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Can I just write about mothers?(8 Posts)
I've name changed for this. This is an issue that I have carried for the 32 years that I've been alive I suppose.
For context - although I have lived and worked in the U.K. For a decade now for my very fulfilling career I'm originally from Asia. My parents are in Asia:
From my earliest memory - aged 3? I've always developed strong relationships with people my mothers age. I was the apple of the nursery nurses' eye. Then there followed a long line of primary teachers secondary teachers - I can count 19 different women till my PhD - who have at various points in my life sustained me, supported me, mentored me, and many of whom still take great pride in me as their former student/successful mentee/rising star in field X depending on what the connection to them is/was.
The desire in me to be supported and cheered on by a woman who is strong, happy, together, aspirational, feminist, principled, fun, someone to take me under her wing - is profound.
I thought it would go away when I became a mum. But it didn't. Pregnancy and mothering my son simply brought back the 3 year old clinging to her kindergarten teaxher's clothes, or the 26 year old super-achieving PhD student desperate for approval and recognition from a I suppose mother figure.
I am looking for ways to not hurt about this anymore. I have tried therapy but it hasn't led anywhere.
I have tried inner child work and to an extent over the years I've developed a gentle kindness towards myself. But a vulnerable core still remains inside me that wants to be taken under the wing of someone.
My mother (she's visiting at the moment) was very very unhappy in her marriage. She was married in a conservative Asian society where divorce is taboo. She spent my entire childhood lashing out at me, sobbing, being managed by me, being depressed, threatening to leave and hitting me. Yep. Screaming after she finally left when I was 16, angry u chose to stay with my grandmother (dad's mum) who effectively raised me and was my darling - demanding i be brought over at midnight to her or else she willl slash her wrists. Beating me up at 16 in front of my cousins. Unstable angry sobbing howling scary.
My dad is and has been my beacon and my biggest cheerleader. But he wasn't my mother. He is amazing and till today is my first port of call if I need anything at all.
Today my mother is aging, very very obese and ridden with related healthy problems, failing memory, and every time we meet I feel this rage seething - pity mixed with guilt - and an overwhelming desire to find a mentor/second mum to take me under her wing. She has apologised countless times but I will NEVER see in her te friend/mentor/cheerleader/confidante I have always sought
I have a fab husband + fab little son + fab career which enriches me + fab house + fab ddog and I have a lovely life now.
But when will this yearning for a mum stop? I feel like I lead this parallel life to my capable organised exterior. One where I am a vulnerable teenager looking for a mum.
Please don't think i am stupid.
Honestly? I don't know if it ever does stop. It becomes more manageable though, I think ,but that can only happen when you're ready for it.
For context- I haven't seen my mother for 2+ years. She was an awful mother- she would insult me, treat me like a lackey, bitched about me to my siblings, told me my father tried to abort me (not true), yold me if I'd been 'another bloody boy' she would have had me adopted, kept trying to tell me that my eldest brother, who sexually assaulted me when I was 10, was 'sorry', and most of all, has always made everything about her and her feelings.
I too yearned for a mother who would think I was pretty, who would be my number one fan, who would just love me, really, as I was. But that's not what I got.
My Dad was my number one fan (they had been divorced for 37 years) but he died in September, and I miss him badly.
However, I am grateful that I did have one parent who was there for me, so I tried to focus on that. And by removing my mother from my immediate life, I've found I yearn less.
It took concerted effort- every time I thought of something she'd done or said to hurt me, I would force myself to think of things my Dad said or did. He actually wrote me a few lovely letters which I have kept and still reread occasionally to remind myself that I at least had one parent who felt that way about me.
Incidentally, I also tried therapy and found it didn't work for me either. I do think it has to come from you. And trite though it is, repeatedly reminding yourself of the good (counting your blessings, if you like), can help.
I think becoming a mother highlights the mother we didn't have. It's a form of grief. It hurts. I am sorry, but it will pass. You will be a great mum.
And don't forget that any mature woman who acts in a motherly way to you will also be fulfilling a need. You can't change the past but you can accept yourself and enjoy your future without feeling odd in any way. We humans are complicated animals.
Thank you everyone. It's also good to know (in a selfish way I suppose) that I am not alone with these feelings and experiences
You're not alone OP and you're certainly not stupid. My mother did not treat me as horrendously as yours did, but she was not a good parent to me either. She is still alive but I have grieved her (and my father) very deeply for the last several years. The need for a mother doesn't go away when you become an adult. It hurts, very badly. You deserved a loving mother, you deserved someone who would nurture you and be devoted to you. And you didn't get it. Anger is a very healthy response to this situation.
If you're interested, I cannot recommend professional support enough. I saw a wonderful psychotherapist and she helped me to recognise the impact of my parents' behaviour on me and to process the feelings that it brought up for me. Growing up with a parent like yours, you do not develop the ability to be kind to yourself and to understand yourself well. These are skills you have learn, and it is very difficult to do so all by yourself. Things will get better for you, but give yourself time. You are dealing with a huge amount of pain
Just want to say I understand - you're not alone. The behaviour of your mother sounds very similar to mine, and it's extremely frightening.
It's only really since I took the decision to break contact with my mother that my true healing could begin. Until then, it was impossible for me to begin to move forward because (due to her extreme instability) every time I saw her she'd pile on fresh assaults to my self esteem and worth. These assaults would keep me unhappy basically until it was time for the next visit! I remember in my twenties feeling hopeless, and thinking by the time she dies and I am released from her most of my own life would be over. She basically negated me.
The final straw was definitely to do with my eldest child becoming more aware as he grew older. I cut contact with her when he was four and a half, and she was beginning to say poisonous things to him (about me) and control him too. So motherhood was what gave me the strength to end the pattern of abuse from my own mother.
I really hope this helps in some way, and you see a way forward soon.
So sorry OP. The mother role is so profound & you are unsurprisingly messed up after your experiences.
Try reading The Emotionally Absent Mother by Jasmin Lee Cori. X
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