Self-love is important, it teaches you what to tolerate and what to not tolerate, what to value and what not to value. I know my mother did not have self-love, nor did my father, naturally, they would gravitate towards one another-it’s universal law. I was witness to their relationship, to its coldness, its bitterness-it was a sad picture. But of course family photos show otherwise, because that’s what society tells you to do-smile for the camera.
I don’t remember a time, if it ever did exist, when they really, truly, ‘loved’ one another, at least not in a healthy way-that is. It continued to get worse as the years passed by, my mother used to cook for my dad, but then that stopped. Yet he continued to do his part in supporting a family of five. She used to go out with him, but then that stopped too.
I wish I could say that their abuse of one another stopped, but that was not the case. During one Christmas morning when I was sixteen, maybe fifteen, my father decided to bring home a gift for my younger brother- a dog. In a ‘normal’ household this would be a great day, but my home was not ‘normal,’ not at all. My mother, in a fit of jealous rage, decided that he would not have that dog. That day things changed, a lot. She and my father got into a physical fight, something which wasn’t new. As a child, I would hop on top of my father trying to pry him off of my mother as he pulled her hair and fought with her. I would blame her for provoking him, but I know now that neither were correct in their actions-they were both responsible.
That day, like the times before, I went to try to separate them from fighting-yet again. My mother ended up biting my thumb so hard that I needed to put ice on it. How do I remember that detail? Because I called the police, my father told me to call the police, and I did. Later when my mom found out what happened she told me, ‘no, why did you do that?.’ The police came and took my mother away in handcuffs; she spent the day in jail-on Christmas. The officer then told me to show him the bite mark and suggested that I put ice on it. After that incident my father put a restraining order on her.
My parents went through custody procedures at court and my father won. It was only natural he would win, he was the breadwinner and homeowner, my mother was a homemaker ever since my brother was born and hadn’t worked on her own since then-perhaps even earlier. She left with only her clothes, photos, and her pots and pans. Since she wasn’t married to my father, she had no right to any of his income. She had to start from scratch.
Self-love is very important, it sets the foundation for everything-especially raising a family. Being a witness to the kind of relationship my parents had with each other affected me greatly. In time, I too would end up in a similar relationship trying to ‘fix’ what was wrong in my life via a relationship with another person. Thankfully, I learned what self-love was and left that relationship. It was a mighty challenge to leave that relationship, but I did, and I chose me, me and my relationship to my creator.
I still struggle with raising my level of self-love, but I know enough not to tolerate abusive relationships, I rather stay single than engage in a toxic relationship. I don’t need another person to be whole, to be happy, that’s my responsibility and no one else’s. That’s my power.