Why didn’t she just kill me?

Today was another long therapy session. I really just wanted a normal session. I think that’s what I want every time, and it rarely works out that way.

I mentioned the incident that occurred a few nights earlier. My therapist asked me what happened and I explained in detail. I stared at the floor as I told her everything, still ashamed of my reaction that night. Just talking about it was difficult for me. This isn’t the first difficult situation I’ve been in at home. It’s been a concern for my therapist, but I keep insisting that I can make it through.

This was by far the worst yet in terms of the after effects. I was a mess for days. My therapist asked me whose fault I thought it was. I told her it was my fault. I left home. I came here. I moved into this house. Now I have to deal with it. My issues are not her fault. Everything is my fault.

I was struggling to stay present and my struggle was apparent, because my therapist said she could see that it was difficult for me to stay present and suggested we color some coloring pages. I obliged, of course. I noticed myself getting frustrated more than usual over the simple act of coloring. I couldn’t find the right color, so I’d sit there and stare at the box of crayons agonizing over what color to pick as if it were the most important decision of my day. Maybe I just didn’t want to think about anything else. I don’t know.

We started talking about my financial difficulties, and about getting into grad school to help ease the burden. Then she looked up the application on her computer and all of the requirements I needed: the four-question essay, the letters of recommendation, the GRE (which I never took). Nothing is overly complicated but I just don’t have the mental energy to deal with it right now. I don’t have much time (less than 6 weeks) before the application must be completed. My therapist asked if I’d want to take session time to go through some of the things and she can help me with getting everything done. I told her I didn’t know. I was really thinking that if I needed help just getting the application done, I probably don’t belong in grad school. Conflicting.

I was getting frustrated so I tried to change the subject. I talked about a recent conversation with someone close to me, and how it changed how it made me feel towards them. My therapist delved into it more, and started asking why I felt the way I did. I told her I didn’t have much of a choice; I need this person because I don’t have anyone else. I left my family. I’m alone now. Then my therapist tried to remind me that I left my abusive family, the people who hurt me for so long. I told her it wasn’t that bad. I told her I could have just been stronger. I abandoned them.

I started to feel anger building up inside of me. I stopped coloring, clenched my fists so tightly that my nails dug into my skin, and stared at the floor, trying not to think about anything. I didn’t want to feel anything.  Go away, feelings.

My therapist came over to sit next to me and asked me what I was feeling. I told her I was angry. Then she asked who I was angry with. I told her I was angry at myself. It’s a common theme for me. I turn my feelings inward. She told me that it was okay to be angry at the people who deserve it. I told her it’s not okay to be angry. She asked why. I told her that anger hurts people. In my mind, I associate anger with abuse. I don’t want to be angry with anyone because I don’t want to end up hurting them. I don’t want to turn into my mother. She told me that anger is a perfectly acceptable feeling; it didn’t mean that I was going to hurt someone, and it didn’t mean that feeling wasn’t right. She told me I have reason to be angry. I can still be angry at the people in my life who failed to protect me, even though they may have apologized for their wrongs. I can be angry at my family, at my father and mother. She tried to tell me there was nothing wrong with feeling angry.

By this time, the anger was building up even more. My hands were still clenched and shaking. My therapist insisted on holding my hand. I told her I didn’t want to hurt her. She said it was okay, she can handle it…to let her take on some of my anger. I just wanted to punch something. I needed a release. I don’t want to feel anger. I don’t want to feel anger towards my mother. But I felt some of my anger being redirected towards her and I couldn’t take it back. Then I said it. The question that has plagued me for years.

“Why didn’t she just kill me?”

“Your mother?” She asked, though it really needed no clarification.

I told her I didn’t understand why anyone would make someone suffer like that for so long. Why didn’t my mother just kill me? She wouldn’t have had to put any more effort into torturing me. It would have been easier for us both. I wouldn’t have to be suffering now. For so many birthdays, I wished for death. But not for her death, for my own. I was never so concerned with anger towards her as I was in ending my suffering.

I felt myself starting to cry, so I turned away until I could push my feelings back down. This is why I didn’t want to feel anger towards her. Once you open that box, it’s hard to close it back up. I don’t want to unleash all of that anger. I don’t have time to unleash all of that anger. I don’t even understand my anger. It goes against everything people are supposed to feel.  People are supposed to feel grateful to their parents for giving them life. So why am I feeling anger that my mother chose to bring me into this world? My feelings don’t compute. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. Feeling angry with her only makes me feel worse about myself.

I hate feelings.

I hate her.

I hate me.

3 thoughts on “Why didn’t she just kill me?

  1. For many many years I had a wish. I would say to Samuel, “i want to die.” Which troubled him of course, and I didn’t really mean it I just wanted out of the daily pain, the seemingly insurmountable challenges and feelings of hopelessness. So I changed my plea to “I wish I were never born.”
    But I was. And it’s often hard even still, as life is for all of us. My biggest loss, if I hadn’t been born, was this gift to the world, two sons who are so special– caring, compassionate, capable, just amazing beings that add much to the lives they touch.
    You will find your path, your meaning, your passion for making your life precious. In the meantime, believe that is…precious.

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  2. The most anger I ever felt toward the woman who called herself my mother was when I was in the hospital holding my newborn baby daughter. I was absolutely overwhelmed with love, affection, joy, and thankfulness for the tiny person bundled in my arms. I wept as I fell totally and completely in love with being a mom and the anticipation of the wonder and excitement the coming years held. And then suddenly it struck me like a butcher knife through the heart. My mother hadn’t felt any of those things toward me. It is NORMAL for a woman to adore the infant she has carried inside her and given birth to. It is a privilege to hold that child in your arms and thank God that He chose YOU to be that baby’s mother. And, oh, what a responsibility to raise that precious child and be taken along on that glorious adventure of discovery, exploration, learning, and growth. But my mother hadn’t felt any of those emotions at my birth…and with that realization I exploded with rage. I looked at that totally helpless infant in my arms who was completely dependent on me, just as I had been completely dependent on my mother. In the past I had felt hurt, guilty, sad, afraid, terrified…but at that moment all I felt toward that woman was anger. There is nothing wrong in feeling anger. I realized in that moment that anger is justified toward the person who knowingly, willingly, and yes, even happily, failed in caring in the best way she could for her child. I know I always knew that, but it took me being in her shoes that made me fully understand it. Let yourself be angry.

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  3. There are two things that prevent me from allowing my anger to get out of control. The first is that my father had a terrible anger management issue. His temper would explode for no at reason at all and result in flying furniture, breaking glass, bruises and blood. He once chased my brother out of the house and into the street of our suburban neighborhood caring a large butcher knife. My revulsion at my father’s inability to control his behavior and the horrible affect his anger had on our family keeps me from letting my own anger ever get the best of me. The second thing is my faith in God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” All though I fail at it miserably, especially where by eating disorder is concerned, that is the verse I try to pattern my life after. Ugly anger and the resulting behavior it causes does not glorify God, so at least where my anger is concerned, I am able to reign in that emotion.

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