Writing this memoir about healing from childhood sexual abuse continually reminds me of the spiral quality of inner work. Just now I’ve been working on a chapter that has a lot about my mother in it. Now there’s a topic that requires revisiting!
I’m writing about a time when she was quite old and I was being a dutiful daughter. At the same time I was doing intense work in therapy about the abuse. I would go visit my mother one weekend a month and do a lot of chores, manifesting my love for her but also feeling acutely the pain of her betrayal and lack of protection when I was young.
I began to learn how to detach from her and turn towards taking care of my inner child. I needed my primary loyalty to be to myself, while I still took care of my mother's needs.
How many times did I need that message? How many more times do I still need it? It took a long time to get this memoir chapter together, not because of technical difficulties with the writing, but because I needed to go around the spiral yet another time and find more compassion for my mother as well as myself. Finally, I wrote a letter to her (she’s dead now) with a lot of appreciation for her strengths and for the privileges I have had that allowed me to go beyond her limitations. That writing freed me to finish the chapter.
memoir inner child abuse recovery Writing and poetry