The issues I worked on today had to do with mothers emotionally harming their children. I've changed the names for privacy.
Enemies. I want to release the negative feelings and judgments I have towards her. Nelly is a pious fundamentalist Christian mother who taught her children that God had enough people doing good for others; she wanted her family to work together to help God deliver his punishments to others. She set about doing this vigorously as a life mission--a judgment-based crusade with Nelly as The Judge. She included in her crusade her ex-husband, oblivious to the fact that this would cause her children to reject a part of themselves as they rejected their father.
Today I worked on forgiving Nelly, knowing that she would have to be stunted emotionally to consider such actions. I wouldn't expect someone who is so deeply emotionally developmentally disabled to be able to do more. At some level she probably loves her children. She may even have no idea what she is doing. If she ever does wake up and realize what she's done she may not even be able to handle it.
My part in this is that I am one of the people Nelly thinks deserves ongoing punishment for my sins, administered by her and her children. I worked on expressing anger towards Nelly first, then forgiving her. I worked towards trying to send blessings and healing energies her way.
Now as adults not all of the children still follow Nelly's ways, but some do. It hurts me to see this way of thinking passed down. I am powerless over all of it, though, and can only send love their way.
I was one of those people that didn't measure up in Minnie's mind. At that time I was a Christian, but just not the right kind. So Minnie made sure that her children had no contact with me. I disagreed with this and it hurt, especially since I was related to Minnie and her children.
Now as I try to forgive Minnie, I can see that her intentions were good. She was trying to protect her children from someone with dangerous ideas (any ideas that were different from hers) and with ways of being in the world that were threatening to her worldview. I experienced a lot of hurt and sadness as a result of her actions, and continue to experience it even now because Minnie's adult children continue in her lifestyle as adults.
I followed the same process here: first anger, then feelings of sadness for the loss of relationship, trying to establish some empathy, forgiveness, then sending love.
Anyway, she has nothing in particular against me; it's just that if you don't let her run your life, you'll be very sorry. She bullies people into doing what she wants.
More of the same here for me: releasing resentment, forgiveness for so many things, struggling to send goodness her way.
Empathy helps. I have never done this type of thing to anyone, but if I really felt like I had to have control to the point that I would die or implode, I might. We are all capable of anything, I believe, given the right past, the right experiences, etc. I don't believe that I'm any better of a person than Queenie--or for that matter, than Nelly or Minnie. I just have had a different past and am a different person.
Even though she hurt her children deeply, I'm sure she didn't want to. I'm sure she would feel devastated to know the damage she did. I remember her crying each time afterwards, telling me how much she loved me and how sorry she was. What a life to live--to beat and verbally abuse your children--to hate yourself, and then get up the next day and do it all over again.
When you are abused and you survive and you still love your parent, it shows you that you are strong enough to make it through, and that you have an amazing ability to love. I don't know that I have much love left for my mother (mostly just relief that she is gone--she died over 30 years ago) but I don't hate her anymore, which I think is a good thing. I know that she did many good things for us and did the best she could.
Bunnie has taken a different approach to raising her children. Instead of "protecting" them from family members with different beliefs, instead of lying to them to alienate them from people she disagrees with, instead of manipulating people to try to control her children's experiences, instead of insulating them from life with religious beliefs--she has loved them. She's had integrity in how she has cared for her children.
But she learned how to love from her mother. She was taught well. Nelly, Minnie, Queenie, my mother--none of them had that. All of them were repeating what they knew and trying so hard to get it right.
Understanding this, putting all of this in perspective really helped me in being able to forgive. Of course, I'm not done yet--this is a process that will take a long time, but I feel freer, as though I've made an excellent start.
Today's work also helped me to release prejudice towards fundamentalist Christians. I've written about this before. This is something I really need to deal with. All Christians are not like Nelly, Minnie, and Queenie. People like these three ladies are attracted to all kinds of groups and spiritual systems that can make them feel good about their actions; fundamentalist Christianity just happened to be the one they picked.
I used to be a fundamentalist Christian, and I was really doing the best I could. I wanted to be a loving person. I couldn't see that judgment and unforgiveness had no place in Christianity. We called it "discernment". We thought we were right. We thought we were righteous. We would project our feelings onto others--all of them that we had no room for--which were quite a few of them. The feelings that we did have, we were told never, ever, ever to trust. Still, there is no basis for me to judge a whole group of people based upon my bad experiences and my experiences with these mothers. They could have picked another kind of group and achieved the same results; it just was easy to pick Christianity because it was there.
Not sure why I wanted to share this all with you, but I did. I hope that there is something to be gleaned from it. I hope that perhaps I might inspire you to forgive those you want to forgive. Or maybe you have some prejudice against some group of people that you want to release. Or maybe it's just to validate that you are a mother who really loves her children, like Bunnie, and is not too emotionally developmentally disabled to show it. Maybe it's to be grateful that you are the person you are, someone not trapped in some weird psychological knot that causes you to act out in destructive ways and hurt those around you. Maybe it's to show more empathy to those people you know who are trapped.
Thank you for listening today, Sacred Sunday, xoO