- Family and Parenting
Mother, why don't you love me?
If you have a wonderful/loving mother you are lucky.
I was standing in front of the card section, browsing to find that perfect birthday card for my mother. Some cards have beautiful poems inside with heartfelt words. "You were always there for me", "unconditional love", "ever loving", "sweet and kind". None of those cards that would some up my mother. I had to blink away a tear reading those beautiful words and I imagined what it would be like to have a mother that is loving and kind and is always there for you. My mother was never sweet, kind or loving. I never went hungry and always had nice clothes and was nothing short in the material department, but the love and that special bond was missing. That mother who was happy to see you, who would support you to be the best version of you, the mother who would encourage you, the mother who would praise you when you did something good.
My mother would always tell me I was stupid, she would always tell me I couldn't do this or that, she would always tell me she would pack her bags and leave if I misbehaved. I was so scared as a child to be left behind that every night I prayed for her not to just pack up and go. Sometimes I fantasized that I was adopted and my real mother would come and rescue me, but she never came, I was stuck with this one. She would always tell me I was the last nail on her coffin, the hurt was never ending!
Those with loving mothers often resent those that bash their mothers. How can you talk like that about the person who gave birth to you? How dare you say anything bad about her?!? Shame on you!" Those who can't relate may minimize the matter by stating that their mother could be "feisty, or stubborn, sometimes hard to deal with." That is not what I'm talking about here. You just know from an early age that the bond is not there, that the love is not there, that you are just kind of always in the way. No matter how hard you try to please your mother, nothing you do will ever be enough!
Trying to find a reason
Because the world of a child is small and the interactions that go on in that world are familiar, you accept your mother's ’ treatment as “normal.” That’s reinforced by the fact that the mother doesn’t just rule that little world but dictates how actions and interactions in it are to be understood. Harsh words and castigation are labeled "discipline" that is “necessary” for building a daughter’s character. Even if your mother treats your other siblings differently, you are likely to believe that, somehow, it must be your fault. Besides you remain hopeful that, somehow, things will change and she will love you eventually. The effort to make sense of things is emotionally turbulent and confusing!
I remember a time when I was a young woman, I met up with my mother down town for a coffee. She would sit there and look around and talk about a beautiful girl three tables ahead, what beautiful hair, skin and face she had, she would not shut up about it. Then she would put me down, why I was wearing a certain style, or she would say "your dress looks like a nightgown". She would never pay a compliment, that was too painful for her.
My mother was a woman that talked none stop about her self, she would refuse to listen to anything you had to say. If you ever would mention your fears you had in life she would trivialize them, make you feel stupid for having thoughts like that. Sometimes I wondered if she found some kind of pleasure in hurting me.
I always made excuses for my mother from an early age on, the only constant in my life was the huge question mark hanging over my head: What was wrong with my family? My mother blamed her mother in order to hide her own responsibilities, as well as her past. Now, in later life, I realize I never knew my mother as a woman or a person—only as dysfunctional and ineffective , someone who inflicted her own pain on her children. It's not good to 'dwell' on the past, that's what we are told. There is still no loving bond, between my mother and I, she still dismisses me. It's painful and one always hopes things could of been different.
We always think that mothers are universally proud of their children, of their achievements, but that is not always true. I hate to think it could be jealousy, some mothers don't like it when their daughters do better then them or achieve more then they did.
Remember the original story of "Snow White" published by the brothers GRIMM, it was her mother - yes the one that longed for a beautiful child - and gave birth to her, who was jealous of her daughter's beauty and became her nemesis.
In another dimension I picture myself, having a loving mother, a mother that would say "I love you".
As always, I am hopeful that by shining light on these patterns and taking them out of the cupboard where dirty secrets are kept, we can begin to have an open and fruitful discussion about the complexity and depth of the mother-daughter relationship. Perhaps, then, we can begin to talk about jealousy among and between all women, especially mothers and daughters, and begin a mutual journey of healing.