was always jittering around or hammering with the basketball against the wall when he was not fighting with my Dad.
I totally admired my older brother and did everything to get his attention and try to build a relationship. But all my effort was without success. That made me, of course, sadder and created the feeling: I am not worth it! I am wrong! I am a failure!
My two-year younger brother was in his own world, mostly sitting on the floor and playing with legos or cars. When you talked to him, you needed at least three or four attempts to get through to him, he was gone in his mind into his dream world. I guess that was his way of coping
So then there was my Mom
I have no idea how she handled us all, this bundle of personalities. Besides my father (mostly slightly drunk and moody), and us three kids, we also had my paternal grandparents around who lived with us in the house, but in their own apartment. They needed some help. Later when my grandfather was really sick, my Mom had to take care of him like a nurse, changing diapers, feeding, washing.
Looking at this situation I often had the feeling, Mom has no connection at all to her body and mind. She was just there functioning, as a firefighter, jumping in where ever she was needed. I was totally in awe of her strength, female power, control, mostly showing understanding for everything -which I could not do at all!
That made me angry as well, because I felt left alone and not seen, and again like a failure. I was always jealous of my friends’ parents who had something like a hobby, who played tennis, who read books, who existed as human beings. My parents did not exist, they were operating only. In our house nobody existed really. For example, when I tried to read or do something to connect to my soul, I got yelled at: “ Can’t you take a broom, do something serious and be helpful?” So the best thing for me was hiding in my room and pretending to do homework, while I was munching on potato chips, swallowing down my anger and unheard feelings. The ideal situation to create emotional eating, right?
I guess everybody has managed to find a personal system to function. It was very exhausting for me. I had the feeling I could not breathe at all. Maybe nobody could. There was always some controlling, doing, finishing up, repairing, cooking, cleaning, etc, but no exchange of emotions or even normal communication.
Later, when I was only 20 years old, I managed to leave the house and move almost 300 km away to study. Before then, believe it or not, at 18 I had decided to stay as I totally felt unprepared to live my own life. You would guess that one would escape this energy the first opportunity possible , but no, at the same time I felt safe in this environment. My Mom and I often had days where we were really mad at each other and did not exchange a word and the question was, who will break this silence first? Who will excuse and balance out the energy and situation? It was quite a fight and competition, certainly a lot of jealousy going on between mother and daughter.
At twenty, finally, I was happy getting out of there, but I felt so much shame, guilt, and pain, that my body was constantly sick and when I fell in love with a guy, I guess I was happy and hoping my life was turning around. Of course, I fell in love with someone who was the perfect son in law, to please my parents. But obviously, I was wrong. My past was with me, my emotions were there, I couldn’t deny anything. It was hard. And everything I had learned at home did not really help me to get out of my own discomfort. It had to get worse. I needed more sickness and my marriage had to fall apart to understand that I have to do my inner work.
And so I started to look deep inside of myself and into my childhood to understand the patterns, habits, and dis-functioning of my family.
I started my inner work when I was thirty-five years old, accepting that my marriage cannot work and that I was unhappy in my profession. By that time I had studied engineering and gotten an MBA and made it to Managing Director. Always feeling guilty that I hated my parents while they obviously were always there for me. They provided all the basic needs my whole lifetime, shelter, food, education, they sent me on vacation, all this was important for my parents giving it to us. They worked hard and sacrificed a lot so that I (and my brothers on their terms) could be there where I /we are today.
So why was I suffering? And what changed to make me feel different today?
- I suffered a lot as I am a highly sensitive person and am very intuitive. I could feel everything in our house, each energy, each emotion the others felt, crept inside of my body and soul and I could not distinguish what was mine, what was theirs. My first coach once said, ”Oh you have to walk on eggshells at home, you sense everything!” By that time I hardly understood what she meant.
- I was unhappy as I felt the sorrow, depression, and sadness of my father and the confusion, strength and overwhelming nature of my mother. It was just too much for me and I did not know how to deal with it.
When my Mom’s mother died, my Mom was just 38 years old, it was a very traumatic situation and it weighed heavy on all of us, but again I saw my Mom as a rock in the stormy ocean and continuing to function.
As my Mom tried to stay strong, I felt abandoned and neither seen, nor heard, nor accepted, which made me feel unworthy of living, even of eating, I remember that at the table I felt embarrassed to eat “their” food.
After more than 10 years of coaching and healing myself with different coaches, healers and healing modalities, I understood in what environment I grew up. I finally was able to make peace with my childhood and especially peace with my Mom, which was the main blockage in my life, this mother-daughter connection which was so heavy energetically through many generations maybe.
I realized what I have learned from my Mom
- love unconditionally (which is super scary but worth it)
- standing up for myself
- healing yourself is necessary to move on
- compassion and understanding for other people’s pain
So last year, when I turned 50, it was my biggest wish to celebrate with my Mom, there was no other person I could imagine being with on that day. I invited her to Florence, Italy and my heart was already jumping before the trip, imagining I already had 50 years of life with so many negative feelings and traumatic situations. So I decided, the next 50 years I want to live differently, I want to have peace with my Mom and celebrate what we have been through and start a different story.
Sitting there in the middle of this old Italian town of Florence which is known for the cultural root of the Renaissance (Re-birth, Renewal), I told my Mom how thankful I am, that it is my most wonderful birthday just celebrating with her, that it was my heart’s desire to start the second half of a century with her, as we had started the first. It was the first time that we looked into each other’s eyes, and deeply understood the words and feelings. You can imagine that we both had tears in our eyes. My Mom looked quite puzzled about my words, but I saw how something inside her just relaxed, fell down like a curtain and I understood that she was thinking: What, my daughter loves me? So I can stop fighting for her love?!
I realized that this is what we did our whole lifetime, fighting to be acknowledged and loved, and with one sentence we had all this.
And thanks to her and my family I finally found my purpose in healing and helping others to find love and happiness in life. Twelve years ago now I quit my engineering job and live as an intuitive coach in the Caribbean.
I am grateful for all the teachings I have received from and through my family and other wonderful coaches. And now I can see so many happy moments I already had in my childhood.
Do your inner work, it means finding peace and purpose in life.
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