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Mother Figure

(5 Posts)
user48675 Fri 22-May-20 22:57:52

I am estranged from my mother. I tried to reconcile with her but it failed (though no overt antagonism, it seems my mother has simply decided not to try and build bridges). The difficult thing to try to come to terms with is that my mother has never been properly there for me - emotionally absent whilst I was growing up (ignoring narcissist). She also stood by and watched some physical abuse take place, not wanting to leave the situation for fear of material loss.
Sometimes I feel angry but mainly I have found myself craving a mother figure. Recently, I tried to develop a sort of mother figure relationship with a woman of around my mother's age, only to find that this woman who can be brilliant at times, can also disconnect and not communicate. Don't get me wrong it is not this woman's fault, it is all about my expectations. I want to find a way of becoming less needy and vulnerable and I am due to receive some therapy in the near future (I have a fear I will become dependent on the therapist). These types of mother figures have drifted into my life on occasion (twice before) then drifted out again but without a doubt they added something to my life and I feel sad they are no longer there. I think the key is to work on the inner child which I have been trying to do, still there feels like there is a great big hole. I have only a few friends and I try to offer something back, if that makes sense but at the moment, I feel let down again and it exasperates my feelings of aloneness. I have a dh and dcs but I am having one or two issues with dh and this is only compounding things - again I hope to address in therapy. Other than my immediate family, I have hardly any extended family. My db is complicated and has many issues of his own.

Can anyone relate?

phoenixwings Sat 23-May-20 00:05:08

I can totally relate to your post.

I haven't had contact with my mum for five years. Like you I was also physically abused but it happened when I was little. She would sometimes stand by and watch it happen but she was a victim of domestic violence before it started so I thought she was scared to get involved in case he turned on her and I forgave her. Over the years however I realise she is/was absolutely besotted with the guy and would do anything just to get any hint of attention from him.

I was assigned a mentor to help with my self-esteem and confidence when I was eight and it would take seven sessions before I spoke a word to her because I was so scared she would be the same as my mum. But over the five years of her taking me places and treating me like a human being and not a complete nuisance as my mum did I became very attached. She moved to Australia with her husband and daughter when I was thirteen and I was absolutely devastated. In my head she had become my mum.

We are still in in touch now but it is so difficult. I am still quite attached and she is still the closest thing I have to a mum in my life at present but she is detached. Like you I don't blame her and I know the problem lies with me because of the issues with my mum I want and expect too much.

Over the past few years though she has told me that she thinks of me as a part of her family. She visited back in 2013 and introduced me to her daughter as her sort of adoptive sister which was quite a shock as it was the first I'd heard of it. But she doesn't treat me as a part of her family, I am more of an outsider and it hurts.

I have tried therapy for my attachment issues but I have had little joy to be honest. I have spent the past two years ot so distancing myself from social media just so I don't stumble across her posts much.

I am not sure what else to do, either apart from cut her off completely but I have tried and tried and each time I fail. I don't think it will ever happen.

She has said she'd like me to visit her sometime in the future and I could stay with her family but I have said no as the attachment would tear its ugly head and I would only have a breakdown like I did back then from the non contact.

I long for her to be the mum I never had like she was when I was a child but I know that is never going to happen because she doesn't feel that way and it is affecting life as it has done for the past eighteen years or so.

famousforwrongreason Sat 23-May-20 06:02:09

I had an abusive childhood and cut my mum out completely around ten years ago.
I am completely alone apart from the kids and I feel like you. I'd love a nurturing mother figure but it's very unlikely to happen. I want to try and learn to nurture and mother myself, I think it will help.

LikeSilentRaindrops Sat 23-May-20 06:35:36

I can absolutely relate flowers

I left home at 15, due to significant physical and emotional abuse by my mother. 4 different women came into my life over the next decade, all in the role of mother figures, and all have them have exited in some form or other.

I used to think it was evidence of my own fucked-upness, till it was gently pointed out to me by DH that those women wouldn’t have tried to take on that role if they hadn’t been filling a gap in their own life. It was absolutely true. I’d never asked them to do that, they threw themselves into it, and then withdrew when it got too much for them.

It is NOT about you; the mother figure has let her shit get in the way. Psychotherapy (for 3 years) was the best thing I did, to come to terms with what my mother had done, but also to understand my reactions as a result. Also, my lovely children. I look at them and can’t ever imagine treating them how I was treated, by any of those women. That helps too, to remind me that it’s never been about me.

user48675 Sat 23-May-20 14:42:03

Thank you everyone, for being so brave and sharing your stories. There is something in what you have written LikeSilentRaindrops, in that all 3 of the mother figures were looking to fill a gap and when I served my purpose/no longer serving a purpose I was discarded which is actually really damaging because I was always trying to please my father through achievements to claim some sort of love but could never get there. I actually think the third one of these mother figures was looking to me to be some sort of prop for her (which I was more than happy to do - she also has issues and it looked like it could be a two way street). The second one was a counsellor of sorts who I saw for about a year but again I was useful because she was in training and I was a regular customer, so to speak (we also spoke outside the sessions, so it wasn't particularly professional but it worked for the particular issue I had been facing).

Yes famous, I think nurturing ourselves is definitely the way forward so that we don't become so vulnerable. I have only just started to do this and it does feel alien!

phoenix - so sorry to hear you have had ongoing issues too:
But over the five years of her taking me places and treating me like a human being and not a complete nuisance as my mum did I can totally relate to this - my mum never seemed to want to be around me and even as a young adult and we went shopping, she would have to go off and do her own thing. I make a point now of having separate days out with my dc to make sure they have a bit of one to one attention and are heard. I don't have any nice memories of my mum having taken me anywhere/baking/crafting/walks...nothing. I try to grasp around for some sort of happy memory but nothing comes to me. I never felt valued by either of my parents and that is a really sad. I feel grateful every single day (as well as all the other emotions involved with parenting) to have my dc. I would love to have gotten inside my parents psyche to see how their brains actually functioned!

I was a child in the late 70's/80's. Many of my school reports flagged up that I was too quiet, yet no-one delved any deeper to find out what my home life was like, I think it was brushed under the carpet a bit more back then. Having major problems at home, I was then a target for bullies when I went to secondary school. I couldn't seem to connect with anyone really and the one person with whom I nearly formed a connection, let me down. It makes me wonder if nearly all relationships are based on need.

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