I often think of the first time my mom was hurt. Was it when her father slowly started forgetting that she existed? Or was it when she was told she was ugly and needed to “fix” herself? Or was it when she stopped wearing yellow because her mother said it enhances her complexion? Or was it when she stood right in front of the mirror, looking at herself and thinking of her worthlessness because the man she loved did not love her back? Or was it when she got married, and all of her hopelessly romantic dreams were broken?
She was told she was ugly and needed to “fix” herself? Or was it when she stopped wearing yellow because her mother said it enhances her complexion? Or was it when she stood right in front of the mirror, looking at herself and thinking of her worthlessness because the man she loved did not love her back? Or was it when she got married, and all of her hopelessly romantic dreams were broken? Or was it when she held me in her arms, her eyes filled with tears because she knew this world was too cruel for me? Was it when she was told that her daughter had inherited her complexion? Or was it finally when she realized that no matter how brilliant, intelligent, amazingly talented her daughter is, she will become a victim of the abuse this world offers. I often wonder more than I usually should; what is that hurt? What’s it that brings the shade of envy in those eyes while watching romantic scenes in dramas and strictly denying the need for it? What’s the break in her voice when she claims she had a “content” life? Why is she so mad at me when I speak for what’s right?
It is an endless cycle of abuse that is not considered abuse since there is no abuse until we see physical proof. Until there are bleeding scars or marks of spots present on the skin, and even then, some of us will find ways to make it our fault because this is what we have been taught. We have been taught to sew our tongues because “this is how it has always been.” We are forced to carry generations and generations of trauma, and not just take; we are forced to transfer it as well. We’re told not to dream or keep our expectations high because it doesn’t happen in the “real” world. We’re forced to direct our lives the way our mothers have; we’re expected to do everything exactly the way they’ve done; we’re supposed to follow the patterns that were built years and years ago and endure the same amount of abuse.
It all starts from childhood. When a child develops the need to be loved unconditionally, the love is not returned because, according to common perspective, that would “spoil” the child, especially if the child is a female. Because the child is not going to find love anywhere in the world since none of these older generations dared to break the cycle and nurture younger generations with the warmth they were deprived of. Children with unmet emotional needs grow into emotionally disturbed adults falling prey to this cruel world looking for people it can exploit. These emotionally unstable adults end up with severely traumatic experiences. As I mentioned earlier, my mother looked at herself and thought she was worthless because someone did not love her back. It rooted from all the times her needs were not fulfilled, so she tried finding it in someone else, and failed, so she started feeling miserable about herself.
Her misery led her to the belief that the way she was raised was the right one, where she was told there were no good things out there in the world for her, everything she grew up listening to about herself is accurate, and that is how the cycle of abuse is continued, what she was fed, she vomited in the minds of her daughters, who might as well grow up into similar beings. So, who is going to put an end to it? When will I see individuals willing to break and eradicate this vicious cycle of horrible abuse? Every daughter who can look into the eyes of her mother and see the traces of hidden pain within them is capable of breaking this cycle, every woman who is now a mother and was once someone in desperate need of love and acceptance is capable of breaking this cycle, anyone who knows what trauma is and has endured it is capable of breaking this cycle. Because it has been enough, it needs to end with us.