One of the earliest memories I remember of me and my mom’s squabbles happened when I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. I am not sure but I remember the little details of the day, down to the white shorts I wore.
So on this day, I was wearing my white shorts and feeling like a babe. I can’t remember clearly what I did but I must have done something wrong so when my mom stood at the doorpost of our house to call me to come inside, I didn’t heed her call. Instead, I stood outside, afraid of what would happen if I went in.
It happened like a flash. All of a sudden, my mom (maybe in frustration) threw the aluminum cup she held in her hand at me, and like a marksman, the cup hit my head. All of a sudden, I saw blood.
I remember this incidence because the white shorts I loved so much was also covered in blood. My mom took me to the hospital to treat me and was even afraid to tell my dad. I don’t think that she knew the cup could do so much damage. I still have the scar on my scalp today.
The second vivid squabble I remember having with my mom was when I was a teenager at about 14/15 years old. This time, my parents had been divorced for a few years but my mom still used to come to the house when my dad wasn’t around and she would cook, clean, and wash all our clothes.
The previous year, 2007, my dad had bought me a pretty good black jean trouser for Christmas that I loved but my mom was against trousers. So one day when I wasn’t around, my mom took all my trousers and she threw them away. I was mad! I was so mad that I gathered her wrappers and threw them away too!
I don’t know why but I truly believed that my mom hated me. I remember being in fear of her retaliation from what I had done to her, so much that sometimes, I would block my room with heavy furniture at night so she wouldn’t come in. I was irrationally scared of my mom, didn’t believe she loved me and I was also very antagonist towards her. I was a teenager who was the perfect definition of ‘rebellious’ towards my mom.
Now that I am older, I try to analyze my actions.
Why did I act like that towards my mom? What feelings were my underlying factors towards my behavior?
For one, I think I subconsciously blamed my mom for the divorce between her and my dad. I don’t know why, but my little mind at 9 years old blamed her for the divorce when she came to my school to tell me my dad had asked her to leave the house. It wasn’t her fault but somehow, I attributed the blame to her. I think I felt like she left us. She left me.
I noticed I started having issues with my relationships – I never trusted people to stay in my life for a long time. It always felt like they would leave so I would react in certain ways – I was closed in and never allowed anyone to become a part of my life, or once someone close to me messes up, that’s it. You are never coming back.
My life was a fortress that never allowed tangible, intimate relationships in. In the year 2018, after another failed friendship, I was praying one day when the Holy Spirit showed me the origin of my issues. He showed me how that event – when my mom came to my school to tell me my dad had sent her away – had created a wound in my soul that made me conclude that people would always leave. In the deepest part of my soul, I felt rejected. I had also grown to expect rejection from people. This was what kept playing out in my relationships over and over again.
Fast-forward to the end of the year 2018, I was away in Jos when I felt like God would have me go home. One day as I prayed, the Lord let me see how rebellious and disrespectful my attitude towards my mom was in the past (and also at the time). I was still talking back at my mom and even though I was born again, I had things I needed to sort out for my relationship with my mom to get better.
I Stepped Into Her Shoes & Saw Things From Her Perspective
My mom and my dad were divorced for 12 years (they are back together now, all the glory to God). During those 12 years, it was hard for my mom.
Sometimes my mom would come to see us, sit on the veranda outside because she wasn’t allowed to come into the house and we won’t even come outside to spend time with her aside from when she called us. And then our landlord’s child also treated her badly at a time. It couldn’t have been easy for my mom.
Today, when we discuss, my mom tells me people used to say “you get grace oh. Man nor want you again, leave them nah” and she would say “who I wan leave my children for?” The truth is that my mom loved and still loves us.
What God helped me do was to step my feet into her shoes and feel what she felt during those years. When I did this, I cried and apologized to her.
The Holy Spirit does this thing for me sometimes when all of a sudden I can feel a person’s pain and feel what they are feeling. That’s how I got to write my book ‘Eniola’ for sexual abuse victims. When God brings you into this place where you see with His perspective about people, it’s hard for you to be angry and/or harbor unforgiveness about anyone.
If you currently have a difficult relationship with your mom, I encourage you to do this: think about her life and the things that you know she has been through and ask God to give you His perspective about her. Many times, we only see things from our own lens.
We Talked About The Past
Most of the times, we do not go back to have a conversation about the past with our mothers.
Many mother-child relationships are being buried upon the altar of silence. Don’t just assume that the things that happened in the past are past. In Africa, we have a habit of sweeping things under the carpet even when our hearts are bleeding.
If things happened in the past between you and your mother or you find yourself just really having a difficult relationship with your mother, first, talk to God about it. Examine the past and find out, why am I acting out in my relationship with my mom? Then go further, and have a conversation with your mom about it.
Just talking about things and issues that have been buried in families can do a lot in creating room for healing and restoration of relationships.
I Spent Time with Her
I was that girl who was eager to leave home. I always had a reply of “who wan stay Ughelli” when my mom would ask me to stay home. But over time, I have seen the Holy Spirit lead me to go home.
In February this year, I felt like going home to see my mom. Lagos suddenly seemed tiring and oppressive. So I packed up my things with the intention to stay home for a month but I have been home with my parents for almost two months now and I love it.
During this time, we have had conversations more around the past and some areas I didn’t understand in my family. My mom has been so open to me. I have felt more love for her growing in my heart now and even though we still quarrel, I know that she loves me.
I read something in the book titled ‘The Seven Mountain Prophecy’ by Johnny Enlow, where he talked about how on the mountain of family, the biggest tool satan used to cause disruption is ‘rejection’.
A child is conditioned by 90 percent of the kind of relationship he or she had with their parents. For many of us, the feeling of rejection starts early. It starts from small incidences like what I had with my mom at 7, where we start entertaining doubts about our parent’s love for us.
For you it may be different – maybe a time when they didn’t stand up for you like you thought they should. Maybe a discipline situation gone bad, no birthdays celebrated… it can be anything. Still, it sows seeds of rejection in the heart of the child and builds resentment in that child.
To have a healthy relationship with your parents, you must deal with the roots of the problem(s). Only then can you let go of the past and move ahead.