Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers who just suck!
It isn’t any surprise everywhere you look is blooming Mother’s Day; the commercials, beautiful thank you cards, flower shops and retail chocolate. What you don’t see is the heartbroken and hurt, either an absent mother or an abusive mother has inflicted on one’s heart. There are many types of toxic mothers but I will only speak of a few.
I have many friends who have endured the tears while telling me stories of how their mother enabled their abusive father. He would tell her how worthless she was, a burden, a hardship, never good enough all while her mother stood in the wings observing but never saying a word. Even as an adult, they weren’t sure if they hated their father or mother more. She just stood silently and allowed her child’s heart to be torn apart only to be molded back into either a codependent or bitter adult.
Then there is the controlling mother, the one that lived in constant fear. She didn’t allow you to have friends, sleepovers, phone calls, a job, play sports, or socialize with anyone outside of her safe group. She needed to prove to herself and everyone around her that her child would obey to the fullest extent and in turn she never knew she was impeding any growth or independence.
Of course we can’t forget the Narcissistic mother for they live through their daughters and crave the attention for their low self-esteem. They seem to always “one up” you. If you say you are tired, they will advise you how they are more tired. If you say you lost weight, they will remind you that you have more to go. They are ego driven. If you imply they may have done something wrong, the guilt trip will ensue and you are left with the feeling that nothing you do is good enough. They would rather not talk about a situation than to validate your feelings.
What about the absent mother? Many will say, “at least your mother didn’t yell or hit you”. “You are right, but she didn’t even love me enough to be around”. Children of unavailable mothers usually grow up into the role of a comforter or protector. As a child of an absent mother, uncertainty and abandonment will take hold. Your own happiness may seem self-indulgent and as you become an adult you will find yourself always being the responsible one and the “grown up” in many situations. There is no time to trust that others will be there for you, so even at a young age, you become the parent while your mother becomes the child.
Although these examples are prevalent, they definitely do not cover all of the toxicity experienced by children. I personally do not know of any child who has had the perfect mother. In fact, I have seen myself react during my time as a parent in some of the above. As I became a mother, I wanted better for my children than what I received. I knew exactly what not to do as a mother and although the road can be rough, I am still learning. It is very important to recognize the damage that can be transferred over many generations. I encourage you to take some time this Mother’s Day and self-heal. Understand that you do have the ability to not allow your childhood to mold you. Your Mother’s Day does not have to suck.