This Mother’s Day, I’ve been thinking about my relationship with Mom. She was a beautiful woman who was also a talented concert violinist. She married a doctor, had three kids and lived a good life. At least, that’s the way it looked from the outside. What most people didn’t see, and many still don’t know, was, she struggled with her mental health.
Mom, the happy bride.
She began to see a psychiatrist in her very late twenties, around the time she and my Dad got together, thinking therapy could fix her and she’d be ok going forward. But that’s not how it went. For over twenty years, she was psychoanalyzed, and even given a diagnosis of Manic Depressive Disorder, these days called Bipolar Disorder. It made her life difficult at times. Very difficult. Finally, when she was about fifty, in a state of hypermania, mom was hospitalized and finally medicated.
It took a severe crisis for her to get the help she’d needed for most of her life. Medication, in conjunction with continued therapy, made all the difference. Unfortunately, I was only home for two more years before graduating from high school and going out on my own. By the time my formative years were over, I’d only known a mother who zigged and zagged, up and down between depression and mania, with interludes of being stable.
As an adult, I never thought much about my first 10-12 years of life because there was nothing to remember. Not very many specific memories to recall. But when Mom started spinning out, around my junior high school years, I remember her getting drunk late at night in the kitchen, waking me with her sobs. And I remember Dad moving out, believing he was the cause of her pain. I remember being left with a parent I didn’t want to live with. And I remember pleading with my father, for him to stay and for her to move out. “Mothers stay with their children,” was his response. I was devastated.
What my father didn’t clearly see or understand was my mother’s treatment of me when she was manic. She’d attack me with her words. Like a razor cutting me down. When I was disobedient, wanting to do something other than what my mother dictated, she’d attack. When I exerted my will, instead of being able to see I was a child with a child’s maturity or a teen who was growing independence, she sliced and diced me. I got good at reading her moods, doing what I thought she wanted me to do and saying what I thought she wanted me to say, lest I unleash the dragon. The tone of her voice or how she moved, tipped me off. It helped me hone my ear. I can hear people’s moods, intent, and whether they’re being authentic by the tone of their voice.
The thing is, she never went after either of my brothers, just me. Something about their being boys made them different from me. Special.
After Dad passed away in early 2012, my mother’s mental health tanked. She couldn’t even begin to process the grief of the loss, and her brain ramped up into mania faster than I’d ever seen, even on medication. Despite all attempts to get her help, she ended up being hospitalized when she became a danger to herself.
Teaching moment for all social workers in mental hospitals: don’t ever tell a patient’s family that you usually like to get people treated before they get this bad, without asking the family what they’ve been trying to do for the weeks leading up to hospitalization. When an adult refuses medication, the law stipulates that they can’t be forced to take any medication unless they are a danger to themselves or others. Hypermania is a bitch.
About this time, I was listening to a radio program called Ask Sara With (Psychic) Sara Wiseman. Being about a year into a spiritual awakening, my interests leaned toward energy healing and clairvoyance, and I decided to call into the program to glean some higher wisdom around why my mother attacked me when she was manic.
When Sara tuned into my situation, the first thing she saw was that it wasn’t personal. Then she told me she saw that something happened to my mother when she was little, and the next time I meditated, I should focus on this. Coincidentally, I was trying to develop a meditation practice, so I did as she suggested.
About five minutes into a fifteen-minute meditation, I suddenly remembered and focused on my mother when she was a little girl. I pretended I was her as a young girl and asked to see what happened. Before I knew it, I saw a scene of my grandmother going off on my mother, ripping her a new one. Just like my mom did to me.
Holy smokes! She went through the same thing!
In a flash, I saw that my grandmother also went through the same treatment from her mother. I don’t know much about that side of the family, but my mother told me once that her mother wasn’t quite right. I don’t know if she also had mental illness, or a personality disorder, or what.
A second later, I saw that my great grandmother and her mother had the same dynamic, and this was a chain that went back several generations; about seven or so that I was aware of. An energetic pattern of action and reaction passed down from mother to daughter. Mother-daughter wounding. Karma.
That was the beginning of not only understanding what was going on but healing it. As soon as I understood, feeling great empathy for everyone, I sat in my heart and asked every healing Being I could think of to come into my heart and heal the chain. I sat and waited until I was flooded with emotion, crying as the energy that had been trapped in an endless cycle was finally freed. Dissolved. Transmuted back into pure Source Energy.
A few days later, I spoke with my mother, who was still hospitalized higher than a kite and very delusional, and I purposely pushed a few of her buttons just to see what would happen. Instead of getting my head ripped off, as I expected, there was a slight hesitation and no attack. No anger. No venom. Her trigger had been deactivated. It was miraculous!
Not only did she never attack me again for the rest of her life, but a physical problem she’d been dealing with for a decade suddenly and inexplicably healed as well. Healing mental/emotional problems affects our bodies positively as well.
People usually think about Karma as this painful consequence that’s going to sneak up on a person and cause harm if they’ve caused harm. It’s very loosely true; what I think of as the very simplified, “kindergarten” perspective. When in fact, it’s much deeper and complex.
Painful experiences like these are chosen from our soul’s perspective, to give us opportunities to grow. Instead of blindly reacting, again and again, we can do something different. It’s not always easy to choose something different because it’s human nature to simply react. But doing healing work makes change easy by dissolving pain and all forms of inner resistance in our lives. You can make soul growth easy.