I drew the picture you see here soon after I married my husband. I wanted to be a mom, but not because I wanted to be a mother. The child was an afterthought to the idea that my husband would have to respect me if I was a mom.
I really didn’t think that one through. But my subconscious did, and it tried to warn me through my art.
Consciously I drew my desire to be a mother. Subconsciously, I told a true story of not only the abuse I endured at the time, but the picture of what was to come.
See the pregnant woman with the flowers growing out of her head?
She represents the charming way he implanted false beliefs and promises into my mind. She is naked and proud of her role as mother, yet she is faceless. She is only a mother. She has no other identity.
“Mother” serves to prove his role as father only. Abusers do not give importance to who you are only to what you do for them. That’s why we pretend to be a happy family in public – it serves the abuser. He trains us to behave that way so his world appears perfect.
See the vase shaped like the pregnant woman?
The vase represents the shell I would wrap myself within to hide from his abuses. I played his game for a long time. I pretended to be someone I wasn’t so he might love me more. I forced myself into the roles he specified, whether I liked them or not…whether I liked me or not.
And all the while, the ideas he implanted in my mind flourish over my own.
See the woman in the vase of water?
When I drew her, I thought she was the water giving life to the flowers. I now know she is drowning in the water, holding on to the bit of life in the cut flowers to sustain her. We all know every cut flower dies. The same will happen to her. She is dying whether she knows it or not.
Water symbolically represents emotions. She is drowning in emotions that have nowhere to go. That vase is solid. It’s not going to spill or break. There is no outlet for what she feels. There’s no communication (you can’t talk underwater). She’s alone. Isolation is key.
See the cut-out paper doll children on the upper left and, less obviously, on the right?
These simple, innocent images chill me to the bone. They foretell that he will treat our children as dolls. Dolls are and do what you want and only what you want. Our children, the most precious people in my lifetime, are (to him) nothing more than proof that he is a man.
He punished when they acted like their mother, rewarded when they acted like him. Later on, as teenagers, he punishes when they act like themselves. He cannot stand their individuality, their differing opinions, their choice of dress or friends. They are different from him.
He’s already physically abused one of our sons. It’s only a matter of time before our younger son “goes against” his father, too.