An Open Letter from Prison: Mama Lomax (my mom) Talks Abuse, Guilt & Forgiveness Terri July 30, 2014 21 Comments If you’re a frequent reader of the blog then you’re pretty familiar with the relationship between me and my mom. Blogging has been a therapeutic outlet for me on my journey to forgiveness. It’s also been a healthy method of coping with the physical and verbal abuse that I experienced at the hands of my mother. I’ve written numerous blog posts about my mom’s frequent jail time and the effects that her actions had on my growth as a woman. Despite what my mom and I have been through, we’ve been able to cultivate an amazing mother-daughter relationship. Many people ask me what my mom’s thoughts are in regards to me sharing my story and speaking openly about her violent past. I thought it’d be interesting to let her speak for herself. My mom is currently doing time in a prison in Pennsylvania. I told her about my idea to have her write a post for the blog and she mailed me a two page letter. Mom’s letter is in the italics. Words from Mama Lomax First, I would like to say as parents, we don’t get a manual or have guidelines and instructions on parenting. So, we normally repeat the same behaviors or similar destructive behaviors that were inflicted upon us, which is probably not the best method, but the only way we know is when we’re told otherwise. Parenting is O.J.T (on the job training.) We may say things like “I’ll never do that to my children,” or something similar to that, only to repeat the same cycle because that’s what we know. Growing up it wasn’t abnormal for me to get beatings or whippings with an extension cord by my mother, butt naked. She would leave bruises all over my body. After more than four decades, I still have some scars. Today that would be considered child abuse. My grandmother beat my mother and her siblings with iron skillets and threw irons or whatever objects were in close proximity. My mother emulated that same behavior but used a different object on me. I said I would never do that to my children. Sound familiar? I used excessive force in disciplining my two oldest daughters (Terri and her older sister.) I would slap them in the face or beat them with the belt. From me beating them, they had a lot of resentment, emotional and physical scars and maybe even hatred toward me. It wasn’t until they were adults that they made me aware of this. I realized that I had repeated the same generational curse that my grandmother had implemented. When my daughter Terri told me that I had been abusive, I immediately became defensive. How could she fit her mouth to say such a thing when I had given them a good life and sacrificed so much. All that meant nothing to her? I was blown away. All of these years she’s lived with that. I lived with guilt and shame for a long time. There was no rationalizing or justifying my abuse. I was determined not to repeat those same behaviors with my four younger children. Terri forgave me, now I had to forgive myself. Children have the propensity to mimic their parents’ negative proclivities. The scripture says “spare the rod, spoil the child.” Rod can be a form of discipline. Like what? So glad you asked. Like taking away privileges; it doesn’t have to entail being physical. Terri has forgiven me which was the first step and we have a bond that’s unbreakable. She’s my best friend and we share a lot together. She’s my hero. In closing, I would like to ask you to please please realize how our actions affect our children. Talk to your children. Listen and let them say what they must so their healing can begin. My Thoughts Now I must say, I was thrilled when my mom agreed to write a post for the blog. We write each other frequently and I update her on my accomplishments and she’s always very happy for me. Occasionally she expresses the difficulty coming to grips with the mistakes she’s made in the past; specifically the abuse. There are many instances of excessive abuse that I recall that my mom doesn’t necessarily remember. Whether she’s suppressed those incidents or truly forgot about them, in order for me to move on I’ve had to acknowledge my truth and make a decision. It’s taken me years, tears and a boatload of intense emotions to finally make peace with the negatives in my childhood. I’m extremely proud of my mother because as I matured and shared with her how her physical and verbal abuse had negative effects on me, she’s taken that feedback to heart and uses healthier methods of disciplining with my younger siblings. Luckily they won’t have to endure some of the things I went through when I was a child… and that brings me great joy <3 I don’t have many recent pictures of me and mom but this is one of us from my 22nd birthday! Share Your Wisdom. Join the Conversation! Have you had a trying mother-daughter relationship? How did you cope with it? Share your insight below.