Shattering the Spirit
I knew when I had my first child that I was an unfit mother. I had been told all my life by the women who knew me best that I was unfit for anything. There were a few that believed in me, but none of them were my mother and grandmothers. Mostly they were my school teachers. My husband said the same about me every chance he had. Perhaps this was the reason my parents approved of our marriage. It would give me some humility.
I had learned from watching my daddy and brothers that men walked and talked big and strong to try to fool others into thinking they couldn't be hurt. I had taken on these traits because to do like most of the women I knew would be to scream or cry all the time, and the deep passion from which my explosions came scared all around me. My daddy took to calling me, "A mighty powerful woman." This further cursed me in the eyes of the women in my life.
To my chagrin, my first child was a daughter. All I could feel was a broken heart, knowing what was in store for her. She, too, would be expected to spend her life serving with no expectation of honor or reward. She, too, was afraid of my volcanic passions and sought the safety of her self-assured father. He mostly ignored her, except to encourage her to turn against me.
I became a mother tiger, laying my life over hers so that she could develop as she was meant to develop. She was not well liked by most adults because she was strong-willed and very sure of herself. Little southern children, especially girls, are supposed to be sweet and allow all adults to touch them at will. This was not how I raised my children.
Not wanting to continue to blow up emotionally, when I became pregnant for my second child, I entered a program of psychological counseling by a man proclaiming himself a "Christian" clergy member. This, I thought, would ensure that I would be led to fix my marriage by the rules of my religion. This was not to be. As do many "gurus" (I had already had several encounters of this sort with other religious leaders) the therapist sought to abuse my vulnerability. I began studying the therapeutic methods offered by Transactional Analysis on my own.
I had a brilliant mind, for which I was punished by my mother for being "arrogant." I had been encouraged to become engaged to be married from the time I was sixteen years old. I dated the man I married from the time I was sixteen until I married him when I was eighteen years old. Even as a married woman, men continually made lewd comments to me in front of my husband. My husband found it flattering to his ego, and did much to encourage these men. I had been given by my father in marriage to this man in order to protect, not trade on, my virtue.
I had seen the destruction of my mother's spirit and the destruction of the spirits of so many women in the "Christian" community in which I grew up. The usual "cure" was to have the mother taken from her children and committed to a psychiatric facility where the women were given drugs to keep them docile. My mother had already done this to my older sister.
I knew that what would happen from that point forward was a continually increasing effort to "tame" my spirit. I had already been subjected to this for seven years at the hands of my husband's family. It wasn't until I had a son and my husband continued to show the gravest disrespect for me and my struggles as a mother that I knew I had to take my children and run.
I have survived, but my mothering spirit has been shattered. It seems that our religious and governmental authorities allow anger only toward the mothers. We are given no authority, but are expected to shoulder all the responsibilities for the well--being of the earth.
I am grateful for the opportunity to, once again, have sisters who will feed and help strengthen my spirit.