I’m sitting here at one in the morning at the kitchen table. One hand holds a $120 glorified apple stylus, painstakingly typing on an iPad while holding a one year old in my lap, cross legged on a peach colored wooden chair, nursing her in my writing arm. My two and six year old are wide awake, running and screaming around the house while I’m trying to concentrate. My baby won’t sit still, already 5 minutes have passed and I’m only on this paragraph.
I’m trying so hard to ignore the disruption and maintain my temper and overwhelming frustration, being unable to find peace of mind to accomplish the things I need to. From morning until I go to sleep there is constant chaos. The only time I get to rest is when I’m asleep and still it’s riddled with dreams of shit I have to address when I wake up. I’m tired, but I can’t stop.
It’s always a blurred line for me, whether I can take the crying and tears of my children or the constant interruptions of letting them roam freely without structure. For some people, like my mother, it appears easy to discipline their kids. She’s a Virgo rising, naturally her having Capricorn in her 5th house gives her the ability to create order. But for me, I have Pisces in the 5th. I’m way too empathetic and lenient. Venus there doesn’t help, my Piscean nature with children dissolves the boundaries and mars only lends a hand sometimes, usually when I’m at my wits end.
I spend a lot of time in my 5th house, but truly, at home, I am an Aquarius and an Aries. My natal and solar 4th house. This is my upbringing and the psychological damage from a dysfunctional household rears it’s ugly head from time to time. It is a struggle to dissolve the subconscious memories of my childhood. Neptune in the 3rd house and a Pisces 5th house, but the moon is my 12th. I can’t escape the sorrows I’ve experienced and no matter how much I want to be the ideal mother, full of unconditional patience and understanding, my irritations and suppressed emotions always find a way to dissuade me of the fantasy. I have no patience. I internalize every nuance. I do it because I don’t know how to resolve it. I bury it and face it when I can no longer keep up the composed facade. The only thing I take pride in, is my children do not receive the violence I received as a child. But that doesn’t mean I have learned how to consistently express my anger healthily. It comes out at work or in my relationships. It comes out in my nightmares and in my health. The more I internalize, the sicker I become. I become lethargic and depressed.
I am aware that my upbringing has a lot to do with why I struggle to keep order in my home. I was raised with some freedoms, but with a strict cost. I experienced emotional pains from the lack of trust in my creative ability and just being a child. I spent a lot of my childhood in my room, by choice. It was my sanctuary. A way to be me without scrutiny.
I don’t hate the idea of discipline. I see it’s benefits and long to have more of it my life, but I know first hand how it can be abused. My mother use to punish me for the sake of punishing. For minor infractions as a child , like sneaking candy from the candy jar in the living room, was met with vicious whippings -sometimes while I was sleeping. There goes mars in Pisces “lending a hand”. I rarely received an explanation to long term groundings. Missing homework incurred almost 3 month sentences. An unclean room led to an entire summer ban. Wearing a halter top at 14 produced being choked up against the wall, dismissal of childhood friends and watching my items being thrown in the trash.
The more my freedoms were restricted for trivial matters, the more I rebelled. If I was going to be punished, it might as well be for bigger risks. What’s the difference. Sure enough, not completing chores and coming home drunk were equal in disciplinary actions. Both were met with violence, getting thrown out of the house, police being called and more. So, what did it matter what I did?
Sexual abuse and creative pursuits or success in school also received the same response. Indifference.
I began to have trouble discerning the difference with my day to day encounters. Was this ok? Was this wrong? Should they be treated the same? What does it matter. I couldn’t tell the difference between trivial issues and major problems. My reactions were equal in any situation. Life and death situations received my indifference. Not listening to me when I spoke received explosive anger. The outcome was brushed off with a “doesn’t matter, does it?”
Every explanation was an excuse and every moment of silence was an admission of guilt. Acceptance of my punishment was met with suspicion and refusals were met with resentments and even harsher punishments.
One lie destroys a thousand truths, but never the other way around.
Even worse than not knowing the severity level of any given event I also couldn’t discern the difference between truth and lies. Truth and deception received the same reaction, so again…what did it matter?
I began to use lies and truth interchangeably to avoid harsh restrictions. I had to learn to manipulate with the skills of an artisan in order to survive. I failed a lot. Tell the truth and end up on the streets. Tell a lie and end up on the streets a day later. Fuck.
Picking up on deception as a survival skill deteriorates credibility over time. The harder I tried to avoid unjustifiable punishment the less believable I became. The more I owned up to my mistakes the more suspicious I appeared. It was a lose-lose lifestyle. One lie destroys a thousand truths, but never the other way around. This realization didn’t bring me comfort, it just reinforced my belief that it didn’t matter either way.
So don’t do anything wrong and you won’t have this problem.
One day when I was about 16 years old, my mother sent me to stay with her now ex-best friend. Her friend had a son about 30-something years old, recently released from prison for killing his aunt. He came to live with us.
He harassed me daily, forcing me to kiss him and watch him have sex with a woman in my room. He threatened to take my pussy on many occasions only getting caught once by his sister while we were in the kitchen. She responded with shock, but did nothing more but tell me to leave with her to another part of the house. I did, but he didn’t stop. I started to get ill, because at that moment I realized I had no one to turn to. I kept it to myself, the truth of the matter eating away at my stomach. My mother took me to the hospital, but they couldn’t explain the stabbing pain I was experiencing. I ran away often going across the street to a elder woman I felt protected by for safety.
A doctor (or therapist) told my mother that the pain may be coming from a deep rooted secret and if so, all I needed to do was say what it was and the pain would go away. She booked a session and it didn’t take long for the truth to come out. The psychiatrist made a report.
Before anything to could happen I felt the pain subside. I felt free and willing to speak the truth. My mother cried at the session. I felt relief and validation. I should have known it would be short lived. I made a mistake.
The woman in the room on that uncomfortable night had a daughter. We were sort of friends, though I remember her being something of a bully. Still, we hung out often. One sunny afternoon we were walking around the neighborhood when I told her what happened with her mother and this man. That they engaged sexually in front of me on the floor while I was watching TV. She asked me why I didn’t leave and I told her I couldn’t. He made that very clear.
Well, naturally, she told everyone.
Next thing I knew, a family meeting was called and my mother and I joined him and his entire family in the living room. I sat there mostly in disbelief. This was not the same as the therapy session. I was in danger of being ostracized and humiliated and I knew it the moment I sat down on the far left side of the couch. I felt myself shrinking in the presence of nothing but adults. I kept my eyes on my mother…she was all I had in that moment, but I didn’t realize then what I can clearly see now. She was alone there too.
The theatrics began. I was called a hoe, accused of being pimped and planning to move to Hollywood. I was a liar and a manipulator, a fast ass girl who smokes cigarettes and dates older men. I wasn’t a virgin, so that was proof of my deception. He actually told my mother she should throw me to the wolves because I was no good. My mother sat there. Mostly silent, partially agreeing with their assessment of me, never standing up.
But I’m telling the truth! Mom, why aren’t you doing something? I thought you believed me?
I never saw them again. I don’t know what happened after that. All I know is I never forgave any of them for what I went through. In my mind that moment lasted an eternity. I was a witch being burned at the stake while they gathered around me, laughing, sneering, adding a few more sticks to kindle the fire…
For me, my frustrations with motherhood stem from unresolved emotional traumas like these.
I don’t trust myself sometimes when it comes to truths and lies. I want to believe my children always because I was never believed. I want to show my children unconditional compassion and mercy, because I never received it myself. My anger comes from my inability to establish the boundaries. When I punish them my heart breaks. I try to explain to them, in detail, why their toys are being taken away. I try to match the punishment to the issues. I find many of them to be trivial thus no discipline ensues. Their punishments are short lived because I keep telling myself they’re just kids. I explode and shout when they constantly disobey, but feel terrible and hopeless afterwards. I refuse to whip them unless they absolutely do something that warrants it, like doing something dangerous. I don’t find any reasons to.
If I’m not careful they’ll run all over me.