Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

11 Mother’s Days. I am grateful for that much

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

kozzi-25100128-female_friends_chatting_in_the_park-2387x1591.jpg

For the first ten years of my life, mom was a part-time college student, attending one class at a time. She set an example of ‘it’s never too late’ by learning to drive and graduating college in her forties. She retired and started a new career at 65.

A diagnosis of breast cancer did not stop her from looking forward. As she was wheeled into surgery for a mastectomy, I asked how she was feeling. “I wish I didn’t have to go through it” she said. “But this too will pass.”

And she would know.

Dad practiced what is known as Systematic Parental Alienation. That is, he tried to destroy our mother through using my brother and me. To drive a wedge between us and her, he told many lies inconsistent with her character. He said we did not have to listen to her because she did not deserve our respect. He said she would leave us soon. He said everything was her fault.  

All those years Mom struggled to develop loving relationships with her kids, she was met with resistance. She was unaware of the brainwashing we were receiving from dad. He did a very good job at causing us to believe his claim that she was an unfit parent. 

She and I missed out on a normal mother-daughter relationship for thirty years.  Finally, twelve years removed from Dad’s daily input, the blinders lifted. I apologized for my attitude, and she rejoiced.

Mom and I had eleven years together before she died. I can complain that we were cheated of more, or express gratitude that we had that much. Her example of never too late, inspires me to begin fresh each day. Beyond every sorrow is new hope, new light, and another chance to walk closely with those we love. 

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Proverbs 31:28

“Her children rise up and call her blessed…”

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

Growing Up in Dysfunction is Not the End of Your Story

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness or Abuse  (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

COLONIERArgb.jpg

On the negative end, my home of origin was characterized by lies, open hostility and violence. Of course most dysfunctional and abusive homes are not 100% angry.  There is the quietness of calm before an eruption, the safety of being in public, and perhaps good hearts who try to make the best of a terrible situation. 

Inconsistency was normal to me. Since there was little exposure to anything else, the emotional weather fluctuations were simply matters of adjustment. That does not mean they were not harmful. They were.

Motives do not determine the rightness or wrongness of hurtful behavior. Harming  people is wrong. Abuse is abuse. In my opinion, many families would benefit from counseling and parenting classes. Often, people do not understand how to react in healthy ways to life’s and family stress.

However, no one in my childhood family received any such help. In relationships where most everyone is in survival mode, there is little connection on higher planes. Parents are caught up in adult drama, and children’s issues are often set aside.  

I learned a sense of home and family could exist only in the dreamy make-believe world of denial. This is where I devoted my energies for the better part of 53 years. 

It took dropping into the lowest pit before I could conceive the truth.  Therapists, doctors, and friends spoke a different perspective until firm belief faded into doubt, then the shadow of a doubt disappeared, and now I live in joy. 

No, I do not think homes are perfect. Ever. Families struggle at different levels of intensity. The solid truth I finally grasped is three-part:

  1. It is never too late to start fresh. Life changed dramatically for me in my fifties.
  2. Nothing in this world is permanent. Something may feel great for a time, nonetheless it is temporary.
  3. There is only one home that is permanent, perfect, and promised. That home is described in an old song by Keith Green. He said in his Prodigal Son Suite, “I’ve learned home is where you are.” He was referring to Jesus.  

Only God, His Word, and His only begotten Son Jesus never change. God’s love welcomes and embraces the most tired and broken of hearts. He holds those who live in denial and dysfunction. 

Our job is to accept Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Your story, my story, are not over!

Today’s Helpful Word  

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

**** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. (for international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours.

 

 

How Do You Feel About Mother’s Day? For My Family, It’s Not Unique

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2017  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

My sons and I are usually pragmatic.  As much as I love their displays of affection and respect, I do not want them forced by a date on the calendar. We feel the same way about gift-giving on Christmas. On my birthdays I have fun giving presents or throwing parties, and since it is my day, I’ll do it my way!

This is not rebellion, it is practical and rather literal interpretations of these holidays’ meanings. Celebrations are assigned the task of increasing our joy and love for each other and God. Why bog them down with heavy obligations, financial worries, frenzied shopping, and the like?

Last month I spent my birthday in a hospital which cost my sons money and time. Jon and Tim paid for parking each time they visited. They brought me gifts and dinner. For three weeks prior, Tim especially helped me out around the house and by driving me everywhere. While I mend, he picks up the slack. As my out-of-state driver’s license lapsed during my hospital stay, he is still my unofficial chauffeur.

He has cooked for me, and Jon has bought me dinner and picked up items at the store when I had no energy. Both have spent time playing Monopoly and Rummikub with their sick momma when I know they would have enjoyed watching movies or challenging friends on online video games.

Jon gave up precious time talking to his girlfriend, while Tim lost hours at work. No one can tell me these guys don’t love me.  Mother’s Day or not, they show it in big ways.

It makes no sense for them to spend more hard-saved money on taking me out to dinner, or buying me gifts. Not now. Not with everything else that has happened. Besides, I know what Mother’s Day holds.

We will be celebrating Jon’s birthday too. I’m planning a small surprise.  In addition, they are going to help me practice for a driving exam retest, required by Ohio. Last time I did this was 40 years ago. What a relief to have their support!

So you see, I am greatly blessed by adult children who show me I matter. Who needs a commercial, scheduled celebration?

Believe it or not, the founder of Mother’s Day agreed. Emotionally, she was so wrecked by how commercialized Mother’s Day had become, that she made its abolition her life’s goal. She passed away in 1948 in a since closed sanitarium in West Chester, PA (a town I happened to frequent often while living in the Philadelphia area.) Read her interesting story here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you who are mothers-at-heart!  

Today’s Helpful Word

Proverbs 23:25 (The Passion Translation) 

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

cartoon pic by SILBERSCHUH on rgbstock.com

flower pic by  TACLUDA on rgbstock.com

Dear Child of Mine. A Letter From a Mother With Mental Illness

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

photo-24765218-mid-age-woman-carrying-a-sleeping-babyDear Child of Mine,

I know you were afraid. It wasn’t your fault.

I understand you missed out, and that the quality of life I gave you wasn’t what you dreamed it would be. It wasn’t what I knew it should be, and not what I dreamed for you.

When you were small, you looked up to me with your big, all-trusting, beautiful eyes, desiring an engaged response. I would pick you up and laugh and tell you how priceless you are. If only those moments could have been frozen, then what came later would not have hurt you so much.

I know you were afraid. You didn’t deserve that.

You were raised in a public image of all-is-well.  I hid the chaos in my mind from the world, or thought I did, anyway. You asked me why I didn’t have many friends, and why I didn’t call anyone to chat, or hang out with other women. You were given excuses. Truth is, I was scared too.

When I couldn’t function and was not the mom you wanted, you must have been confused. Maybe you thought it was all normal, and that is sad. The hospital stays when I didn’t call you, the weeks you sat in front of the TV because I could not interact with you, and the less-than-stellar moods were not the gifts I wanted for you.

The lessons you were taught about relationships, common sense, faith, and emotions were incomplete.

Yes, I know mental illness is not my fault. I’d like to say I always did my best, but on occasion I used my illness as an excuse. I am sorry you paid such a high price for that luxury. Most of the time you were my focus and a reason to keep moving.

I know you were hurt.

However, there is something better I want to give you now.  Write this down, copy it in your heart, and maybe you will be set free.

1) It was never and still is not your fault. There is nothing you could have said or done that made me ill. There is nothing you could have said or done to save me from my illness.

2)Mental illness is difficult to watch, and supporting a struggling person can be draining. It was not your role or responsibility to fix or save your parent. For one thing, you were a child trying to learn your own way. A second truth is that it is still not your role or responsibility to fix or save your parent. Your job is to accept me as-is and to develop your own life.

3) You are valuable, to me and to God, regardless of any mixed messages you may have received.

4) You are not destined to experience the same kind of life as me. You can make your own decisions, and shoot for your own goals.

I pray for the very best for you. You have been and always will be my heart walking outside my body. I hope you see me as the woman who fought for you, and that you will fight for yourself.

All my love,

Mom

*******

Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.

  – Pictures from Kozzi.com

Mom, Dad, Family and Compassionate Love

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2014 Nancy Virden  

Often I hear adult children who are struggling with mental illness say they were hushed or even punished when they were little for sharing new ideas with the grownups.

Sometimes people do not want to hear anything other than what they already believe, and parents can be power-hungry, too. Real discussions:

1) Woman: “Family members worry when I give them gifts and say they feel obliged to give me something back. They want me to stop.”

Therapist: “Maybe we need to consider treating people in a way that suits them best.” 

Woman: “Well, we need to be diligent and not stop loving people just because they don’t like it. I’ll keep giving gifts and not worry about feeling guilty.”

2) Mom: “My child hates it when I run fingers through his hair in public.”

Friend:  “Ah, poor kid. I didn’t like that either when I was his age.”

Mom: “It’s a parental right to embarrass one’s children.  They embarrass me all the time”

3)  Man: “Political correctness is ridiculous.”

Teenager: “A lot of it is basic courtesy.”

Man: “Well, I’m gonna say what I want to say.”

Refusing to listen and learn is one form of ignorance. Yet how can we pass wisdom to future generations if we will not accept challenges to our beliefs? Do we fear truth will not hold up  under scrutiny?

Respectfully hearing another’s point of view instead of demanding our way is a first step of compassionate love. Perhaps today find someone of a different generation and start an open discussion. 

*********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.

picture by BIES on rgbstock.com

Honor Your Mother- No Matter What?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness  (c)2014 Nancy Virden

100_1556

Happy Mother’s Day

This mother-daughter painting drew my attention when I was about fourteen years old. At the time I could not have articulated why I bought it and hung it in a prominent place in my bedroom. It traveled with me from home to home for thirty-five years, always finding a spot on a wall.

In hindsight the need I was trying to meet is clear. Due to interference I had only eleven years with my mother  in a healthy mother-daughter relationship.

She died twelve years ago this week. Some of us lost our mothers long ago. Our memories are the gateway to retaining or even gaining meaningful relationships with our moms.

So what if those remembrances are dark or incomplete? What if as the only child, or the only one able to sift through history, the “facts” go left unchecked? Perhaps ultimately it doesn’t matter in the sense we are our own persons; the past does not decide our future.

It’s important to recognize pain brought on by our parents’ mistakes. Validating disappointments is crucial to mental health. Yet today I choose to think on the good of my mother. Her homemade Christmas pajamas, strung popcorn, the child’s house she built for her daughter- all as much pieces of the real past as anything sadder that may have occurred.

Whether we never met our mothers, had them only a short time, or even if yours will be at your table this Sunday, our feelings toward them will be shaped by our focus. This can be a celebratory Mothers’ Day if we choose it to be.

*********

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline   1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.