My mother is a beautiful and irascible woman. I love her dearly despite knowing she is disturbed and traumatized. As people become mature adults, they begin to understand their parents. The time left with our parents is the most precious moments in our adult lives.
I love her like how I desire love from a family I never had, friends that don’t know the real me, brief acquaintances, random strangers, and even my own enemies. When I know a person deeply and intimately, I begin to love them. I am a very understanding woman, tolerant of people’s imperfections. I understand my mother. I understand her.
Rape, violence, hate, and even abuse, whether it is verbal or physical, happens within a family. It happens repetitively against women suffering from pathological violence. Domestic abuse happens within a family. It can happen between husband and wife, from parent to child. But, I haven’t been able to break away completely from the toxic relationship with my mother. I understand her to a point that is heart-breaking, ugly, and at the same there’s beauty in the story being told.
My mother often talks hauntingly of her past. A young woman asks my mother what happens when people experiences traumatic events and a woman experiences rape. In her own words, this is what happens to disturbed people: “When people go through traumatic experiences like abuse and rape, they become violent,” or seriously ill. “Those women struggle with low self-esteem, without confidence about their own image, worth, and self-respect. When people manipulate them, the women become co-dependent. A woman would feel like she doesn’t have the will and means to live out her life. As a result, a woman may develop a depressive illness when she reaches rock bottom in life and experiences recurring traumatic events throughout her life. I knew a woman who had four children. She worked as a hairstylist to make a living. This woman got sick and ended up in the hospital. Her weight gained 685 pounds. The 4 kids she birthed despised her. Her family despised her. The Catholic Charities in Florida provided the woman with housing and a wheelchair. In spite of all that, the woman felt rejected. I ran into her at the Miami clinic. The doctor told the woman she would die, if she didn’t lose the weight. In spite of the bad news, the woman worried about her grandchildren. Her grown children wouldn’t let the woman see her own grandchildren. As a result, the woman killed herself by overdosing on pills and drinking. A woman becomes crazy in her mind over a traumatic event. Illness following a traumatic event could happen to anyone.”
My mother met another young woman that dropped out of public high school in Chicago. This is her story. The same story untold by many-countless women. She meets a man. He hooks her on drugs and hard liquor, and then whores her out to other men for his own viewing pleasure. Dependent on the system, she ends up taking medication for a bipolar disorder. The young woman is co-dependent and dependent on the State. The man abuses her. She doesn’t trust family or friends to help her. When a person is programmed —mentally conditioned, it is hard to break away from that lifestyle. It is hard for a woman to break away when she is either uneducated or lacks sufficiency.
Tragedy strikes anyone of any class and a constant struggle with hardship for one that is not born of wealth, privilege, and affluence. The American journalist, Chris Hedges, writes a column on Truthdig.com. He breaks down the pathology of violence against women as an everyday norm for the poor.
“The poor in America usually get only one chance. Then it is over. Those who were on the street with Pagano in Camden will most likely never have a private investigator rescue them, or have a mother pay for their drug rehabilitation. Most will live, suffer and die within the space of a few squalid city blocks. No jobs. No hope. No help. No way out. They blunt their despair through alcohol or drugs. And if they do get out, as did Pagano, they carry the chains of their past wrapped in long coils around them. Employers do not want them. Landlords will not rent them an apartment. Real estate agents will not deal with them if they seek to buy a house. Banks and credit card companies will not give them credit. They never have enough money. They probably never will. They live one step away from hell. And they know what hell feels like. This is how the bankers, bond traders and financial speculators, the ones with the packed wallets, the ones with the fancy cars and the multimillion-dollar homes in New Jersey’s suburbs of Mendham, Chatham and Short Hills, the ones who paid Christine Pagano for sex during their nightly journeys to their homes and wives, want it. The hell of the poor is their paradise.”