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I am full of rage toward my dead mother, who failed to protect me from sexual abuse - how can I forgive her?
The questioner's philosophy
I was raised Catholic but do not keep up as well as I should. My philosophy on life I guess is to do the best I can with what has been given to me.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
My greatest hope is that one day I will be free of constant worrying and be able to relax.
I am in therapy and also under the care of a doctor. I take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications as well. I have had anxiety, depression, OCD and obsessive anger/rage for my whole life. It has been an ongoing struggle to just feel normal. I was sexually molested at a very young age maybe 3 or 4 yrs old. Going into school, I developed selective mutism, I feel now that I was afraid to speak because if I did I would die, as my molester told me not to tell or speak of the event or he would kill me. I blamed my mother for not being aware of it and continued using her as an outlet for my rage. She was my protector and failed. The strange thing is I never blamed my molester.
I spent most of my life feeling different and strange, becoming promiscuous and rebellious, the fact that my parents were strict Catholics was of little help too. I almost felt as if I were the little whore that went to bed with my molester.
After my mother passed away three years ago, although I was always angry with her, I felt as if I had lost my protector. My rage has now moved to my husband, and my obsessiveness has moved to my children (protecting them obsessively, fearing they will be hurt, fearing they will be molested).
My question right now is how can I come to forgive my mother and how can I believe she has forgiven me for the constant barrage of guilt I sent her way? Is there a way for me to vent my rage for the last time and allow myself and my family peace at last? I feel like that this one event has carried so far into every aspect of my life and continues it's unrelenting aftershocks for so many years.
Is it rage you need to vent or is it tears? Forgiveness leads to tears. I will tell you a way to come to terms with your mothers passing and the resentment and anger you are choosing to hold towards her.
- Write your mother a letter.
Find a quiet space, where you will be undisturbed for a day and then pray to God/your Higher Self to guide you in writing a letter of forgiveness toward your mother. As you sit down to write the letter (I suggest you write it by hand) hold nothing back! Pour out all your feelings toward your mother. Tell her how you feel she let you down, how she failed to protect you, and how you hate her for this. If you feel tears starting to come as you write, let them flow and continue writing. Then at the end of the letter tell your mother how much you love her, how you also value all the good things she did for you. Say that you understand she did her best in raising you. Give some examples. Then at the end of the letter tell your mother that you forgive her for letting you down.
- Take this letter and bury it in your mother's grave or place of rest.
Seal the letter in a jar which you can decorate lovingly (if you wish) and take it on the same day and bury it in your mother's grave or at her place of rest. Go alone to do this and if you feel more tears coming let them flow. These tears are healing you of all the bitterness and resentment you feel toward your mother. If you feel the tears stopping or that they will not come, repeat the words Booo Hooo out loud and this will help them flow.
- Continue your grief in the weeks and months ahead.
In the coming weeks revisit this experience in your minds eye whenever you feel sad or depressed and continue with private periods of grief and remember to say Booo Hooo in private and let the tears continue to flow. During your grief, speak or shout out to your mother in spirit. Tell her how you were hurt through not being protected, tell her what it felt like. Feel and own with pride the power of your self expression. At the end of these sessions hold your mother's picture and send warm feelings toward your mother in spirit, telling her how much you love and appreciate her as you do this. Do not be afraid of appearing foolish - this is powerful and needed healing work. Do it in private where you will not be disturbed or find a bereavement group that can support you or ask your therapist to support you on this healing path.
It may take a number of weeks or months and a great many tears to profoundly forgive your mother - but if you allow yourself to grieve in this way eventually your feelings toward your mother will change and you will have healed. This in turn will positively affect your depression and reduce the rage you feel. You may not heal completely, since, as with a physical wound, such things leave a scar, but you can take the vulnerability of this scar and turn it around by finding something or someone to really love. When you do that your heart will open and your life will have been transformed. As you gradually come to a place of forgiveness toward your mother so you will realize that she too has forgiven you.
Please discuss my advice with your therapist before acting on it. May God bless you in your healing path.
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