Destroying the One Most Vulnerable
Last night, I watched the movie, “Somewhere In Time.” It was made in the early 1980s starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. They were both so beautiful and young. The devotion and love they showed one another in their attempts to find time alone and love as only their passion could dream of was intoxicating.
The theme song to ‘Somewhere In Time’, written and composed by John Barry, reminded me of my mom. This melody was one of her escape routes into a world of love and romance which only she could create and enter. Solid and strong, her place of refuge soothed her tortured soul and, when she was there, all her world, and us kids were at peace. From the outside, it appeared to us she was going to be okay and so were we.
The movie ‘Somewhere In Time’ was to her like a beautiful gilt carriage with white horses that carried her to a place of love and excitement. A place, for her, where peace, serenity and hope resided. Her daily, hourly goal was to return to her imaginary world and put out of her mind the realities of her life in the small-town Delanson, New York. The crushing blow to us, her children, who were totally and only in her care, was to receive rebuke and insurmountable fury for our timid, hesitant pleas for her consideration of our needs. When we demanded attention, it tore her from the only place she ever wanted to be and hate poured forth from her toward us…and especially toward me. I seemed to be the culprit who couldn’t pull it together enough to take care of whatever the three toddlers needed at the time. She grew to hate the hungry eyes of those she had given birth to. This hunger was not about food, it was about love and attention. Our needs, especially mine, grew to proportions so giant sized it seemed nothing and no one could provide nourishment to sooth our souls. It was heartbreaking for her to be pulled from her imaginary world that was so pure, so enticing. She would see me, the oldest daughter with tears in her eyes. The intensity of the fear and longing in my whole being threatened my mother’s very existence. She believed that I was the one who might just destroy her. So, seeing the intense sensitivity of my whole being, she decided I would be the one vulnerable target she could destroy first.
The three little ones were considered one entity to shove into my care. Mom, herself, couldn’t care for them. For her, there was only her overwhelming desire to return to ‘Somewhere In Time’ where her world was free and easy. Her escape from all of us, particularly me, had to be total and complete each and every day we were in her care. In those times of her fury, Mom became a black witch. With my whole vulnerable self, filled with sensitivity and perception, I took in every word, every slap, and every blow to this most tender yearning soul of mine.
Throughout my life and up until her death, she rebuked each attempt I made to have her love me and every attempt I made to love her back. I was left to the wayside as Mom sought someone, something that would bring her, in the end, the final relief she had looked for her entire life. I was left alone, shamed, shattered and lost. Even in the moments of her death, I was denied any connection that she was my mother. And I somehow recreated this scenario in my friends, my siblings and my husband. My children even have a way about them that is distant and disconnected. So, surely it must be something not right about me.
For my mother, it became quite clear, through the years, that my vulnerability would be the ‘oh so easy’ target to enrich her hate and penchant for destruction. Destroying me was the only pathway to peace for her those many years ago and attempt to destroy me, she did. Phrases like, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” And “You are a no-good God damn bitch.” ring clear in my mind as if she has just barked them to me.
Back in those days, I evolved into one of the most sensitive, vulnerable people I knew. If there was anyone who showed me love and affection, it was my wonderful best friend, Philip. I had no idea how to receive it or say yes to him. How would I know that? Those years of scorn left only a knowing, for me, of how to handle types of interactions of the most brutal kind.
As I went through my late teens and early twenties, people were sorry but they already had a girlfriend, lover or wife far better suited for them. As I dragged the baggage and hurt of my lost and lonely existence, the ability to be alone and on my own was its own comfort…its own refuge. So, I too then, can find my music, my own overly developed imaginary life as the only truth I’ve ever known. I hear the melodies, the words written by a person, most often of another time, that touches me as no real human being ever could or has. So, to destroy the one most vulnerable was for my mother, at least, to give her new life. A free and easy path back to her place of bliss and happiness. Her place on the sofa was where she launched her trip back to her world within. There were people in her inner world who loved her and cared deeply. She had to ‘kill’ the one in her real life who threatened her return to this place.
For me, the pain of being, yet again, too vulnerable… too ‘everything’, sent me to my own world of imaginings. So, in my own region of love and belonging, with healing and beauty, I find her there.