Yesterday’s post about fear being characteristic of toxic relationships made mention of the evil of matriarchal abuse. I have received numbers of responses to that post besides the comments and I am beginning to realize that mothers as abusers are more common that I knew. I have personally seen and experienced fallout from these kind. They are not rare.
I wanted to post a comment submitted yesterday by TJ as a stand-alone post of its own because it sooooo accurately portrays what it is like to undergo the oppression of an abuser matriarch, and what getting free requires. It is no wonder that Jesus spoke often on how following Him will result in this kind of warped version of motherhood wailing in rage to regain possession:
My Mom was a matriarchal abuser. She used acceptance/rejection, manipulation, guilt/shame, lies, half-truths, etc., to control and divide her six children…and later her grandchildren. She stirred up jealousy, resentment, fear between us. She was very covert so I don’t think that any of us were fully aware of what the others were being told. She manipulated us like chess pieces on a board and destroyed our relationships.
It’s difficult to condense a lifetime of covert abuse into few words. When I began experiencing my Mom’s direct rage because I wouldn’t let her seize control of my marriage, I reached out to sisters who had been outcasted before me. I forgave–and asked forgiveness–for past offenses because I believed our relationships had been manipulated. I thought/hoped we could start over as adults away from our Mom, and we seemed to for several years, but I believe my siblings never relinquished their manipulated childhood perceptions and emotions. In reality, I think we were all used as weapons against each other and none of us were truly loved. Any appearance of love was an illusion. They never stopped hungering. pursuing, and competing for any little crumb of our Mom’s love/approval that she tossed their way and they turned away from Truth. I don’t think they minded that I became the ultimate scapegoat because it meant that THEY weren’t. Eventually, when my Mom completely rejected me, they sided with her, defended her, and joined in her emotional abuse of me.
Ten years ago I finally recognized that the turmoil in my family was permanent and was harming my own little family. I realized that our relationships were damaged beyond repair so I walked away from my family of origin. Five years ago my husband, son, and I moved several hours away without telling them and we began to work on our own healing and recovery. My five siblings had the opportunity to be “free” but they returned to the slavery of “Egypt.” I have been completely vilified, hated, insulted, accused, condemned, and rejected because I didn’t turn back.
In late November 2020, my sister found me at FB and messaged, “You probably don’t care, but I just wanted to let you know that mom died on November 10…Figured you should know, good, bad, or ugly, she is our mom.” Such a message revealed to me that she/they had not changed so I blocked her without response. Yesterday I received an envelope from a lawyer with a copy of our Mom’s Will. The only thing I read was the lawyer’s letter informing me that although I was an heir, I was “specifically excluded” from receiving anything from her estate. (I then burned the letter and unread Will.) I never expected or wanted to receive an inheritance. However, the phrase, “specifically excluded” was a final stab of rejection and actually sums up a matriarchal abuser: They do not love, they control. They do not “accidentally” reject. They are not acting out of “woundedness.” They very intentionally, very deliberately, and very “specifically exclude,” reject, isolate, and cause harm to those who do not submit.
I regret that I did not escape sooner. I believe that I remained in my abusive family relationships far, far longer than I could have, should have, would have because when I sought counsel from Christian leaders, mentors, friends, they all told me that I should love more, forgive more, give more grace. When I tried to walk away, they told me that I was unloving, unforgiving, unChristlike and that I dishonored myself, my family, and my God by having no contact. Understand this: You can’t have a relationship with abusive people. I want to echo Jeff’s words: Let the enemy roar. Let mother [and other relatives] weep and wail and rage. We are going to follow Christ and we are not going to permit the wicked to drive us back into slavery. Never.
Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord. (Ps 45:10-11)