Good, evil, truth, justice, moral, amoral, the big questions of life.
In fact, I haven’t been able to sleep well, and quickly approach exhaustion.
Going through the wall that is between me and going higher is turning out to be quite a challenge, quite a torturous undertaking.
Accidentally I am re-reading the novel, The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. In this book there is a man who gets caught at attempted rape and murder. The defense attorney finds out the truth: the accused is in fact a serial murderer. The mother of the accused, “in protection of her young”, kills the investigator, and wounds the lawyer.
To me, the mother’s behavior is totally incomprehensible. What would make a mother commit murders to protect evil?
I don’t claim to understand mothers. I myself have never had an experience of “mother.” I had more nurturing relationships with teachers than with the woman who was supposedly my mother.
She cooked, cooked well. She earned money. She did a lot of things. But nurturing is not what someone does to another, nurturing is the experience of the recipient, and I never experienced nurturing.
Did I crave nurturing? I don’t remember. But for many years, any and all powerful women in my life, at some point, yelled at me, “I am not your mother!!!!”
I never could figure out what I did that set them off: It was their issue, I think, not mine.
My mother said “no” to me three distinct times
- When she was 4-month pregnant… It was late to have an abortion.
- When she left me in the street because I could not keep up… I was a year and a half old
- When she called me a whore at age 3…
These no’s left me feeling that I wasn’t supposed to be born, that I was trash, throwaway, an impediment, and that I was fundamentally and to the root flawed. 1
So, coming from the life-experience I am coming from, I am mortified at the mother’s behavior.
The single evil criminal, maybe even a serial killer… I am somewhat desensitized to the phenomenon. But a mother doing what this mother does to make sure her “baby” can continue killing and raping women, that is beyond my comprehension.
In a book I read long long time ago, in Hungarian, by Durrenmatt (a famous European playwright) about a child murderer whose mother kept him out of prison, BUT she kept him out of the killing as well, until she died. 2
I have spent more sleepless nights pondering about that story than I care to admit. Obviously I live what I teach: to fight evil, you must know evil, intimately.
Anyway, what is the gist of this article?
My job is to say NO. Saying NO is very hard for me. It took me 60 years to set boundaries… and boundaries is a significant version of NO. Boundaries is like the law of a country: it says what is allowed and what is not, what is tolerated and what is not.
My job is to say no for myself, and to myself, ultimately. To rewrite the “book” that said I was not supposed to live, I was garbage, and that I was cheap and available to all. That said I had no boundaries.
To use my mother’s utterings as the proverbial “stick” of the carrot and stick. To turn them a valuable tool for self-respect, for self-determination, for dignity, for growth, and guidance.
And when I am done with that… even just a little bit, I’ll be able to love myself again, on a higher level… for who I am, for what I am up to.
- By the way, my experience is quite common: all my students experienced similar events in their own lives, where they were left with feeling less than OK, flawed, and lacking.
- the novel was “Requiem for the detective https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pledge:_Requiem_for_the_Detective_Novel