[small nudge] if you're out of stuff to do i left you a reply on a requests post a couple days back asking for fic of Alex healing and growing after cutting Eliza out of her life ('cause of the emotional abuse). no pressure or anything i just. yeah. mother's day was last weekend and yesterday was the 1yr of me not talking to my own mother for the same reasons, and I doubt I'm the only person who's having Feelings about all this rn lmao. still think you're awesome btw.
She never recognized the pattern.
Never recognized the pattern, and J’onn waited patiently for her to figure it out on her own, not wanting to violate her privacy by sharing the insights he got by how damn loudly his Earth daughter thinks.
Because she thinks very loudly, on the mornings after her phone calls with Eliza.
She thinks very loudly, and her thinking is about how inadequate she is. How imperfect. How disappointing.
And she never recognized the pattern, but she would bruise her knuckles in training, and she would work the new DEO recruits harder, and she would work herself so hard she nearly vomited.
Always on the days that followed the nights she talked to her mother.
She never noticed the pattern, but Maggie does.
Maggie notices and Maggie cleans up the glass when Alex throws her bourbon at the opposite wall, and Maggie makes a note to bring up her drinking after they process this latest call with her mother, this latest fight, this latest abuse.
Maggie holds her when she sobs apologies and Maggie holds her when she begs forgiveness and Maggie knows that it’s not only Maggie she’s seeking forgiveness from.
It’s Eliza, yes, but it’s Kara, and it’s Jeremiah.
Because in Alex’s eyes – after she talks to Eliza, anyway – she reliably believes that she’s failed them both.
So Maggie holds her and Maggie gently refuses to make love to her even when Alex begs for it, begs hard and begs long; refuses because Alex has liquor on her breath and tears in her eyes, and Maggie won’t, ever, take advantage of that.
Even with Alex begging her to fuck away her inadequacy. To make her feel worthwhile. To make her feel good enough.
Maggie focuses on making her feel good enough in other ways.
Whispered words and soft kisses all over her face, strong arms and gentle touches.
And when it’s morning and Alex wakes up with distant eyes and a vacant voice, Maggie asks her.
Asks her, in a small voice – terrified that Alex will be furious with her, will leave her, will think she’s accusing Alex of being a bad daughter, a bad person – if she’s ever considered cutting Eliza out of her life. At least for a little while.
Alex doesn’t yell and Alex doesn’t snap at her. She doesn’t reach for bourbon. Instead, she collapses back down onto the bed and she reaches for Maggie’s hand.
“But wouldn’t I be a terrible daughter if I did that? I mean, my mom, she’s not… she… she hugged me when I came out, Maggie, she… she’s so good to you, and she loves me, and she paid for college, and med school, and she loves me, she really does, she would be crushed if I stopped talking to her. Wouldn’t it be mean? Wouldn’t it just make things worse? I mean, I only get upset when we talk because I overreact and I’m oversensitive – ”
“Alex Danvers. You are not oversensitive and you don’t overreact to your mom. You respond to her. Rationally. It’s rational for you to feel like you have to be perfect – to hold yourself to impossible and unhealthy standards – because of everything she expects from you. You respond to her telling you that you’re not good enough, that everything that happens with Kara is your fault. Alex, your mom… you’re right. She probably loves you. Fine. But that doesn’t make her a great parent, or even a good one. Her loving you doesn’t make her good at loving you: it doesn’t make you two have a healthy relationship.”
“But I can’t just cut her off, Maggie. Then everything would be my fault.”
“No. Nothing would be your fault, Ally. You’d just be asserting what you need. You’d be doing what’s right for you. And you’d be setting a new standard for how your mom has to treat you.”
Alex bites the inside of her cheek and she thinks and she listens and she argues and she thinks some more.
She tells Eliza that she needs to take some time away from their relationship a couple of weeks later. Tells her that she doesn’t know how long it’s going to take, but to please leave their contact in her control.
She stops training so hard she throws up right away; but at first, she doesn’t understand why.
It’s easier for her to stick to one beer, once in a while, socially, rather than half a bottle of bourbon, often, on her own; but at first, she doesn’t understand why.
She also doesn’t understand, at least not at first, why she stops – slowly, slowly – blaming herself when Kara has a bad day. She doesn’t stop caring, and she doesn’t stop trying to make her little sister feel better, but the pit in her stomach, gnawing, ripping, that Kara’s bad day – whatever the reason – is her fault, her fault, her fault, starts diminishing. She barely notices when it disappears almost completely, the healing is so gradual.
She surrounds herself with a little sister who adores her and a girlfriend who supports her and a father who is unfailingly proud of her and brothers who tease her but always, always, always love her.
She surrounds herself with affirmation and she surrounds herself with validation, and after a while, she realizes that she’s not waking up with such burning loathing for herself anymore.
It takes time – it takes years – but eventually, when she’s laying awake with Maggie sleeping in her arms, she realizes that she really loves the person she is.
It feels strange and it feels unfamiliar, but god, god, god, does it feel good.