Jennifer Kindera, CTRC-S, CHSP, TICC, CLC
As my feet pound the cement, the sweet evening air, mixed with the stank smell of people’s dinners, nauseates me.
Faster! Faster! This is my mantra as I feel the blood dripping into my shoe. Damn blisters.
I am gonna run you outa my system. No more! You have had your hold on me too long. You thought you were perfect. Grandiose. That you lit up the room. You disgust me. I pushed my legs, the torturous burning in my muscles screaming.
Focus on the anger. Focus on the anger. My therapist’s words rang in my ears. What the hell does she mean, anyway? I’ve never been angry at my narc mother before, but now it’s an open, deep-seeded, contempt-filled, all-encompassing, every-moment, RAGE.
Why the f*** does this have to be part of growth? Thanks for pointing that trigger at your heart and mine. You never let up and the bottom line to that was, I didn’t measure up. Did it ever occur to you, I was invisible after you imprinted your perfection on me?
People still have their Christmas lights up. What the hell, it’s only April. The cool evening air is flowing thru my layers, as I continue running my internal race of rage.
I could never reach you. It wasn’t my job. But you thought it was. When I was little, innocent and pliable, I lived to serve you. You thought I was okay then. At least, I’m pretty certain you did. You dressed me up in frilly dresses, and received constant validation by people who praised you for how I looked.
Did that fill the gaping wound inside of you? What happened when I had my own opinion? Voiced my thoughts? You said, ‘no, you don’t feel that way.’ I grew up thinking you were perfect and I was wrong.
I was a pathetic substitute for the real daughter you lost; my sister who died when I was two years old. I grew up second-guessing everything I thought or felt, I had to learn how to feel, as an adult. I know your truth now; cowardly in your determination to elevate yourself at the expense of your little girl.
But you were oh-so-quick to point out you never laid a hand on me. True. You never did. You broke my father in as a puppet; he followed your dictate to the letter. All the beatings. Where you stood by and instructed, as if from a manual.
I don’t feel like I can run anymore. My breath is suffocating my chest, my legs are the definition of fire. I keep going. Burn, baby burn.
You aren’t real to me anymore. You pointed that gun at your heart over 10 years ago. I’m pretty certain you thought that moment in time would be frozen forever. You aren’t real.
The whisper-thin layer of pretense was ripped away in that one event. Your going away party was beautiful. You were perfect in your final encore. Makeup flawless, hair coiffed. You took such care to ensure I was the one who found you. Didn’t leave a note. Kissed your luxury car, feet away, in the spotless garage, and pulled the trigger. The final and crippling irony.
The biggest F-U someone can do.
Would you take it back? Take the time away? You can’t reach me from your hell. You never wanted to. Does this mean you got the last laugh? Foolish heart, to hope a mother would be loving. In love with her baby, her child, her teen, her adult daughter, her grandchildren.
Run. Run. At the next stop sign, I’ll stop.
I can’t outrun the rage.
I keep going. My chest feels hollow.
I watched you; I felt for you. I gave you adoration, acceptance. The fear you so wanted. The pedestal on which you perched. You damned me with your self-loathing. Castrated my childhood dreams, thoughts, and emotions. You normalized the sick dysfunction, created great seeping internal wounds, to match your own.
Feeling like my chest will explode, as my broken heart continues to thump with the force of a thousand watts.
I remember being 6 years old, my brother waking me up in the middle of the night, to punch my insides in whatever sick way he could think of. After a particularly bad set of bruises, you told me, ‘well it’s time you learned how to defend yourself. I can’t watch him all the time.’
So on Sunday afternoons, we had, ‘fighting lessons.’ You and Dad sat in chairs on the patio, and told me to defend myself against him. I remember being face down in the dirt, tasting it with the saltiness of my tears. Hyperventilating while he sat on me, pounding to his heart’s delight.
You fostered hatred of me, in him. He grew up narcissistic, violent, and angry; at your edict.
I grew up invisible.
I’m at the park finally. I collapse on the nearest bench, gulping air as I stare up at the sky, sweat pouring out of every pore.
I don’t want to be angry. My stupid therapist understands nothing. She says it’s necessary to grieve through the pain. But holy hell; this isn’t who I am. The intensity of the feelings. The overwhelming tide of emotions. The confusion of rage’s fist squeezing my heart. I’m the nice one. Doesn’t she see that? And this stuff is all ancient history. What does it have to do with now?
I can hear her voice in my head, ‘If you walk through the feelings, you will start to let go of the pain. Stop fighting the feelings.’
She thinks I’m still fighting.
Wait. Really? I’m still fighting?
I sit on the park bench, as the sweat dries on my body. My breathing slows, and I feel like someone just hit me with a brick upside the head.
Stop fighting the feelings.
I feel very small. Insignificant and fragile. So. Much. Pain. My heart feels carved out. Hollowed and transparent. Tears well and fall in rivulets; mixing with drying sweat. Out of nowhere comes another thought:
What do I need right now?
Me? I need to be in the fetal position under my bed. I need a hug. I need someone to tell me it will be okay. I need to feel like my anger is justifiable. I need a drink. I need a shower. I need chocolate. I just need.
I needed my Mom to love me.
And there it was. I needed her to love me. I was so bad though. How could she love someone who was so wrong? I mean, everything about me was wrong. She made sure I knew every detail of how wrong. Some days I felt like I was wrong for consuming oxygen.
I thought about my own children. How hard I’d worked to not repeat any of the shit my Mom did. Knowing we all fail in some way as parents. But I thought I was doing pretty okay there. They were both loving and kind. Curious and bubbly. Innocent from the kind of pain I had endured.
How anyone could hurt them, the way I had been hurt, was so far beyond my bandwidth of comprehension it was ludicrous. They were joy personified. Such beautiful gifts; I reveled in them.
Wait. I was probably those things too…? And yet, she hurt me over and over.
*Sigh. My brain is tired. Maybe this is enough ‘feeling’ for tonight; I think to myself as I shuffle home.
Feeling the feelings, not fighting them. Leaning into the anger and the pain. Awareness and grief flow through me. Acceptance of the pain rising to the surface.
To not judge myself? Yesterday, it would not have occurred to me. Today, I gently probe the thought with curiosity. No lights, sparkly banners, or fireworks. Just raw acceptance. Is this what happens after you walk through the feelings?
Hmmm…damn therapist was right again.