A mother’s embrace

It is very hard to love yourself when you were raised 

by a gas lighting narcissist that preached love 

while instilling self loathing. 

She had this terrifying talent of making me love her 

more than anything else in the world, 

making me paranoid and fear the gaze 

of anyone who could help me escape her mind prison

when she was in the midst of inflicting trauma and abuse.

She would sing the praises of body positivity

and embraced her own while punishing me for mine. 

She was proud of her slight figure, her shrunken chest,

"I fed the world with these breasts, I am not ashamed"

But my body had to be covered and picked and prodded.

 I hate my curves, as they brought only punishment and conflict 

Stared down the body in the mirror, binged and puked and mutilated it

until I could no longer recognize it as my own. 

She preached that everyone can benefit from therapy, it's healthy! 

But used it as a threat to me, dragging me in so she could spread

her filthy lies, painting me as a deceitful and hateful child,

spinning stories and masking her own mental illness. 

She bragged about all the friends she had when she was my age,

but isolated me from any I had until I had none left. 

She stirred conflict by poking at insecurities and creating drama 

but blamed me that she couldn't go to book club with the other moms

because I wasn't friends with their daughters anymore.

Countless times I was told that I was the reason we were poor,

 I was the only thing keeping her in New York,

 I was keeping her from her family and I felt like 

an unwanted, burdensome souvenir from an unhappy marriage, 

she "could have just walked away" had it not been for me. 

Now she's in Virginia with her family and complains that they

don't want to see her and they've moved away from her.

But every time they've tried to help her when she cries victim 

saying they're controlling and she won't live under their thumb.

I have come to realize that while she hurt me so much,

she is also very much a prisoner of her own devise.

I know she is sick, I know she had her own abusers

and I know that turning her trauma towards me 

is the only way she knows how to deal with it.

And for that, I cannot hate her but I cannot forget, either.

I am trying to learn how to forgive her in a way 

that won't hurt me because I can't just bury it anymore.


And while I reflect on the self inflicted scars 

on my arms and legs that she scoffed at and dismissed,

I realize that I'm still dealing with the invisible ones

on my psyche that she refuses to even acknowledge. 

And I know that of all that she put me through,

acceptance without closure will be the steepest hill

to overcome.



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