I know a mother who never wants to hear about anything that is bad or ugly. She instantly will say: 'Stop it!' 'I can't listen to this!' or utter her mantra about only wanting what is 'Kind, beautiful and true' in her life.' I only recently realised that it is this that made her an abysmal failure as a mother. Not only this, actually but a couple of other things such as telling her children from infancy that she hated 'teenagers' and dreaded the day when they would reach that stage in their growth. It is all part and parcel of the same attitude really. Teenagers are messy emotionally. They have reached a critical stage in their lives when they need support and nurturing and protection, often against the ugliest and vilest of experiences. And yet that is where this Mother made it absolutely clear that she no longer would be a Mother. In fact, she made if appear that somehow any crime committed against her children had to be THEIR fault somehow and if not, well, they definitely were to blame for attempting to drag anything less than perfect and beautiful into HER life.
I suppose she could be considered a sociopath, entirely lacking in all empathy for her own children. It is the opposite of the mothering instinct. What struck me most about Mel Gibson's depiction of the Blessed Virgin in 'The Passion of the Christ' was how she participated in his ordeal, how she felt, to her very core, every blow struck, every torture dealt to him. She refused to avert her gaze. She kept her eyes on him and gave him her strength. How very different from the woman who never wanted to know that her daughter had been raped or sexually molested by some one in the family! Ugly, vile experiences are not the fault of the victim, especially when the victim is a child. A child never should be made to feel that somehow she or he brought it upon himself or herself. Worse still, a child never should be told he or she is a 'bad seed' simply because he or she was the victim of a crime.
One can offer all sorts of excuses for this woman. She did not have an easy childhood. She had cancer and I suppose her refusal to linger on the ugliness of THAT allowed her to move forward afterwards. Yes, these are excuses, up to a point, but there is no excuse for abdicating one's responsbility as a Mother. You don't have children if you are not prepared to protect them and at least LISTEN to them when they are suffering or hurt.
This woman always waves the 'Kind, beautiful and true' standard about whenever some one brings up a topic with which she is uncomfortable. In fact, whenever she makes that declaration, it is with a sort of extreme pride and self-congratulatory attitude, as though it somehow elevates her to a higher plane. I suppose this is one reason why I did not make the link between her 'guiding' statement and her failure as a mother. After all, wanting only what is 'kind, beautiful and true' ought to be a virtue, a laudable goal.
This woman is quite old now and is a grandmother. Is there any point in making her aware of her failure? Were it only in the past, perhaps it would not be difficult to 'let sleeping dogs lie'. Her attitudes, however, continue to cause pain and anguish for the children. She still makes outrageous statements such as 'No one wants to hear about your pain' or 'I can't deal with your problems', while endlessly unloading her problems on every one. No one expects her to act as a fairy godmother. All that is needed is a small portion of sympathy, dare I say empathy?
No one loves beauty more than I. I try to surround myself with beauty, to inspire myself and give myself a little spiritual strength by association with beauty, whether in art or literature or Nature. That does not blind me, however, to the ugliness in the hearts of some people or does not cause me to ignore any threat to any one I love or hold dear. At the end of the day, being 'kind' means being conscious of the suffering of others and willing to listen if not act. 'Beautiful' is not simple on the surface but must include the essential fundamental principles on which a person bases his or her life. And 'true' is loyalty, and the willingness to face whatever comes, even if it causes great pain. A mother surely will feel the suffering and pain of her chldren even more than her own. It cannot be easy to accept that something utterly unconscionable has been levied on a child but to turn away from that, to slam the door and pretend nothing happened... that almost is tantamount to being an accessory to the crime.