Hong Curley, pictured on our front cover as a person making a difference, is a most amazing woman as you’ll see by reading this article and her book. Her story here will be an inspiration to many who feel as though they were unhappily parented.
My mother went through all kinds of hardship and trauma during the horrible Chinese Cultural Revolution. She managed to survive physically, but she became a very angry person. In her angry state, which was very often, she would hit me and accuse me of being a ‘waste of space’, ‘a worthless piece of shit’ and allegations like ‘you have come to ruin my life’.
Never once did I believe her. I looked at myself and I was always in awe of my own magnificence. I would think, ‘I am a human being; my life is precious. I can see, smell, hear, feel, talk, think and create. I can be anyone and do anything if I so choose. I have been given so many gifts, gifts that money cannot buy.
‘I am not a worthless piece of shit and I am not a waste of space. Far from it. I am worth just as much as everyone else and I am important. I matter.
‘I have a voice of my own. Only I can speak for myself. No one in the world can destroy me unless I allow them. I can choose to give my power away and be destroyed, or I can choose to hold my power and create my desired destiny.’
This owning my life and knowing that I must be the light unto myself was what got me through the darkest hours of my life; it was what made me ward off the negative impact of abuse; it was what made me rise above self-pity and respect my inner value.
I used to think my mother hated me, for why would she abuse me if she did not hate me? But one day, a deeper truth was revealed to me.
I was led to see that my mother only ‘appeared’ to hate me. Her hatred to me was a form of love, a twisted, retarded form of unconscious love, from a person with a victim mentality.
In an unevolved human mind, love and hate arise from the same fear – fear of not being good enough; they are just delivered in a different way. When she was buried deeply in her own psychological pain, and when she was trapped in her deep guilt, love was expressed as hatred towards the person she wanted to love.
This explains why people often hurt those they love the most. My mother abused me out of her fear of inadequacy. Violence is fear screamed out loud. All violent people are scared and weak people who have no inner power.
Once I had this realisation, compassion instantly arose in me towards my mother. Years before, I swore that I would never let my mother come near my children. But once I realised my mother’s inner suffering, I immediately brought her over to Australia to live with me in the hope that I could heal her. By that time, I had a thriving natural medicine healing centre with ten practitioners working for me. I was a very successful Chinese medicine practitioner, with a waiting list of four to six months. I used to spend ten hours at work and then come home to a mother who would criticise me for not folding my laundry properly. Nothing I did was ever good enough for her.
One day, Mum was sitting at the dining table complaining about something I did not do right. Normally, when she complained, I tried not to look at her. But that day, I looked her in the eyes when she was complaining. What I saw astonished me to the core of my being. I saw a profound sadness in her eyes, a really deep grieving kind of sadness as if she was mourning the death of someone she loved. Suddenly, I realised she was mourning the death of her own dreams. She was born with the voice of an angel; she could have become one of the country’s best opera singers if it were not for the revolution.
Her mourning had turned into a kind of bitter jealousy towards my success. The more successful I became, the more her bitterness grew towards me.
I went over and sat in front of my mother. I reached out to touch her hand, but she pulled it back quickly and stared at me with hostility as if I was an enemy who was going to attack her. At that moment, I saw a very scared person, a person who felt so inferior that she had to pretend to be someone tough. The only way she could feel better was by putting someone else down in order to give her a fake feeling of being superior.
I started to cry. The realisation of her deep profound sadness opened my heart to feel her pain. I could feel every bit of it – all her broken dreams, regrets, pain, guilt, shame and remorse. I felt her, all of her, and I cried. Tears were flooding out uncontrollably. My mother pushed the chair back, stood up, then screamed at me, ‘What are you crying for, you worthless piece of shit? You are the one who is successful. You are the one who always gets what you want. So what have you got to cry about?’ Her face was turning red and blue, her arms were waving in the air. She was raging.
I did not react to her rage, because the rage was just a cover-up for her deep-seated fear of inadequacy and a sense of failure. She judged herself so badly inside, and all she was doing was projecting her judgement outwards towards me.
I realised it was not me she was accusing, but herself. When she screamed at me ‘you useless piece of shit’, she was screaming at herself – she was calling herself that; not me. I was just a fake target, as she was her own enemy.
With this understanding, I let go of all judgements against my mother. I walked to her, held on to her arms, looked her in the eyes, then slowly spoke out these words: ‘Mum, look at me. I love you. You are a good mum. You did the best you could. I love you. I don’t blame you. I really don’t. I understand you, I understand your pain, and I want to take it away from you, but I cannot do that for you. You have to let it go yourself before it kills you.
‘It is right now killing your joy of living. What is the point of living like this? It hurts me seeing you hurting yourself. You must let go of the past. You can’t live in the past. Today is a new day. Tomorrow is a new day. Let us look forward, not backward. Mum, I want you to live a long life. I want you to be at my children’s wedding. You are my mum. I am grateful for you. I wouldn’t be here if it was not for you. I am grateful for you, truly, Mum.’
With these words, she collapsed in my arms. I held her close to my heart for a long time while she let out her sorrow, pain, guilt and shame in her cry. She never called me ‘a worthless piece of shit’ after that day.
Mum has been living in Australia for 15 years now. She is the happiest she has ever been. My love for her slowly but surely has been healing her pain. I want nothing more than her healing before she leaves this earth.
She once wrote me a letter and asked for my forgiveness. I thanked her for the letter and told her that there was nothing for me to forgive. She did not do anything to harm me. She could not harm me because I did not place myself under her power to be harmed. However, she was harming herself in inflicting pain upon me as well as herself.
All harm done to others is self-harming.
All abuse to others is in fact self-abuse.
I helped her to realise that and helped her to release herself from the bondage of self-blame. I told her that her abuse to me did not affect me in a negative way; on the contrary, I was very grateful to her. She was a reflection, a mirror of who I do not want to become. Without her abuse, I would not have grown the way I did.
As a result of this experience, I have become a much better mother to my children. She loved me through her pain, but I chose to release my pain through loving her.
The only way you can heal pain is through love and acceptance of yourself.
One day, she told my daughter that I was the best mother any child could ever hope to have and that she was sorry for hurting me for many years. My daughter Grace wiped off her tears and kissed her on her cheek. Then she said to her, ‘Don’t be sad, Grandma. I t is not too late to start loving my mummy. Just start now.’
From love we come; to love we must return. There is only one way to the kingdom of Heaven, and that is, the path of love…
This story is an excerpt from a newly released self-healing book “Freedom to Love – Radical Healing From Disease to Health, Anger to Peace, Fear to Love”.
Hong Curley is a Chinese medicine doctor specialising in psychological healing. She has earned her expert status from having conducted over 38,000 consultations so far.
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