I’ve been having psychotherapy to work through the issues I’ve had in my life. Issues from childhood are very poignant, as my mother was a very toxic parent. As I unravel the bits of my life that have gone unresolved through the decades (I’m older than you think, LOL) I realised finally that all this time, since I was about 14, when I had renounced my faith and belief in God, it was actually a kneejerk reaction to all the torment my mother put me through since I was a wee child. So everything dear to her life that she stood for, I was like – bullshit. It’s crap. She was a fucked up woman and she poisoned my life with her rubbish and anger at the way her own life turned out.
I prayed every single day since I was about 8 or 9, to God to please release me from my mother’s grip. I actually wished my Dad would divorce her because she was so vile and she hated me so much. It’s really kind of fucked up because on the other hand, all I wanted was for my mother to love me and to show me real care and concern. Not harp on day in and out about how much she thinks I’m an evil child and how much she wished I was dead and that she had never had me. She even blames me for my difficult birth. How fucked up is that?
I don’t think she ever realised that her coping mechanisms to deal with her own sense of failure was just to blame everyone else other than to just take it on the chin and move on. So I was a difficult birth. Was I to blame? What kind of fucked up thought process was that?
So I’ve gradually came to see that a lot of the things I thought I was were in fact not quite my true self – with the help of a rather very clever psychotherapist who could help me see through my own thought processes and the hindrances it brings me despite me possibly being a rather impetuous and difficult client (since I am naturally headstrong and stubborn).
So for years and years, I thought I was atheist. Actually I was more irreligious than anything. I saw religion and it’s rulebooks as parent substitutes and since I hated my parent, every aspect of the religious rulebook repulsed me. But now I don’t hate her that much… I accept she was fucked up, and a pig of a mother, and yes she ruined my childhood but that’s just life… my therapist told me that if I hear her voice criticising me again in my head, to just tell it/”her” to shut up. To swear at it/”her” even. Because everything she said about me was untruth – I was not a bad person, she was only venting her own frustrations at me without caring if they hurted me or not.
Well … this is the interesting bit. I threw the baby out with the bathwater when I renounced my faith in God so many years ago. I realise deep down that I probably still do believe in a God – albeit a God who is all-powerful but not particularly thinking along the same wavelengths as us mortals. So this God permits and controls everything that exists in the universe, including all the suffering, pain and injustice. That is because in God’s eyes, this serves a purpose in the greater scheme of things, which only God knows. We don’t. We most probably don’t.
I have a personal relationship with God though I don’t feel compelled to have to attend some house of worship or join a religion/club for it. I don’t believe in tithing or supporting the clergy or even that I need some kind of a middle man to help me navigate my relationship with God. In that aspect I am starting to think that many aspects of Quakerism is very appealing to me. But I will need to do more personal research on that before subscribing to any particular faith – if I feel the need to, at all. Buddhism is also another religion that probably is a decent fit for me… but there are so many branches of Buddhism and they differ.
I recently asked my husband to complete this 20-qn questionnaire on Beliefnet that tells you at the end what religion or faith is most aligned with your particular concepts/beliefs. Funnily, his results showed his thinking is more along the lines of a Unitarian Universalist… so quite a departure from his Dutch Reform Church/Catholic upbringing.
I have yet to complete that questionnaire as I got stuck on qn 4 – the question of an afterlife. You see I really want to answer every question as truthfully and confidently as possible. I want my answers to be well thought-out so I don’t get a dud result. But then again, maybe I’m just going to step away from questionnaires such as this because they are meant to be used as fun tools that may or may not be accurate for you… they are not meant to be gospel of course.
Anyway, I think I have come to the conclusion about my answer to qn 4… It’s that I believe there really is no way of knowing what the afterlife is, or even if there is one. No one has ever gone and came back and conclusively say that they have seen such and such. Religious books were written by mortals inspired by God but everybody is inspired by God in different ways and every religious book is just some people’s versions of what they think God means to them. Me personally, I find more joy and enlightenment reading stuff written by Kahlil Gibran than any other religious text. To me, universal love is the way forward.
Oh, and all this rebelling against my mum all these years in a way did produce some positive results. I was bent on being a woman and a parent in the opposite of what she was. I was determined to take control of my body, to homebirth my children, to breastfeed, to parent mercifully. All of these things have given me strength and happiness and insight and wisdom, in ways I could never have achieved if I were to just blindly follow the parenting examples I was exposed to as a child.
So in a way I am going to say to her… thanks for giving me a shit life because it helped me see the flipside better. But then again, thanks for also the high psychotherapy costs I am now incurring as a result of having to work through all these fucked up thoughts I’ve accumulated whilst I was under your grip mum… ummm… on the other hand, no thanks for that!