When Your Relationship With Your Mom Revolves Around Her
Editor’s note: If you have experienced emotional abuse, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
I used to long for the times I thought my mother was showing me unconditional love and joy during my pre-puberty years. She was my best friend, sharing her drama with my juvenile ears. She was my sidekick, picking me up early from elementary school whenever I pleased and treating us to facials, mani/pedis and juicy gossip about her so-called “friends.” She spoiled me rotten as I was her only daughter amongst four other brothers and she loved to show me off to all who would take notice. To her, I was her tall, skinny, beautiful, model-esque daughter.
Looking back now, I never had the option to have a personality of my own as a child. I was made to be an extension of her — that’s what made her happy. Deviating from what she wanted me to be like or look like ignited verbal abuse and insidious hate because “she created me, therefore I am her.”
What I never understood was that the older I got and the more I wanted to do what I liked or hang out with friends my age, the more she subconsciously distanced herself from me.
When middle school came around and puberty began to hit its peak, our relationship almost instantly became sour and to this day, it has never returned back to the love and happiness we once shared.
I gained weight in middle school, and she was my number one critic. I developed acne and she was my number one bully.
It came to a point when she stopped acknowledging me with a normal salutation, but rather replied to my greetings with random, unsolicited advice on my body image, comparisons of accomplishments and looks from other girls in our family. She bashed whatever self-worth I had.
If I was headed to school, and said, “Have a good day!” to my mom as I passed, she would reply, “Take your phone out of your pocket. It makes your hips look much wider than they already are.”
If I was doing homework, sometimes she would storm in and say, “Look at how well dressed my friend’s daughter is at her sister’s wedding!” She would then put her phone on top of what I was working on and say, “You could look like that if you didn’t buy so many jeans and T-shirts.
As time flew by, this style of communication became more common for her. I rarely ever heard her say, “How was your day?” or “How’s school?” — or really any question that had to do with me.
She knew nothing about me, and didn’t seem to care to know either. She seemed to only communicate with me to point out my flaws, comparing me to the next person or demanding a task be done.
When I finally had enough, I called my mom out on her negativity with tears in my eyes from the pain. But she denied it. In front of my brothers and father, she said that she was entitled to say those types of things because she put me in any activity I wanted to be in as a kid — from modeling to cheerleading and others. She then ranted about all the sacrifices it took for her to do all that for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for all my mother did for me when I was a little girl, but all of this stopped when I hit puberty. I’m currently writing this as a 24-year-old college student and my mom still uses “putting me in different activities as a child” to this day as a arguing point that shows she was an amazing mother when I try to question her about hurtful things she’s done to me recently.
Give me a break!
When I was in college, I looked for articles that related to my experience with my mother. I ran into articles that were quite triggering to read, commenting on the daughters of self-involved mothers. I cried as I read stories that were so similar to my situation.
The pain ran deep when I realized I was not the only one who struggled emotionally from what felt like a mother who never wanted to love me. There were other daughters out there just like me. I felt relieved knowing I wasn’t alone.
“I knew I wasn’t crazy,” is what I repeated in my head as I read one too many similar stories by hundreds of different women.
Even though I was just reading these articles and not actually sharing my story, I felt heard for the first time ever in my life.
Since this is an actual issue that troubles some women, I figured there must be a way to solve it.
I searched everywhere for articles on how to create a positive relationship with a self-involved mother — as I longed for my mother’s love. No matter how bad she talked about me or treated me in the past, I just wanted a mother who would love me unconditionally.
Unfortunately the majority of the articles said something I didn’t want to hear:
“Your mother will never change, look into therapy and reduce or go fully no contact if you want peace.”
As much as I hate to say it, it’s true in my situation too.
She didn’t care about my emotions when I was 10, and 15 years later, she still doesn’t give a crap.
I am currently going through therapy and trying to figure out a happy medium with us. My therapist says avoiding her unless deemed necessary will be best in my emotional recovery, but I just can’t help but think one day she’ll change.
I’ve been daydreaming of that one day for many years now, but a girl can only dream for so long…
If you or a loved one is affected by domestic violence or emotional abuse and need help, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
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Thinkstock photo via piyapong sayduang.