Mother’s Failure

My baby girl, oh! she cried, 

knees buckling as she stood in the corner

waiting for mother to don her cape.

I did fasten my cape, but too many years later. 

I can live with regret, I’ve proven. But failure is another animal. I failed my Nicole. Nicole, my savior. Savior, I mean truly–my daughter, upon her birth, saved my life. Yet, I allowed her to be emotionally abused.

She was three when I married her father, and twelve when I left him. To this day, I cry whenever I remember what she asked me upon telling her I was divorcing Jeff: “Am I coming with you?” That my baby girl had to wonder whether or not I wanted her…it’s a scar on my heart. But I should say here that near the end of my marriage, I was drinking a lot, and spending most nights out with my friends. I AM ashamed of myself. I have to live the rest of my life knowing that for a time, my daughter wondered how important she was to me. I hate myself for that. She’s twenty years old now, and I still fucking hate myself for making her wonder.

I can live with the residual effects of the abuse I suffered and witnessed growing up. But the time I wasted self-medicating, missing out on Nicole…in essence, mistreating Nicole…I can never forgive myself, even though my girl does forgive me. Even though we are the best of friends.

I didn’t handle my ex-husband’s abuse well. I became an alcoholic, like my mother. I never wanted to be like my mother.

Everyone always said, when Nicole was little, that I was a great mom. They say now that I’m a great mom. I know I could have been better.

I could have been better.

I could have been better, and goddamn it, that knowledge eats my heart out. I can’t blame the abuse I suffered from Jeff, Nicole’s dad. Lots of people would say, “It wasn’t your fault.” But motherfucker, I’m a mom! I love my child more than the air in my lungs, and I failed her once. I failed her once in a big fucking way. And no matter how many times Nicole and I talk about it, and she says it wasn’t my fault, or that she forgives me, I KNOW I FAILED.

How do I forgive MYSELF?

Do I even deserve forgiveness?


16 thoughts on “Mother’s Failure

  1. Oh darlin. We ALL think we could do better… I lived away from my son for 6 years… I still can’t believe I did that… but at the time, I was doing the best I could do to survive. Take in her forgiveness & love. Don’t keep triggering your shame & self hate, or she will keep feeling like she needs to heal or solve it. Trust what she says; enjoy the Now together; the past is done ♥️ Gabrielle

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  2. I know it’s hard, but you need to let it go. Don’t let the past have power over your now, your very precious now. You sound like a great mom!! Write it out and burn it!! Burn it with Nicole. I think you are being way too hard on yourself ❤

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  3. I know all too well what it is like to lay awake at night and think about all the times I failed as the type of loving, self-less, calm, nurturing parent I told myself I would be. I don’t know if we will ever feel like we have achieved atonement. I do know that the self-hatred and the blame cuts us to ribbons, make us less alive, less present for those who love us. Be kind to yourself love. Sometimes survival is our greatest ongoing achievement.

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  4. Oh Kindra! I wish we could sit down together and talk about this. I feel the same way, the same thing happened to me. I became addicted too, after my divorce, and I abandoned (emotionally) my children in the process. Everyone tells me, including my children, that I didn’t fail. But I know I did. And I can’t forgive myself. It’s so incredibly painful. My kids understand and like you and your daughter, we are so close… but I hurt knowing that I hurt them. I don’t have the answer for how to reconcile this. The best I can say is that I see them now, they are doing well, happy and healthy and they still love me. We all make mistakes and the reality of the connection shows in their forgiveness and understanding. We have to remember how hard those times were for us. How would we treat our children if the roles were reversed? We have to treat ourselves in the way that they treat us… with love, compassion, forgiveness and understanding. We showed them that we can fall and recover, that is an amazing gift. Love to you, strong woman ❤

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