An Open Letter from Prison: Mama Lomax (my mom) Talks Abuse, Guilt & Forgiveness Terri July 30, 2014 20 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. CoilySue86 My pleasure! 🙂 Terri Lomax Wow! Thank you so much for sharing <3 I really appreciate your comment! CoilySue86 Thank you so much for sharing your mother’s letter. It brings to light the ways that a person can become something or someone they don’t mean to be. Recently, I have been analyzing and judging myself on how I handle my son. I have been analyzing myself because I do suffer from mental illness (PTSD & recurrent depression) and at times I can be in what seems a constant state of sadness and irritability. My mother has had issues with mental illness and substance abuse. (Which she had been, for the most part honest with me about it.) There were times she would snap and say mean things or say normal things in a mean way. She would be super sweet but have really cold and dry ways of dealing with problems when I needed her to be a bit warmer. But according to her, her mother used to drink, hit her and her 8 siblings, and say mean things. I wrote more about it here if you don’t mind me posting the link. https://blaqgurlfya.org/2016/05/23/to-be-black-and-mentally-ill-how-being-strong-black-and-proud-is-not-a-treatment-for-mental-illness/ Although, I am not anti-spank. I am practicing the use of discernment of every situation to determine if it’s just how I’m feeling overall that I’m upset with him, if he actually did something wrong, if I am I calm enough to deal with this right now, does this dilemma warrant physical punishment, etc. I do this because I don’t want a repeat of my life and the problems that I deal with. I know that I won’t be able to prevent everything that I want to prevent, I at least want my son to be stable in his mind and more resilient than I was. I also don’t want to use ANY method of discipline while upset or having a moment of irritability because I usually don’t think thoroughly when I am like that. I can also be very harsh when I am like that as well. I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to motherhood and my methods of therapy and support. I also will apologize to my son for my harsh, cold, and distant moments. Event though he’s five years old, I’ll still explain some things to him in an effort to describe my errors, why I was in error, and what I am doing to correct the error while when he is wrong, I still educate, discipline, and punish when the time is appropriate for it. Thanks again for sharing this! Terri Lomax Thank you for taking the time to read this post lady! Our community has a lot of work to do. Like you said, it starts at home <3 K’EsSee Moshe Terri thank you so much for sharing, this may truly be your “calling” as a mother myself. . I didn’t grow up getting beat,.. but I did get whooped, but as a single mother of 2 boys 15yrs apart. .. I do understand the frustrations of single parent hood. it does get hard, and if your not mature enough to handle the father leaving, and the children crying and being broke or in need lashing out becomes your only control method for your chaotic life. Its unfortunate but given the newer generation of younger parents And the rising poverty levels… I can only imagine. This is the very thing that leads to our (black) children becoming statistics or gang members. Most only know pain. It starts at home… we have to be willing to reach out to young mothers… offer free babysitting, advice, “help” as much as we can. Thank You both for opening this conversation up to all of us. Many continued Blessings K’EsSee Pingback: Dear Mama: Standing Up to My Mom for the First Time - Mocha Girls Pit Stop() Terri Lomax Hi there, Thank you for sharing girly! I’m happy to hear that you’ve been able to cope and it’s good to know that you have a supportive network behind you. That’s so important! Kudos to you for breaking he generational cycles 🙂 Terri Lomax Thank you so much Morgan! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Love you too 🙂 I’m proud of her as well. She’ll be so happy to hear all of the positive feedback! disqus_ngrW7WhjVq Terri you’re a remarkable woman! I’m glad you’ve shared your story and you’re such a strong woman for doing so. I know I didn’t have a great relationship with my mom and siblings (older sister, younger brother) growing up. They were physically and emotionally abusive and at one point when I was young I wanted to take my life because of it. If it wasn’t for my Maternal grandmother who saved me, I don’t think I would be who I am today. As times have changed, so has my relationships. My brother has since been able to control his anger and we have become really close and continue to build a trusting relationship. I’m not close to my sister as much as I should be, but she has learned to not take her stressors out on people physically and emotionally. My siblings have learned that the treatment our mother showed us was wrong, but we have learned from it and have healed since then. As for my mother, our relationship has it’s ups and downs. We have grown closer together since I had my daughter and she has realized that her methods for dealing with anger was wrong back then and has become a different person when it comes to helping me raise my own child. We still are working on our relationship and she has her good and bad days, but she has since realized the effect she has had on me and how it has shaped me today. Sometimes I’ll see the ugly side and she’ll say things to hurt me, but I’ve learned how to better cope with it and I have a wonderful network of supporters that are there for me when times get tough. As the next generation has started to form, I believe that this one won’t have the same experiences that I myself had because we have learned to love each other and work through the troubling times instead of letting the bad take us over. morgy morg Knowing Momma Lomax, Aka Momma Dukes, Its So Heart Warming To Read This Post. I’m Proud Of Where You Both Have Come And Where You’re Going. Continuing On The Road To A More Positive Lifestyle And Relationship By Breaking Down The Walls Of Those Generational Curses That Have Been Hunting Her By Communicating. Very Very Very Powerful. Love You Both Dearly Terri Lomax Hi Louise! Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your feedback. You’re so right. I’ll be sure to share your comment with my mom. I’m sure she’ll be grateful for your kind words. 🙂 Louise Thank you Terri for your honesty. Please thank your Mom too. As a parent I know that we do follow the example our parents provided. Luckily I was not severely punished but in my day physical punishment was very common. I am so glad that you have worked through your feelings and continue to help others. Your Mom is to be commended for listening and changing for your younger siblings.